Meet An Active Mum

Sam is a personal trainer based in Brisbane with an online presence as “The Healthy Me” who offers complete lifestyle coaching to help women live positively and seize each day.

Sam is a personal trainer based in Brisbane with an online presence as “The Healthy Me” who offers complete lifestyle coaching to help women live positively and seize each day. Sam is a genuine soul who always speaks from the heart, and we really appreciate her sharing her insight with us. Sam explains the challenges and rewards of adjusting post-baby and gives us her tips on getting back into fitness and wellbeing.

Truthfully, post baby is an area I’m really nervous to speak about. I don’t think enough is out there about fitness, health and wellbeing post-partum though, so I do feel lucky to have this platform to hopefully connect with new mums with similar feelings.

Everything I had read or seen about keeping healthy and fit during pregnancy lead me to believe that it would make recovery post baby quite “easy”. I had followed lots of fit new mums on social media and watched them “bounce back” within weeks. I had kept active throughout my pregnancy and was feeling great. I continued my cardio, strength and weight training right up until the day Paddy was born. I felt lucky because I knew some women had to stop exercise much earlier due to how they felt, the baby’s position, their own health etc., but I was blessed with a very smooth pregnancy.

My birth with Paddy was a very fast, natural birth. I laboured at home for 3 hours and then within an hour and a half at the hospital we met our beautiful little Patrick. I really enjoyed the birth; yes it was painful but it is incredibly what your body does instinctually.

The first three weeks after birth I did very, very little. I was still in pain and because Paddy’s delivery was so quick, my pelvic floor muscles didn’t have that time to slowly stretch; so even walking after having him was difficult. Morning walks and cardio were out and I couldn’t even think of doing weights. Added to this was the fog of sleep deprivation which is an absolute KILLER. I would find keys in the fridge, wake up terrified that Paddy was tangled in our sheets (he was safe in his bassinet of course) and stringing sentences together was tricky. Exercise and nutrition honestly couldn’t have been further from my mind.

Fast forward to now, almost 6 months post birth and I still feel like I’m inside a body that isn’t mine. I have been cautious and urge other new mums to do the same… smashing out workouts that may cause long term problems just isn’t worth it! The hardest thing to accept is that my body is changing because it needs to. I am breastfeeding Paddy and with that comes hormonal changes. Working with a women’s physiotherapist has helped me understand that my body at the moment is temporary and my focus is feeding my baby. I honestly find it hard to accept that intense workouts or nutritional changes affect my milk supply, so easing back a little ensures I can feed Paddy and sustain a good supply. I knew I would surrender my body during pregnancy, but I didn’t know breastfeeding, delivering a baby and recovery from birth also change your body.

I don’t want this blog to sound too negative, because at almost 6 months now, I can honestly say I am really enjoying being a mum. I love my days with Paddy and watching him giggle is just the best. However, the changes to my body and lifestyle are something I need to grow to love. I think it’s just the next chapter with self-love which I think is a constant and evolving journey for all women.

Fitness wise, at the moment I go for a walk every day with Paddy after his first feed in the morning and love it. It’s great to start the day actively and show Paddy the great outdoors! I try to do 2-3 strength workouts a week and I also run my group fitness session for my beautiful clients.  There are things I can’t do at the moment (like chin ups!) that do get me down, but then I try to focus on what I can do or what’s improving. I did find walking hard in the beginning and now love my 45 minute morning walk pushing the pram up and down hills in the sunshine, I can now run and I can train all muscle groups with I workout, so I appreciate those things.

My biggest tips to women post-partum with fitness and wellbeing would be:

          Don’t compare your journey to someone else’s. There are so many variables in pregnancy, birth and beyond. Note: there is ALWAYS more to the story with people on social media, remember they’re showing you what they want you to see.

          Find your tribe and love them hard! I have never loved my friends and family more than I do right now. Reach out and talk. Find an exercise buddy. Whatever works!

          Practise gratitude. I like to write 3 things I’m grateful for each day. It makes you look for the positive in each day.

          Find exercise you enjoy so it doesn’t feel like a chore.

          I like the mantra “today I will thank my body, rather than criticise it”.

I really do enjoy exercising and eating well and will continue to do that just as I did before I had Paddy. I think the difference now is just that I can’t be as ‘selfish’ with my time, and that’s okay. I have the rest of my life to master chin ups again, but these beautiful days with Paddy as a baby are fleeting.

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Pilates for Pregnancy and Beyond

Expecting Mums have special needs during pregnancy and exercises targeting special areas are vital to support your health, and the health of your growing new arrival…

Expecting Mums have special needs during pregnancy and exercises targeting special areas are vital to support your health, and the health of your growing new arrival. Prenatal Pilates is supervised by Exercise Physiologists and Physiotherapists, and can help mothers with safe, effective exercise. We chatted with Majella Nolan from Body Smart about the top 3 Reasons to do Prenatal Pilates and how Pilates in general can benefit a Mum before and after pregnancy.

Top 3 Reasons to do Prenatal Pilates

1. Pre-natal Pilates teaches optimal pelvic floor function (the key muscles involved during delivery of your baby) and helps ensure a full recovery during the post-natal period.

2. This specialised type of Pilates strengthens your core muscles, preventing back pain and helps you carry the extra weight during pregnancy, easing pregnancy-related injuries such as backache and pelvic pain. Providing all is going well, you can do Pre-natal Pilates right through till the big day.

3. This regular exercise enables you to control excess weight gain during pregnancy and achieve a faster recovery following the birth of your child. Pre-natal Pilates prepares you not only for the big event of giving birth but the extremely physical job of having a newborn baby to lift, bath, feed, push and carry.

Never done Pilates before?

Not to worry! Whether you were previously a runner, dancer or you are just entering the fitness world, the benefit of joining a Pregnancy Pilates class is that your exercise program is tailored to your individual needs. Exercising in small groups under the supervision of an Exercise Physiologist means your program can be modified as your body changes throughout each trimester.

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Postnatal Pilates

Ready to get moving again after having a baby?

All Pilates sessions are supervised by an Accredited Exercise Physiologist. Studios such as Body Smart in Paddington, Brisbane offers new mum’s the chance to return to regular exercise safely while targeting the muscles most affected during pregnancy and child birth. With sleepless nights, breastfeeding, bathing and focusing so much time on your little one, the thought of getting back into exercise after having a new baby can be very daunting!
Many women feel a lot of pressure to get back into shape quickly, but in the early stages after giving birth, whether you have had a caesarean-section or vaginal birth, the most important thing to remember is to be kind to your body and allow it time to recover. After 6 weeks you are usually ready to get moving again. Postnatal Pilates is an excellent next step to strengthen and tone the deep abdominal muscles and pelvic floor, and start to regain your fitness and pre-pregnancy body!

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Top 3 Benefits of Postnatal Pilates at Body Smart

1. Can help you with Pelvic Floor Retraining after your little one is here. Pelvic floor complications are very common post-natal with 1 in 3 women suffering some kind of incontinence after giving birth. Core Muscle Retaining: This includes the deep abdominal and gluteal muscles, to help improve any back or pelvic pain as well as prepare your body for more vigorous exercise.

2. Specific Pilates-based exercises help to reduce rectus diastasis (abdominal separation).

3. Looking after your body gives you more energy, strength and movement to cope with all the new challenges of being a mum!

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FAQ About Pregnancy, Pilates and Exercise

Pregnancy is a journey, a physical journey. It’s like training for a marathon for nine months and the labor is like running the marathon. Not only does working out ensure you are strong and healthy (keeping weight gain to a minimum) it also has a very positive impact on your baby’s mental and physical well-being.

Working out during your pregnancy also reduces your chances of gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia and can ease a lot of the niggling side effects of pregnancy like constipation, swollen ankles, varicose veins, lower back soreness, sacroiliac joint pain and trouble sleeping. But most importantly it prepares the body for birth and life as a new mum, which is physically very taxing on the body.

Pilates is designed to realign and re-balance the body and with so much change going on in your body during your pregnancy you need to be working out to support this change not challenge it. That’s why Pilates is a really safe and effective way to exercise during your entire pregnancy. It’s even safe enough for clients to continue with their Pilates until the week their baby arrives.

Pilates is able to isolate all the important areas in a low-impact way to ensure everything is still working but the baby and mum are safe. Pilates continues to work the abdominal’s and pelvic floor without the need to do sit-ups or crunches. It also strengthens the areas needed post-baby to ensure there is reduced strain on the lower and upper back.

Once you fall pregnant, what is happening to your stomach muscles?
In the beginning nothing really happens to your tummy muscles, instead we begin to feel a little more bloated and different, this is mainly due to the hormones our body is excreting, but there is no real impact on your stomach muscles at this stage.

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