MICHELLE BRIDGES: “AXEL IS MY PRI­OR­ITY NOW”

PER­SONAL TRAINER, TV PER­SON­AL­ITY AND AU­THOR MICHELLE BRIDGES, 45, AND HER PART­NER, FEL­LOW BIG­GEST LOSER TRAINER, STEVE ’COM­MANDO’ WIL­LIS, 40, ARE PAR­ENTS TO AXEL BRIDGES WIL­LIS. MICHELLE CHATS TO M&B ABOUT FAM­ILY LIFE, KEEP­ING AC­TIVE AND HER NEW BOOK.

Mother & Baby (Australia) - - Contents -

The fit­ness guru on how her new son has en­riched her life

Great EX­PEC­TA­TIONS

Moth­er­hood is ev­ery­thing I’d thought it would be and more. I never thought it would be so emo­tional. Had I known that, I would have started ear­lier and popped out a few more! But the tim­ing was per­fect, and he’s awe­some.

Boy OR GIRL?

When we found out Axel’s gen­der Steve and I were on speaker phone, on set at work [Michelle and Steve found out through a blood test]. The doc­tor asked us if we wanted to know, and be­fore I said any­thing, Steve said, “Yes”. Be­cause he’s my first child, I wouldn’t know what it’s like not to know, but it was lovely just know­ing that we were hav­ing a lit­tle boy. We were able to do a lit­tle prep work around clothes, toys and names.

Em­brac­ing CHANGE

I loved be­ing preg­nant. In fact, I miss it! I miss my body, too. I mean, sud­denly I had boobs and I thought, “Wow, this is awe­some!” I was so for­tu­nate to have a pretty easy preg­nancy. Noth­ing re­ally both­ered me at all, and I loved it. It was a beau­ti­ful time. I wasn’t sick and I didn’t have any crav­ings at all, re­ally. I did crave lots of fresh, green veg­eta­bles, but I usu­ally crave those any­way!

Win­ning NAME

The name Axel was like a Mel­bourne Cup win­ner. It was right at the bot­tom of our list and came up to win the race at the very last sec­ond. We hadn’t even thought of the name Axel un­til later, and Steve re­ally liked strong, Scan­di­na­vian names. We thought about my grand­fa­ther’s name – Mervin – which is re­ally old school. I re­ally liked it, but then we thought, “Will he get teased at school?” You start to think about all these dif­fer­ent things. My grand­fa­ther would have loved that, but in the end we made Bridges his mid­dle name.

Keep­ing AC­TIVE

I was re­ally mo­ti­vated to train when I was preg­nant. In fact, I think I trained more than I do now. I was sleep­ing then too, so be­cause I am a morn­ing trainer, it was a lot eas­ier to wake up and go be­cause he was with me in my tummy. Now, the rea­son I’m not train­ing as much is more be­cause of me than Axel – when I’ve had a sleep­less night it’s dif­fi­cult to get out there. The most chal­leng­ing thing for me is def­i­nitely the sleep de­pri­va­tion. He’s been sleep­ing a lot bet­ter in the last week, so fin­gers crossed!

The CRIT­ICS

I guess every­body has an opin­ion and you’ve just got to ig­nore it. I know what

my body is ca­pa­ble of, and I have laid my foun­da­tions over the last 25 years in my ca­reer as a trainer, so with those things in the me­dia, it’s best just to let it go and not read into it. There are way more im­por­tant things to be wor­ried about in life, and Axel is my pri­or­ity now. Jug­gling ACT Steve is a re­ally hands-on dad and I’m lucky that his job means that he’s at home and can look af­ter Axel some of the time. I knew I’d never have a tra­di­tional ma­ter­nity leave be­cause of my busi­nesses, but I am tak­ing time out to en­joy him. Nei­ther of us have any fam­ily nearby, but we do have the help of a nanny a few days a week, and I’ll try to make sure that I’m home with him a few days a week. I’m lucky in my job that I can make my own hours and I can take him with me if I need to. Although, I am notic­ing that as he gets older and he’s more ac­tive, tak­ing him with me to board meet­ings is be­com­ing more of a chal­lenge! Fam­ily LIFE Steve is a nat­u­ral. He was born to be a fa­ther, that man! I’m lucky that he’s had chil­dren be­fore, so he re­ally builds my con­fi­dence. He’s al­ways say­ing, “It’s okay Mish”, and is so calm and re­as­sur­ing. We love go­ing for a big hike to­gether with all the kids and Axel in the baby car­rier – that’s my weight train­ing! It’s a great way to spend time, but it’s never a ca­sual stroll though; Steve and I al­ways like a chal­lenge! We en­joy get­ting amongst the trees and get­ting out of the city. In the KITCHEN It’s im­por­tant for us to eat din­ner as a fam­ily at the ta­ble, with no phones or TV on. One thing I love us­ing in the kitchen is the slow cooker. You can chop up what­ever you have at home, stick it all in the pot and then a few hours later the house smells amaz­ing and you’ve got a de­li­cious meal. We also try to get the older kids in­volved in the cook­ing process, and they want to help, which is good. Axel eats al­most ev­ery­thing. He loves olives, eggs, av­o­ca­dos, as well as all the dif­fer­ent fruits. He cur­rently loves po­tato and av­o­cado mashed to­gether. He’s al­ways try­ing new foods and once he’s worked out a new tex­ture, we find he’s pretty good! What’s NEXT? I’ve got a brand new book with more than 200 recipes. It’s beau­ti­ful to look at and is full of re­al­is­tic and easy recipes you can make with the kids. In the past, it’s al­ways been about nu­tri­tion as well as an ex­er­cise plan. This book is dif­fer­ent, be­cause it’s food for the whole fam­ily, with recipes that ev­ery­one can en­joy. It’s not based on the hottest food trends; it’s about us­ing whole foods and bal­anced meals and learn­ing about how they work to nour­ish your body. It’s mod­elled on food that I would rec­om­mend for all of my clients and, so far, the feed­back has been great. Hav­ing IT ALL Moth­er­hood has taught me to let go and know that you can’t con­trol ev­ery­thing. Usu­ally, I am the per­son who says, “This is what we are go­ing to do and this is how it’s go­ing to work.” Now, when some­one

Moth­er­hood has taught me to let go and know you can’t con­trol ev­ery­thing.

asks me I find my­self say­ing, “I have no idea ac­tu­ally. We will fig­ure it out.” You can’t try to be too in con­trol, be­cause when you’re aim­ing for that you end up dis­ap­pointed or dis­il­lu­sioned. I have let go of some stuff and said no to things. This year I’ve re­ally tried to sub­tract a lot of things out of my life and by do­ing that I have given my­self more. It’s com­mon to have that mind­set of de­pri­va­tion; you’d ask your­self, “Why can’t I have that?” Or, “I have to go with­out this,” whereas I try to spin my per­spec­tive. By sub­tract­ing the things that don’t mat­ter, you’re show­ing re­silience and com­mit­ment as well as giv­ing your­self more. I’m do­ing that with dif­fer­ent things in my life. Not so long ago, I saw a quote, ‘The se­cret to hav­ing it all is know­ing that you do.’ With Axel I’ve got a lot more in my life than I thought I would and I am so grate­ful for that.

MICHELLE WEARS Grace Wil­low ’Har­riet Hi-Lo’ top, $89, and ‘Anita’ cu­lottes, $99 AXEL WEARS Zara Baby linen shirt, $29.95; Mun­ster at Big Dreams ’Raiders’ jeans, $49.95

MICHELLE WEARS H&M ‘Stu­dio Col­lec­tion’ shirt, $69.95; Grace Wil­low ’Lily’ panel shorts, $79; Tony Bianco ’Astrid’ heels, $199.95 AXEL WEARS Kid­s­a­gogo at The Cor­ner Booth ’Horse’ romper, $55

MICHELLE WEARS Katies ‘Luxe’ merino crew-neck knit, $79.95; Lounge The La­bel ’Crique’ pants, $209; Oshka Black ban­gle, stylist’s own; Sam­bag ’Natalie’ bal­let flats, $170 AXEL WEARS Miann and Co at The Cor­ner Booth ‘Cross’ body­suit, $50

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