Ultimate Maternity FitnesswearNicolaNicola
Welcome to Baby Arnie
FittaMamma co-founder Alexandra McCabe is delighted to introduce her gorgeous new baby son, the final months of her lockdown pregnancy and the postnatal fitnesswear range that arrived just in time!
‘My second pregnancy seemed to pass almost too quickly,’ said Alex. ‘I’m not sure what was more challenging, making sure we adapted our business to better meet the needs of pregnant and postnatal women working out at home during the pandemic, managing a toddler during lockdown or moving house the week Arnie was due. Working out myself was an absolute life-saver, even a short burst of exercise first thing in the morning would set me up for the day!’
Arnie was a big baby and towards the end of my pregnancy he was pressing down heavily on my pelvis. My FittaMamma activewear leggings were my absolute go-to, I wore them all day everyday – you’d be surprised how good they look under a dress! Most importantly the support they offer made a real difference, I dread to think how much more uncomfortable I would have been without them. Pelvic girdle pain and the occasional lightning crotch pain in the last few weeks was not pleasant but I did find that regular moving, stretching and wearing our supportive maternity activewear really helped. The temptation to sit down and put my feet up was often overwhelming but I felt so much better after a walk or fifteen minutes of prenatal yoga stretches.
Unsurprisingly Alex was at her desk when she felt the first sharp twinges of labour. Baby Arnold arrived less than four hours later, a generous 9lb 6oz.
Alex continued, ‘After my first pregnancy I’d had a sharp reality check about how quickly you lose your mummy tummy after the birth of your baby. Okay…some mothers DO snap back into shape within the first few postnatal weeks, but I’m not one of them!
I wore our FittaMamma fitnesswear well into my fourth trimester, loving the way it supported my tummy, giving the muscles a chance to knit back together. Second time round is no different, I’ve had to accept that your body has been changing over nine months and it can take nine months to fully regain your pre-pregnancy bod.
My supportive FittaMamma leggings and the flattering lines of our activewear vest feel just as good for postnatal wear as they did during pregnancy – living in my activewear had become a way of life! But becoming a mum myself has given me a much better understanding of exactly what new Mammas need most from their fitness wardrobe.
Our new high impact sports bra
Throughout my pregnancy we were working on the designs of our new postnatal range ….and I was delighted that our high impact maternity and nursing sports bra arrived in time for me to benefit!
We wanted to design a high-impact sports bra that succeeds in giving you a good shape without the need for uncomfortable wires and, most importantly, provides discreet and easy access for feeding. The drop-down cups and one-hand clips are the best I’ve come across.
The racer back ensures the straps don’t fall down, surely the most annoying aspect of any underwear but especially annoying during exercise. The bra is fully adjustable, essential for a bra designed to accommodate the changes in your boobs throughout pregnancy and provide maximum comfort for breast-feeding.
I love it! It’s quite simply the most comfortable sports bra I own.
The initial black and grey bra will shortly be joined by a gorgeous new version in a geometric pink print – same comfort and support for pregnancy and breast-feeding, but in a more vibrant colour.
The bra is ideal under a vest or as a standalone crop top for maternity or postnatal exercise.
Introducing the new FittaMamma maternity and nursing hoodie
The other gap in my maternity and postnatal wardrobe was a hoodie that I could just throw on after exercise, wear when I was out running or walking or simply snuggle into at the end of the day. My ideal was something that would fit throughout pregnancy but was designed with breast-feeding mammas in mind. Hoicking up a jumper or standard hoodie to gain access to your boobs never seems to work properly!
We worked throughout my pregnancy to come up with the perfect solution, using my ever-increasingly big baby bump as the benchmark for a flattering maternity fit.
We’re delighted with the result!
Our gorgeous new FittaMamma maternity and postnatal hoodie is perfect throughout your pregnancy and really comes into its own after your baby is born. The snuggly hood is fully self-lined for comfort and warmth and the sleeves are cut long with thumb holes. Two roomy zip-up pockets are secure for your phone and keys and big enough for your hands (I hate tiny pockets!). Best of all the discreet zips on either side give easy access for feeding your baby. We’ve made our hoodie in a lovely luxe fabric with a soft, buttery feel, perfect for the cooler months.
I can’t decide which I like best, the charcoal marl or the flattering dusky lavender – I’ll wear both and let you know which receives the most compliments! My greedy new baby is simply happy that he has easy access to food whenever he demands it!Nicola
Maternity Fitnesswear Supporting Olympians
World-record breaking Olympic gold medallist Dame Sarah Storey trained throughout both her pregnancies – baby Charlie, now three, was born after the Rio Olympics but with plenty of time to prepare for Tokyo!
FittaMamma are delighted she supported both her baby bumps with their award-winning maternity exercise gear.
Dame Sarah said, ‘Staying fit and healthy in pregnancy is important for so many reasons. Your baby will benefit from you being fit and healthy. Another positive is how it makes you feel. Exercise helps with confidence and the endorphins provide a sense of happiness and calm.’ Her top tips for exercise during pregnancy are, ‘listen to your body, wear suitable clothing and have a smile on your face!’
Fellow Olympian, cyclist and mother Dani Rowe MBE also wore FittaMamma maternity fitnesswear during her pregnancy. Agreeing with Dame Sarah she said, ‘I absolutely love the way FittaMamma leggings come right over the bump and the top doesn’t ride up. It does a similar job to a belt but more comfortable, easing and holding the weight and helping to support your hips and pelvis. When I ran, my bump barely moved, they’re so supportive.’
Amy Williams MBE was awarded a Gold Medal in the Winter Olympics with victory in the women’s skeleton. Her career left her with many injuries but she continued to exercise during her pregnancies, more recently adapting her training to fit in pregnancy exercise around her toddler, including buggy running. She wore her FittaMamma maternity exercise wear to support her baby bump, both in and out of the gym.
Before she went to Tokyo, Dame Sarah admitted she did not expect to continue her sporting career after becoming a mother. She described coming back after two pregnancies as her biggest achievement.
Alexandra McCabe, founder of FittaMamma says, ‘Pregnancy and motherhood can be a huge motivator and should not be viewed as barrier to fitness. We designed our maternity and postnatal activewear to support pregnant women to stay active however that might be …whether you’re an Olympic athlete or a mum keeping up with her toddler in the park. Dame Sarah is a wonderful inspiration to mothers all over the world.
Independently lab-proven to reduce bump bounce by 48%, FittaMamma maternity tops and leggings are technically designed to work like a sports bra for the bump, easing and holding the weight to avoid pressure on the pelvis. The Ultimate tops have a firm waistband that hugs your hips firmly to counteract the effects of relaxin on the joints as well as soft inner bra to provide extra support for tender breasts. We even developed our own unique fabrics, designed to stretch throughout pregnancy, maintaining support and regaining their shape for postnatal exercise.
All of this comes without sacrificing style, providing an extra confidence boost for women who choose to stay fit during this important period of their lives.
Not just for maternity, FittaMamma fitnesswear is ideal for the all-important fourth trimester, holding and supporting your mummy tummy after your baby is born. The range has been extended to include a high impact maternity and feeding sports bra and, just in time for the cooler months, a nursing hoodie.Nicola
Unfit to Ultra… with a Baby In Between
Frances Marcellin took up ultra-running after her third baby was born, to help combat the effects of a chronic illness. She shares her inspirational journey, including the birth of her fourth baby and postpartum recovery
On New Year’s Eve 2020, my husband and I sat with our beautiful, one-day-old baby boy in the empty foyer of the hospital and celebrated by clinking plastic cups from the coffee machine, lowering our masks for every sip of expresso. The Covid lockdown and 8pm curfew in France – where I’ve lived since leaving London – meant that the café was closed, and he couldn’t even pop out to get a takeaway for dinner.
It was an unexpected end to an unbelievable year and the start of a new one that would bring even more mental and physical challenges.
Falling pregnant with baby number four in March 2020, during a pandemic and at the geriatric (in pregnancy terms) age of 45, had been a curveball. Experts say that the chances of conceiving spontaneously at this age are almost zero.
I was already mum to three young children (4, 6 and 8) and had been battling a chronic illness, Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria, since July 2018. I’d spent six months suffering from burning skin, claw-like hives and head-wrecking cocktails of medication, but in January 2019 I tried new meds that reduced the symptoms.
With decent sleep and a change of diet to improve gut health – removing dairy and eating a wide variety of plant-based food – my health improved, so I started running.
The only time I could guarantee I wouldn’t break out in hives was when I was trail running through the countryside. The experience of trail running – feeling like you’re part of nature and the freedom of the trails – had become an essential part of my wellness toolbox.
I harboured a dream of being fit enough to run in the mountains, and, eventually, do an ultra-marathon (a race that is longer than 26.2 miles). I’d never trained for any physical feat, always believing this type of goal was for other, fitter, people – not me. I couldn’t suppress the desire though, something whispered that I was on the right track.
I found a coach, Keith Anderson, at Full Potential Coaching, who understood my life change after discovering running as a chef in his 30s – and then becoming the UK’s national fell running champion, representing Great Britain in the marathon at the 1998 Commonwealth Games.
I learned that mindset is everything. Nine months after starting to run, I completed my first marathon in September 2019.
I realised that we can do anything we set our minds to, the only limitations are those we place on ourselves.
Although I still had the chronic illness, I was the strongest and fittest I’d ever been, so I felt brave enough to sign up for an ultra-marathon in the Alps in August 2020.
But 2020 had other ideas. A new baby – our surprising little miracle – and a global pandemic arrived instead.
I kept as close to the training plan as I could during pregnancy and the lockdowns, and I invested in an elliptical machine, so even if there was a distance limit (at one point this was 1km from the house) or a curfew I could cross train and keep up my cardio. I did strength workouts at home instead of the gym.
Running high points included a 27km virtual race at 18 weeks pregnant and a half-marathon at 28 weeks. I had bought FittaMamma’s maternity exercise top and capri leggings, and they truly helped me to keep on training with a big bump.
After the baby was born, the combination of sleep deprivation, my other three children and breastfeeding 24/7 made fitting in postnatal training complicated, and my post-baby body felt totally different.
I started gently, with breathing exercises, as our diaphragms move during pregnancy, and then started to work on my core and posture.
In France you are offered a pelvic floor rehabilitation course with a specialist for free after giving birth, so I was also going to these sessions weekly and then working on the pelvic floor exercises at home.
My postpartum strategy also included associating different exercises with places around the house, such as calf raises on the stairs, glute squeezes while waiting for coffee, pelvic floor exercises while breastfeeding, and so on. Multi-tasking was the name of the game: long brisk walks while the baby slept, elliptical training while watching a webinar for work, for example, was how I got through those first few months.
I had my first run at six weeks postpartum, it was 4k on the treadmill and it felt amazing. A few days later and I had the official green light to run. At five months postpartum I ran my first half marathon in the mountains with 100m/330ft elevation. I was elated, but my speed needed work.
Often, the only time I can train is at night, once all the kids are asleep. That means I’m usually on the treadmill or elliptical from 10.30pm. There are many times I’ve wanted to collapse in to bed (and I have sometimes, of course), but mostly I have been able to keep up my training. Showing up for myself keeps me on track mentally as well as physically.
At the beginning of July 2021, I completed a trail race in the Pyrenees, which was 20k and 1,300m/4,265ft elevation.
It is important to keep pushing and to never give up, to think about future you and where you want to be in a few years’ time. I try to think of all the difficulties like training – to be successful in endurance you must endure, which – as every mama will likely confirm – you do a lot of during the post-partum period.
I am getting closer to where my fitness levels were pre-pregnancy – as they say, it’s nine months before and nine months after – and I hope that I will be able to achieve my dream of running my first ultra marathon in October.
You can follow Fran’s wellness and running journey on Instagram at @fran_in_france
Fittamamma Magazine > Issue 33