Kimmy Smith is fitness blogger, former professional netballer and corporate lawyer and more importantly mother to two gorgeous girls and pregnant with her third!
I recently caught up with Kimmy to chat all things motherhood, fitness and health!
Can you tell us a little more about your story?
I feel like I have had two lives! I spent a large portion of my life before children playing professional sport. I played professional netball for 11 years, finishing my career with 5 years at the NSW Swifts, I was also a member of the Australian netball squad. At that time, I was also working as a corporate lawyer, so my life was pretty crazy! I ended up burnt out and completely exhausted. So I retired from netball, quit law and started working with a local group fitness business in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. I loved it and it really helped me to transition from elite sport. I fell pregnant with Allegra in 2012 and because I owned a group fitness business, I trained every day. I ran up until around 25 weeks and I literally counted down the days till I could exercise after I gave birth.
Allegra was a big baby – 4.3KG and I shouldn’t had rushed back into exercise and ended up with a pelvic organ prolapse as well as some other complications from birthing such a big baby. Perhaps because high intensity was all I knew, I was determined to get back into running and high intensity training. I also identified myself as someone who was ‘fit’. I had built my netball career around being the fittest player on the court, so I pushed my body to the limit to return to that level of fitness my ego needed!
When I fell pregnant with Samara, I knew that I wanted to do it different. I wanted to care for my body and I wanted to create a new way of moving that embraced all the changes that were happening to me. Not just physically, but mentally. This was the beginning of the creation of the Fit Mummy Project – although at that time it was just a seed of an idea!
What led you to focus on pre and post natal fitness?
When I had Samara, I tried to take it easy and allow my body time to repair. I did a lot of research into postnatal fitness and exercise options and found a lot of generic information. After Samara I was also struggling with incontinence. I couldn’t find information that didn’t make me feel like something was fundamentally wrong with me.
I was a healthy woman. Yes, I had suffered some postnatal complications and yes my body needed extra support, but I was still healthy. And I definitely wasn’t elderly! I also noticed that a lot of the messages around ‘bouncing back’. I didn’t want to bounce back. I had worked really hard to embrace the changes that had happened to my body. I wanted to create a new ‘strong and healthy’ body rather than giving birth and then doing my best to look like I’d never been pregnant.
It was this that led me to my focus on pre and postnatal fitness. I created the Fit Mummy Project with the view to:
- Supporting women to create a strong and healthy body after baby.
- Providing positive and safe workouts that would embrace the changes to their lives and their bodies.
- Providing the ability to do high quality strength, fitness, barre or yoga workouts from the comfort of their own homes in just 15 minutes a day.
- Creating a way of moving that embraced mindfulness and a holistic approach to postnatal fitness.
My focus started with postpartum and as the Fit Mummy Project has grown and evolved, I am now beginning to include prenatal workouts and exercises.
You’re currently pregnant with your third baby, congratulations! What has been your biggest challenge so far this pregnancy?
Thank you! I’ve had a lot of challenges with this pregnancy. I had quite bad morning sickness which I really struggled with. My incontinence has been a lot worse this pregnancy which is a combination of pregnancy hormones, a weak pelvic floor and everything just being so stretched already!
But I think my main challenge has been taking care of my own health this pregnancy. Before I fell pregnant, I had the intention of really enjoying this pregnancy. But that just hasn’t happened. I think taking care of the girls, running a business and just generally trying to juggle our lives means that I get to the end of each day absolutely exhausted! So it’s been a real challenge to slow down and nurture myself during this pregnancy.
What advice would you give to a pregnant woman looking to keep fit during their pregnancy?
My main advice is always to listen to your body. When we are pregnant, we develop this incredible intuition. Listen to the signals your body is sending you and begin to move in a way that makes you feel good. One day this might be a gentle restorative yoga class, another day it might be a higher intensity strength workout. When you listen to your body, you will begin to move in a much more mindful way.
Secondly – the aim during pregnancy is to feel healthy and strong. It isn’t to get fitter. So don’t exercise to the point of exhaustion. Find exercise that makes you feel energsied and strong, but that still leaves you with enough energy to go about the rest of your day! Your body is already working overtime to grow a whole human!
Thirdly – go and see a Women’s Health Physio and learn how to properly engage your pelvic floor and transversus abdominis (your deepest abdominal muscles). Learning how to properly engage your core will help to protect your back during pregnancy, can help you to avoid some common pregnancy complaints like pubis symphysis pain and can also help you to birth your baby. It will also help with your postpartum recovery.
You have developed a wonderful app called the Fit Mummy Project app. Can you tell us a bit more about the app?
Thank you! I have combined everything I spoke about above into the Fit Mummy Project App, so I’m really proud of it. The Fit Mummy Project App is the complete postnatal fitness + yoga App for Mums. It has over 35 workouts that Mums can do from home in just 15 minutes a day. It includes early postnatal, strength, fitness, yoga, barre workouts as well as guided meditations. You can start the workouts from 6 weeks with the early post natal and keep using it all the way up to 4-5 years (and beyond!). It has a range of different level workouts for all fitness levels and really provides a holistic approach to postnatal wellbeing.
Since I launched it last year, I have been amazed at how much Mums have embraced this App! I think because it delivers high quality workouts direct to your phone and it’s all aimed at Mums. I also wanted to make it accessible and affordable to everyone, so I think Mums really appreciate that it’s a once off cost, rather than an ongoing fee.
As Mothers we are all incredibly busy and tend to put our needs last. What are your top 3 tips to help women include exercise within their day?
My tips for including exercise into your day are:
- Try to do it first thing in the morning. If your baby / kids are sleeping through the night, set your alarm to wake up 15 minutes earlier. I use the Fit Mummy Project App to do a quick workout and meditation combination which helps me to feel energised and calm for the rest of the day.
- Make exercise a priority. I add my workouts to my diary and try to do them first thing. I know that if I get started with work or housework, exercise often gets missed. I try to do it as soon as I drop the girls at school / kindy or as soon as I put them down for a nap.
- Include your little ones in your workouts! Try the Fit Mummy Project App Pram Workouts and include a workout into your daily walk. If you’re meeting a friend or a group for a play date, make it an active one. Go for a walk together (try the circuit above). Take the kids to a park where you can work out while they run around. All chip in to hire a nanny so you can exercise while someone is keeping the kids under control.
What’s next for Kimmy?
I’m currently working on the Nourished Mummy Project with Alice Bingham from @aliceinhealthyland and Gina Ulrich from @nutrititonbyginarose. The Nourished Mummy Project will be a complete nutrition App for pregnancy, postpartum through to baby food and family friendly recipes.
I’m also working on a new prenatal fitness + yoga App which will have safe prenatal workouts for each trimester! And then hopefully have a healthy baby in the middle of the year!