Meet a Shape Up Mum – Bec

I joined Shape Up Mums in October 2015, following the birth of my first child. I was four months postpartum and searching for a group exercise program so I could return gradually to regular fitness.  I came across the Shape Up Mums website and was pleased to see they operated close to where I lived in Box Hill and best of all kids could come along too.

I can vividly remember my first class at the Canterbury site – a complementary trial that allowed me to ‘get a taste’ of the class.  I was a little nervous and still very much in the ‘newborn bubble’, my post birth recovery had taken time and I was dealing with pelvic floor issues along with the emotional adjustment that comes with babies arrival.

I was greeted warmly at that first session and the trainer took note of my physical limits and abilities. The group was small and friendly and there was no pressure to extend myself beyond what I felt capable.  I chatted away with the others while attempting pelvic floor exercises and following a simple circuit – before I knew it the session was over!

In the two and a half years I have been a ‘SUM’ it has become an important and consistent part of my weekly routine. Classes run Monday to Friday which allows for flexible attendance. Having a variety of female trainers means things never get monotonous and there are early classes for working Mums as well.  A weekly evening Pilates class has also been a welcome addition to the timetable.

I now have a second Son, Mac (1) and my first-born, Jarvis is almost 3.  My Stepson Finlay often joins us during school holidays and enjoys catching up with his friends.  I’ve really noticed the benefits of having the kids outside – it reduces conflict, they get to explore different parks and playgrounds and even sleep better.  Trainers are also super handy if the younger ones need a rock in the pram or if a dummy needs to be popped back in!

It doesn’t matter in what state you turn up to training, if you’re having ‘one of those days’, where the kids are ratty and haven’t slept, there’s always someone to chat too. We’ve all shared similar challenges and celebrate our achievements together. Equally if you just want to put your head down and train then that’s okay too – the trainers are empathetic and understand that parenting is unpredictable.

I would like to thank Vicky and the team for their passion, knowledge and kindness. I thoroughly enjoy attending the various training sites and I’ve made some great friends and improved my fitness along the way.  I would encourage any Mums out there with newborn, toddlers or school age children to come along to a session and discover for themselves the benefits of being a Shape Up Mum.

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!!

 

Meet a Shape Up Mum – Nadia

 

Nadia_SUM pic

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!

Meet A Shape Up Mum – Sarah

Sarah G Image 2Sarah G

Hi i’m Sarah and I’m excited to be able to share my Shape Up Mums story with you. I’ve been attending Ali’s sessions in Northcote twice a week since my son Charlie was 8 weeks old.

I have always been reasonably fit and loved running but following Pregnancy and the first crazy few weeks of having a newborn I was feeling like a couch potato. How do you find time to exercise with a baby? And when is it safe to resume exercising? I was determined to find something for me.
Signing up for my first class was one of the best things I could have done. Yes it was the middle winter but getting out of the house and exercising with like minded people became the highlight of my week. What better way to exercise than in a fun environment where you can take your baby. Initially it was sometimes difficult to get out of the house but I always made it a priority and felt better for it afterwards. Charlie even enjoyed the change of scenery and being around other babies and kids.

 

One of the best things about Shape Up Mums is the variety. Every single class is different. Ali continually amazes with new exercises (but never forgets the burpees!) Pelvic floor and abdominal strengthening are key areas in each class and are performed safely and tailored to each individual. There is a great mix of cardio and strength training so it really is a whole body workout. The atmosphere is nice and relaxed so that if you need to attend to your baby you can.

As my fitness improved, my first goal was running the 15.5km City to Sea when Charlie was nearly 6 months old. Ali was always encouraging and asking how my training was going. Running post baby is definitely not the same as before but each class I felt my pelvic floor strength improving. Without Shape Up Mums there is no way I would have been fit enough or have the pelvic floor strength to even contemplate doing the run. What an achievement I was wrapped. I then entered the run for the kids to keep me motivated.

Summer came and my Husband entered the Gatorade Triathlon Series. I went to watch his first race and found myself feeling slightly jealous and wishing that I could have a go. Well what was stopping me? Nothing!! Having a baby is definitely not an excuse. Shape Up Mums had provided me with a reasonable level of fitness so all I had to do was find time to swim. I found a ladies only triathlon where the swim was in a pool rather than the ocean. What better way to start. I loved every minute. That night I got home and planned my next race. I was addicted.

After completing another short distance triathlon I set myself a goal to compete in the final Gatorade sprint distance Triathlon of the season at St Kilda. The distance was daunting (750m ocean swim, 26.7km ride and 5km run). What was I thinking? My training really only included Shape Up Mums twice a week, lap swimming once a week and a longish run on the weekend. Race day came and so did the nerves. The atmosphere was great and although my swim needs some work I loved the ride and the run. I finished the race and was absolutely rapt with my time. Bring on next summer! Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined doing 3 triathlons and 2 15.5KM runs in the first 10 months after having a baby.
Now as Charlie is 11 months old I am heading back to work. Thanks to Shape up mums I am now as fit if not fitter than I was before pregnancy. I’ve made some great friends and have enjoyed watching the kiddies grow up. I’m looking forward to many more great classes. Thanks Ali!

Meet a Shape Up Mum – Annabel Bramley

AnnabelHi my name is Annabel and I’m proud to say that I’m fitter than I have ever been thanks to Shape Up Mums.

I have two beautiful daughters, Lilla (4 years) and Eva (7 months) and joined Shape Up Mums when Eva was around 9 weeks old.

Having been moderately fit prior to becoming pregnant (jogging 5-8 km twice a week), I was keen to get back into some form of regular exercise as soon as possible after Eva’s birth.  My goal was not only to shed the extra kilos and ditch the maternity jeans, but also to regain some sanity and meet like-minded people.

Shape Up Mums was ideal.  During the early weeks, we focused on pelvic floor strengthening and rediscovering our abdominal muscles.  Before long, I was able to increase the intensity of cardio and strength training.  The exercises were very much tailored to the individual so everyone could go at their own pace.

What I wanted was a physical challenge, so my trainer Claire and I discussed working towards a half marathon.  I had never done a fun run before so this was a big deal.  I started slowly with two personal training sessions a week mixed with a couple of short jogs and then gradually increased the distance. Being a keen runner herself, Claire was full of useful advice about training technique and diet.

There were certainly motivational hurdles to overcome – cold mornings, sleep deprivation, cranky baby and engorged boobs – but with a bit of careful planning I rarely missed a session. There was a real sense of accomplishment in getting fitter and stronger.

And earlier this month I did it! I completed the half marathon in 2 hours.  Something I never thought possible.

Thanks to Renee, Claire and Sally.

Meet a Shape Up Mum – Rachel

Hi I’m Rachel, Mummy to William 3.5years and Sophie 11 months and I’ve been with SUM since February this year.

After five years of fertility struggles and two long hard pregnancies I made a promise to myself after the birth of my daughter last September to get my life and body back, since then I have lost 33 kilos and attend Jacqui’s 6am Wednesday class every week without fail! It’s a priority, not even winter will stop me!

I absolutely love training at that time and no matter what may happen for the rest of the day with two little people I know I have trained and my energy from it is fantastic!

Jacqui is so encouraging, motivating and full of knowledge, I look forward to it each week.

I also attend Tuesday and Thursday morning in the holidays with both children and its fantastic for all of us. Fresh air and exercise and whilst Sophie sleeps William gets to play with other children, run around and sometimes help out a bit, we are all happy!!

It’s so important to me to be a healthy energised role model to my children and when William see’s me train he is keen most days to do his exercise’s just like Mummy which I love.

The classes are different each week which keeps me highly motivated and I love that’s whilst it’s group training the classes are still small enough for personalised attention.

I am so happy with how far I have come since starting with SUM, I am so much fitter, stronger and happier and my fitness improves every week. I’m excited with what’s still to come!

Rachel

Meet a Shape Up Mum – GM

Hi my name is GM. What a privilege it is to be able to write to you about my journey with Shape Up Mums.  I have three children, a girl and 2 boys which keep me very busy and I also work part time as a primary teacher.

I always talk to the children that I teach and my own children about the importance of being healthy, eating  well and exercising but I never seemed to be able to make the commitment to the exercise part. I have always been a little apprehensive about joining a Gym as I felt a little self conscience about exercising  with fit  and “skinny” people, I had a treadmill at home which got pulled out every now and again for a stint of exercising and then would get put away- I got too busy or it seemed that it was my excuse!!

When I turned 40 last year I decided that it was time to loose weight and really get healthy but more importantly make the changes and make them stick, I had to commit to a total lifestyle change!

I started walking a few times a week in the evening, and enjoyed having a bit of me time more than the walking.  I knew I needed to do more but wasn’t sure what.

I first heard about Shape Up Mums in a newsletter at my children’s primary school.  I read the description and thought maybe this could be for me.

I spoke to Jacqui and she explained what Shape Up Mums offered their clients. She assured me that it was normal mums and that it was designed to help mums get back into shape safely. It was also great that if necessary the kids could come during school holidays or kinder breaks.

Around the same time after joining Shape Up Mums (October 2012) I went to my GP for a regular check up and discovered that my blood pressure was dangerously high and was immediately put onto medication and ordered my the doctor to loose weight and exercise, I felt ashamed and embarrassed that I let myself down.

I discussed all of this with Jacqui at my next class and after a few tears together we devised a plan of action and set some realistic goals for me to achieve – I have been attending Shape up Mums every week after that day! My night time walks are now a lot faster and also include a light jog! I have lost some weight and more importantly am so much fitter than when I started!

Jacqui’s expertise and caring, yet firm nature has changed my view on exercise. It is not a chore but an exhilarating experience and I feel so much better after each session. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought about getting up at 5:30 in the morning to do a 6 o’clock exercise session but I do and I’m excited by it.

My journey has just begun and I have a long way to go but having Jacqui and Shape Up Mums by my side makes it all easier to face.

PS-I even bought myself and elastic band so I could do my own circuit training!!!

Meet a Shape Up Mum – Alex

My name is Alex, my son Lachie is now 9 months old and we love ShapeUp Mums!

Alex Ellis - June 2012

Alex Ellis – June 2012

I have always been a very active person and was feeling like a big couch potato after giving birth.  After I got through the initial weeks of settling into life as a new mum I decided to give ShapeUp Mums a go – one of the key deciding factors was that I could bring Lachie along and didnt have to find a babysitter (and the free session made it easy to try it out!). Although it was a bit of an effort to get out and about the first few times, I became a regular and found it very motivating to have something to look forward to out of the house each week. At first it was so great just getting out into the fresh air, meeting other mums in my local area and being able to chat about babies and kids with like minded people.My trainers Sally and Jacqui were really careful about ensuring all the early exercises were tailored to suit my stage of recovery and didnt put too much strain on my pelvic floor. As I got fitter and stronger they challenged me to increase my intensity when it felt appropriate and also modified my exercises to help me rehab a shoulder strain due to breastfeeding. I normally like to push myself pretty hard but now I am grateful they kept an eye on me and didnt let me get ahead of myself – I have heard many horror stories of pelvic floor problems, but 9 months later I am now back to running up to 10km and have set myself a goal to run 15km in the Run for the Kids fun run. Through ShapeUp Mums I have learnt when to push myself and when to hold back.

I knew it might take a while to get my body back into shape after child birth so I set myself a

Yummy Mummy Alex - Dec 2012!

Yummy Mummy Alex – Dec 2012!

goal of getting back in shape by Lachie’s first birthday. I started with ShapeUp Mums when Lachie was 7 weeks old, and attended twice a week regularly. I was really surprised how quickly I started feeling good about myself and how much easier it was once I made the intial effort to get of the couch in winter and commit to attending sessions. By 6 months post birth I was back to within a couple of kilos of my pre baby weight and although my body is slightly different now, I am so happy with where I am. I still want to lose a few more kilos, but ‘Im pretty sure they wont budge until I stop eating chocolate every day – you definitely deserve some rewards looking after a baby all day!!Lachie is now loving being able to crawl about on the picnic rug and play with other kids while I exercise, and while I have dropped back the number of sessions I am attending as I get ready to go back to work, ShapeUp Mums will be a permanent feature in my diary to keep me fit and healthy!

Meet a Shape Up Mum – Janee

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.