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Claire’s story: “I didn’t think I’d ever see my abs after giving birth to two children!”

Published On: 12th August 2016

Fifteen months after having her first son, Claire Blades welcomed her second. She soon gave up hope of getting back into her favourite sport and getting back into shape.

Claire bikini

That was until she discovered I Will If You Will (IWIYW) and one of the programme’s instructors, Pip Hobbs. The rest, as they say, is history.

“I’d played field hockey for as long as I can remember and I really wanted to get back out there but I knew committing to the training time and games would be difficult with two young sons as weekend was going to be our family time,” says Claire.

Her mindset was changed in January 2014 when a friend recommended the IWIYW Kettlercise classes in Ainsworth and invited Claire along.

“Admittedly, I preferred team games and didn’t think I was going to enjoy it much, but I thought it was worth a try so I went along,” explains Claire.

“How wrong could I have been?! All of the women shared the same goal – to get fit – and it created an atmosphere that had me looking forward to going back again and again. In fact, one of the main reasons I still enjoy going is because of the friendships and bonds you create.”

“Pip openly welcomes women of all ability levels and instils the genuine belief that we can do it, we can achieve our goals and we can even go on to set new goals and achieve those,” says Claire. “And she was right!”

Starting a new routine was tough for Claire as looking after her young boys alone during the day was tiring and she didn’t think she’d have the energy to go to a fitness class of any sort.

Claire

“I couldn’t believe that after just four classes with Pip, everything changed – I felt so much better, full of energy, stronger than I’d felt in a long while and was getting my confidence back,” explains Claire. “It was just one hour a week I had solely to myself, but it was making a big difference and I was happy to put my bikini on after just six weeks when we went on holiday.”

Taking a break saw Claire return home even more motivated, ready to take on more classes.

“I was eating sensibly, nothing too strict or specific and by December 2014, I was feeling stronger and going to four classes a week – Bootcamp, Piloxing, Total Toning and Kettlercise,” she says. “Along with feeling fantastic, my body was changing and my abs started to appear... I didn’t think I’d ever see them after giving birth to two children!”

Pip’s IWIYW classes are quick and effective, something which worked for Claire and her busy home life.

“It meant I wasn’t out of the house too long, the boys got to spend their bedtime routine alone with dad and we would then have the rest of the evening to spend together – perfect!”

Another year on, Claire is now doing six classes a week (three of these back-to-back) and occasionally some of Pip’s home workouts on YouTube. The friendships made in class has extended out as well, as they entered teams into Cancer Research UK’s Pretty Mudder and Muddy Maniacs.

“We’ve even had nights out together and I’ve also had days out with my fitness friends and their young families, so the social side of being more active is a brilliant side effect!” says Claire.

“The classes have given me the confidence to do things I would never have thought about – last year I completed my first Tough Mudder event and I’m doing it again this year. I’m gutted if I ever have to miss a class and can’t see a time where I’d ever want to give them up!”

Pip added: “IWIYW has helped Claire achieve so much more than just a fabulous set of abs! Her achievements are nothing short of amazing and she has become one of the fittest women I know since training her.”