How soon after pregnancy can you exercise?


Great Question!

It has traditionally been assumed that postpartum women should avoid exercise until their 6-8 weeks check up with their doctor. Now I do get this, especially if there has been any complications, this is also dependent on how your energy is. Your body has gone through months of a massive change – remember that!

We now know that there is a lot we can and should do after giving birth and the benefits are vast. How soon after pregnancy can you exercise though? It’s a question I’m asked quite regularly. I understand that women can be very cautious when it comes to exercising after giving birth, but that is why I wrote and wanted to share this information, if it is to help anyone out there.

Every pregnancy is different, every birth is different, and every postnatal recovery is different. So, it’s important that we learn to listen to our bodies when it comes to postnatal exercise. Our bodies have been through drastic change in the 8-9months when pregnant, and labour may have lasted a long time (and felt like a marathon). It’s important that you wait until you feel ready to move your body, and that it is your choice.

The current guidelines are that there are gentle exercises (listed below) you can do as soon as you feel ready after birth. Even a day or 2 afterwards. It’s important to note however that someone recovering from a caesarean or complicated birth may take longer to feel ready than someone who gave birth vaginally.

Pelvic Floor Activation

It is never too early to start pelvic floor exercises, or better known as Kegals. These should combine both holds (up to 6-8 seconds) and pulses and can be performed 2-3 times per day. If you had a vaginal birth, pelvic floor exercises can help bring blood to the vagina. Helping improve healing of any tears or episiotomy scars. Remember that even if you gave birth via caesarean your pelvic floor has still carried the weight of your uterus for 9 months. So, pelvic floor exercises are important.


During pregnancy our breath can be affected as the uterus grows further up towards the diaphragm (our breathing muscle). Postnatally it’s a great time to relearn how to breathe effectively. This means taking full inhales, that travel down to the base of the lungs and expand the ribcage (rather than breathing up into the neck and shoulders). When we exhale we should feel the lungs empty fully. When we breathe, we stimulate our abdominals and pelvic floor, so it’s a great way to get some awareness of those muscles back too. It can also help with relaxation too. This is why Pilates can be so beneficial for postnatal and health in general.

Deep Core Engagement

During pregnancy the abdominal muscles stretch to make space for our growing uterus. This is where women can develop Diastasis Rectus Abdominis as our Rectus Abdominis muscles move further apart. This is a perfectly normal part of pregnancy (so don’t worry) and usually the abdominals retract back of their own accord. However, we can help stimulate these muscles as soon as we feel ready with exercises like abdominal hollowing (and our pelvic floor exercises will also help recruit them).


Walking is a great way to gently increase your cardiovascular exercise levels, get you out of the house, boost vitamin D levels, and begin to strengthen the body. It’s free, easy, you can bring your baby with you (or have some “me-time” alone) and is low impact.

How do I know if I am overdoing it?

If your postnatal bleeding gets heavier or changes colour (becomes pink or red) after activity, you could be overdoing it. You may also find you feel more exhausted, so you may need to scale things back. I know this can be frustrating, if you have been a very active person before and during your pregnancy. Your mindset and hormones will be all over the place since giving birth. The main area I say to clients is to focus on sleep. Again, make sure you listen to your body and take it one day at a time. There is no rush to get back to your pre-pregnancy fitness routines. But a little gentle movement in the first few months can help you feel ready sooner.

So, how soon after pregnancy can you exercise? You can start to exercise as soon as you feel ready to exercise after birth. It’s important to listen to your body and understand that things will feel different postnatally. Starting with some breathwork, pelvic floor activation and deep core engagement is a great start and ease yourself into movement slowly post pregnancy.

If you are looking for some more information on training plans face to face or online planning specific for you, please send me a message and let’s get you booked in for a call to discuss your recovery training plan. 


Knowing when you should step away

Being happy and healthy can be extremely difficult when you’re in a toxic environment. A toxic environment can be a result of anything from an unhealthy relationship or negative work environment to self-esteem issues or a lack of self-care. Whatever the cause, toxicity is hard to cope with.

It can sometimes be hard to recognize a toxic environment when you’re in one, and even harder to remove yourself from that environment or change it to be a positive and non-toxic one. So what exactly is a toxic environment, how does it affect your health, and what can you do to fix it?

What Is a Toxic Environment?

A toxic environment is any place or any behavior's that causes harm to your health, happiness, and wellbeing. If you’re around people who make you feel small, insecure, or bad about yourself, you might be in a toxic environment. If you feel a physical weight every time you walk into your place of work, you might be in a toxic environment.

Perhaps you go to work and are verbally abused by your manager. Or maybe your partner has a way of manipulating you that lowers your self-esteem. You could even be creating a toxic environment for yourself at home by not keeping your space tidy, or not caring for yourself by sitting down to read a book with a cup of tea every now and then.

How to Cleanse a Toxic Environment

Once you realize what a toxic environment is and you’ve realized you’re in one — what do you do about it? The answer will depend on your situation and where the root of the problem lies.

If the toxic environment is external, like a bad relationship or workplace, you may be able to remove yourself from the situation, meaning quit the job or break up with the partner, and quickly feel your spirits rise. You deserve better than having to put up with people who don’t make you feel like your best self.

If the toxic environment is being created through your own behaviour, you’ll have some work to do because toxic behaviours have no place in your life. Toxic behaviours can include negative self-talk, comparing yourself to others, playing the victim, being selfish, and more. If you can work to make your own behaviours more positive and fulfilling, you’ll be rid of your toxicity in no time.

When you feel unsatisfied or hurt by your environment and the behaviours of the people in your environment, it’s hard to feel happy and healthy overall. Your mood might dip, along with your energy levels, and you can even develop heart problems and other more serious ailments.

Your toxic environment also might be literally environmental. In that case, you may need to cleanse your home of negative energy. Removing clutter, letting light inside, rearranging or redecorating, and a good cleaning can often make an old, sad space feel new and happy.

It’s clear that toxic environments can be detrimental to your health in areas from your happiness and energy level to your sex life and risk of substance abuse, but if you can recognize a toxic environment for what it is, you can likely get yourself out of it and live a happy, healthy life.


Reasons why you aren't losing body fat

Ladies and Gents, have you tried everything to lose weight and feel like you have exhausted all options? It can be frustrating to see little results after putting in effort to transform your body.

Don't worry, you are not alone.

Many people struggle with losing fat, and there are some common reasons why.

1 - You’re eating too much

Sounds simple right? If you are eating in a surplus of calories (you are eating more food than you are expending) creating a positive energy balance this will result in weight gain. I have seen this with clients in the past, they start replacing sugary snacks with healthier options like nuts, fruit, trail mix, granola, muesli, and dried fruit. However, as these foods are calorie dense it ended up putting her in surplus of calories = weight gain.

2 - You’re not eating enough

More often than not this is the most common reason I see for people not losing weight. I know it is counter intuitive and goes against everything you thought you knew about losing weight. But let me ask you, how long have you been eating your yoghurt for breakfast, chicken and salad for lunch, and meat and veg for dinner and not losing weight? The definition of insanity ‘doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result’.

Yes, we need to be in a calorie deficit (eating less food than we are expending) to lose weight.

Therefore creating a negative energy balance. However, if you have been eating in a calorie deficit for too long the body starts down regulate your metabolism (which will put a massive halt on fat loss as what was previously your ‘deficit’ is now your bodies new maintenance) this can then down regulates several hormones needed for fat loss; thyroid hormones, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and leptin, and begins to upregulate hormones that can inhibit fat loss; cortisol.

3 - Your stressed out

When we are stressed, we release a hormone called cortisol. Acute increases in cortisol are good, they help as cope with stress and can help us build muscle and burn body fat. 

High cortisol will also cause the body to breakdown muscle tissue and preserve fat. In fact, prolonged cortisol elevation encourages fat storage around the mid-section. High cortisol levels can also increase cravings for sugary and salty foods (comfort foods) in conjunction with this cortisol can also increase appetite. Stress can do weird things to people’s bodies. You can be doing everything right nutrition and training wise but if you are stressed you will not see the results you want.

4 - You don’t get enough sleep

There is a correlation between less sleep time and higher levels of body fat.

That is not to say that if you don’t get enough sleep, you will gain fat. However, it can be a major contributor to why you are not losing weight. Whilst sleeping we produce growth hormone; this hormone plays a big role in building muscle and losing body fat. A lack of sleep means you aren’t getting optimal production of this hormone which may contribute to inhibiting your fat loss goals. Lack of sleep also increases cortisol which as we learnt previously, can put a major halt on fat loss.

5 - You binge on the weekend

You cannot be healthy 5 days a week and then go ‘it will be fine’ on food on the weekend and expect to get the body of your dreams. Not only does this create an unhealthy and dangerous relationship with food but it will completely sabotage your results.

If you’re eating in a calorie deficit 5 days a week, then blow out on the weekend eating in a large excess of calories your total weekly calories will probably be in excess (calorie surplus = weight gain).

6 - You’re not eating enough Protein

A lot of females avoid protein through fear of it making them gain weight or make them bulky. 

Protein isn’t just important for weight and fat loss but it is vital for every cell in our body to function properly. It plays a role in maintaining our immune system, hormone production, gut health, and improving our detoxification pathways.

Protein should be part of every meal you eat throughout the day, specifically breakfast. This will keep you fuller for longer and keep you from snacking throughout the day.

7 - You’re avoiding carbs

Carbohydrates are our brains preferred fuel source for energy. Most people believe carbohydrates are the enemy when it comes to fat loss and as a result either cut them out all together or reduce them to dangerously low levels.

When we eat too low carbohydrates for too long it has a similar effect to eating too little calories for too long. It places our body under a lot of stress and as a result we see big increases in cortisol.

8 - You’re only doing cardio

I don’t really prescribe cardio for any of my clients. I am not saying there isn’t a time and place for it, there definitely is. But, most women that come to me wanting to lose fat and ‘tone’ their body are doing 45 minutes on the cardio machines 3-5 days per week.

Long duration cardio (especially when eating in a calorie deficit) is going to ramp up stress and cause inflammation in the body. Causing you to store body fat and burn muscle.

When someone tells me they have lost weight doing only cardio, they have generally lost muscle mass. The more muscle mass we have the better our metabolism will fire, so the goal is never to lose muscle mass.

Women that already have cortisol issues due to a stressful job, poor diet, busy lifestyle, and emotional stress definitely do not want to be doing long duration cardio all the time as this is only going to make matters worse. High intensity interval training (HIIT) has been shown to be a much more effective conditioning method to burn fat whilst preserving muscle and can be done in less than half the time of typical aerobic training.

9 - You’re not being consistent enough

Constant commitment and consistency are the keys to long term lasting results. This is probably the biggest limiting factor in you achieving your fat loss goals. Most women will try a diet or training plan for a certain period then fall of the wagon for a few weeks, then get back on, then something happens, and they get off again, and this cycle continues.

If you fall off for one meal, get straight back on track for the next meal. Don’t wait to start again the next day or the next week. And don’t beat yourself up over it either. Commit to training a certain number of times per week and lock it into your schedule like you would you job. Small consistent changes over time yield long term results.


Training & working out when injured or ill

Training when you’re not 100% can lead to you feeling worse, and for more gain in the long term it is best not to train.
When you’re in the zone it feel really difficult to miss a gym session for fear of losing momentum, but it is really important to listen to your body and give it a break in order to recover energy levels.

Injury, illness, and life happens. How you handle these things makes all the difference. And that doesn't necessarily mean buckling down and charging forward more intensely; it can also mean slowing down and letting yourself heal. Here are my suggestions for getting through a sidelining event.

Depending on the severity of the illness or injury, it may be that your body needs a few days rest and recover, and particularly if your muscles are tight, there are several stretches you can do to help the healing process.

The best way to avoid injury in training is by ensuring that your technique is spot on; regularly massaging your muscles on a foam roller; paying attention to your mobility stretches and making sure you don’t miss a warmup or cool down when training. Many people make the mistake of compromising their technique in favour of training super hard and lifting as much as possible. This will lead to injury down the line, so warming up the muscles and focusing on mobility in your weaker areas will be key in injury prevention. 

If you are fairly new to exercise, or you have recently changed your regular program, it is normal to feel muscle soreness, particularly in the 24 - 72 hour window after training. This is known as Delayed Onset of Muscular Soreness (DOMS) and can leave your muscles feeling tender and sore to touch. This feeling is normal and will only be bad after one or two workouts, but any pain that lasts for more than 3-4 days may be something more severe and maybe get checked out. So rest and recovery is key here! 

Sleep. An often-overlooked aspect is sleeping, you really need to have at least 7 hours a night. Your body needs the right amount of time and space to recover, especially if you’re training hard and working too. Sleep is crucial to achieving your best results in any programme. 

Focus on nutrition 
While tough workouts are temporarily out, it's especially important to make sure you're eating healthily. It's important for your healing and eating well while you're sidelined can help you avoid putting on extra weight while you are laid up.
You are NOT lazy and this won't last forever
Here's something to tackle from the get-go, no matter what has sidelined your activity — there is a very big difference in between skipping workouts because you "don't feel like it" and because you've got an injury/illness or doctor's orders. Taking a break because you are ill or injured is not lazy and it's not something you should allow yourself to feel any guilt over whatsoever. You have to do what's best for your health & body, and sometimes rest is best. If you rest right the first time, you can sometimes cut down on your healing time, but if you deny yourself the chance to heal properly, you may find that your initial setback is a gift that keeps on giving.
Body changes and the feeling of losing progress
If you make healthy food choices while you're healing, you may be surprised at how relatively little of a change even a month or two of inactivity can have on your weight and body fat. Inactivity plus poor food choices will unfortunately add up a lot more quickly But, whether your body weight, composition, and capabilities change while you're inactive, either way, there's no reason to freak out. So, if you start to feel yourself sliding, just remind yourself that a cool, calm head is much more likely to make healthy decisions than one that has already talked itself into failing. Soon, when you are healed, you will return to your workouts and your normal routines and your body weight, strength, and composition will also return to normal.
Jump back in - slowly, and carefully
When you're coming back from a long break, you should basically not assume anything about your body or it's capabilities. Listen to the messages that your body sends. Modify exercises, intensity, length, range of motion, etc. as you need to. It won't help to rush anything, and, in the end, the only real goal is good health. What could be more important than investing in your own health?

Have you ever gone through a prolonged, forced rest from exercise? How did you cope?


3 lies the Health & Fitness industry is telling you

For most women, dieting has been a part of their lives for as long as they can remember. 

Hyper-focused on the scales, dress sizes, and how they look. Rather than focusing on how they feel. And I get it - I fought against my body through my teens and twenties to attain a certain shape, weight, and look with complete disregard for how I felt.

The cycle of losing, gaining, and losing again is incredibly taxing on the metabolic, hormonal, and digestive systems and I felt sh**!

In fact, many people have amazing, beautiful; and strong bodies but on the inside, they are:

·  Exhausted and fatigued

·  Bloated and constipated

·  Hair is falling out

·  Nails are brittle and weak

·  Irregular periods

·  Sex drive is non-existent

·  Weight is fluctuating hard

These are all signs from the body that something is not quite right and it's not their fault at all. The health and fitness industry is absolutely over-saturated with information. The dieting industry is a multi-billion-pound industry. This is BIG business.

Most women (and men) have spent thousands even tens of thousands on diet products and services. And the truth is, the research states that diets have a 5% success rate! That means that 95% of diets fail.

Today I am going to tell you 3 of the biggest lies women have been told when it comes to health and fitness.

1 - “Women need to eat 1200 calories to lose weight”

I am not sure where this ‘magic’ number came from, but I can assure you there are no magic numbers. For most women, this number (1200) is way too low. In fact, the calorie recommendation for a child aged 2-3 years old is 1000-1400 calories per day!

This amount of restriction over time leads to;

·  Binge eating

·  Cravings

·  Lowered metabolism

·  Weight loss resistance

·  Digestive issues

·  Hormonal issues

·  Mental health problems


Your calorie requirements are unique to you and yourself only!

Your basal metabolic rate is roughly 22 x body weight. This is the number of calories you roughly need for your organs to function. If you are eating near this number or within 10% then you are at risk of metabolic adaptation.

The solution? Start a reverse diet. If you have any questions on them, let me know.

2 - “Drinking weight loss shakes reduces body fat”

When you start removing meals and replacing them with shakes you are going to be consuming fewer calories resulting in a further deficit. Which may work temporarily for weight loss if there is not already metabolic adaptation. However, if you are replacing meals with shakes, you are also going to be consuming fewer nutrients

To make it simple... Calories determine your weight. Macronutrient ratios will determine how you look at that weight. Micronutrients determine how you feel.

This puts you at risk of nutrient deficiencies such as;

·  Iron

·  Vitamin D

·  Omega 3’s

·  B vitamins

·  Copper

·  Magnesium

·  Zinc

And much more…

Deficiencies in any of these can not only put a halt on weight loss, but you are going to be adding a load of symptoms you don't want to happen to your body.

·  Low energy and fatigue

·  Low sex drive

·  Bloating and constipation

·  Brain fog

·  Water retention

·  Anxiety

·  Insomnia

·  Waking up multiple times in the night

·  Excessive thirst

3 - “Carbs make you gain weight”

This is probably the most frustrating one that I see.

Diet culture has demonised carbohydrates with many women and women cutting them out completely. Carbohydrates play many roles in the body. They are the body's main energy source for the muscles and the brain. Because for every one molecule of carbohydrates 3 molecules of water are attached to it. So, when we cut out carbohydrates the weight loss, we experience is just water loss (not fat loss) which is why many women think cutting out carbs is the answer. They then come to realize that this is not sustainable at all for the body or their health.

REMEBER - Getting into shape isn’t easy, however it can be made much simpler with individualized advice catered to your specific needs and situation. But, having someone supporting you and guiding you on your journey will help massively in you being educated.


Is my training program a flop?


Have you ever started a new training program, challenge, or diet and absolutely flopped?

You were excited, motivated, did your food shop, your meal prep, scheduled your training sessions in and then just stopped for no reason? 

You took a leap and put yourself out there, but you didn't go as you planned (like all the Instagram quotes promised!)

Often women fail due to 3 things:

· Trying to find a quick fix

·  Poor relationship with food 

·  Running on stress hormones, caffeine, and desperation


So, let’s break these down. 

Mistake 1 - Trying to find a quick fix

Unfortunately, there are no short cuts. There are no quick fixes. And sadly, health and fitness marketing thrive on convincing you there is. I know you want to get results fast. But I can tell you know, that if something seems too good to be true. It probably is.

A quick fix will not address underlying health dysfunction. 99% of the clients I have worked with in the past few years have had either or all. Can happily admit I have been there.

Chronic gut health issues, down-regulated metabolism, and/or estrogen dominance. All of which can slow down and even halt fat loss, exacerbate cravings, increase stress and anxiety, and ultimately lead you down a path of what may feel like failure.

Mistake 2 - Poor relationship with food

 Tell tail signs that someone has a poor relationship with food are:

·  You sabotage on the weekend

·  You have firm dietary rules

·  You avoid or worry about eating out 

·  You work out to burn calories – nothing else

·  You punish yourself if you eat something 'off' plan

·  You cut out entire food groups

·  You are always on and off different diets

·  You are either 'all in' or 'all out'

·  You characterise food as 'good' or 'bad'

These mindsets and behaviors not only set you up for health dysfunction, but they can put a serious halt on your ability to get results. This includes fixing your metabolism, gut, and hormones.

Mistake 3 - Running on stress hormones, caffeine, and desperation

I always explain to my clients that stress, sleep, nutrition, and training are like 4 legs to a stool when it comes to achieving your health, body, and fitness goals

If one leg of the stool breaks. Then the whole stool falls. Stress and sleep are just as important as nutrition and training when it comes to fat loss, gut health, metabolism, and hormonal health. 

If you are dieting hard but you are hyper stressed all the time, not sleeping, and surviving primarily on stimulants then you are going to be chasing your tail with you goals constantly.