With her rippling sixpack and killer curves, you could be forgiven for thinking Tenille Duncan is a carefree 20-something who spends endless hours in the gym.
But the gorgeous 35-year-old is actually a busy working mum-of-six! So how on earth does she do it?
The personal trainer and fitness model is the first to admit she gets up at 4.30am to work out.
‘I train before the kids get out of bed because it’s the only time I have,’ she explains.
After lifting weights for an hour before the sun rises, Tenille dashes to the kitchen to make breakfast for her family. They usually have oats or eggs on toast.
The Gold Coast mum has developed a handy strategy for surviving the morning mayhem – her top tip is to do as much prep as possible the night before.
‘Lunches are made, packed in lunch boxes and put in the fridge. School uniforms are ironed so everything is ready to go in the morning,’ she says.
When everyone has finished eating, the supermum makes sure the kids get dressed, brush their hair and clean their teeth before her husband Khane, 39, takes them to school.
Tenille then gets on with training her first lot of clients.
Then, after a satisfying lunch of fish and salad, she jumps on her computer to coach her online customers.
It’s school pick-up before she knows it. Then it’s time for homework and dinner, which consists of steak, potato and vegies.
After they’ve finished eating, Tenille prepares her children’s school lunches and uniforms for the next day, before seeing more of her PT clients. Phew!
For many of us, the sheer thought of such a busy schedule is enough to send us into a dread-fuelled panic.
But Tenille lets us in on another little secret. She says she has more energy since incorporating exercise into her life seven years ago.
Prior to starting her rigorous training routine, she’d spent 12 years jumping from one fad diet to the next in a misguided quest to be skinny.
‘The first time I went on a diet was in high school when someone told me
I had a big bum. I was about 16,’ she says.
‘It was just some stupid comment – my bum wasn’t even that big. But when you are such a young, impressionable age, those comments stick with you.’
The impetus for change came seven years ago when Tenille’s health really began to suffer.
At the time, she was on a strict no-fat meal replacement plan and weighed just 47kg despite being 168cm tall.
‘I kept forgetting things. I know mums forget because they have a lot on their mind, but it was getting ridiculous.
‘I would forget appointments, I was losing my keys all the time, I felt constantly exhausted.
‘I started worrying, “Oh my god what’s wrong with me?” ’
Tenille – who hated exercise at the time – began to think that her issues were because she was so unfit, so she went to see a trainer. What he said shocked her.
‘He said: “You have starved all the muscle off your body so you don’t have any shape. It doesn’t matter how skinny you get, you are always going to have the saggy bits and the cellulite because you’ve got no muscle.”
‘It didn’t cross my mind I needed more food,’ says Tenille, who is mum to Aurora, four, Jhett, seven, Sienna, 12, Layla, 14, and stepmum to Zhane, 16, and Ella, 18.
‘The idea of putting on weight to look better was so foreign.’
But desperate to feel better, she decided to follow the trainer’s advice.
‘I began eating more healthy fats like avocados. I started eating carbohydrates along with clean unprocessed foods.
I snacked on nuts and fruit,’ she says.
Tenille also started training three times a week, starting off with simple squats and exercises to strengthen her core.
‘Within two weeks I was feeling a lot better – my mind, my memory, my energy levels. After about six months I felt like a completely different person.
‘Instead of dragging my feet through bathtime or homework, I had the energy to be more present and enjoy the kids more.
‘For the first time in my life I felt fit, strong and confident in myself.’
After seeing her own life improve, Tenille – who advises everyone to drink two litres of water a day – decided she wanted to help others.
She studied to become a personal trainer and set up an online coaching business.
Now a successful fitness model, she often competes against women much younger than herself.
‘You do get a lot of young girls who haven’t had any children entering,’ Tenille says.
‘Sometimes I think, “What am I doing?” especially in the moments before I walk out on stage, but I like to show other mothers that you can do it.’
Tenille’s top three tips
Do as much prep as you can the night before.
Be consistent and be patient - Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Work out while the kids are still in bed.