3 tips for dressing your little one for a mother and baby exercise class

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If you’re headed to one of Becca’s exercise classes with your baby, it’s important that they’re dressed right to keep them feeling comfortable. Here, Steve Cochrane MBE, Managing Director of Childrenswardrobe, shares his tips for dressing your little one for a mother and baby exercise class.

Keeping fit doesn’t have to take a backseat once you’ve had kids. In fact, if you opt for a mother and baby class, it can be a great way to stay healthy, de-stress and bond with your little one at the same time.

If you’re thinking of taking your baby to exercise classes with you, or you just fancy a walk or jog outside with the pram, you’ll want your little bundle of joy to be comfortable. And that means choosing the right clothing. Below, I’ll be giving you my top tips to help you dress your baby for an exercise class.

Choose the right fabrics

Although they won’t be doing much exercise themselves, you’ll still need to bear in mind your baby’s temperature when dressing them for your classes. What you put your baby in can depend entirely on the location and season. For classes that are taking place indoors, be mindful that the room can heat up quickly as everyone is working hard. To keep your little one cool, look for soft, thin, breathable fabrics like cotton blends. Try to avoid pure cotton though, as this can hold onto moisture and could make your baby feel uncomfortable instead.

Alternatively, if your exercise class will take place outside, you might want to wrap them up a little more, especially in the winter. Add a wool or polyester base layer underneath your little one’s clothing to give them an extra layer of insulation. If you can, choose merino wool, which is soft and thermal, but will wick away any moisture.

Add a few layers

When exercising outdoors, especially in the winter, it’s best to layer your baby’s clothing instead of applying one thick jumper or coat. As a general rule, you should dress your baby in one more layer than you’re wearing. Look for thin garments, like baby grows, long sleeved T-shirts, leggings, and a waterproof coat. These should be easy to remove with full-length front openings so you can take one off with minimal fuss if they get too hot.

Don’t forget your baby’s head, hands and feet, too. These are the areas where they can lose the most heat, so they’ll need to be covered to keep your little one warm and toasty. Look for little socks and booties, a hat and a pair of mittens to keep your baby cosy. Don’t forget to pack a few extra items of clothing in your nappy bag, so you can dress them in another layer to keep them warm and snug if they get too cold.

Check their temperature

Babies are more sensitive to the cold than adults are, which means their body temperature can fluctuate quickly. You can easily check if your baby is too hot or cold, even without a thermometer.

Feel their tummy with your hand. If it feels hot to the touch (not warm), then your baby might be overheating, and you should remove a layer. It’s normal for your baby’s toes to feel slightly cool, but if they feel cold, and their tummy feels cold as well, then you might want to add another layer to help them warm up.

If you’re thinking of joining an exercise class with your little one in tow, it’s important that they’re wearing the right clothing. By following the tips in this guide, you can make sure that your baby will be warm and comfortable no matter where you are.

 

 

Introducing my new Run Leaders…Nat & Jen

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With the exciting upcoming training for Nat and Jen at the weekend who are spending Sunday training with UK Athletics doing their Leadership in Running qualification, I thought it would be really good to let you find out a bit more about them before they start their new clubs next week.

So first off, a bit of background for you as to how I know them:

I’ve known Nat for about 2 years after she started my Mum and Baby class in Altrincham with her second baby Ozzy.  She came pretty much every week of her mat leave and then once she went back to work as a teacher, she contacted me about my run club.  She was in a plateau and couldnt hit her goal of doing a sub 25 min 5k so I told her she needed to come down and do my 8.15 Monday class which she did and in the last 12 months she’s knocked a whopping 3 mins off her 5k time – unreal!

And as for Jen – I’ve known her for such a long time!  She’s best friends with my husbands best friend is the easiest way of explaining how we know each other and she was one of the first people I met in Sale when we first came to visit before deciding to actually move here.  Her 2nd child and my 1st are very similar in age so we did playgroups, baby groups and coffees together during that mat leave.  When Jen had her 3rd, she came to my Sale Mum and Baby class and when Sammy was 6 months or so, she started coming to run club and pushing herself out of her comfort zone and she hasn’t stopped coming since!

In order for you to get to know them a little, I pulled together 8 questions and we spent an hour over a drink (non alcoholic, I promise!!) and these were there responses:

  • So we can know you as well as you as a Run Leader, tell me a brief intro to you:

NAT – I have two sons – Milo and Ozzy – who are 6 and 2. I live with my husband, kids and grumpy old dog Muttley in Altrincham. I’m from South Wales but spent some years living abroad before settling up here. I’m a primary teacher in Manchester and love my job. Safe to say that run club gives me some much needed adult conversation

JEN – Jenna/Jen, 41 Mum of three (Grace, 9, James 7 and Sammy 3) married to Dom for 13 years (eeek!) I have spent my whole life in recruitment and now work two days a week for a small specialist recruitment company. I can usually be found running the streets of sale or shouting after my three kids – or drinking wine – not normally all at the same time unless it’s a really bad day!

  • How long have you been a runner?

NAT – A pretty long time! I started running with my sister when I was revising for my GCSEs and she was doing her A-levels. We needing some stress relief so bought matching trainers and ran around our hilly, Welsh town. It’s probably why hill training is still my favourite

JEN – Not sure if still call myself a “runner”! I started ‘properly’ running (consistently) probably about 6 years ago after I had my middle baby. But only 5kms and once, maybe twice a week. And then I think about 4 years ago I started to run more regularly and up my distance. I had a break to have my third child and then have been running ever since he was about 5 months old (he was three last week!).

  • Why do you run?

NAT – I used to run for fitness but since having children my motivation has definitely changed. Now I run for head-space, to socialise, to achieve something, and a little bit for fitness too.

JEN – So many reasons! For me, it’s my space, my time – a reason to get away from the kids, the noise, the chaos – and to skip the odd bath time! I started for that reason but then I fast realised it helped me hugely mentally. I have had lots of problems getting and staying pregnant and I although I am eternally grateful to be a mummy of 3, it’s been such a hard journey with recurrent miscarriages.  In particular, getting and staying pregnant with my third baby Sammy took a huge emotional, physical and mental strain and running (apart from my husband!) was the only way I could deal with it – it literally kept me together!

On a lighter note, I run because I LOVE food and booze and its literally the only time me and best friend can catch up without continual interruptions!!

  • What are your running goals for 2020?

NAT – 2019 was an amazing year for my running but I feel like I have so many more goals. I’m excited about 2020 because I’m running the Manchester marathon again! It was brutal last time so this time I’m excited about enjoying it. Hopefully…

 JEN – 3. Hmmm running goals – to keep running! Remain injury free and perhaps, just perhaps do a half marathon under 2 hours!

  • What’s your best running achievement to date?

NAT – I’d say doing the marathon pregnant is a good place to start (yes to anyone who hasn’t met her yet – she is crazy!!)

JEN – All of my running is achievement – I couldn’t run a bath let alone any distance 10 years ago. But I was so, so chuffed when I completed my first ever half marathon at the grand old age of 39! I’m about to complete my third in a couple of weeks at 41!

  • What’s the one bit of running gear you can’t live without? (Trainers not included!!)

NAT – A hair band (see picture!!)

JEN – Easy – running watch (only got one a few months ago and its CHANGED my life!!!) and a running belt! I won’t leave the house without either

  • If you had one piece of advice for people getting into running, what would it be?

NAT – Going for a run is going for a run, no matter how far or fast you go!

JEN – Enjoy it! Don’t compare yourself to others, run at your pace and your distance. I see running a bit like giving birth, totally horrendous when you are doing it but euphoric at the end – and as soon as you stop, the pain is over!

  • How are you feeling about becoming a run leader?

NAT – I’m probably too excited to be honest! I love running and I can’t wait to get to know people and share my passion with others

JEN – Excited and crapping my pants!! Can’t wait to inspire and help other people to run and to be part of Becs ever growing empire!

So if you see them about say Hi and wish them luck for their upcoming new roles!  Jenna is going to be leading a brand new class on a Monday called 5k Boost which is going to give people the confidence to run 5k and also give them some tools and techniques to run it quicker than they currently can and Nat is going to be leading my Tuesday 5-10k club so pushing people out of their comfort zone and helping them to nail a 10k.  She’s training them for the Poynton 10k so watch this space – we will share the pictures when they get there!!

 

As always, if you would like any further information on the run clubs that These Mums Do offer, please get in touch – becca@thesemumsdo.co.uk or 07525790704

Guest Blog…Debbie Gallimore, Nutritionist

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As I do quite a lot, I managed to steal half an hour of Debbie Gallamore’s time to ask her some all-important questions about her, her business, her opinion on fad diets and then the final question I ask all the people I work with – what she’d take if she was stranded on a desert island!!

Debbie set up her Nutritional Therapy business 5 year ago and it’s gone from strength to strength.  We now work together in partnership, running 30 day nutrition challenges getting people to reset and refocus their diets and try and instil long term sustainable changes to their eating habits.

So here’s what I asked and her responses:

1 – What’s your name and where are you from?

Debbie Gallimore.  I was born in Liverpool and lived there until I was 26 then fell in love with a man from Manchester. Moved to Sale then the rest is history as they say! Sale feels like home and I love the people here.

 

2 – Tell me some facts about you…

  • I have two children called Charlie, aged 11 and Amelia, aged 8. Best accomplishment of my life so far and make me laugh everyday.
  • Before becoming a Nutritionist, I worked in Insurance and was the youngest ever Operational Manager in Direct Line at the ripe age of 22. Feels like a lifetime ago!
  • I’m a Liverpool fan through and through and very proud of my working class roots. Thankfully we are having a good season this year much to my husbands dismay as a United fan

3 – Tell me about what you do and your business…

I am a Nutritional Therapist and Health Coach and owner of Debbie Gallimore – Nutritional Therapy and Wellness Coaching. I founded my company 5 years ago in 2014 and haven’t looked back since!

I work with women who are looking to reclaim back their health and tackle energy, hormonal issues, weight issues and many more. I work with my clients in a unique way by coaching and motivational strategies to tackle obstacles that get in the way.

My programmes are designed to provide nutritional knowledge and support to stop dieting long term and allowing women to regain control of their health. Thanks to technology advancements, I support clients face to face, Skype, Facetime and have been able to support international clients and those who are time poor and cannot get into clinic regularly.

 

4 – How long have you been a nutritionist and what made you want to become one?

I trained for 5 years to gain my diploma in Nutritional Therapy whilst working full time and two pregnancies in between. I look back and think “how the hell did I survive that !?” and doubt I could do it again now I’m that little bit older. My passion and drive came from my love of coaching.

At the time I was an Operational Manager with a team of 67 staff. My love of people and passion to support others to be the best they can be was always my main driver but I had no passion for Insurance.

My interest in Nutrition has been with me since a child and watching close family members battle chronic health issues – some unfortunately terminal, drove me to want to ensure my health and those I love is as strong as it can be.

What we eat, our decisions in lifestyle and nutrition is the foundation to longevity and optimum health. Coaching my clients and seeing first hand how feeling good about themselves changes every aspect of their life is the most rewarding job to have and I feel truly lucky to be a part of that process.

 

5 – What motivated you to set up your own business?

There is so much misinformation out there with regards to nutrition and dietary models that promise solutions when in reality they are quick fixes that don’t work long term.

In my twenties, my relationship with food was poor and I was sucked into every claim that I needed to ‘diet’ to lose weight. I was stuck in a cycle of yo yo dieting for 7 long years and my health suffered as a consequence. Low energy, poor sleep quality, irritability and low concentration formed part of the cycle.

Once trained in nutrition, I began to eat a varied diet without cutting out food groups and realised how good I felt and my weight stabilised without a ‘diet’ in sight. I was lucky that I had the right knowledge.

What’s missing for most women is their understanding of what drives them to make the choices they do. 99% of women have emotional connections with food and this drives behaviour and habits. That is why they get stuck in the diet trap.

My programmes are designed to tackle all of these areas through coaching techniques whilst teaching them how to eat to balance blood sugars which support energy, mood and weight. It is a sustainable solution that works long term and gives control back to women.

 

6 – What’s the best bit about your job and why?

Being apart of someone’s health journey is by far the best part of my job! A typical client is one that is struggling with a health symptom or issue such as weight, energy, hormonal issues or digestive issues with an understanding how this negatively affects their day to day life. Watching the transformation and how this impacts positively on their quality of life is truly magical.

 

7 – What’s your top tips for new Mums who are getting back to healthy eating?

I remember the days when I had a toddler and a baby and was utterly exhausted most of the time with little energy or time to focus on me and my needs. Reaching for the biscuits at the 2am feed was my issue – It’s not easy and I salute any new mum!

 

My top tip would be to start with small simple changes and not over complicate it. For example, if your drinking 3 – 4 cups of caffeinated tea/coffee per day then start by reducing by half. Caffeine spikes blood sugars which can disrupt energy balance and hormones. If you’re not drinking enough water, then consciously monitor so you are at 1.5 litres minimum per day and always start your day with a breakfast that has protein and carbohydrates such as porridge with seeds and berries or scrambled eggs with 1 slice of wholemeal toast and 1/2 avocado. This will leave you feeling fuelled for your day and less likely to reach for sugary snacks to pick you up.

 

8 – Tiredness is obviously one of the hardest bits about being a Mum…any handy hints on how to stop grabbing the sugar fix to get through the day?

I here you! Reaching for sugary fixes feels like the solution when in fact it creates a rollercoaster effect on blood sugars. When blood sugars spike through high sugar foods, you get a surge in energy. This surge doesn’t last long and your blood sugars come crashing down in a short space of time leaving you tired, lethargic and with a lack of concentration needed that surge again and reaching for sugar …. rollercoaster effect!

 

I recommend eating little and often so effectively 5 mini meals a day to keep blood sugars steady and energy more consistent. Eating every 3 hours, 3 main meals and 2 snacks, can help keep you feeling in control and stop those peaks and troughs in energy. Replace sugary snacks with nuts/seeds/a piece of fruit or a couple of oatcakes with nut butter which will ensure that you keep energy levels steady and less inclined to reach for sugary snacks.

 

9 – What’s your best piece of advice to new mums who are having body confidence issues?

Such a relevant topic considering the body positivity movement. Mums especially have been through such a physical change coupled with hormone surges, no wonder we feel a little unconfident!

Pregnancy and birth are by far one of the biggest challenges your body will ever do from a physical, emotional and hormonal standpoint – how kick ass are women !

If I could give one piece of advice it would be to carve out some time each day to do something for you. Doing something you love which is just for you is absolute paramount to your mental health and wellbeing. It could be going for a 15 minute walk with your favourite music, reading a book in the bath or seeing friends without the kids. When you start to do the things you love it feeds the soul and you more inclined to start to nourish and look after yourself organically.

 

10 – There are obviously hundreds of crazy/fad diets out there. What’s your thoughts on them?

There are 100’s of fad diets and will continue to be as we live in a world who want quick fix solutions. I am dubious of any fad diet or gimmicky product that claims they will fix your weight issues. Any diet that puts you in a calorie deficit for long periods of time can have an impact on your metabolism long term. Take the Cambridge Diet as an example. This diet reduces calorie intake to approx 600-700 calories a day by having shakes and soups predominantly as your main food supply. Taking how difficult it is to comply for overall lifestyle and how miserable it makes most women as your body is devoid of energy, it can be supportive of quick weight loss.

 

However, what I see in my clinic is women who have lost vast amounts of weight very quickly, put the weight back on just as quick as soon as they go back to old eating habits. What makes it worse is that all of a sudden they are putting more weight on as their metabolic set point (calories required for their body) has reduced to avoid starvation. Hair loss, energy issues, hormonal imbalances are also affected.

 

I hate the word diet and teach my clients that there really is no need to diet at all! As soon as you know how to eat, and were talking all food groups here: carbohydrates, proteins and fats in the right way, you will lose weight and feel amazing!

 

11 – Whats your favourite dish and why?

What a great question ! I love simple dishes and ones that fit easily into family mealtimes. One of my favourites is chicken tray bake as its simple, easy and my children love it to !

 

12 – if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?!

Hardest question by far Becca – ha! Can I say 3 or is that cheating? (it was definitely cheating but I will let her off!!)

  1. Salmon – anti-inflammatory, full of essential fats to feed my nervous system and brain.
  2. Mixed nuts & seeds – anti-inflammatory, high protein and essential fats. They go everywhere with me and would be lost without them
  3. Green veggies – anti-cancer properties and full of nutrients for a happy and healthy body

 

13 – What can’t you live without?

My family& friends … cannot imagine a world without my kids, husband and wider friends and family

14 – I feel most at home…

…sitting in the garden watching the kids play with a glass of Prosecco chatting to my husband. That to me is bliss

 

15 – How would your friends describe you?

Warm, honest and always there if you need me

 

16 – If you were stranded on a desert island, what 3 things (not people!!) would you take and why?

  1. Kindle for books
  2. Avocado’s as the mixture of fat and protein would keep me alive !
  3. My journal to help keep my mind occupied and write experiences, thoughts, ideas down

Blog on the Manchester Half Marathon 2019

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It’s been just 2 and a half weeks since the half marathon and I’m still buzzing about it all.  I still cant fully comprehend what we all achieved that day (and I’m not talking about turning the gin bar into an impromptu karaoke bar!!)  I had the privilege to be part of 42 women’s training plans – 32 signed up to the specific half marathon club and I helped another 10 people on top of that via the Monday night sessions.  That is just mind blowing – to be able to help that many women achieve their goals is genuinely wonderful.

 

The Half Marathon run club was the biggest and best yet (I mean, it was only my 2nd one but still…) We incorporated a lot alongside actually running – physio, pilates, foam rolling, nutrition, a post run brunch and obviously an epic post run party…and the feedback has been amazing. When asked how would you vote the group overall out of 10 the response was 9.6!  Reading through the survey responses has made me so emotional so thanks to everyone who gave their feedback.

 

The most common theme from the feedback was the solidarity and impact of doing this as a group – the power of a bunch of women with a common goal is unsurpassable! Everyone gets added to a closed Facebook group and at the start of the 12 week training plan, I encouraged every member to introduce themselves and tell everyone about their running goal for the half – eg goal time, if it was their first one, etc and that was the start of their journey to 13.1 miles.  Comments like “felt like a family”, “excellent support network” and “loved the team morale, motivation, advice and encouragement” were received when asked about what they found most useful about having Facebook as a tool.

 

When I asked the members what their favour part of the half marathon training club was, the answers blew me away.  My personal favourite part of the training club was watching friendships between members grow and also to see people’s self-confidence build week on week.  To lead a group of women to push themselves out of the comfort zone and achieve something like this is pretty special.  These were some of the responses from the group on what their favourite part of the club was:

  • “getting to know people and chatting during the long runs”
  • “the sense of achievement after completing the Saturday long runs”
  • “morale boost from the group, achieving a new PB and the prosecco afterwards”
  • “everything – from the structure of the training through to the long runs”
  • “loved it all – being part of a community”
  • “spending time with an amazing group of women – the group training and friendship was brilliant”
  • “reaching unchartered ground and loving it as well as knowing my limits and pushing them”

 

One of the comments which hit home most of all about what I had created was “realising I can do more than I ever thought possible and achieving my goal” – what an epic thing to lead up.  Never in a million years did I think I’d be doing things like this when I started the business!

 

I asked various different questions in the survey – not only positives, but ideas for things which could enhance the group, changes which they think would have helped improve it  and the answers were so constructive and helpful.  The main requests for improvements were things like working on pace, getting extra advice on shoes/clothing, technical running advice to look at technique, form or style which I absolutely love and am definitely going to input into next years club where possible.  I did the same for the group last year and that’s why this year I added in a nutrition, physio and pilates elements for this years training and these extras went down so well.

 

One of my highlights from analysing the survey results was the fact that 100% of the group would recommend it to a friend.  Everyone – isn’t that just amazing!  It just shows how much they came together as a team.  The question was worded “Would you do the club again?  If yes, why…if no, why?” and the responses were again mind blowing!  Here’s a selection of the comments:

  • “it builds self esteem, friendships, breaks barriers and pushes your comfort zones”
  • “you achieve the unimaginable”
  • “friendly, supportive and really really rewarding”
  • “likeminded ladies, all abilities, not compeitive, very supportive and great post race gathering”
  • “nutrition support and the after party is the best in town”
  • “exceptional support from Becca and the group – the training plan was manageable even for the busiest of mums”
  • “great club, lovely group and brilliant run leader”
  • “feels like I’ve made friends for life”

 

It took me a while to actually fathom that last comment – “feels like I’ve made friends for life” – I absolutely love this.  I myself have made some amazing friends from starting this business so the fact that my clients are now doing the same is unreal and so satisfying!

 

We trained together on this for 3 months but some of these women have actually been training with me for 2 years.  21 of the 42 people started in my Couch to 5k Beginners groups – so never ever think that it’s “just 5k” or anything like that – this lovely bunch have set targets and hit their own goals over the years and have now hit the half marathon goal.  There was even a request on the survey for me to start a marathon training club…now that’s a bit keen, even for me!!

 

When I started writing this blog it was going to be about my half marathon – how I felt, how I found it, etc but as I was writing I realised that totally paled into insignificance for me.  Yes it was a great half – I totally felt famous running through Sale.  I hit my target time of 1hr 56 mins so was super chuffed with myself as that took 2 mins off my PB and I took 6 minutes off last years time.  There were highs and lows during the 13.1 mile slog but that all meant nothing when I got to The Bridge and my runners started arriving and I could see how ecstatic they all were about smashing their goals!  That was my real highlight – that and the post run steak frites and prosecco!!

 

I’m 100% doing another club next year and it will hopefully be even bigger and better than this years.  85% of the group have said they’d be up for doing the club again next year with another 12% undecided so I’ll take that as a challenge to convert them from a maybe to a hell yeah!!

 

So if you’re tempted to get started, don’t delay.  I’ve got a new beginners running club starting in January so get in touch and get your name on the list.  You never know where running will take you!

I love a good smoothie…

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I love a good smoothie!!  Such a geek but I really do.  Not only are they a great way of grabbing a healthy, nutritious breakfast on the go, but they’re also a brilliant pre or post run or workout snack.

Now…there are a few simple rules to think of when creating your own smoothie and they are:

  • Choose a Base – options can include – almond milk, oat milk, coconut milk, water
  • Pick 1 or 2 different fruits – these can be any but popular ones include frozen berries, pear, plum, apple, strawberry, banana, blueberry, blackberry
  • Pick a protein/healthy fat – eg. – protein powder, chia seeds, cashew nuts, nut butter, 100g yoghurt, pumpkin seeds

A few months back I asked you for your favourite recipes for a blog and I’ve finally had some spare time to actually write them up for you to try.  I’ll start with my top ones and then list the ones you shared…:

  • Summer Fruits:
    • 100ml Almond Milk, handful frozen mixed summer fruit, 1 banana, ½ scoop vanilla protein powder, dash of honey
  • Raspberry Oats:
    • Handful of oats, handful of raspberries, 1 banana, 1 tbsp honey, 100ml Greek yoghurt, 100ml oat milk
  • Strawberry Milkshake
    • 150ml coconut milk, decent handful of frozen strawberries, 1 banana, ½ scoop vanilla protein powder
  • Fats Me Up Smoothie (Joe Wicks)
    • Juice of 2 limes, 200ml almond milk, handful blackberries, handful blueberries, ½ avocado (roughly chopped or I cheat and use frozen), 3 tbsp Greek yoghurt, 1 tbsp honey, ½ scoop vanilla protein powder

Now for the ones you shared with me:

  • Mixed Fruit
    • Handful of frozen raspberries, strawberries & blueberries, 1 banana, 100ml milk
  • Peanut Butter Surprise
    • 150ml milk, handful of frozen mixed berries, 1 banana, handful of spinach, 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • Weetabix Smoothie
    • 1 Weetabix, 100ml milk, 1 banana, 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • Green Goodness
    • 1 apple (chopped), handful frozen pineapple, 1-2 inches of cucumber, ½ avocado, handful of spinach, juice of 1 lime, 100ml coconut water

 

There are so many different concoctions available!  Are there any of your favourites that I’ve missed?  Please let me know and I’ll update the blog

Guest Blog – Claire from Claire S Physio

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So the lovely Claire who runs Claire S Physio took some time out of her busy schedule to have a natter with me over a cup of tea and answer some all important questions!  Read on to find out more about Claire, her business, what you can expect from a session with her and what she can’t live without…

  1. What’s your name and where are you from?

Claire, originally from Hong Kong but I moved over to Manchester to study Physiotherapy in 1998 and have lived here ever since.

  1. Tell me some facts about you…

I am a mum to Annalise who is 4 years old and a wife to Rick.

My favourite things are running, yoga, Pilates, going on holiday and gin!

  1. Tell me about the business…

I have been a Physiotherapist for 18 years now and have decided to set up my own business so that I can be more flexible to my own family needs but also to the needs of my patients as we all have different but hectic lifestyles. I am based at clinic locations in Sale, Cheadle and Bowden and I offer assessment and treatment of Musculoskeletal and sports injuries as well as Pregnancy and post-natal issues (I now offer the Mummy MOT). I also teach Pilates classes and offer 1-2-1 sessions.

  1. What motivated you to set up your own business?

I wanted more flexibility and felt that I had the experience and confidence to run my own business without the support of a large company set up (I was part of the management team so I know what needs to be done to deliver an excellent physiotherapy service to patients!)

I also wanted to connect more with the local community that I live in and teaming up with Becca on some of her running groups has been such a motivation for me. It has been great to be part of something encouraging and positive that gets so many women out exercising and making friends.

  1. What can someone expect from a session with you?

I want my sessions to be relaxed and you will find that I am very approachable and understanding of issues and limitations for injury rehabilitation (not everyone can get to the gym every day!). I always treat the problem rather than just the symptoms so that it is less likely for symptoms to recur. I will always explain what is causing pain or dysfunction in terms that my patients understand as I believe it is really important for them to know what is happening and why they need to carry on with their exercises or self-management techniques. My treatment approach is very hands on and I have been an acupuncturist for nearly 15 years so often use this as part of the treatment.  I also use a lot of yoga and Pilates based exercise in my rehabilitation.

  1. What’s the most common injury you see in Mums & do you have any handy hints/prevention methods?

Most Mum’s will develop neck and back pain from lifting and bending down to small children! I also see a lot of general muscle strains especially when Mums make the fantastic decision to return to exercise after having a baby.

And the best thing for prevention-stretch, stretch, stretch! Or get to a yoga or Pilates class. It is so important to make sure you don’t get too stiff so make sure to stay active and stretch as much as possible.

  1. What’s your top tips for new Mums who are getting back to exercise?

The best advice I can give is not to be too hard on yourself…. It’s always a shock to the system when we return to doing any type of exercise that we haven’t done for a while especially if also sleep deprived! It will get easier and its always worth persevering with because the benefits of exercising are so important. Returning to exercise after having Annalise gave me more confidence, allowed me to meet some lovely new friends, and gave me some much needed ‘head space’.

I think that diet is really important too. I don’t mean any kind of restrictive diets, just eating enough food that is also healthy (with a good helping of treats too). I bet like me you spend loads of time preparing healthy and nutritious food for the kids so just eat as much of what they eat as you can and it shouldn’t be too difficult!

Lastly don’t put up with pain! Just because we are Mum’s, it doesn’t mean that our health is not important so booking in for treatment or a massage if you have pain or discomfort is even more crucial than ever.

  1. Let’s talk pelvic floor…what’s your advice to anyone who’s experiencing issues?

As a pregnancy and post-natal Physiotherapist, I am obviously very keen on encouraging regular pelvic floor exercises and general core strengthening. But this strengthening needs to be functional so don’t just do your pelvic floor squeezes whilst you are sat down, try to build them into your daily routine especially if you are lifting (a child) or pushing (a pushchair)! Also breathe….. relaxed breathing is so important for muscle control as tense muscles do not work very well. So try to do your pelvic floor contraction on a slow out breath, I promise it will feel a lot easier and more effective.

  1. What’s your personal favourite type of exercise and why?

Running, Yoga and Pilates. I also love horse riding but haven’t managed to do it for a while!

  1. What’s your best piece of advice to new runners? And what’s your best to experienced runners?

New runners need to remember not to get hung up on speed or distance and some days your run will feel easier than others but if you have a bad run then don’t let it put you off! Try again next time and it will probably feel better. And also run with friends as much as possible as it takes the pain out of getting off the sofa!

I think that experienced runners need to have a goal and a plan! I often realise that I am in a running rut and just go out and plod for an hour but not really feel the physical benefit (I still get the mental benefit of ‘me time’). When this happens, I book a race and plan how many weeks I have and what time I want to run it in so that I know that I have to push myself just a little bit harder. Also its never too late to start foam rolling! Even the most experienced runner might not be doing it enough (or at all?) but it really does help.

  1. What can’t you live without?

My family! And a regular dose of chocolate.

  1. I feel most at home…

At home on the sofa! With Rick and Annalise (and a G&T)

  1. How would your friends describe you?

Organised! And probably emotional.

  1. If you were stranded on a desert island, what 3 things (not people!!) would you take and why?
  • Music (my phone!) and headphones- I love listening to music!
  • My bed- I really love sleeping but don’t get enough of it these days.
  • A bumper pack of maltesers

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If you have any injuries or pain then do not live through them – there is so much that can be done to help you.  You don’t have to live with any pain unnecessarily.

Claire’s contact info:

Mobile no – 07580161002

Email – info@claresphysio.co.uk

Women in Sport…my hero’s

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After the epic achievement earlier this month by Jasmin Paris winning an Ultra Marathon running challenge and beating the previous record by a whopping 12 hours, I started thinking about women in sport.  It’s been a tough old road for a lot of women and there are so many awe inspiring ladies out there which have paved the way so that we can now enjoy a relative amount of participation in most mainstream sports. I was going to say equality but I don’t believe it is equal at all and we have a long way to go until it is but I think that is for another rant/blog!

A prime example (and one of my running hero’s) is a lady called Kathy Switzer.  If you’ve not heard of her, she is an American runner who, in 1967, became the first ever woman to run the Boston Marathon as a numbered/official entrant.  She entered as K Switzer as to not alert people to her gender and started the race along side all the other male participants.  During the run, officials noticed her and they tried to grab her and pull her off the course.  Luckily (and due to her boyfriend shoving him to the ground) they didn’t succeed and she went on to complete the race.  The image below shows how violently the race officials wanted her off the route.

Picture Credit:Boston Globe via Getty Images

It is pretty incomprehensible to me that as recently as 1967 women weren’t allowed to run in the majority of races – could you even imagine it?  We totally take it for granted now and we owe a lot of that to this wonderful lady.  Also, what makes her even more of my hero is that in 2017 at the age of 70, she ran the Boston Marathon again wearing the same bib number.  She said that comparing running the race in 1957 and again 50 years later was like “night and day” which is just amazing.

So after thinking about the achievements of Jasmin and Kathy, I was thinking about other amazing women in sport who inspire me and here are my top 3 British athletes:

1 – Denise Lewis

A formidable British track and field Olympian.  She specialised in the Heptathlon and won Olympic gold in Sydney in 2000.  She is an absolutely unbelievable athlete.  To be able to be good at 7 different events must be so bloody tough – her PB at the 100m hurdles is 13.13 seconds – could you even contemplate how fast??! Mindblowing

She was named as the No 1 British Athlete in the late 1990’s and the reason she’s in my top 3 is for her grit and determination.  When she won Olympic Gold in Sydney, she got badly injured during the event with an old Achilles injury which reappeared – they weren’t even sure she was fit enough to finish, let alone win.  But she ran, and in last race of the heptathlon – the 800m with so much pain visually etched on her face – she won. What a woman

2. Jessica Ennis-Hill

My girl crush – she is just awesome!  I thought she was amazing before she became a Mum but she’s gone up even further in my estimation since (even though she’s now retired)

She, like Denise Lewis was a heptathlete  – a 2 time Gold Medal winning Olympian.  When she won in London in 2012 it was unreal.  It’s safe to say she was (and maybe still is) Britain’s most famous athlete.  It’s said that she put 10,000 hours of training into the London Olympics – just wow! 

What sealed her into my top 3 was her return to the sport after having her son.  She went to the Rio Olympics in 2016 and gave it absolutely everything she had and she got the Silver medal.  Some people would say she should have given herself more time to recover and train so she could have come back and got Gold instead but I don’t agree.  To go back out there after have a baby and losing by just 35 points to her competitor is unreal.  The true poise and determination shown by her and the impact this will have on others worldwide is immense.  Proving and showing that having a baby doesn’t stop you doing what you want – to me this is one of her career highlights.

3. Sally Gunnell

Although her career kind of pre-dates me in terms of the fact it was 1986 when she became a household name, she’s definitely got to be in the top 3.  She is one of the most successful British athletes ever. 

I met her a few years back as she was one of the speakers at a recruitment event I went to and man, she is a formidable woman!  The way she talked about how she was coached, the way she had to train her mind as well as her body totally resonated with me.  She had to come back from failures and loses to prove (just to herself) about what she could do…and then she went on and achieved it. 

She was the first British woman to win a track Gold at the Olympics in 1992, was named the International Athletics Female Athlete of the year in 1993 and in 1994 she became the first women to hold the big four major titles in Athletics.

There are so many other women who could make this list but then you’d be bored listening to me ramble on about superstars in sport but I want to hear from you about who inspires you and why….

How did I get here? 2 years on…

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So I thought I’d re-tell my story for all you lovely new followers and members as it’s been a while since I did – plus it’s been about 18 months since I told it so a few things have changed!

 

First off – I’m Becca and live in Sale and have done for 12 years.  I’m a Southerner, originally from Surrey, but after going to Uni in Nottingham (Trent…not proper Nottingham, always have to clarify!!) I never went home and instead met my now husband and after living the dream for a few more years after Uni in the centre of Notts, we decided to move up to Manchester.

 

Roll on 12 years of living in Sunny Sale, and I’m now a Mum of 2 kids – Chloe who’s just turned 6 and Harry who’s just turned 3 and I have been running These Mums Do Fitness for just over 2 years.  So how did I get into it all I hear you ask (hopefully!!)…

 

Almost 3 years ago, I was made redundant whilst on maternity leave with Harry which whilst I kind of had an idea it was coming, was still a hell of a shock.  It was a bit of a game changer.  I loved where I worked before – it was very flexible, I was part time and it worked really well for us so to try and replicate that was going to be pretty tough.  Part time jobs are pretty hard to come by, so I decided to start thinking about doing something completely different and that’s when I started thinking about doing something for or with Mums.  I wanted to use the redundancy as an opportunity to do something that I love and am really passionate about and that’s when I started thinking about fitness.  About how much it helped me start to feel like me again after both my kids and how important it had become in my life and that was the start of the These Mums Do journey.

 

If you know me, you’ve probably heard but… I put on a LOT of weight when I’m pregnant – can’t really tell you why (cake had a little (LOT) to do with it!) and after having Chloe I really struggled.  I struggled with being at home on my own with this beautiful thing who was completely dependant on me – it was a lot for my head to adjust to and I really didn’t feel like me.  It was hard to admit that I wasn’t coping very well and I needed to do something for me.  So I found out about a fitness class in the park and me and 2 of my antenatal group went down and met a lovely lady called Lorna who ran her own business doing fitness in the parks.  This was it – this was exactly what I needed – this was the start of my journey back to fit.

 

Lorna’s classes were very similar to what I now run (why change something that works so well!!) – and I cannot tell you how much it helped me.  Just getting outside and into the fresh air to do a workout was amazing – slowly I started losing some weight, gaining in confidence, and I started to start feeling like me again.

 

Knowing from experience how much doing exercise and regaining my fitness helped me overcome the starting’s of post natal depression, I decided to use this and re-train and become a Personal Trainer. So I pulled a business plan together and ran through the whole thing with my husband and we decided why not give it a try.  It’s funny when I look back now and I remember saying to him “I’ll give it 6-9 months and if it doesn’t work I’ll get a proper job”!!!!

 

So when Harry was 6 months old, I started my PT qualification and 3 months later I’d qualified which was pretty full on studying and looking after both kids, but when else would I have the opportunity to do something like this?  I took the positive out of it and made it work (just about!)

 

Then in September 2016 I started the business and it’s genuinely the best thing I’ve ever done.

 

I currently run Mum & Baby exercise classes, a ladies only evening class, I do 1:1 and small group Personal Training and I also have 3 different running clubs – all in just 3 days a week and as knackering as it is, I absolutely love it.  Being given the opportunity to help Mums on their own fitness journeys and meet their own goals and at the same time, give them the opportunity that I had – to be able to meet new people, get some support and get active is absolutely amazing.  The amount of friendship groups I see being created and the amount of support which each and every member gives to others is totally humbling.  One of my favourite things is to see the Mum and Baby groups all go off for coffee and a catch up after the class – that’s exactly what it’s all about.

 

There have been so many highlights – I’ve grown my classes from 3-4 people to the biggest Mum and Baby class of 16 and the biggest evening class of 22.  I’ve trained almost 300 beginner runners to get to 5k, I’ve trained over 100 people to get to 10k and I even got 28 lovely ladies trained and round the Manchester Half Marathon.  On top of all this, I also train with over 10 different 1:1 or small group clients per week!

 

The amount of friends I’ve made, people I’ve helped and how much fun I’ve had along the way makes every minute I spend on the business worthwhile.  It can be totally all consuming some weeks and I sometimes look like the walking dead come Thursday (especially if my husband has been away for the week on business) but it’s totally brilliant!

 

So if you’re thinking about coming down or want to find out any information about the classes, PT or running club, then don’t hesitate to get in touch…everyone is in exactly the same boat and you definitely wont regret it. Check out my reviews on Facebook for some of the feedback I’ve received since I started and you’ll realise that I have something suitable for everyone.

 

These Mums Do Fitness..together.  Let’s carry on making this fabulous community!  Mums doing it together and all that!

 

Right…off to pick up the kids now!  Hope you enjoyed my story and hopefully see you soon

What I wish I knew before starting running…

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I saw these words on a picture on Instagram last week and they really resonated with me and got me thinking – what I wish I knew before I started running…

It’s strange thinking about running in this way as most the time, it’s always looking forward – to the next goal, next challenge, next PB but to look back and see where you’ve come from and what you’ve learnt along the way is extremely cathartic!

So here’s my mumblings about what I wish I knew before I started running:

1 – How ridiculously annoyingly addictive it would become! 

No matter how quick you get, you always think – what about it I could do it a few seconds quicker and no matter how far you go, you always have a voice in your head egging you to go further (except to a marathon…that’s too much for me!!)

2 – Where running would take me

I never in a million years thought I’d become a run leader and inspire others to start running and its genuinely one of my favourite things – to create runners

3 – What running does for me

The mental “space” that running gives me is unparalleled in my life.  I don’t think I could find anything which is a good for me as running is.  Not only does it keep me fit – it keeps me sane.  I know I say it a lot but running for me is more than exercise.  I use it as a way to process things, deal with stuff that happens in my life and cope with stress.  It’s a form of “me-time” which as a mum of 2 who runs her own business is pretty limited.

4 – What running can do for others

I’m still overwhelmed with the feedback I get from the runners I create.  I never realised until I started this business how much running can help others – in the same way it helps me, and also in so many other ways.  From the confidence it gives people to achieve something they didn’t believe they could do to the way exercise gives them the ability to deal with life events such as cancer, bereavement, child loss – too many to list.  I’ve had people tell me they’ve come of anti-depressants, lost huge amounts of weight and even changed their lives from getting active and getting off the couch and start running – it’s totally inspiring.

5 – How frustrating it is getting injured

Getting injured sucks – not only does it hurt (obviously!!) it also means you cant run.  I’m not very good when I’m not allowed to do what I want or am told what to do (shocking, I know!!) so when you’re injured and you’re told to rest up, it’s literally the most frustrating thing ever!  You feel like you go backwards with your training and that you’ll never get back to where you were…but you do and you can.  There’s also a lot to be said for finding a great physio to help your recovery and give you great advice of what you can and cant do – thanks Claire and Felicity!!

6 – That I would be able to do a half marathon

If you’d asked me a few years ago that I would be running my 3rd Half Marathon this year I’d have laughed at you.  I ran, but I wasn’t running consistently.  I’d maybe train for a 10k run and then stop for months and then train again and do the odd parkrun in between.  It’s a long way from where I am now and I am so proud of myself for that.  Half marathon is a huge distance – 13.1 long long miles and running for 2 hours is a massive test of endurance both physically and mentally.  Anyone who even makes it to the start line deserves a huge pat on the back and then to finish is unreal!  I’ve cried both times I’ve crossed the finish line – the crowd, the adrenaline, the achievement.  Makes me so proud of myself, which probably for most of us, doesn’t happen often enough!

7 – (last but not least) How important Foam Rolling is

Like many of you, I’d never heard of Foam Rolling until Claire (physio) who was part of my 5-10k run club at the time mentioned it…and almost fell over shocked when I said I didn’t know about it!  That’s where the Foam Rolling evenings started…anyway, I’ll stop rambling!

Foam Rolling is amazing – it has enabled me to run as many miles as I do every week with only the odd niggle in terms of injury.  Stretching out and rolling on the roller not only aids in recovery so I can have fresh legs the day after, but it helps keep my injuries at bay.  If you’re reading this thinking you’d like to find out more, please let me know as like I said earlier, we host regular Foam Rolling events to teach you about what it is, why do it, and most importantly – how to do it properly!

 

Right well that’s it – that’s my take on the subject of “what I wish I knew before I started running” and now I want to hear yours….

What do you wish you knew before or what have you learnt since you started?

 

Guest Blog…Introducing Felicity from Pelvic Physio Manchester

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I took some time to have a great chat and catch up with Felicity who runs Pelvic Physio Manchester.  I’ve known Felicity for just over year and can’t tell you how lovely she is!  She specialises in treating pelvic health issues and is a qualified Mummy MOT Practitioner.  She works for the NHS alongside her private practice and lives and breathes pelvic floors (if that’s even a thing!!)

We’re on a mission to stop women believing you have to “live” with a poor pelvic floor and incontinence and work really closely together to try and help as many people as possible.  So if you’ve any pelvic floor weakness, discomfort or any issues with your stomach muscles or just don’t feel right after having your baby…then Felicity’s your lady.

So read on to find out more about Felicity – where she’s from, why she started Pelvic Physio Manchester and what she cant live without if she was deserted on a desert island…

1- What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Felicity Nicholson and I am from Dublin, Ireland. I moved to Manchester in 2003 to study Physiotherapy and stayed after meeting my husband and starting our family here.

2 – Tell me some facts about you…

I initially studied Biochemistry in Dublin. I still have a big interest in research but now I like applying the research evidence and seeing the direct benefit on the patient in front of me. I’m an eternal student (or maybe just a science geek 🤓). I still have my student card and get a 20% discount in Topshop!

3 – Tell me about what you do and your business Pelvic Physio Manchester…
I am a specialist pelvic physiotherapist, I treat women and men with bladder, bowel, prolapse, or pelvic pain problems.

I know these issues are seen as a big taboo, causing people a great deal of embarrassment and shame, perhaps taking them years to seek treatment which is awful. But once they know that they’re not alone and that simple, effective treatments without the need for surgery is available, I get a massive buzz in helping them reduce their symptoms and achieve their goals.

4 – What motivated you to set up your own business?
Being my own boss means I can work flexible hours and spend more time with my daughter as she’s growing up. I love working in the NHS too, I’m lucky to have a great pelvic health team at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport.

5 – How long have you been a physio and What made you want to specialise in Women’s Health physiotherapy?
I qualified in 2006, completed my Masters in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy in 2011 with my dissertation in women’s health. I’ve always felt it unfair that women can be left with disabling consequences of giving birth, often feeling they are expected to just accept them.

Not many women feel confident to exercise, enjoy sex or even go out to work when they can’t trust their ability to control their bladder or bowels. I don’t want to see anyone being held back from doing what they want to do because of their pelvic floor problems, because these issues are treatable! I lose my mind with frustration every time I see the Tena adverts encouraging women just to pad up and get on with it.

6 – What can someone expect from a session with you?

A listening ear. Nothing surprises me. I ask lots of questions about your health, obstetric and gynaecological history, occupation, hobbies and goals. After that, I offer a full physical examination and we would discuss the relevant anatomy and treatment options to help get you back on track.

7 – What’s the most common injury you see in Mums & do you have any handy hints/prevention methods? 
The most common condition I treat is stress incontinence, with 1 in 3 women experiencing leakage of urine with coughing, jumping or laughing. More people have incontinence in the UK than diabetes, asthma and epilepsy combined.

The main cause is pelvic floor weakness secondary to pregnancy and childbirth. Pelvic floor muscle training is the first line treatment for stress incontinence.

We know that doing pelvic floor exercises in pregnancy helps to reduce the risk of problems postnatally. Sometimes we just aren’t sure if we are doing them right and I recommend getting checked out with a women’s health physio who will be able to give you a personalised exercise programme and treatment plan. If in doubt, get it checked out.

8 – What’s your top tips for new Mums who are getting back to exercise?
Start slowly and gently with low impact exercise like walking, pilates, yoga, swimming and build up gradually. You are only as strong as your weakest muscle – work on improving your pelvic floor strength everyday.

Listen to your body- don’t ignore symptoms of incontinence or vaginal prolapse, seek help from your GP or women’s health physio. At Pelvic Physio Manchester we offer a Mummy Mot; a post natal Physiotherapy assessment from 6 weeks post birth onwards, where we assess your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor to ensure they are recovering well and we can advise you, based on your own circumstances, how to get back exercising safely.

9 – Let’s talk pelvic floor…what’s your advice to anyone who’s experiencing pelvic floor problems?

It really depends on what the problems are. We treat such a variety of problems; stress incontinence, urgency or frequency, urge incontinence, prolapse, constipation, leakage or urgency with bowel movements, pain with intercourse, or chronic pelvic pain. These problems don’t get better on their own, are often treatable without the need for surgery and you don’t have to suffer in silence. Seek advice from your GP or women’s health physio today.

To practice pelvic floor exercises first we want to locate where these muscles are; they run from the pubic bone to the tail bone and out to both sitting bones, surrounding the entrances to the bladder, vagina and bowels. To squeeze your pelvic floor imagine you are trying to stop yourself from passing wind, and then draw that sensation around to the front as if you are trying to stop yourself from passing wee. It’s a squeeze and a lift inside. Make sure you are not holding your breath, squeezing your buttocks or thighs. We want to be doing 10 quick squeezes for coordination so the muscles kick in quickly when we cough or sneeze and 10 long squeezes, for up to ten seconds, for endurance. If you feel the muscles are slipping away after say 5 seconds, just hold for 4 seconds, relax the muscles completely and try to do up to 10. Then the following week hold for 5 seconds and progress gradually till you can hold for 10. Try to do the exercises in different positions, lying, sitting or standing, three times a day for at least three months to see results, then it’s once a day for life. We need to use the pelvic floor muscles when we need them, so try to tighten them before coughing.

More information on pelvic floor exercises can be found at the Pelvic Obstetric and Gynaecology Physiotherapy website (https://pogp.csp.org.uk/)

10 – What’s your personal favourite type of exercise and why?

This week it’s been mainly dancing in the kitchen with a two year old. I love Pilates and teach a pregnancy Pilates class at The Pilates Rooms in Urmston.

Yoga, snowboarding and horse riding would also be my exercise of choice when I have the time. I’m a big fan of the couch to 5k running programme and have completed it a few times. When you’ve got a young family it’s easiest to run out the door and escape for a 30 minute run whenever you get the opportunity.

11 – What’s your best piece of advice to new mums who are having body confidence issues?

Get yourself some good mummy friends and talk. We’re all in this together and we need to support each other. I recommend classes like Becca’s where you are outside in the fresh air, with like-minded mums, exercising releases feel-good hormones to lift mood and an extra bonus- get you fitter!

12 – What can’t you live without?

Breathing. Might seem a bit obvious but nothing beats a few deep diaphragmatic belly breaths to take stress levels down. I find myself needing to do this quite a bit!- As I’m sure most mums do. Also people with pelvic pain problems are often breathing only into the top parts of their lungs, re-learning how to direct their breath into their belly, helps to relax the pelvic floor and can relieve pain and tension.

13 – I feel most at home…

When I’m with family and friends, wherever that is.

14 – How would your friends describe you?

I have no idea! Tall, Irish, ..amazing? 😉

15 – If you were stranded on a desert island, what 3 things (not people!!) would you take and why?

Fire, water and my iPhone.

So if you have any concerns or just want to talk through anything at all to make sure what you’re going through more “normal” then please get in touch.

Felicity’s contact details are:

Number – 07835157104

Email – info@pelvicphysiomanchester.com

Website – www.pelvicphysiomanchester.com