How to work out with your baby

I’ve heard it so many times, “I can’t work out,” “There’s no time with a baby,” “I don’t want to leave them in the creche at the gym.” But believe me you really don’t need a gym and you don’t need to miss out on quality time with your bubba either. I USED to go the the gym 6 days a week, more if I could. Now I’m lucky if I manage once a week in the evening whilst Lacie sleeps. I just don’t have the energy once i’ve put her down at 7:30pm. There’s bottles to be washed, dinner to be eaten and a bath every now and then is nice too!

But what about working out involving your little one in the day? There’s no harm in them seeing you working out. It can only create healthier habits for them in the future. When Lacie was first born, I would always pop her in her swinging chair, whIlst I did a quick 25 minute HIIT workout, or pop her on her play mat (when she was happy to sit still :)) and chat with her in between sets so she didn’t feel left out. I often chat with her whilst I’m doing my workout, telling her what exercises I’m doing and then counting my reps out loud. I will sing to her too and encourage her to bop about. So much fun.

Now Lacie is a little explorer, I tend to pop her either in her high chair and let her munch on her breakfast as she watches me jump around (she finds it super funny), pop her in her Fisher Price Sit-me-up Floor Seat during Milkshake on Channel 5, which she LOVES, pop her in the garden with a ball and her toys whilst I work out on the grass, or ideally I try and do it in the morning before she wakes. This requires me to get up at 7am – which to be honest isn’t the end of the world. I’ve also filled her travel cot up with ball pond balls in the past and let her play in there for half hour. She loves it (you can see it in the background of this pic!)

Someone kept me company in the gym today!

Watching Milkshake whilst Mummy Squats

By showing Lacie how to be active in any way I can, I’m hoping that she will develop a habit of being active from an early age, plus if I include her in a work out, we get to spend time together and learning things like how to count and how to jump. She already knows what to do with a dumbbell and likes to try and do press ups on my Reebok Step. I hope that it will also teach her that workouts don’t have to be a mysterious thing that no one should see you do. (Let’s be honest: we’ve all felt embarrassed about going to the gym and working out in front of people!)

Here’s a quick workout that you can do with your little one by your side. You don’t need any fancy equipment that can hurt them – or you don’t need loads of space either. If you don’t want to do it with your baby awake, then pop them in the pram come nap time, walk round the block to get yourself warmed up and then do it in a local park or in your living room whilst they sleep. You won’t of missed any quality time with them and it will inspire you to get it done super quick whilst they sleep.

Now I’m a mummy is definitely quality over quantity!

Here goes…..

* 30 seconds jog on spot – 10 high knees, 10 low knees. Keep repeating this sequence until your time is up.
* 30 seconds of press Ups
* 30 secs jog on the spot – 10 high knees, 10 low knees. Keep repeating this sequence until your time is up.
* 30 seconds plank
* 30 seconds jog on the spot -10 high knees, 10 low knees. Keep repeating this sequence until your time is up
* 30seconds of squat jumps
* 30 seconds Jog on the spot – 10 high knees, 10 low knees. Keep repeating this sequence until your time is up
* 30 seconds of burpees
* 30 seconds Jog on the spot – 10 high knees, 10 low knees. Keep repeating this sequence until your time is up
* 30 seconds of triceps dips

Repeat three times through – once if you are short on time. Something is always better than nothing!

A quick walk around the block come nap time always does the trick. Now where's the nearest park?

A quick walk around the block come nap time always does the trick. Now where’s the nearest park?

* Always warm up before you do this workout and check with your doctor before embarking on any fitness challenge.

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How to train for a 5K

As you all know, I am a Journalist and have had a massive project recently with WebMD.
Here is my first feature of the year with them, which takes you through how to train for a 5k.
I’ve always gone for longer distances in the past, but since having Lacie, I always do a 5k on a Thursday with my running buggy. It’s the perfect distance for getting some running in, without it taking over the morning – and her getting too bored too!
Here it is. The original can be found here at WebMD, a website jam-packed with trustworthy and timely health and medical news and information

Sofa to 5K
By Lucy Miller
WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

Caroline Cross, a running buff, is the first to admit that she didn’t enjoy running The Berlin Marathon as much as she thought she would. Towards the end of her training she was counting down the long runs and early mornings, and literally hobbled over the finishing line – “the last 10k, was the worst,” she says. The achievement of running a marathon is amazing but it’s certainly not for everyone. You not only have to be fit, but you have to be super committed to your training – no more Sunday morning lie-ins!
In preparation for her first marathon, Caroline had run plenty of half marathons and 10k races. She also did a short and sharp run most Saturday mornings, particularly the Parkrun, a free organised 5k run, where she could monitor her time each week and race against other runners. “5k’s are great for speed training and building stamina,” she says. “I have always found that by adding in 5k’s to my training it has helped my performance with longer distances.”

A 5k community
Founded by Paul Sinton-Hewitt in 2004, the idea of Parkrun originated from the initial Bushy Parkrun event, in Teddington, Middlesex.
It started when Paul had a knee injury. He was bored and wanted to stay involved with the running community, so on October 2, 2004, he got 13 of his friends to turn up at Bushy Park and timed them over a 5km course. They went again the next week and then the next, and slowly the word spread and the number of runners turning up grew. It became a regular event, then, during 2007, six more events started up and Parkrun was born.

Parkrun is now one of the most popular runs you can do, and as of March 2014 there have been over 500, 000 participants, with around 375 locations to choose from. Who would have thought so many people would be up and about at 9am (9.30 in Scotland) on a Saturday morning, looking forward to a community-based 5 kilometre run?

“It’s a great start to a Saturday morning and there’s a great atmosphere with a real sense of community with runners from the local area,” says Caroline. “I like the fact that it is also open to everyone and you can run as a family. It is even better when you break a personal best (PB).

Why 5k?
According to Runner’s World, 5k – 3.1 mile’s is the perfect distance for beginners. It’s short and snappy, and “you can fit it quite easily into your day as it doesn’t take up much time,” says Caroline. “It’s also an extremely accessible distance for everyone and for all abilities. Even if you are new to running you can have a go and run it at a pace you are comfortable with.”
Here, the expert’s talk about how you can join Caroline in going from the couch to a 5k course, paying attention not only to your physical training but also your mental attitude. (It’s always recommended, especially for adults over 50, that sedentary people check in with their doctor before starting to train.)

Getting started
When sticking to a training plan, the best thing to do is find a time to train that suits you. Lots of people find that running first thing fits in best, “the whole day is then at your disposal without the need to go for a run hanging over you,” says Nick Anderson, running coach at The Run Lunge. “Most races are usually early on a Sunday morning, so you will start to train your body to respond to an early run in the right way. Remember, the early bird catches the worm!”
“Build up slowly too,” suggests Alex Rahim, Personal Trainer at Virgin Active, “and try not to increase your speed or distance too early. It won’t take you long to prepare for a 5k, so don’t panic.”

Dress for the occasion
If it’s dark and cold outside, then it will make it harder to get out the door. According to Caroline, “The most important thing is to dress sensibly by wearing layers – a bit like an onion.”
Chose a lightweight top for your base layer, then wear a light waterproof jacket or fleece over the top. To keep your legs warm, wear a pair of running leggings underneath a pair of shorts or go for some thick fleecy leggings that can be bought from most good running shops.
You tend to lose around 20% of heat through your head so make sure you wear a hat and a pair of gloves too. There’s nothing worse than fingers that are so cold they hurt – and if you get too warm you can always take them off.

Make training convenient for you
“Look to use your time efficiently, build running into your commute, consider the value of even a short, 20 minute run at lunchtime and skip work drinks and encourage colleagues to join you as well,” says Tom Craggs, UKA Running Coach and coaching advisor to Saucony UK, High5, Adidas UK and SenseCore. “Use your personal time efficiently. We all ‘waste’ time each day. Sleep or a good stretching session is of more value to both your training and your overall health than 30 minutes of ‘smart phone’ time in bed late at night.”

Staying motivated
The only way to stick to your plan is to “Examine all the potential barriers that could get in the way and work out in advance how you’re going to deal with them,” says Robin Gargrave of Central YMCA, the activity for health charity. “Look to train with other people – get yourself down to your local running club or Run England group or get a friend or family member to sign up with you,” says Tom. “Many studies suggest that our partners can have a big influence on our behaviour and our health, with a more recent study by University College, London, suggesting that men and women are three times or more likely to achieve their resolution when their partner joined in the challenge.

Set goals
“Always set SMART goals,” explains Alex. “These are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and have a Time frame.”
Write down the reasons you want to do the 5k. This could be as simple as improving your health, losing weight or looking better in your clothes.
“Without goals, training has a lack of direction and purpose meaning the performance outcome will not be fulfilled to its potential,” says Alex.

Break it down into manageable chunks
First, pick the date for your 5k. “Six to eight weeks should be fine, however bear in mind this is not as long as it seems.
“Once you have your date, then begin finding a comfortable pace and run for time as opposed for distance to get the body used to running for a length of time,” says Alex. “Do this for approximately 2 weeks then build in some interval sessions (where you run faster than your average pace for a period like 30 seconds, and doing a walk recovery for 90 seconds) twice a week for 2 weeks. Running hills are important in any running programme too and this can be included in the last 2 weeks of your 6 to 8 week plan.”
Don’t forget your rest days too. Your body needs time to recover in order to get faster. “Look to take a minimum of one complete rest day a week, more for less experienced runners,” says Tom. “Respect that your body progresses and develops through your rest and it’s an area most runners forget.”
If you’re inspired to lace up your trainers and start training for a 5k, then Alex suggests that you: “always try and do one to two strength sessions per week, plus three running sessions per week. Strength training will help prepare the body for impact, and the running sessions do not have to be any longer than 30 minutes at a time so will not affect time out of your day too much.”

Good Luck!

My First Year Essentials

I can’t believe it. Lacie is one on Sunday. I have survived the first year with a few bumps to the head (yes she rolled off the bed. Every new mothers nightmare!), breakdowns and sleepless nights. It really hasn’t been as hard I thought it would be – I’ve loved every minute and being a mummy has definitely chilled me out. I simply CAN’T work out more than 6 times a week (I used to train twice a day!!), can’t be fussy about what I eat and when I eat it, and I have to drag my ass out of bed to get my workout in in the morning. You can certainly get your body back after a baby, but you need to be prepared to workout when infact all you want to sleep and be patient. It definitely is 9 months out, 9 months in. I have just got my body back to where I want it to be (well 1kg away from my goal anyway!)

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So here are a few things that have kept me going this last year. My new mum essentials, which have made my life easier.

Maxinutrition Promax Lean Bars 
These are great for my crazy mornings, when I don’t have time to grab food between my workouts (I workout at 6:30am when Lacie is in bed) and getting me and Lacie ready for the day. They are high in protein, contain green tea and just seem to set me up for the day until I can grab some eggs or something similar for breakfast, which usually happens about 10:30.

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Viridian Cherry Night
Sometimes, no matter how tired I am, I feel wired at nighttime, despite the fact that I don’t drink coffee or anything like that.
Since having Lacie, I’m also such a light sleeper, so find that this Cherry Night, helps me to relax and unwind before bed and helps me sleep a bit more soundly! It contains glycine, cherry, red date and magnesium, which are all great for relaxing the mind, especially if you have an hour post-bedtime.
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BearWolf Personal Training Service
It would be so easy to skip a workout if I wasn’t accountable to these guys! Each day I have to check in with my workout and nutrition using their online app, and if I don’t? I get a gentle reminder from Scott, asking me how I’m getting on.
I’m currently on week 3 of my new programme and each day when I check in, I have to tell them my reps, weights and workout time. The goal is to improve each week – and guess what? So far, so good! Still one kilo of baby weight to shift though!

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My Virgin Active Membership
Now I have a gym in my garden I don’t go to the gym as much as I would like too, but my mum has Lacie on Wednesdays so I make sure I go to the gym then and also on Thursday evenings. It’s nice to be on the gym floor again with an abundance of equipment and to be surrounded by others working out. I often get ideas by watching what others do, or speaking to the trainers there. I also love our swimming lessons at Virgin Active. Lacie has been going since she was 11 weeks old and we now have a fab teacher called Sandra who is really pushing her along whilst making the lessons fun. She can now kick her legs, paddle her arms, go under the water without even a blink of the eye and sit on the side and jump in. She really does love it and I would recommend swimming lessons to any new mum.

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Day 3 of my 21 day diet challenge

Hello day three…it looks like it may be hungry one as I woke up hungry today!

Determined not to venture of track though, I popped Lacie in her running buggy (read my review on the Out ‘n’ About Nipper Sport V4 here) and went out for an hour run before breakfast. There’s a park about 10 minutes from our house, so I walked there as part of my warm up and the set my timer to three minutes running & 30 seconds rest. I did this 10 times before walking back home again. It took about an hour and according to my heart rate monitor I burnt 500 calories.

buggy

When I got home I had a Protein shake with 1/2 a banana followed by some sourdough bread with almond butter. That certainly knocked the hunger pangs on the head and the combination of protein, carbs & good fats helped my recovery too.

For lunch I had Tomato soup followed by a chicken breast with courgette noodles marinated in homemade pesto made from spinach, avocado, basil & pine nuts and then a apple mid afternoon and a sugar free lolly….it was either that or something extra naughty. I always struggle in the afternoons with cravings!

I always go to the gym on Thursday nights too, so as soon as Lacie was in bed I ventured to my local Virgin Active.
I always run there. It takes 8 minutes, which is perfect for my warm up.
I then did 20 glute raises and 20 deadbugs to switch on my core, followed by 20 Kettlebell lunges holding a 12kg Kettlebell to work my lower body. I did this five times, and not only were my legs burning but my heart rate was nice and high too. This is the strength phase of my workout.

To finish off, I did a nasty met-con finisher, where I did 150 Russian Kettlebell swings using a 12kg Kettlebell. I didn’t however just do 150 straight off. I did as many as I could in a minute, then did 10 jumping lunges and did another load of swings until my buzzer went off. Basically on the minute every minute I did my jumping lunges, then carried on doing my Kettlebell swings inbetween.
The whole thing took me 6 1/2 minutes – it was horrible. The first time I did this though it took me 11 minutes so I’m definitely getting fitter!

I then finished off with some tricep dips and side planks and walked home. I usually run but my legs refused!

When I got home I had a nice hot bath with my favourite Liquid Yoga bath soak followed by a pot of CO YO mixed with some lemon juice and lemon zest. It reminds me of lemon meringue pie…and is a perfect post without treat.

So, I’ve had another great day. I’ve eaten around 1500 calories again but burnt 500 during my run and 400 at the gym – leaving me well under my calorie allowance. I think I may be hungry again tomorrow so will plan a nice big breakfast. I’m thinking protein pancakes! Yum!

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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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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My day……..

I haven’t given you an insight into my day for a while now so thought I would share my day today. It’s been a fun one, full of smiles, training, good food and of course quality time with my little angel!

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To start my day off I had scrambled eggs with broccoli and a sprinkle of goats cheese.
I’ve really taken charge of my eating lately as I’ll be weaning Lacie in a few weeks time and won’t have the whole breast feeding excuse to eat what I like anymore. I thought if I rein it in now then it won’t be so much of a shock to the system. I don’t like change…and I’ll be honest the whole weaning process is scaring me slightly!

I then ventured to my local Virgin Active – my second home!
Today I played around with this interesting looking ball – also known as a Weightedi Ball, a functional piece of kit that’s a but like a medicine ball but squishy! You can kneel on it to do core moves like bird dogs or put your feet on it and use as a platform for things like glute bridges and lunges. I used it for a which warm up to help me engage my core and switch on my glutes and  away I went.

ugi

I love my local Virgin Active – I only go once a week (twice as I take Lacie swimming on Tuesdays) as all the other times I use the great outdoors and my home gym in my garden whilst Lacie is sleeping or in the pram,  so when I do go, I really go to town. After my warm up I did a metabolic circuit compromising of a push exercise, followed by a pull exercise, a lower body exercise, plyometric jumping move and then finished off with a isometric exercise to really burn my muscles out. I repeated this circuit three times and Jeez I’m aching already! Yay! Feel the burn! They have a great selection of kit in the gym, so I found myself a spot and kitted myself out with a barbell, plyometric platform and a TRX. The hour flew by!

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When I go home, I fed Lacie and then made myself a chicken salad followed by some sparkling water with lemon, which helps to take the edge of my after meal cravings..

In the afternoon as Lacie cat napped I then caught up on a few emails and features before taking her to a school that I teach gymnastics at to meet all the children. Needless to say, they loved her and she enjoyed the attention. I then came home and had a few of my favourite RawLicious Raw Artisian Bread Crackers spread with Organic Butter to take the edge of my hunger whilst Lacie played in her favourite Fisher Price Sit Me Up Floor Seat and attempted to eat a carrot. I’m trying to give her things to experiment with at the moment so when it comes to weaning putting food in her mouth isn’t totally alien. She definitely seemed to like it!
carrot

For dinner I had a salmon fillet (lots of good fats!) with broccoli, carrots, sweetcorn and green beans. I love filling up on vegetables at dinner time. I then had a few RawLicious Date & Cashew Snackaroons, which by the way are sooooooo delicious and free from wheat, gluten, sugar, refined salt or anything artificial. You must give them a try they are made from coconuts, dates, nuts, raisins, ginger and vanilla powder. No nasties in sight!

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Newborn swimming lessons at Virgin Active

As soon as Lacie had her first set of injections we were in the pool like a shot.
I’ve never been a keen swimmer so it’s important that we get Lacie as comfortable in the water as soon as possible. It’s also important for me to learn how to confidently hold her and play with her in the water, which is why we signed up to the Ducklings Programme at Virgin Active.

The 18-week programme are primarily designed to introduce very young children to the water so I signed up straight away and got my NCT friends to sign up too. There are four of us in the class and we are all friends which is great. It’s lovely seeing them every week and Lacie gets to learn new skills with her friends which is lovely. Hopefully one day they will all go swimming together and play nicely and confidently in the water.

So far we’ve only had two lessons but I’m so much more confident with her already. We’ve been taught how to get in the water safely with a new born, how to hold them so they can swim on their front and back, and we’ve already submerged them. Lacie wasn’t bothered at all as she went under. What a proud mum!!

A few little tips I’ve learnt already is;
* To take the carseat. This means I can get Lacie changed then pop her in the car-seat as I get myself changed too.
I have the Nuna Pipa seat, which I love.  You can read my review here…..

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 17.37.42* I’ve also learnt to take a spare towel. One for Lacie as she gets out the pool and then one to dry her with. I didn’t do this the first time we went and had to use my towel to dry her. I recently brought this poncho, (£11.99; http://www.mothercare.com) which Lacie loves to snuggle up to as soon as she gets out the pool. It has a hood that keeps her head warm and its made with soft cotton fabric that wicks excess water and dries Lacie really quickly. 

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* Lastly I always dress Lacie in a super cool swimming costume. She looks super cute and as she’s the only girl in the class I like her to look extra girlie. I get her swimsuits from Mothercare. Here my three favourites. We will take them on our first family holiday too.

1)Whale Swimsuit; £9
I love the frill detail around the waist and neckline. The turquoise colour is just lovely too!

lacie whale

Baby K Swimsuit and Turban; £15
This cute cozy from the Baby K range has a matching turban, which is very 80’s – she hasn’t worn the turban yet but it will be great on holiday when it comes to protecting her hear from the sun.

Bbay K swim suit

Lastly this Disney Minnie Mouse Swimsuit; £9
is just adorable. I’m sure Lacie is going to be a big fan of Minnie Mouse when she’s older and I just love the frilly sleeves and waist line. It looks so sweet on.

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I tend to wear a Tankini in the pool, which is really easy to get changed in and out of but recently I came across the new Speedo Sculpture range, which smoothes and supports your body in all the right places.
I love the Crystalsun suit (£60; http://www.store.speedo.co.uk) , which gives me flattering and feminine shape, thanks to the bandeau shape neckline, which enhances my tiny bust, an the lower leg, which elongates my short body. The gentle gathers are also perfect for visually disguising any post-pregnancy lumps and bumps. Its not easy getting into the pool after you’ve had a baby, I felt very self-conscious.

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To sign up to baby swimming lessons have a chat to your nearest Virgin Active. They are super helpful and will make sure your little one goes into the right class for the age and ability level.

 

 

 

Burn fat and lose your mummy tummy in your living room

Just last week, I posted a cool workout that I’ve been doing at home around Lacie’s sleeps.

I always thought it would be tough working out with a baby, but it’s actually not too bad. You just have to be über flexible with your time and fit them when baby is sleeping. Some days I won’t get a chance to do my circuit but I don’t stress too much, baby comes first and there’s always tomorrow. If I haven’t had a chance then there’s going to be a genuine reason. I don’t like not sticking to my plans!

When planning my workouts I’ve found these top tips from Chrissi Delapperal, Virgin Active Personal Training Manager and Mum of One very useful. It certainly helps me to fit exercise in when I can around Lacie.

1. Treat your house as your multi-level gym, and combine everyday tasks with a workout. For example, when you’re vacuum cleaning you could lunge instead of walk, and when wiping coving you could incorporate squats

2. Be imaginative and turn your favourite TV program into a workout. For example, every time a favourite character appears or a certain word is said, challenge yourself to do ten tricep dips on the sofa

3. Train your core muscles by balancing on one foot, or on a swiss ball, whilst teeth brushing, ironing, cooking or on the phone

I’ve also found that walking with a baby carrier is a great workout. Lacie loves being this close to me and carrying all her weight really gets your heart rate up, and I also have to really use my core muscles to help with my balance and posture. The only thing is, that having all that weight at the front of your body can make you feel like you are leaning forwards, so make sure you suck your belly button in as you walk and stand up straight like you have a piece of string attached to the top of your head and someone is pulling you up.

One of my favourite carriers so far is the Baby Bjorn One. I can use it for Lacie as a newborn (at least 3.5kg and 53cm) and until she is approximately 3 years old (max. 15kg or 100cm). When she is older I can carry her on my back too, which is perfect for weekend walks with my husband, one of our favourite past-times.

This is me on Mother’s Day, we walked for around two hours and Lacie slept the whole way. She really does love being in the fresh air. She definitely takes after me!

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http://www.babybjorn.co.uk/products/baby-carriers/one/baby-carrier-one/; RRP: £119.99

 

New Mum home workouts. How to shape up after a baby

As you all know, I’m a real gym bunny. I worked out throughout my whole pregnancy and was even in my local Virgin Active the very morning I was induced. It’s certainly helped me whip back into shape since having Lacie, although I do still have a lot of work to do. My muscle tone just completely disappeared during pregnancy, despite lifting weights four times a week!

That said, Lacie is now eight weeks and although I’m not ready to leave her in the gym creche just yet, I have been sneaking in some short home workouts whilst she sleeps. Just 30 minutes here and there is enough to get those endorphins flowing and make me feel happy that I’m starting to work towards my goals again.

Here’s just one workout I’ve been doing in my lounge. I always thought I would hate working out at home but actually I’ve been really enjoying it. I simply put on a TV programme that I’ve been itching to watch, grab my dumbbells and resistance band and off I go.
It’s true that your priorities really do change once you have a beautiful baby – it’s no longer about you. However, it is important that you do take some time out and with home workouts that means you still get to spend time with your baby, whilst doing something positive for yourself.

As Chrissi Delapperal, a Personal Training Manager at Virgin Active and mum of one says, “The pressure of being a ‘super mum’ whilst trying to balance various commitments with family life means that exercise can fall way down on our priority list.”

Here’s Chrissi’s top six exercises that could be done at home in the living room, kitchen or bedroom – it’s a great workout and will wake up those muscles again. Enjoy 🙂

1. Tricep dips x 15
“Tricep dips will make you look at your sofa or armchair in a totally new light, as they make the perfect apparatus for tricep dips. Sit on the edge of the seat, with hands resting either side of your hips, fingers forward. Lift up your body and shuffle your feet away from the sofa. Now bend your elbows, gently lowering your hips towards the floor, hold for two seconds, and raise body up again.

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2. Push ups x 10
“Use your sofa to perfect the art of the push up. Start with incline pushups, with your hands on the seat and feet on the floor. This makes pushups easier and is a great way to get used to this type of exercise. Once you feel you have mastered the move, you can graduate to decline pushups with your feet on the seat and hands on the floor. Be careful to keep your back straight, and don’t let your hips sag.

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3. Bicep curls  x 15
“You can grab any piece of kitchen equipment to do some quick and easy bicep curls. Use a tin can, bottle or saucepan – whatever feels the right weight for you. Standing with legs shoulder-width apart, hold your chosen weight by your side with your palm facing away from you. Bend your arm at the elbow and bring the weight up to your shoulder.
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4. Squats x 15
“Squats are a brilliant exercise to master, they work your bum, legs and core. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and slowly bend your knees, lowering your body. Squat down as low as you can, keeping your head and chest high and shoulders relaxed. Hold for a second and then straighten legs to stand up.”

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5. Stomach crunches x 10
“Doing stomach crunches on your mattress will actually force those abs to work harder to stabilise yourself. Lying on your back, bend your knees and put your hands behind your head. Use your abs (NOT your neck muscles) to lift your torso off the bed, and release.

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6. Star jumps x 15
“Jump out of bed and start your day with some star jumps. This childhood throwback will not only put a smile on your face, it will also work A LOT of muscles, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, gluts, abs, biceps, triceps, and obliques. Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees into a squat position and jump vertically as high as you can. While jumping, extend legs and arms out to your sides, into a star shape. Land with arms by your sides and knees bent.

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I tend to do these moves as a circuit, starting with the first move and then doing the second move as soon as I can after I’ve finished all 15 reps. I’ll then work through the 6 moves, rest for two to three minutes and repeat the circuit again. If Lacie sleeps long enough I’ll do three circuits before having a quick stretch and a recovery snack of an apple with almond butter or a Slender Blend Protein smoothie with a banana. I’ll aim to do this every other day and walk on the other days.

As always, please check with your doctor before exercising. I had to wait eight weeks until I was physically and mentally ready to exercise again. I really didn’t want to sabotage my recovery so make sure you listen to your body.

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