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It is well known that pregnancy can take its toll on the body for a number of reasons and without doubt its highly important to keep exercise in mind before and after labour. I am Neil Locock and I am a pre and post natal fitness specialist living in Munich with over 10 years experience in the leisure and health industries. Here is my advice:
Exercise during pregnancy can reduce excessive weight gain, reduce the onset of gestational diabetes, enhance body image, make for easier labour, improve psychological well being and decrease lower back pain to name a few. If you were active before your pregnancy then in most cases continued exercise is recommended during. Pregnancy however is not the time to begin a new fitness regime, your body will already be going through a big change, this is not the time to start something new.
A prenatal personal training client at Evolve Fitness
Exercise during pregnancy is very person dependant, this is the most important time to listen to your body. As your bump grows and your hormone levels change then different exercises become more more/less advisable/achievable. For example there is a point during pregnancy when exercises on your back become uncomfortable due to the baby pressing on a major blood vessel, in this scenario exercises must be adapted immediately.
Relaxin is a hormone that plays a very important role in pregnancy, one role is its relaxation of the ligaments around the pelvis. It will also cause all other joints to relax to a certain extent, this means that for future mums high impact activities should be minimised. Remember the most important rule here: “Listen to your body!!”, some ladies continue running during their pregnancy with no discomfort. I always recommend to my clients that they switch from the treadmill to a cross trainer to remove impact.
Let’s take the reduction of back pain as an example. During pregnancy the excess weight that you carry on your front can cause the rounding of your upper back and also the arching of your lower back. During sessions with clients I adapt exercises such as the lat pulldown and low row to maximise upper back strength which can improve alignment of the spine/ posture and combat the changes mentioned.
The “Mum’s & Babies” Fitness class at Evolve Fitness
At Evolve Fitness I run a mother and baby class on Mondays and Wednesdays @ 11am. This class is designed to start building muscle, burn off baby weight, strengthen pelvic floor muscles, improve cardiovascular fitness, rebuild core strength and of course meet like minded Mums in Munich. We use the babies for a lot of the exercises we do in class and for the rest of the time they chill out and play together. Providing you haven't had any complications you can try walking post pregnancy as soon as you feel comfortable, this can reduce your chances of blood clots. Please wait until after your post natal check to start fully exercising after giving birth. Again the exercises you can do are determined on your exercise levels during pregnancy. If you had a cesarean then your doctor will typically get you to wait for 6-8 weeks so your body can heal. Please remember “Listen to your body!!”
Simon Conway is an expat from Dublin, Ireland living in Munich for the last 4 years. A corporate advertising sales & account manager by trade and a qualified personal trainer by hobby he took a different career path following a few months research of the fitness industry in Munich and launched Germany’s first personal training and group fitness studio for the International community of Munich. We see how life has developed for the young Irish man during his start up years in Munich.
What made you realise this could be a viable business for you in Germany?
Well, first off I started doing some part time work for a personal training company in Munich that had a number of English speaking clients. Having realised myself how tough it can be to integrate as an expat in a city such as munich I knew the importance of connecting with people you can relate to on a personal level. This company lacked a particularly level of service and personal connection that I knew expats would automatically warm to. I simply saw a niche at that point for an international studio with the right service and quality training combined.
So what makes the Evolve Fitness studio different?
Atmosphere number 1. We have created an environment that is unparalleled to other studios in Munich. When an expat steps in our doors we want them to feel 100% relaxed and in a place where they get quality workouts from top class trainers whilst having the chance to meet like minded expats and make some friends!
What levels of fitness or ages do you cater for?
All. We don’t specialise or favour one type of client or audience. Our training team have a wide range of qualifications and skills and we look after all age ranges male and female no matter what your goals. We currently have clients learning weightlifting techniques, training for a sport, keeping fit while pregnant or simply needing to make a change in their lifestyle.
You seem to provide a wide range of classes for your clients from looking at your website?
Sure, As well as personal training the classes have grown in recent months. We now provide 5 different class types to our clients. Circuit training which can include HIIT, functional training, Kettlebell workouts and TRX for all fitness levels. The Pilates and Yoga classes run weekly too. Outside of this our new mother & baby classes have grown hugely in popularity since we launched them earlier this year. We are also into our second year of running both our Ski-Fit and trail-Fit classes where we get clients in shape mentally and physically for the skiing or hiking seasons. So overall now we have a great range of classes in both English and Spanish to cater for all area’s of fitness.
Simon Conway- Owner of Evolve Fitness in Munich
Do you miss your old career?
Not for a second. I now believe all my previous career experience has lead me to starting Evolve Fitness and has given me the chance to build a dream business while being surrounded by people I appreciate and respect more than ever. My job now encompasses management, sales, marketing and teaching so it covers all aspects of what I love most about business. I don’t like the often 6am starts but I don’t struggle getting out of bed like I used to! I think that says it all about how much I love what I do.
What’s the next step for you and your company?
When it comes to Munich fine tuning really. We still have areas of our business we need to improve on and some additional services we want to provide clients. Moving into nutrition and relaxation services mainly. Then looking further afield to other cities of Germany where such a studio would be in demand. We want to grow but in the right way. The number one thing that makes us different being our service and atmosphere has to remain regardless of how many studios we open. That’s why having the right team is of huge importance to me.
What do you miss most about home?
People mainly. That small town community feeling no matter where you are in Ireland. I miss the spontaneous conversations I would have with strangers on the street going about my day. However, I would like to think we have created a slice of this in our studio here in Munich. 😊
If you’re new to Munich, you may have noticed mountain sports feature heavily in the weekend activities category. Hiking in the spring and summer is an easy activity to get you out of the city to clear your mind, get in some cardio and work on endurance all while taking in some killer scenery. The sense of accomplishment reaching a peak just can’t be replicated. You can easily see your progress as the towns shrink away into the distance and the only sounds you hear are the birds and the steady thud of your feet hitting the path in front of you. While your heart is pounding and legs are burning you’re not only increasing your overall physical health but your mental health as well. According to a report from the Institute for European Environmental Policy, access to nature reduces depression and obesity.
The trains available from Munich Hauptbahnhof make all kinds of trails, from easy to strenuous, easily accessible to all. And you can enjoy the trails alone or with friends, whether they be two-legged or furry and four-legged. Make sure you pack some water, snacks, some sunscreen and an extra layer and you’re ready to go!
If you’re keen on checking out what these Alps have to offer, my personal favorite is a medium difficulty day-hike from Oberammergau to Puerschling(1566m) and down to the Kolbensattlehuette. From there you can ride an alpine coaster down to the finish. Follow the signs if you want to go all the way, or if you’re a beginner/hiking with small children hike up to the Kolbensattlehuette to look over Oberammergau and enjoy the activities available in the area.
Not sure about hiking alone as a woman? At Evolve Fitness we have created a fitness program for women who are looking to get more fit for the hiking trails, whether here or abroad, by pairing a weekly circuit at our studio with a monthly hike. At the end of each 10-week session, we have a two-day hike where we overnight at one of the mountain huts. The first of our two sessions is already underway and we’ve just done our first hike in the Ammergau Alps. You can find more information on our website evolvefitness.de/trailfit-club.
Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Coach at Evolve Fitness