From early morning drills in the army to early morning drills as a mother, willpower and discipline was something drummed into Stephanie’s mind from an early age. Never one to shy away from a challenge, the Melbourne mum decided to take her health and fitness to the next level by committing to a fitness competition whilst pregnant! Stephanie now shares with Oxygen her top tips to a fit pregnancy and why every woman should own a pearl necklace.
Growing up an active child, Stephanie Vaccaro danced and played netball, yet it was only after she began to mature that she noticed her demeanour shifted from carefree youngster to self-conscious teenager.
Moving her body came naturally to Stephanie, so the decision to join the gym to try and boost her self-confidence and shift some of the negativity she had experienced as a teenager was a no-brainer.
“I thought cardio was the key to losing weight. I now know how important weight training is,” Stephanie says.
Despite the common “know it all” mentality that 16-year-olds tend to foster, Stephanie laughs when she admits that she in fact did not know it all - and so marked the beginning of her health and fitness journey.
The next decision the now 29-year-old would make would lead her to the Australian Defence Force as a medic in the army, and she was thrust into early morning drills, five days a week. Her days in the gym running on the treadmill turned to weeks “out bush” scaling walls and tackling obstacles and, while the cardio element of her training remained, the training was a completely different intensity to what she had ever experienced before.
“Sometimes we would be out for seven weeks in the bush, carrying massive backpacks with water bottles we had to fill ourselves,” she says. “I was a medic so we lived out there in big tents that were set up as hospitals, but we had a strict training regime just like the rest of the cadets.”
The food in the defence force left little to the imagination, as Stephanie explains mess hall food was her only option in her early years of enrolment.
“We had to eat out of the mess so there were limited options in terms of nutrition, but there was always meat and steamed veggies,” she says, “and with the amount of rigorous training and drills we were doing, we’d all be losing weight anyway. You needed the carbs because you were often totally exhausted. I would just bypass the desserts!”
Another challenging element of enrolling in the defence force meant living interstate, away from her close network of family and friends but this forced her out of her comfort zone and helped shape the person she is today.
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