Janee Rutheford

Hi, my name is Janee and I’ve been attending Shape Up Mums in Hawthorn since my daughter was 6 weeks’ old. Initially, I thought it would be a good way to get outdoors with my new bub, ease my way back into an exercise regime, and meet other mums in the area. Although it was difficult to motivate myself to start during a typical freezing cold Melbourne winter, I found it was great to have something to plan for and look forward to in the mornings. It was also easy to start when my bub was quite young as she spent most of the time bundled up sleeping in her pram, whilst I was able to enjoy slowly getting back into exercise.

My daughter is now 8 months’ old and I am still enjoying my weekly Shape Up Mums sessions. Whilst she is more mobile, it is amazing to see how the children  who attend Shape Up Mums interact and join in the fun, especially leading up to the warmer months when they can play on the grass and share each other’s toys. It has been a great experience to be able to bring Leah along, especially being outdoors, with so much outdoor scenery and other children to watch, I can see it has been a stimulating experience for her as well. And what I also love is, if my daughter is having an off-day, or we have had a bad night overnight, I am able to attend to her needs and/or fit what exercises I can in, without the guilt or feelings of obligation with other types of exercise classes. It is also refreshing to be able to share tips and/or resources about our bubs with like-minded people.

My fitness has significantly improved since commencing Shape Up Mums. I initially had some post-natal pelvic floor weakening, so I have relished being able to build my awareness around strengthening my pelvic floor and engaging in activity that has been appropriate for my post-natal recovery. Whilst I was initially keen to  jump back into my pre-natal fitness regime and start at a higher intensity (eg. running), I received constant support and encouragement from my trainer (Sally) to be aware of, and engage, my pelvic floor, and slow things down and take things at my level. If it meant I have had to walk briskly, rather than run, it has been great to be able to work on building my fitness and strength up slowly. It was encouraging to see mothers who had been attending Shape Up Mums for a longer period with older bubs, engaging in a high level of intensity, as I knew it would be something I could build up to.

Overall, both my daughter and I have loved the Shape Up Mums experience. The only con I have experienced to date was that my daughter went through a period of crying unrelentingly in winter through the sessions – until I realised she was just cold, and a pram “muff” was the solution. So definitely, my advice would be to make sure the bubs are comfortable first and foremost, and also to listen to your body. If you feel like you are pushing yourself too hard, you probably are, and there is no shame in takings things at your own level. That has definitely been the biggest learning for me.