Rachel Grunwell

Rachel Grunwell is a fitness writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Fitness Challenge: No barbells, just bubs

Each week Rachel Grunwell tries a new sport to bring you the lowdown

Trainer Simone Rank takes Rachel Grunwell and her baby, Finn Grunwell, (22 months) through exercises during a boot camp session at Rose Park, Belmont. Photo / Getty Images
Trainer Simone Rank takes Rachel Grunwell and her baby, Finn Grunwell, (22 months) through exercises during a boot camp session at Rose Park, Belmont. Photo / Getty Images

Stroller bootcamp

What is it? A fitness class for mums who want to take their little ones along for the ride.

What's needed? Workout gear, yoga mat, stroller, water, baby's food/milk/water, nappy bag, sunhat, toys.

The experience: It's Mothers' Day and the bloke has bought me a beaut prezzie on behalf of our boys: a duck-egg-coloured bike, so we can all go cycling. So I'm feeling a bit spoilt this year.

It also means you might read about some challenges of the two-wheel sort over the next wee while. However, this week I'm at a YummyMummy Fitness stroller bootcamp in Belmont. I always thought "yummy mummy" was a term for a "hot mama". You know, those Victoria Beckham types whose bodies bounce back seconds after giving birth. The Times provided a memorable description of a yummy mummy as a gal who "is bankrolled by a husband working himself to death in the City, [dresses] in designer outfits, carries the latest must-have bag [and] whose hair and nails are perfectly groomed".

So I'm a bit worried how I'll fit in: I'm no whippersnapper, the bloke doesn't bankroll me entirely (I've gotta work too) and I also don't have a Hollywood bod because I kinda like kai.

I ask the trainer, YummyMummy Fitness director Simone Rank, what's with the name?

She laughs and says, "Good question." Turns out the person designing the logo dreamed it up and she thought it was catchy enough to roll with.

Thankfully, the group turns out to be full of cool Kiwi gals who are all welcoming - no Posh Spice in sight. I have 22-month-old Finn with me and I'm a bit anxious he'll try to run away during the 45-minute class and I'll spend my time chasing him. But instead he's happy to join in the fun. He eats morning tea while I do squats and lunges. Then, while I attempt press-ups and planks, he jumps on my back, playing horsey rides, giggling happily. Mid sit-ups, he seeks cuddles. So I get double the workout lifting him during the drills. Who needs barbells when you have a bub?

But he's not impressed when the group plays games like tag. When I sprint away he drops his bottom lip and howls, so Simone expertly scoops him up for a cuddle and he's happy once again to be in someone's arms, watching me huff and puff.

Meanwhile, Simone, also a mum, continues directing the session; she's used to rocking a pram or cuddling a baby.

Near the end we're all on mats, working our cores. And Finn is back to asking this horse to giddy-up. But he and the other little ones are happy, most of the time, to watch.

Simone says her clients have lost up to 30kg. One mum I meet is landscape architect Sibyl Bloomfield, 28, who has 16-month-old Isla. She's lost 7kg through YummyMummy, including 14cm around her waist. She says she gained weight "stress-eating" after her daughter was born prematurely due to pre-eclampsia, which meant she had to stay in hospital for a while. "I was baking a lot too, for the nurses," she explains.

She says working out with Simone has made her feel great and adds, "Simone is as great with the kids as she is at getting us to sweat." I agree.

How much? First class free, casual $17, and there are various concession rates available, such as the 10 classes for $120 deal (valid for six weeks).

Worth it? My legs ached afterwards. And groups like this can be motivating for mums keen to get in some exercise without having to leave their kids.

Try it: YummyMummy Fitness classes are in seven locations Auckland wide. For more information, visit yummymummyfitness.co.nz.

Rating: 9.5/10

- Herald on Sunday

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