I’ve been inundated with such positive feedback about the #RealMums series that I had to put up another interview before the weekly Thursday one comes through (thank you all for your support! xx). This special extra interview is with Fitness Enthusiast and lovely mumma Nicole. She is passionate about helping women get fit pre-pregnancy to support them throughout their pregnancy too! Read her story about family life, fitness and love below.
Hi Nicole! Thank you for joining us for this week’s #RealMums interview! I always like to start with an introduction, so could you tell us a bit about yourself and your family?
Thank you for having me! I am 34 years old, originally from Melbourne and currently living in Tel Aviv with my daughter Shai who is 3 and my hubby, Liran.
My daughter Shai is really the light of my life. And I truly live in a state of gratitude for being blessed with a healthy and amazing little girl who wakes me up to laughter every day. She also screams “MUMMMMM it’s morning as soon as the sun rises!” – so can’t help but to laugh!
I have been married for just over 4 years. I met my husband whilst selling at a jewellery stand when I was fairly new to Israel. It may sound strange but I was friends with the local homeless man, Shimon. I spent many hours chatting to him about life and honestly he was a good friend and I enjoyed our time together. He knew Liran (my husband), Liran lived in the apartment right in front of where I was selling at the market stand and usually gave Shimon food.
SO – I told Shimon that I had my eye on Liran and he made the connection for us. I knew the first time I saw Liran that we would be together and have a life together. I even wrote it in a diary so my husband thinks it hilarious to mock me and say “youuu loved me from the moment you sawww me!”. Anyway, the rest is history.
For the past 15 years I found myself travelling the globe, I lived in London for a few years, returned to Australia, moved to Israel and have been back and forth between Oz and Israel for a while now.
How do you like to spend your time and what are your passions?
I love working on new business ideas which sounds crazy but a lot of my time is spent working on new ideas and growing my businesses.
If i had more hours in the day I would do more fitness which is definitely my thing. Since becoming a mother I have had less time to exercise but it’s been a blessing in disguise and given me the balance in my life which I wasn’t aware that I needed.
My passions are certainly based around fitness – I used to train MMA and do bikram which I just can’t find the time for these days. Now, I do my own programs and crossfit..for now.
I also love traveling and eating, so eating at new restaurants or cooking up a storm with a nice wine is definitely something I love.
All my other time is spent with my family. I do try to calculate my hours well so that I have quality time with my amazing peeps. That does mean some pretty early rising for me most days.
Where did the idea for your ‘Fit & Fabulous Pre-Pregnancy Program’ come from?
Currently, I’m trying to conceive. I was doing a pull up at my crossfit box, something that I worked super hard on for a long time. I wanted to be able to do a pullup whilst pregnant, just a silly goal of mine. I told the trainer “I’m training pre-pregnancy”. I remember it was an ah-ha moment. I thought to myself “Why isn’t there a program for women pre-pregnancy”?
In the same week I had a friend who was pregnant at the time confide in me about some struggles with her body and fitness during pregnancy and that she wished she went into pregnancy fitter and healthier. With all my heart, I wanted to help her or just fill her with some love and anything that would make her feel happy.
I knew then, there was a serious need for providing woman with a program that they can use to help them through the entire journey. Not only with their body, but I have put a lot of time into giving as much value as possible with lots of aspects to help with relieving some of the stress of trying to conceive. So that is where the ‘Fit and fabulous pre-pregnancy’ program was born.
From my own experience, with my first pregnancy we had planned it. So I knew that anything could happen once I was pregnant. I wondered – “Would I be able to train”? , “What if I was not feeling well all the time”?, “Would I put on a lot of extra weight”?, “Would I be at risk of postnatal depression”? – so many questions and my only solution was to get into ‘pre-pregnancy’ training mode and hone in on the spots I knew would most likely be affected.
So I have already been my own ‘guinea pig’ if you will, and I know how much this program can help women, like it did for me.
When I did fall pregnant with Shai, and spoke to the Doctor about my exercise regime he told me “Most things you did before pregnancy you can continue”. So that was another huge key factor in putting this together – so women that aren’t fitness junkies like me will be able to keep on training rather than losing out.
Why did you decide to focus on pre-pregnancy, rather than the ‘usual’ pregnancy and post-pregnancy programs?
I felt the awareness was missing. I know that perhaps there needs to be some education in regards to this preventative approach and perhaps less ‘demand’ right now. But my heart led me to assisting one woman at a time, to help her feel good inside and out and have the most positive, healthy and happy experience possible through the entire journey.
I searched for a program like this, and was kind of shocked to learn I couldn’t find one. Perhaps there is one out there but from all my searching I am yet to come across it – so I believe this is the first program focusing on a preventative approach. However, there are literally thousands of program for during pregnancy and post – which is of course super important, but I feel our program is kind of like drinking your OJ for vitamin C, instead of taking cold and flu tablets for a cold.
The program isn’t a body transformation, actually I do mention that in my program – it’s not about getting abs, becoming super strong and what have you. It’s about moving your body, strength, mobility, core conditioning and having a program that has a realistic goal to being able to do 3 times a week without feeling it’s too hard.
For me, it’s about raising the awareness of the importance staying fit during pregnancy, but start BEFORE and think preventative rather than solution.
It’s about showing women that keeping fit and eating healthy will take some of the focus off trying to get pregnant and help with any stress and other factors that may come along in the journey to trying to conceive.
How does your business fit in with your life with Shai?
I have a few businesses running at the same time so it’s definitely a challenge and race against the 24-hour clock.
What I have learnt is that it’s super important to close my laptop and be present with my daughter. One of the driving forces to continue the rollercoaster entrepreneurial lifestyle is to have the freedom to be with Shai and live by my own rules. So I just keep this in mind, and not let myself get carried away with working overtime whilst I should be with her.
For any other mums that are working or work from home I am sure they can relate to trying to work with a toddler and being neither productive with work or present so you are literally just stressing yourself out and not achieving anything.
Do you have any sneaky hints you could offer to any pre-pregnancy (or even pregnant) women reading this interview?
I honestly believe the ‘squat’ is better than the kegel. I never really did my kegel exercises at any stage of the pregnancy but I did a lot of squats – it’s really a beauty of an exercise and so many different ways to do them which I do incorporate a lot in my program. Try squatting with your back against a wall and holding for 10-25 seconds. Squeeze the core and it’s basically like a squat-kegel.
What has been your favourite moment of motherhood, and what has been your most challenging?
My favourite part is having such an amazing energy around me all the time that has enriched my life that I can’t put into words. I really find myself laughing endlessly most days with Shai. Not that it’s always laughs every second, but we don’t go a day without one. She brings me so much fulfillment by just being her and it’s a blessing and something I am grateful for everyday.
Most challenging… cleaning the house? No, I would say it’s maintaining the balance. It’s taken a lot of discipline to balance everything from my work hours, exercising time, cleaning time and family time. I have learnt that when you have a family – you are no longer first, which is somewhat beautiful, but lets face it… it takes some juggling and discipline.
If you had one piece of advice for new mums, what would it be?
Live in a state of pure gratitude and practice it daily. I really enjoyed being a new mum and although yes it’s challenging with all the craziness from breastfeeding, sore nipples, no sleep, and the list goes on… I am so grateful for my healthy girl that it completely shifted the energy, making the entire journey magical beyond measure.