Family Matters: New mums can put fitness first

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New mums who want to get fit can join new classes in Sheffield that are running from this week.

Personal trainer Emma Koszalinski is organising the Fitness4Mum classes at Graves and Millhouses parks in Sheffield.

Emma said that this is the first time she has run post-natal fitness classes but she has done specialised training with Fitness4Mum and passed an exam and an assessment to see how she works with groups.

She said: “I am here to help mums get back their pre-pregnancy figure. No matter what problems or issues they went through during their pregnancy or birth, I can still help.”

She said: “It’s not just the mums that we base the sessions on, we look at the babies as well. For instance, if they start to get restless we’ll walk around the park or give the mums an exercise to do with the pram, such as jogging.

“As soon as the babies are settled, we’ll stop and do some more exercises.”

Emma says classes will be tailored to what the mums who turn up want to achieve.

She said: “The majority will probably want to concentrate on weight loss or regaining the muscle definition they have lost. There’s a lot of pressure on women these days to get back to their pre-baby weight. That’s the point of it, to do it in a safe way.”

She expects that mums will take part for seven to eight months but added: “It’s entirely up to them how long they want to do it for.”

Emma expects mums of babies aged from about six weeks to a few months old will come to the classes. Emma, aged 24, who lives in Batemoor, Sheffield, is usually based at the gym in the U-Mix community centre in Lowfield.

She runs her own business from there, working with private clients on their fitness.

When it’s too cold to be outside, the sessions will move to the U-Mix centre, where gym sessions cost £1.

The first 23 mums who sign up for classes will receive a free ‘kickstarter’ pack worth £99. The first session is free and further classes cost £3.75. The sessions will run at Graves Park on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9.30am to 10.30am and at Millhouses Park from 10am to 11am on Fridays.

Go to the Fitness4Mum website, http://www.fitness4mum.com, or text or email your name and email address to Emma on 07563 824119 or emma@fitness4mum.com.

Tips from the Fitness4Mum website

A primary concern for a lot of women once they have given birth tends to be getting rid of the so-called ‘baby weight’ but reclaiming your body after nine months of pregnancy can be a mental and physical challenge.

Plan your time – Try and incorporate things into your everyday activities. Walk more places with your baby, and use different speeds. If you do the same walk a couple of times a week then try timing yourself and aim to beat it, either by doing the walk quicker or walking further in the same amount of time. If you are back at work then why not ditch the car and cycle.

Be creative – When you do get the chance to go for an evening workout use your surroundings. Try hill sprints or off-road running, use different methods of running like intervals and time trials. However, it is important not just to focus on doing cardio. With all the lifting, feeding and carrying it becomes even more important to do strength work too, so incorporate squats, press ups, lunges and abdominal work into your routine. Use a park bench to do your press-ups on or you may even do step-ups on to it. If you are at a more advanced level you may want to place your back leg on it and do lunges from it! Use the time you’re out of the house and think of it as you time.

Be progressive- Keep a training diary. It will really help you to keep your focus and push yourself realistically and accurately. Your fitness will improve at a much better rate and so will your motivation. But don’t rush things. It’s important that you ease yourself into any exercise, allowing adequate time to warm up properly and to cool down. Also note you should only start to exercise postnatally once you have been given clearance from your doctor. You shouldn’t perform any crunches or rotatory movements of your trunk if you have any separation of your abdominals.

Diet – It’s important not to starve yourself in order to get to where you want to be, especially if you are breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is known to be one of the best ways to help women lose weight after birth, you develop fat stores for a reason during pregnancy. If for some reason you can’t breastfeed, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to lose weight, you may just have to monitor your diet that bit more and try to gradually return your appetite to pre-pregnancy levels.

No matter what your goal may be in your postnatal period it is important not to berate yourself if you are too tired to exercise one day or don’t feel up to it. No-one can prepare you for what may lay ahead prior to giving birth. It’s important to take one step at a time, don’t rush things and persevere.