After having my second baby, I wanted to feel good about myself again. I immediately felt it was much more difficult to lose the weight compared to my first pregnancy, possibly because I had a C-section this time. I wanted to tone up again and get my confidence back.

The fitness challenge sounded like a great way to get in shape sensibly after giving birth, and I really liked the programme of circuit classes, boxing classes and personal training on offer with Urban Energy Fitness – and best of all, I could take my baby along! There was always a helping hand available if I needed one so I and the other mums could work out without worrying about our little ones.

I loved working with Amy Saunders, the instructor and my personal training coach. She knows so much about postnatal fitness, about what you can do at what point after delivery. She won’t take risks with your body but as soon as you’re up for it, she will make you sweat!

Fiona, the nutrition consultant, was also a big help and support and motivated me to make the right food choices.

The toughest part of the challenge was probably going to a session after a rough night with my baby – but it felt so rewarding afterwards if I pushed myself.

It was great to get back into shape so quickly after having my daughter; and it was also nice to have a little bit of ‘me’ time in a day! I’m so happy with the results – I’ve had compliments on how I’m looking, which is a nice boost, and I already fit all my pre-pregnancy clothes again!

The fitness programme

Co-founder and lead trainer of Urban Energy Fitness, Amy Saunders, says:

When we first met Neel she had a bit of abdominal separation, as many new mums do. She was also very tight in her chest, shoulders and back, which was affecting her posture. Neel hadn’t done much exercise for a while and, although she was slim, didn’t have a lot of muscle tone.

I started sessions off slowly, as I would do with any new mum, and did some release work on her tight muscles, as well as postnatal core work to help close the gap in her stomach muscles. She began with our pre/postnatal classes, which are a gentle approach to regaining your figure after having a baby.

After four weeks Neel was much stronger and her abs had closed nicely, so I put her in our Fit Mums classes, which are a bit tougher and more challenging – she loved it!

Neel has come such a long way in just eight weeks. Her body shape has changed dramatically – she looks fantastic! It’s been a pleasure to have been part of this journey with her.

The nutrition

Urban Energy nutrition coach, Fiona Donald, says:

With a new baby, plus a toddler in tow, the right nutrition wasn’t the priority it should have been when Neel first started. The main issue was that she wasn’t actually eating enough, especially protein and vegetables. She was still breastfeeding and with the extra demands of exercise it was important that she started fuelling her body correctly.

I suggested that Neel aim to eat three to four meals spread out evenly through the day. At each one she needed to eat protein, (equal to the palm of her hand), vegetables (equal to the size of her clenched fist), healthy fats (a thumb-sized portion), and, especially after exercise, some healthy carbohydrates (to fit in her cupped hand).

Neel came to our office every two weeks for body composition testing. We took girth measurements and body fat analysis. Over the course of the 60-day challenge her body composition measurements improved steadily.

It is really tough to make yourself a priority after the birth of a baby, and with a toddler to focus on too, it can be even harder to find ‘me’ time. I hope Neel continues to prioritise her own wellbeing – it really benefits the whole family!

What Urban Energy Fitness offers new mums

Pre/postnatal fitness classes

Suitable from early pregnancy until three to four months post birth, this is a circuit-based class using your own body weight and light weights, incorporating low-impact cardio and core stability exercises. The intensity varies depending on what stage you are at in your pre/postnatal period. Participants are welcome to bring non-mobile babies to class. Dh85 pay as you go, or Dh750 for a 10-class pack.

Fit mums classes

Ideal for mums with children from four months to four years, these classes are more intense and feature boxing, circuits and (coming soon) Pilates. All classes are child-friendly, so take baby along. Dh60 pay as you go/Dh500 one month unlimited classes.

Pre/postnatal personal training sessions

One-on-one training with a qualified pre or postnatal instructor at a location of your choice. Dh350 per session, Dh3,300 for 10. It’s also possible to book one-on-two or one-on-three sessions.