The Lovely Tricia Murray from Edinburgh Birth and baby Academy recently interviewed me for her audience of mums. It was a lovely way for me to reflect and discuss what I offer as a personal trainer and what got me to where I am in the first place.
Heres the full interview for you to read, if you feel inspired to come along and try it out. Head to the CONTACT page and drop me an email.
Tell me a little bit more around you?
I am a mum, I have a sweet natured little girl called Bow. My husband and I both work from home, Adam runs a Design Collective and I run my PT business. A few years ago, we both decided to reshaped our work life in order to spend quality time together as a family.
We love the outdoors, camping, cycling being by the waves and bonfires. We are really fortunate to live in an idyllic woodland setting so we don’t have to go far to have to have a woodland adventure and be connected to nature. Which for me is food for the soul.
I’d love to hear how you got into PT
I went through IVF to fall pregnant with our daughter. Before embarking on that journey, I was extremely strict with my fitness and health routine. I wanted to give us the best possible chance. I was commuting by bicycle in and out of the city 5 days a week and going to the gym at least 3! I felt so strong in my body and mind, it made me very resilient and I felt better able to handle the emotional rollercoaster I was on.
I had to slow down through the treatment and allow my body to rest completely. We were extremely lucky to fall pregnant on our first attempt. During my pregnancy I kept active but I was always itching to get back to a more regular fitness routine, not for any other reason than the clarity it gave me in my mind, getting a strong body back was the bonus.
I noticed very quickly the link between exercise and my mental and physical wellbeing. For me it was my medicine, it kept the negative chatter at bay, it stopped the anxiety creeping in and it made me feel empowered. I have always loved meditation and yoga, so combining this with strength training felt like my secret weapon!
I love knowing my body and what makes it function most effectively, the moment I head of course - the cracks start to appear!
I decided that for me, health and fitness was about a new way of life, not something to dabble in, but something I believed in and could do everyday to make myself feel good and in turn be better with my relationships and my job as a mum.
Sharing what I have learned along the way is what lead me to become a PT, I love connecting with new people, it’s a rewarding job when you get to see people shift their energy and their focus for the better. I think it is really important to encourage people to re connect with themselves and take time to feel better. It doesn’t have to be about hours in a gym pounding the treadmill - its about finding what you enjoy and steadily introducing new habits a little at a time.
Why would people come to see you?
What I offer is fairly unique in the sense that it is a combination of strength training, yoga and relaxation. The idea being that you build yourself up brick by brick in body and in mind. As I said before I don’t believe in hours of heavy lifting or crazy cardio. It’s about finding what you enjoy and shaping the hour we have together to focus on that.
Which can mean more stretching and meditation or weight based exercises and woodland jogs, it depends entirely on what your end goals are. I try to encourage my clients to think more about the body - mind connection, about reconnecting to themselves, taking time to hear what their body needs, becoming intuitive in the way they live. Through gaining this connection its more likely that new habits can be formed and sustained. I find weight driven goals can be counter productive, I encourage my clients to focus on self love and we work from there. More often that not, weight loss comes along for the ride!
Can you tell me about some of the clients you work with?
I work with a lot of mums, some that are taking their first steps back into fitness following birth, some that are burnt out, exhausted, lost in themselves or suffering with stress and anxiety - whilst trying to juggle all the things life throws their way!
Most of my clients are looking for ‘ME’ time, someone who can support them in forming new habits, getting an exercise program that suits their individual needs and most importantly allows them to re-connect with themselves.
What would you advise mums to do to get started with exercise?
I think mums can underestimate how physical their days already are, thats why I think it is important when choosing to start exercise, firstly you find something that you enjoy. Something that gives you a ‘whole’ sense of well being, that way its more likely to become a part of everyday life. It could be going to the beach for a brisk walk, start of gently and over time increase the speed and distance.
Being by the sea can help focus the mind, it can make you more present. More focused on the senses than on the exercise itself, the result being you get caught up in the peace of the present moment, and you may find you have walked further than you thought you could.
I find when my clients exercise outdoors, they are able to endure more challenging exercises and for longer.
Also, I think it is good to start with a micro goal so that it doesn’t overwhelm you, you feel less resistance if you know it is achievable. And once you achieve it theres a sense of satisfaction that will make you want to do it again.
We know all the main reasons why we should exercise but what are the ways that exercise can improve our lives?
I promote exercise as an opportunity to re connect with yourself, to get to know your own body again. I think we are all so far from knowing what our bodies really need as we very rarely take the time to listen to them. I believe that exercise is like a medicine for your body, when done in a sympathetic way and lead by your needs it can support everything in your life.
We have so much information on the benefits of exercise, but it can feel daunting and not everyone wants to reach straight for the dumb bells! Exercise is about moving, nourishing your body with blood flow, flooding your brain with good hormones, lubricating your joints and flushing out toxins, its about a whole sense of wellbeing not just in your body, but in your mind too.
Our mums are overloaded and often feeling quite stressed. Some of the factors might be time, mummy guilt, energy etc. What advice would you give them and how would you encourage them to exercise?
‘Apply your own oxygen mask first’ best piece of advice I have ever been given. It is impossible to support your family and those around you if you are not looking after yourself first. I understand that it doesn’t always seem straight forward but I encourage you to make it a priority. Take 5 mins to check in with yourself, by that I mean, acknowledge what you have achieved, thank yourself for showing up and getting shit done! The sooner you realise that what you do matters, and you deserve to take time for yourself the easier it will become.
Prioritise you, leave the washing in a pile - go outside for a ten minute walk - notice how it helps you!
Allow yourself the time to re connect with your needs and what feels good for you. Set small goals for yourself, listen to your body.