Personal Trainer Advice For Mums – Ready Steady Mums

Expert Advice from Ready Steady Mums Personal Trainer Lucy Howlett

Screen-shot-2013-10-29-at-15.39.47Lucy Howlett is one of the experts behind the Ready Steady Mums exercise programmes. She is an advanced kettlebell instructor, dancer, has trained in postural correction and is an expert in post-natal exercise. I love working with her, she is incredibly creative and is constantly developing new ways to help Ready Steady Mums members to actively embrace motherhood.

Today Lucy offered to share some of her experience and expertise as a personal trainer just for mums

Q: What challenges do mums most commonly ask you to help them overcome?

Lucy: Most commonly, my post-natal ladies are looking to get their pre-baby body back as fast as healthily possible. They simply want to reinforce regular fitness training into their life again and with the knowledge that they are doing the right exercises as well as following a healthy diet with the guidance of a fitness professional.

Q: What are the most effective tips you give new mums to help them get started and stay motivated?
Lucy: I advise them to have a healthy diet and do little bits of exercise each day; even just stretches and gentle mobility work. A great initiative is to place post-it notes around the house with words on (pelvic floor, posture: shoulders back & chest up, squats x 10) to encourage adding exercise into your day when you have a minute or two. (Try it and let me know how you get on!)

Q: What parts of the body do mums like to focus on most?
Lucy: I like to train the body as a whole and to use functional training wherever possible as well core conditioning but generally clients ask to focus on …

  • Stomach — to lose weight, tone up and help get the abdominals back in shape.
  • Arms — to have shapely shoulders when wearing nice tops and dresses.
  • Pelvic floor — to condition the muscles again and regain control.


Q: Which mums are the most inspiring?
Lucy: I think each Mum who sets time aside to train while bringing up children is inspiring. Also those who are at peace with what is going on in their life with a new baby. Yes, the body is out of shape and that can be very hard to accept but your body has done this amazing thing of growing and giving birth to a wonderful baby. Relax and enjoy the journey towards your goals, however distant they may seem. Little steps still make progress and perseverance is key!

Q: What benefits do your clients most value about getting active?
Lucy: The benefits they enjoy are numerous; increased confidence, feeling invigorated, improved energy levels, relieving tight muscles and postural imbalances (due to lifting children, sitting lots, breast feeding, etc), getting fitter, stronger and healthier for greater vitality! Do contact me if you have any questions or if I can help with your training goals!


Lucy provides virtual personal training by phone, Skype and email, providing extra motivation and support – in particular if you are following one of the free Ready Steady Mums programmes. Mums who work with Lucy report seeing their energy go up and their spirits soar! She is passionate about helping you to fulfil your potential and you can get in touch and find out about her services and pricing by emailing

Are You Supermarket Savvy?


Last week a few Ready Steady Mums hit the supermarket with dietitian Laura Clark to myth bust their way through the aisles. Laura our nutrition expert shares the highlights from the tour.

Laura: Supermarkets bombard you with a variety of messages from the minute you walk in. The choice can sometimes feel over-whelming especially when you have a baby in tow and you might be feeling a little sleep deprived.

Give yourself the best chance of making it out the other side with the right foods for your family with these simple tips:

Fruit and vegetables aisles

Variety is the key here and aiming for the magic 5 a day. A portion is generally what you can fit into your cupped hand.

Carbohydrate aisles

Bread/ bread products

  • Choose wholegrain/ wholemeal.
  • Don’t worry about calories – any unadulterated carbohydrate food should take up a 1/3 plate as a portion. Carbs should form part of every meal and there’s no need to stop eating them at a certain time of day.
  • Try a variety of ‘breaded’ products e.g. wholemeal pitta, tortilla wrap, crispbreads e.g. ryvita, bagels.
  • Breaded products with lots of seeds will have a higher calorie content – not a problem unless you’re trying to lose weight.
  • Remember bread isn’t evil but adding salted butter to it doesn’t make it quite so saintly ☺


…Can be very confusing. The best advice is to not let the label trick you!

General guide – always compare products per 100g as manufacturer’s portion size will differ:
Per 100g:
Total fat – high >20g; low <3g
Saturated fat – high >5g; low <1.5g
Sugars – high >15g; low <5g
Salt – high >1.5g (0.6g sodium); low <0.3g (0.1g sodium)

  • Look for the words wholegrain.
  • Be aware toasted cereals and those with a high quantity of nuts are going to be high in fat.
  • Some cereals have a surprisingly high amount of sugar but as long as they aren’t coated in sugar or containing a lot of dried fruit, then this isn’t a bad thing unless you’re conscious about calories in an effort to lose a few pounds.
  • Making your own muesli is a good idea – oats, handful of dried fruit, handful of seeds.

Dairy aisle

Dairy is a really important food group for women to maintain peak bone mass. Dairy is high in fat but is an excellent source of calcium and vitamins. Women need 3 serves of dairy a day to meet their calcium needs. A serve is 200mls milk, 1 pot yoghurt or a matchbox of cheese.


  • Choose low fat or fat free yoghurts for you as these have a lower overall sugar content.
  • Choose full fat dairy foods for baby but still aim for saturated fat to be under 5g per 100g.


  • A matchbox size of cheese is a portion – the highest fat ones are the hard cheeses e.g. Cheddar, Babybel, Stilton and Emmental.
  • Healthier cheeses include Edam, feta, Haloumi, half fat cheddar, ricotta, mozzarella, cottage cheese and soft cheese.
  • Cheese is very nutritious and part of a balanced diet but you do need to be a little careful of how much you have.

Protein aisles


A nutritious protein food – no need to limit amount over the course of a week.


An excellent source of protein and fibre which can be added to soups and main meals for extra nutrition.

Meat/ fish

Variety is key – palm of hand is a portion for you and it’s good to have oily fish at least once a week. Do not avoid red meat but choose lean cuts.


A few high fat, high sugar foods are part of a balanced diet. Don’t rely on them for energy – ensure you have regular balanced meals instead. But indulge guilt free once in a while and as a general guide aim for no more than 150kcals worth in one go! ☺

Diet? ‘New’ – trition for New Mums…

Eating and exercise BOTH need attention in our quest to be fit and healthy – as we all Screen-shot-2013-10-29-at-15.06.14know very well. Laura Clark is a registered dietitian specialising in nutrition and women’s health including weight management. She combines her nutrition consultancy with part time work in the NHS, and actively embracing motherhood.

Laura’s recommended approach to eating is very effective, and best of all it’s really do-able. She believes that you’ll take care of yourself better with a practical, realistic attitude.

Q: As a new mum yourself, what advice would you give to mums who are keen to get back to their pre baby weight?

Laura: Most importantly, keep it simple!

You constantly need to put your little one first, to think of a hundred things at once, to survive on less sleep – and now is not the time to also be trying to follow a complicated diet that involves any sort of mathematics.

Q: Great, so what simple changes to our diet would really make a difference?

Laura: Here are my top 4 tips that WILL make a difference:

  1. Have breakfast!

    Yes this old chestnut but it really does work ☺

    It has been proven without doubt that people who eat breakfast are leaner than those that don’t. Breakfast time tends to disappear in the foggy haze that is the first few hours of the day with a baby, but it is essential to make grabbing something a priority. If you’ve no time to sit with a bowl of cereal or toast, go for something a little easier to eat whilst multi- tasking – a cereal bar, banana or malt loaf. Breakfast literally breaks the fast and kick starts your metabolism for the day.

  2. Eat 3 meals and 2 nutritious snacks a day

    Have you noticed as a new mum that there’s no such thing as a meal time anymore and that you are tending to graze on food throughout the day? This may also be because you have easy access to the kitchen? Or maybe it gets to 7pm and you realise the last time you ate was morning?

    Grazing might seem like a good idea but in actual fact, you are likely to consume more as unbalanced snacks and ‘a bit of this and that’ will lurch you from one sugar high to the next. Going long periods of time without food isn’t great either – if you’re not hungry for food about every 3-4 hours, it’s a sign your metabolism isn’t working efficiently leaving you more prone to overeating when the sun’s gone down.

  3. Count to 3!

    I know I said it’s best to avoid mathematics when making dietary changes, but hopefully our sleep deprived brains can still manage to count to 3!

    Try to include a food from the 3 most important food groups at each meal – a carbohydrate such as wholegrain bread, pasta, cous cous or rice, a protein such as fish, chicken, eggs or baked beans and some fruit and/or veg. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just balanced for improved well-being and satisfaction! For example, try cream cheese on toast with some cherry tomatoes or hummous with pita bread and carrot sticks. When looking at your plate the 3 food groups should cover equal proportions and to help with portion size, choose a smaller plate!

  4. Notice how many cafes you have been in this week

    Calories we drink often get forgotten. The average milky coffee contains over 200kcals with the ‘skinny versions’ containing over 100kcals. This can soon add up over the course of a week, especially if you have a lot of friends!

Q: I love the common sense of it all! And you’re saying we SHOULD have 2 snacks a day? So snacking is not all bad?

Laura: Excessive unhealthy snacking will of course make you prone to weight-gain, but planned, healthy snacks are essential to keep your nutrition topped up and help to keep your metabolism pumping until your next meal. Good snacks include plain popcorn, fruit, low fat yoghurt or a crumpet with low fat spread.

Q: When is a good time to start dieting? Lots of breast-feeding mums worry about their milk supply for example.

Laura: If you are a very new Mum now is not the time to be restricting your calorie intake too much (can you hear me celebrities?!).

However, it is a myth that you should over-indulge with doughnuts and cakes to boost your milk supply. All Mums need a healthy, nutritious diet to give them essential fuel and nutrients and when breastfeeding additional calories are needed.  However, this additional energy can be achieved through a slightly larger carbohydrate and protein intake at meal times and nutritious snacks such as cheese and biscuits or a milky drink. Medical evidence suggests the most important factor for milk production is in fact hydration. Drink a glass of water every time you feed and whenever you are thirsty in between.

Indulging in high calorie treats might be ok for a while – there must be some perks for new mums surely! But getting into habits where these foods become a significant, ongoing part of your diet will make it much harder to get back on track…. and back into those pre-baby jeans! ☺

I hope you enjoyed my expert nutritional advice just for mums – I provide consultations in Earlsfield or by phone for busy mums, for more check out my website

Best tips and advice for getting fit as a new mum

Mums exercising Socialcise

I’ve been tweeting and Facebook-ing for four years on pre and postnatal exercise. A few of the tips I share have had more than their fair share of discussion, retweeting and liking…

So to save your trawling social media for advice on exercise post-pregnancy, here are my super-tips – a bit like super-foods (?)

  • Do something active every day
  • Celebrate what you have done, instead of lamenting what you haven’t.
  • Declare you’re getting fit, get your supporters on board
  • Talk to other mummies, encourage them even if they don’t look like they need it
  • Remind yourself that your body made your baby.  It’s amazing.
  • Take photos and measurements now, embrace them as your start-point, and love watching them improve.
  • Say yes to invitations to exercise with other mums
  • Be nice to yourself – sleep, eat , exercise, socialise
  • If something doesn’t feel right with your postnatal body, ask a medical professional.
  • Be a positive force on your community, find friends, inspire friends, and be inspired to actively embrace motherhood together
  • Wear 2 bras if you don’t have a sports bra
  • Check your buggy handle is level with your belly button
  • Involve your partner in your get fit plan (six-minute six-pack workout anyone?)
  • Avoid backache, put your changing table higher than you think
  • Give someone a big kiss today

Embracing postnatal fitness and loving my body – Alice Salt

The-Blast-Workouts-Mummy-Tummy-with-Alice-out-take-with-Poppy-on-set-300x168Alice Salt is featured on our DVD “The Blast Workouts” and here is her story…

Alice: When I had my first child, Jack I had a pretty horrific time resulting in too many stitches to mention and not being able to sit down for about a month.  This meant that getting back into shape took me a long time.  However when I had my second child, Poppy in December I was blessed to have met Katy (founder of Ready Steady Mums) and be introduced to her totally innovative approach to postnatal exercise, which literally changed my life.  I started going to the session in the park that Katy was taking and when she went back to work I volunteered to carry on taking this session which I still do every Thursday in Garratt Park at 9am.  There is such a great bunch of Mums who come to the session who are all inspirational to one another through what they have achieved with their new bodies since joining Ready Steady Mums. They are motivation enough to keep me striving towards a fitness level I have set myself.

Now I’ve completed all the Ready Steady Mums programmes and I’m back to full fitness I run approximately 10 miles a week (with the buggy, sometimes 2 children on board).  I incorporate my running into the school run which saves me precious time.  I religiously do the Ready Steady Mums 5-minute mummy tummy workout (from the Blast Workouts DVD) after every run or session in the park.  The most important thing that I learnt from Ready Steady Mums was how to get the best results for my body. I could run and run, but by following specific exercises from Ready Steady Mums, I saw the real results in my body shape.

I am now looking forward to the summer where I will be proud to show my bikini body with 2 children in tow – Also in the knowledge that I will have bounds of energy to keep up with them all day!

Getting back to outdoor activities after pregnancy – Caroline Curtis

Scot-Hol-Apr-2011-040-300x224Caroline Curtis is mum to Bennett, aged 8 months. She is a Scout Leader and outdoor enthusiast.

Here is her story.

Caroline: Bennett was born preterm by natural delivery. Bennett’s birth was quite straightforward in that it happened naturally and was over very quickly, but mentally it was traumatic. I went into labour prematurely at 33 weeks, which was a huge shock and we were completely unprepared. Whilst Bennett was in intensive care I limped into the hospital every day and felt like an invalid in limbo. I felt like my body had let us both down. I hardly recognised it anymore, with various bits torn, saggy or bloated and hardly being able to walk. I didn’t think I would ever be in any fit state to look after my tiny little boy.

Ready Steady Mums helped me realise that feeling negative about your body after birth isn’t unusual. The programmes have allowed me to think positively about my body by focusing on fitness in stages and attaining levels suitable for my post-partum body, rather than trying to compare myself with before motherhood. It has also helped me meet other mums that have gone through similar experiences with premature birth.

The best thing about being an active mums is being able to fully take part in the things that I loved doing before giving birth and more! Through meeting other like-minded mums I have been persuaded to play social sports which is great fun. And I’m back doing activities I thought I’d have to step back from after motherhood – outdoor challenges with the Scouts, camping and hill walking.

I think Ready Steady Mums is brilliant!

Fitness for me (and a positive impact on my daughter) – Cathy Holder

Cathy Holder is a first time mum, living in South London with her husband and daughter Jess (11 months). She enjoys spending time with her friends and family, eating and cooking lovely food, and holidays in the sunshine.

Cathy: At 9 months pregnant I remember thinking ‘How on earth am I ever going to get back to my old shape, and feel like me again?!?’ But as soon as I was feeling ready to try…. that’s where Ready Steady Mums came in.

I had a planned c-section, the procedure/recovery was a lot more full-on than I had expected. And the recovery time was 6 weeks, as the doctors had suggested. I felt a bit low straight afterwards, I was in a lot of pain, and I wanted to enjoy being a mum and join in with everyone else’s excitement.

My body’s core had been sliced in half so I had pretty much no strength at all. Even sitting up in bed wasn’t easy for the first 2 weeks. I was amazed at how big my tummy still was, I had thought (stupidly) that it would go down pretty quickly. I was one of the lucky mums who kept the rest of my body about the same as before (except now I had much bigger boobs!).  But even though my bum, legs and arms felt normal I had a big challenge with my core.  My core strength has taken a long time to return, it now feels just about normal again.

Emotionally, not being as fit and not feeling sexy was difficult. You have to re-asses your limits and slowly build up to your confidence. Sports have always been a big part of my life, and I am now back playing again which is great.

I feel that my Ready Steady Mums programme is something for ‘Me’ and it is a nice balance to the baby classes that we also do.

I also truly believe that me being happy and healthy has a positive impact on my daughter. She is great with people, is happy, sleeps well and loves the fresh air.

My Ready Steady Mums programme has given us both so much!

Pelvic-floor rehabilitation, French-style – Lucy Taylor

We may not all have access to an electrical probe but mums around the world can learn a lot from the emphasis and care placed on the pelvic floor by the French post-childbirth.

One of our France-based Ready Steady Mums followers Lucy Herman-Taylor has generously agreed to share her intimate experience of their proper, medically assisted pelvic-floor rehabilitation. Totally normal, prescribed and paid for by the state. Why not in the UK? Surely prevention is the way to go NHS? Saving ££s in the future from treating incontinence, prolapse, etc.?

Bonjour fellow active Mummies!

I am a UK expat living in France, near Versailles and I had my first baby, a little girl named Olivia last October. I want to share with you my experience in France of pelvic floor rehabilitation following birth.

Every woman who gives birth in France leaves hospital with what seems like a zillion standard prescriptions for herself and her new born baby. For the new mummy, the most important of these prescriptions is for the course of 10 pelvic floor rehabilitation sessions every woman is entitled to on the national health system (Sécurité Sociale). You are duly told throughout the duration of your pregnancy by your gynecologist, midwife and any other medical specialist you might see (it can be many in France) that under no circumstances are you to undertake any exercise until you have completed your course – gentle walking is allowed thank goodness, otherwise I would have gone insane!

Ready Steady Mums experts constantly stress the importance of pelvic floor exercises, and so I knew to appreciate this extra attention compared with UK based mums. And I embraced the system –

Generally, after a normal birth in France you leave hospital after 5 days with strict instructions to make an appointment with your gynecologist in 6 weeks’ time (no sooner, no later!) If your gynecologist is satisfied that you’ve fully healed he/she will give you the go ahead to make your first appointment for your course of pelvic floor rehabilitation. This is usually around 10 weeks after giving birth. Both specialised midwives and physiotherapists can offer pelvic floor rehabilitation and it’s down to you to find your specialist.

The pelvic floor rehabilitation itself is a very intimate process so it’s important you feel comfortable with the person who will provide the 10 sessions. I honestly had no idea what was involved and had just imagined it would be lying on the floor and doing lots of squeezing. This is obviously part of the process, but when my physio said I had to purchase a “probe” from the chemists, also curtsey of the Sécurité Sociale, I started to have my concerns. What am I in for now? I was thinking. I didn’t feel any more comfortable when during the first session; my physio casually explained that she would pass an electric current through the probe to “stimulate” my pelvic floor muscles. I really didn’t like the sound of this and was beginning to think that the French were completely crackers to put themselves through such torture! Although I felt like running away, I stayed and was glad I did as it is a lot less painful that what it sounds and I quickly had my pelvic floor muscles back into shape (they weren’t great following birth.)

Basically, the sessions all followed a similar format starting with some basic squeezes, which are also to be repeated at home as often as you can: 10 rapid, 10 holding for 3 seconds, 5 holding for 5 seconds and then 2 for 8 seconds. Using the “probe” the Physio measures the strength of your pelvic floor muscles during these initial exercises. Then it’s time for the dreaded electro stimulation part where the physio sends an electric current through the probe to stimulate the muscles. In later sessions when you are strong enough, you are asked to accompany the current with a different set of squeezes.  I was told I was allowed to shout stop at any time it became uncomfortable and the strength of the current would be reduced (phew!) After this, the initial exercises are repeated and the physio basically compares your “performance” pre and post electro stimulation. Over the 10 sessions your progress is charted and I found it really motivating and reassuring to see that I was making progress and that my pelvic floor muscles were strengthening. I also started to notice a big difference in everyday life very quickly.

I am pleased to say that I have now completed my 10 sessions and been given the go ahead to start physical activity again, so I’m making my way through my Ready Steady Mums exercises and enjoying some swimming!

Chinese Confinement for new mums – Shaline Gnanalingham

Shaline Gnanalingam followed the Chinese tradition of having a “confinement period” after the birth of her baby Shahan by C-section.

Shaline lives in Hong Kong and  in the first 30 days of motherhood, she combined her Ready Steady Mums programme participation with traditional Chinese Confinement.

With an air of tranquility completely atypical for new mums in the UK, here is what Shaline told us about easing into motherhood during her confinement period.

Shaline: Chinese confinement Basics

Confinement is a time for new mothers to recover and heal. It lasts for 30 days during which time mother and baby are to be at home and on the 30th day, there is a celebration, called the Full Moon, sort of like a coming out party for the mother and baby where family and friends finally get to meet the baby.

Most people will hire a confinement nanny, called a Pui Yeet in Cantonese, who will look after mum and baby during these 30 days. Her role is to cook for the mother and also help care for the baby to enable mum to recover. My confinement nanny, Angela, slept in the nursery with my son and would bring him to me for night feeds and would pick him up when I was done, so I wouldn’t have to get out of bed even. This is especially great if you’ve had a c-section!

There are all sorts of rules but the basic principle is that women lose a lot of heat when they deliver and become very ‘cold’ after. To keep the balance, new mothers are restricted from anything that might make them cold – no ‘cooling’ foods like cucumber, watermelon, coconut or even water! Also you have to dress warmly – in long sleeves and long trousers and socks all the time, even in the summer. Water is seen as very cooling and therefore showers are restricted too.


Traditionally, mothers were not allowed to bath at all in the 30 days. It was said that bathing would cause headaches and arthritis later in life. Modern confinement nannies allow some bathing but usually not for the first 7-14 days. I didn’t bathe for 12 days post delivery (gross I know!) and after that was allowed to bathe using water boiled in special herbs every 3-4 days. They really don’t like you to wash your hair as they feel the ‘cold’ and ‘wind’ enters easily through the scalp so I was only allowed to wash my hair every 7 days after the initial 12 days, using water boiled with ginger, lemongrass and onion. And I had use a hairdryer immediately to minimise the time spent with wet hair. The onion smell lingered on unfortunately, so while I was pleased my hair wasn’t greasy anymore, it smelled of onion which wasn’t too pleasant!

Food and drink

No water, even if it was boiling hot. Instead you’re asked to drink a tea made from red dates, longan (similar to lychee) and goji berry.

Meals consist of rice or noodles with pork, chicken or fish, a leafy green vegetable and soup. Food would be cooked with lots ginger, sesame oil, rice wine and other herbs. In addition to keeping the body warm, confinement food is meant to help mothers heal quicker, for example turmeric is used to help clear the bleeding, ginger is also used to reduce bloating and gas and green papaya is used to increase breastmilk production. Confinement food is inherently gluten and dairy free (except for maybe soya sauce which is easily substituted for gluten free tamari), which is great to reduce allergens to babies although I don’t think it was necessarily designed that way on purpose.

Other restrictions

Because I had a c-section, I wasn’t allowed egg for the first two weeks and was advised to avoid duck, goose, yam, mutton, crab and prawn even after the confinement month.

Confinement isn’t for everyone and there were times I was counting down the days (and especially looking forward to a shower and washing my hair!), but overall, I really appreciated having the time to just focus on bonding with my child and learning about becoming a mother. I also enjoyed the fact I was looked after in terms of meals and being able to rest more as I knew my baby was being cared for. Also, it was nice not having the pressure of having to leave the house or have visitors and being able to lounge all day in socks and comfy pyjamas. I feel it definitely helped with breastfeeding as well as baby and I learnt how to breastfeed at home without the pressures of feeding in public and we could get into a routine more easily as there were no outings to schedule.

The Ready Steady Mums exercises for brand new mums straight away came in handy since I wasn’t allowed to go out to exercise but I was able to start doing little bits at home. The stretching exercises were particularly useful after all those hours of breastfeeding and I liked that lots could be done while in bed!  It took me a while to recover from the C-section especially since I was totally unprepared for it mentally, so being able to take charge of my body slowly and safely with the Ready Steady Mums program was very empowering.

Downsides – there were times when I felt Shahan could not/would not want to be comforted by me and that was heartbreaking. These confinement nannies are so experienced and can really calm a crying baby in seconds and I think babies realise they have a choice and cry till they get passed to the nanny. The number of times I would try to comfort him for ages and he just would not stop crying, but the minute I passed him to Angela he would stop. I would get very upset and it would exacerbate the baby blues feelings but I was reassured by other friends that it was a phase and he would become attached to me soon enough, and he did. I decided to use the ‘rejection’ phase as an opportunity to rest and sleep which in the end made me calmer and probably allowed me to better comfort him later.

All in all, I enjoyed the confinement and would recommend some self imposed down time for all new mums even if you don’t follow the rules. It’s a great way to transition into motherhood and to focus on what’s important – your baby and yourself.

If you have had a different experience of motherhood where you live in the world please get in touch. We’d really like to share more stories about different cultural norms for new mums and different prenatal and postnatal care around the world.

Yoga all the way in early motherhood – Liz Kerry

Liz is one of those mums who makes your green with envy. Dream pregnancy, dream birth, dream baby. And she’s a big yoga fan. Coincidence?

So anyway, like 43% of us, Liz’s top barrier to exercise as a new mum is *TIME*

Here is her story…

Liz: My pregnancy went pretty smoothly, I was lucky not to suffer from morning sickness.  My only problem was constant tiredness, which made it difficult to continue exercising.  I did, however, manage to do prenatal yoga – my baby was a week overdue so I was practising every day trying to persuade him to come out!  I was so lucky to have a dream labour and birth.  It was about a four hour labour ending with a water birth, so Alex had a little swim before he floated up to the surface to meet us!

I think the hardest thing about getting back into exercise as a new mum is time.  Not only do you have this new little baby to look after, but you’re also trying to recover from the pregnancy and birth. After nine months, your body doesn’t really feel like yours anymore and certainly looks a lot different!  The best thing about my Ready Steady Mums programme is that I started off slowly with really gentle exercises that I could do when I was lying in bed, sitting on the couch and even while feeding my baby.  Then once I was feeling up to it the progressive exercises gradually strengthened me. It really helps you increase your confidence.

I found it difficult to fit in being active at first, but I’ve made it a habit now that when Alex goes down for a nap I either do the 5-minute mummy tummy workout or a few exercises from one of the other sessions before I do anything else.  You need to make yourself a priority, as it’s so easy to lose yourself in your mummy role and forget your own needs.

My original goal was to get back into my pre-pregnancy clothes, as I love fashion.  I’m just about there now so my new goal is to be fitter than I was before I became pregnant and to run a 10k race.  I’ve done yoga for over 10 years so I was also keen to be strong enough to start my usual practice again, which I’m pleased to say that I now am!

Another great thing about being a fit mum is that I will be able to encourage Alex to lead an active life, I think that’s very important.  We already go for long walks together and to Mum & Baby yoga classes and I’m looking forward to taking him hill walking as a family soon.