In the spotlight series. For this series, I will be catching up with a local mum and business woman who works in the antenatal or postnatal arena. Lucy Howlett, Mum to Matilda and a pre and postnatal specialist personal trainer, yoga teacher, baby massage teacher and massage therapist, kicks off this series.
Tell us a bit about your work and home life?
I love working for myself. And being a Mum! It’s been challenging building up my business over the years but it’s true what they say about your passion leading you through the tough times.
I like that I can choose my hours around home life a little. I also relish down time with my family. With my husband and I working, it’s precious to have free time all together, to relax, not rush, and do things we enjoy; get out in nature, dancing, cooking, watching a movie, crafty things.
What’s your average week like?
On average, my week consists of starting with Matilda and me hanging out on a Monday and Wednesday. We’ll meet up with family in the day sometimes but I like to have little planned, so we can see what she likes to do. It might be popping to the library, town for an errand or two, or a Caversham cafe just the two of us.
We like the Wednesday morning playgroup at the Weller Centre where I also teach yoga in the evenings. There’s lots of space in the main hall there and various activities/things kiddies can play with. From Tuesday onwards I have 1:2:1 clients, teach yoga, and baby massage across the week.
How did you get into your work?
I did Dance with Performing Arts as my degree, which kind of led me to where I am now. After Uni I worked at an amazing gym in London called The Third Space, which inspired me to become a fitness professional. I started teaching dance there, then aerobics, then more and became a personal trainer soon after that.
I’d always been into yoga and knew one day I’d want to teach it, so a few years into my PT career I did my yoga course. It was life changing. Yoga is so amazing, to help look after the amazing body that we have; physically through the movement and ‘exercise’ aspect, emotionally through moving mindfully and allowing emotions to arise that we may suppress – and spirituality may come in for some, and some not. So I love combining fitness and yoga in my teaching, for optimum physical and emotional wellbeing.
Favourite thing about your job? And the biggest challenge?
I find my job so very rewarding; helping clients improve their wellbeing, whether that’s physically or mentally. When people tell me how much my class or sessions have helped them, well, it’s such a wonderful feeling. Perhaps especially because I have anxiety myself, so when I know it soothes their worries, or helps them heal that’s very special. I’m extra keen to provide a cozy, nurturing space in baby massage, as I suffered with anxiety after having Matilda, and remember how much I appreciated the serene setting for Matilda and me.
The biggest challenge is my hours aren’t the best for family times… I need to work evenings and a weekend day really at the moment, while I build up my business especially. It’s part of the job but there’s times when I just need to have a whole weekend off with my husband and daughter. In time that’ll come.
What things boost your mood/do you do for self-care?
Dance! I ADORE dancing and when I get to I feel so uplifted for it. I’ve not been out dancing at night for a long time but in Brighton where I’ve just moved from they had these early morning sober raves which were the best. Get up early, no booze, dancing for hours.
If not dancing then some yoga is my sacred down time to listen to my breath, my body and check in with how I am, after looking after others’ needs (I mean that in the nicest possible way).
What plans do you have for the future work-wise?
At the moment it’s simply building up my business in Caversham/Reading, our new home after relocating. I’m really enjoying meeting lots of lovely clients, therapists and teachers. I’m looking forward to running my own workshops and retreats, as well as collaborating with other small businesses for talks/online videos/workshops, to share our passion for health and wellbeing. Further down the line I’d like to coach other personal trainers. Or run my own yoga teacher training course.
What treatments/services do you offer specially for new mums?
I do a postnatal exercise check up, to assess the tummy for Diastasis and pelvic floor strength. This isn’t just for getting back to exercise but to move forward in life with the movement required as a person and parent. It is vital to address your core strength and pelvic floor weakness for optimal body function and emotional well being.
A weak core can lead to back pain, incontinence and a lack of results in overall fitness as the core is (obviously) the centre of our body and therefore highly important.
If you could go back to that new-mum you what advice would you like to give her?
I’d give her a massive hug and say to go super super easy on herself. To know that she’s done a brilliant job growing a little being and giving birth, however they came out.
Fave thing to do with your child?
Dance! I love it when Matilda takes my hand and we dance together or when she wiggles her bum, or reacts to the music. It’s the best! Or creative stuff like cutting and gluing, etc. I enjoy watching her get engrossed in it but also I enjoy it myself, which is a bonus.
Best place to go locally in good weather?
Christchurch playground by the river. We went the other day on a sunny, cold day and had it to ourselves. It was so much fun, on the pirate ship searching for treasure, – and then holding her on the zip wire seat as I run along.
And if it’s wet and cold?
The Alto Lounge for a juice for her and a coffee for me
To find out more about Lucy and her wonderful classes visit her website – www.liftpersonal-training.co.uk