This Girl Can: Fitness hacks, mum retreats & guilty pleasures with PT Caroline Bragg

by Kathleen Loxton
Caroline Bragg PT and fitness instructor for &breathe postnatal and frame fitness studio exercising outside

My love affair with dance and fitness studio, Frame started way back in 2010 – I remember being greeted my the ever enthusiastic Caroline who gave me my introduction and since then I haven’t looked back. Opting in to take whatever class I could that Caroline was teaching so when I fell pregnant I was beyond thrilled that she was one of the go to PT’s for all things pre and post natal. It was her fun classes that made getting up on a Saturday morning at 40 weeks pregnant something that I refused to miss out on (whilst not so secretly hoping that enough squats would help shift baby into action).

Caroline says she only started off in the fitness industry as a side line to her acting career however luckily for us she found that she enjoyed teaching classes much more than auditions so promptly swapped and has never looked back. Soon after she then took on pre/post natal classes and has even seen her launch an award winning retreat program with a friend and previous client Clio Wood, called &Breathe postnatal. Families sign up for a week long haven where they can enjoy 2x daily fitness sessions with Caroline (plus a session for Dads too!), massages, childcare and great food and wine – what more could you ask for?!

Plus with the launch of Frame’s new Mum-Hood program, Caroline is an even more in demand PT, than she was before and proving to be the reason mum’s make it out of the house to attend one of her classes and feel almost human again! With this in mind I caught up with her to see what 2017 has to offer and to get some top tips for other new mums or mums to be…

Caroline Bragg wearing Mum-hood jumper at Frame Shoreditch

2016 was a busy year for you where you sold out all the retreats with &Breathe postnatal and being part of the launch of Mumhood. How will 2017 top that? 

Yeah 2016 was incredible! Seeing 20+ Mums to be at my 9AM  weekly Saturday morning class was great and selling out all the retreats in our first full year was a big one! So for 2017 we have even more retreats planned! More Events for New Mums and Mums to be! It’s going to be a busy year but I’m ready for it!

What made you specialise in prenatal/post natal fitness?

Pre and Post natal seemed like a natural progression. There was a lot of grey areas and gaps in information out there.I felt that exercise is such a huge part of women’s lives and  then as soon as they got pregnant there wasn’t enough out there for them to continue exercising safely in a fun way! Birth and motherhood is the most stressful thing your body will go through so to stop preparing your body for this, to me, seemed ridiculous. I also really like the journey. I feel like you are helping the Mum to be /new Mum get a piece of herself back. Your life really changes from the minute you find out  you are pregnant so to have something that you can still do to make you feel like you are you is really important. Also I love babies so getting to hang out with them too is a plus!

Caroline Bragg & Clio Wood from &breathe postnatal

&Breathe postnatal founder Clio Wood with fitness instructor Caroline Bragg

How did you get involved in &Breathe postnatal?

Clio used to come to classes before she was pregnant so we would always have a chat after class. Then when she became pregnant, which was exactly the same time as my sister, I would adapt certain exercises in the class for her so she could continue to come. Then after Delphi was born she had the idea of &Breathe and asked me to  teach and it’s worked out really well!

Worth noting &Breathe postnatal have just launched ‘Home Retreats’ so my NCT group and I have booked into one as a treat to ourselves in the run up to Mother’s Day so stay tuned for a recap of that. Find out more here 

What are your Top 5 fitness tips for people starting out?

  1. Start slow- Building up your fitness is really important so you don’t injure yourself and give up completely.
  2. Buddy up- Having someone to hold you accountable is good motivation and also means you can build it into a social aspect of your life which makes it part of a routine.
  3. Wear the right Bra and footwear! Seriously.
  4. Write things down. How long you walked for, how many reps , how you felt. It helps to have a record so you know where you came from.
  5. Do something you enjoy! Hate running? Don’t run! Like dancing? Find a dance based class. You won’t stick to something you dread!

Caroline Bragg fitness instructor

Top fitness myths you hear all the time

Weights will make you bulky like a body builder! They will if you use them a certain way but lifting weights is crucial to a healthy body.  

Favourite Frame class to get your pulse racing and which one to teach?

Rebounding! OMG I love teaching it so much. It’s on Mini trampolines and it really gets the heart pumping but its so much fun you forget its exercise!

Fitness hack – how to include fitness into your everyday routine for those with limited time?

Little and often! 15 mins is better than nothing and you will feel so much better for it. I like to work out in the morning to get it out of the way (yes that’s right- OUT OF THE WAY!) So I might do 20 min HIIT session and if I can fit it more than I will but I don’t beat myself up about it! Making it part of you journey also is a good one. So Cycling, running, pushing the pram to where you have to get to instead of public transport. You have to get to your destination anyway so may as well add a bit of cardiovascular work!

How do you start your mornings? 

I get up at 4:45am for my first client at 6am so I have a banana then and then have a second breakfast at 9:30 when I finished my first lot of clients! Then I have Porridge if it’s cold or eggs. I Need 20 mins to myself as my day is quite full on so I sit with my banana and go through what I am doing that day. I also lay my clothes out and back my bag the night before.

What’s in your sports bag beauty wise?

Nivea make up wipes, Mac Liquid Last eyeliner (Will not budge!) Clinique City Block, YSL False Lash mascara,Mac Blush and Dr Paw Paw balm.

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What would you be doing career wise if you weren’t a PT?

Some days I’d like to be a Midwife or Doula. Some days I’d like to run a tea shop by the sea!

How do you relax outside of the gym?

I love the Theatre, Cinema and reading.Spend time with my friends and family. But I also workout to relax so…

Favourite healthy snack & guilty pleasure

I Love Pip and Nut sachets (Have been known to cycle and eat one at the same time – Don’t. Its messy) But I love Tiramasu, Pizza and Cheese!

Superfood of choice?

Ginger – I have a ginger shot everyday and swear it’s how I got through winter without a cold!

What do you think to the craze in fitness and instagram models?

I think its great that people have become more  interested in keeping healthy and active. However it worries me that people with no qualifications are being able to influence a wide audience. I also think it does nothing for self esteem as even though you know it maybe photoshopped there still is part of you that wonders “why doesn’t my butt look like that” etc. Especially for Post Natal. I think it’s hard enough being a new mum without seeing loads of images of other new mums with perfect hair, body, homes and you are sitting there with sore boobs, haven’t washed your hair for days and a living room looking like a jumble sale- and that’s fine because that is what the majority are doing but it’s just not on their instagram feed. I think social media needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.

What are your fave instagram accounts to follow and why?

I love  @the_early_hour  because the articles are released at 5am. So perfect for me when I’m eating that banana!

@Thefrugality – She is really stylish and mixes up High street with designer very well. If only I could recreate!

@Celestebarber– Funny takes on celebrities

@ThePilatesPT – Hollie is my Instagram crush. She talks a lot of sense about the fitness industry and post great pilates moves.

Whether you’re pregnant, just had a baby or just love fitness then I would 100% recommend trying out one of Caroline’s classes. She’s so much fun, motivating and always happy to modify anything to ensure you get the best out of your workout for you.

If you want to hear more from Caroline then follow her on instagram for some daily LOLs and motivation plus why not book into one of her Frame classes.

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