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I discovered Shape Up Mums in late December 2016. I had just had my third baby and moved to Melbourne from Brisbane. I was looking to get fit, lose those last stubborn baby-kilos, meet other Melbourne mums and get my kids out of the house so we didn’t all go mad. I have been going three times a week since then at the Canterbury classes with the wonderful trainers Min and Vicky.

My children were 4, 2 and 2 months old when I started so outdoor group fitness was about the only way I could manage regular workouts with kids in tow. Working out from home is hard with the kids and I can never match the intensity of a workout in a group. From the outset it was a welcoming and safe place to be. Being among other mums meant it was easy to stop to quickly breastfeed my baby if he was hungry and the trainers are always quick to jump in and rock a baby to sleep in the pram or give them a cuddle if need be.  Though getting fit again after baby #3 was a bit daunting and difficult, the support of the trainers and other mums has made this so much easier. There are times when it’s a huge struggle to get everyone up and out of the house, but knowing there is an understanding bunch of mums to talk/whinge to is a great motivator.

The sessions are always different and never boring because the trainers mix it up with weights, bands, fitballs, running, yoga, pilates and boxing. The weather isn’t an issue either as we can move undercover if it’s raining. I use the 3/6 month memberships because I can go to as many sessions as I like, and this has been good motivation to attend classes several times a week.

Vicky and Min helped me to return to exercise slowly and carefully, taking care of my abdominals and pelvic floor muscles to ensure my body was ‘right’ before I could work a bit harder.  For the first few weeks everything was hurting all the time (‘good’ pain) but I knew this meant I was getting stronger and that results would follow. It’s been four months now and I have lost 6kg since starting with Shape Up Mums and have gained a lot of tone and strength in my legs, arms and core. I have gotten back to doing weekly 5km runs (Studley Park parkrun) and I’m slowly but surely getting my times back down to what they were pre-baby. I did not know if I would ever be fit enough or have the time to run again, and certainly not so quickly. Shape Up Mums gave me the fitness and confidence to get back into it. One of my goals is to improve on my personal best time from a few years ago and I am sure with the help of Shape Up Mums I’ll get there.

One of the things I like most about attending the Group Fitness classes is that, it is of course an activity for me, but my kids get so much out of it too. They love running around and playing with the other kids and helping Mummy exercise. It’s a great family outing for us and I don’t feel guilty for prioritising it. Having young children, and all the sleep deprivation and tantrum-wrangling that goes with it, can be mentally challenging but the Shape Up Mums classes are a great stress-buster and keep me sane. It’s as good for me mentally as it is physically.  Being new to Melbourne, chatting to local mums during classes has also been a great way for me to find out information about local schools, doctors, places to take the kids etc.

The Shape Up Mums classes are a real highlight of my week.  I’ve met some wonderful mums, my kids have made lots of new friends and I’ve been able to throw out those elastic-waisted jeans!  Thanks Vicky, Min, Ali and team!