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Are you sitting comfortably?

posted by Joan Palmer


I talked about this subject in a New Year newsletter, but as it was the topic we discussed at a recent Holistic Core Restore® class, I thought I would highlight it again, particularly as I was reminded once more of its importance whilst attending the latest Burrell Education Woman on Fire event earlier this month.

We are talking about the position that we sit to poop in! If you ever have problems with passing a bowel movement or have any issues with pelvic floor weakness then read on!

I wonder if you have ever considered the position you sit on the loo. You may have thought about it a little more after initially giving birth, as it may have been a bit more difficult to poop then. I still remember taking an hour to pass my first one after having my youngest daughter, because I had suffered a 3rd degree tear! The reason we are considering this is due to the impact it will be having on our pelvic floor.

Changes in posture, extra weight sitting on the pelvic floor during pregnancy, and then the trauma of giving birth will all have taken its toll on the pelvic floor, so sitting the wrong way on the loo to poo will not be helping this already difficult situation.

The optimum position to poop in is squatting. This is not something we do in this country to go to the loo, and the design of the modern toilet is not promoting this position. However, you can adapt how you sit on the modern toilet to still encourage relaxation of the pelvic floor which occurs in the squat position and therefore encourages the action of a bowel movement without strain on the pelvic floor, which if occurring regularly, can worsen or initiate pelvic floor problems of incontinence.

The picture above shows how just by adding a small stool under the feet to raise your knees up so they are higher than the hips and then leaning forward onto the thighs with a nice straight back will take you more in to a squat position. Give it a try with a children’s stool that they stand on to clean their teeth.

Of course what you put into your body is going to have an impact on how it comes out, but that is a subject on its own and I will talk about that next time; in the meantime think about your position.

If you are having issues with the pelvic floor and would like to know more how you can help look after your pelvic health and about signing up for the Holistic Core Restore® classes, you can read about them at and e mail to find out more information about the next 6 week block of classes.

My favourite exercise – because it really works!

posted by Joan Palmer


There are so many great exercises that we can do for our legs to build up strength around your back, pelvis and hips, but it’s great when you find one that really works well for you and you can notice a difference from doing it. When time is precious you need something to be as effective as possible.

The exercise I find very effective in building up strength and has been very helpful to my own leg strength is ‘The Bridge’. During my physio career I have taught this exercise on so many occasions and it often surprises people that they have difficulty doing a simple lift of their bottom. More recently I was attending a strength for runners’ class and was amazed that despite many people being able to run very fast they couldn’t manage a simple bridge exercise.

So if you are looking to start getting strong again around the back and legs, this is a good place to start and if you are already exercising, this is a great exercise to supplement what you are doing.

In the pictures below you can see three levels of work that you can progress through.

Initially a simple lift of the bottom. Make sure your arms are across your chest so you are not using them to push off from the floor. Once you are good at doing up to 15 really good lifts, pushing the bottom right up in the air you can initially add a pulsing at the top of the movement so you can really feel your bottom working. You could also add a resistance band across the hips and pull down on it while you push up against it.

Once you have become efficient on doing the simple format you can progress on. In the second picture I have one leg in the air which means you only have one leg to push up through from the floor so this is harder. You will probably find one leg is stronger than the other one. If you find this quite difficult then do stick to doing the exercise on 2 legs for longer. If you progress too quickly you will end up compensating using other muscles instead of the ones you want to use and you won’t notice an improvement.

Finally, the third picture shows me with both feet up on a bench. You could use the bottom of the stairs or even a gym ball to rest your legs on instead, whatever you use, because you have your legs up you will have to work harder to push your bottom up in the air demanding more work on the legs and requiring more stability around the hips. Again, if you are wobbling around when doing this exercise move back a step for a bit longer.


Raising money for Children with Cancer

posted by Joan Palmer

Child Cancer

Many of you already know that I am taking part in the London Marathon this year and I am raising money for Children with Cancer.  I am now asking if you can help me to raise some money by sponsoring me to take on the 26.2 miles that I will be enduring on 23rd April.

I know many of you are runners and have many events under your belt.  I have previously done 3 half marathons all getting better each time but I am by no means a fast runner and I certainly didn’t think that one day I would actually enter a marathon.  

I took up running when I turned 40 and I didn’t take on small events initially, I went straight in for a Half Marathon with a friend who also hadn’t run before.  We thought that if we are going to do an event we might as well do a decent distance!  Since this time we have run regularly, mostly at 6am even on the dark cold mornings of winter.  Prior to this I had always kept myself fit but was more of a team player and worked out at the gym.

Last April I sat watching the London Marathon with my daughter Miriam who told me that I should do that next year in an encouraging tone.  My thoughts have always been that I could never face running another half marathon right after finishing one but I was encouraged by Miriam’s confidence in my ability so I applied for a place and manged to secure one by running for Children with Cancer.

I have been training hard every week and have more than doubled my normal weekly running distance and so far have run up to 16 miles in one go.  I am on schedule to manage a couple of 20 mile runs before the event and have been swimming and working out with kettlebells regularly.

Completing any running event has been a big achievement for me as running was always a no go area for me when I was younger - I suffered badly with asthma.  I remember having many Fridays off school when I was 12 because I was still made to do Cross Country every Thursday at school which resulted in an attack and I spent Friday recovering.  You would have thought they would have cottoned on to what was happening but thankfully now medication is much better in helping to control the symptoms.  As a result of these bad times with my chest, a lot of changes occurred within my lungs and as a result I now suffer with a chronic chest condition – Bronchiectasis.  This has had effects on what I can do over the last few years.   Medication is now very good at managing this so I am now able to run without having a day off afterwards!!

Please help me to achieve this big ambition by sponsoring me to help raise money for Children with Cancer, I’m sure you will agree it is a very worthwhile cause.

My giving page is

Thanks for your support.

Five great reasons to come along to Buggyfit

posted by Joan Palmer

Gluten Free Banana Bread
  1. The biggest reason when you are a new mum, is that you get an hour of ‘me’ time!! On having your baby, everything and everyone is focussed on the baby, now it’s time for you to do something for yourself while your baby is safely with you in their buggy. Start early on giving yourself some time to do something for you as it can be quite difficult to fit it in!
  2. Fresh air! Even if you have had a poor night’s sleep you will feel so much better for getting up and out into the fresh air – so many mums at my classes tell me this. Many studies have also shown that babies who go out in the fresh air will sleep better – it’s a win win situation for you.
  3. You know you will be returning to exercise post pregnancy and birth in a safe and gradual manner. You will complete a full health questionnaire to pick up any complications that may inhibit your return to exercise and I will perform a tummy muscle check to make sure you are doing the correct exercise at the right stage of your post-natal recovery. All exercises are given with an easier option so you don’t need to be concerned about your level of fitness before starting the class. Come along and get fitter and stronger with every session.
  4. You will get a release of endorphins with a session of exercise. Endorphins are your natural feel good hormones and when you are a new mum finding your way with new situations you could do with a few of these. Your workout will also mean that you are getting stronger in all the areas that will have weakened through your changing pregnancy posture. Unless you work on these areas of change they will remain weak and you will then be more susceptible to developing aches and pains through a lack of muscle strength and good posture.
  5. A social outing. An opportunity to have a chat and make new friends going though similar things in life as you and with the same interest as you to get back in shape. You know the saying, ‘A problem shared......’ You may be at an exercise session but there is always time for a chat!

Come along and join us Monday, Wednesday and Friday meeting for 10.30 in front of the Pump Rooms at Pittville Park. There is plenty of free parking behind. E mail for any other details.

Before and after with Holistic Core Restore®

posted by Joan Palmer

before after

Last week I started the latest 6 week Everywoman Holistic Core Restore® programme with 9 mums that are keen to get themselves reconnected to their body – they all said they wanted their body to feel normal again after having a baby and get back to some exercise without having to worry about what their pelvic floor was going to do. The good news for these mums is that the Holistic Core Restore® Every Woman programme has a very good record of achieving this aim.

This achievement is not just from attending the classes but is down to the dedication from the mum to continue at home with the homework that is supplied on line for them to make sure the pelvic floor and core is exercised at several points throughout the week. The movement exercises within the class are all functional movement patterns so it is easy to transfer how they are learning to activate the pelvic floor and core within the class into movement patterns that they do regularly at home. The end result is a pelvic floor and core that work automatically for you again with movement and they can begin to return to the exercise of choice.

It was at the beginning of this week that I heard from a previous class attendee that she had since taken up some gentle running with no incidents of the pelvic floor which is something that was impossible in September of last year. These are the outcomes that I love to hear about and want to shout from the roof tops to let women out there know that there is help for the pelvic floor. This particular class participant had two children aged 4 and 6, and since having the second child had had real problems with trying to activate and feel any activity in the pelvic floor. Having tried regular kegel exercises with no improvement, she had become used to the fact that a walk to school and back often resulted in an accident as she never made it to the toilet in time. This also shows that it’s not too late to make a difference either – movement patterns and muscle activation just needs to be re –introduced in the correct way to allow for the best recovery.

So if you have yet to get your body back to feeling that all different areas belong to you and you are waiting to get back to previous sports but have big concerns about the pelvic floor and core, do get in touch and I can let you know when the next 6 weeks of classes will begin.

E mail or call 07957 308968

Is your pelvic floor stopping you from following the New Year get fit trend?

posted by Joan Palmer

Start here

It was great to have a full hall for my first kettlebell class of 2017 last night.  There were several new faces and there were a few ladies there that I have known for a while from a few of my different classes.  These ladies are now back to joining in ‘mainstream’ exercise classes following pregnancy which had led to Diastasis (muscle separation) and pelvic floor weakness.

Issues of pelvic floor weakness following pregnancy and birth are so common but seen as a taboo topic of conversation and possibly something you should put up with because you have children!

However, the ladies that joined in the class last night had done something about it to make sure they could find a level of exercise that they could enjoy and help to keep them fit.  Kettlebells may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but being able to take part in some form of exercise should be a choice we have.  Even if you’re not an exercise type of person having the ability to run around with your children and maybe jump on a trampoline with them should be something you can do without worrying about it.

So what had those ladies done about their pelvic floor issues to make them able to come along to an exercise class on Monday?

Several of them had been coming to Buggyfit classes in Pittville Park so they had returned to exercise post baby in a safe and gradual manner.  They would have known of any limitations they may have had because I will always check everyone’s tummy muscles for any sign of a Diastasis. If a diastasis was present I was then able to guide them in the right direction as to what they should and shouldn’t do to make this better.

Buggyfit was enough for some people to make a difference but for others and also those without small people to come along to Buggyfit with, there is an alternative and something more specific to the Pelvic floor area.  I run Holistic Core Restore® classes, which is a 6 week block of exercise in a class with homework.  The exercises are progressive and functional over the 6 weeks and really get you connected with the pelvic floor region and your core – you will wonder how you were managing to function before without this connection!!

If you think you have a diastasis that is even beyond any of the above, I can still help!!  I can visit you at home and tailor a bespoke rehab programme for your individual needs. 

So if you are struggling to get back to the activity of your choice, please get in touch.  Help is out there, you just need to know where it is and then you can start making a difference to your body and its ability to keep you fit and active.

Please contact me at 07957 308968
Start here

Are your tummy muscles still weak following pregnancy?

posted by Joan Palmer

Wobbly Tummy

What should you do if you think your tummy muscles need some help?

Don’t panic... and read on!!

Everyone’s abdominal muscles have to stretch during pregnancy to allow the baby to grow but sometimes the muscles afterwards are not how we would like them to be.  We don’t always shrink back to how things were before, but remember your body has just been through 9 months of change so it’s not really going to be back to how it was that quickly.   If you do still have a significant soft gap between your tummy muscles known as a DIASTASIS then you do need to be careful about what you do as far as activity and exercise is concerned if you want this condition to improve. 

There is a lot of misused vocabulary where this issue is concerned and it’s really due to a lack of understanding and then not being able to give the right advice about what you should do to help it.

The comments ‘your muscles haven’t knitted back together’ and ‘your muscles have split’ are phrases you may have heard but they aren’t helpful and are very misleading and this is why…


If you look at the picture of the abdominal muscles on the left you can see that there is a small gap between them already and these are the good ones! Your abdominal muscles weren’t knitted together in the first place and they never will be.  They are attached to a band of connective tissue that travels down your midline.

What is important is how firm that band of connective tissue is between your abdominal muscles.  In the picture on the right that band of tissue has been stretched but it hasn’t been ‘split’.

If connective tissue is stretched, which is the case in the picture on the right it will be thinner and less supportive to your muscular system because your muscles are attached to it.  This stretched and thinner tissue means that your body doesn’t have the ability to transmit loads from one side of the body to the other or from upper to lower body effectively or efficiently so another area of your body will have to take the strain.

Pelvic Floor

You can see from the picture above that the abdominals are in a supportive system within the body along with the diaphragm, spine and pelvic floor.  If your midline abdominal support isn’t there, which is apparent with a diastasis then the extra strain is taken in one of those mentioned areas – back pain and pelvic floor dysfunction may already be there or will develop from poor and inefficient movement patterns.  The other area is your diaphragm, how you breathe can also have a huge impact on how this gap/stretched midline tissue is managed.  So often there is a lot of tightness between the ribs from baby’s positioning inside you that until this is released it is very difficult to breathe properly.  This tissue can be released with very simple but effective massage techniques.

High impact exercise, running, sit ups, crunches and planks are some of the inappropriate exercises to do if you do present with this problem of a diastasis.  What is needed is to take a step back and work in a way that will help you to reengage with your abdominal muscles whilst you move, work and exercise and ensure that you are breathing appropriately.

I am able to help you find the right exercise for your abdominals with the Holistic Core Restore® Diastasis programme and get you back to full functional activity and the level of exercise you would like and also feel more confident in how your body can withstand increasing load and impact.

Nutrition and hydration also have a huge part to play in helping to overcome issues with this problem as what you take in via your gut feeds your tissues.  Your body’s tissues are made up of a high percentage of water so making sure you are well hydrated through the day will make a difference in how this connective tissue works.  An initial tip for you to start helping with a diastasis is to drink plenty of water.  More information regarding nutrition is given throughout the diastasis programme.

If you are aware that you have this problem or think you do then get in touch and we can discuss this further and in more depth, I run regular Holistic Core Restore® Diastasis programme which will help you get back to feeling that your tummy belongs to you again giving you the support and stability your body needs to be active in a safe way.


Holisitc logo

Carrot and Lentil soup

posted by Joan Palmer

Carrot Soup

I thought I would share a great recipe for Carrot and Lentil soup to keep you warm, I found this recipe in the newspaper several years ago and it makes an appearance every winter and my girls love it too. This is so easy to make, a tasty lunch and a great source of protein - a winner all round.

Serves 6

  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1.5 litres of vegetable stock (watch out for the salt content)
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 4 large carrots
  • 200g red lentils

Heat the oil and gently cook the garlic and chopped onion until soft. Poor in the stock and bring to the boil. Roughly cut the celery and carrots and add them to the stock with the lentils. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the carrots are cooked. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor and season to taste.

This recipe has a good quantity of garlic in it and on Kate Dimmer’s Nutrition page it will tell you all about the great qualities of garlic.

Pregnant, are you worried about your fitness level now?

posted by Joan Palmer

Becoming pregnant is a life changing experience and with a new life growing inside you, you may start to think about what you should and shouldn’t be doing as far as exercise is concerned. Whether or not you are used to exercising there is plenty of evidence to support carrying out some exercise during your pregnancy once you have had your initial scan at around 12 weeks.

So here are 8 reasons why it’s a good idea to take up some exercise during pregnancy and in particular why my Pregnancy Fit class is a great option to carry this out

  1. You will meet other expectant mums. Becoming pregnant can be quite overwhelming with lots of information to take in and lots of planning to think about. It’s great to meet other expectant mums to talk things over with and learn new information.
  2. You will be able to keep your changing posture in check – During your pregnancy there will be big changes in your posture that will lead you to develop weaknesses in various areas of the body that normally help to keep you strong and upright. The exercise that you do at this class will work on these areas and will keep this problem to a minimum.
  3. To work on your core and pelvic floor. Just because you are pregnant it doesn’t mean you can’t work on keeping your core and pelvic floor active and the more you work on this during pregnancy, it will make your post natal recovery much easier.
  4. You will be fit for labour. We all know that this can sometimes be a long process and the stronger you are the more able you will be to tolerate the potential long process. Your labour will be much better and the baby will be happier if you are upright and moving for as long as possible. Maintaining a certain level of aerobic fitness will also make this process easier.
  5. You will have ongoing contact with a qualified physiotherapist who will help you with any aches and pains you may develop and how best to manage them. With regular contact with myself you will gain advice about any possible problems early on and know what to do to make them manageable.
  6. It has been shown that those women that exercise during pregnancy are less likely to need as much pain relief during labour.
  7. Those women that exercise during pregnancy put on less weight during pregnancy.
  8. Women that exercised during pregnancy were more likely to continue with exercise after birth and therefore are fitter to cope with being a new mum.

Pregnancy Fit classes run Mondays 8-9pm at Stoke Orchard Community Centre, GL52 7SB. For more information e mail, visit Or call 07957308968

Top Tips for a Healthy Core and Pelvic Floor

posted by Joan Palmer

As I meet lots of new mums particularly through Buggyfit classes, I get asked lots of questions about getting your core strength back and looking after your pelvic floor. However, you don’t have to be a new mum to still have issues with the core not feeling strong and your pelvic floor not kicking back into action properly. Because of these issues I am going to share with you today 10 top tips to help your core and pelvic floor get back to full action.

Top tip no. 1

Check out your posture when sitting and standing. Your posture will have changed a lot during pregnancy and some muscles will have become weaker and some will have become tighter due to an adaptation of increased weight carried in front of the body. When you sit to feed your baby (Breast or bottle) make sure that you are comfortable and your lower back is well supported. In standing and walking stand tall as if you are being pulled up through the top of your head and try to keep up tall when pushing the buggy. Good posture will mean that your core muscles are in the optimum position for working effectively.

Top tip no 2

Avoid sitting bolt upright when in bed. Instead, roll over on to one side and drop your legs over the edge of the bed and push yourself up with the top arm. This is particularly important in very new mums as it takes the pressure off the abdominals completely and they will be less effective at doing their job of supporting your middle in the early stages. However, this is still a good move to do if you find it difficult to sit straight up in bed no matter how old your child is and difficulty with this movement is an indication that the core is not yet working effectively.

Top tip no 3

Drink plenty of water 1.5-2 litres a day. The body’s tissues are made up of a high content of water – 70%. Therefore if there is any degree of dehydration the tissue cells are unable to work properly and this will impede the healing process. Also, for tissues to work freely and for their fibres to slide well against each other during activities like muscle contractions there needs to be enough hydration otherwise the tissues become ‘sticky’.

Top tip no. 4

Breathe out on exertion. Whenever you are doing anything of exertion/effort like picking up the baby, toddler or buggy etc try to breathe out as you do the movement of effort. As you breathe out you will activate your abdominals and this will give you some support to your middle while you are increasing the load through it with the task you are carrying out.

Top tip no.5

Get checked out for the presence of a Diastasis (Abdominal muscle separation). Everyone’s abdominals have to stretch during pregnancy and in general they will come back together on their own after a few weeks following the birth. However, this is not always the case and if there is an ongoing gap between the abdominals with a very soft middle between the 2 main muscle bellies there is no support for your middle when you carry out more strenuous tasks and exercise. If this gap continues to be a problem, there is a risk of developing a ‘doming’ between the muscle bellies on exertional activities. If there is evidence of a diastasis then there are specific exercises that you can follow to help overcome the problem.

Top tip no. 6

Cut down on your caffeine intake. Caffeine is an irritant to the bladder (as are sugary drinks and alcohol!) so if you are having problems with pelvic floor function drinking something that makes you want to visit the toilet more often won’t be helping. Why not try some different herbal teas. I recently gave out some different tea bags to try at my Holistic Core Restore class and there was a very positive response to the liquorice flavour especially as it seemed to help alleviate the need to eat something sweet as well.

Top tip no 7

Stop the ‘just in cases’. Going to visit the toilet ‘just in case’ is not healthy for the bladder. The bladder is a muscle so if you don’t use it properly it will become less effective. Make sure when you visit the toilet it was a worthwhile trip! When you empty your bladder you should be able to count up to 8 Mississippis – 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi and so on up to 8, anything less wasn’t worth going!

Top tip no 8

Don’t hold your breath when you do anything that requires effort. Holding your breath will create a rise in the pressure within your intraabdominal cavity. If there is a weakness in the core system somewhere – eg pelvic floor or a diastasis (abdominal muscle separation) then that pressure will escape via the weakness, either causing an unwanted incident at the pelvic floor or a doming to occur through the abdominal muscle wall. I talked about breathing out on exertion in the first 5 tips.

Top tip no. 9

Eat more whole foods. Whole foods will be kinder to your digestive system. If you kind to your digestive system then you will be kind to your bowel too and hence no constipation. Any issues with constipation will cause great strain on your pelvic floor – not great in the long run. If you still want to go out for a little treat though or try a juice to help kick start your digestive system then why not take a trip to The Core in Charlton Kings

Top tip no.10

Try to have protein with every meal. Protein provides the body with essential amino acids which are important for healing tissues within your body. Therefore if you are trying to recover form a diastasis or pelvic floor trauma/weakness then increasing your protein intake will help to rebuild these tissues. Good sources of protein are eggs, fish and seafood, nuts and seeds and white meat.

I hope that these will prove just as helpful – let me know!

Coffee and Mince Pies - Central Cross Café

posted by Joan Palmer

After the Buggyfit classes on Mon 14th , Wed 16th and Fri 18th Dec we will be finishing the class at Central Cross Café (11.30am) for coffee and mince pies – any old Buggyfitters are welcome to join us as are prospective Buggyfitters.

Have you checked out your post pregnancy posture?

posted by Joan Palmer

Upper and Lower Crossed Syndrome

During pregnancy there are many postural changes that can occur to accommodate your growing baby. Once you have had your baby these muscular changes can remain which can lead to pain locally and in the surrounding areas. 

You may have developed weak muscles in the front of the neck, around the shoulder blades, abdominals and bottom and tight muscles around the front of the shoulders, lower back and in front of the hips. These areas are shown on the picture.

 These areas of change can continue post birth due to all the lifting, carrying and feeding you now have to do. All of these are new tasks that the body isn’t used to. 

You can try and help restore these muscle changes by being aware of your posture when feeding your baby whether it is bottle or breast fed. Make sure that you are sitting in a supportive chair and that you are able to sit right back into the chair with your feet on the floor. You could also put a cushion behind your back to keep you upright. Make sure your baby is close enough to you so pop them on a pillow if necessary. When you have finished feeding try and give your upper back a stretch and circle your shoulders to relax them and gently take your head from side to side to stretch your neck. 

When you are pushing your baby in the pram/buggy make sure you are keeping up tall and not pushing it too far ahead of you causing you to lean forward. 

Keeping active during pregnancy and afterwards will always help to keep these changes to a minimum but they can creep up on us without us being aware. At Buggyfit we work on strengthening all of the weak areas mentioned that develop during pregnancy. So if you haven’t tried it out yet then come along and give it a go.

A chocolate dessert made with good fats!

posted by Joan Palmer

Gluten Free Banana Bread

This rich dessert is a great way to get your chocolate fix as you won’t want a huge portion and it contains the good fats from avacados. I found this recipe on the Dr. Axe website.

  • ½ cup medjool dates soaked for 2-3 hours
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 3 avacados mashed
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup water

Blend dates, maple syrup and vanilla. Add the avocado, cocoa powder and water and continue to blend until all mixed.

Although Avacados have a high fat content, these are good fats for the body. Avacados are very high in omega 3 fatty acids, the good kind of fat, in the form of alpha-linolenic acid. Monounsaturated fats can help lower cholesterol and improve heart health. Avacados also have a higher percentage of protein and a lower sugar content than other fruits. They also contain a good level of fibre which is important to keep the gut heathy.

There are many nutrients in a 100g serving

  • Vitamin K: 26% of the RDA.
  • Folate: 20% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin C: 17% of the RDA.
  • Potassium: 14% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin B5: 14% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin B6: 13% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin E: 10% of the RDA.
  • Then it contains small amounts of Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, Vitamin A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin) and B3 (Niacin).

Nairn’s Oatcakes provides lunch for Friday Buggyfitters! Same again on 8th and 15th May!

posted by Joan Palmer

Gluten Free Banana Bread

Buggyfit is a national brand that helps new mums get back to exercise in a fun and safe environment. Along with helping mums to get stronger and lose any excess baby weight through exercise we are able to encourage healthy eating through Nairn’s Oatcakes sponsoring the classes.

As a result of the sponsorship Buggyfit trainers occasionally receive free samples to share with the classes. As a result of this, Buggyfitters in Pittville Park this morning enjoyed a wide range of Nairn’s oatcakes to sample with a variety of toppings provided by myself and some of the mums themselves.

This is what Patrick Holford, leading nutritionist, author and founder of the Institute for Optimum Nutrition has to say about eating oatcakes which are a Low GI food,

“Low GI foods help keep your blood sugar levels even, so help with weight control, as well as energy, and concentration levels. Since oatcakes are high in soluble fibre and contain no added sugar, they have a low GI, so are digested slowly by your body, keeping your blood sugar and your energy levels even. They also help you feel fuller for longer so you don’t feel hungry again so soon.

High GI foods, like white bread, cornflakes and rice cakes are digested quickly. This provides a short-term boost to your blood sugar level, followed by a blood sugar low a few hours later, leaving you feeling hungry and exhausted. When you combine low GI foods with protein and a little bit of fat, e.g. combining oatcakes with hummus, smoked mackerel pâté or peanut butter, you get an even slower release of energy.”

If you would like to come along to sample a class of Buggyfit then we meet every Mon, Wed and Fri all at 10.30 in front of the Pump Rooms, Pittville Park, Cheltenham, you can contact me at and if you would like to try Nairn’s oatcakes then there will be another lunch after sessions on Friday 8th and 15th May.

Mumsfit launches a ‘Mums with toddler’ class.

posted by Joan Palmer

Gluten Free Banana Bread

I have now been running Buggyfit classes for the past 2 ½ years at Pittville Park, Cheltenham and have met so many lovely mums with their babies. However, as maternity leave finishes and babies grow restless in their buggies the turnover of mums coming to classes is quite high.

An end to Buggyfit has not been the case for some mums though, as their days off from work falls on a day that they can still come to a class with their toddlers and pre-schoolers. This means that mums can still get a great work out and the toddler gets out for fresh air and a run around to burn off some energy. The toddler will often bring a toy/scooter/bike to play with during the class and sometimes even copies what mum is doing!

With this in mind, I am launching a static based (with Buggyfit we walk around the park) ‘Mums with toddler’ exercise class designed for mums to get a workout with toddlers/pre-schoolers coming along in Pittville Park after Easter.

The class will be 45mins and will be high intensity, low impact (Pelvic floor safe) interval training. This type of exercise will tone you up and burn fat.

It will take place towards the lower end of the green directly in front of the Pump Rooms on Wednesday 1.30pm starting on Wed 15th April for 6 consecutive weeks. The cost is £36 with an early bird booking price of £30 if you book before Wed 8th April. E mail me at for any more details and to book your place.

Happy Christmas

posted by Joan Palmer


Happy Christmas from Joan at Mumsfit. It's been great to have you along to my classes this year. My business has grown this year with a wide variety of classes and workshops and I look forward to providing lots of opportunities for exercise and good health next year. Have a great Christmas, particularly those who are having their first Christmas with a little one. I look forward to seeing you again in 2015!

A Healthy Christmas Treat

posted by Joan Palmer

Christmas baubles

This recipe for Christmas Baubles was shared by a fellow FooFooFunClub trainer. They sounded yummy so I made them and then made more to share with some classes as I thought they were so tasty. They were a big hit, so here's the recipe so now you can make some for yourself!

  • 2 cups of dates ( I softened them in water for a couple of hours first)
  • 2 tbsp of ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp of nut butter (I used Meridian almond butter)
  • 2 tbsp of dried cranberries
  • 4 tsp of cocoa powder

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor, roll mixture in to small balls and roll in desiccated coconut. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours and keep in the fridge in an airtight container. They will keep for several days but probably won't last very long anyway as they are so delicious!


Gluten Free Banana Bread

posted by Joan Palmer

Gluten Free Banana Bread

This Banana bread recipe that I found on Dr Axe's website has been a real hit with all my classes and workshops recently. It is gluten free so it won't irritate the gut, it contains ground almonds for your source of protein so will keep you fuller for longer and contains natural sweetness in the form of honey so you won't get a sugar rush after eating it. It is also dairy free, so great for those with an intolerance to dairy. I have also found it to be a great hit with children of all ages, an easy to make alternative to sugary biscuits after school.

  • 4 eggs;
  • 3 overly ripe bananas mashed ;
  • 1/4 cup honey;
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk;
  • 1tbsp vanilla extract;
  • 2tsp baking soda;
  • 21/4 cups almond flour;
  • 1/2tsp sea salt;
  • 1/2tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven at 350 degrees F

In a bowl mix eggs, bananas, coconut milk, honey and vanilla.

In another bowl mix the remaining ingredients.

Now mix dry ingredients into wet and combine until well incorporated.

Grease a loaf tin or line with parchment paper and pour in batter. Bake for 35-50mins

Chia seed energy bars

posted by Joan Palmer

Chia Seeds

It’s very easy to head for biscuits and chocolate when you feel tired and hungry and you want a quick fix. Ultimately, a quick fix is all you will get as these types of snack will give you a sugar rush that will sustain you for only a short time and you will feel hungry again. What you need in these situations is something that won’t spike your sugar levels and give you energy over a longer period.

This is a recipe that I adapted from a running magazine to contain Chia seeds. Chia seeds are a great source of protein, they give sustainable energy and they help to keep the digestive system healthy and functioning properly.

I took these bars one week to my FooFooFunClub class to try and they were a real hit. They don’t take long to make so give them a go and have some healthy snacks on standby that make you feel great.

  • 125g ground almonds
  • pinch salt 
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda 
  • 60ml coconut oil (melt over pan of simmering water) 
  • 60ml rice malt syrup or sweetener of choice (I used maple syrup) 
  • I tsp alcohol free vanilla extract 
  • 40g cashews crushed 
  • 160g combined chia seeds, sunflower seeds and slivered almonds 
  • 40g dried cranberries (optional)

Preheat oven at 175 degrees celcius

Grease 20x20x5cm tin

Mix ground almonds, salt and bicarb. In another bowl mix coconut oil, rice malt syrup or alternative and vanilla extract. Add the almond mixture to this. Mix in nuts, seeds and optional cranberries. Press mixture firmly into the tin. Cook 15-20mins until golden.

Remove to wire rack and cool before cutting.


Mumsfit’s First Baby Show

posted by Joan Palmer

I will be launching the Mumsfit – Health, Energy and Fitness brand on Sunday 29th June at The Cheltenham Bump, Babies and Beyond Fair at All Saints Academy, Blaisdon Way Cheltenham GL51 0WH from 10.30am to 3pm.

The first 200 families through the door will receive a goody bag and in it will be one of my very useful Mumsfit bags along with a postcard featuring the dates of the next six months of ‘Healthy New Mummy’ talks where I, along with nutritional therapist Georgina Graham will be giving you hints and tips on eating for energy and exercising to activate your core and pelvic floor. If you have missed the postcard, all dates are listed under the classes/services drop down menu.

I will also be carrying out free Diastasis (abdominal muscle separation) checks to make sure you are moving and exercising safely.

I will be able to advise you on a class that suits you with choices from exercising in the park to getting active with a fitball in the comfort of your own home.

Have a read through my current testimonials to find out how Mumsfit has helped mums so far.

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