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  • When should I Return to Exercise Postnatally?

    Throughout my pregnancy I’ve been seeing Madison Cutmore, a physiotherapist in Women’s Health. She’s given me so much advice during my pregnancy, but as I get closer to the end I’m starting to ask the question – when should I return to exercise when the baby’s here? Madison gave me some great advice on why it’s super important to see a Women’s Health Physio (WHP) who will ultimately help you back on your journey post-pregnancy.
    I asked her to explain the benefits and what exactly a WHP can do to help. Here’s what she had to say.
    “Women often feel pressure to ‘get back into it’ postnatally and push themselves too hard too quick. Whilst exercise is oh so important for new mums, both physically and mentally, doing too much too soon can have long term impacts on your body and your pelvic floor (up to 50% of women have some degree of pelvic organ prolapse ​APA​).
    In October 2019 the Australian Physiotherapy Association released a statement calling for ‘Women’s Health Physiotherapists to be included in the care teams for all pregnant women in Australia to reduce the risk of complications and to improve outcomes for women and their babies’​. Thus, we urge all women to consult a women’s health physio (WHP) in conjunction with their six-week GP check.
    A WHP will:

    • Assess abdominal separation. Diastisis Rectus Abdominis (DRAM) occurs during pregnancy when a woman’s Rectus Abdominis (big abdominal muscles) separate slightly to allow room for a growing baby. This separation is a completely normal part of pregnancy and childbirth but ongoing separation and associated weakness postpartum can make it difficult to create tension through the rectus abdominis. Your WHP will assess this separation and your functional capacity and then create a tailored exercise program for you.
    • Conduct a thorough pelvic floor exam to check the integrity of pelvic walls and organs, as well as the strength and endurance of pelvic floor muscles. From here they can generate a personalised pelvic floor training program to guide rehabilitation of the pelvic floor and monitor symptoms of incontinence and prolapse as you return to exercise. And yes, it actually works! Pelvic floor muscle training has been shown across many studies to cure stress urinary incontinence (SUI) in 50% of women and improve symptoms of leaking in 75% of women.

    So, when can you actually return to exercise? This is very specific to you, your body and your pregnancy journey. As a general rule, gentle exercise including walking and targeted pelvic floor/core work is prescribed in the first 6 weeks post-delivery. From there a WHP will tailor a specific program that will have you back to more impact and high intensity exercise by 12 weeks postnatal and beyond.”
    Madison has been a great guide for me during my pregnancy and I hope this blog helps you understand when you should return to exercise postnatally.
    If you’re reading this blog, you’ll be the first to know that I’m launching something new, FHIT-natal, a place for all mummas-to-be and new mums to stay active and live a healthy lifestyle. Just like this blog, FHIT-natal will have a range of pregnancy advice, workout videos and you’ll also get an insight into my pregnancy journey. Use the button below to sign up to our exclusive early access list!

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    FHIT Christmas

    Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it’s already mid-December and Christmas is right around the corner! It’s funny how this year has been turned upside down for everyone and while we were in the midst of it, it felt like time went so slowly yet here we are already close to putting 2020 behind us.
    At this time of year, I always get a lot of emails and messages asking for advice on how to stay on track over the holidays. I have a couple of tips and tricks to help you, but just remember, it’s all about balance.
    Stay Active
    The great thing about FHIT is that the workouts are quick, easy and you can do them from the comfort of your own home. When you wake up (and after you’ve opened your pressies from Santa), get your workout gear on and smash out a 15-minute FHIT workout. Not only is it an active way to start your day, but it will also boost your endorphins for a wonderful day.
    Eat a Healthy Breakfast
    If you’re nervous about overeating or you’re worried about the types of food that will be served on Christmas Day, start your day by eating a healthy breakfast. By doing this, you are eating a substantial meal and you’ll be less likely to snack on sweets and you’re also less likely to overeat at lunch.
    Plate Portions
    A while ago I wrote a
    blog on plate portions and that is still relevant today. Divide your plate so that half is veggies and salads, and the other half is halved by carbs and protein. Another tip is to wait 15 minutes after your first plate before going in for seconds.
    Be Nice to Yourself
    The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to be nice to yourself and don’t beat yourself up if you do have that second plate of food or if you don’t manage that 15-minute workout. The holidays are a time for you to unwind and enjoy whatever it is you might be doing, and if it’s nothing, you should enjoy doing nothing!
    Hopefully these tips can help you balance your healthy lifestyle with the pressures of Christmas. If you’re still not a FHIT member, sign up today with my little Christmas gift just for you – 20% off the three-month membership, just use the code FHIT-Christmas-Gift-20.

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    What You Can Achieve in 90 Days

    How long does it take to see physical results when following a workout program? A lot of you want to know the answer and so, hopefully, this blog will help! According to experts, 12-weeks is the golden number, in that generally, it takes 4 weeks for you to notice a change, 8 weeks for your close friends and family and 12 weeks for others to notice too.
    By committing 12 weeks – that’s just 90 days – to FHIT by Lauren Hannaford, you’re not only going to see physical results from training consistently and eating healthier, but you’re also going to feel fitter and stronger mentally too.
    What can you achieve in 90 days?

    • Increased Fitness Level
    • Healthier Lifestyle
    • Stronger Mentally & Physically

    Increased Fitness Level
    As part of FHIT, I offer four 6-week transformative programs that are dependent on your fitness level, so no matter where you’re starting from you can grow from a beginner to fitspo in those 90 days. By starting on Foundations, you’ll learn the basics with me before moving on to the low-intensity Phase 1 program. Or if you’re ready to take your fitness to the next level I also offer a 12-week program with 45-minute high-intensity workouts.
    Find out which FHIT program is right for you.
    Healthier Lifestyle
    Your FHIT membership also gives you access to a meal guide, depending on your individual goals. What you eat can help fuel your mind and body for positive changes and, because all of the meal guides are family-friendly, everyone can join in on a healthier lifestyle.
    Stronger Mentally & Physically
    Over the course of 90 days, we’ll help you track your progress with regular FHIT Fitness Check-Ins, based on your strength and ability, not just numbers on the scales. Your results are shown in your member dashboard so you can easily track how you’re improving. You can also use this to monitor your wellbeing by answering a list of questions about your mental health through your FHIT journey.
    Not to mention, you’ll receive a range of mindfulness exercises and nutritional advice as part of your membership as well as getting exclusive access to the FHIT community group on Facebook where other members will help cheer you on and support you on your journey.
    The best part? You can transform your lifestyle with FHIT by Lauren Hannaford from the comfort of your own home and I’ll be there every step of the way to help you be the best version of yourself.
    If you want to feel fitter, stronger and healthier in 90 days, FHIT by Lauren Hannaford is for you! Get a 20% off your first 3-months using the code 90DAYSTOFHIT. Available only on the 3-monthly membership.

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    Tips for Thoracic Pain in Pregnancy

    This blog is for all the pregnant mummas out there suffering from back soreness. I spoke to Madison Cutmore, Physiotherapist in Women’s Health, to get her top tips on thoracic pain in pregnancy and beyond.
    She explained that, as our bodies undergo a lot of hormonal changes throughout pregnancy, these changes, compounded by many positional and activity changes, can leave your back stiff and sore as you accommodate your growing baby. This kind of back pain can often resolve postnatally however, a lot of the time women can experience ongoing, breastfeeding fuelled stiffness.
    So, what can you do if you’re experiencing thoracic pain?
    Keep Moving
    Backs don’t like being still. Thoracic pain is often caused by stiffness so the best thing you can do is keep moving. Avoid prolonged positioning and break up your day with regular short walks and full-body movements when possible.
    Exercise
    This goes above general movement throughout the day and should involve a combination of cardiovascular and resistance training. Exercise during pregnancy has been proven to be good for your baby and good for both your mental and physical health. This is where FHIT comes in with workout videos for all levels of fitness, including Foundations which is extremely popular with expectant and postpartum mums.
    Foam Roll
    The roller is a great way to increase thoracic extension and rotation as well as relieve muscle tightness and spasm throughout your back and shoulders. Some of her favourite exercises include Thread the Needle and gentle extension over the roller.
    Breastfeeding Positioning
    This is really important. Make sure you set yourself up well from the outset – designate a breastfeeding chair that is upright with good back support. A pillow under bub and a rolled-up towel behind your lower back can keep you from hunching forward and relieve the load on your upper back.
    These tips have really helped me during my pregnancy so far and I hope they can help you too. If you have any other questions, send me DM on
    Instagram or Facebook or you can find Madison here.
    If you’re reading this blog, you’ll be the first to know that I’m launching something new, FHIT-natal, a place for all mummas-to-be and new mums to stay active and live a healthy lifestyle. Just like this blog, FHIT-natal will have a range of pregnancy advice, workout videos and you’ll also get an insight into my pregnancy journey. Use the button below to sign up to our exclusive early access list!

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    Importance of Rest Days

    Let’s talk rest days.
    There are a lot of misconceptions out there that if you take a rest day you’re considered lazy or you might not see results. I’m here to tell you just how important rest days are to your fitness journey and what a rest day might look like for you.
    Ultimately, a rest day helps your body recover from all the hard work you’ve been doing. Muscle recovery, regenerating your nervous system and reduced risk of injury are just some of the well-known benefits to taking a rest day. If you don’t take the time to recover you run the risk of plateauing and burning out.
    Now I know there are some of you out there that like to exercise every day and that is completely fine. My suggestion for you is to make sure you spread out your exercises depending on the intensity. For example, on Monday and Thursday you might do an intense 45-minute workout, Tuesday and Friday will be slower mobility workouts and you leave Wednesday and Sunday for active rest days.
    An active rest day is where you still get your body moving, but you don’t put any strain on it the way you would on a normal exercise day. This might mean you walk to brunch with a friend, take your kiddies to the park or simply stretch out your muscles with a foam roller.
    If you’re new to fitness and just getting started, don’t feel guilty for taking your rest days as rest days. It’s totally okay for you to spend a day in bed binging your favourite tv show. It’s just important to remember that the next day, you get up and get your workout done.
    If you sign up to FHIT, each program has two rest days scheduled in a week. Members get to check in to let me know they have taken the day to recover. You should never feel pressured to constantly be active, sometimes you really just need the rest both physically and mentally.
    I’d love for you to share your rest days with me on
    Instagram and Facebook. Whether you comment on my latest post, or you tag me in your stories I’d love to know how you spend your day recovering.

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    Benefits of a Workout Partner

    I’ve been part of the fitness industry for over 20 years now, training as an elite gymnast and coaching children in gymnastics as well as helping their parents on their fitness journey. One thing I’ve noticed is that people always benefit from having someone workout with them.
    I know that finding the motivation to work out on your own can be extremely hard, which is why having someone by your side reaps many benefits! I’m always there to work out with you in every single FHIT video but I know that having that extra bit of encouragement from a friend or workout partner can be a big help.
    I want to share with you a couple of reasons why a workout partner is beneficial to you and what qualities you might want to look out for.
    Accountability
    First and foremost, having a workout partner will keep you accountable. You’ll both be responsible for turning on a FHIT workout each day and keeping each other on track. A workout partner will also keep you motivated and encourage you through the toughest exercises.  
    Sharing Goals
    When you have a friend who is on the same fitness journey as you, you can feel more comfortable in trying to reach your goals. For example, if you go out for dinner it can be very easy to give in to temptation when your friends are encouraging you to break your diet. Whereas, a workout partner understands your fitness journey and shares your goals so you’ll likely both feel more comfortable and find it easier to stay on track.
    It’s Fun
    The most important benefit of having a workout partner is having fun. Not only are you sharing your fitness journey together, it’s a great way for you to socialise away from the family.
    Now that you know the benefits, it’s time to figure out who your workout partner will be. Here are some tips to get you thinking.
    Current Supporter
    Find someone who motivates you and supports you in other aspects of life, whether it’s your hubby or your childhood friend who has been through everything with you. Having this type of support already will help you feel comfortable when you work out together.
    Similar Lifestyles
    One of my biggest tips is to find someone who you share a common lifestyle with. For example, if you’re a busy mumma, find another mum who knows what it’s like to not have a lot of time to yourself. The great thing about FHIT is that you can log in anytime, anywhere so you don’t even need to do the workout at the same time to keep each other on track.
    Good Attitude
    The most important quality in a workout partner is someone who has a good attitude towards exercising. While I’ll be there onscreen to encourage you, it’s important that both of you bring your own positivity so everyone has fun.
    FHIT is accessible from anywhere, as long as you have a desktop or mobile phone to access the dashboard. So, if you know someone who fits the criteria but lives in a different state, FHIT is a great and easy way for you to come together as workout partners.
    Sign up to FHIT, keep each other accountable and share your journey together.

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    5 Tips to Manage Stress and Anxiety During COVID-19

    “These are unprecedented times.” We’ve been hearing that phrase a lot recently, haven’t we? Many of us, perhaps even all of us, are naturally experiencing elevated levels of worry, stress and anxiety right now, and so it’s more important than ever for us to press pause and reflect on our stress responses. This helps identify how we can manage that stress so that we can look after ourselves and those around us, and weather the storm until things return to some sort of normality.
    I asked our resident psychologist, Brian Langsworth, to give his top tips on how to manage stress and anxiety during COVID-19. He says it’s important to focus on what’s in your control. At the moment that might not feel like a lot, particularly if you’re struggling to control your thoughts and feelings, but we CAN control how we respond. Here are Brian’s top five tips on how to manage stress and anxiety.

    1. Recognise Negative Thoughts and Emotions.
    2. Focus on Key Actions.
    3. Ensure You Focus on Your Physical and Mental Wellbeing.
    4. Breathe.
    5. Practice Gratitude.

    Recognise Negative Thoughts and Emotions
    Start to recognise any negative thoughts and emotions that you may have. Don’t fight with them or try to get rid of them. It’s important to acknowledge these thoughts and feelings. It’s our brain doing what it was designed to do. As Russ Harris, author of the Happiness Trap says, take the stance of a curious scientist, just observing what’s going on in your inner world.
    Focus on Key Actions
    Focus on key actions and things that are important. The only things we can control are what we do and what we say. So do the things that are important to you. Brian notes one thing a colleague once said to him, the best thing we can do in a crisis, is just “do the next thing”.
    Ensure you Focus on your Physical and Mental Wellbeing
    Your physical and mental wellbeing should be your number one priority. FHIT by Lauren Hannaford captures both sides of wellbeing and helps you focus on your physical and mental health through 15-minute workout videos that you can do from the comfort of your own home as well as fitness check-ins that allow you to see the progress you make.
    Breathe
    Don’t forget to breathe! Brian has shown us a simple exercise to make sure we are being mindful of our breathing
    here. Have a read and remember to take the time to be calm and focus on yourself for a moment.
    Practice Gratitude
    Capture two or three things every day that you are grateful for. It’s important to remember the positives and recognise how they make you feel, whether that’s your first cup of coffee in the morning, a message from a friend or how you feel after a workout.
    And a bonus tip, always be kind to yourself.
    Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook or Instagram and share your journey with me.

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    Phase 1.2 Workout Image
    Health, Heart & Happiness

    At FHIT, we focus on Heart, Health and Happiness to help you become stronger and fitter than you ever imagined, inside and out. I want to break down each pillar so you get a better understanding of why FHIT was created and how it can help you build your health, fitness and confidence quickly and safely.
    Heart

    Heart is all about the workouts, and as the title suggests, it’s the heart of FHIT. Each workout has clear instructions led by me and I guide you through, every step of the way. I help you focus on technique and how you can get the most out of every minute.
    You’ll start on the Foundations program and we’ll increase the intensity as you work through each program and build fitness.
    Health
    Alongside the workouts, you have access to weekly meal plans. Start by using the calorie calculator to find which meal plan works for you. Each FHIT recipe is quick, easy to cook, healthy and nutritionist-approved. There’s a variety of snack ideas and plenty of nutritional advice to help fuel your body. The best part is that every recipe is suitable for your whole family, meaning everyone can live a healthier lifestyle. 
    Happiness
    Last, but definitely not least is Happiness. This year has been a tough one for us all and your mental health may be affected. A strong mind helps build a strong body and so making time for your mental health is very important. Don’t worry, we won’t make you sit crossed legged in a dark room meditating for hours at a time. Instead, there are quick, efficient and effective mindfulness exercises and advice from our resident psychologist Brian Langsworth.
    These three elements are key to making your experience at FHIT worth it. Let me help you with your fitness journey.
    If you are already a member of FHIT, make sure you tag me in your workouts, progress and recipe pics on
    Instagram and Facebook.

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    Your FHIT Questions Answered

    Earlier this week I put a Q&A box up on my Instagram, giving you the chance to ask all your burning questions about FHIT. I answered them on my Instagram at the time, and they’re saved to my highlights, but I thought I’d collate them into a blog to make it as easy as possible for you to find out everything you want to know!

    • How would a beginner go with this program?
    • What made you want to start FHIT?
    • Will there be more workouts added?
    • Is it safe for postpartum mums? How can I motivate my husband to train with me?
    • Do you offer any workouts for women who recently had a caesarean section?
    • Do you use this program? And how long do you work out every day?
    • Do you need equipment for any of the FHIT programs?
    • What does the membership include? Is it just workout videos?
    • Is the subscription monthly, or do I have to commit to a whole year?
    • How can I access the workouts?

    How would a beginner go with this program?
    FHIT is made up of five different programs, all accessible under the one subscription. If you are a beginner, Foundations is the perfect program for you to start on. From there you can build your way up to other phases. If you’re not sure where to start or which program is right for you, read here.
    What made you want to start FHIT?
    Growing up as an elite gymnast, I learnt first-hand how important it is to stay fit, active and healthy from a young age and how that was achievable using only your body weight. I wanted to create programs that were doable from the comfort of your own home, with no equipment necessary. I started off training people in my close network but knew I wanted to reach as many people as possible from all over the world and so I created FHIT.
    Will there be more workouts added?
    At the moment you have the option to pick from five programs, with over 30 workout videos, but there will be more coming. Stay tuned!
     Is it safe for postpartum mums? How can I motivate my husband to train with me?
    When I started FHIT, I wanted to design a program that was accessible to everyone, including new mums, which is why I created the Foundations program. I have a lot of postpartum mums who are working their way through the Foundations program at the minute (all with clearance from their doctor!).
    The FHIT workouts are quick and fun to follow along. If you do the workouts in front of your husband (like I do), they’ll see how much fun you’re having and hopefully want to join you.
    Do you offer any workouts for women who recently had a caesarean section?
    I currently have members who are doing the Foundations program following their caesarean section and are also stepping it up to the Phase 1 program. However, please get clearance from your doctor before starting.
    Do you use this program? And how long do you work out every day?
    Yes! My favourite workouts are generally the Phase 3 30-minute & 45-minute workouts but lately, I’ve found myself short for time and energy, so I’ve been doing Phase 1.2 which is the perfect balance of 15-minute HIIT workouts.
    Do you need equipment for any of the FHIT programs?
    You don’t need any equipment for any of the workouts or FHIT programs. All you need is yourself and enough space to go into a push-up position.
    What does the membership include? Is it just workout videos?
    Your FHIT membership gives you access to all of the programs on offer and, with the help of the calorie calculator, there are heaps of recipes and meal guides suited for your fitness goals.
    There’s also a dedicated Facebook group so you can interact with other members and help each other stay motivated.
    Then there’s the fitness and wellbeing check-in. With this check-in, you are able to track your strength and fitness improvements, as well as your sleep, time and stress management.
    Is the subscription monthly, or do I have to commit to a whole year?
    You can either choose a monthly, or 3-monthly subscription depending on what billing cycle you want. However, there are no lock-in contracts. I know how intimating it can be locking yourself into a year-long subscription when you don’t even know if it’s right for you.
    How can I access the workouts?
    Once you sign up, you’ll receive welcome emails that will take you through the set-up process step-by-step, including how to complete your profile. You will then be given exclusive access to a dashboard with access to workouts, meal plans and recipes.
    If you have any other questions about FHIT that I didn’t get to answer, please reach out via Instagram DM or Facebook DM and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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