Category: fitness

Exercise, Motherhood & Me | Guest Writer Erin Puckett

My name is Erin Puckett and I am an Exercise Scientist and a Mother. Fitness has always been a part of my life in some form or another. We were active children playing hockey, basketball, cricket, swimming, you name it we probably tried it. So when it came to choosing a university degree, Sport Science seemed the perfect fit.

I have been working in the health and fitness industry now for over 12 years. I have trained women through every stage of pregnancy including myself and I can unequivocally say, every woman’s experience with pregnancy and exercise is truly unique, including mine. When I fell pregnant I was exercising 5 days a week, teaching RPM classes and weight training as I had been doing for several years. I was a healthy weight with no serious health concerns and injury free. My beautiful daughter turns 3 in June and I am only now managing to maintain a regular exercise routine…. and I work in a gym!

So why has it taken so long? A number of reasons both physical and mental. My body wasn’t the same post pregnancy and my energy levels were nowhere near what they used to be. Lack of sleep will do that to you! Additionally, I suffered from pubic symphysis (early separation of the hip bones) thanks to hyper mobility and was cautious about injury.  But mostly, my procrastination was a mental battle. Whilst I well and truly know the benefits of exercise and the positive effects it can have on mental health, I couldn’t seem to match that knowledge up with my new mum brain.

Trust me I tried. Daily walks with new bub were easy but they werent enough and they definitely weren’t helping shake the baby weight. I returned to the gym aiming for sessions 3 times a week. Seems reasonable right? But I would get there and feel guilty for not being at home being a mum. My workouts were ineffective because I was distracted and eventually, I just stopped bothering.  And I am not the only one. With all the Mums I have had the amazing pleasure of training over the years, there are a few commonalities. So here are a few key things I have learned through experience that will hopefully help other Mums reading with their journey to health and happiness.

1. Exercise is different for everyone and so is pregnancy. So always seek the advice of your doctor regarding what type and intensity of exercise is best for you. Supervised training sessions with an exercise professional are highly recommended for specific conditions such as gestational diabetes etc. This allows you to continue exercising while controlling those factors.

2. Mindset is everything. As a new mum, you tend to skip out taking care of yourself. So make sure you make yourself a priority. You need to be happy and healthy to take care of that bundle of joy, so schedule some me time and get those endorphins flowing. Make a plan for exercise and stick to it. Your body and your baby will thank you for it. And ditch the guilt. You are being the best mother you can be by taking care of yourself so you can take care of your family.

3. Keep it simple. I have seen women give birth and return to Pump class with a 6 pack 8 weeks later. I have also seen women gain 20kgs in 9 months baking their babies. Don’t expect the same results as someone else. They’re not you. Simplicity wins when it comes to healthy choices especially when kids are involved. Move More, Eat Fresh. Aim to get 30 minutes of moderate to high intensity exercise 3 times per week. Stack your diet with fresh produce, lean meats and whole grains. The less processing the better.

4. Rest, relax and recover. Your body needs it. That doesn’t mean you absolutely HAVE to get 8 hours sleep a night (which would be impressive to pull off with a kid in the house anyway!). It means downtime. A slow down where you can let your muscles recover and your brain reboot. A warm bath and a good book are my go to.

5. Love yourself the way that kid loves you. Unconditionally. And they always will. So take care of yourself body, mind and soul so they know how to do it too.

It wont happen overnight. It has taken me 12 years of exercise experience and 3 years as a mum to reach where I am. I’m still a work in progress, like the rest of us.  So take your time and enjoy the ride.

Erin Puckett is a qualified Exercise Scientist with over 12 years experience in the health and fitness industry. She specializes in functional training and injury rehabilitation from adolescents to elite level athletes and everyone in between. You can reach Erin at Facebook or Instagram to arrange a free consultation.

Chicks Who Lift | Guest Writer Michelle Wong

We live in an image obsessed world, and in most cases the ‘perfect body’ is what’s portrayed to us on the cover of a magazine. Whether it be the infinite ‘slimness’ on the Vogue cover, the ‘happy family’ featured in New Idea, or the current winner of the women’s INBA bikini model in Women’s Health magazine. We all perceive ‘perfect’ according to our own reality, lifestyle and choices.

I’m not writing today about the ‘perfect body”, the one that many celebrity fitness gurus have made their fortunes selling to the masses, I’m writing about a strong and healthy, female body.

Here’s an idea. How about, as women, we work on our physical strength so we can increase our metabolism, (yes, that means burn fat) live a longer and healthier life by deterring heart disease and bone disease such as osteoporosis, and live independently for longer, without the assistance of carers in our senior years. All this, above and before the cool side effect of carrying the children/shopping with ease, (whichever your lifestyle) and looking smoking hot in a bikini.

Yes, I own a gym, and many of our clients come to us to assist with, ‘the now body’ but I like to think about how we’re helping them and their families in their future years. This is why we as a gym and me personally as a woman, am so passionate about women lifting weights.

There is no arguing with the science behind the body’s reaction to weight training, increased bone density, more efficient metabolism, increased strength and reduced risk of day to day injury. However. The general consensus still seems to be, “I want to get skinny, I should jump on a treadmill.” Ladies, PLEASE LIFT SOME WEIGHTS AS WELL! *Insert bonus side effect of feeling empowered through strength and firm muscles

So, why don’t women want to strength train?


Cardio is to the female fitness industry, what the airbrushed model is to the fashion industry. It’s an iconic, extremely well-marketed, (*insert Lorna catalogue here) symbol of all that is good health, and apparently leads to the ‘ideal’ female body. I am in no way discarding cardiovascular training as an integral part of your training program, but it is exactly that; part of an overall program. A program that is also made up of healthy eating, mobility work, stretching and of course strength training. It is the latter that will ultimately lead to the round booty, to the sculpted shoulders and the firm, strong arms.


I still have a giggle to myself when I remember my first ever PT session with a trainer. I pointed to a picture of a female bodybuilder on the wall and said, “I don’t want to look like that.” Today, I can reflect on his polite smile, and simple answer of, “No you won’t”, as I am now educated and realise that to look like ‘that’, would require years of disciplined isolation training for several hours a day, along with the strictest of diets. Ladies, I can assure you, a daily workout in the gym using weights, will not result in you becoming a muscle-bound beast. It will result in progressive muscle development, strengthening of bones and an overall firming-up of the body.


My background is in teaching, 15 years of it in fact and one thing I can assure you is this: With complete lack of; or the wrong guidance, instruction and introduction to something new, anything can be dangerous. Sadly, with an inundation of gyms, all catering for the masses, the initial induction to the equipment and training is barely sufficient. Whilst many people share the well-popularised, ‘Gym-Fails’ clips for hilarity and entertainment, I look at them with a sense of bewilderment at how bad the industry is failing many of it’s clients. At our gym, it’s simple – safety first with solid foundations.

Most of my clients are mothers, mothers that have to tend to children or pick up babies, none of which can be done with injury or a sore back. Girls, my message here is simple – choose your gym wisely, get a good trainer who cares about you personally and prides themselves on the correct technique of lifting weights safely and appropriately for your lifestyle and goals. Done correctly, strength training will actually reduce the risk of injury as your strong muscles work to do as they were designed, that is support the skeleton and act as levers and pulleys to get daily tasks done.

In a nutshell Ladies, strength training is HUGELY beneficial to your everyday life and future self. You will not become ‘manly’, (a sadly misused phrase that I personally hate, but use here are a relatable reference point), you WILL feel strong, you WILL notice a significant ‘firming-up’ of your body, and you will totally be a ‘chick who lifts.’

Wongy x

Images by Lion Fox & Co
Images by Lion Fox & Co

Michelle is an educator, passionate about improving the health and well-being of children, families and classrooms!

You can follow her journey at…

Family First Fitness


You Get What You Accept | Guest Writer Michelle Wong

You Get What You Accept.

This phrase rings true in just about every element of my life. Whether it be teaching, parenting, training or running a business. Five simple words that we can all consider to improve our own selves, the lives of our children and the loved ones in our lives.

Simply ask yourself, ‘How many times have you walked past litter on the ground?’ ‘How many times have you left your child on the iPad because it’s easier for you to get what needs doing done?’ ‘How many times have you given up during a workout or not completed the required exercises?’ Now remind yourself, you get what you accept.

Hat Number One: Mother

As a mother of a four year old, I am all too familiar with the daily challenge that is giving in to less than desirable behaviour. One thing I have learnt, is that persistence and consistency pays off. Stick to your guns, be consistent with your expectations and don’t give up! A slip here or there does not mean you’re failing as a parent, it means you’re human. Reset and start again, our mini-humans are experts at testing every boundary, we need to be experts at maintaining them.

Hat Number Two: Teacher

How often have you heard people say that their kids are perfect for others or well-behaved at school for their teachers? The answer here is simple (not simple to achieve but simple to explain). Most teachers have very clear boundaries and expectations that they work tirelessly throughout the year to uphold. How do you control a group of 30 children of all personality types and backgrounds? With clear, consistent expectations of behaviour. Teachers also have the added advantage of the ‘Mummy Guilt’ being an ineffective weapon against them. Us parents are suckers for the ‘mummy guilt’, but teachers simply state, ‘That doesn’t work in this classroom’ and everyone moves on 🙂

Hat Number Three: The Gym Junkie/Gym Owner

How many times has my alarm gone off to train early and I’ve not wanted to get out of bed? Hundreds. How many times have I not gotten up? Nil. I know once I hit the gym/the running track/the workout, I will get it done. It may not be my best performance but I will not accept copping out altogether. When it comes to training and running our gym, Family First Fitness, I accept nothing but commitment and effort. This is why I get results and so do all of our clients. They rise to our high expectations we set and model and we do not walk past poor form or half-hearted efforts. When it comes to life at Family First Fitness, you get what you accept! Awesomeness 🙂

Now, here are my ‘Top Tips’ to help you accept the best in life:

  1. Enlist the assistance of others. You don’t have to do it all on your own. Whether it be a partner, a family member, a coach or a good friend. Ask for help if you’re tired or need a break, share the load. Maintaining high expectations on your own is a tough gig. Family and friends are there to help!
  2. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start with one expectation at a time and grow from there. For example, don’t expect to exclude all unhealthy food from the family fridge, reinstate earlier bedtimes and ban technology all in one day. Getting what you accept is definitely a continual work in progress, just remember that once you have chosen not to accept something, stick to it!
  3. Surround yourself with people who have high expectations. These role models in your life are great to be around and learn from. How do they parent, what training techniques do they enlist, how do they achieve harmony and balance in their life? I love the saying, ‘You are the average of your 5 closest friends.’ Now get out there and surround yourself with awesomeness!
  4.  Set the bar high. The higher the standards you set for yourself, the more you will achieve. I will never forget a very clever lady telling me once, that in the classroom, children will succeed at a level, approximately 80% of what has been set. So how do you achieve better results? Set the bar higher! I have used this as an analogy for life ever since and am continually striving to improve myself and those around me. Let’s all raise the bar!

For those of you who know me, or are familiar with my blogs, you will know that I like to keep things simple. By asking the question, ‘What you are accepting?’ You are getting the ball rolling to improve your health and wellness and that of your family too! So don’t walk past the rubbish on the ground, don’t cheat your workout and make sure you are leading by example – you never know who is accepting and learning from your behaviour.

Peace Out,


Michelle is an educator, passionate about improving the health and well-being of children, families and classrooms!

You can follow her journey at…

Family First Fitness