Fitness and exercise
Jessica Cooke is an ACE-certified personal trainer, who has helped hundreds of women achieve and maintain their ideal weight.
Fitness and exercise

Q. I have three children and I work four days a week. Long working days and a hectic lifestyle have taken their toll on my waistline and fitness levels. I need to get healthy! I have worked out that I can make time for 25 minutes of exercise five days a week – what would you recommend I do in those 25 minutes for maximum impact?

Jessica says
That is fantastic… good on you! The quickest way to success is doing what you have exactly done, planning your sessions and figuring out exactly the time you have for workouts. I recommend interval training to get you in the best shape of your life in a short, 25-minute period of time.

Fitness and exercise

Q. I’m would like to start an exercise programme that will benefit my emotional health as much as my physical health, but I don’t know which type of class would be best. Should I consider choosing from yoga, pilates, tai chi, or could you recommend a class, please?

Jessica says
It’s great that you have decided to get into exercise. The benefits to you are going to be great. You’ll sleep better, have more energy, better skin, reduced stressed, not to mention all the amazing physical benefits of your clothes fitting better, and looking healthy, trim and toned! My advice to you would be to try them all.

Fitness and exercise

Q. Before I became pregnant, I was a keen jogger – heading out three to four times a week for 4k to 5k runs. I am still in the first trimester but I’ve switched to fast walking as I’m nervous that running could do some damage and also I have heard that it can weaken the pelvic floor muscles. Am I worrying unnecessarily or should I still stick to the walking?

Jessica says
You are worrying unnecessarily. Jogging during pregnancy, especially since you jogged pre-pregnancy is a fantastic thing to do and I would highly recommend it. So keep it up and remember to pace yourself. If you feel dizzy, nauseous or just unwell, slow down or stop.

Fitness and exercise

Q. I am quite a lazy person when it comes to exercising but I’m trying to exercise more often and eat more healthily as my partner and I are trying for a baby. I am starting out with three 20 minute walks a week but I have heard about exercises that you can do at your desk at work. What are these exercises and will it be obvious to my colleagues that I am working out at my desk?

Jessica says
That’s great to hear that’ve you started on an exercise regime. Yes, there’s lots of exercise you can do at your desk to help keep you active throughout the day. People who rarely disengage from the keyboard often develop carpal tunnel syndrome. But this affliction shouldn’t catch up to you if you repeat this simple move every day.

Fitness and exercise

Q. Since I had my second child one year ago, I have been walking three times a week and watching what I eat to try and tone up. But it’s very frustrating as I am not seeing the best of results. I have probably lost about six pounds but I could do with losing a stone. How can I speed up my weight loss?

Jessica says
The good news is that it’s going to be pretty simple to speed up weight loss. If you’ve only been walking, your metabolism is crying out for a boost! A change in exercise is going to give you the boost your body needs to start burning serious calories again! Running, swimming, a group exercise class, like bootcamp or spinning, is going to give you the push that will help you lose weight at a quicker pace.

Fitness and exercise

Q. I tried to take up running recently, only to discover that my post baby body won’t allow me to! Obviously staying hydrated is very important when running but if I drink water I end up in trouble with stress incontinence. I’ve suffered from occasional incontinence since having my first baby, but running is really exacerbating the problem. Is there anything I can do to fix this?

Jessica says
Yes, there’s lot of things you can do to fix this. Have you been working on your pelvic floor exercises? I recommend you practice theses as often as you can, every day. They are so easy to do and can be done anywhere! To find the correct muscles, try to stop the flow of urine when you’re in the toilet.

Fitness and exercise

Q. Why are we advised to wait for at least six weeks (or 8-10 weeks for a C-section) after having a baby before exercising? I kept active during my pregnancy and I’m now four weeks postnatal. I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight and feel ready to hit the gym again! But every bit of info says I must wait six weeks. Can you tell me why?

Jessica says
I know the feeling but it’s crucial that you wait! You still need all that time to make sure you heal properly. A doctor told me they had to treat a woman for a hernia, who had had a C-section and had gone back to fitness to early. You definitely don’t want that to happen to you; she had to take an extra three months off. Your stomach muscles will have been given a chance to properly heal by twelve weeks.

Fitness and exercise

Q. I’m currently trying to get pregnant for the first time and am interested in understanding what kind of exercise I can do in the first trimester, before I tell anyone I’m pregnant. I currently have a personal trainer once a week doing weights and cardio, but I don’t want to tell him I’m pregnant (when/if it happens) until I’m 12 weeks. I’m pretty fit, having been training for a year but because of this he pushes me (as personal trainers should!) to try heavier weights and repeat till I can do no more. What would you recommend? Should I stop personal training sessions when I know I’m pregnant ?

Jessica says
You can keep doing exactly what you’re doing until you’re pregnant. It sounds brilliant, and it’s great to have something to focus on in those difficult pre-pregnancy times when all you want to do is be pregnant. Training with your trainer will have you in the best possible shape going into pregnancy. You’ll gain less weight, and be fit and healthy for your pregnancy and labour.

ABOUT JESSICA
Jessica is an ACE-certified personal trainer, who has helped hundreds of women achieve and maintain their ideal weight.