Trimester 2: Another rollercoaster ride!

So Bumpie and I made it to the end of another trimester and what a ride it’s been!

Before I go into the all the gory details, I’ll remind you that this is an honest account of my experiences in pregnancy. I discuss potential PPROM and changes in babies movement, so please don’t read on if you could be triggered by any of this!

You can watch my video diaries here or you can read on and find out, how as much as the books and the movies make out that as soon as trimester 1 finishes, all the symptoms disappear too, they don’t!

You know I like to start with the facts, so here goes:

The second trimester of your pregnancy is from week 13 to week 28 – roughly months four, five and six. As well as feeling and looking more pregnant during these weeks, you may also have more energy than you did in the first trimester.

This will come as a great relief if you have been struggling with sickness, tiredness or anxiety about getting through the first trimester. (Tommys, 2018)

Second trimester symptoms (Pampers, 2017)

  • Baby bump- At some point, for example, you’ll begin showing that beautiful baby bump. Be sure to show off those curves in some gorgeous maternity clothes.
  • Feeling movement- Another big milestone you may experience is feeling your baby move for the first time. At some point between week 16 and 24, you’ll probably notice your baby start to move. Your baby will become more and more active until week 32. Then your little one’s level of movement will likely remain quite steady until you give birth. That’s because he’ll still have plenty of room in your belly during the second trimester to try somersaults before it gets a little cramped during the final trimester. If you notice your baby’s movements have slowed down or stopped call your midwife or your maternity unit immediately.
  • You may encounter some other symptoms as well. These could include feeling out of breath, dizzy spells, backaches, high blood pressure, constipation, haemorrhoids, round ligament pain, and trouble sleeping.

I remember in my Trimester 1 blog, confirming here that I had experienced all of the possible symptoms for the first 12 weeks. I can confirm, thankfully, that there are some of the above symptoms that I have NOT experienced in Trimester 2! What a result! There were however, some additional ones that don’t seem to be listed so I will go through them all below…

Baby Bump (clothes)“Be sure to show off those curves in some gorgeous maternity clothes”.  I won’t lie, this is easier said than done. Maternity clothes took me a very long time to find and what I know now that I didn’t know at the start was that even if something says ‘grows with your bump’ or ‘suitable for all trimesters’, it may not be! There was a period where all I lived in was Mat’s pyjamas and gym clothes. Now, you all know I am no fashion expert and spend most of my days in gym wear but it when it comes to every day clothes, I can confirm that ASOS, H&M, New Look and Topshop have been best for quality and growing with bump, but I did put a pair of jeans on the other day and couldn’t get them past my hips so don’t spend too much on maternity clothes, as they may not fit you after a few weeks. When it comes to gym/active wear however, I can recommend a few small businesses who really do have products I love! Check out Natal Active and Latched who I have discount codes for too (just ask!) and also Mammarelli. I do have a couple of pairs of Reebok leggings too which are good, I won’t even pass comment on Nikes new collection and another one to check out is Seraphine but support the small businesses where possible please!

Baby Bump (daily tasks)– Again, less about showing off those curves and more about not being able to reach your feet because of the curves! I should say before I continue; I absolutely love my bump. To the point that I think I’m going to really miss it once baby is here. But… as this trimester has progressed, it does start getting in the way! I won’t go into too much detail but buying a shoe horn was a bit of a reality check, not being able to see down below when I shaved was another and actually having to have the conversation with Mat about helping me keep myself tidy there, paint my toenails and put my socks on in the coming weeks was the final straw!

Feeling movement- Honestly, the single best thing about this trimester but also the thing I have had most anxiety about. Feeling those flutters in the early stages (it was around 18 weeks for me!) was incredible and I remember thinking Mat would be able to feel it through my skin, but that took a wee bit longer. Some people feel movement a lot earlier but my placenta is anterior so there’s a bit of an extra cushion there too so it took a bit longer for us to see and feel movement through my skin. Now, at nearly 29 weeks, movement excites me every single day. I absolutely love that feeling and watching Mat interact with Bumpie when they’re having a little dance party inside me fills me with warmth. He’ll lay beside me with his head and hand on my bump and say hello. I really do treasure those moments!

NOT feeling movement- Advice says that if you notice a change in your baby’s movements, to contact your midwife or assessment centre immediately. In the earlier stages, it’s difficult to establish a routine or pattern of movement but as pregnancy progresses, it will become easier to detect changes. I have had two episodes of reduces movement which have resulted in trips to the ante natal triage department at the hospital. The first time, Bumpie had consistently been pretty active; I’d feel movement every time I was relaxed or stopped work etc during the day, then at night when I was fully relaxed on the sofa, I would feel what I thought was Bumpie having a party. Lots of prolonged kicks and flutters. On this occasion, however, I went from 5am to 10pm without feeling a thing, resulting in increasing anxiety as the day went on and a trip to the hospital for reassurance. They used a doppler and found heart beat without any difficulty, but I still felt no movement. The next day, we went back in and this time, I was scanned and reassured that everything was ok. As the sonographer scanned me, I felt a big kick and only then did I breathe a sigh of relief. They explained that it was positional and should improve as baby gets bigger. Afterwards, I felt a slight wave of guilt that we had gone in and taken up valuable time of medical professionals but knew it was the right thing to do. The second occasion was similar and only a couple of weeks after the first. This time though, as they used the doppler, baby started moving and I felt instantly better, but very guilty when they took us for a scan anyway, just to double check, and an emergency came in over the phone. I couldn’t help but think we were wasting their time when someone more worthy of their time was waiting. However, the staff quickly reassured us and reminded us that this is just as important. So I’ll finish by saying, do not feel guilty. If your baby’s movement pattern changes, go and get checked out. It could prevent something more serious and at the end of the day, could save a life! You know you and your baby better than anyone!

Other symptoms- feeling out of breath, dizzy spells, backaches, high blood pressure, constipation, haemorrhoids, round ligament pain, and trouble sleeping. Although I have had some of these, none of them (except trouble sleeping!) have been so bad that I even mentioned in my vlog but I’ll touch on them all now.

Feeling out of breath- I’ve had a little bit of this sometimes if I’ve been in one position for a long time, but generally it’ll go as soon as I move. I’ve also noticed I’m a lot more breathless than normal when out walking or exercising but I’ll say a little bit more about this later when I talk about adapting my training.

Dizzy spells- I’ve had a couple of brief dizzy spells but only if I’ve stood up too quickly or have had a sicky day. Nothing I have been concerned about!

Backaches- Only in the last 2 or 3 weeks have I had a bit of a sore back, but again, generally only if I am in one position for any length of time and as soon as I move it eases. I am having to move about a lot to avoid it, which, especially in bed is pretty annoying, but luckily, this isn’t causing any real problems and hopefully it stays that way!

Constipation– I went through a few weeks of feeling so constipated it hurt, then I went through a couple of weeks of having the opposite. So again, other than being a bit annoying, I don’t think I’ve suffered too badly and I’m pleased to report, it definitely hasn’t led to haemorrhoids! Let’s hope that continues…

Round ligament pain- Other than a few episodes of light cramp type pains, I haven’t had this too badly. All very manageable and eased itself. I think on one occasion, around week 15/16, I took pain killers but it didn’t ever last too long!

Trouble sleeping– Can I just change this heading to Insomnia? Wow, this has been a biggie! If you have watched my vlog, you will have seen me yawn a lot and that sums up this trimester. I thought extreme tiredness was more prevalent in trimester 1 but I have struggled! Thankfully it seems to have improved a bit now but for a long time, I’d be going to bed exhausted, falling asleep really quickly to wake up a couple of hours later and be awake for about 4 hours. My normal waking hours became 1am to 5am. I get up for clients at 6am so really not ideal! I tried everything I could; Bach Rescue Remedy, meditation, staying up later, going to bed earlier, reading, staying in bed when I woke, getting up when I woke… nothing really worked and it seems only time has improved things. One good thing is that it taught me to listen to my body; I learned how to nap during the day and not feel guilty if I didn’t achieve a task because I simply couldn’t function. I guess it’s just teaching me the reality of being a mum to a new born and preparing me for the sleepless nights to come, and I know it’s a symptom in trimester 3 but hopefully I’ll manage a few more nights sleep first!

There’s a lot more not listed in the quoted article so I’ll continue below. Grab yourselves a cuppa, I think it’s gonna be a long one!

Hyperemesis Gravidarum/Sickness- The main part of trimester 1 and yes, it continues. I’d love to say that as soon as I got to trimester 2 it stopped but I have had some pretty hellish days. Even as I write this now, I’ve just taken an anti sickness tablet and am sipping away on full fat cola. On a positive note, it has absolutely 100% improved. I have gone from being laid up in bed for days at a time on three types of anti sickness meds to being able to fully function with some intermittent nausea and the very occasional vomit! As trimester 2 progressed, the amount of times I was being sick reduced and the medication seemed to start working. I managed to get back to work and now as long as I always have my anti sickness tablet, I am a fully functioning human! There were a few days as I started to feel better that I actually worried that something was wrong with me or with baby. Sounds ridiculous right? To have such strong symptoms constantly and then all of a sudden feel kind of ‘normal’ made me anxious. Hyperemesis is a condition that doesn’t go away but it has got better for me. I do still stick to my decision though that I’ll need to wait til Bumpie is somewhat independent before I even consider being pregnant again haha! The thought of going through this while looking after a baby or toddler is a scary one!

Thinking my waters have broken– One of the scariest and most worrying days of my life, never mind pregnancy. If you have watched my vlog, you will have seen my ugly tears and complete fear that my waters had broken at 20 weeks. The day after the 20 week scan, I was feeling awful. Really sick and nauseous and the tablets weren’t working. It was a bad day and very early morning, I knew it was going to be one of those days where I didn’t achieve much and I was ok with that. What I didn’t expect though was while I was being violently sick for about the third time that morning, a gush of fluid would leak onto the floor beneath me. Without going into it too much, it didn’t look or smell like wee and I’ve never had any problems with my bladder control, other than needing to go every 30 minutes now! I called Mat at work in a right state before calling my Mum and then ante natal triage who told me to use a pad to monitor fluid and call back in an hour if there had been any more. I was so worried my waters had broken and I’d experienced PPROM, but luckily there was no more fluid and the midwifes didn’t seem to concerned. They asked me to monitor it at home but explained that sudden discharge or urination as a result of being so sick was quite common. I was glad they thought everything was ok but couldn’t help remain worried and anxious about what that could have meant. From that moment, the love and bond I developed from Bumpie just grew and grew and I’m so grateful that everything turned out to be ok. Preterm, premature rupture of membranes (PPROM) is the premature rupture of the amniotic sac and can lead to severe infection and increased likelihood of premature birth and occurs in around 3% of pregnancies.

Ever growing breasts- They are less tender and a lot happier to be touched, but the bras that I had to re- mortgage for in trimester 1 do not fit. Just like the maternity clothes, do not spend lots of money on nice bras, because regardless of what anyone says, your boobs will continue to grow during trimester 2!

Baby brain- This is a real phenomenon. I won’t go into too much detail but let’s just say there have been a number of ‘episodes’. Being more forgetful, clumsier and a failing sense of time is just part of it. Forgetting to put a tea bag in Mat’s tea, giving him a flask of cold soup for his lunch or putting fresh orange in my coffee are the reality!

Cravings– Throughout the pregnancy, I’ve had a few spontaneous cravings, but they haven’t really been consistent. This has resulted in 56 Dib Dabs being delivered, me eating 3 and the rest sitting in the cupboard (anyone for sherbet!?), a massive bag of carrots being bought from Tesco, for me to eat 2 raw and the rest be turned into soup and a selection of Fry’s creams which Mat ended up eating! The only consistent one is fresh orange juice, to the point that I cannot get enough of. I’ve had to put a limit on it due to the amount of sugar, otherwise I’d be drinking 2l a day. I thought I may be lacking vitamin C or other nutrients, but aside an increase in chocolate, my diet is pretty well balanced just now and all my blood tests have been spot on so there’s no real reason other than it is the best taste in the world. Think I’ll go buy some shares in Tropicanna!

On a similar note, I need to mention coffee. I went completely off this in trimester 1 and for anyone who knows me, you’ll be as shocked as I was. However, this trimester has seen my love reignited and although it’s now decaf only, there’s no better taste than that coffee first thing in the morning! Roll on being able to have caffeine again though!

Acne- Not much to say on this one other than my skin has endured it’s own rollercoaster this trimester. Some weeks my skin is great, others, I have Mount Vesuvius erupting or a cluster of spots requiring their own post code! Aren’t hormones wonderful!?

Heartburn– Not something I have EVER had in my life before but wow, it’s real. There doesn’t seem to be any link to what I’m eating or drinking but it will just randomly strike and stay with me for hours. Gaviscon made me extremely sick (I think I was just having a sicky day and it put me off!) so I’m trying to get by on Rennies. Any suggestions would be most appreciated!

Extreme itchiness- Apparently totally normal as your bump grows and skin stretches. I’m not convinced that I should have had itchy bump, bum, thighs and genitals constantly for a week though!? For a few days I walked about naked under my dressing gown, lathered in coconut oil, taking any anti-histamine I was allowed and trying not to claw my skin off! I washed all my clothes just in case I’d developed a reaction to the washing products, but I still don’t know what caused this and it settled down again soon after. I do still get periods of itching, just around my bump but definitely not to that extreme! There is a disorder called Obstetric Cholestasis which affects your liver during pregnancy and causes extreme itchiness, but I was tested for this and didn’t have it. If you have extreme itching, it could be worth getting this checked!

Adapting training- I’ve written a separate blog on Training in Pregnancy so I won’t go into too much depth here other than say, all of a sudden, like in the space of a few days, I felt very pregnant and had to make some big adaptations to the intensity and duration of my workouts! I’m so grateful that I am still able to exercise and I am still enjoying it!

Intimate waxing– You may remember me describing this in trimester 1 as a brutal attack. At 9 weeks pregnant, it really was. However, I have since had this done twice again, and I can safely say it was fine. If you’re not great with waxing anyway, don’t think pregnancy will suddenly solve all your pain problems, but I can safely say, trimester 2 is way easier than trimester 1 and I even managed to get all the hair removed!

Illness- Seems to be escalated in pregnancy. Probably down to our reduced immune systems but I can confirm that having a cold is pretty brutal when you’re pregnant! Nothing more than a simple head cold but I was wiped for a good three days. Lacking energy, feeling weak and just generally took way more out of me than a cold ever would. I had no choice but to listen to my body, rest and recover. I also had what I think was a sickness bug which although you’d think I would be used to dealing with sickness at this point, left me feeling completely wiped too! It took about a week to recover fully from this, I didn’t train, I didn’t work and I wasn’t eating properly. If you get ill in pregnancy, remember that your body is fighting for two and it will affect you more than usual. Listen to your body and be kind to yourself!

Feeling full- After not having much of an appetite in the first trimester, one of the best things about this one is my love of food! I’m eating well and just the feeling of actually wanting to eat is great. However, towards the end of trimester 2, I’m struggling to eat much. I’ll be desperate for a certain meal, get it and then only manage about a third. I just feel like there isn’t much space in there. That’s ok normally but when you have to make a decision between another slice of roast beef or the last yorkshire pudding in your Sunday roast, it’s a tad disappointing. Eating little and often has become the only way to do it and my portions are probably just like Bumpie’s will be when we start weaning!

Stretch marks– Not something I have any more of than before but something I’ve been asked about a lot. I have been using Mama Mio products to try and prevent them but it’s hard to tell if they work or if I have just been lucky so far. It’s not something I am too bothered about; I guess it’s part of the process of growing a human. They may appear during this trimester or even post partum but I’m ok with that. If you’re worried, keep hydrated, moisturise regularly and try and remember they are completely normal! I have some from pre pregnancy and I’ve just embraced them!

Spending and Nesting- We made a few big purchases this trimester. The nursery is underway with furniture arriving next week, Bumpie has more new clothes than me and thanks to our generous families, we have the pram and car seat too! It gets so exciting when you see all the little person things in one place! I’m definitely in full on nesting mode. Everything I have ever wanted doing in the house is happening and I’m cleaning more than ever. I got excited about a new tumble dryer and clothes pulley, a new vacuum cleaner and have become a DIY lover; painting the bathroom and the ensuite, helping Mat make TV units and light fittings and hanging picture frames and mirrors that have been in the spare room since we moved in! The big thing though is that I have turned into a crafter. I am the least creative, artistic person ever but for some very unknown reason I have a new hobby. I’m making a garland for Bumpie’s room, I’ve made no end of Christmas decorations and I’m knitting a hat! What has happened to me!?

So there we have it. Another honest reality of pregnancy. The highlights for this trimester- feeling Bumpie move and feeling less sick but the biggest thing of all… the realisation that when I get to the end of this trimester, when I edit the Trimester 3 vlog or write the Trimester 3 blog; Mat and I will be parents. We will have a tiny human to look after! It’s safe to say, shit just got real but oh my goodness, we are so, so excited!

Please get in touch if anyone has any feedback and thank you so much for reading!

 

 

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  • Exercise in Pregnancy

    Gone are the days when we are told to sit back with your feet up for the whole of pregnancy. In fact, quite the opposite! Exercise in pregnancy can have many benefits for both you and your baby and even a simple walk or stretch session can really help you to stay fit and well.

    Exercise can reduce the risk of pregnancy complications, such as gestational diabetes and can also lower the odds of delivery complications too! Recovery afterwards can also be improved too with regular exercise throughout all trimesters.

    The usual benefits including improved mood, reduced stress and anxiety, lowered blood pressure, improved sleep and less fatigue can be felt too which, trust me, are all factors you want less of during pregnancy! Exercise also reduces the chance of developing lower back or pelvic pain, particularly later in pregnancy and can help with constipation too, which is I’m afraid something that most pregnant ladies will experience at some point!

    Whether you have always exercised or are completely new to it, aiming for 150 minutes per week of activity during pregnancy is beneficial. This can be completely adapted to suit your lifestyle, your needs and always remember to make sure what you are doing is enjoyable. It doesn’t need to be an intense gym workout; just something to increase the heart rate and get the muscles engaged.

    With lots of mixed information out there, I wanted to share the below to help Mums to be know what they should and shouldn’t do; what is safe and what is not.

    Throughout

    • Listen to your body! Remember that your energy is now focussed on safely growing a human.
    • Lower the intensity, slow down, drop the weights and don’t go trying for a PR!
    • Avoid extreme and contact sports and anything that could lead to falls.
    • Warm up and cool down properly, don’t allow yourself to overheat, don’t overdo it and stay well hydrated before, during and after exercise.
    • Aim for moderate intensity, think still able to hold conversation during your workout!
    • Never forget your pelvic floor/kegel exercises. Apps such as @squeezyapp will help keep you right!
    • Do what feels right. If it feels good, it probably is. If it doesn’t, stop, adapt and seek advice of a pre natal fitness coach or health professional.

    Trimester 1

    • Providing you feel OK and don’t have any contraindications, continue as normal but remember, don’t overdo it and listen to your body.
    • If you are completely new to exercise, start slowly; 5 mins brisk walking for example, adding 5 more minutes each time.

    Trimester 2/3

    • Avoid exercises where you are lying flat on your back or standing completely still for prolonged periods. This could compress the vena cava and restrict blood flow to your baby, leaving you feeling nauseous, dizzy and short of breath.
    • Avoid anything which adds pressure down the centre of your abs; sit ups, crunches, leg raises as well as kipping, toes to bar, American Kettlebell swings etc to prevent diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal muscles.) Core strength is very important but focus on movements such as side plank, pelvic tilts, planks (adapted if necessary) and 4 point kneeling.
    • Don’t bang the bump. Adapt movements such as burpees and push ups to account for the growing bump!
    • Limit jumping. Jumping is high impact that increases intra-abdominal pressure which can lead to further complications.

    Things to remember

    • Your centre of gravity is changing; be mindful of your balance!
    • The hormone relaxin is preparing your body for labour which can make joints more lax and more flexible. Don’t over stretch.
    • Always ‘want’ to do it. Don’t follow the latest YouTube workout that you absolutely hate just because your friend says you should. Do it for you and find something you enjoy.
    • Yoga and Pilates is very beneficial in pregnancy so consider following an online pregnancy session or find a local instructor.

    Get in touch if you’d like further advice or would like to join one of our Omni Bumps training programmes!

    We got this Mama’s!

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  • Exercise in Pregnancy
  • October Workout 11
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 4
  • October Workout 10
  • Omni Bumps- Upper Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Upper Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 3
  • The Good, The Bad, The Ugly (and all the things that nobody ever talks about in between!)

    For me, trimester 1 is done! Complete! Finished! Ended! I’d love to say I nailed it, but instead I’ll go with I made it!

    I’d also love to say that the trimester 1 symptoms are gone and that they were exactly like we read in books, but what’s not often spoken about is the severity and the reality of some of the symptoms and the fact that they don’t just go away when you get to 12 weeks. (That part’s a story for the Trimester 2 blog!) So I’m going to delve into my Trimester 1- you can watch my video diaries here or you can read on for an honest account of my first 12 weeks including all the things that nobody ever warns you about…

    One of 8 😛

    Let’s start with the facts…

    Trimester 1: The first trimester begins on the first day of your last period and lasts until the end of week 12. This means that by the time you know for sure you’re pregnant, you might already be five or six weeks pregnant!

    A lot happens during these first three months. The fertilised egg rapidly divides into layers of cells and implants in the wall of your womb where it carries on growing. These layers of cells become an embryo, which is what the baby is called at this stage.

    During this trimester, your baby grows faster than at any other time. By six weeks, a heartbeat can usually be heard and by the end of week 12, your baby’s bones, muscles and all the organs of the body have formed. At this point, your baby looks like a tiny human being and is now called a fetus. He or she will even be practising swallowing! (Tommys, 2018)

    First Trimester Symptoms (Pampers, 2019)

    The symptoms you experience in the first trimester can vary from week to week. Also, the symptoms you experience during this pregnancy might differ from what you experienced in a previous pregnancy.

    Here are some of the most common symptoms you might encounter during this trimester:

    • Tender breasts. In the early part of your pregnancy, pregnancy hormones could be making your breasts heavier, and a little sore or tender. You could also experience a tingling sensation. With all that extra blood to carry around your body, your veins may be more visible through your skin. Meanwhile, those hormones may also make your skin, moles and birthmarks or your nipples a little darker. Most of these changes gradually fade away after birth, although your nipples may stay be a little darker than before.
    • Feeling tired or exhausted is particularly common in the first trimester, as your hormones go into overdrive. The best thing you can do is get plenty of rest. Keeping to a healthy diet and doing gentle exercise might also help you feel better. Your doctor or midwife can give you personalised advice on the kind of pregnancy diet to follow to suit your calorie and nutritional needs, and what exercises are safe for you to do at this time.
    • Implantation bleeding. After conception, as the fertilised egg burrows into the lining of your uterus, you may experience some light cramping and spotting. This is more likely to occur around the time of your first missed period. Although, implantation bleeding is nothing to worry about, it’s always safest to get in touch with your doctor if notice any bleeding during your pregnancy.
    • The queasiness (and sometimes vomiting) known as morning sickness usually appears in the first trimester. Contrary to its name, though, it doesn’t strike only in the mornings! Try to think of morning sickness as a reassuring reminder that you are pregnant. You might be able to ease some of the symptoms with a few lifestyle changes, like avoiding food or smells that trigger your nausea, and eating smaller, more frequent meals of plain, low fat foods. You may find cold foods easier to stomach than hot meals. Food or drink that contains ginger may also help take the edge of your queasiness, but ask your doctor, midwife or pharmacist before taking ginger supplements.
    • Frequent urination. The hormonal changes you experience in the first trimester may result in your needing to pee more often than usual in the first trimester of pregnancy. Don’t drink less water, because it’s important to stay hydrated. Instead, you might just need to plan ahead a little more to ensure you always have a loo nearby.
    • Thicker, shinier hair. Some mums-to-be find that the extra oestrogen coursing around their bodies makes their hair more luxuriant in the first trimester. This could be one of the more welcome symptoms of pregnancy!
    • Hormonal acne. An increase in oil production triggered by hormones can clog pores and lead to acne in some mums-to-be.
    • Cravings. It’s not unusual to have hankerings for strange foods when you’re pregnant. Or you may find that you suddenly can’t stomach items that you used to enjoy eating or drinking. It’s usually fine to give in to cravings from time to time, as long as you keep to a healthy diet overall. If you start to crave any non-food items like dirt or coal, tell your doctor or midwife straight away. This could be a sign of an iron deficiency known as pica, which can be dangerous if it isn’t treated straight away. Read more about how to get the right amount of iron and calcium (another important mineral) in your diet.

    I can confirm that all of the above, except for the implantation bleeding (not everyone experiences this and because I didn’t, I won’t be discussing!) happened to me during Trimester 1 and I’m going to tell you all about it now.

    Just before an early scan!

    Tender Breasts: “Pregnancy hormones could be making your breasts heavier, and a little sore or tender.” What this actually means is that pregnancy hormones make your breasts feel like boulders, it hurts to put a bra on or to turn over in bed and your partner touching them is a thing of the past. Running or jumping is no longer an activity that is safe or healthy and you will spend a fortune on bras that are still unlikely to fit.

    They were the reason I decided to take a pregnancy test. I’d only been off the mini pill for a matter of weeks and hadn’t had a period when my boobs started to ache so bad that I was waking up in the night every time I moved. I thought maybe my period was due but this was tender breasts like never before and even washing them whilst showering was difficult. We found out we were pregnant, much to our surprise while only about 2 weeks and I think I only made it to 4 and a half before ordering some unflattering maternity sleep bras to keep them in place in bed. Not long after that, my sports bras were digging in and well, a ‘normal’ bra (rare for me anyway!) was an impossible task. I took some measurements, spent a small fortune and for the next seven weeks, the boulders had holders that were supportive. Unfortunately though, now at 13.5 weeks, it’s time to do all this again. The pain and tenderness has gone and I’m getting used to my fried eggs to melons transformation, but I am spilling out of all those bras as they continue to grow. Time to re-mortgage I think so my new found friends have somewhere safe to live again!

    Fatigue: Feeling tired or exhausted is particularly common in the first trimester, as your hormones go into overdrive.” This one is pretty accurate. An overwhelming tiredness that leads to irritability and discomfort caused by the hormone changes, I’m sure, but also due to the fact that no matter how tired you are, you just cannot seem to sleep!

    I’ve never been a napper. Even after long haul flights or weekends at festivals, I’d manage through the tiredness, keeping myself busy ‘til bedtime. I’ve never felt the need and never really wanted to try. Until now! The fatigue started around 5 weeks and hasn’t gone away. It hits like a tonne of bricks at any time of the day with no warning. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you have planned, those hormones like to remind you with a bit of a bang that they are still working. Black bags under my eyes are now just part of my look and mixing up my words and forgetting things, although now I feel I can blame baby brain, were pretty regular occurrences. I’ve had to teach myself how to nap, and how to slow down. The evenings have been tough. I’d get comfy on the sofa after my shower and no sooner had I sat down was I up and down, lying on the floor, swapping spaces with Mat just to try and get comfy. The tiredness would hit and most nights up until about 3 weeks ago, I was in bed for about 9pm!

    I’ll do another post on training during trimester 1 but the term ‘listen to your body’ is key. All of a sudden my ‘max effort’ or ‘full capacity’ felt like it had halved. My resting heart rate increased and during exercise, my heart rate easily reaching my usual ‘working heart rate’ simply during the warm up. It’s been very much about adapting and going with the flow. I’ve trained less in the last 12 weeks than I ever have in my life. I thought I’d struggle to accept that but I guess I know I’m ‘training’ for a way bigger event than I ever have too so working out less frequently, lifting lighter or moving slower is ok.

    After one of my first workouts since being pregnant!

    Nausea: The queasiness (and sometimes vomiting) known as morning sickness usually appears in the first trimester. Contrary to its name, though, it doesn’t strike only in the mornings! You don’t say! This for me did strike in the mornings but unfortunately for most days, lasted ‘til at least mid afternoon, sometimes later! The other unfortunate thing here is the title. For me it should read  Sickness with Nausea in between.

    I started feeling nauseous around 4 weeks. Earlier than most, I believe, and at that stage, made us question whether we might be having twins. (There are two sets of twins in Mat’s direct family so it was a high possibility but an early scan, which I’ll talk about later, confirmed only one!) I wasn’t physically sick until about 5 and a half weeks, and oh how I wish I hadn’t moaned about the nausea at 4! This started with morning sickness; feeling like I was going to vomit the minute I opened my eyes in the morning, followed by around twenty minutes of constant retching before finally being sick and whatever I’d managed to put in my mouth between retches coming straight back up again. In the earlier stages, sometimes I’d be ok once I’d had something to eat; other days I was lulled into a false sense of security and would be at work, often having to make an excuse to clients to run inside for something mid session, having a quick vom, a ginger snap and heading back outside to continue their session. Other days, the nausea and vomiting would last all day long with most days  being sick around 8 times every morning and often upto another 8 times over the course of the day. Some days I’d think I was doing well, only being sick in the morning then feeling good, but a smell could change all of that, making me sick again and changing my whole day. Toast, crackers, biscuits and potatoes were all I could stomach (along with some random foods which I’ll discuss under cravings) and meal times were becoming an issue. Around 6 and a half weeks, I got really dizzy, my blood pressure was on the floor and I was extremely dehydrated. A bit of scare which resulted in me on the bathroom floor, calling Mat who was outside resulted in a call to the GP and the first warning of hospital admission. At that point, the doctor diagnosed me over the phone with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), which is a condition that affects around 1-3 in every hundred pregnant women. If you want to read more on this check out NHS information here. I was prescribed my first lot of anti sickness medication, which Mat immediately went to collect and was told if I hadn’t managed to consume a certain amount of liquids by that evening, they would like to admit me for monitoring, stronger anti sickness meds and fluids via IV drip. This wasn’t something I really wanted, given that the NHS was just opening back up after the global pandemic so I did everything I could to keep those liquids in and managed (just!) to avoid it.

    Full fat, flat coke (my hangover cure) were the fluids of choice; I’m sure not what they would have advised given the lack of nutritional value and caffeine content (around half of the recommended caffeine allowance in pregnancy) but it worked, and has continued to work for me since. Ginger snaps in a tub by my bed help and I have a couple the minute I open my eyes. Then whenever I make it downstairs after the series of retching and vomits, a slice of white bread toasted, with honey and a can of Cola along with an anti sickness tablet would determine how my day would go. If the toast and cola stayed down, it was/is (I’m still doing this!) it would be a good day.

    Around week 7, I was prescribed a second type of anti sickness which I was to take along side the first one. This helped a bit, but by the end of week 8 (what is often described as peak week), I was sofa or bed bound most days, clients and sessions were cancelled and the threat of admission was looming once again. A third anti sickness drug was prescribed and the combination of all three meant I was able to have some good days where I could do more than lie on the sofa and run to the bathroom. I even managed to introduce some vegetables and although my diary now started at 1pm, I could work most days.

    I haven’t enjoyed pregnancy because of this and if you are in a similar position, or know someone who is, do something about it! Get help. I think I am over the worst of this now but I am still being sick most days and surviving on a very limited diet and a combination of anti sickness tablets. I’m not sure if I have HG or just bad sickness, but it definitely hasn’t been easy. Now I’m not taking anything for granted. Craving carrots or broccoli= WIN! Hoovering my house = WIN! Going for a walk = WIN! Showering, getting dressed and applying mascara = WIN!

    Eating biscuits in bed is now normal!

    Frequent Urination: The hormonal changes you experience in the first trimester may result in your needing to pee more often than usual in the first trimester of pregnancy. This really means, ordering a SheWee and a urinal bottle and using it in the back of the car or van. It could also mean family and friends questioning you after using their bathroom twice an hour. Or dropping your belongings at the front door so you could run in and wee with the bathroom and front door wide open.

    This was worse at the start of Trimester 1 and has eased a lot now but wasn’t easy to manage mid pandemic when many public toilets are still closed! There’s not really much more to say about this other than now planning my days around toilet stops!

    Thicker, Shinier Hair: Some mums-to-be find that the extra oestrogen coursing around their bodies makes their hair more luxuriant in the first trimester. This was also the case. However, for someone who’s hair is already pretty thick, this has resulted in a few bottles of plughole unblocker for the shower.

    The statement also refers to or is read by most as the hair on your head. What I will tell you however, is that this affects all of the hair on your body. Pre lockdown, I was getting IPL (laser hair removal). I had only had a couple of sessions but it was working really well, and by now, if it wasn’t for lockdown and not being allowed these treatments while pregnant; my legs, underarms and intimate area should have been silky smooth. Now, 13 weeks pregnant, I have two simple choices. Shave every single day, or, turn into a gorilla. When the beauty therapists opened back up a few weeks ago, I decided I would go back to waxing. I used to get waxed regularly, and although I disliked having to grow the hair long enough, I never had any problems. I managed with the pain and I’d go as far as saying it really didn’t phase me.

    I can confirm that waxing in Trimester 1 is unlike any other waxing experience I have ever had. I always thought I would be one of those people who were neat, tidy and smooth down below for labour and the thought of anything otherwise, genuinely made me cringe. I can now safely say, however, that if I’m so big that I cannot shave myself, and Mat isn’t willing to do the deed, I will quite confidently and happily present myself in the labour ward hairy. The pain! That wax was like a brutal attack; it made me clench my fists, I was sweating, I almost kicked the therapist in the chest and I left with only half of the hair removed. This is your warning ladies- do not attempt an intimate wax in late Trimester 1. It is not worth it. I am however, keen to establish if it does get any better during Trimester 2 or 3, as although I’m saying I’ll confidently deliver my baby looking like a gorilla, I know I am not actually that confident and would much prefer to be silky smooth. I am not going to find out for myself though so if there are any ladies in Trimester 2 or 3 who have had a wax and not had to come home and sit in an ice bath, please shout!

    Hormonal acne: An increase in oil production triggered by hormones can clog pores and lead to acne in some mums-to-be. I don’t really have much to say on this. I had skin that looked like it’s teenage self for a few weeks but a change in skin care seemed to help. I’ve always been prone to breakouts and pre pregnancy was following a really good skincare regime after seeking advise from a specialist last year. Unfortunately, most of these products contained ingredients not safe in pregnancy and so after a bit of research, found a new love for the brand Tropics. I will post later about pregnancy skin care and share what is working for me!

    Cravings: It’s not unusual to have hankerings for strange foods when you’re pregnant. Or you may find that you suddenly can’t stomach items that you used to enjoy eating or drinking. Thankfully, I haven’t had any strange cravings. You hear about some people eating coal or chalk, or deciding they suddenly love liver, but for me it’s been a bit of survival mode on my standard diet of beige carbs with whatever I’ve fancied in between.

    I haven’t had a coffee in about 8 weeks and although I still love the smell, the thought of drinking it makes me nauseous. That’s a huge deal for someone who normally survives on it! The other odd thing I’m not really feeling is cheese. Normally, cheese is life. As there are so many cheeses which aren’t safe to eat during pregnancy it was something I was pretty worried about. I’ve been known to have cheese as part of every meal and snack. Other than a bit of halloumi and an even smaller amount of cheddar, I just haven’t felt like it one bit. I do hope that soon I grow to love them again as I really can’t imagine a life without my two favourite C’s!

    I’ve been a bit up and down in terms of what I’ve fancied throughout this trimester. To the point that for a while, spending over £80 on foods I ‘might want’ was pretty normal. Mat struggled to get it right too, often returning from the shop with my favourite snacks (Ben and Jerry’s and Reeces to name a few) for me to tell him I didn’t like them. At the beginning of my pregnancy, I wanted salt and vinegar crisps. I couldn’t get enough of them! Then one night, Mat had a packet sat next to me on the sofa and I had to tell him to leave the room, I then left the room to be sick and I haven’t been able to be anywhere near salt and vinegar crisps since. I also went through a phase of having tinned pears on a daily basis, another thing I’m not fussed for now and there was an incident with an Indian takeaway that has resulted in me questioning whether or not I will ever eat a curry again. I’d had a ‘good’ day around week 8 and decided I wanted an Indian takeaway, something that I loved before. In fact, we’d make two curries a week for dinner pretty regularly. Anyway, I devoured this takeaway but at around 11pm, I woke up and was instantly sick. This sickness bout lasted all night and all day and the thought of anything remotely like this, still to this day makes me want to be sick.

    I’ll finish this section by saying, if you or someone you know is suffering from sickness in pregnancy, eat whatever you want. Don’t worry about nutrition, just go with it and eat whatever you can stomach and keep down that day. If it changes daily, find something else you might want. Don’t fight it. Eventually, you will be able to add some ‘goodness’ back in and enjoy food again. I’m making slow progress but I’m definitely eating more of a variety now than I was 4 weeks ago!

    So that’s the things people talk about in more detail than it’s normally discussed. There’s a couple of extras though that I’m adding in that really got me thinking; bowel movements and keeping pregnancy a secret. Let’s go:

    Bowel movements: Probably a controversial talking point at the best of times and during pregnancy it’s no different. It’s apparently normal for pregnant women to experience constipation. It’s less common, but still relatively normal for pregnant women to experience diarrhoea. (NHS, 2020)

    I got both. Yes, every day without fail, in between retching or vomiting, I had diarrhoea with very little warning. There’s really no need to go into any detail here, but for those of you who’ve asked why we haven’t been out enjoying our new campervan since we got it, there really is only one place to be if you’re having sickness and diarrhoea and that isn’t a PortaPotty or a communal campsite bathroom.

    So that’s my morning routine covered, I was also lucky enough to experience the other end of the poop scale, albeit thankfully, not regularly. There were numerous evenings mid trimester 1 where I’d be rolling about the living room floor, eating copious amounts of fruit salad and Googling how to treat constipation. This isn’t something I’ve been bothered with much, but I can confirm it hurts, it is uncomfortable and it didn’t ease easily.

    Thankfully, I’m now a lot better in both areas. I guess the re-introduction to non beige carbs and the sickness easing a bit is helping but after this pregnancy, let’s just say I won’t ever take my stomach of steel for granted again!

    Keeping pregnancy a secret: Hiding all of the above has got to be the hardest part of the first trimester. We traditionally keep it a secret until after the twelve week scan to make sure everything is ok, which I understand, however, I also think it’s very beneficial to tell close family and friends in advance of this because let’s face it, if everything wasn’t ok, you’d probably welcome their love and support. In addition to close family and a couple of friends, by around week 4 of my pregnancy, my skin specialist, my personal trainer and my business coach all knew. By around week 8, my beautician, my hairdresser and a couple of clients knew. (My hair cut and colour, the dreadful wax and my lack of energy in training sessions were all important to me!)

    Not only was I struggling to hide my vomiting and frequent urination, I was expanding rapidly. I should have mentioned; I went up 3 bra sizes and 8 cm in a matter of weeks, but for someone who had a pretty flat stomach, the growing bump (or bread bloat as it was in the early weeks) meant clothes weren’t fitting properly anywhere. I was wearing Mat’s clothes to work, his pyjamas to chill and the thought of finding something to wear for upcoming events was causing me stress. My car was like Postman Pat’s van with the number of parcels I got delivered and then had to return in an attempt to find something to wear for a garden party hen day. My normal clothes wouldn’t button up, the size bigger I had ordered in advance was now gaping open and the next size up fitted around my chest and midline but was hanging off my shoulders. I turned to maternity options, (which I will write another post on I’m sure) but there is nothing in my usual style and I felt like I looked pregnant. I ended up telling a few of the girls I would be with before the event, at around 11 weeks (5 days before my scan) because my alternative was genuinely making a rubbish excuse and not going.

    Maybe it’s easier to hide for some or maybe my hormones and lack of sleep and nutrition made me over think things, but I can honestly say, the relief at 12 weeks when we found out everything was ok and we could share our news was real! What felt like the biggest and hardest secret ever to keep was out in the open! The best thing about this though, being able to finally talk about how I feel. That was the hardest part; going through this and not being able to really tell anyone how I actually felt.

    My girls and I after me telling them my news at 11 weeks weeks and eventually finding something to wear for this hen day!

     

    So that’s it. The longest blog post I have ever written but by far the most honest. This wasn’t written to scare anyone off becoming pregnant, it wasn’t written for sympathy. Instead, it was written to highlight the reality of what a lot of women unfortunately go through. The best thing about writing it though; being able to talk openly.

    I’ve been honest; I haven’t enjoyed the first trimester but it certainly hasn’t all been bad. There have been some fun times, some memorable times and some ‘pinch yourself’ moments. I’ve moaned a lot (sorry Mat, Mum and sister!) but all the while I’ve remembered the good that is going to come from this. All of this; the good, the bad, the ugly and all the things that nobody ever talks about has been absolutely worth it! Our baby isn’t even here yet and I’m sure I still have a bit of a journey before he or she arrives, but the love I feel for our little baby bear, my wee bumpie is indescribable. We cannot wait to become parents, to start the next chapter of our lives as a family and bring our little one up surrounded by love and happiness.

    Now, Trimester 2; if you wouldn’t mind being a wee bit kinder to me and show me where to find that pregnancy glow everyone speaks about, I’d be very grateful!

    Thank you so much for reading,

    Lou x

    The team is expanding!

     

  • Trimester 2: Another rollercoaster ride!
  • Exercise in Pregnancy
  • October Workout 11
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 4
  • October Workout 10
  • Omni Bumps- Upper Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Upper Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 3
  • Our biggest lockdown achievement!

    So you’ve probably heard the news about Mat and I’s biggest lockdown achievement. I am growing a human. We made a little person.

    It wasn’t perfectly timed, it wasn’t perfectly planned but in the almost 4 years we have been together it has been the one thing we knew we both absolutely wanted and we are absolutely over the moon that in February 2021, two will become three and our little baby bear will join us, giving us our biggest and most exciting adventure yet!

    I’m going to be keeping it real, so follow me on Insta; @lou_loving_life for my pregnancy diaries and @livingomni for pregnancy safe workouts and all things health and fitness and go check out my first pregnancy related blog; Trimester 1: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly (and all the things that nobody ever talks about in between). There’s nothing left out so be prepared! 😛

  • Trimester 2: Another rollercoaster ride!
  • Exercise in Pregnancy
  • October Workout 11
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 4
  • October Workout 10
  • Omni Bumps- Upper Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Upper Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 3
  • Tackling Obesity: Empowering Adults and Children to Live Healthier Lives

    Is the Governments obesity strategy going to work?

    I’m sure you will have seen the news with the announcement of the UK Governments obesity strategy, so with the help of my Instagram followers, (@lou_loving_life and @livingomni) I’m going to delve into this a bit further.

    The thoughts and opinions below, unless otherwise stated, are my own.

    Let’s firstly take a look at the stats…

    • Two in every three adults are classed as being above healthy weight with over half of them classed as obese.
    • One in three children leaving primary school are overweight and one in five are obese.

    (Department of Health and Social Care, 2020.)

    Without having to do much research, we know that obesity leads to various health conditions and in turn adds strain to our health care system. We also know from recent news coverage that someone who is obese catching Covid-19 is more likely to have to be admitted to hospital, to intensive care and even die than those of healthy weight. Therefore, obesity is an immediate concern and so on 27th July, the UK Government published their policy paper; Tackling Obesity: Empowering Adults and Children to Live Healthier Lives.

    My first thoughts on this without delving any deeper into the policy document; Why does it take a global pandemic to treat obesity as a serious issue?

    Rates have been rising rapidly with global rates of obesity tripling since 1975. (World Health Organisation, 2020) Obesity costs the NHS over £6 billion per year, with cost to our wider society around £27 billion. Recent estimates suggests that by 2050, the cost to society will be in excess of £49.5 billion and we currently spend more each year on the treatment of obesity and associated conditions than we do on police, fire and judicial services. (Public Health England, 2017)

    I could go on and quote many widely available research papers and policy documents and provide a spreadsheet full of stats, but I think if you are taking the time to read this, you will appreciate and understand this growing problem. You can do your own research later if you want to know more of the facts and figures!

    So let’s get into the nitty gritty of the new strategy. The government have set out the below actions in an attempt to tackle the issue:

    • Ban on TV and online adverts for food high in fat, sugar and salt before 9pm
    • End of deals like ‘buy one get one free’ on unhealthy food high in salt, sugar and fat
    • Calories to be displayed on menus to help people make healthier choices when eating out – while alcoholic drinks could soon have to list hidden ‘liquid calories’
    • New campaign to help people lose weight, get active and eat better after COVID-19 ‘wake-up call’

    In addition and not specifically linked to this strategy, however, I feel noteworthy for the purposes of this article, the government have also introduced a ‘Fix Your Bike Scheme’ allowing members of the public to claim a £50 voucher towards the cost of repairing a bike, and of course the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme offering 50% discount off food and non alcoholic drinks Mondays- Wednesdays at participating restaurants throughout the UK.

    I asked my followers on Instagram for their thoughts on the above so will quote some of the statistics below as well as giving my own opinion.

    Ban on TV and online adverts for food high in fat, sugar and salt before 9pm

    Analysis published by Cancer Research UK from September 2019 shows that almost half (47.6%) of all food adverts shown over the month on ITV1, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky1 were for products high in fat, sugar and salt. This rises to almost 60% during the 6pm to 9pm slot – the time slot where children’s viewing peaks.

    I’d perhaps question why children are watching mainstream television channels between 6pm and 9pm, but I guess that’s just my personal thought so overall, I think this can only be a good thing. Children are drawn into the bright and vibrant colours used in food adverts and will be influenced by them. However, at the end of the day, it’s the parents or carers who are buying the food, so would a family friendly healthy eating campaign be a better option?, we can all now quote the coronavirus related health and safety adverts reminding us to wash our hands and maintain distance, so could a similar option have more impact? The adverts are from big corporations; what about in times of hardship for many small businesses, these adverts for food high in sugar, fat and salt are replaced with adverts for smaller companies offering healthier, balanced foods or local farm shops and retailers? When I asked my followers if they thought this was a good idea, 56% said yes and 44% said no. Feedback from those who said yes included, “Anything is a positive step,” “I always end up craving things I’ve seen on the TV and then end up snacking at that time on whatever I have similar so it would maybe stop me doing that.” From those who said no, feedback included, “I don’t think adverts are the issue. People will still buy what they want anyway,” and “It’s not enough, we need a big shift in culture.”

    End of deals like ‘buy one get one free’ on unhealthy food high in salt, sugar and fat

    In the UK we spend more buying food products on promotion than any other European country and a survey from 2018 shows that around 43% of all food and drink products located in prominent areas were for sugary foods and drinks, compared to just 1% for healthy items.

    Again, this is a case of anything is a positive! Just like the recent sugar or alcohol tax changes, people will still buy what they want. It is the decision making process that needs to change; the education behind the choices. There’s nothing wrong with foods high in salt, sugar and fat if they are consumed in moderation, in fact I’d never encourage complete restriction from these types of foods, but the fact they are generally cheaper and more prominently placed in shops, isn’t a good thing. My followers were completely divided with this one, with a 50/50 split. One said, “If these foods were more expensive or not part of an offer, I’d probably still buy them unless they were more ‘hidden’ in the shops. I don’t always go in with the intention of buying foods like this, but they are always so in my face, I can’t help it. The promotions aren’t the problem I don’t think, it’s where they are placed.”

    Calories to be displayed on menus to help people make healthier choices when eating out – while alcoholic drinks could soon have to list hidden ‘liquid calories’

    Calorie Labelling on Menus

    Research shows eating out is becoming more common, particularly among families, with 75% of people visiting a restaurant, fast food eatery or getting a takeaway in the past week, compared to 69% in 2010. However, there is often a lack of information about the calorie content of these items and research suggests people consume around 200 more calories a day if they eat out compared to food prepared at home.

    This one got us all thinking and a lot of good conversation flowing. This is not a positive thing. I encourage people to build positive relationships with food, learn about the nutritional value of foods, understand how food impacts the body and mind and to enjoy food. Of course, I also promote calorie counting, if this method works for a client in terms of weight management, but it doesn’t work for everyone. Counting calories can cause people to have negative thoughts around food, to become obsessive and can even lead to or make disordered eating worse. If we can’t go out for a meal or have a takeaway once a week without feeling guilty or restricted, will our relationship with food ever be a positive one?

    The Instagram question response was almost 50/50 again, with 51% saying it was a good idea and 49% saying it wasn’t. Of those who said yes, feedback included, “I’d be able to go out for a meal without stressing out about going over my calories.” This led to me asking a few questions around this persons relationship with food and in the end they changed their mind, agreeing that this wasn’t a positive attitude to have towards food and has decided to make some changes to ensure her children don’t grow up feeling like they have to count calories! Interesting! Of those who said no, the feedback was mainly around disordered eating. One person said, “As someone who has a history of severe disordered eating, this would cause me a lot of stress and anxiety. I am at the point now where I can go out and enjoy a meal, but this could affect my recovery as seeing the calories would perhaps be a trigger.”

    New campaign to help people lose weight, get active and eat better after COVID-19 ‘wake-up call’

    – GP/ Health professionals prescribing exercise

    In principle, this is great! It’s something that has been happening for a while but depending on Local Authority area budget and patient criteria etc, it’s not always accessible for those who need it. This has to be very carefully coordinated and managed for it to have any impact. As a coach, I know that exercise is not a one size fits all. What works for one person, may not work at all for someone else. What one person loves; another will hate. Careful consideration should be given to a person’s background, experience, interests and motivation levels. Equally as careful consideration should be given for the coach delivering the programmes. Someone who needs to lose weight may have other physical and mental health contraindications and this type of programme needs to take all that into account. At the end of the day, an individual must want to change. If they are simply being told to, this won’t work. I will be very interested to find out how individual NHS Trusts and partnerships aim to roll this out. As an Exercise Referral and Cancer Rehabilitation Specialist, it’s something I believe could have a very positive impact, if it is done well!

    The Instagram poll resulted in a resounding 83% saying this was a good idea and only 17% saying they disagreed. Of those who agreed with this, some of the feedback included, “As someone who is obese, if I was prescribed exercise, I’d be more inclined to do it. I’d feel like I had a goal and more accountability with someone to answer to.” Another said, “This can only be a good thing. Encouraging people to exercise will give people a chance to try something new and make some positive changes to their lifestyle. They may even find something they like and make it a habit. But… it’s got to be done right, there’s no point forcing it on people or it will never work!” Of those who said no, one comment was left; “I just don’t agree with this. People have got to want to change. They need to make the decision themselves, not be told what to do.”

    – GP/Health professionals prescribing ‘diets’

    I won’t lie. This one got my back up a bit and if you have followed me for a while you will know my views. Diets do not work. I believe that diets promote an unhealthy relationship with being healthy. I won’t give any brands the publicity here but if you are counting syns or points, replacing food with juice or taking a magic pill, you do not have a healthy relationship with food. Food is essential to nourish and fuel our bodies but it is also there to be enjoyed. Diets will work if you are prepared to be on them for the rest of your life but as soon as you stop, they will stop being effective. The bottom line is, it comes down to the energy balance relationship; calories in and calories out or simply, the calories you eat v the calories you burn. To loose weight we need to be in a calorie deficit (calories in < calories burnt), to maintain weight we need calories in to be = to calories burnt and to gain weight, we need to be in a calorie surplus (calories in > calories out). Whichever way we do it; syns, points, shakes or pills, we are restricting our calories. So what is my issue with this when I would suggest a calorie control/counting to a client? Calorie control does not need to be nutritional control. Calorie control does not need to be restrictive. We can manage our weight without becoming obsessed with anything other than what we like the taste of and in my opinion, there are plenty of healthier ways to support weight loss without prescribing a ‘diet.’ A lot more needs to be done to educate people properly about food and stop encouraging the vicious cycle of dieting. We should not be referring to foods as good and bad or junk; food is food. Yes, there are foods that are better for us than others but this is what’s important and finding that balance and allowing people to make informed choices will have more impact in my opinion. 1 in 4 ‘dieters’ will develop an eating disorder and over 80% of those who have dieted in the past admit they have a poor relationship with food, resulting in various issues such as fatigue, anxiety, lack of confidence and body image concerns. (Tally Rye, 2019)

    On the survey, 15% said yes they thought this was a good idea, but no comments were left and 85 % said they didn’t agree with this implementation. One follower said, “Prescribing diets like this (not mentioning the brand)is a disgrace. The government should be putting money into proper education to encourage people to enjoy food and be able to make better choices, while still enjoying what they like.” Another said, “I’ve been on diets most of my adult life and I’ve had a wake up call recently when my daughter (age 5) started saying she was fat and didn’t want chocolate because it was bad for her. That’s not a way to bring up my child and I’m making some big changes now. Our future generation do not need to live like that!”

    Fix Your Bike Scheme

    This is not part of the obesity strategy but was announced around the same time and I feel relevant to this discussion. Offering £50 towards the repair of a bike is a good thing in my opinion. It will encourage physical activity in the outdoors which I am all for so what I am about to add is not a negative, simply my ‘out the box’ thoughts. This is only relevant to people who already have access to a bike. There is nothing in place, that I am aware of, for those who don’t have access to a bike and perhaps can’t afford to buy a new one. Cycling may also be a slightly daunting way for someone to start their exercise journey. The health and safety considerations are slightly more than perhaps walking or running. As I say, this is a good thing but maybe an additional campaign for completely free outdoor exercise would better target those related to this strategy? On my follower survey, 85% thought this was a good idea, while 15% said they didn’t agree. I didn’t get much feedback here but included, “This is a great idea as will encourage people to get outdoors and active,” and “I think cycling is dangerous. I’d rather they give us £50 towards a new pair of running trainers or walking boots!”

    Eat Out to Help Out

    Again, not part of the obesity strategy but I feel worthy of a mention. My initial thoughts are that this is a great incentive. 50% off food and non – alcoholic drinks to encourage people to dine out post lockdown. A winner for businesses to maximise income after a period of closure and a winner for customers to save money while enjoying a social occasion. I was all for this until the media coverage promoted fast food chains while announcing the start of this incentive. Firstly, there are very few fast food chains whose bestselling menus provide us with a healthy, balanced and nutritious meal. I’m not against them; they have their place, but they are renowned for their low prices anyway, and let’s face it, none of these chains suffered too badly as a result of the global pandemic did they? Do they really need to be included in this scheme and do we really need to be able to buy 20 chicken nuggets for less than £3? I don’t think so. The hospitality sector has been one of the most badly impacted during lockdown and small, local, family run businesses are facing financial difficulties that for some has led to closure. So why are the media giving free advertising to fast food chains over small, independent businesses? Why are the media encouraging us to eat foods high in salt fat and sugar (those foods that are at the same time being removed from prime-time TV advertising!) over nutritious, home cooked meals? There’s an issue here that needs to be addressed and I urge anyone reading this to act accordingly. If you want a meal you can order on a touch screen for £3, please go on a Thursday – Sunday. You will still pay less than £5. Support local and independent businesses if you want a meal out Monday – Wednesday! I didn’t ask my followers about this in a poll, but I did get some feedback when I posted about it. This included, “People should make the most of this scheme as it is a great incentive but should use it to try new foods, new places and make healthier choices.”

    So to summarise, there’s a lot to think about here. ANYTHING to try and improve the health of our nation has got to be positive but is this all just too little too late? Will it work? I’m not sure. The government need to redefine ‘healthy’ and work from there. Whether you are the Minister for Health or an 8 year old school pupil, you know that eating healthy and taking part in exercise is good for us. What we think is healthy will depend very much on other influences, upbringing, parental beliefs and exposure to media and unfortunately, a lot of this is centred around diet culture, which is not healthy. If children grow up with these food types being part of every meal, it is the norm. They will feed their children the same.

    The media industry needs to change their approach too and encourage open discussion on overall health and wellbeing with emphasis being on educating people to allow them to feel confident in their decision making around their own health.

    Every single person in our society has a part to play in tackling obesity. Yes, the government need to implement something, but various industries could have a much bigger voice in deciding what will be implemented. If for example, retail, hospitality, manufacturing, health, fitness and education sectors were all on board and in this together, the state of our countries’ health would be very different. We too are influential in this process. We have the power to make decisions about what we buy, what we eat and what we do; all of this will influence these sectors and of course the government to develop a strategy that will bring long lasting change.

    If you’ve read this far, thank you. I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts on this so please get in touch!

  • Trimester 2: Another rollercoaster ride!
  • Exercise in Pregnancy
  • October Workout 11
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 4
  • October Workout 10
  • Omni Bumps- Upper Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Upper Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 3
  • The year of the ‘New Normal’?

     

    2020. Whatever way you look at it and whatever outlook you have on life, I think we can all agree that it hasn’t been a great year. For some, that sentence will be the biggest understatement, for others, perhaps it could have been worse. I’m sure though, for everyone, it’s relatable in some way.

    As the country went into lockdown back in March, we adapted in whichever way we could. For some, a rollercoaster ride of emotions meant waves of optimism followed by waves of doom and gloom. For others, a new found motivation for cooking, DIY and home workouts kept them busy and enjoying the time at home. Some even treated the time like a lazy day in the Christmas holidays; binge watching TV series or films while eating your weight in banana bread delivered to your doorstep by your friend. Virtual quiz nights became a regular treat and seeing your friends on screen kept us sane.

    Working from home raised challenges for some; internet issues maybe or getting caught on a Zoom call in your pyjamas, while others reaped the benefits; working from the sofa under a cosy blanket watching Holly and Phil discuss these ‘unprecedented times’.

    Perhaps you are one of the many thousands of people who lost someone close. Grief is hard enough to deal with anyway, but nothing could ever prepare you for that overwhelming loss with nobody by your side to support you. When my Dad passed away last year, he was surrounded by loved ones. Loved ones who got the chance to say goodbye to him. Loved ones who then rallied together to care for each other, support each other through those hard times. His funeral, albeit a sad day was a chance to celebrate his life with the extended family and friends. We ate, we drank, we laughed, we cried. We did that together. My thoughts go out to all of those who didn’t get the chance to do that during the pandemic.

    I’m a big believer of the saying “The hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life” and truly believe that the way we deal with adversity will strengthen our ability to grow, develop and conquer obstacles in the future.

    Lockdown affected me in a number of ways. I struggle with lack of social contact so not seeing my family and friends for all those months was tough. The business I’d just launched had to stop trading, I didn’t qualify for any government support and I ended up on benefits for the first time in my life. My partner Mat lost his job and he too had to start claiming benefits. As I write this, we still don’t know where the next pay check is coming from. That’s the harsh reality for much of the country.

    I could have let all of this get me down. I mean, starting/relaunching a business wasn’t the best decision but when I took the plunge, I could never have known what was impending. I left a well paid job in October last year to focus all my time and energy into my business. Although the business has been running since 2014, it was always a part time venture. I’d studied hard, I’d done my research, I’d developed partnerships and was ready to go for it. October to December exceeded expectations and it was going well. We flew into the New Year (quite literally as we spent most of January in Thailand) feeling optimistic and excited about the future, working remotely from beach cafes and poolside hammocks, hopeful that this would be a sign of things to come.

    February and the start of March, again, were great. A few teething problems, as you’d expect with any new business, meant long days and some trial and error but still, full of positivity, optimism and pride that our hard work was paying off.

    The day lockdown was announced, I think my initial reaction was much like most of the country. A bit of shock, denial, amusement, even and worry. The uncertainty and ‘new-ness’ of it all was daunting but surely it couldn’t be as bad as they were making out, could it?

    Of course it could. We are now 139 days in of gyms and schools being closed. Gyms and schools are what allowed those first few months of business to go so well, so I’m sure you can imagine the impact it had on us.

    “The hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life.”

    I am not yet out of the hard times but I am very confident that I can look back on this in the future and know that it led to something great. I choose to believe that. Just like I choose to make the most out of the situation.

    During lockdown, I had days that I didn’t get dressed. I had days where I didn’t workout. I had days when I ate pizza for breakfast and drank alcohol for lunch. I had days that I didn’t speak to anyone other than Mat. I made sure though, that these days weren’t routine.

    For the most part, I got into a solid routine; working out in the morning, eating healthy and nutritious food for every meal and working at the desk to ensure I remained focussed. I set boundaries. I got up at the same time every day, I started and finished work at the same time every day and in the evenings, I taught myself how to relax.

    Pre lockdown, I was in a terrible habit of finishing work, but then continuing to work, almost subconsciously as I sat in front of the TV. I’d make a fuss about watching a film and then sit on my phone, completely disengaged and not really sure what was going on. I’d start reading a book, yet never finish it.  I’d buy colouring books or magazines in another attempt to find something I could do to switch off but they’d gather dust and eventually be used to start the fire.

    Lockdown taught me to enjoy my own company, to really switch off and be present in the moment. Lots of time without my phone, lots of time outdoors and lots of time spent doing random things that I really enjoyed.

    My working day was very different to normal. If you know me, you’ll know that my day to day work is usually very varied. I contract in schools across Tayside and Fife so I would normally spend part of my day commuting and then working with groups of young people in school gyms or classrooms working to enhance their confidence, improve behaviour and increase team work through fitness and physical activity. I also offer personal and small group training, so travel to various gyms, sports teams or community groups to delivery fitness or nutrition workshops. Work from home was normal for me and when we returned from Thailand, I finally got my studio gym ready to take clients. This was something I’d wanted for a while so was so excited when I opened the doors in February to my first local clients. All of that had to stop immediately and so working from home now meant long days sat at the laptop; planning for the future, studying and programming for online clients.

    The sudden change of lifestyle, of course had an impact on me. I’d gone from being on the go for 12 hours a day to being sat at the laptop for 12 hours a day, but I can honestly say I used my time wisely and whenever this crazy world changes enough for me to get back out there and do what I love, I am so ready. I got all the boring admin jobs done that I have put off for ages, I got myself qualified in other areas which I have wanted to do but haven’t had the time, I got my finances in order and I generally got myself and my business organised.  I should add here however, that I didn’t do this alone. I got myself a coach, but that’s a story for another day.

    I have no idea when I will be allowed back into schools (yes, they have a date for reopening and pupils returning but they will be treading with caution, and many want a trial run with core staff before bringing external contractors in). Gyms have been given the 14th September to reopen so I can only hope at that point, I can get back to training clients in my studio and visit other gyms to deliver training or workshops. Without sounding negative in a post that aims to highlight positivity, I am not holding my breath and am simply taking each day as it comes. The rise in cases and the delay in opening certain industries in England may be a reality check of what’s to come in Scotland, who knows? We are being told to adapt to the ‘new normal’ but how can we do that when it changes daily? How can we do that when we don’t know what the ‘new normal’ is? The unknown and uncertainty is overwhelming, but I’m just going with the flow, seeing every step forward as a positive one and making the most of what I do have. I’ll keep working hard and I’ll keep adapting to whatever is thrown at us next. If I didn’t, I’d be giving up and giving up would mean no longer believing that what I am doing is worth it.

  • Trimester 2: Another rollercoaster ride!
  • Exercise in Pregnancy
  • October Workout 11
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 4
  • October Workout 10
  • Omni Bumps- Upper Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Upper Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 3
  • Priorities; Part 3 and the books that helped me!

    You’re probably sick reading about prioritising after the last two posts, so I’ll keep this one short and sweet. If you enjoy reading or listening to books and feel you need a bit of a helping hand to write ME at the top of your priorities list; the books below have all helped me at some point over the years and I wanted to share them with you.

    1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

    2. How to Break Up With Your Phone by Catherine Price

    3. The Chimp Paradox by Prof. Steve Peters

    4. What I Know for Sure by Operah Winfrey

    5. Lost Connections by Johann Hari

    6. Atomic Habits by James Clear

    7. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k by Mark Manson

    8. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

    9. The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday

    10. The Obstacle is in The Way by Ryan Holiday

    I could go on and on here. These aren’t books specifically about prioritising yourself but they are all about encouraging you to become a better version of yourself and I would be very surprised if you don’t make some changes and start appreciating yourself more.

    Let me know what you think, or if you have any recommendations, I’d love to know your favourite reads or listens!

    PS- If you’re ready to prioritise YOU, why not register here for our next Omni YOU course… 3 workouts per week plus online support and suitable for every level of fitness and ability!

  • Trimester 2: Another rollercoaster ride!
  • Exercise in Pregnancy
  • October Workout 11
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 4
  • October Workout 10
  • Omni Bumps- Upper Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Upper Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 3
  • Priorities; Part 2- My Top Tips

    Did you do it? Did you prioritise you? If not, don’t stress; hopefully the below tips will help.

    1. Lose the technology. This is the deal breaker for me hence the length of this oneI don’t think it matters what you do for a living or whether it involves social media or not; we all spend too much time on our phones or tablets. Before we even properly open our eyes, most of us have reignited our relationship with our smartphone. Our alarm goes off and we reach to the bedside table to switch it off. Many of us then start scrolling social media, playing a game or reading the news before we even pick up a toothbrush. Then, we use them in the car to navigate from A to B or to answer business calls, we scroll again as we sit on the bus or train and we realise how quickly the battery has gone down and it’s only 11am. Breaks at work often involve very little real chat with colleagues and when you look around the staff room, it would be weird if someone didn’t have their phone in hand, only looking up and getting involved in conversation if their name is mentioned. Then when we get home in the evening, we spend more time catching up on the days events while we make dinner, workout in the gym or play with the kids. Then when it is time for you to chill out and have some you time, you run your bath, light the candles… and take your device with you. You put that film on you’ve been desperate to see but your phone is on the arm of your chair and no sooner has it started, without even realising, it’s back in your hand and you’re reading an article about life hacks you will never use, watching a video of someone falling or trying to decide what colour a shoe is just because it’s trending on LadBible. Then before you know it, it’s bedtime, yet you aren’t tired so you plug your phone in to the charger beside your bed and start reading or watching something to ‘help you get to sleep.’

    This might seem a bit extreme but I would genuinely put my months wages on it, that everyone reading this can relate.

    Have set times for social media. Plan it in your schedule for certain times throughout your day or use an app to limit time spent. When I get up in the morning, I used to start scrolling and watching Insta stories before I even got downstairs. Now, I make my coffee, read a few pages of my book then do the Omni social media posts. Then only if I have time before the gym or work, I allow myself no more than 10 minutes in the morning.

    Move your chargers. Don’t have one beside your bed or by your spot on the sofa. These spaces are for chilling out so don’t be tempted to use your phone. Plus, if you use your phone as an alarm clock and it’s at the other side of your room, you’re less likely to press snooze!

    Leave your phone in a different room. Once you’ve finished work and had your scheduled time for social media, leave your phone in a different room. If a device is part of your chill time; the Kindle app for example, either use a different device with all the distracting apps removed, or use an app like OffTime or AppBlock to stop yourself from getting distracted. When I have my shower in the evening, I leave my phone in the bedroom, come downstairs and do something else. If I need a device for films, books or podcasts during this time, I use my tablet which has no social media, no emails or WhatsApp etc and I’ve noticed a big difference by doing so!

    Have a phone ban. Whenever you are doing something with anyone else; date night, coffee with friends, dinner etc; make a promise to yourself and the company you’re in that you won’t use your phone, other than if there’s a photo opportunity. That being said, photo opportunity doesn’t mean instant uploads and then continual checks to see how many lovehearts you have. Take the photos and wait til you’re no longer in company. If you can’t stop yourself, buy a disposable camera and leave your phone at home.

    2. Spend more time doing what you love and less time doing what you don’t. I’m afraid that might mean saying no to things! For some of us, that’s a hard thing to do. We want to please everyone and make sure others are happy, but if something isn’t bringing you happiness, should we be doing it?

    3. Make time to be alone. Whether that’s a long shower or a short walk outside, it’s so important that you have a chance to think, reflect and reset. We get caught up in the daily hussle and bustle of life so it’s important to take a moment to breathe and relax.

    4. Loose the guilt. There is no need to be ashamed or embarrassed about putting yourself first. You are not being selfish. You do not need to justify yourself for indulging in something you enjoy. If everyone lost the guilt, nobody would ever feel guilty!

    5. Love yourself. Do things that make you feel good about yourself; wear make up, work out, eat well. Whatever makes you feel good inside and out, do it! Remind yourself every day that you are amazing because the better you feel about yourself, the better others around you will feel.

    6. Be positive. Acknowledge and appreciate the people and things which are positive and uplifting. Show and remember that appreciation and commit yourself to that positivity.

    Finally, remember there are only three things you can control and change; what you think, what you say and what you do!

    Remember, there is only one of you in the entire universe. Prioritise YOU.

  • Trimester 2: Another rollercoaster ride!
  • Exercise in Pregnancy
  • October Workout 11
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 4
  • October Workout 10
  • Omni Bumps- Upper Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Upper Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 3
  • Get your priorities right!

    Just as I was getting into the swing of things after our holiday, life got a bit chaotic. Sometimes things happen and you end up slightly off track. It’s part of life. Sometimes though, without even realising it’s your own fault. So although its apologies from me for the extended lack of content; I had to prioritise and that’s exactly what I’d like to talk about now.

    If you’re following us on social media, you will see we’ve been working hard to finish off our wee studio gym, we’ve been busy with school contracts, clients and online coaching. I’m studying for more advanced fitness qualifications. I’ve also signed up for a few Crossfit comps, an adventure race and a run so I’ve upped my training game.

    All positive and moving in the right direction for sure, but at one point a few weeks back, I was so overwhelmed by everything that it occurred to me that even though I was working long hours and training twice a day, I wasn’t actually making much progress. I was tired, I was stressed and I couldn’t switch off. Perhaps different circumstances, but I’m pretty sure everyone can relate to that feeling? Lack of concentration, lack of sleep and ever growing to do lists; I knew something had to give.

    One of the advantages of my business is that I can oversee everything from my phone. One of the disadvantages of my business is that I can oversee everything from my phone. There lies issue number 1 when trying to prioritise. I thought I had perfected the art of time management in self employment; created a home office away from the rest of the house, using a planner to create a schedule for the day and having a routine of starting and finishing at a certain time. What I didn’t consider was that picking up my phone at any point outwith those times, would very quickly lead to ‘overtime’ and therefore less ‘me time.’ Simply scrolling through social media for me leads to unplanned client check ins, unscheduled emailing and unintentional studying and it wasn’t until someone else highlighted it that I realised it was a problem. I would ‘finish’ work, train, have dinner then relax; all part of the schedule I’d planned earlier in my new fancy planner. The planned two hours of relaxing actually translated to 5 mins of a film or 2 pages of a book followed by 90 mins on my phone. Self employed or not; when was the last time you had some time away from your phone or tablet?

    Prioritising for me until very recently was writing a list of tasks in order of importance and working through them until they were finished. Pretty standard. What I forgot about was prioritising ME. I’ve spoken to friends and family about this and felt sad when I realised that I wasn’t alone. We all spend so much time prioritising other things that we forget what’s most important. Yes, YOU are most important! Never feel guilty for putting yourself first!

    I am by no means an expert but by making a few changes, I have made progress so I’ll share some tips on prioritising in my next post. In the mean time, if you’ve read this far, I reckon it’s because you can relate so try prioritising YOU today by taking time away from technology; have a bath, meet some friends, read a book, cook, watch a film. Whatever. Do it for you. Do it without the company of your phone. Be present in that moment and enjoy what it feels like to switch off and actually relax. Prioritise you. 

    If you’d like to get part two directly to your inbox, register for our mailing list by clicking here.

  • Trimester 2: Another rollercoaster ride!
  • Exercise in Pregnancy
  • October Workout 11
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 4
  • October Workout 10
  • Omni Bumps- Upper Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Upper Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 3
  • The biggest challenge

     

    There’s no denying that the last month has been the hardest month of my life. The next month is going to be harder. Am I prepared for that? No. Will I cope? Yes. I’m not quite sure how yet but I know I will. Friends and family keep telling me how much they admire my strength, yet I don’t feel very strong. However, hearing that gives me the boost I need to carry on and knowing it’s coming from those who know me best and those I trust most in the world reminds me that everything will somehow be ok.

    I don’t want to go too much into the situation, it’s not meant to be an emotional read, but if you’re reading this now, you’ve probably read previous blog posts or follow me already on social media and will know that my Dad has cancer. You may also know from recent posts, or maybe even my lack of posts, that things have deteriorated pretty quickly. A few weeks ago we were summoned to a stuffy room in a hospital ward and told that Dad had a matter of weeks to live. Those words left me speechless, lost and broken.

    Back in June not long after his diagnosis, we were told he’d be lucky to have a year. At the time and for a while afterwards that speechless, lost and broken feeling overwhelmed me, but soon it was a case of getting on with things. Dad coped so well with a LOT of chemo, he had good days and bad days but generally and in comparison to many others undergoing cancer treatment, he was pretty lucky. At the time of diagnosis, we were told the cancer was incurable and any treatment was to prolong his life and keep him comfortable. His positivity and love for life, his open attitude towards alternative remedies and his middle finger up to cancer gave us all hope. One of his scans surprised even the medical professionals and of course gave us even more hope to cling to.

    Fast forward a few months and it’s a different picture. That speechless, lost and broken feeling isn’t going anywhere, and as I watch my Dad deteriorate daily knowing there’s not a lot I can do except be there and spend time with him, the only thing I can do to ease the heartache is to learn how to become a better person from it. The devastation has allowed me to sit back and look at the world in a different light and although it upsets me immensely that it has taken me til now, as a result of the biggest challenge I’ve faced, to start having a mindset shift, it’s the one positive thing I can take and share. Read my next post to find out more and please, don’t wait til you face adversity to change your mindset. Seriously, cliche as it sounds, learn to live every day like it’s your last!

  • Trimester 2: Another rollercoaster ride!
  • Exercise in Pregnancy
  • October Workout 11
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 4
  • October Workout 10
  • Omni Bumps- Upper Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Upper Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 3
  • On the road again… to an exciting, happy future (and more Grahams!)

    A few little life changes (for the better!) and it’s been a crazy few weeks on the road again up and down (mainly down!) the country which has taken us way further South from the anticipated Grahams so I wanted to update so that anyone interested could keep track of my progress, or, indeed, lack of! By this stage, I had hoped to have done around 10. I also hoped to have the A-Z fully underway and on the road to raising the profile of our fundraising efforts. As it often does however, life took over and I find myself around 200 miles South of the nearest Graham as I write this. I’m disappointed that it’s been a slower start, but sometimes we gotta do what we have to do and in this instance, a few more weeks of life on the road was what we had to do.

    That compromise, however, means my brain is full of positive vibes, big plans, new goals, new dreams and new challenges and without the trips South of the border, I maybe wouldn’t have that. The Grahams will still be there and the delay in starting just makes me want to push even harder to succeed.

    I’ve been training like a beast while I have been away, focussing on getting myself into the best shape I can be for the upcoming 16+ ascents of Mount Everest. Ok… that’s just an analogy I like to use for the 223 remaining Grahams but it sounds good eh? The main Graham, my Dad, is doing pretty damn good right now too which makes it all even more motivating. He had an appointment last week with his consultant where we found out the tumour has almost halved which literally was the best news we could have heard, considering only a few months ago, they didn’t know if the treatment would work at all!

    It’s funny how such a shit thing puts everything else into perspective. My Dad and I have spent more time together recently, even with me travelling a lot, than we ever have in my adult life and we’re enjoying each others company so much more; acting like complete goofballs, laughing at things that probably aren’t funny and doing things that we usually would find pretty boring and monotonous like visits to TK Maxx and trips to collect batteries from caravans! He, or his cancer, also encouraged me to make some pretty big life decisions, to be completely ok with some that were made for me and to see the best in people, life and the trials and tribulations it throws at us. I’ve known for a long time that there were certain aspects of my life I wasn’t happy with and only from this, did I decide to do something about it. My life is now emptied of bad attitudes, negativity and weak, unprofessional, jealous individuals and instead is full of happiness, love, positivity, memories and people that truly matter!

    If you’ve read this far, always remember this:

    1. If you are not obsessed with the life you are living, change it!
    2. The way you react to a situation has the power to change the situation into something better!

    If you’d like to donate to Maggie’s Centre, click here, or text NVXD89 + £amount to 70070, and please keep an eye on here and on Facebook and come and join us in our upcoming challenges!

     

  • Trimester 2: Another rollercoaster ride!
  • Exercise in Pregnancy
  • October Workout 11
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 4
  • October Workout 10
  • Omni Bumps- Upper Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Upper Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 3
  • The Grahams for Graham

    When I was younger, my Dad used to set off most weekends on a hillwalking adventure. He’s bagged a fair few Scottish mountains, so when we were trying to decide how best to raise money for Maggie’s Centre Fife, I suggested climbing all the Munros. My Dad thought it was a great idea although when we discussed it during his most recent chemo appointment, he said, “It’s a shame you’ll miss some of the smaller hills because they’re sometimes my favourites.” That got us thinking, and it was actually my Mum who suggested we do the Grahams instead. Very quickly, The Grahams for Graham became the letter G of our A to Z for Maggie’s challenge.

    I’ve always enjoyed being outdoors; the views from the summit of a Scottish mountain, even the mist, wind and horizontal rain on a typical Scottish day adds to the experience, but recently, with my hip injury, hills have been something I have avoided. In fact, walking is something I have avoided. I think that’s why it seems like a good idea. It’s a challenge, and if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t feel happy asking people to sponsor me to do it. My hip has been great; I have stuck to a rehab plan and taken a step away from the things I was told would aggravate it. Here’s hoping that being sensible for the last six months has worked and I can complete this challenge!

    I also want to make this a social challenge, something that others, whether close friends or family or complete strangers can be involved in. The Great Outdoors, in my opinion, offers something that you can’t get elsewhere; a sense of wellbeing, an energy boost, a sense of achievement and a positive outlook. These are things that many of us often lack and I would love to think that by coming out and walking with us for a day, people can learn from it, use it to relax, gain confidence, find the motivation to do something else or improve their fitness by getting involved. We aren’t putting a time on this one; Cancer is probably as unpredictable as the weather and these are just two factors that may cause our plans to change at the last minute and our completion moving further into the future.

    There are 219 Grahams in Scotland; spread over the whole country, including 7 of the islands. Grahams are peaks which are between 2000ft/609.6m and 2500ft/762m with a drop of at least 150m between each peak. (SMC, 2018)

    The Grahams are found in the most beautiful, scenic, often remote parts of Scotland so not only are we looking to complete them, we want to make the most of the beautiful surroundings too. I will always post on social media when we are going and we would love to have you join us. All we would ask if you’re joining us is that you either make a donation or share our JustGiving page, tell your own friends and family what you’re doing and encourage them to donate.  We will make sure we always have a brew kit, banter and everything we need to keep you safe and enjoy your day in the outdoors!

  • Trimester 2: Another rollercoaster ride!
  • Exercise in Pregnancy
  • October Workout 11
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 4
  • October Workout 10
  • Omni Bumps- Upper Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Upper Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 3
  • The A-Z for Maggie’s

    Apparently I like to make things difficult for myself. I think it’s just a case of enjoying a challenge, but either way, after racking my brains for a few days, I decided that one single challenge wasn’t enough, and instead the best way to raise money for Maggies Centre Fife is to have 26 different fundraisers; a different event, challenge or activity for every letter of the alphabet. The A-Z for Maggie’s was born and shared with the family, who although said I may be taking on too much, loved the idea and will be involved every step of the way.

    The A- Z for Maggie’s isn’t just about raising as much as we can for Maggie’s Fife, albeit that is the most important aim. It is about my family and I doing positive things together, bringing others together, making memories and raising awareness of Maggie’s and the work they do to support those with cancer.

    This will be a work in progress and as we work through them, I’ll update and hopefully get some of you involved. Here’s the list so far; some confirmed (in bold), some are simply ideas, and the blank spaces; yeah, we need ideas!

    A- Afternoon Tea (hosted by my Aunt)

    B- Bag packing

    C- Coastal Path Cycle

    D- Donate an hour of pay

    E- Easter egg hunt

    F- Fitness class (Dates etc tbc)

    G- Grahams for Graham

    H- Hogmanay/Halloween Party

    I- Indoor rowing challenge

    J-

    K-

    L- Loose change collection

    M- Marathon

    N- Non uniform day/Name the teddy

    O-

    P-

    Q- Quiz night

    R- Raffle

    S- Swimming challenge/ Sky Dive

    T-

    U- Unwanted present sale

    V-

    W- Walk every day sign up

    X-

    Y-

    Z- Zipline

    Suggestions welcome. This is an ongoing challenge and can be added to at any time.

    If you would like to donate, please visit my JustGiving page, by clicking here.

    Now, scroll up to the letter G and click on that line to read my next post and find out why we are going to climb over 200 Scottish Hills…

  • Trimester 2: Another rollercoaster ride!
  • Exercise in Pregnancy
  • October Workout 11
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 4
  • October Workout 10
  • Omni Bumps- Upper Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Upper Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 3
  • Positive vibes only…

    It sure has been a while since I last blogged!

    I suppose life took over and in the midst of enjoying myself, working a lot and being generally out of routine, writing wasn’t the first thing on my mind.

    I wish I could say I was writing now because I had something exciting and positive to blog about but unfortunately it’s more a case of trying to create positives out of a bit of a rubbish situation. A couple of months ago, I received some devastating news that would change everything. My Dad was diagnosed with cancer; a rare form in his liver. My Dad; one of the fittest 56 year olds I know; who’d been in Singapore, climbing Munro’s and camping only weeks before. I won’t bore you with the whole story so in short, what originally was fatigue, feeling weak and then latterly query gallstones, rapidly became a cancer diagnosis. Bad enough, until only two days later we were told that it couldn’t be cured. My partner has been through both his parents being ill and two of my close friends have been through this with their Dad’s. A friend of mine, whom I’d worked closely with to fund raise and raise awareness of bowel cancer, passed away only a few years back, and another friend was fighting a long battle with the disease*. However, hearing the news about my own Dad was so much harder. I thought I could relate and understand my friends, but now I know I really didn’t have a clue!

    My Dad is now undergoing chemo and compared to many others, is doing very well in terms of side effects and management. What we don’t know yet though is what difference it will make, what quality of life he can have and how long we can continue making memories together and I suppose that’s why I’m writing again. News like that can change a person, cause a person to give up and loose hope but my Dad’s attitude is the opposite and while the reality not easy to accept, he is positive, determined and willing to put up the fight and it would be wrong for me or anyone else to do anything different! He/we have a solid network of family and friends and right now, it’s about spending as much time as we can together and enjoying ourselves.

    Since the diagnosis, we have all been to visit the Maggie’s Centre in Kirkcaldy. Maggie’s are there for the whole family offering a range of support and advice; from a friendly face to legal advice, and the atmosphere within the building is amazing! The moment I walked in on my first visit, I felt welcome and at ease. Since then, my Dad has made use of the services Maggie’s offer and although we are still in the midst of a long journey and haven’t visited as much as we would like, I already feel like I want to give something back. Fundraising is a focus, a challenge and to me, part of the journey to come and an opportunity to do something positive during hard times.

    I will be raising money for Maggie’s both by undertaking personal physical challenges/events and running community events through my business to engage others in the hope that we can raise awareness and have some fun in doing so.  I’ll be writing about the highs and the lows, the training involved, the events and everything in between (except for gory details and the emotional part; that will be kept personal) but I would love it if you followed our journey and support my family and I to raise some funds for something so close to our hearts.

    * My colleague, my friend and one of my inspirations passed away last week after a very long fight. Her attitude was one that should be adopted by everyone; positivity, determination and resilience through adversity are characteristics to be admired and if I can have even a fraction of her strength and courage, I will be happy. I am so proud to have worked with her, learned from her and called her my friend.

    Sleep tight MF xxx

  • Trimester 2: Another rollercoaster ride!
  • Exercise in Pregnancy
  • October Workout 11
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 4
  • October Workout 10
  • Omni Bumps- Upper Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Upper Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 3
  • THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF VAN LIFE (and Kiki’s new clothes!)

    ‘Van life.’

    It took a while for me to get used to that phrase, and indeed used to the concept but it’s very quickly grown on me and now Kiki is part of the family.

    Initially, van life as an idea was something I was keen to be part of , but in reality, I didn’t think it was for me. Packing light, no electricity, no running water and no toilet facilities; all things I could do and enjoy for short periods of time, but all things I knew I wasn’t very good at for any length of time!

    The first few trips away in Kiki were for one night, and these were generally one night of very little sleep and anxiety. The idea was to go away to a remote location, do something (walk, run, climb etc), cook food and then completely relax. Now, I know I am not the best at relaxing anyway; it takes a lot for me to completely switch off, but I certainly wasn’t very good at it an in environment I was unsure of and had no real knowledge of the ‘etiquette’.

    Fast forward a year or so, and progress has been made. I can now pack well, use a camping stove with ease and actually cook pretty decent, nutritious meals in one pot. I can also feel clean enough using only a packet of baby wipes and occasionally a kitchen basin and a bar of soap. Oh, I can now poo outside too and feel comfortable doing so. Yes. I said it! I’ve also learned how to relax and can safely say, I switch off and forget about real life for a period of time. Life without a phone is something everyone should do at least once a week, and in fact, after our most recent trip, we have now introduced periods of ‘phone ban’ whilst at home. Let’s face it, how many of us get caught up in social media without even realising we’ve just wasted an hour of our lives. We all do it, but who cares what someone you haven’t spoken to in real life for over a month had for their dinner, or how your best friends Mum took her first selfie? Van life encourages you to forget all of that.

    There’s still something bothering me, amidst all the relaxation and learning and that is where we set up camp. Now, until recently, my main concern was that Kiki didn’t have any curtains. I never liked the idea of parking in a car park with other vans or being on a campsite with other vans and tents. People could see in, and we could see out. The fishbowl effect and lack of privacy made me feel uneasy. I always liked the idea of parking somewhere so remote where nobody else would even think of going, and that is what we did. This came with it’s own exposure though and as I lay in the van, looking out into the woods or down towards the sea or whatever beautiful location we’d eventually found after driving around for hours consulting with the OS Map app, darkness falls and of course, I let my mind wander, completely relaxed and find myself thinking about what might be lingering in the darkness. I think I watch too many crime dramas and these locations just look like somewhere a body would be hidden or someone would be attacked. Poor Mat just couldn’t win with the choice of location so thinking this was something that I thought I could change easily which would make the vulnerability of being exposed disappear, Kiki got herself some new tartan curtains.

    The most recent trip away for New Year came with the surprise of being on a campsite. One with running water and showers (albeit cold) but in the lead up to our planned 3 day hike with only sleeping bags and bivvys, it was welcomed. We were also in the company of the Stathams; who with their palace of a van (VW Transporter) and baby Oliver, we brought in the New Year. Kiki’s new clothes (the curtains), did their job extremely well and it was the first time in van history, I could safely say I was 100% relaxed. Not only did they do their job in taking away the fish bowl effect, but they gave Kiki some insulation and created a cosy and ambient atmosphere. Complete with battery operated fairy lights and a bottle of red, it was bliss!

    On returning from our wet and windy expedition in the Welsh mountains, Kiki again, was my saviour. My love for van life was growing and as the thought of going home and back to work loomed, I didn’t really want this holiday to end. Until the journey home!

    We had decided to break the journey up and travel back to Scotland over the next couple of days. Wales to Peak District then Peak District to North Yorkshire/Lake District then home seemed a lot less stressful than the M6 for 7 hours in one go. We decided to avoid campsites for the first night and so scanned the OS map app for some options. Feeling chilled about this, knowing that we have the protection of our tartan curtains, I, for, the first time, got involved in the decision making. A quiet carpark set back from the road with what we thought would be lovely views was option 1. It was a building site. Moving on to option 2… another small car park next to a reservoir with a close by sailing club. Again, nice views and the sound of water always wins points. On arrival, about twenty cars, public toilets and clearly a meeting point for lots of people. We agreed a running club, to make me feel better, but I am still convinced they were meeting for other reasons.

    So onto our final option, a secluded car park next to another reservoir and the start point for a woodland trail. By this point it was dark and we were hungry, so seeing the empty car park, surrounded by trees and a small waterfall, I decided it would be the perfect place to park. Mat did say again, just in the passing, that he sometimes thinks busier carparks are better because nobody would bother you. He also mentioned that it would be a weird place for people to come at night, but I, thinking I had found us a perfect spot, started making myself comfortable. Another spot with zero signal and slowly dying batteries so we cooked food, wrote in our van diary (more on this in a bit) and listened to a podcast, with the curtains closed of course. Again, complete bliss!

    Just as we were getting ready to go to bed, I see the light of another car shine through the curtains. Thinking that someone was just turning, or was lost, I tried not to think about any other reason for them to be there. However, the car parked over the opposite side of the carpark, turned the lights off and just sat there for about 15 minutes. The inside light remained on. Yeah, you guessed it, my relaxed state soon turned to my wandering mind and an irrational list of reasons why they were there. We couldn’t see inside the car, and so I had no idea how many people there were, what they were doing or even if they were still in the car. We decided to go with kids having a smoke and as they left, I tried to absorb myself back into the podcast. Mat, trying to help me relax again, explained that kids would be more scared of us in a van than we should be of them. Then, half an hour later, another car appeared, parked up in the same spot, turned all of the lights off, inside too, and stayed there for an hour! In that hour, I honestly think I wrote a best selling crime novel in my head, helped by Mat, who by this point, had his axe in hand, my knife next to me and was neighbourhood watching so bad that Kiki’s new curtains were twitching. That night, I think I may have managed to sleep for about 3 hours and in the morning, suddenly I felt less relaxed than I did at home. Not only had I been re writing my crime novel, but my brain was full of work, lists of things I had to do and the chilled feeling I had wanted at the end of our holiday was some how sucked away, leaving me feeling anxious and tired. I think it’s safe to say that Mat may have had a point about quiet spots and I think I will leave the decision making up to him for a while at least. Now that Kiki has curtains, what difference does it make, right?

    After that night, and to be honest, the weather played a part in our decision, we went for breakfast in a hotel and then started the drive home. We had planned to stop and do the Yorkshire 3 Peaks but we decided that in order to give it our best shot (we’ve got goals for this challenge!), we should go home and come back another day. The thought of our own bed, a shower and a few days of chilled, slow pace working, rather than one day of manic, stressful and rushed work was more appealing and probably the best way to start our busy 2018 schedule.

    The growing love for van life continues and I am already excited about our next adventure. Kiki now has a van diary and our aim is to fill some pages at least once a month with details and stories from our adventures. Spending more time in the van, and making time for at least one trip a month will really help keep our batteries charged and stress levels low in 2018. Who knows, maybe I’ll share some of Kiki’s diaries on here!?

  • Trimester 2: Another rollercoaster ride!
  • Exercise in Pregnancy
  • October Workout 11
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 4
  • October Workout 10
  • Omni Bumps- Upper Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Upper Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 3
  • Your dream job does not exist; you must create it…

    It’s been a while since I updated this and as I sit on my first proper day off in what feels like forever and reflect on what has been a crazy, busy, hectic but more importantly, absolutely freaking awesome few months, I felt the need to write again. I suppose when I first started this section of the page I was racing a lot and could use the blog as a way of reviewing events I had taken part in and formed the main ‘theme’ of my page. Now, the main subject I feel I want to write about is work, which seems ridiculously dull and made me wonder if anyone would actually read it?! However, even on the hardest of work days, I pinch myself and think just how lucky I am that it never actually feels like work. I am so lucky to be in this position and am writing about it regardless of whether anyone wants to read about it or not…

    I’ve always been a great believer of that saying, “To do great work is to love what you do,” and now I can honestly say that I love what I do. I really believe that I have created my dream job and as I dream bigger, the opportunities too will grow.

    I’ve said it before but leaving a secure job with the local authority was a big risk. Even now during the tough times (delays in invoices being paid and bills coming in and knowing we don’t have enough to cover them as a result, contracts, accounts and the general stresses of being self employed; if you’re self employed- you know!) I  sometimes think that if I hadn’t given it up things would be easier. These thoughts are gone as quickly as they enter my head. Taking that risk has led to so many opportunities and experiences and I am now a director of a limited company I share with my partner Mat. Wow! Writing that felt grown up!

    Mat and I moved in together at the beginning of the year; a move that others questioned at the time. We hadn’t been together long and friends and family thought it a bit risky to be taking such a big step so quickly. What people didn’t realise, in fact, most people never will, is that working together at Spartan Race is like a super charged, accelerated and intensive dating site without the dating. I think it was 3 or 4 months in before we had our first date but in that time we were lucky enough to see each other at our worst and not hate each other. Working 15 hour days in pouring rain, very little sleep, running up and down hills all day, eating out of a plastic box in the back of a lorry and then sharing living spaces with each other for two weeks can take its toll. If you can get through that and still want to spend time together, it must be a positive thing. We got through a season of that and then flew to China together for the Agoge… another move that some frowned upon (we still hadn’t had our first date!) Again, we saw each other at our worst; sleep deprived for over 60 hours and without a shower for 4 days should’ve been enough to put anyone off, never mind the physical and mental challenges that went with it! Anyway, I’m swaying off subject slightly and this ain’t turning into a soppy story about us; but instead to highlight how this adversity lead to our goal to never have to ‘work’ another day in our lives.

    When we set up our company; it was the coming together of our existing businesses; Life Health and Fitness and Roots Adventure Training along with the introduction of The Uprising. All three have a very similar ethos; to encourage people to improve their health by becoming more active, experiencing challenge and overcoming obstacles. We now have the best of both worlds. We can pick and choose what we do and who our customers are, we can choose when we want to have a day off, we can choose when we will work for 36 hours straight, we can travel to cool new places, we can still contract out to Spartan Race, we can finish early and have a spontaneous trip away in Kiki (Mat’s pride and joy and my new found love), we can go climbing or running or for a walk in the woods whenever we like, we can choose to sleep under the stars or cook outdoors and we can choose what setting we want to work in each day. Basically our ‘work’ is an ongoing adventure.

    Over the past few months we’ve been as far South as London and as far North as the Isle of Skye. These places and everywhere in between have allowed me to see beautiful locations, make lasting memories and meet so many inspiring people. I’ve worked in schools, colleges, sofas, offices, fields, mountains, beaches, lochs, coffee shops, farms, shops, vans, minibuses, planes, trains, restaurants, even bars! Every day is different and most of the time, Mat and I get to be colleagues. Being paid to have fun is such a fortunate position to be in!

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s not glamorous and it’s certainly not a lifestyle everyone would want; there is no such thing as routine; sleep patterns vary, training is inconsistent, planning ahead is almost impossible, a suitcase becomes your wardrobe, a spork, foldable bowl and camping stove become your kitchen, service station fast food chains become date nights and any form of social life becomes a full on night out because it’s so rare. However, it works for us and just makes us appreciate the simple things in life.

    I’m not saying this is the lifestyle that everyone should choose but what I hope you take from this (if anyone actually reads it!) is the motivation to create your dream job and to always keep dreaming! You are the only one in control of your future…

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  • Trimester 2: Another rollercoaster ride!
  • Exercise in Pregnancy
  • October Workout 11
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 4
  • October Workout 10
  • Omni Bumps- Upper Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Upper Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 3