Fitness has always been a part of Jemma Thomas’ life, but after becoming a mum she found it hard to find the time for it.
Balancing a full-time job and caring for two children, Thomas soon realised she was going to have to squeeze in exercise wherever she could.
And if that meant 10 squats while she was feeding her youngest in his highchair, then so be it.
“I would get up feeling groggy and have no energy, so I’d give myself a push and do some star jumps to liven me up,” she told The Huffington Post UK.
“I’d put sticky notes on the fridge to do pelvic floor exercises, then thought: ‘You know what, maybe other mums might like little reminders too?’”
After three months, ‘Mumma’s Health Hub’ was born.
Thomas is mum to 10-month-old Buddy and five-year-old Jude.
She previously worked in marketing but re-trained as a personal trainer during evenings and weekends when her son Jude was born.
Now, Thomas juggles working in marketing, with personal training and her new business, Mumma’s Health Hub, encouraging other mums to stay fit with a pack of cards that serve as daily reminders to keep moving.
“After having Jude, I had to really schedule fitness in and make myself do something for ‘me’,” she explained.
“After having Buddy, it’s another story – luckily I could work out a bit when I trained clients, but when I didn’t have any booked in at the start of this year I really had to remind my self to just ‘move’, even if it was a tiny bit.”
The more time Thomas made for exercise, the better she felt mentally.
“It just fell by the wayside as other things started to take priority, but the more I exercised, the better I felt,” she said.
“I quickly noticed that doing just five minutes of exercise now and again throughout the day had a positive knock-on effect on everything else.”
It was when Thomas started putting notes on the fridge, she realised other mums might benefit from these reminders, too.
“I started to write down little exercise moves and sequences that took a very little time,” she explained.
“They were a few minutes max and I’d practise them to make sure they were hard enough to get the heart rate up, but not crazy hard so as to floor anyone.”
Thomas had one aim with these cards for mums: “To help mums fit in some exercise into the crazy, unpredictable daily life with kids.”
Thomas said she wanted a good selection of different exercises on the cards, so took a month to try out the moves and get it right.
After she’d finalised the moves, she designed the cards and started printing prototypes.
“I just thought I’d go for it and print a batch up,” she explained.
“I bought the domain name and popped them up on the shop… Sounds easier than it was but I’m pleased with the end result.”
In September 2015, she launched the Mumma’s Health Hub – also known as a “pack of hacks”.
“Being a mum myself, I just know there are a mountain of things we feel we ‘have’ to do, keeping fit being one of them, so I thought these might help ease the load,” Thomas said.
“Also it just makes me feel better when I’ve done some pulse raising exercises, those endorphins get going and can power you through until wine time – because it’s also about balance.”
For £12.95, parents receive the pack of cards, which suggest strength, cardio and core activities, including the number of reps and sets.
“I suggest things like a set of burpees when the kids are down for bed, or press-ups on the kitchen side when cooking,” Thomas added.
“The process was fun but I was nervous to put them out there, as with anything you work on, you get scared of the reaction.
“But mums have really seemed to liked them and given me some brilliant feedback.”
Find out more at mummashealthhub.com.