New Mums - I Salute You.

With Mother’s Day, last month, it triggered me to write this blog as I’ve worked with lots of great new mums with their fitness goals since having their babies. All of my clients have different stories and struggles, but one thing I have recognised is the added pressure all you yummy mummies put on yourselves to look a certain way and within a certain timeframe.

I believe Social Media has fuelled this: social feeds are made up of carefully constructed highlights of people’s lives and we are all guilty of comparing ourselves to the literally billions of perfect photos of either celebrities or the peers we dream to be. The main problem with this, is that many of these photos aren’t real. We are viewing selfies that are selected, posed, filtered and sometimes altered in some way: Photoshop is no longer confined to magazines or professional websites, with a simple app, a person can rapidly change the way they look in the real world. A recent study of 269 women, that were surveyed after giving birth, identified that only a third “loved” how they looked or felt confident about their pregnant body; the rest worried about their changing shape and felt they were gaining too much weight.

This is something that my newest client (Kelly) could relate to after the arrival of her daughter in November last year. Becoming a mum was the best thing that ever happened to her and she was truly amazed what her body was capable of; but she did admit to me that when she looked in the mirror she didn’t recognise herself. My client had an emergency caesarean after being monitored and in labour for 3 days – leaving her with a scar, stretch marks and a “jiggly tum”. This was a shock for her, especially as she wasn’t prepared for the physical recovery of her body after this major surgery “I really thought that as soon as I had my baby my stomach would just pingback – sadly that was not the case”. When she came to me, her biggest concern was getting back into shape but also not to cause herself any permanent damage by training incorrectly or too early after being signed off by the doctor.

Recovery from a C Section can be very painful and can take some mums by surprise as just sitting on the sofa can be uncomfortable, holding your baby will be hard and getting out of bed for some is nearly impossible. Kelly told me how getting out of bed was easily one of the worst parts but she didn’t realise just how much she used her stomach muscles until she had to cough or sneeze. The stomach is normally very battered, bruised and the bruising can be visible on the skin for several weeks after the surgery.

There is a lack of education and resources for women post-surgery and this is why I have enjoyed creating a bespoke program for my client. Sticking with an exercise routine can be a struggle for anyone. But for mums, fitting in workouts can feel darn near impossible. After all, how are you supposed to find time to work out when you can’t even go to the bathroom undisturbed. Between nappy changes, lack of sleep, doctor's appointments and all the rest, there is often precious little time for you mums to sweat but this program is flexible and can work around you and your free time.

Kelly told me how she’s loving the few hours a week to go to training and have some “me” time. The program has also given her the confidence and information to be able to train at home and with her baby – her daughter particularly loves hill sprints in her pram (she tends to laugh at her struggling mum the whole time). This programme offers more than just a one to one PT session – I regularly text Kelly to see how she is doing throughout the week. Making sure she is sticking to the program but also there for motivation and support. We started her journey four weeks ago but for 2 of those weeks Kelly was in Dubai and Australia for a family wedding – she admitted sticking to the program was far harder but she tried to train, make sensible food choices and lucky for her she didn’t gain any weight on her holiday. From the 13th March we started from the beginning by looking at weight loss, nutrition, fitness, and kicked off the program with the first weekly weigh ins and measurements. Kelly is having 3 sessions a week training and full support every step of the way. This is a 3-month program but she will be working with me for a year as she is tying the knot in beautiful France in 2018.

She has three major goal dates where she has set herself targets

  1. Holiday in May 2017

  2. Wedding Dress Shopping October 2017

  3. Wedding Day September 2018

I will continue to share Kelly’s journey with regular updates on social media, videos with tips, any struggles, and advice for all you lovely mothers out there. You will also see Kelly on graduation when she receives her Brad Gray Fitness T shirt – she has asked for it to be two dress sizes smaller and why not? I will make sure she achieves her goals.

Just remember to take your time, love your body and give it the time it needs to recover. Your body changes shape during pregnancy and what this represents is something to be treasured. In the meantime if you want to kick start your own journey to body confidence contact me today as I would love to help you reach your goals.

Brad Gray