This week I'm talking to Charlie Barker, founder of Bumps & Burpees, who loves to empower women and aiming to help Mums pre- and postnatally, supporting their bodies through pregnancy and beyond.
To find out more about Charlie and Bumps & Burpees, head to https://bumpsandburpees.com/ or discover her Instagram @bumpsandburpees where she has live classes and other useful content.
MY FOURTH TRIMESTER: You started Bumps & Burpees. It’s such a brilliant name – somehow I always manage to say Burps and Bumpees ( which would’ve been a very fitting name for myself in my own pregnancy!). Tell us a little bit about you, how you came about starting it and what it is that you do.
CHARLIE: Hi! I am Charlie, 32 years old and a mother of almost 8 month old Alfie. Bumps & Burpees came about through understanding that mothers aren't just not exercising because they don't want to, they are unsure of what they're allowed to do, they can't get childcare, they are exhausted ... and so much more. I wanted to create a business that encompasses all of this. I wanted to educate and empower women to be able to continue exercising throughout their pregnancies and into motherhood.
Bumps & Burpees started as a personal training company, and is now also delivering online classes, as well as information about all things parenting, trying to help mums feel part of a community of like minded women.
What do you like the most about working with pre and postnatal fitness?
I love that I can really make a difference to someone in quite a pivotal time in their life. A time when they often feel vulnerable, and out of control, it is nice to be able to support them. I love helping women realise how amazing they are and how strong they can be, and that they aren't "just a mum".
You gave birth last summer (congratulations!). How was your own journey exercise-wise during the pregnancy?
Thank you so much. It was interesting; I was quite nervous to start off with because we had a few miscarriages leading up to this pregnancy, but I continued to train and just made sure that whenever I felt anything I wasn't sure about I pulled back or took an extra rest day. I was exhausted so there were a lot of rest days!! I trained throughout my pregnancy but really didn't over do it. Some week I trained twice, and some four times depending on what I felt like. I stopped lifting weights at 38 weeks and just eased off things (also it was a heat wave so I was just so boiling I couldn't face too much exercise!) but i really enjoyed feeling strong as my bump grew.
I have read and listened to your story about miscarriages and your own journey up to getting pregnant. Is there any advice you would like to pass on to women trying to conceive?
It is all-consuming when you're trying to conceive, and it can feel like you can't think about anything else. My advice (although hard to do) is to try and keep your mind busy and not to focus all your energy on it as it can become very stressful, which is something you want to avoid when trying to get pregnant. Talk to those closest to you if you think it will help. It certainly did for me.
What key recommendations would you give expecting mums to prepare their bodies for birth?
Focus on keeping strong. Pregnancy is so tough on the body, and it needs to be strong to withstand all the changes that are coming its way. Motherhood requires us to be so physical and active, that you will be so grateful if you worked on your strength during the months leading up to meeting your baby. Your arms need to be strong to lift and hold those babies (in often awkward angles!), and don't get me started on all the stuff that babies need - highchairs, car seats, carriers, bouncers - you will be lifting more than you anticipate!
Whether we feel strong or not after giving birth, lots of women tend to want to get back onto training and fitness. What shall new mums expect? What would you recommend for physical recovery after the birth?
My biggest advice is to be patient. People worry so much about what they "can" get back to, and so often I see women rushing back to exercise way too soon. Your body needs time to heal.
You just launched a book. Tell us a bit about it and what we can expect from it!
Yes!! I'm so excited it is finally out. It is a book that will take you through your pregnancy, guiding you through workouts specifically for each trimester, but also helping you feel like you're not the only one going through all the crazy ups and downs in pregnancy. It will hopefully explain why you might be feeling the way you are sometimes. I wanted to write a book that will educate and empower women through their pregnancy, so I hope that it does that.
How has the pandemic changed your work and the way you help your customers?
It has changed it beyond belief!! The whole business has gone online, so now we are able to reach women all over the world which is amazing. Each week there are 3 or 4 live workouts that can be accessed through Instagram, as well as 1:1 virtual training sessions wherever you are in the world, and it has been incredible to see our community growing.
What’s the most satisfactory thing about your work?
I love seeing women realise how strong they really are both mentally and physically, and showing them that they are not "just a mum". There is still so much to them - and they can achieve anything they want to!
Last but not least. What emoji describes you best at the moment and why?
Ooh! At the moment the emoji i use the most is 🤞- fingers crossed for naps to go well, fingers crossed he likes the food I prepare, fingers crossed he sleeps through the night, fingers crossed we can all go back to normal soon - and that lockdown doesn't come back!!