‘It’s a matter of priorities,’ she says. ‘Before kids I had all the time in the world and although I was never happy with my body I didn’t bother about it. Now I want to set them a good example. Health is my number one priority.’
Maria, who is now 60 kilos, explains how her day is rigidly structured to allow for everything she needs, and also wants, to do during it.
‘We all have the same 24 hours in the day and I manage to jam pack mine with all of the things that are helping me towards my goals,’ she says.
Maria starts at 4:30am and by 5am she’s emptying the dishwasher, doing laundry and sorting out breakfast. Her kids, Thomas, four, and Laya, three, are in daycare by 7am while she fits in an hour at the gym before work.
8:30-4:30 Maria is at work five days a week and then home to get the kids and start dinner by 5:30.
She usually fits in more cardio during the evening, heats up something she has meal prepped the weekend before and then bed by 10pm ready for the next day.
‘If you want something bad enough you make it work, if not you sit around complaining about others that seem to 'have it all' and are 'so lucky',' she says.
There’s no TV time in her schedule and Maria says the gym is her relaxation time.
‘For fun I’ll take the kids to a swimming lesson or just spend time messing about with them,’ she says. ‘And I rarely get tired. My husband [Luke] says I’m like the energiser bunny but I’m kind to my body and so it repays me.’
Things haven’t always been this way for Maria.
Overweight in her twenties, it was her first pregnancy where she reached 87 kilos which forced her into action.
‘Five months after my son was born I got married,’ Maria remembers. ‘The day was not what I hoped and dreamed of because I felt so horrible. I still don’t have any wedding photos up in my house.’
After that Maria was determined to change and she researched clean eating and started exercising.
Within six weeks of her new regime she discovered she was pregnant again.
Continuing her training she was running up to 30 kilometres a week until she was 32 weeks pregnant. And just months after Layla’s, birth Maria was running half marathons and then, dropping to 50 kilos, she got into body building.
'I decided to bite the bullet, get a coach and commit to a bodybuilding comp. From that moment on, my life was never the same,' Maria says.
‘After that first competition I turned to my husband and told him it was the best day of my life. It was even better than our wedding and he agreed! He was so proud of me up on stage.’
Now Maria is keen to inspire others through her Instagram page. ‘Anyone can do it,’ she says.