This picture sums up the debate about weight and size!
HI Everyone! A very Happy Christmas to you all. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of Vicki Hill Women's Health & Training in 2017. I hope you have all found my never ending reminder of 'Engage your Core', 'Think Pelvic Floor' or 'Exhale on Exertion' useful!!
I hope you had a great 2017 as I did, I got married for one!! My business is growing all the time with loads of different classes on offer and I have really focused on my own education and learning and have become a Burrell Education's Holistic Core Restore(R) Coach. My Everywoman Holistic Core Restore courses have been such a success and I have loved teaching them seeing such great results ... " It made me understand my pelvic floor and the process of what I needed to do to get it back on track. I noticed results within the first 2 weeks of the course." (January course is now full so get in touch for the March course)
You may have also noticed that I have re-branded and got a new website!! Everything I had before was from when I first set up as a PT 11 years ago (eek!!) and I feel I have been on a massive journey with my learning as I have moved on from being a PT to really specialising in Women's health and fitness.
In 2018 my aim is to really spread the word about exercising with a diastasis and pelvic floor weakness or prolapses. As a client said.... 'Vicki is so passionate about women's health it was hard not to be inspired. I really feel like my attitude towards my body has changed. I feel more connected and confident with how my body works and what I need to do to improve it.' So, I am aiming to hold talks about 'The Pelvic Floor' and how to connect & strengthen the core and pelvic floor for anyone wanting to know!!
Look out for my blogs on Womens Health and please do get in touch or ask about anything you may have queries about - running and the pelvic floor is the next blog!!!!
Have a wonderful, wonderful Christmas and lets raise a glass of fizz to a healthy and happy 2018
Most of you have been to Buggyfit, Core & Restore, Mums Bums & Tums or my evening fitness classes at some point over the years. It is always great to hear from one of my Buggyfit mums saying she has had no. 2 (or no. 3!) child and is coming back to classes!! Those who came 8 years ago would come to a totally different Buggyfit or MBT class than back then - now research has shown you shouldn't run with a new baby in the buggy till they are 7 months! I think I have always advised not to run until you are at least 13/14 weeks post natal - that is still true and even more so if you have any pelvic floor weakness or a diastasis.
If you come to ANY of my classes no matter how old your children are I will always still check and see how your abs are, ask you to fill out a form so I can see if you have any niggles and I will ALWAYS talk about the pelvic floor. I do a number of outdoor and indoor classes so if you are interested then have a look at my website www.vickihill.co.uk (watch this space my new one is coming in 2017). I will always look after you at my classes ensuring you don't make a bulging tummy that has still got a gap down the Linear Alba worse and can talk to you about any pelvic floor issues you may have. 2016 saw the arrival of the Post School Drop Off classes every Tuesday and Thursday at 9.15 - 9.45am which is perfect if you just want a quick, effective workout. Get in touch if you want more information (NOT Suitable for new mums - only 10 months post & if no issues).
Thank you to Nicola who has had this to say about my classes ....
"Working with Vicki has totally changed my attitude to fitness. I used to think fitness was something only sporty people did. Post baby and after suffering from a bad back she helped me realise that being strong and healthy isn't about sport, it's about your well-being. Not only is she motivating she also brings a sense of fun to all her classes, and her passion for women's health really comes across in everything she does."
Are you an old hand at celebrating Christmas with a few too many drinks parties? Or a new mum having a few celebratory drinks with your NCT friends? Here are a few little health tips to not spoil your fun with family and friends this Chrimbo:
- Drink water - alternate alcoholic drinks with a glass of water with fresh lemon. Or have a large glass before you go to bed!
- Eat before going out - if you haven't eaten then you really will eat all the sausage rolls, crisps & dry roasted peanuts going.
- Eat your greens... especially Sprouts! Sprouts actually helps the body to detoxify - so fry them up with fresh ginger & garlic YUM & good for you! If you can't stand them then just try and eat broccoli, Kale, Cabbage at some point each day.
- Give yourself permission to say NO! If you are feeling run down and really don't feel like having to cook for friends or go to a party then just say NO. Listen to your body and don't get even more run down by doing things as you feel you should!
- Get the whole family out for a walk - especially on crisp, sunny days. It will do you all the world of good and make you feel better. Even if the weather isn't great, layer up, put the wellies and coat on and get out for an hour!
- Don't give you yourself a hard time for not exercising - you will just put more pressure on yourself, stress & say sod it and eat more!! Just try and get a little exercise in at some point over the break - if hubby is ok to have the kids for a short while then just get out - walk, run or cycle or whatever you enjoy doing & get some 'me' time too!
- Try not to say 'Sod it, it's Christmas I'll start my diet in the New Year'!!! For one DIETS DO NOT WORK!!!!! New Year resolutions hardly ever last! So just try and moderate and if you have a really piggy day then just try not to eat as much the following day! If you can just moderate, yes even over Christmas - have a good day after a not so good day!!
- Enjoy, be happy and try not to let the turkey stress you out!!! HAPPY CHRISTMAS!
Hi, I hope you have all had a fantastic summer whether camping in the UK or holidaying somewhere further afield. I hope you have all had time to chill, enjoy being with your family (hope the kids didn't argue too much!!) and just regained your energy and love of life!!! I had an amazing time with my sister and brothers and their families in Zimbabwe to celebrate my sister's big birthday!!! For me and hopefully you, it really was a time to unwind, think about what I want out of my time/business/life whilst surrounded by beauty and amazing sunsets!!! I know it now seems a lifetime away, but it really does do you good to just get away, even for a weekend, to get away from everything that needs doing at home! The Autumn isn't quite with us yet, go on, book a night or weekend away/camping before we lose the strength in the sun!
Over the summer I had time to assess what is happening with my business, who I am aiming to really help and who else I want to support!! I have a number of ongoing classes, but I wanted to make sure I continued offering 'educated' classes for all mums, not just those with babies but to continue to offer the more 'advanced' sessions. I had been asked a few times if I could do a similar 'fitness' class in the day, as the Tuesday and Thursday evening classes I have been offering for the last few years. So, I have now got another lovely group of ladies who have signed up for my PSDO class! Yep, its the Post School Drop Off - literally dump the kids and get a quick effective session done and dusted in 30 minutes. I'm hoping my new recruits are enjoying it (!!) as much as I am. As always it is not just about working so hard on exercises that you are sick (not my thing) it is about a gradual program of increasing fitness, overall health & to feel good about yourselves. I still talk about the pelvic floor - yep STILL my main topic of conversation, so too is the deep transabs. I offer alternative exercises for any injuries or those who do not have a good functional core. Nutrition is as always an important topic of conversation and having a private FB page has meant we can all chat freely about food, what is best/not great to be eating as well as sharing the photos/videos of exercises to do at home. It is a smallish group .... it means I can check you are technically exercising correctly & there are 1 or 2 spaces left so if you are interested then email me
Finally, as I was relaxing on my holidays in Zimbabwe I was able to catch up on the online nutrition course I have been on!! Not an everyday nutrition course - Optimal Nutrition & Lifestyle for Post Natal Recovery & Healing. Wow - full of in-depth information about the healing going on in our bodies, foods to eat to support our collagen, muscle fibers, C Section scars & tears, pelvic floor, embryos and the hormonal changes that go on during & post pregnancy & beyond! Meanwhile whilst at my sister's home in the countryside I was able to visit Gus (my brother-in-law's) Baobab factory and learn so much about this amazing tree & it's medicinal & health benefits. WOW!! I now need to work out how I can import the Baobab powder for you guys!! At the factory they utilise & sell every part of this wonderful fruit from the tree (selling powder, oil, soap). They are fairtrade as they depend on all the little communities around Zimbabwe to pick the fruit - hence giving more local Zimabweans an income enabling them to pay for their children's education (it costs $25 a term to send a child to school). The powder can be added to smoothies & juices, curries, stews or pretty much anything being cooked. It is slightly bitter but add loads of different herbs & spices and it just adds a fantastic nutritional boost. In Africa it is fed to babies - Baobab milk is richer in Protein, calcium and iron than human milk. Not only is it exceptionally rich in vitamins and minerals (with 6 times the vitamin C of an orange, 6 times the potassium of a banana, 15 times the fibre of wholemeal bread, twice the calcium of milk), it also has phenomenal antioxidant properties. Baobab fruit powder is great as an energy source, for digestion, for enhancement of the immune system, and for skin health. It also has helps to regulate blood sugar levels. Look out for it, I think you can get it at Costco. Check it out ..http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/health/the-goodness-of-the-baobab-tree/162783.html#rh31A2O1evHAiQ8p.99
Wanted to say well done to the runners who took part in the Tow Path 10k series. Great to have so many of my Tuesday and Thursday night ladies take part. Wanted to say a special Well Done to Libby, who has been with my running group since it started a number of years ago. Libby not only won the final race in her category, she also came 1st in her category overall (5 races in total). Well done to Amy who entered and won the EVB support running shorts. In my last newsletter I talked about these exercise shorts which support your core & pelvic floor muscles whilst exercising. If you are interested in reading up on them look at www.evbsport.com & if you do want to buy them get 10% off by using the code Vicki.
Thank you to everyone who gave me their old bras! I sent off about 50 in the end which will all be sent out to Africa. It is a great charity, offering ladies support not just for their bodies but also respect & safety. Have a look at
Congratulations to the 14 ladies & 1 man who have got up throughout the summer and come to the 6.30 - 7am HITT sessions. Initially they were 3x a week and then post my holiday the last 6 weeks has been 2x a week. It is now nearly dark at 6.30am and we have one week to go. Few! no more 6.30am starts!! Have to say they were great sessions, a great group who were amazing & turned up to most sessions. See you all again at that time May next year!!
You will have often heard about the 'good' gut bacteria - Probiotics. Probiotics are 'good' bacteria that help keep your digestive system healthy by controlling the growth of the harmful bacteria. Prebiotics are carbohydrates that can't be digested by the human body but are necessary food for probiotics. These are a few of the carbs our guts need to help the probiotics: garlic, onion, leeks, asparagus, brown & red rice, orange & purple carrots, almonds (especially the skin). You should cook & COOL red potatoes as it improves resistance to the bad bacteria. UNCOOKED oats are more resistant to starch and feeding the microbiome daily with good fats, protein & fibre. By cultivating a healthy gut in a breast feeding mother, the baby will benefit massively! Good bacteria in the gut can be killed off by poor diet & antibiotics. If you need to take antibiotics then try and take some good Prebiotic supplements when taking the antibiotics or after to limit the damaging effects. Non breast fed babies can be prescribed an infant pre-biotic - rates of childhood infections have been found to drop in those children given a prebiotic supplement. As always just try and maintain a varied diet with lots of colours on your plate!!
I was really excited to be asked to join an amazing team of maternity specialists here in Bristol to talk about exercising during and after pregnancy. I am teaming up with Helen Hodder, the brilliantly knowledgeable Women's Health Physio and we will be taking one class on exercise, healing and nutrition for the new mum. Bump to Cradle has been set up by a Bristol GP who found the NCT classes offered little other than a chance to forge new baby friends! So she had the brainwave to ask a number of clinical and women's health specialists if they would all be part of a team to educate and offer advise to Mums & Dads-to-be for the 3rd & 4th trimester - yep 1st 6 weeks of being a new parent. The course will start in January 2017 and there are only a small amount of spaces, so tell your preggy friends to have a read and look into it. Its website is www.bumptocradle.com and facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/bumptocradle/ I'd better get planning my talk!!!
Due to so many enquiries for me to check abs & for advise post baby exercise I have set out times in my diary to offer 30 minute Assessments. In the assessment I will check your abs - the size & tension of your gap, advise you how to push the buggy & lift the car seat whilst supporting your pelvic floor & back and importantly look at your posture. I offer information on the best foods for optimal recovery after a C section and talk about the oils to use for massage & about tears and the pelvic floor. It is for anyone who feels they would like an 'MOT' from 6 weeks after having a baby. Remember though, everyone is different and for some the gap can and tension can improve by 12 weeks PN whereas for others it can take much longer. I always say, it is about the 'tension' not necessarily the gap which is most important. I still see many ladies with 'gooey' gaps in their abs who have 6 year olds - you are still post natal and if you work at the correct exercises you can strengthen the deep abs - you do need to be prepared to do homework though ladies! Get in touch if you would like to book in. It is £25 for the assessment with exercises to take away.
Please will you send any of your spare / old bra's to support ladies in Africa to make their life safer. Read this post and either email me and get my address to drop them off or bring them to Buggyfit or send them off yourself - again ask me for the address to send them in UK.
There are many inaccurate blogs, videos and social media posts on the web and I often hear how women still feel frustrated that there is a lack of correct information available to them about Diastasis Recti. I've found some great info from New Zealand who explain it really well.
1: Diastsais Recti (DR) goes by many names;
It is also known as Diastasis Rectus Abdominus (DRA) which is how most physiotherapists refer to it and (DRAM).
Diastasis means separation and during pregnancy we refer to the Diastasis of the rectus abdominal muscles.
Even though it is the rectus abdominal muscles that separate it’s actually the connective tissue, the Linea Alba that holds the rectus muscles together that actually widens.
How much the Linea alba has to stretch to accommodate a pregnancy will generally determine the width and depth of postnatal separation.
Its important that you accurately assess your Diastasis about 6 weeks post birth to determine the size. Testing too soon after birth can be inaccurate as extra fluid and a contracting uterus can inhibit an accurate test result. We now know that assessing the depth and tension of the connective tissue (the linea alba) is far more important than just recording a width separation (this way of measuring is old school).
Diastasis is naturally occurring during pregnancy
Most women will have some degree of separation towards the end of a pregnancy. A Diastasis is naturally occurring and often needs to happen to make room for a baby. But its the size and then depth of the separation that can become problematic post birth if not managed correctly. Women will often not feel the separation occurring during pregnancy.
If your Diastasis has not closed to optimum 8-12 weeks post birth then specific strengthening exercises need to be done, posture management and good nutrition are required to help healing.
Boissonnault & Blaschak (1988) found that 27% of women have a DRA in the second trimester and 66% in the third trimester of pregnancy. 53% of these women continued to have a DRA immediately postpartum and 36% remained abnormally wide at 5-7 weeks postpartum. Coldron et al (2008) measured the inter-recti distance from 1 day to 1 year postpartum and note that the distance decreased markedly from day 1 to 8 weeks, and that without any intervention (e.g. exercise training or other physiotherapy) there was no further closure at the end of the first year. – See more at:http://dianelee.ca/article-diastasis-rectus-abdominis.php#sthash.E3meFiky.dpuf
3: You CAN reduce and prevent Diastasis during pregnancy
You can heal many years post birth
It is possible to heal a separation many, many years post birth. I personally have trained women who are 10+ years postnatal and they have noticed a big difference in their core strength, tummy appearance and posture! So its never to late to improve.
5: Only 5% of women need surgery to correct
It frustrates me that in many posts I see about DR on Facebook and Instagram that there are often comments which suggest ‘surgery is the only option’. This is definitely not true and the latest finding from Diane lee certainly do not suggest this.
Do you need surgery?
If you have been trying to heal your muscle separation for more than 12 months, have finished breastfeeding and your separation is not changing and you also find it hard to create any tension of the linea alba then you should see a Womens health Physiotherapist for an ultra sound. An ultra sound will show you in detail if the connective tissue (linea alba) has stretched beyond healing with rehabilitation exercises, posture management and nutrition.
6: How you breathe and activate your core muscles is important
Learning how to breath and activate the 4 core muscles (Diaphragm, Transverse Abdominus (TA), Pelvic Floor (PF) and Multifudus) correctly both during and beyond pregnancy will help to reduce separation during pregnancy and then aid healing post birth.
Breathing is important not only because we need do it all the time but we use our core muscles to breathe! If we are not breathing and recruiting the core muscles sufficiently then the Transverse Abdominal muscles are not contracting optimally. Therefore incorrect breathing and core muscle activation will not assist to close a DR.
Finally, if you want to help your tummy be vigilant about your posture and rehab exercises to prevent the separation increasing and to not worry about the fact that's its not closing as quickly as you like. -remember sometimes it just wont close so focus on working the deep abs to maintain strength in the mid line. Just ask me about the breathing exercise and some safe ones with the band or ask about my Core & Restore course I run.
If you would like to win the pair of Size 10 EVB sports Capri's then all you need to do is post on my Buggyfit Bristol FB page - https://www.facebook.com/Buggyfit-Bristol-199527670091275/ or my Vicki Hill Personal training FB page - https://www.facebook.com/Vicki-hill-personal-training. Write something about what you have been doing exercise wise - with Buggyfit, Core & Restore, Mums Bums & Tums, Running Club, the evening fitness classes or the early morning HITT classes. Just a sentence as to what you enjoy from the classes, and maybe add a photo! I will let you all know the winner (most genuine response!!). It will take a few minutes and you can win these excellent capris worth £50.
I was fortunate enough to meet the inspiring lady Yvonne Brady at the Womens Health Conference back in April. This lady is an engineer who had kids, had pelvic floor problems but wanted to run. She used her knowledge to create the newest MUST HAVE sports leggings, shorts & Capris - EVB SPORT (www.evbsport.com) . Independent testers have found them to activate the core muscles, engage the pelvic floor and offer support to the back for increased muscular strength and performance. There has been such amazing feedback from ladies who have had pelvic problems & bought them. So if any of you have sore hips when running or maybe are still slightly having problems with the pelvic floor when exercising then these are a perfect way to support you. You know I always say you shouldn't be running if you have a weak pelvic floor(!!) but i know I cant stop some of you - so those who don't listen and just want to get back running - these would be ideal!! If you put this code in when buying then you can get 10% off: Vicki10. I have a pair of size 10 to be won so check out my competition!
Mums Bums & Tums - Intermediate & Circuits
10.00am BS7 Gym 6 week courses, booking required.
11am The Downs (meet at the cafe) All levels
10.30am Eastville Park (meet at the carpark) All levels
11am The Downs (meet at the cafe) All levels
Evening Fitness Class
7.30pm Horfield Common Over 6 months postnatal only, booking required.
11am Horfield Common All welcome. (meet at Ardagh tennis courts car park)
Core & Restore & Beginners Mums Bums & Tums
11.15am BS7 Gym 6 week courses, booking required.
11am -Oldbury Court, Fishponds With Charlotte.
6.45pm Horfield Common Need to be able to run for 35mins.
Evening Fitness Class
7.30pm Horfield Common Over 6 months postnatal only, booking required.
10am St Andrew's Park All welcome (meet in the car park)
Please get in touch before coming along to any of my classes so I can send you a form. Thank you
Spring has finally arrived! So it is time for no excuses and to use the longer evenings to get out and have some 'ME' time whether its out walking or going for a jog or even a meditation & stretch in the garden! Charlotte and I went to an excellent Womens Health conference the other weekend with some very inspiring and knowledgeable speakers. What I came away with was they were ALL talking about the importance of releasing the tight tissues & diaphragm to enable you to start strengthening & incorporating the deep relaxing breathing with it. Felt quite chuffed as most of you know I go on about 'Exhale on Exertion' all the time! It is the essence of getting the deep core activated and stronger, so no matter how post natal you are - you are always post natal even if your kids are 15!! THINK Abs as you lift, get up or lean over & of course EXHALE ON EXERTION!!
Last year I ran a 6 week Summer HITT course for those early birds who wanted to get fitter and lose some inches before their holiday. It was only for those who are at least 8 or 9 months post natal who had no abs or pelvic floor issues as there was skipping, some running and lots of burpees!! I have been asked to run this course again this year, starting in the middle of May and running over the summer with a few weeks gap here and there. So, if there are any 'mad' early-birds who would like to know more about this course then please do email me. It is 3 mornings a week, 30 minutes (6.30 - 7am) sharp, outdoors - potentially in Redland Park or Horfield Common. Men are welcome too! We start with you doing your own body measurements ( I show you how or I measure you at the 1st class) and you will be provided with nutrition advice/meal ideas and be willing to try something different. If you or anyone else you know are interested then please do email me. Remember, this is only for those over 8 or 9 months and with no pelvic floor or abs issues. This is what some of last year's participants have to say about it: It was awesome. After I got over the shock of the early starts, I felt great and energised. It kick started me back to shape and fitness after baby no 2. Good fun too- weirdly! I also lost inches happily although the scales didn't shift. People remarked on how good I looked. Defo need it for this Summer. Also great way if fitting in exercise around the kids and work. Caroline
Scar tissue forms when our body's tissue is damaged - like after a C-Section, Episiotomy or other injuries to the muscle, tendons or ligaments. It is a normal healing process but some have more 'lumpy' scars than others. Massage can be helpful to loosen up the 'tight' area around the scar. It offers greater mobility and less stiffness in the area of the scarring as the treatments begin to take effect with more blood flow to the area. I know 'Bio Oil' seems to be the oil pregnant ladies are told to get - to help prevent stretch marks, but it is expensive and massaging a good Vitamin E oil, caster oil or coconut oil on your skin will be more natural & probably more effective. Ladies, its all a big hype about Bio Oil - it has very few natural ingredients in it (look at a comment from the article below)!! I've Just found this article which basically sums up the complete farce it is and it is so expensive too!! What is bad about the bio oil is the preservatives it has in it. This oil is meant to stay on the shelf for about 8 years, that means it has lots of anti-rancidity agents, perfume to overcome the rancidity smell, anticaking agents to keep oil without sedimenting, it has lots of silicone to get the non greasy feeling...
If you have a C section scar then invest in Caster oil which goes deep or a Vitamin E oil or Rosehip oil or a natural cream or oil with Comfrey in it - all natural menders! Please advise your pregnant friends use one of these natural oils. Ask in the health shops (Neils Yard, Scoopaway, La Ruca, Wild Oats or the Better Food Company are a few in Bristol).