As a mother of two kids who enjoys being active, strength training is an imperative component of Caren Harris’ schedule. She dominates her office’s Strong(Wo)man Contest” and aspires to continue to get her family to join her on her progress. Strength training has made her a happier person and a more responsive parent.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
I am a 44-year-old professional and mother of 2 kids. I didn’t participate in sports as a child, but am a very active adult! I alternate between running, weightlifting or body weight training, rock climbing, and yoga.
How did you get into strength training?
I used to work at a company with a well-equipped corporate gym, including personal trainers. It turns out I had huge aptitude for strength training, and it felt good to get stronger and more defined. The office held an old style “Strongman contest”, and I won the women’s contest 3 years running!
When I left that job for another opportunity, I experimented with other trainers, but ultimately decided to educate myself and find fitness programs that made sense to me.
What does building strength mean to you?
It started with me wanting to carry my children up our stairs to bed if they fell asleep on the couch. However, the children continue to grow so I’ve had to get a lot stronger!
I’m also type-A enough that I like seeing my numbers improve, whether it’s weight or reps.
Can you tell us about your health and fitness journey so far, and any sports or physical fitness activities you did before strength training?
My focus on strength training started after having children, and needing to have very time- efficient workouts. Before children, workouts were longer, more impromptu, and more social. I loved cycling long distances, running, yoga, and every type of group exercise class with energizing music.
What is your next goal?
My personal goal is to continue to work on squats after a knee injury (and accept where I am now with more grace). My family goal is to continue to get the family to join me, such as another 5k with my daughter. (The photo is me and my 7-year old before our first 5k last January.)
What is your profession and how do you balance your day-to-day with your training?
I am a petrophysicist, and have worked for several oil and gas companies. Some firms have corporate gyms, which makes it easier to have time for exercise, but most don’t. I see my kids a little later than I would if I came straight home, but my family knows I exercise after work, on a predictable schedule. Although I’m home later because I’ve worked out, I’m 100% ready to jump into parent mode without needing additional time to decompress. My husband and kids know I’m a happier person, and a more responsive parent, if I’ve had time to exercise!
Who are the women in your life that inspire you and why?
My mom is amazing for her bottomless patience and unconditional love. My daughter has taught me that you can be both strong and girly; not only tomboys can run and climb trees.
Any life lessons learned that you would be willing to share with the spitfire community?
Motherhood isn’t the end of having time to exercise, it’s just the start of planning, planning, and more planning!