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Meet a Shape Up Mum – Cath

I started coming to Shape Up Mums, as I’d suffered post natal depression after the birth of my twins (5 years previously) and I was determined to prioritise exercise post-Jessie’s arrival.  I’d learnt from experience that when I exercise regularly, I’m a LOT happier and consequently a much better mum.  The other thing I’d learnt from bitter experience was that returning to running at 8 weeks post-birth of twins may not have been the bright idea it seemed at the time.  In my defense, I was a bit desperate to get some head space, but returning to running early, as I had done with my twins, just meant I ended up with a  major hip injury. Whoops!! Also embarrassing.  I am a physio, I should have known better.

Anyway, I was determined after Jessie’s birth to exercise regularly and protect mental health and my pelvis!  Shape Up Mums couldn’t have been more ideal, 5 minutes walk from home (or school drop off), outdoors (I really don’t love a gym) and Jessie could come along and splash in the puddles (Mudlarks suits are the best), snooze in her pram or whinge along as I tried to carry on regardless.  Some days she loved it, other days she didn’t, but honestly either way I felt much better having completed a session.

Like everyone, my life is busy, and now it works best for the family (aka me) if I exercise early, getting home by 7am to get everyone off to school/kindy/work.  I don’t always feel like getting up at 5.40am, but generally speaking I have a “no excuses” rule….i.e. I don’t let myself have the mental argy bargy about whether I want to go, just get up and get there and like in the early baby days, I always feel better for the effort.

Over the years, Shape Up Mums has become an avenue for strengthening and cardio, but just as importantly an incidental debrief and catch up with women who have become great friends. I still really enjoy my 1-2 sessions a week and my attendance varies a bit on whether I’m working towards another fitness goal – last year 60km CoastTrek and maybe, maybe next year run a half marathon?? But don’t hold me to that Vicky!!

 

A Few Benefits of Cutting Back on Your Sugar Intake

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From the cereal you have for breakfast, the dressing on your salad and the ‘healthy’ low fat foods you turn to to be good.. May contain an addictive substance.. SUGAR!

Whether you are on a detox or you just want to cut back on your sugar intake to improve your overall health and nutririon, focusing on the benefits is the best way to keep you committed to your plan. Here are some of the ways cutting down on sugar can help you.

 

 Weight Loss

Cutting back on the sugar may help you slim down. Food and drinks that are high in sugar are usually high in calories and with very little to NO nutritional benefits.  Sugary foods also make you more hungrier quickly, due to the changes in blood glucose, instead of reaching for the chocolate bar or so called ‘healthy’ musli bar when youre hungry, focus on eating fibre, protein and low complex carbs to nourish your body and keep you feeling energised and full for longer.

Nice Strong, Healthy Teeth

Cutting back on sugar will help keep your pearly whites, bright, healthy and shiny. The bacteria in the mouth uses the sugar from the foods and drinks, and over time plaque will form which can eat away at the enamel, which can lead to cavaties and gum disease.

Clearer Skin

The increase and decrease of your blood sugar levels which occur when consuming sugar can create internal stress within the body, which can lead to breakouts on the skin. Sugar can dehydrate the skin, making the appearance of the skin look dull and puffy. So drink plenty of water and you will look fresh in no time!

Healthy Heart

High Levels of sugar intake can increase the risk of developing heart disease, as the sugar that doesnt get used by your body as energy will convert into a type of fatty acid that circulates in your bloodstream.

There are so many reasons to reduce your sugar intake, overall you will feel so much better both mentally and physically, you will no longer feel sluggish, and will wake up in the morning with more energy to face the day, Give it a try and wave bye bye to sugar and refuel your body with the nutrients it actually needs.

 

Cardio V’s Resistance – What is Best?

So we’ve all wondered at some point..’What will help me lose weight, Cardio or Resistance training?’

Although Cardio will burn more calories than resistance training in a shorter amount of time, (Cardio uses more energy).. DON’T ditch the weights… Resistance training has extra benefits for your body that doing cardio alone will not achieve.

CARDIOVASCULAR FITNESS TRAINING (CARDIO)

to lose weight we generally need to burn more calories than we eat! Cardio is one form of exercise which helps us burn the calories, Cardio exercise can be walking, jogging, sprinting, Skipping etc. There are also differents ways of doing cardio training for example – High Intensity, short bursts of cardio where the body has less oxygen so uses other energy sources such as carbohydrates or steady paced, low intensity. Overall cardio will increase your fitness level and build stamina.. BIG TICK FOR CARDIO

RESISTANCE (WEIGHT) TRAINING

Now scrap the thought that ‘Women will get bulky if they do weight training’ this will NOT happen. (I Promise)

Resistance training helps your body burn calories even in a relaxed state. Thats right sit and cuddle your bub and your body will be burning calories…GREAT RIGHT!?! Like Cardio there is many ways in which resistance training can be introduced into your workouts and different equipement can be used; resistance bands, Dumbells, Medicine Balls or no equipment at all just your own body weight.

Although Cardio alone will give you the weight loss on the scales, you will also have lost muscle mass, but by combining Cardio and Resistance you will be able to shape, tone and strengthen the muscles, giving you optimal results.

At our Shape Up Mums classes we combine Cardio and Resistance in varying formats so you wont get bored of your exercise routine and will help maximise your results! So we say THUMBS UP TO BOTH!!!

Creating a healthy body post-baby!

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We all know working out is good for us in many ways, and most mums will agree that exercising after delivery can be challenging; Your body has been tested to its limits, your getting little to no sleep and you have a new life to care for 24hrs a day!! But after our bodies have been through such stress and weight fluctuation, taking part in exercise and being part of the Shape Up Mums community can do more for you then you may realise below I have listed just a few post natal benefits….

 

1) Maintenance of Strength and Fitness Levels: 

Good fitness levels will help both the muscular and cardiovascular systems recover after pregnancy and the demands of labour. It will also help to counter the physical and mental demands and fatigue whilst caring for your baby.

2) Maintenance of Core Stability, Balance and Postural Control:

After your baby is born there is a dramatic change in your physical shape and posture. It can take 6 months for joint stability to be re-established. Correction of posture and building strength in the core will help to prevent lower back and pelvic pain.

3) Fast recovery after giving birth:

Early commencement of Pelvic Floor exercises along with walking, will trigger muscle recovery and start to help you feel like things are finally functioning correctly again!

4) Social Interaction: 

Shape up Mums classes will provide social interaction with other mums facing the same issues. It will help reduce the feelings of isolation and improve your self-esteem.

5) Help Fight Fatigue:

‘Pumping’ that oxygen to the muscles, improves the ability of the muscle to produce more energy, it also helps your body produce endorphins. (those little happy hormones!)

6) Blood Pressure: 

Cardiovascular exercise, even at low levels increases the heart muscle strength, if your heart is stronger it means it doesnt have to work so hard circulating the blood around the body, therefore lowering your blood pressure!

7) Mental Health/Post-Natal depression:

Taking part in physical activity is likely to have a huge positive effect on your emotional wellbeing,

8) Improve your sleep: 

Research shows that Cardiovascular exercise at least 6 hours before going to bed will help you sleep better!

Mums, I know that there is so much on your plates right now, Laundry, Screaming baby, sore boobs, feeling unconfident as a mum and I know that some days you will feel like you are truly in survival mode and that doing a workout is probably the last thing on your (LONG) To-Do list. But I want you to feel great about yourselves and get the full benefits of exercise … You can do it!

Set your exercise schedule for next week and don’t let any excuses get in your way! You’ve got this, it is your time!!

Author: Ali Broomfield

 

 

 

 

 

 

Could You Have An Overactive Pelvic Floor?

After many years of experiencing pelvic pain, discomfort during sex, the inability to wear a tampon and the overly painful experience of pap smears I thought it was about time that I should see a Physiotherapist who specialised in the Pelvic Floor. After all I was advising Mums about pelvic floor health and the importance of maintaining a strong healthy pelvic floor!

I took a trip to see the wonderful Physios at Fitwise where an examination revealed I had an overactive pelvic floor!..

What is an Overactive Pelvic Floor?

An overactive pelvic floor does not relax properly when they should.

Tight shortened pelvic floor muscles can cause painful tension and spasms in the pelvis. The same way a tense muscle can cause you pain in your calf.  You may be unwittingly holding tension in your core, doing pelvic floor exercises wrong, or involuntary tensing your muscles, like when you have menstrual cramps or other pain. An overactive pelvic floor can also be related to childbirth, surgery or an accident like falling on your hip or tailbone. Having a C Section or Hysterectomy can leave behind adhesion’s and scars that can make the problem worse.

In my case my pelvic floor muscles were clenched into tight knots and in spasm as a result of a fall I had a few years back where I landed on my tailbone.

I was so so happy to finally have an answer to why I was finding sex so difficult and painful, and simple things that women should be able to do like wear a tampon and be able to have a pap smear without being in tears! It really was such a relief.

An overactive pelvic floor is rarely something that will vanish quickly and will need intermittent follow-up treatment. In my case to start I was prescribed with a relaxation CD to teach me how to relax my pelvic floor muscles, other treatment can include internal and external massage.

My exam and treatment with Fitwise was very professional and I am so grateful to have found someone that has helped me find a cause to my years of discomfort.

Anatomically speaking the pelvic floor is the centre of your physical power and balance. Determining whether you have an overactive pelvic floor or underactive pelvic floor is crucial. Exercising an overactive pelvic floor can lead to pain and nerve irritation whereas exercising a weak pelvic floor will lead to vast improvement in core strength, lower back and hip function… wow! it really is a double edged sword!! It is so important that if you experience any discomfort in the pelvic area or have any concerns at all  you seek advice from a specialised Physio.

Author: Ali Broomfield

Lets Get Motivated!

 

I Can Do it We’ve all been there, where we start an exercise routine and    are so excited, motivated and determined. ‘Yeah I can do this!’ then…BOOM… the tired, negative, cant be bothered attitude creeps in. Does this sound familiar?

Especially when we have been up half the night with our little ones. Keeping the motivation to exercise can be so challenging. Here are some tips to hopefully put the fire back in your belly and keep you feeling energised!

 

 

  • Keep Track of your Progress:

Each week you may only be seeing small results so it’s so important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture and how far you have come. One way to keep track is to keep a diary of the changes you are noticing not only in your body but also in how you are feeling generally, if you are feeling healthier and happier that is an amazing result right there!

  • Don’t Rely On The Scales:

Sure the scales are a great way to measure your weight loss, but remember as you begin doing resistance/weight-bearing exercise you will gain lean muscle, which is denser than fat, and therefore will weigh more on the scales. So if you are obsessed with checking the scales, if the number rises this is likely to de-motivate you.

I always tell my clients (and myself!) to go by how your clothes are fitting, it’s a much more accurate reflection of your body change and hard work.

  • Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself!:

Its ok… we all fall off the bandwagon and reach for the biscuit barrel (or packet of Jelly Snakes in my case!) sometimes, or feel so tired we miss a workout. Its just important to not dwell on it and just start a fresh the next day.

  • Recruit A Friend:

Sometimes having someone there to talk to can be a great way to stay motivated. Ask a friend to be your workout partner; you won’t want to skip a workout if you know someone is going to meet you.

  • Set A Goal:

Working out to get back to your pre-baby shape is great, but maybe you want to set another goal such as, taking part in a 5km race or a charity sports event. Having a set goal will give your workout more meaning.

  • Focus On How Good Exercise Makes You Feel:

You know that satisfied feeling you get at the end of a class?

Remember It! Use that feeling to motivate you the next time you’re thinking “Oh maybe I’ll just give today’s class a miss”.

  • Book Into a Class:

We can make promises to ourselves all day long (after all nobody else can hear them) but research shows we are more likely to follow through with our exercise intentions if we book into a class or have a set schedule to follow.

  • and finally… REWARD YOURSELF!:

When you hit a goal, whatever it may be wether its to attend 2 classes a week, run 5km or lose a few inches, Congratulate yourself – YOU did it! Buy a new book or magazine, get your hair done or just treat yourself to a smoothie. Just give yourself some praise you are on the way to a happier, healthier you.

Keep Exercising!

Ali x

 

 

Sports Bra selection for breastfeeding Mums

Content provided by She Science, original source: http://blog.shescience.com.au/183/

With most nursing mothers in a frenzy to shed the weight post pregnancy, it’s not uncommon to see breastfeeding mothers battling it out on the pavement. Unfortunately it’s equally as common to see some obvious mistakes being made with their Sports Bra selection.

Here are a few tips for all the breast feeding mothers out there…

It is seriously unlikely that your bust size is what it was pre-pregnancy, so there is very little chance you can get away with wearing that Sports Bra you’ve had since you were in your final year of Uni. Get rid of it.

Your bust is also likely to change in size and shape a number of times over the next year or so, so it’s a good idea to start thinking about the potential need to invest in a number of different Sports Bra options over the next little while.

A good way to ensure you are not purchasing too often if to avoid Sports Bra’s with underwire. A soft cup bra eg the Moving Comfort Juno, will give a firm level of support without pushing your delicate breast tissue in to cups lined with underwire. This will give you a bit more flexibility to wear the bra as your breast increases and decreases in volume.

When avoiding underwire, often women will be drawn towards the crop top style Sports Bra. This can be a dangerous move for nursing mothers already conscious of their changing shape. The crop top should be avoided if you are trying to stay away from the uni-boob look which is unflattering all round.

For this reason, a bra that offers support using the encapsulation method will have you feeling great about your shape, and offer the flexibility for your changing bust size as mentioned above. The encapsulation method of support separates the breasts from one another and holds them firmly in place.

Most well designed, high impact Sports Bras will have a high neckline that will also aid in modesty and leave you feeling secure and comfortable with your shape. Add this to your ‘must have’ list for extra confidence.

There are plenty of Sports Bras on the market with front fastening which is an obvious inclusion for any breastfeeding mum. This includes options that secure at the front using a zip or clasps, there are also plenty of options that fasten at the back but have adjustable velcro straps at the front (see Moving Comfort Juno below). Both will allow for easy unfastening to breastfeed.

Remembering that nursing Mums can unfortunately experience pain in their breasts for any number of reasons, I hope that by following the guidelines above you should leave yourself with the best chance of feeling comfortable and confident when returning to exercise post pregnancy. Good luck!

Keeping little ones warm and dry over winter season

 

Many mums worry that as the days become colder and wetter that exercising outside is not a great option. At Shape Up Mums we have witnessed firsthand, how being prepared and organised for these colder days pays off! So here are some tips from personal experience that we have learnt from Shape Up Mums along the way!

Babies

For the little ones that aren’t on the move, the following are great:

All in one – Jumper suit

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These Jumper Suits keep bubs very warm and are easy to get on and off and you can layer under it too, so you can doubly make sure they are warm. The ones pictures are from Kathmandu and can be ordered online. I have also seen similar ‘Jumper’ material suits in Gap and Purebaby.

 

 

 

Beanie & Mittens

To keep their little heads, ears and hands warm.

Abi and Noah puddle suit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foot Muff or Sleeping bag

Footmuff

 

This will depend on the style of your pram. We have seen the difference these can make, One Winter, one of our regular Hawthorn mums was experiencing an unhappy baby at each session until she purchased a foot muff for her pram – and then she was very happy!

These can be purchased from all the baby shops like Baby Bunting. Many of the prams have specific foot muffs/sleeping bags that fit snugly in your pram.

 

 

 

 

Toddlers

Puddle suits

Abi & Phoebe3(resized)This is a great idea for little ones that are on the move. Whether they are crawling, learning to walk or running around – a puddle suit will give you piece of mind that they WILL stay dry. A great site for these is Muddlarks. I have also seen them at Katmandu, and other outdoor & camping stores. Archer had an all in one overall suit, but you can also just purchase the trousers and jackets separately. Also Feedback about the Bib and Brace style has been great as these are easy to get on and off – they look like cute little firefighters too!

 

 

 

 

Gumboots

Abi's shoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

A must for keeping dry feet, and avoiding their runners from ending up like the ones pictured! (I learnt the hard way!!). At least this way you know when they want to jump in muddy puddles like Peppa Pig they will stay dry!

 

 

 A warm jumper

Investing in a warm jumper/jacket will ensure that your toddler’s core remains warm. A polar fleece is great , as it is easy to wash when it gets dirty and keeps them  super warm.