Mumhood. A chat with Pip Black
Today’s story starts with two inspirational mum figures, Pip Black and Joan Murphy, who back in 2008 launched the very first of their many quirky London Frame gym studios. After they both had a taste of motherhood, learnt that pregnant women were given little or no guidance at all around safe pregnancy workouts, so early this year Pip and Joan launched their own fitness programme: Mumhood – which I have just tried myself!
I met Pip a couple of weeks back when I was blown away by her energy levels and effortless je ne sais quoi (maybe it was a mix of her third trimester pregnancy glow and the barre workout vibes on cool Beyonce tunes!). Nonetheless, I’ve come to realise I reached 30 and never took working out and its benefits seriously, despite a dangerous sweet tooth addiction, one full term pregnancy and another bump making its way into this world, yet if there was someone to have helped me change my mind, then that’s Pip and brave Mumhood.
Still I genuinely wanted to learn more about the advantages of staying active before the new baby comes (plus who doesn’t want an easier labour, right?!) so I give you Pip and a great insight into her healthy routines and initiative of creating a strong community of women who understand times for lying down on sofa while eating cake are not the entire answer for our pregnancy needs. To convince the ones who know me that I can at least show an attempt for a healthier lifestyle (which I promised myself I’d keep from now on), I dragged gym bunny, kettlebell instructor and London mum photographer Anna Pawleta to get the actual visual proof that I’ve embraced the lusty switch.
1. Motherhood is a game changer. How did it change you?
In terms of work, it has made me far more organised, forced me to plan and prioritise and not to be afraid to say No (although I could still be much better at this!) I am also less of a perfectionist, which I think in hindsight is probably a good thing!
In general, I am far more patient and also very very happy to spend a day on the weekend at home with my family doing not a lot. I used to always want to have a full diary, now I couldn’t be happier than having a day when I can just chill out with my family. Sadly it doesn’t happen very often, but for me, being able to enjoy doing nothing is quite a big change!
2. Why do you think working out during pregnancy is important?
As you enter a new stage of your life, keeping fit and healthy is more important than ever, you’re going to need a new-found strength, both mentally and physically, to deal with carrying car seats up flights of stairs, cooking one-handed with a baby on your hip, and to endure yet another sleepless night.
The right kind of exercises during pregnancy and as a new mum can also go a long way to reducing or completely preventing any pain that can result from the changes going on in your body as your baby grows inside you and as it starts to knit itself back together post birth.
3. How does a regular day of yours look like?
In the week, I generally get woken up by a kick in the head and a “it’s morning time” from my son Phin. We then hang out for a bit and have breakfast, get everyone reay to leave the house and drop Phin at nursery at 8am. Every day is completely different, but I have until nursery pick up time to get a huge amount of work done, whether that’s internal meetings, external meetings, strategy and planning with Joan, filming, creating content, looking at properties, dealing with legal issues… it’s pretty varied but that’s what I love about what I do.
3 times a week (including the weekend) I try to get into a class at Frame. More would be ideal, but sometimes there just isn’t the time. If I can’t do a class, I’l make sure I at least walk for 30 minutes at some point in the day or have a good stretch before bed. Once Phin in asleep, I generally catch up with e-mails until about 9.30/10pm and then head to bed, praying that he sleeps through…
I have a babysitter every Tuesday which gives me time to finish work, meet friends, do a class or often attend work dinners. This once a week is really important to me and keeps me sane, just always knowing I have a little bit of ‘me time’ – I would massively recommend it to anyone!
4. Share the most essential 3 healthy daily routine tips mums to be or new mums should obey
1) Move your body every day. It doesn’t matter if this is a walk with a friend, a yoga class, a weights session in the gym or just a few stretches before bed… Moving will energise you and make you feel positive and happy.
2) Be prepared. Always carry healthy snacks with you for on the go snacking which doesn’t involve grabbing a bag of crisps or chocolate from the corner shop. If you’re a baker like Joan, blend up energy balls with healthy combos of fruit and nuts, or if you’re more of a savoury girl like Pip, always have a bunch of oatcakes and cheddar cheese, or nut butter, ready to go. When pregnant and as a busy mum, keeping energy levels up and staying away from the cycle of sugar crashes is key.
3) Liquids. When you’re super tired your body needs to concentrate on one thing, and that is keeping you awake, so many of your other systems go into shut down mode. By using liquids; broths and smoothies, you can help your digestive system to get the nutrients out of your food without having to work too hard, so for tired new mums or pregnant ladies, liquids are a good one to remember!
5. Today so many of us may experience periods of low confidence when motherhood kicks in, often when a career change is also involved. What would you advise mothers to do in order to overcome this and pursue their dreams like you have successfully done?
One thing to state here is that we did a lot of the crazy hours pre-motherhood. I genuinely am not sure we could have started from scratch with young families, the balance would be impossible to find, when your new business requires every hour of the day to succeed. However in terms of confidence, coming back into the business as a new mum after 4 months off was tough and I learnt a lot, which I’m hoping to use second time round.
1) Always say yes to help. You can’t do everything. if you’re going to run a business / work a stressful job, you need support so learn to love your mother in law and get as much help in as possible!
2) Be realistic as to what you can take on / achieve. It is far better to take on less and do a job that you’re proud of, thereby boosting your confidence, than struggling through trying to achieve the impossible. I learnt this the hard way!
3) Nail your childcare. You need to be 100% happy that your kids are being looked after in the way you want,in order to let you get on with your day without constantly worrying.
6. What/ who inspires you?
Each other / our mums / the awesome women we see at Frame every day / our incredible team / our husbands… I would say we’re more inspired by those close to us, than celebrities or people on instagram.
7. What would you advise new mums to keep in mind in the early days of motherhood?
Drink plenty of water, eat good, nutritious food to keep up your milk supply if you’re breastfeeding, do your pelvic floor exercises every day, stick away from high impact exercise for the first 6 months or until you’re happy that you’ve fully recovered, and do your REHAB (our Phase 1 Mumhood Programme should be key to every new mums daily schedule!)
8. Which are the 3 ‘I got this from my mama’ lessons you’d like your children to learn from you and proudly use later in their adult life?
Determination and Drive – if I believe in something I will make it happen.
Positivity – always look for the good in everything
Respect that everyone is different and there is never one ‘perfect way of doing something’ respect others for their differences and enjoy what diversity brings.
9. Your favourite quote…
What’s the worst that can happen?!
10. Finally, what has motherhood been teaching you so far and your favourite motherhood perks are…
Daily cuddles to melt my heart and boost my ego!
The joy of complete and utter innocence and being ridiculously excited by silly little things like daffodils, or helicopters or ice cream!
It taught me how to stop caring what other people think, and to get on and do it my way!
What I have also noticed myself is the bonding between mums and bumps attending the workout classes and that’s one great practice in order to avoid the isolation that sometimes comes with pregnancy and often with a new baby arrival.
“We encourage mums to stay for coffee or smoothies after class to add a community element and, generally, the ladies are pretty like-minded.”
If you want to learn more about Mumhood, the classes are run at Frame’s London studios and include Pilates, yoga, pre-natal strength training and postnatal tums. The online programmes are packaged as monthly subscriptions that include the equipment you’ll need, nutritional guidelines and monthly webinars. Mums and mums-to-be can now choose from face-to-face classes and a few brilliant online programmes while keeping an eye on organised workshops with guest speakers to educate women about the benefits of exercising.
If you don’t know where to start, first step could be getting yourself in some comfortable maternity working out gear (helps with the motivation!), here’s a lovely Mamas and Papas collab with Mumhood – the leggings I’m wearing here are by all means bump friendly!
Have a happy work out!