Getting new moms into the groove
Mothers with young children often find it difficult to find time to exercise. Dre Hinds is taking away the excuses.
Baby Phat is the name of her six-week fitness programme. Held twice a week, each class runs 45 minutes. Infants and toddlers are invited, making the sessions guilt-free.
“I originally began the class in 2015 after I was approached by a new mother asking if I was interested,” said Ms Hinds, a fitness coach who specialises in nutrition, weight and sprint training through HindsSight Fitness&Wellness, the company she runs with her husband Jermain.
“It makes the whole excuse of not being able to come because you have a child null and void. You can get in a workout even if you have young children.”
The class was a success in many ways. It helped her clients achieve their goals and taught Ms Hinds something too.
“It gave me my baby thrills I was craving. I thought I was ready for children, but it helped me realise I needed to wait,” she laughed.
In 2017, when HindsSight moved into the Berkeley Cultural Centre, the classes fell off the radar.
And then Ms Hinds became pregnant with twins Kai and Jayden, who were born on July 5.
“Funny enough, two of the mothers from my first class approached me because they were due [last month] with their second baby and asked if I could start the classes up again,” said Ms Hinds, who writes a regular fitness column for The Royal Gazette. “All during pregnancy, everyone was asking if I would offer a class after the twins come out. Luckily, they are really good babies so I gave in to the request of starting Baby Phat back up.”
Eight weeks after giving birth, the retired track and field athlete, a self-described fitness “addict”, started preparing for what was to come.
“I started walking — once a week — and I was dead. It was a new feeling for me.”
She had a similar level of success “sprinting” up hills while pushing the twins in their stroller. “After the first few, I was done,” said Ms Hinds. “Because it was once per week I thought I would become mentally stronger and just pushed through. At 12 weeks, I said OK, I’ve had enough.
“I tried to plank and that was hilarious — I was struggling to hold a 20-second plank. It was all new to me. I had never had to transform my body like this and it was a big transformation, mentally and physically. It’s something I have to get used to.”
The experience has given her “new understanding” of the struggles her clients face.
“For me it’s a lifestyle choice focusing on my health and fitness, my mental strength, and I never lost that. But after birth it was a new transformation, something that I still have to go through.
“With my clients I always pushed to get them mentally ready for what’s to happen — what can and can’t happen. The struggles, the ups and downs, the triumphs. It’s a process. The difference is me, because I’ve been an athlete all my life, this realm of fitness is new.”
Knowing what’s to come as her children become more mobile “pushes [her] even more” to improve her own fitness, the trainer said.
“I want to be ready when they start moving, when they’re walking and running.”
She designed Baby Phat as a programme allowing “pregnant and recently new mothers” to “shed their baby ‘phat’ in a safe and trusted environment”.
“There are two sides of it. There are mothers who have a baby and it takes up all their time and they put themselves second.
“This gives them 45 minutes that they can enjoy working out with their child by their side. Other mothers are there motivating you to help push you through and your baby is interacting with babies.
“As long as they are cleared by a doctor to exercise, they can join. It doesn’t matter the age of the baby.
“The whole idea is an environment where it’s safe enough to work out with a baby or toddler and put yourself first.”
Many women sign up for exercise classes hoping to “snap back” to the body they had before birth.
She lets her clients know that’s not a realistic goal.
“I’m not focusing on trying to get that body back. Your body is now so much better. It gave birth — regardless of how the baby came out.
“I think the idea of wanting to go back to the body you had before is cutting yourself short. You have to understand that this body you now have is amazing. You did so much.
“So, there are some who say they want to snap back, but I encourage [moms] to take what they have now and work on it and understand the beauty of what you just did.
“The idea is to restrengthen your core, your pelvic floor, and to continue building stronger legs.
“Make your arms more mobile so it’s easier to move with your babies. I’m not opposed to a six-pack — I want mine back — but that’s not my focus.”
• Register for Baby Phat at https://bit.ly/2YvQRTS. The 45-minute classes begin next week and will run Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11am on the third floor of the old Berkeley Institute. Each class costs $25. Follow @absbydre and @hindssighfw on Facebook and Instagram
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