I first came across Brit at Heartcore where she was a trainer, from there I spotted her modelling in Women’s Health Magazine which prompted me to ask her to model our first campaign. Since then she was my trainer after I had my first baby, helping and supporting me through the beginning stages of getting back to fitness and now she’s a friend.
Recognised as one of the fiercest yet friendliest trainers on the SW London fitness circuit, Brit also specialises in pre and post-natal training which lead her to write (whilst becoming a first-time mum to Marnie at the same time!) the incredible book Mind, Body, Bump – which I have been desperate to get my hands since falling pregnant with my second.
I caught up with Brit to find out a bit more on her book and how it all started…
What made you write book, Mind, Body, Bump?
While pregnant with my daughter, I felt that the fitness industry I knew and loved no longer welcomed me. Studios rarely consider or advertise whether any of their trainers are pre and post-natal qualified. The online world is largely unregulated, leaving question marks about how qualified someone really is. And the books I could find seemed to fall into one of two extremes – limiting you to a handful of very elementary exercises to repeat through the whole nine months of pregnancy (snore), or showing off with unnecessary risks (one book, which I won’t name, recommended doing handstand press-ups at five months pregnant!).
I thought there needed to be a middle-ground. Something that was accessible to the average person who loves to train and wants to continue to feel inspired and challenged by fitness, but that offers reasonable modifications, so you can personalise that experience according to the unique needs of your pregnancy. I knew I could write a book to offer that, and in the process create a community of expectant women who are truly enjoying their training and feel empowered to look after both themselves and their growing babies.
You talk about exercise helping mothers mentally in pregnancy and after, however how has exercise helped you during and after pregnancy (mentally and physically)?
If exercise is part of who you are before pregnancy, the experience of sharing your body and losing control over what happens to it can feel really scary. For me, maintaining and modifying my exercise regime enabled me to retain a sense of ownership over the experience. I moved the focus from the external and reconnected with my sense of self by looking within my body, and arming myself with all the knowledge I could to understand how the choices I made would give myself and my baby-to-be the healthiest start at motherhood and childhood.
I’m confident Marnie was on-board (no pun intended) with those decisions, because after she was born she always slept the most soundly during movement – from long buggy walks to those slow, simple bodyweight workouts I did while wearing her in a babycarrier. In and out of the womb, exercise allowed us to connect more deeply. Even now that my postpartum body feels more like, well, just my body, I know she’s absorbing the choices I make. She’s happiest outdoors, moving her body and exploring the world.
How have you dealt with your changing body during and after pregnancy?
I still sometimes catch myself in a photo or video and feel surprised by a certain softness in my body that I didn’t have before pregnancy and motherhood. There are definitely moments I have to call out negative internal dialogue and redirect it, but science shows us that our brains are responsive to these thoughts and that we can re-programme our automatic responses by practising positive thinking. If I feel disconnected from my physical appearance at any point, I refocus on my physical capability instead. I applied the same principle during pregnancy.
In practice, this might mean taking a few deep breaths where I really connect with my breath and draw air deeply into my belly while softening my tummy muscles and pelvic floor, then lifting these support muscles as I exhale and feel my diaphragm rise. It’s like a mini-meditation that brings me back to myself. In the context of a workout, this also allows me to tune into the strength of my core on any given day – really useful during pregnancy – and scale activity up or down based on how well I can maintain this connection throughout certain movements. It brings me back to where I am, reminds me that my physicality is in my own hands (or my belly), and makes me appreciate the role my body has played during pregnancy, as well as respecting the kind, measured and empowering process of rehabilitating that body after such a phenomenal task.
Lots more to come from Brit….