Since having M, or even since before having M, I’ve been unhappy about the way my tummy looks. People have mistaken me for being pregnant on numerous occasions in the past. Cringe! Since having B and my second C-section almost six months ago, I’ve had the typical ‘mum tum’. I’ve also visited my doctor having found a lump, just above my C-section scar. She told me that it was nothing to worry about. It was just where my tummy muscles hadn’t yet gone back together. I was sent off to ‘do my exercises’ without really knowing what that meant. I set about Googling ‘tummy exercises after C-Section‘ and ‘getting rid of your C-section mum tum‘ but felt uninspired and frankly out of my depth at the results.
You see, I’m not a natural ‘exerciser’. Some (unkind) people might say that I’m a lazy couch potato. I tried doing the NHS Couch to 5k podcast once, and gave up before I’d got to the second week. I’m very fortunate in that I couldn’t be described as fat; I’m a bit of a bean pole really. But I don’t look after my body as well as I should, and any excess weight instantly goes to my tummy, hips and bottom, leaving me with a rather unattractive paunch.
Most of the time, I just avoid looking in the mirror. Now that my postpartum weight loss seems to have plateaued, and I’m really getting into the swing of breastfeeding B, I’m on the lookout for some new clothes that are feeding friendly and fit my figure rather than simply covering my wobbly bits. This has proven to be quite depressing, in general, so I do really need to do something about this body of mine.
One area of my life that I am motivated by, is my blog. If I need to do something for the blog, then I make sure it happens. So when I was asked to review Love Your Core, a post-birth six week exercise programme by personal trainer Jacqui Jackson, I jumped at the chance. I’d have no choice but to do the exercises, as if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to fulfil my duty to you, the reader, in doing the review of the course justice. I’ve only just started, but I thought I’d let you know a bit about how the course works and what’s involved.
To begin, I had an initial telephone consultation with Jacqui, where we discussed my concerns around my core. Jacqui agreed that I should see my doctor again to get the all clear before we made a start. However, she sent me an email immediately with videos on how to do a self check for diastasis recti, and how to do effective pelvic floor exercises. Jacqui also talked me through the exercises over the phone. She really knows her stuff and explained that it’s important to have a strong pelvic floor, to get your tummy muscles moving back together. She also explained that while most doctors check for diastasis recti around the tummy button area, it’s actually important to feel from just under the bra line, all the way down, as the muscles close together like a curtain, from top to bottom. So if you have a smaller gap at the top, it means that your muscles are already starting to come back together.
Jacqui also talked to me about the importance of posture, especially when sitting and feeding. This is something I am admittedly terrible at. I like to sit with my torso twisted and my knees up to one side. Jacqui told me that I need to focus on sitting with the right posture. This means having a chair which is my space for feeding B – no one else is allowed to touch the cushions on it, as they are there to help my posture. This is something I have been working on since our conversation.
Once I’d seen my doctor and been given the all clear (she kindly told me that it was obvious what was fat, and what wasn’t. Gee, thanks!), Jacqui sent out my goody bag with the equipment I’d need to complete the course. Which is just as well as I’m having to borrow my husband’s gym mat. The extent of my gym equipment is the kit I wore to teach primary P.E., which hasn’t seen the light of day since before M was born. Poor Jacqui certainly has her work cut out with me, doesn’t she?!
So far, I’ve started on Week 1 of the programme. Each week, Jacqui emails a one-hour online exercise class, where she talks you through each exercise clearly and simply. On the rare occasions that I’ve been to exercise classes in the past, I’ve always felt a bit confused by what I’m supposed to do. This has probably contributed strongly to me not going back. Jacqui’s presentation style is great, though, and so far I’ve had no issues following her. In addition to the one-hour class, Jacqui sends a 10 minute homework video. This homework can be done as many times as you like in between the main classes. Ten minutes is far more manageable when you have little people around!
I’ve found it almost impossible to get through the whole hour with a baby and a toddler around. However, Jacqui has reassured me that in each class the block of exercises are repeated three times. So it’s not the end of the world if I can’t get through the whole thing. Even completing just one block of exercises will help. I think this is what I like most about Love Your Core. Jacqui is constantly reassuring and available at the other end of an email. Knowing that she will check in with me is much more likely to keep me going. Certainly more so than if I’d bought a DVD off the supermarket shelf.
I’ll let you know in six weeks how I’ve got on!
Disclosure: I was given access to Love Your Core free of charge, in order to provide this honest review.