As a mom of 14, Nadya Suleman has a pretty hectic life. But she says that physical fitness is a nonnegotiable part of her daily routine.
Widely known as “Octomom,” Suleman gave birth to octuplets in 2009. She also has six older children. In a new Instagram post, the 47-year-old revealed how she stays “physically strong and healthy” and “mentally sane” while taking care of such a large family.
“Lifting weights has been my method of constructively channeling stress, consistently, for over 30 years. Weight training has become even more of a priority subsequent to birthing octuplets, to maintain my strength and mobility alone,” she wrote and shared several photos and a video of herself at the gym.
Suleman went on to explain that she experienced three herniated discs as a result of her last pregnancy and previously had a separate herniated disc from a work injury. Her additional pregnancy complications included bilateral sciatica, a damaged sacrum, peripheral neuropathy and a torn abdominal cavity.
“Such disabilities would render me incapacitated if I were to lead a sedentary lifestyle. Though it seems counterintuitive, the more active I am, the less pain I experience. Several days without weight training exacerbates my already excruciating back pain and near immobility,” the mother of 14 explained.
(Research shows that strength training can improve back pain, but if you experience chronic back pain, consult your health care provider before trying a new workout routine.)
Suleman said she typically does strength training three to four times a week in addition to one hour of cardio (stationary bike) four to five days a week. She’s also influenced her children to live an active lifestyle and revealed that her oldest three children also do weight training.
“Ironically, my oldest son Eli, who has been training consistently for three years, has surpassed what I’ve achieved in 30, and loves mocking me at the gym lol,” she wrote. “He has encouraged me however, to lift heavier, using proper technique, which has improved my strength and performance.”
Suleman ended her post with a note of encouragement for other parents.
“To my fellow busy parents out there…never compare yourself to anyone else! Your current fitness level and fitness journey is unique to you, so only strive to be the best version of yourself,” she wrote.
Suleman then suggested that parents focus on setting personal goals and progressing at their own pace.
“Lead by example so your children learn to prioritize physical activity, and encourage them to workout with you! Do not feel guilty for taking time to renew and recharge. Your family will benefit immensely when you take care of your mind and body, as you will have more positive energy to give,” she wrote.
Chrissy Callahan covers a range of topics for TODAY.com, including fashion, beauty, pop culture and food. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, watching bad reality TV and consuming copious amounts of cookie dough.
© 2023 NBC UNIVERSAL