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Alex’s story: “Being a mum does not mean that you have to stop looking after yourself”

Published On: 12th September 2016

Alex Balmer from Bury had always been a gym-goer but never really pushed herself as she didn’t know how to.


Becoming a mum in 2013 meant Alex needed to fit exercise around her new baby, and six months after giving birth, she tried an I Will If You Will (IWIYW) Baby Buggy Bootcamp and loved it.

“It was a great way to get fit and socialise with other new mums at the same time,” explains Alex. “After doing this for a while, I decided to branch out to different IWIYW classes and once I started I was hooked!”

Before getting pregnant with her second child in summer 2015, Alex was regularly going to three IWIYW classes a week and was feeling fitter than she had ever been.

“As soon as I found out I was pregnant again, I knew that keeping fit throughout pregnancy would be extremely important to me,” she says. “I wanted to keep healthy for both myself and my baby so after getting the go ahead from my midwife, I carried on doing two classes a week up until the month before my due date.”

Alex credits her IWIYW instructor, Pip Hobbs, for keeping her motivated while pregnant, adding: “I was lucky enough to have a fantastic instructor who supported me throughout, adapting exercises when needed.”

After giving birth for a second time, this time to baby Lucy, Alex was eager to get back to exercise as soon as she felt ready, making sure she didn’t rush into it as she wanted to make sure her body had recovered fully.

“After pregnancy, my fitness levels had decreased and my body had just been through a major event so I made sure that I took things slowly at first and built up gradually each week,” says Alex.

“I started off by doing some of Pip’s YouTube videos – these were great as I could do them at home and stop any exercises I felt were a bit too much. As they are short videos they were also easy to squeeze in when Lucy was asleep.”

Gradually reintroducing exercise at home meant Alex felt ready to return to her exercise classes seven weeks after having Lucy.

She explains: “A lot of people thought I was mad to be starting such intensive classes so soon, but I couldn't wait to get back to them. As the mum of two very young children, my days are devoted to caring for my girls and sometimes the only thing I do for myself is to go to class!

“Finding time for exercise can be hard when you have young children, especially with a newborn when you are not getting much sleep!”


Alex's abs are making a return after having her second baby

Getting active again after pregnancy has meant that not only has Alex got her fitness levels back, her health and wellbeing has also had a boost.

“I think it’s so important that I make the time for my classes as exercise is essential for my wellbeing – my husband will testify that I can be in an awful mood before I go out to class and come back a different person,” says Alex.

“Recently my daughters both had chickenpox, meaning we couldn’t leave the house for a few days, but being able to go out to class in the evening saved me from going completely stir crazy!”

The social aspect of IWIYW exercise classes has also had a positive impact on Alex, as she explains: “I’ve made some wonderful friends over the last few years – we’re all in it together and push each other to keep going when we think we can't take anymore!”

Alex has now been back in the swing of her IWIYW classes for a few months and her ‘after’ photo was taken just 10 weeks after giving birth for a second time.

“I that I’m starting to get my body back to how it was pre-pregnancy,” says Alex. “To those of you who’ve recently had a baby and are thinking of starting an exercise regime, I cannot recommend the I Will If You Will classes enough.

“Don't think that because you have just had a baby you won't be able to do it – the instructor will guide you and adapt exercises to suit your fitness levels. 

“Overall I think that it’s important to remember that being a mum does not mean that you have to stop looking after yourself – it’s imperative to make time for yourself as well and I truly believe that a healthy, happy mum is ultimately a better one.”