The Former GB Netball Player Played Right up Until The day Before She Gave Birth and is in Better Shape Since Having Children


1 REAL with me at all my fitness and netball sessions. I’d do short and sharp HUT sessions at home, and once she started toddling she’d try to copy my squats and so on. So she’s growing up around sporty women. Getting hot and sweaty and playing and screaming and shouting and watching her mum coaching and bossing people around is the norm. As parents, we have a huge responsibility to see where children’s passions lie.’



‘I want my daughter to be able to follow her passions like I have, and forge opportunities in sport if that’s her thing. We know that when kids get hooked on sport young it becomes a lifestyle, a passion they follow for the rest of their lives. That’s why I’m involved in the Women’s Sport Trust and Sky Sports #ShowUp campaign.


After having my daughter Jamie in 2013, I was adamant I wanted to get back to netball as soon as I could. I worked up to the end and went into labour on the day of the semi final. I was never ready to give up work and, luckily, I had a great team around me, so I kept fit and healthy right through my pregnancy.


‘I played a local tournament six weeks after giving birth. It wasn’t the easiest thing coming back, but I love the sport so much it was really important to me. Body-wise, I was fine. I was fired and sleep-deprived. But it seemed like the norm for me. I soon discovered my core was completely shot and that was something I had always taken for granted, so I had to really work on that. But out of sheer grit and determination I actually ended up being in better shape than I was before – eventually. It took time. Your body is very different after birth. ‘Every new mum just needs to take it at her own pace. You will get back to fitness, whether that’s in six weeks or a year’s time – it happens. You start getting back into a routine and finding types and times to exercise that work for you. For me, if was time-lined because I wanted to be back playing for the start of the season. But it might have been better to take it more slowly. Don’t put pressure on yourself, fake little steps and set little goals and find new things along the way.’


If if feels logistically hard to get back to exercise, think outside the box and take your baby along. My daughter has been involved in my fitness from the start. I had a three-wheeled running buggy and she was encouraging everyone to watch, support, participate and generally talk about women’s sport more. ‘There are so many examples of female sporting success for girls and boys to see before certain ideas about gender and sport can creep in. They all get the opportunity to try sports at school, so it’s about parents picking up on that and saying, “Well, why don’t we all give it a try?” or taking the whole family to see a game or watching it together on TV and then talking about it. The earlier children get positive ideas about women’s sport the better because then that perception will never change.

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