I have never trained with weights before. Will LIFT be too hard for me?

I have worked hard to make LIFT inclusive for beginners, because we all have to start somewhere, don't we? For each movement you will find different levels, so you can pick the one that feels right for you. If anything is too hard (or too easy) you can let me know and I'll do my best to suggest an alternative. During the training block, I guide you on choosing the appropriate number of reps to complete for each exercise, when to progress and when to scale back.

Is LIFT suitable for pregnancy?

Yes, unless contraindicated, physical activity comes with a host of benefits during pregnancy. It improves your overall fitness, sleep and mood; it can reduce high blood pressure problems, back pain and the risk of gestational diabetes, and can ease constipation. For this reason, the current UK Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines recommend that if you’re not currently active, you should start gradually and build up from there, while if you are already active, you can keep going. Pregnant people should be aiming to clock up at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week, as well as doing muscle strengthening activities twice a week. On LIFT, I will guide you through movement modifications which tend to work well for pregnancy, as well as coaching you on intra-abdominal pressure management, pelvic floor/abdominal wall symptoms to watch out for and strategies we can use in movement to support our core health. I can also guide you in navigating pregnancy with pelvic organ prolapse, incontinence, pelvic girdle pain, hernia or existing diastasis. If you need any additional support, you can message me on the LIFTers' forum.

What equipment do I need to join LIFT?

This is a home-based programme. You won’t need too much space for the workouts. You’ll need a mat if you are uncomfortable lying on the floor. A few of the exercises will need you to have a bench or sofa to lean on or raise your feet on, others will require a strong, sturdy chair. Ideally you'll need some dumbbells, miniband loops and a CrossFit style resistance band. That said, I would suggest you refrain from going on a massive spending spree and try your first block using whatever you already have or just getting some bands in the first instance, which are compact and relatively cheap. If you are looking to buy some dumbbells and aren't sure what to get, adjustable dumbbells are a great option as they are more compact and give different options to choose from, heavier and lighter. I would suggest that you buy some that can go heavy, as you will definitely grow into them. Basically, the more kit you have at home, the more options you'll have to progress and challenge yourself as you get stronger and more confident. I have LIFTers who have purchased barbells and pull up bars and have never looked back! See it as an investment, that will actually work out much, much cheaper than a gym membership over time. You can see some suggestions here. Please be aware that this is an affiliate link.

I am postnatal. Can I join LIFT?

While LIFT isn't a postnatal specific programme, my method of gradual, progressive, full-body strength training is very suitable for the post-birth chapters. I have completed a lot of continuing education in postpartum exercise, and have extensive experience of working with clients 1-2-1 postnatally. This is a real passion of mine, and I am delighted to be able to help even more people postnatally via LIFT. If you are doing LIFT as a means of returning to exercise post birth, I would suggest you are realistic in your expectations of how many sessions you can manage each week. I would also encourage you to keep your intensity levels lower for your first training block or two, and focus instead on quality of movement, (re)mastering movement patters and building confidence, finishing each session with energy in the tank, feeling like you could definitely have done more. This may require you to keep your ego in check! It is advised that anybody participating in this programme post-birth has been cleared to train and has seen or is working in conjunction with a pelvic floor physiotherapist. Please remember that I am not qualified to diagnose or give medical advice.

Are there different access levels?

Yes. I upload five sessions a week - Strength Day 1, Strength Day 2, Core, Core:Preg/Beg, and Conditioning. I usually also stream 2 short mobility sessions each month. With LIFT:Complete, you get access to all sessions, plus a monthly Q&A with LIFT Nutritionist Kristy Coleman, and my library of all previous Core and Condition sessions, in case you want to do more. With LIFT:Core, you get access to the weekly Core and Core (Preg/Beg) sessions and to my library of all previous Core sessions, in case you want to do more. With LIFT: Condition, you get access to the weekly Condition sessions and my library of all previous Condition sessions, in case you want to do more. With LIFT:Core+Condition, you get access to the weekly Core and Core:Preg/Beg sessions and Condition sessions and to my library of all previous Core sessions, in case you want to do more.

Do I have to do all of the workouts?

No. In fact, I encourage you to think about 1. what you enjoy and 2. what is realistic. These are key to consistency! You can commit to all sessions if you want to, but you don't have to. Pick-and-mix in a way that suits your capacity and other exercise. For example, runners might just choose to do the Strength sessions. Those who are already practising Pilates might skip Core. Those who are short of time might pick one Strength session and Conditioning. There are lots of ways to make LIFT work for you!

Is there a minimum term?

No. Each month we move to a fresh training block. Some movements change, others stay the same. You can stay for just one training block or for as many as you like. Membership is on auto-renew, so once you've purchased a plan you don't need to rejoin each month. You will automatically roll over to the new block each month.

How do I cancel my LIFT membership?

You can do this from the members' hub. You'll need to be signed in in order to cancel.

I have prolapse. Can I still join LIFT?

Yes you absolutely can. I have a lot of experience working with clients with pelvic organ prolapse. In my experience, these people are often told all the things they can't do, to the extent that movement becomes overwhelming and even frightening. With any type of pelvic floor dysfunction, I always say that it's not what you do but how you do it. I will encourage you to explore what movement strategies (e.g. breath, positioning) feel best for you and to learn to try a different way in a particular movement makes you sympomatic. In this way, you can start to build autonomy and confidence. Anecdotally, clients who undertake balanced, progressive, full-body, strength training experience fewer symptoms and notice their prolapse less. With prolapse, you would benefit from seeing a pelvic health physiotherapist for assessment. They can also discuss whether pessary support might be helpful for you.

I suffer from incontinence. Can I join LIFT?

Yes, you can, and progressive, full body, strength training may well help to improve your incontinence. On LIFT, I encourage everyone to be aware (but not obsessive) about how they are managing pressure during exercise. Are you breath holding? Are you bearing down? What sort of position are you in when you leak? What can we change that makes a difference to your symptoms? This approach helps you to understand your body and symptoms, and to develop autonomy and confidence. If you are experiencing incontinence, it would be beneficial to see a pelvic health physiotherapist for assessment.

I have a diastasis / 'ab gap'. Can I join LIFT?

Yes, you can. You'll want to be aware of, but not obsessive about, intraabdominal pressure during movement. If you notice hard doming or bulging along your midline, I will encourage you to explore different strategies (e.g. breath, engagement or positioning) to try to change that, and if you cannot, to modify the movement for something that you can manage, and then to work back up.

Are the sessions live?

No; the weekly sessions are pre-recorded and uploaded to the LIFT platform all in one go at the start of each training week. This means you can structure your training week however suits you best, and allowing flexibility for the curveballs that inevitably arise along the way.

How do I sign up to LIFT?

First, you need to sign up to my website as a site member. Just click on LIFTers at the top, then sign up using an email address and password. After that you can purchase a plan.

Personal Training

Where are you based and what areas do you cover?

I see clients in my private studio, in TN17. I am unable to accommodate home visits.

What qualifications do you have?

You can find an up-to-date list of my qualifications and training here.

Are you insured?

Yes, I am fully insured.

Are you first aid trained?

Yes, I have a certificate in adult first aid which I am required to renew every 3 years.

My doctor has told me that my pregnancy is high-risk. Can you work with me as a Personal Trainer?

It depends. Some contraindications are absolute, meaning that I will be unable to work with you. Others are relative, which means I may be able to work with you with your doctor’s sign off. Please contact me to chat further.

I have just had a baby and am desperate to lose my baby weight. Can you help?

We can definitely work towards weight loss, if that's your goal, but I will always advocate a recovery/rehab mindset in those early postnatal months. My approach, which is tried and tested with multiple clients, is to work on full body strengthening while giving your body time to recover from the demands of pregnancy and birth, and your brain time to adjust to the challenges of caring for a new baby! Ultimately, exercise is a stress, and you're likely to be managing all sorts of other stresses postnatally, so we need to achieve a balance.

What are your sessions like?

My focus as a coach is on strength training. I love to get my clients lifting weights as this reaps enormous benefits for us across our life span. Our sessions will factor in your own individual goals and will be based on training the key movement patterns - knee dominant, hinge, push, pull and carry - in a balanced and progressive way. We throw in bursts of conditioning (ie cardio), too. Sessions are tailored to where you are right now, and any issues you might be navigating e.g. prolapse, incontinence, perimenopause or diastasis. Don't worry if weightlifting is something you've never done before. I have taken numerous clients from never having used a barbell before, to confidently deadlifting way more than their bodyweight.

Do you only work with new mums/mums-to-be?

Nope! While I have extensive experience training clients during pregnancy and post-birth, I work with many people who've never had a baby, and who never plan to. I also work with those who had children years ago, who are perimenopausal or who are post-menopausal. Strength training is the bomb, bringing mutliple benefits, and I would be delighted to work with you whatever your life stage.