IMO chats to: Women In Sport

One big thing I want to promote here on Its Mostly Okay is sport and it’s positive effect on not just adults, but children too. I wrote a post recently about how my lack of sport, especially team sport when I was a young, lead me to be lazy and lax throughout my teen years and well into my twenties. Sport fell off my radar when I hit my late teens, not pushed to do it anymore I stopped it altogether. I’m certain that had I been more active and engaged when I was younger, then I would have had a different attitude towards many things as a young adult, especially diet and lifestyle. Liz Sully, a Fundraising Manager at Women in Sport got in touch with me recently to let me know about their ‘What If’ campaign. A positive and empowering campaign, aimed at changing the way young girls view sport. ‘What if, instead of growing up only seeing images of models and make-up on the pages of magazines, young girls saw sport portrayed in a way that made them want to be more physically active?’. This resonated with me having a daughter myself, I would like her to grow up not just seeing images of un-realistic girls in magazines or on television, with flouncy hair and ‘pretty’ makeup, but strong, sporty girls who show that anything can be achieved and who show that being active and sweaty is totally normal.

The #whatif campaign requires support and backing, Liz explained all to me.

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IMO chats to: Hanna from My Goodness Recipes

Sometimes, just sometimes I stumble across someone on social media who makes me sit up and take notice, Hanna Sillitoe from My Goodness Recipes was one of those people. Last Christmas, a few months after giving birth I had an eczema flare up on my face that came out of nowhere. It was awful and I literally spent January hiding away behind closed doors, with a hood over my head, not wanting anyone to see me. It was a very low point and although it has eased, I dread it coming back. I’m always searching online for inspiration, answers and cures and that’s how I came across Hanna’s Instagram page and website. Hanna suffered from psoriasis and shared her before and after images. Hanna claimed to have resolved her skin issues through changing her diet alone, needless to say I was intrigued to find out more.

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IMO chats to: CoppaFeel! Breast Cancer charity

My mum was diagnosed with Breast Cancer when I was at sixth form. Because I was so young (and a bit selfish and clueless) at the time I never thought about checking my own boobs. Breast cancer was something that happened to older women, right? Fast forward to more recent times and my older sister was given the news nearly five years ago that she had breast cancer too. As a family we were shocked and devastated that it had happened again, it was totally out of the blue, but did you know that at least one in eight women will experience breast cancer in their lifetime? It finally dawned on me that I needed to start checking myself regularly, it started to become part of my daily routine, and it was around this time that I heard about a breast cancer charity called CoppaFeel!

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IMO Chats To : Gemma Whates From All By Mama

I first heard about All By Mama at Christmas, around the time I was starting this blog. My husband had heard about them from someone at his Hockey club, which then lead me to assume that the All by Mama ladies played hockey, not true apparently! Anyway I digress, All by Mama is a rather brilliant website where you can buy lots of gorgeous handmade items, made by some very talented Mum’s (mama’s, mummy’s, moms or mothers :) You name it you can buy it, there are beautiful prints, jewellery pieces (I’ve got my eye on this necklace), clothes, bunting, candles, the list is endless. I got in touch with one of the founders, Gemma to ask her some questions.

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IMO chats to: Buggy Fit instructor Anna Coe

When my baby was three months old, I felt ready to start doing some fitness again. I run and play hockey, but stopped both completely when I was pregnant, I was itching to start to feel like ‘me’ again. I had heard about Buggy Fit via a friend and thought it sounded brilliant. I liked the idea of having one set weekly task that would get me out of the house for an hour or so. I also liked the thought of meeting some other mums. The classes near me are run by a lady called Anna Coe, so I booked a block of classes and rocked up, feeling slightly nervous at donning my lycra again and the thought of the babe kicking off mid class, wouldn’t that be a pain? I needn’t of worried, Anna put me completely at ease and wouldn’t dream of tutting or rolling her eyes if your baby starts wailing or needs feeding, she either shouts louder or builds in a buggy ‘Stop and lock!’ into the class!

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Come rain or shine, Anna always has a beaming smile on her face (possibly because she secretly enjoys making the mums work so hard?!) She’s just the sort of person you need chivvying you along and as a mum herself, she knows what it’s like. You really feel like you’ve achieved something after a class with her and wait until you see her hot weather pink shorts!

I got in touch with Anna to find out exactly how she became a Buggy Fit instructor:

Hi Anna! Tell me a bit about your background?

I trained as an exercise to music teacher 14 years ago after being made redundant but did it knowing that what I wanted to do, was to specialise in ante and post natal training.  I started my specialist training within three weeks of qualifying and have loved every minute of it.  I actually did a Social Policy degree!

How did you become a Buggy Fit instructor?

I was running my own Buggy and indoor post natal  classes but it can be a bit lonely. I joined Buggyfit because the brand name is strong, which helps with marketing and I also get some colleagues, which is good for company and support, but also for CPD – we learn together and from each other, it’s invaluable.

What’s your average day like?

Manic – 4 children aged from 9-17, one who I home educate at the moment and being self employed is pretty crazy! Days include: school runs, driving a fair bit, teaching classes and taking personal training sessions, dreaded admin, teaching my 11 year old daughter, followed by cooking and lots of driving my brood to all their sports clubs which, unsurprisingly I encourage. It’s crazy busy, but  I know I will yearn for these days when they are gone.

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What motivates you every day?

Seeing mums who have lost confidence, regain it in their bodies and fall in love with the feeling of exercising. Finding the mum who has hated exercise all her life, becoming a bit ‘addicted’ and start coming to three classes a week, loving the way she looks and feels. The mum who comes scared and dreading it, who leaves smiling and happy. The mum who comes in despair with her pelvic floor who I can refer onto someone who can help, and a hundred other scenarios. Who wouldn’t be motivated! Oh, and I have the best office in the world, even when its raining! :)

What makes you angry? Something mums get told perhaps or bad advice?

People who give Mums advice who haven’t bothered to find out what Mums need or what is safe. Don’t get me started or you might see my very smiley face turn upside down.

What can women expect from your classes?

Fun, support, never judgement, encouragement, honesty and the very best advice I can possibly give as well as a jolly good workout of course.

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How soon should mums think about returning to sport/fitness after having a baby?

When their body’s are ready and not one single second before. Huge amounts of damage can be done by doing the wrong thing too soon.  Get the right advice and if in doubt see a specialist women’s health physio therapist. If you are problem free, no running before 6 months post natal and no sit ups ever again – total waste of time and potentially damaging. If in doubt DON’T – get some advice instead.

Do you just run the one class, or several and are they all the same level fitness wise?

We do a variety of classes at different times and locations and they vary in intensity, all details are on the web site www.mumsinshape.co.uk. But questions are happily answered  by e mail.

What is the most common complaint, physically, that women seem to have, when returning to fitness after having a baby?

Other than exhaustion it has to be the pelvic floor – leaking is NEVER normal, don’t accept that verdict from a doctor, it isn’t what you have to live with, get help.  I am always happy to refer if you need it whether you are a client of mine or not.

Certainly from the classes I attended, you talk about the pelvic floor muscles a lot, this was something never discussed in my mums generation, what’s made us realise this is so important now?

Not being able to live the lives we want to live, we can have what we want but we need the right advice, sadly there is a lot of out of date advice out there.  Being able to exercise is not just vital for our own well being, but also for our children.  If our children grow up in an ‘exercising household’ it will be normal for them and they will grow up doing the same, we owe it to them like we owe it to them to feed them properly.  Never feel that your exercise class or time out to go for a run is at the disadvantage of your child, you do a great thing by letting them see you look after your health, it sets a good example.

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What has been you’re proudest moment from Buggy Fit?

The marathon running Mummies are hugely inspirational and I love working with them but my proudest and most fulfilling moments are probably with those Mums who never thought they could or would exercise regularly and become long term exercisers.  I could probably go on and on here so I will stop there.

Finally, how do you relax after a hard day of classes?

Hmm, I have to admit that my weakness is a glass of wine but I have to keep to strict rules or it would be just too easy to have some every day!

For more information check out Anna’s website or have a look at the Buggy Fit website to find classes in your area.