Rachel is a martial arts expert – she played the female master in BBC’s Masters of Combat and studied Filipino martial arts in Los Angeles, leading to various well-acknowledged film roles. ‘My mother encouraged me to do ballet and I really appreciate the way the choreography and movements of ballet and martial arts work so well together, especially in movies.’
At the age of 44, Rachel is older than average for a first time mum and has also been facing the challenge of pregnancy during the pandemic.
Like many newly pregnant women, Rachel was initially bombarded with well meaning advice about taking it easy. ‘Working out and staying active is important to me and I spent time researching whether or not exercising during my pregnancy was the right thing to do. I quickly realised that women who exercise during pregnancy do so much better, with less complications and a better delivery. My father is a doctor and he has really encouraged my decision to stay active.’
Rachel is breezing through her pregnancy with no negative symptoms at all. ‘I haven’t even suffered from pregnancy nausea,’ she said, ‘and the more I’ve exercised the better I’ve felt.’
Home pregnancy workouts
The pandemic took gyms and exercise classes off the agenda but Rachel has been working out at home in her basement gym. ‘I invested in extra equipment, including a birthing ball, a rowing machine and an elliptical machine. I love rowing and wanted to see if I could simply change my style with more open legs to accommodate my baby bump as I rowed – at the moment it’s still going well!
Rachel continued, ‘It’s important for me to continue my martial arts and I still do a lot of training with swords and sticks which puts a strong focus on my arms, combined with a lot of stretching Everything I do is non-combat so it’s perfectly safe – and I love that my arms are looking fantastic at the moment!’
‘I really feel that the baby enjoys it when I exercise. There is a strong sense of communication with my unborn child which I think has been heightened by the pandemic.’
Understandably, for many pregnant women the pandemic has caused added anxiety but Rachel’s approach is overwhelmingly positive. ‘I actually think the timing is perfect,’ she enthused. ‘My pregnancy has been a real highlight, with something wonderful to look forward to. I love what is happening to my body and without the distractions of work and socialising I can really focus on me and my baby. I am eating really healthy food, exercising regularly and getting outside whenever I can. My husband is wholly supportive of this lifestyle and whilst I’m gaining weight he’s lost two stone!’
Rachel recently added goat yoga to her pregnancy fitness agenda. ‘Initially I thought I wouldn’t be allowed to do it when I was pregnant – but I discovered that Khloe Kardashian did it when she was pregnant so decided to give it a go!’ Goat yoga? ‘The animals were really healthy and the class was so much fun, with a lovely little massage on your back when the goats jump up on you! Goat yoga can be therapeutic, especially for people with stress and anxiety or who struggle with exercise as there is so much laughter during the session.’
We are delighted to see Rachel looking so well, healthy and stylish in her FittaMamma activewear. ‘It’s very comfortable and I love the way it feels so nice and snug,’ she said. ‘it really supports your belly, stopping the bounce so you can focus on what you’re doing without feeling uncomfortable. It looks really nice too, I absolutely love the quality!’