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Getting to know… Karen Robertson of Pram Fitness

Beautiful chaos that just works. Join Sydney’s #1 outdoor fitness program for mums and munchkins of all ages in Rozelle.

As a special offer Pram Fitness would like to invite Inner West mums to come and try out our program with our special 7-Day Get Started Trial Pass.

www.pramfitness.com.au 

Tell us about yourself

I have been working in the fitness industry for over 10 years and run Pram Fitness, I specialise in helping new mums get into the best shape of their lives.

My career in fitness started on the side as a passion; I had a full time job working as a graphic designer but before or after work and during lunchtime I would run to the gym to teach a Body Pump or Body Balance classes. I eventually realised I needed to be in a more active job so gained a Certificate IV in Fitness as well as becoming a pre and postnatal specialist. I’m also trained in boxing, bootcamp and kettlebells.

Fitness has been engrained in me; as soon as I could walk I started to dance. I did ballet, tap, jazz, and as I got older I stepped into ballroom dancing competitively and was the NSW Champion at one point.

Tell us about Pram Fitness started

Pram Fitness started 5 years ago when I was working as a personal trainer focused on one-to-one training. Four of my female clients then got pregnant at the same time so I decided to study pre and postnatal fitness so I could continue training them.

Once I was qualified I wanted to introduce the mums to each other as they were all such beautiful women. I asked if they wanted to do a fitness mothers group after they had the babies. These mums are now the best of friends and it was great not just physically but mentally as they were all so likeminded.

It was at that point that it hit me like a lightening bolt that other mums might enjoy this too – this is how Pram Fitness got started!

How does a mum get started with Pram Fitness?

All of our new mums come to a Get Started Session, which is usually a one-on-one or small group session.

It gives our mums an opportunity to:

  • Discuss any postnatal issues they might be experiencing
  • Have a full postural assessment
  • Check for diastasis (tummy muscle separation) and
  • Experience a technique session of the typical exercises in our classes

From this session I recommend which level they should start training at. As we progress we take it slowly to increase the intensity because I don’t believe in pushing our mums too hard or too fast. I also refer them to our partner, iMove Physiotherapy, if they have any postnatal issues that need extra attention like abdominal separation, lower back pain, sore wrists, or weak pelvic floor.

Every exercise I prescribe has a low impact option e.g. if we are doing squat jumps and there is a mum who still has issues with her pelvic floor then her option would be to do squats without the jump.

It’s important to me that every mum feels nurtured in a supportive environment when they join Pram Fitness. It’s a place where anything goes, there are no rules and our mums are encouraged to do what they need to do with their kids at any given time.

What classes do you run and who are they best catered for?

We run classes 6 days a week and all of our Pram Fitness classes are catered to any fitness level of mum who wants to bring their baby or toddler. All ages are welcome from 6 weeks to 5 years.

We also have 6am early riser Mums & Dad Fun Fitness sessions for those who have gone back to work. We have Boxing Bootcamp on Saturday morning, which is a high-intensity and fun boxing workout. These classes are childfree.

Why is fitness for women, and in particular new mums, so important?

So many reasons! First of all it goes back to putting your own ‘life mask’ on. So many mums don’t prioritise their own fitness and health, which ends up being detrimental to themselves and others.

Once a new mum has been coming for a few weeks they often share with me they feel they have more energy, are sleeping better, have more tolerance for their kids, and are starting to feel stronger. It simply comes down to mums doing something for themselves and looking after their own body as a priority with the added bonus of being able to bring the kids along too.

There are also many studies that show exercise can help reduce the effects of post-natal depression by helping mums to feel strong and healthy.

What type of exercises do you offer? Can you be flexible to different fitness and strength levels?

Our mums love that they never do the same Pram Fitness session twice. We have a lot of variety in our sessions and focus on movements that are beneficial to mums. For example squats bring strength to the glutes, which helps with lower back strength.

I also like to educate women about lifting weight and the benefits of building lean muscle, protect their bones and joints, burn more calories, and prevent injury.

What is the one most important thing a new mum should do when looking at getting back into exercise after pregnancy?

After getting clearance from your Doctor, I think the biggest thing is for mums to let go of their expectations of what their return to fitness journey will be.

Before having kids mums were able to go to the gym regularly but when baby comes along, everything changes. They still sometimes have expectations that they can exercise in the same way. It can take a bit of time to build up again so being kind to yourself and proud of every step you make with your return to fitness is the best way to go about it.

How else do you bring support to the members of the Pram Fitness community?

We have a Pram Fitness Mums Facebook Group that you join when you start training with us. It’s an active group and mums are always chatting to each other, asking questions, and I give lots of fitness hints and tips. I run Facebook live sessions within the group on particular topics such as nutrition, mindset, or food prep.

What exercises do you incorporate to help with the pelvic floor? What if it is weak in a new mum? 

We work along side iMove Physiotherapy to ensure our mums are receiving the best support with this common issue. Coaching different pelvic floor techniques is important because it helps mums understand that they don’t have to live with incontinence. I teach my clients that the pelvic floor can be built up and strengthened just like any other muscle in your body.

What do you love the most about your business?

I love that I can have a direct impact on people’s lives. I am passionate about helping mums learn about health and nutrition so that their children grow up learning by example.

I was born to have my own business; I love is that it’s something I’ve created from nothing. I am so proud and excited by the opportunities and I love waking up with a new idea and having the freedom to implement it straight away. The opportunities are endless!

The flip side is that I have never worked harder in my life. You have to want it, live it, breathe it, and you have to be passionate about it. It’s a 24/7 job and it never stops. This is why you have to love what you do and I feel very lucky to work with the most amazing women!

Do you run any fitness challenges for your members?

Yes! I recently ran the first Pram Fitness Little Black Dress Body Transformation challenge. It was 8 weeks of focused training and nutrition, and at the end we got together to do an amazing photo shoot with a professional photographer while we were all wearing our black dresses. We then had a night out with a fancy dinner and got to spend some really nice, social time – without having to do squats or burpees!

The nutrition plan was about eating fresh and healthy whole foods and teaching my clients how to make smart, and planned, food choices. We shared recipes and had weekly Facebook Live sessions where I shared different tips.

I bared my soul and showed that I have to work on my fitness just as hard as anyone else – I didn’t want them to think that I am a ‘lucky’ super fit human who just turns up to class. This whole business is built on being real and honest so I showed them exactly why I put so much effort into living a fit and healthy lifestyle.

The results we got from the challenge were incredible. Not only did mums lose weight but they learnt how to prep food prep, how to make good nutrition decisions and how to plan for a healthy lifestyle. It was truly incredible to see it all come together.

Share with us the top 3 things you do to keep in shape?

  • Food prep – nutrition is one of the most important things to get right. I always know what I am going to eat at least a day in advance. Having food on hand and healthy snacks is really important as my days are busy, active and physical and I need all the energy I can get to get through my day.
  • Prioritising Exercise – I have just as much a challenge to fit in exercise as anyone else. Things come up and days get busy. As a rule I schedule my workout times in my diary and 90% of the time I’m able to stick to it because it’s important to me.
  • Having a healthy attitude towards health and fitness. I train and work really hard with my fitness but I also know how to have fun with my friends and enjoy a meal. I don’t believe in denying yourself; I believe in having a healthy relationship with food because there are things in life that are amazing – like cheese!

Your ideal holiday destination and why

Mexico! I went there a year ago and had the best holiday of my life and can’t wait to go back. You have sun, culture, fun, beaches and amazing food!

Favourite spots in Sydney’s Inner West?

The Little Marionette in Annandale is my favourite café – it has the best vibes, coffee, avocado on toast and tunes. The other morning they had an 80’s playlist belting out and everyone in the café was singing along. I live near Newtown and love the food and the culture – there’s always something happening which is so fun.

 

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