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Lauren Hills: "10x things I wish I knew before I became a mum"

On the 19th of November 2019, Lauren Hills gave birth to her beautiful baby girl Olive.

Like most mums, her journey was full of unexpected physical and mental changes. And as a qualified PT/physio, she already had quite an extensive background in training for health and longevity.

And yet nothing can quite prepare you for the adventure of becoming a mum...

“41 weeks and 4 days in and out with this little delight! Training is important but after 7 years of doing it, one missed session is not my make-or-break. Listen to your body.” Loz

From the outside, it looks like Loz didn’t need to do a lot in order to revert back to the health and vitality that she enjoyed before she became a parent. But like most “overnight successes”, it was all the background work Lauren did for years before she conceived that helped her achieve post-partum success.

I asked Lauren if she would be willing to do a video interview with me so we could chat about her experiences with pregnancy, child-birth and losing the baby-weight afterwards. And, specifically, what advice she had for other new mums.

If you’re a new mum, mum-to-be or planning to get pregnant in the future, this interview is for you!

10x things I wish I knew before I became a mum:

1. Your body won't feel the same afterwards.

    You might look the same on the outside, but it can take up to 2 years for your body to fully recover fully from childbirth. You won't feel as hard or as muscular as you did before.

    You can alleviate this as much as possible by spending the time to build muscle before you get pregnant. I'm not talking about a few months but a few years, if you can. That way you've got more of it to lose!

    Creating new life comes at a price, and I’m glad I spent years strength training and building muscle beforehand so I had a strong base to help with my recovery.

    “Funnily enough when you stop "trying to have abs" and just focus on enjoying loads of nutritious food and your training for what it is and great health... the abs come. Anyway I guess this is why they call you the Ab Factory! x” #6monthspostpartum

    2. You won't know what you can and can't do till you get there.

      You can create the best plan in the world (for your pregnancy and for after the birth) but life is never 100% certain. Work with your specialists on what exercises are acceptable at each stage of your journey, but listen to your body too. Some things didn't feel right for me and I didn't know why, so I simply took them out altogether.

      Sometimes just going to the gym and doing stretches was all I was capable of. But it still got me out of the house and moving around a little bit. Which, some days, was better than nothing!

      Loz getting back to basics in the gym

      3. You'll probably turn into an early-riser, even if you’re not a morning person.

        I ended up training early in the morning before everyone in my house wakes up.

        I don’t enjoy getting up early, it's just the time where I now have the least disruptions, so even if you don't like training in the morning, you’ll probably end up doing it, just to get it done!

        4. Every phase of the child's growth will have new and different challenges.

          Just when you think you've got your sh*t together, things will change again. Constant change will be the only thing that doesn’t change!

          Loz in the kitchen mutli-tasking with food prep and carrying bub!

          5. After childbirth, you'll probably feel like a complete beginner in the gym again - and that's ok!!!

            If you embrace it, you can learn so much about yourself and use the opportunity to eradicate bad habits. I pretended I was a beginner again and went right back to the start. This eliminated so many expectations I had in my head of what I should be doing or should be lifting.

            Without those expectations, I was able to enjoy training again and take it at my own pace.

            6. Some days, breakfast will be the only meal that you manage to get right!

              But as long as you have a great breakfast every day, you can get through anything. Skipping breakfast always makes me feel rubbish, and then I’d end up with cravings and start snacking etc. It’s like a snowball effect.

              Life is so much easier when you you've had a good breakfast!

              Simple doesn't need to be boring - An example of Lauren's food prep

              7. The things I did for years beforehand will be the things that will get me through the hard times.

                Strength training, food prepping. Not doing a lot but doing a little bit consistently. It’s easy to tell yourself that you can take a break from all that, but the longer you take a break from it, the harder it is to get back into it. You’re better off doing far less and being able to maintain it. Even if that means going to the gym twice a week!

                Staying in the habit is vital – not just for physical health but for mental health too.

                Training with a broom handle - one of Lauren's first workouts after she returned to the gym post-partum

                8. If you didn’t already have things that make you happy, it’ll be harder to find them afterwards.

                  I’m talking about hobbies and/or the things you did for relaxation before you became a mum. Going to the gym was my escape, my downtime, my therapy. It’s not always about the workout but about having an hour to be alone in my thoughts. This can translate to any hobby, but it’s so important to have something that helps you wind down.

                  I never had a hobby before I became a mum, so when I took time off from the gym, my body and my mind suffered. So I worked with my partner to figure how I can get to the gym 2-3 times a week, even if it's only for half an hour at a time.

                  I don’t always train when I go there – sometimes I just stretch, but it makes a huge difference knowing I have 2-3 hours a week just to focus on me.

                  Getting out of the house for some physical activity with baby Olive

                  9. Contrary to popular belief, breast-feeding isn’t an effective weight loss tool.

                  I feel like there is a misconception about breast-feeding. In particular, that your body "burns calories" by producing milk and that can make it an effective weight loss tool. But breast-feeding doesn't necessarily mean that you are in a calorie deficit.

                  For example, during this time you generally exercise/move less (or differently), you eat differently, your sleep is affected, you have less muscle. So although you might be using more energy in one aspect post-partum, it may not equate to weight loss because you could be burning less energy in other areas.

                  There is also a temptation to snack more, reach for more high-density calorie-laden foods due to feeling tired, emotional and sleep-deprived, and unfortunately no amount of breastfeeding can cancel that out. This is not a "breast is best" post or conversion and I completely understand it isn't and/or can't be part of everyone's journey, but for me it was even more reason to put nutritious foods into my body and be realistic in my training. After all, that milk production has gotta come from somewhere.

                  Whether we like it or not, if we don't give our body what it needs, it's going to take it from somewhere else. At the detriment to you. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that burning calories with breastfeeding isn't an effective weight loss tool, for me it was just an opportunity to give my baby nutritious food and support her health.

                  Loz's life has changed for the better

                  10. Life as a mum is a little bit like going through a car wash.

                  It's like your day has got these small glimpses of happiness like a freshly-cleaned car, your baby does something cute or you managed to mop the floors... followed by your car instantly getting splashed by a muddy truck as you drive out the car wash.

                  Those freshly-mopped floors have just had a bowl of pasta thrown across it or your kid throws a tantrum because you wouldn't let her eat the tube of toothpaste. It's hard to find happiness and some days/weeks are really fucking tough... hence why it’s so important to have things that you enjoy or make you happy, hobbies etc.

                  Embracing the chaos has been vital. The life I knew before will never return again. And I wouldn’t want it any other way! :D

                  Loz

                  Thanks so much for sharing your story Loz! Congrats on your beaytiful baby girl.

                  Trish & Dave xoxo

                  PS: Read more about Lauren here.


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