Day 6 of my 21 day fitness challenge

Ok, so the juicing has finished. I finished all my Purifyne Juices and decided to leave it there and not make my own for the next day or so. I do like the thought of juicing but actually I’m not sure it’s for me unless I’m in a bootcamp or retreat sort of environment. I felt hungry and tired the whole time and for the last few days just wanted to eat everything in sight. That’s just not me. I’m usually very disciplined and enjoy healthy meals and snacks. I felt a bit out of control!

Today I’ve stated the day with an hour’s workout, some lemon in hot water and a protein bar.
I then had chicken with 1/2 avocado, spinach & some pesto for lunch, an apple with a few handfuls of Paleo Granola and then a turkey breast with spiralized courgettes and carrots for dinner. For my snack I had some Sukrin bread with almond butter and 1/2 a mashed banana.
I’m not going to lie, I’ve wanted to eat everything in sight again today but had to be really strict with myself and fuel my body with the right foods and nutrients.

I really do prefer this way of eating. It’s all clean, it’s all tasty and most importantly I’m not going to bed hungry and obsessing about food!
The very way it should be!

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Post Christmas Detox

Ahhh….it’s been a while. I finished my 21 day detox at the end of November and carried on with the eating well and exercising most days. I even kept it up over Xmas with a few little treats thrown in Xmas Eve and Xmas Day.
Boxing Day was full of treats too, so I had a three-day detox planned for the 27th and beyond – and then BAM! I got a nasty sickness bug that night, which saw me laid up for a day in a half in bed, feeling so, so poorly.

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Not feeling (or looking my best!!)

Thankfully I’m all better now, but any exercise plan has been put on hold for a few days as I’m weak from not eating for a day or so, and I’ve pulled something in my neck when being sick for hours on end (nice!!!).

So instead of telling you what I’ve not been doing, I’m going to tell you what I’m going to do!

For the next few days I’m going to ease myself back gently into the gym. Some light cardio and bodyweight stuff with a rest day on New Years Day. Then come Monday, I’ll be starting another 21-day challenge.

To help me do this, I’ve got my brand new Gym Boss Timer…yay! Some brand new Bamboo Fitness Leggings and top (They are so soft, yet eco-friendly, breathable and anti-bacterial), a brand new iPod with my fav tunes, and a brand new programme from BearWolf, a new online personal training service, which allows you to train with a personal trainer from where ever you are.

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I know, I know, I’m a PT myself, but sometimes us PT’s to be accountable to others too. It’s nice to be given a programme that challenges me and makes me work in the gym differently to what we like to do. Scott, at Bearwolf, also makes me check in all my workouts and my daily nutrition macros (like calories, protein, fats and carbs) as well as send him my starting weight, measurements and photos. It really is like having a PT, but means I can workout in my own time around Lacie, and in my own gym, with my own entertainment and own motivation. If I don’t check in, I get a cheeky phone call or text to ask how I’m doing…

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So, as of Monday, I will be doing five workouts a week (one a recovery 30 minute walk/jog) and checking in with Scott after each session using their online tracking and monitoring service. If I’m not sure of any of the exercises, then I can easily refer back to the BearWolf exercise library, and I can communicate with Scott, or any of the other PTs via my dashboard, which has a messaging service – when Scott send me a message I get an email notification. It really is all very high-tech but super easy to use. I love that I have to check in with my progress; it’s great seeing your numbers in black and white and seeing that you beat last week’s weight or reps. It definitely keeps me motivated.

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So that’s my plan. Keep an eye out for an overview of some of my workouts, and my food diaries. I’ll even share some of my secrets with you – I’m only human. I do get cravings too, and although sometimes I give in, there are a few things I do to fight them off! I’m looking forward to getting stuck in….who’s with me?

Day 8 – 21 day fat loss challenge

Sorry for lack of post yesterday. I had a mummy’s day out for some work stuff, had lunch with some friends and then had my nails done – so the rest of my evening was playing with Lacie and spending some quality time with her. I still feel guilty leaving her for a few hours, even though I know she’s having fun with Nanny. That said, my day wasn’t great yesterday. I tend to have a cheat meal every 7 days and yesterday was that day. It’s ok though, I enjoyed it and got straight back on the wagon today. It’s easy to beat yourself up if you’ve had a few treats, but I say enjoy them and move on. It really is all about balance.

So how did day 8 go? Well. I went to the gym yesterday morning and did Tababa circuits, so today was my rest day. No gym. I did however walk into town and get a few bits from the shops before breakfast, so I did a good hour of fasted cardio.

I then came home and had my low carb bread toasted with mashed avocado and melted goats cheese with some scrambled eggs for breakfast. Good fats and protein, always help balance my blood sugar levels after a cheat meal. I then had a client, followed by some homemade tomato soup and a handful of almonds for lunch, followed by another client at 3pm. Me and Lacie then shared a pear and some CO YO before having a homemade chilli made with organic mince beef and some quinoa and spinach.
It was then off with another client – who I took out for a 5k run. It was freezing outside but so nice to get some fresh air and move my legs after feeling so sleepy after my 3pm client.

Today I’ve stuck to 1400 calories. I’ve had quite a bit of fat (all good fats though) so need to keep an eye on that tomorrow. Fat is still fat at the end of the day, good or not. I did also measure myself and after four weeks of keeping an eye on my nutrition and changing my training I’ve lost 5 and a half inches all over. It just shows that the scale lies. I’ve lost hardly nothing on the scales but I’m blatantly smaller all over – meaning my clothes feel nice again. I even wore some old size 8 trousers yesterday that I struggled to get into even before I was pregnant!

My 21 day diet & fitness challenge – Day 4

Want to know how to get a flat tum quick? Then wear a Fit Britches Skinny top. It’s a nightmare to get on (they are very snug!) but jeez when you do…it pulls everything in and makes you really remember your core when training. It feels nice to be pulled in so I’ll be wearing this top as much as I can, especially as its made from a special yarn and knit that has been created to emit heat when it comes into contact with the skin, which according to Farnaz Khan, the founder of Fit Britches can help boost your metabolism, blood flow, while also stimulating lymphatic drainage. Layering here I come!

I wore the top in the gym today with my Nike red leggings – I haven’t worn these for ages as I tend to store fat around my legs & bum  and since being pregnant & having Lacie have felt too yuk in them, but today I rocked them. It’s amazing how your confidence levels can rise when you are eating well and exercising regularly. I suppose you know that you’re doing everything you can to work towards your goals so feel positive & proactive about stuff.

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Food wise, I’ve eaten really well again. Gym this morning consisted of a 5k bike ride to warm up, then barbell complexes which always get my heart racing, whilst building muscle, then some yoga type ab exercises to make up the hour.
I then had a protein bar whilst giving Lacie her porridge, then after my shower three scrambled eggs with 1/2 avocado, grated goats cheese and spinach.
We then walked into town to start our xmas shopping (I know!) which is a good 20 minute walk each way.
For lunch I had a prawn salad, followed by a pear and some nuts & seeds, then an afternoon snack of sourdough bread with almond butter.
For dinner I had a chicken salad with butternut squash and pomegranate seeds followed by a new find…USN Protein Dessert (£34.99;usn.co.uk).
I have such a sweet tooth so this really is amazing. It’s chocolate brownie flavour and mixes like a mousse or if you pop it in the freezer for half hour or so like an ice cream. It’s high in protein and also contains high levels of calcium, which is known to contribute to normal muscle function, energy-yielding metabolism and the normal function of digestive enzymes. I added half a blended banana on top just to get my calories up to 1400 today – you don’t want to go too low as your body will store weight and go into starvation mode.

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Pregnancy fitness: 3rd trimester cardio

Even though you probably felt a bit like superwomen in your second trimester, you now may find yourself waking up slightly tried and losing energy as the day goes on. I know I certainly did. You’re also find that moving around isn’t as easy as it was and everything takes that little bit longer. The reason for this is that you’re baby is probably around 14 inches now (in your seventh month) and weighing around two to four pounds. Your breasts will also be around two pounds heavier and your uterus will be putting pressure on all your internal organs, including your diaphragm and lungs, causing shortness of breath. My bump really popped out at this stage and I felt HUGE! Staying active is vital though. I really noticed the difference at pregnancy groups – some of my in-active friends had constant back pains, found it difficult to walk for too long and even sit of too long. I didn’t really have any of this – and I certainly put it down to staying active as much as possible! 

Things to remember
During your third trimester your mobility may be limited, thanks to your growing bump and possibly water retention, and there’s no doubt that you will fatigue more easily. With that in mind, you can still safely participate in a 30-minute workout at least four days a week in order to maintain a good base of fitness and mental sanity.

One thing I would highly recommend in your third trimester is regular swimming sessions. The hardest part is probably putting on your swimsuit – but once it’s on and you’re in the water, you’re forget that you’re pregnant as the water supports your joints, provides buoyancy to your bump and supports your bodyweight. It will also keep your core temperature cool as you exercise, and work your heart as well as your arm and leg muscles.

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What stroke?
While the front crawl is still fine in your third trimester, the breaststroke will probably be most comfortable because your tummy will hang below you and the arm and leg movements are great for strengthening your back, chest, hips and bottom. It’s great for helping pregnancy posture too (you may have noticed your shoulders rounding and you get a slight hunch in your upper back). Breaststroke will stretch your chest muscles out and strengthen and shorten the back muscles that tend to overstretch during pregnancy.

Just be careful that you don’t work your legs too aggressively. Relaxin, the hormone that is will be circulating the body and working on making your joints more flexible, especially the pelvis will now be at its peak in your body, meaning you don’t have to do a lot to overstretch and cause a strain or muscle tear. Forcefully kicking your legs can strain the hip joints and ligaments because the public bone will already be starting to separate in preparation for labor. You don’t want to force the situation, which will lead to lower back, pelvis and hip pain.

How to fuel your swim
Complex carbs like wholegrains, oats, fruits and vegetables are ideal for getting your energy levels stable before and after your swim. At this stage you’ll also want to be getting sufficient calcium from calcium-rich foods like dark leafy greens, almonds and sardines – yes these are all just as good as milk!

Your pregnant body will also be leaching calcium from your bones to support the growth of your baby, so make sure you’re getting around three servings of quality calcium foods every day. Also make sure you stay well hydrated. It’s easy to forget to drink when in the pool but you can still get dehydrated, which is dangerous for you and your baby and will only add to your fatigue. Always leave a bottle of cool water at the side of the pool that you can sip from regularly, and make sure you drink a small glass before and after your session too.

Don’t forget!
As always, make sure you get the go-ahead from your doctor before you start exercising and listen to your body. If it doesn’t feel right then stop.

And squeeze….

Pelvic floor exercises are big news for pregnant women and beyond. I’m still doing mine and Lacie is coming up to seven months – You can’t do enough.

In the early days when she was first born, I downloaded an app, called My Pff, and always did the recommended programme from the app every time I fed her. It soon became habit and when I went for my 8 week checkup with my doctor and she asked me if I was doing my pelvic floor exercises, I told her about the app and my pelvic floor schedule. She said it was a fab idea and that she would pass it on to other mums. Hopefully she did.

So what are pelvic floor exercises and why are they so important?
The pelvic floor muscles form a sling-like band that surrounds and forms the base of your vagina, anus and urethra,” explains Hugh Hanley, National Personal Training Manager at Virgin Active. “These muscles also support all your abdominal contents, and your baby will pass through them as he or she is born. Strengthening these muscles is an extremely worthwhile and important activity.”

How to do Pelvic floor exercises: 
1.       Gradually tighten the muscles that you use if you want to stop the flow of urine when going to the toilet.
2.       Try to do it without holding your breath, squeezing your buttocks together,
3.       Hold the squeeze for several seconds and then relax slowly.
4.       Now pull the muscles up tight and fast. Then relax. Then tighten them quickly again. Use clenching and opening your fist as a visual tool to help you imagine the movement.

When I’m doing moves like glute bridges in the gym, I always make sure I  pause at the top to engage my pelvic floor or when I’m doing squats I make sure I ‘zip’ up at the top to get that engagement. You can also do them whilst watching the TV, cleaning your teeth, or reading this post (try and stop yourself!) You really can’t do too many. Now off you go…squeeze!!!

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Healthy Happy Fit Mums – Introducing Lucy Miller

I’ve been interviewed by Miss Independent Women , a fabulous website also known as The ULTIMATE GIRL SITE‘ – a one stop shop for everything GIRL. I hope you like it! 

Originally posted on Miss Independent Women…

MIW Welcomes you LUCY MILLER!

As the resident ‘mum’ on the panel of girls that make up Miss Independent Women – The Ultimate Girls Site; I wanted to share some of Lucy’s brilliant tips for keeping fit and healthy throughout pregnancy. For those of you who don’t know, Lucy is a Freelance Fitness & Nutrition Editor for Health & Fitness MagMail OnlineWeight Watchers,Fertility Road,  Glamour magazine & founder of Fitness and the Bump

In between juggling a family life of her own, she manages her busy schedule of working with her clients as a Personal Trainer and is also working with children to keep fit as a trained level 2 Children’s Fitness Specialist.

So I took some time out from heavily pregnant waddling, running around after Fin and working to catch up with Lucy – I hope you enjoy!

MIW: Welcome Lucy and thank you for talking with us here at Miss Independent Woman!
Lucy: Thanks for having me – Your blog is fab.

Ah thanks so much! I am so glad you like it and our site. SO! Tell us a little bit about how yourself and how you became the Fitness Editor for Health and Fitness Magazine?
I’ve always been a huge fan of sport and health. As a teenager I was a national gymnast and once I retired from that I got into marathon running and going to the gym.

I started writing for Cycling Weekly Magazine after doing my qualification in Nutrition for Health & Fitness, I looked after their nutrition pages and just loved how nutrition could have such a positive effect on your body and mind. I then came across a job at Men’s Fitness and went for it. I got the job and wrote all their fitness and nutrition pages, which I loved. Whilst there I did a part time Level 3 Personal Training course and the rest is history. Dennis Publishing (owner of Mens Fitness) brought Health & Fitness Magazine and it was a natural progression that I joined the team as the Fitness Editor. I worked there for five years before going freelance, as I knew I wanted to start a family and I had so many people wanted me to train them. I now juggle writing, personal training and being a mummy to my 4-month old daughter. 

What drives your passion for healthy living and fitness – particularly for children and pregnant women?
Exercising throughout my childhood gave me so many opportunities and good qualities. It taught me discipline, self-confidence and drive, and made me respect my body. I would love other children to discover this too and see that moving is fun and beneficial in everyday life. With regards to pregnant women, again, when I was pregnant it made me realize how exercise can make you feel so much better. I felt so out of control with my growing bump and crazy hormones, but by exercising I gained some control back. It helped boost my energy, kept any unnecessary weight gain off and stopped me getting a bad back, achy joints etc. It’s important that women realize that exercising when pregnant won’t harm them (if they are sensible) and could actually help them.

As you know, one of the reasons I wanted to interview you was because of your healthy attitude towards keeping fit during pregnancy. I think in today’s busy world, it is very difficult to stay as healthy as we would like (convenience food, cheap supermarket offers on less healthy food options, TV, the ‘eating for 2 excuse’! 

As a result of your own personal history and passion for fitness, do you work with many mums wanting to really make the conscious decision to change their lifestyle whilst pregnancy and do any of them find it difficult?
Yes for sure. They can get negative reactions from their partners and relations saying that they should ‘be taking it easy’ and that they should be making the most of being pregnant and enjoy ‘eating what they want.’

Energy levels, morning sickness, tender breasts and cramps and cravings can also make things difficult, but the right nutrition and exercise can help this.

From my experience, running around after a 3 year old helped me keep some of the weight off I may have put on and loosing the weight after my 1st born was so difficult; I vowed not to go too big again! I have definitely noticed a huge difference in keeping active and hope that it helps me in birth. However I am sure I could have done more….I’d love to hear how you help pregnant mums! 
I encourage them to eat lots of nutrient-rich foods and avoid empty calories and unhealthy additive. I also encourage them to be as active as possible by walking and by doing gentle exercise to keep them strong and supple and generally become more in tune with their bodies. It’s so important that you listen to your body during pregnancy, so I’m all for helping women take pressure off themselves and reminding themselves they are creating a new life. It’s a pretty big ask of their body!! Just knowing you are doing the best for your body and baby can make pregnancy such a positive experience.

What are your top tips for keeping active and why should pregnant women encourage themselves to remain as fit and healthy as possible?
Don’t do anything new – if you weren’t a runner before becoming pregnant then don’t start running now. Always seek medical advice also. Your doctor needs to give the go ahead to exercise and I would always go to a fitness professional who is qualified in pre and post-natal fitness. 

Gym membership’s can be expensive (and I have been mainly walking or generally being very mobile as mine was cancelled)…what can us cash strapped and time limited mums and mums 2 be do?
Walk, walk, walk! You can also walk to a park, park the pram up next to a park bench and use it for step ups, press ups, dips etc or use your living room as your baby sleeps. You don’t need any kit to get an all-over body workout – your bodyweight is more than enough. I use my stairs, my sofa, some light dumbbells and my bodyweight to get an all over workout as Lacie sleeps. Here are my top tips for losing the baby weight…

In terms of healthy eating – again, many mums struggle to resist the naughty treats and go for the healthy snacks! What advice would you have for a pregnant mum struggling to say no to the cakes and biscuits!
My top tip is to keep your blood sugar levels stable by eating little and often (every 3 hours), avoiding refined sugar like sweets and cakes, eating plenty of good fats like avocados, coconut and oily fish and be prepared. Have healthy food in the house so when you do get hungry you can grab something quick and healthy. Here’s an example of what I ate when pregnant…

Looking back on your pregnancy/pregnancies – did you feel the benefits of remaining active and if so, how did it help you?
Definitely. My energy levels always increased after a workout, I had no back pain, I kept good posture and my baby weight fell off me. I had a difficult labor (I was two weeks late and induced – here is my birth story) but my baby’s heart rate never dipped or increased, which I put down to the exercise. She was obviously used to me exerting myself. I don’t think I would have had the stamina to push for two hours either if I hadn’t kept the exercise up. I was in the gym the very day I was induced – I knew it would be my last session for a while J

 Now, I have always struggled with my weight and I am dreading the post baby body (especially with all the coverage beautiful celebrity mums get as they squeeze back into their size 8′s weeks after birth!). 

Is there anything in particular you could recommend for me and other new mums to work into the daily routine of a newborn (and possibly more children) that we could do to help our bodies get back to a more reasonable shape?

Sleep and listen to your body. Too much stress causes weight gain so if you’re tired, then sleep, don’t force yourself to get up and exercise if you need to rest. Walking with the pram is great exercise too, so try to head out for a walk at least once a day. When you feel ready try incorporating a gentle incline into your walks and make them slightly longer, working up to 45 minutes most days. Remember to walk tall too, sucking your abs in to activate your core and pulling your shoulders back. Good posture is vital and will make you instantly look and feel slimmer. There are lots of workout ideas on my blog also here

And lastly, we would love to know if you have any ‘off days’ and if so, how do you motivate yourself!
Of course I do! Ha! I remind myself that I will feel so much better after some fresh air and some exercise. I usually just tell myself I’ll do ten minutes and if I’m still not feeling it after ten then I’ll stop, but 9 times out of 10 I carry on. Putting on my favorite TV show or music can help too. Sometimes it’s good to catch up on some trashy TV whilst doing a little living room circuit. It distracts you.

 And before I let you go, we have some #MIW quick questions

Shoes or handbags?
Handbags

What’s your favourite treat?
Homemade banana icecream using CO YO (www.coyo.co.uk) and frozen bananas

Favorite holiday location?
Bali 

Hopes and dreams for the future?
To write for mother and baby magazines and help make fitness accessible for pregnant ladies and new mums. I want everyone to feel that they are doing the very best for themselves and their babies. 

Do you have a life motto or quote? 
Move, eat, sleep, laugh.

What woman or women have inspired you and who do you admire?
Jillian Michaels

It was great to catch up with you Lucy and thanks again for talking with us at Miss Independent Woman. Thanks for being a fan of the site and for our wonderful readers, more information is available here on Lucy’s website here

Top tips for training while pregnant

As a Journalist, I get to talk to some really interesting experts so I had to share these pregnancy  tips for training while pregnant from Hugh Hanley, National Personal Training Manager at Virgin Active. 
I’ve been a member of Virgin Active for over 10 years now, I love their Bromley gym, which is literally minutes from my house. I got so much support when working out there whilst pregnant. The personal trainers were always encouraging and telling me I looked fab, even though I felt like a whale.
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I can’t stress how glad I am that I stayed active throughout my whole pregnancy, and would definately do it again if I ever had another child. It made more energetic, happier and often put a stop to my morning sickness. It stopped me piling on unnecessary weight too! 

Here are some top tips from Hugh, which should help you to exercise safely when you’re expecting….

·         Drink plenty of fluids, before, during and after any exercise, and avoid overheating. Be sure to always warm-up and cool down

·         Wear loose fitting clothing, and comfortable non slip supportive shoes.

·         Keep your heart rate under 140 beats per minute

·         Past the first trimester, avoid exercising flat on your back – the weight of your uterus reduces the blood and oxygen flow to your baby.

·         During aerobic exercise, you will find that you have less oxygen available, so lower the intensity of your normal routine.

·         Your metabolism speeds up during pregnancy, so remember to eat a well-balanced diet.

·         Your body produces a hormone called relaxin during pregnancy. This hormone softens joints and ligaments to make the birth process easier, so be careful not to overextend joints that may result in injury

·         Do pelvic floor exercises every day and you’ll help keep your back and spine strong, flatten your tummy post birth, and alleviate the problems with bladder and bowel control that are common after childbirth. 

“Lastly make sure you listen to your body and if at any time during exercise you feel extremely fatigued, faint, dizzy, lightheaded or clammy, stop exercising and cool down,” says Hugh.
“The key tip here is that you need to listen to your body and based on what your body’s telling you, figure out a level of activity that works for you.”

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Get your abs back; Slendertone – Does it really work?

There’s nothing like good old-fashioned hard work when it comes to getting back in shape.
The problem is hard work takes time, and when there’s a five-month old baby involved there’s not much spare time for me or my workouts.Thankfully Lacie is now sleeping from 9:30- 7am, which means I can usually squeeze an hours workout in before she wakes. I usually warm up and then do a full body workout using my body weight and dumbbells.
I do this 4-5 times a week and thankfully the hard work has paid off. I’m back in my post-baby wardrobe and my measurements are back to what they were before baby.Like most new Mums though I’ve had to work extra hard on my tum – but then again not too hard as I suffered from ab separation (diastasis recti), which means only light core work for me – and no sit ups, as these can make your diastasis recti worse by causing your abdominal wall to bulge out upon exertion.
Thankfully I’ve been lucky enough to use some amazing ab-toning products to give my tum a helping hand.

Now these certainly don’t do all the hard work for you, you still have to eat and exercise well, but they complement my sessions and mean I can see to my motherly duties and still work my abs. I would love to work my abs more at the end if each session but I always run out of time – really I should do them at the beginning at the session but I get too caught up with other exercises like squats and stuff which according to Charles Poliquin, can work your abs anyway.

Here are by top tips and products for getting your abs back.
Now despite what my hubby (and mum) thinks, I still have a bit to go until I’ve got my ‘usual’ abs back, but if I’m honest with you, getting to that point is not my main priority anymore – if it takes me six months to get there, then so be it. I just want to be fit and healthy for my little girl and look good in my skinny jeans. These days I’m much more relaxed about my training and eating and will pat myself on the back everyday for creating a perfect little girl. Not only did she grow in my body but for the past five months she’s grown exclusively from my milk – that’s a bigger achievement than having abs and that perfect body! It’s funny how much inner peace you get from loving your own child!
Anyway, enough of the mushy stuff, here’s those top tips and products as promised..I’ve been using these for a good 30 days and I’m so excited about sharing the results!

Slender Tone
Wow, I remember stealing my Mum’s Slender Tone when I was 18 and trying to tone my tum for a girls holiday. I always remember it being pretty uncomfortable as your abs contracted away but thankfully things have moved on because I’ve just tested one for a good month and it wasn’t painful at all – just a weird feeling I suppose. It was more than bearable than I thought and I even ached a few days after the first few goes…a nice pain that I haven’t felt for a while since having to turn my training down a notch or two.

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So how does it work?
Basically the Slender Tone uses Electronic Muscle Stimulation (EMS) technology, which stimulates the nerves and activates the body’s natural muscle movements, toning and strengthening the muscles in the process. According to Slender Tone, wearing the belt for just 20 minutes a day provides a complete abdominal workout – which is the equivalent of 120 sit-ups – without the neck pain!

What I loved about the Slender Tone Abs Belt is it’s discrete, easy to use, convenient and is has a sensible plan in the manual for you to follow so you can up the intensity slowly and sensibly. You simply select the programme you want then gradually increase the intensity to a level that suits you.
I found it was best to find a level that is bear able, then as that level becomes comfortable (level 30 for me) then move up in increments of 10. It was so easy to go about my daily chores whilst wearing the belt, plus it was easy to put on and off and it was comfortable enough to leave on after the programme had finished until I had time to take it off again.
What I don’t like about the belt and the whole Slender Tone concept is that some people can think it’s a quick fix and that they don’t have to eat right and work out alongside using the belt. You do! To get the best results, I used the belt five times a week for at least 30 minute each time and ate well and exercised too. I simply used the belt to compliment my usual healthy habits to give me a helping hand – it worked!

Over all I lost two inches off waist and I’m now back to my pre-pregnancy 26 1/2 inch waist. I have some muscle tone back and feel confident again with my stomach.
So will I continue to use it? Yup I certainly will. The intensity goes up to 150 and I’m only at 70, so I have a long way to go before I even reach that and have lots more wear out of the belt. Who’d thought you could be working your abs whilst washing up? It’s great! It doesn’t affect my time with Lacie and it feels like every time I wear it and workout out, I’m one step closer to my goal. It really is all about consistency.

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To find out more about Slender Tone, please visit www.slendertone.com. The abs belt is currently on sale at £119! They also have lots more products on offer  and I’m really looking forward to testing their shorts, which can help you trim your thighs and butt. Yes please! I’ll of course let you know how it goes!

Mama Mio Get Waisted
Another product I would highly recommend for helping blitz your mummy tummy is Mama Mio Get Waisted.
It contains NINE ingredients which are designed to help combat fat deposits, tighten your tum, reduce puffiness, and – most importantly – maximise lipolysis, which is the way your body breaks down the fat stored in fat cells; giving you slim fat cells and a slimmer silhouette.
I can’t say that I say a huge difference when using this for 30 days. I didn’t suffer from stretch marks after my pregnancy or too much loose skin so it was hard to judge. I did however feel like my tummy was tighter when using this alongside the slender tone belt. I made sure I put it on every night before bed…every little bit helps…right?

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Activating my TVA morning & night
What I have leant since being busy as a mummy, is that you don’t need a gym to activate your core…you can work your core muscles also known as your  TVA (transversus abdomens) while lying in bed or sitting on the sofa.
To do this simply breath in deeply, letting your chest expand, then as you exhales , pulling in your tummy all the way around and holding it in for a couple of seconds, then releasing.

Gaining control over your TVA and working it as often as possible is key to having a flat tum after you have had your baby, then once  your tummy is stronger and your diastasis has closed you can begin a wider variety of more intense abdominal exercises like the plank & crunches etc.
I try to do this as much as possible in the day as well as do my pelvic floor exercises. The way to remember is to do it every time I feed Lacie. It’s now become a habit and means I do these at least four times a day, which can make a huge difference to your physique.

Pregnancy Fitness: 1st Trimester Strength Training

I’ve been really lucky to be able to write some informative blogs for the children’s shop Kiddicare. I love this shop and brought most of Lacie’s baby clothing, furniture and pram from here, so its a real honour to be writing for them.
Basically all my blogs are about how to exercise safely through pregnancy. I am going to share all these blogs with you over the next few weeks so all you beautiful pregnant ladies feel confident to carry on exercising. Here’s my second blog – ‘How to Strength Train Safely during your First Trimester’.
As always please drop me an email or message me if you need a hand or have any queries….

Strength training in the first trimester will help you to manage exertion levels later on in your pregnancy, when things feel harder due to increased weight yet decreased energy levels.

Resistance and stretching helps to prevent injury when the pressure on your joints increases and the hormone relaxin kicks in, which we’ll explain more about in our 2nd trimester posts (levels of relaxin tends to surge in the second trimester – around the 12 week mark.) It also takes a lot of muscle and stamina to deliver a baby; so the stronger you are now, the better.

I have designed this mini workout to help strengthen all the key muscles that you will need for a strong and healthy pregnancy, while keeping the intensity down. You can do most of these moves at home or at a gym with minimal equipment – just make sure you’re never out of breath or holding your breath, as this can elevate your blood pressure and starve your body of oxygen, which isn’t safe.

Keep the reps slow too, to elongate your muscles and build strength, rather than quick jerky movements that will cause injury, and always go at your own pace and stay hydrated.

The Workout…

Prisoner Squats
Reps 12
Sets 3
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and place your fingers on the back of your head, pulling your elbows and shoulders back and sticking your chest out.
Lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees, keeping your torso upright and your core tight. Pause, and then slowly push through your heels back to the starting position.

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Upright Row
Reps 12
Sets 3
Grab a pair of light dumbbells or tin cans, and let them hang down at arm’s length in front of your waist.
Leading with your elbows, pull the weights up to your chin, making sure your elbows are higher than your wrists and shoulders.
Pause, and then slowly return the weights to the starting position

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Step up with balance
Reps 10 each leg
Sets 2
Place a step in front of you and step up with your left foot, bringing your right leg forward and up and bending your knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor.
Balance for a few seconds then lower your right leg back to start, then the left. Do all 10 reps on your left leg, before repeating on your right.

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Back Rows
Reps 12
Sets 3
Hold a pair of light dumbbells or tin cans with your hands about shoulder-width apart.
Gently bend at your hips and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Your knees should be slightly bent and your lower back naturally arched.
Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull the dumbbells up to the sides of your torso.
Pause, then return to the starting position.

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Work your core – Cat and Cow
Reps 12
Sets 2
Get down on hands and knees in a tabletop position.
Look up, and stretch the front of your body as you inhale (Cow), then slowly round your back and look down as you exhale, being careful not to engage your abs (Cat).

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Stretch it out – Child’s Pose
Hold for 10-15 seconds
Sit on the floor with knees wide apart and resting on the floor. Bend forward, walk your hands forward then rest your forehead and hands on the floor as you breathe calmly and deeply.

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Remember!

As always, make sure you get the go-ahead from your doctor before you start exercising and listen to your body. If it doesn’t feel right then stop. Make sure you are also fully hydrated and that your exercise in cool and comfortable conditions.

You’re still in your first trimester so the baby shopping hasn’t yet begun in earnest but you can still start thinking about the bigger ticket items like your pushchair, car seat and nursery. Exciting isn’t it?!

Thank you to Nike for the kit and Nuffield Health, Bromley for shoot location.