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90-day work out drove me to exhaustion

SIX weeks after I had my third child I leapt headlong into a manic exercise regime called P90X. It's a 90-day work out that covers all aspects of fitness, from yoga, to weights and cardio and can be done at home with some weights and a pull-up bar.

Male friends who'd completed the programme were looking great, so I eagerly signed up, working out while the kids slept and pausing the DVD if baby woke for a feed.

I abandoned P90X around day 50 citing exhaustion and sleep deprivation. I may have lost a few pregnancy pounds but you can't just get fit in seven short weeks.

The funny thing is that, when it comes to personal fitness, we don't have anyone to answer to. We might feel bad, look bad or have health issues, but no one is going to make us get off our sofa and pound the pavements if we're not interested. And that's why exercise needs to be fun.

Over the years I've enjoyed everything from the gym to cycling, skipping to yoga, Body Combat to tag rugby. With the exception of the latter two, I've done very little since becoming a mum and I seem to be in the majority.

Most of my mates abandoned the gym when they started families. Lack of time, money and motivation were all reasons and once you stop it's pretty hard to make room for yourself again.

A year after I abandoned P90X, I took a long hard look at myself. Tight jeans and a wobbly tummy stared back at me and freaked me out. I used to be slim and fit, yet here I was on the slippery slope facing a future of cellulite, baggy clothes and holidays in a dowdy swimsuit because I can't pull off a bikini any more. While I've never been a typical 'yummy mummy', I sure as hell couldn't handle the thought of being a frumpy one.

Radical situations require radical solutions and my fitter-than-ever husband came to the rescue.

For the last few months he's been practising CrossFit, an American-style fitness programme that focuses on life's core movements. No two workouts are ever the same, and the focus is on technique and maximum intensity. He signed me up for a trial and it looks like it may be my salvation.

Unlike a regular gym class, everyone at Ronin CrossFit is on first-name terms. Each hour-long class is small so you get individual attention from the military-trained instructors. Technique is key and the Ronin boys monitor everyone to correct performance and encourage.

There's lots of squatting, skipping, lifting, pulling and stretching -- and there's great laughter and camaraderie. The 'workout of the day' is performed against the clock, which scared me initially, but this competitive aspect is actually a great way to keep you focused and motivated.

I go to Ronin CrossFit (www.ronincrossfit.org) twice a week and simply love it. It's early days in the bikini department, but I'm optimistic. My muscles sometimes ache the next day, but I like to call this 'good pain'. I want my kids to have a mum they can still race in the park when they're older. I want my husband to have a fit wife he's proud of. And, most of all, I want to get fit for me, because it's okay to be selfish once in a while.