Mamafit® CHAMPIONS: Hannah’s Story
Before my pregnancy, I was not exactly somebody you could describe as a fitness fanatic, in fact, my idea of physical activity was to walk from the office into town for a sandwich rather than popping conveniently to the cafe next door. But when I became pregnant, something immediately switched in my head.
Whether it was anxiety about the impact that pregnancy would have on my physical and mental health or because I was suddenly conscious that my health no longer just affected me... either way, I knew I wanted to do something, I just wasn’t sure what or where.
Late night anxiety fuelled google session
I came across Mamafit pregnancy classes through a late night anxiety fuelled google session but I had already missed the first class of the 6 week pregnancy course at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, but sent an enquiry anyway. Rob was back in touch very quickly and invited me to join the group the following week - Rob’s eagerness to help and flexibility is something I have come to love about Mamafit since this first course!
I attended the rest of the Mamafit Pregnancy course and was amazed by the amount of exercises that were safe during pregnancy. Rob always explained the relevance of the exercises in the context of pregnancy and also in life as a new mum; it was this rational and potential long term impact of the exercises that resonated with me and gave me the drive to make the most of the course.
I’ve also never discussed Pelvic Floor as much as I did during those classes... something I will be eternally grateful for!
I found the first trimesters of pregnancy to be quite mentally challenging as you lose control over changes to your body and come to accept the inevitable changes a baby will make to your life... exercising with Mamafit was my way of taking back a little control and guiding my pregnancy in a positive way.
The classes were inclusive, friendly and incredibly informative and it felt so nice to spend time with other women going through the same changes. These classes set a strong foundation for my active pregnancy and helped me to prepare my body for Labour... and beyond.
Following the birth of my baby girl at New Year, I waited until I’d been signed off by my GP and signed up to the first available Mother and Baby course with Mamafit.
The late stages of pregnancy and Labour had taken their toll on me and I was eager to reclaim my body and start to build my strength back up, but only under the guidance of someone who knew what they were talking about!
During the first few months, I felt guilty that I didn’t take my baby to enough baby classes as I just couldn’t find any that ‘clicked’ for us, but the Mamafit classes were for both of us. Whilst I followed Rob’s routines, she would sit and watch and be mesmerised by the other babies.
The Mother and Baby course meant something different to me; of course the exercises and information were hugely valuable, but these classes and the women with whom I shared them were a reason to get out of the house with a new baby to a judgement free forum as a new mum.
Buggy running and "Dead hard running"
Prior to pregnancy, there had to be a pretty good incentive for me to run anywhere... but I decided to give Mamafit Go - Buggy Running a try and signed up in April. After one term in the beginners group, Rob encouraged me to join the Intermediate/Advanced class or ‘Dead Hard Running’ as I liked to call it.
After my first week with the advanced group, I was satisfied that ‘Dead Hard Running’ was indeed a more accurate description of the group and intended to go back to the Beginner’s class the following week. .
This time, it wasn’t just Rob who tried to convince me to stay, but the other Mum’s in the group who had all completed the Advanced Term before. Their encouragement and support, running with me at the back to keep me going, has seen me through two full advanced terms and I started my third consecutive term today.
Since April, there hasn’t been a week gone by when I haven’t run. Aside from the obvious physical advantages of running, I have also found it a huge help mentally when life as a new mum starts to get on top of me. I look forward to seeing the Mamafit Go+ mums on a Monday... although not so much Rob’s brutal warm-ups... but I know I’ll always feel good afterwards
Satisfying post exercise aches
To compliment the running, I have also attended numerous Mamafit Circuits classes. I found these classes to have the warmth and social aspect that the earlier classes had... as you are able to catch your breath long enough to have a moan about this week’s lack of sleep!
These classes also reinforce what Rob taught us at Mamafit Pregnancy... strength training is so important to a new mum constantly bending and lifting an ever growing child. Prior to these classes my sedentary lifestyle meant I was prone to muscle strains and bad backs, but the only muscle aches I have these days are those satisfying post-exercise aches as I climb out of bed the morning after a Circuits class!
Mamafit classes have helped me come to understand how addictive exercise can be and as I returned to work, I was concerned that I’d be unable to continue to attend all of the classes. I was introduced to Family Fitness on a Saturday morning which welcomes all family members and after a little persuasion, my husband agreed to join me at one of the classes.
My husband has always exercised prior to the arrival of our Daughter, but as he didn’t have the benefit of time off work, his exercise routine had taken a back-seat. He found these classes to be surprisingly challenging and I took great pleasure in finally being fit enough to out-perform him during the class. In the past, exercise felt like a punishment that time had to be made for at the expensive of something else.
The Family Fitness classes are special as they allow you to enjoy exercise as a family without having to sacrifice family time which is precious with both parents back at work.
Mother's meetings... but with squats and sprints!
It was recently the year anniversary of my first Mamafit class... and I can genuinely say that I have never been fitter or stronger. Mamafit has been much more to me than an exercise course, it has changed my idea of exercise whilst improving my physical and mental health.
Mamafit is about making time for yourself during a period of extreme change - as a new mum, time for yourself can often feel selfish and like stealing time away from your family, but with Mamafit, you share the experience with your baby and introduce exercise and wellbeing as ‘the norm’ and not something that is forced upon you.
You meet some incredible Mum’s at the classes and share your experiences; so really, Mamafit is a course of crazy life changing Mother’s meetings… but with squats and sprints!
Hannah, Gary & Georgia