Dame Valerie Adams says her approach to staying fit has changed since retiring. Photo / Supplied
She’s a two-time Olympic gold medallist and holds countless New Zealand and world records – achievements most of us can only dream of.
But these days, Dame Valerie Adams has a new fitness goal – being a good role model for her kids.
“It’s so important that we recognize the language we use and the impact it has on people,” she says.
Last week, Adams took to Instagram to speak out against reality star Louise Wallace’s controversial comments about weight on the AM show.
Now, she tells the Herald it was “upsetting” to hear Wallace describe any woman over a size 14 as “not normal” and needing to have her mouth taped shut to stop her from overeating.
Wallace argued that having plus-sized women modeling clothing normalises obesity – but the Olympian had some choice words for her in response.
“I am a Pacific Island woman and wear anything from a size 18 to 20 depending on what it is, and to hear someone say that you are not normal just makes me really upset,” Adams says.
“I want our women to feel beautiful and strong and to know their worth.”
Especially as a mum to daughter Kimoana, Adams knows all too well how damaging the world’s messaging around weight and body image can be for women.
“I am aware of what the world is doing, and I need to use my platform to stop this type of nonsense because it’s damaging.”
Adam’s no-nonsense approach to fitness and wellbeing ties into her new role as an ambassador for Snap Fitness, where her mission is to show people that fitness is for everyone.
“It doesn’t matter what your fitness journey is, it’s how you’re feeling that’s important,” she shares.
“I love to share my own fitness journey as now it is different, and it comes with its own challenges.”
Since the Olympic champion put down the shot put and announced her retirement earlier this year, her focus has shifted when it comes to fitness. These days, the pressure is off.
“I find so much enjoyment from exercising and being active nowadays,” she tells the Herald.
“I really love challenging myself in different ways and being able to try new things at our local Snap Fitness, and being amongst the community is such a positive vibe.
“I train more for my mental health and to get that feel-good feeling. I don’t put a lot of pressure on myself, and I just roll with what life dishes out.”
She’s not aiming for new personal bests or the next medal anymore – the mum of two simply wants to show her kids Kimoana, 4, and Kepaleli, 3, what it means to stay fit and healthy.
“Being active in my own life has always and will always be important to me,” she says.
“I hope to inspire Kimoana and Kepaleli through teaching them by being a positive example and role model to the next generation, and show positive body image and physical health can take many shapes.”
Adams’ son Kepaleli lives with type 1 diabetes – so it’s hugely important for the family to have a balanced lifestyle, she says.
“I want to continue to guide him as he gets older and learns more in time about managing his diabetes too.”
Her advice for those wanting to start a healthier lifestyle journey is to simply take that first step – then celebrate it.
“Tell someone you love and trust. It can be daunting, but you are so worth it so don’t be scared. This is your journey, so you’re in charge. Exercise is not all doom and gloom, work out what works for you then go for it.”