One of the UK’s favourite health and fitness influencers, Carly Rowena, is a rising star in the wellness world making it her personal goal to inspire people to feel comfortable in their own bodies and to have positive attitudes to life. She effortlessly shares her inspirational gym routines and offers fabulous tips on a healthy diet, fashion and beauty. Carly has a lovely calming and positive aura about her and has amazingly balanced her role as a new mum whilst continuing to stay fit and healthy in the process.
We reached out to Carly for advice on how to stay active and healthy when you’re having a baby and learn more about her own personal journey becoming a new mum to her gorgeous daughter Jax. Here’s what she had to say…
How did you first become interested and involved in fitness?
My background is a little backwards, I was actually working in Marketing for the Motor-trade and while it was a job full of potential it just wasn’t where I wanted to be, however I had no idea what I wanted to do and was too nervous to go back Into education without a vague idea of my talents and passions. With that in mind I actually turned to YouTube and used it as a talent search, filming lots of different topics in the hopes of finding my dream career and BOOM, my following grew and with that so did the feedback and more and more people were telling me that I should get into Personal Training so that was exactly what happened. I did an online course while working full time and gave myself one month to become fully booked and then quit my job and wow, what a journey it has been!
Why do you believe that fitness is so important to health and well-being?
Fitness isn’t about weight loss, abs or growing your booty, it’s about realising your potential. Too much emphasis is put on the physical aspects of Fitness but mentally you profit from moving exponentially.
How much exercise did you do when you were pregnant?
I moved throughout my pregnancy and was still in my local CrossFit box the day of my Labour, I was actually doing a 5k walk with my dog when my first contractions started but while some people would say this was extreme the intensity of my workouts had been scaled with each trimester.
What were the greatest challenges you faced when trying to keep fit through pregnancy?
The greatest challenge I faced during my pregnancy when it came to fitness was the opinions of others. I was told I would lose my baby, ‘was putting Abs before my pregnancy’ and while I like to think ive built a hard skin to negativity you can’t help but take the comments in. I even had midwives and drs tell me that I should be using this time to eat for two and put my feet up! Personally I felt great and my workouts were my own little bit of ‘me time’ when I felt normal and not someone that people needed to wrap up in cotton wool.
Loving yourself is no easy task and it is even harder when you’re aware that people are watching your body change with you. I’ve received countless messages saying I’m too big, too small, I’m going to kill my baby by exercising, I shouldn’t eat this or that. My motto: DO YOU.
What advice would you give to new mums trying to get fit post pregnancy? What exercises did you begin with post birth?
Depending on your birth and once you have been given the all clear by your GP or midwife I recommend starting with a diastasic safe core workout (like this one) I did this very soon after having Jax and have so many success stories from my followers for it, you want to build up your core strength because this will in turn make everything else so much easier for you. Then I would get into walking with your little one in a baby carrier (its the perfect weighted vest) and then move onto compound movements such as squats, planks, deadlifts and lunges because these are movements you will most likely find yourself doing with your little one daily.
What specific tummy exercises do you recommend new mothers?
Diastases core workout – I recommend this to everyone whether they’ve had a baby, not had a baby and whether they have diastases or not.
How well did you cope emotionally with the way your body changed through pregnancy?
I knew my body was going to change and to be honest with each day I became more and more proud of it. Yes somedays I had wobbles (especially during the first trimester where you don’t look pregnant, you just look bloated all the time) but honestly I never felt more beautiful than with a bump, I felt so special and in awe of every inch of myself!
What is your biggest tip on how to stay positive and healthy generally on a day to day basis?
Biggest tip to stay positive and healthy on a day to day basis: Stop taking ingredients and food groups away, instead add things in. Too often we remove the chocolate, the crisps, the alcohol and all the fun things and then we wonder why we binge or feel unhappy. Focus on adding new things in, a new vegetable, a new meal, a different drink and focus on that first. Next stop thinking about your food by meal, instead focus on the entire day and try to balance it out with protein, fats and carbs, one bad meal won’t make you gain weight and won’t good meal won’t make you have abs.
Finally, what are your best tips for keeping fit during lockdown with the gyms closed?
Best tips are to think about your daily amount of movement. Something no-one is really talking about is how much less we are moving – even if you add in a workout class. Prior to lockdown we would commute and spend more time on our feet and so I recommend everyone incorporates a pretend commute to and from work (walk to the park or somewhere) to get those steps in. I host weekly LetsSweat workout classes on Zoom and while this was born out of lockdown I know it’s going to be something that is here to stay because it is so much more accessible for people especially with little ones running around or if you are a solo parent.
Join in on Instagram @carlyrowena and www.carlyrowena.com
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