Words of Wisdom from New Mum and GP, Claire Owen

By Ange

Have you met Claire Owen? Claire started with MFD in July 2017  after the birth of her little girl Eleanor, Claire was excited and ready to return back to weight training and feel more like her active old self.

As well as being a new mum, Claire is also a GP, giving her huge cred when it comes to important advice around pre and post natal exercise, training when sick and general health and wellbeing.

MFD took the time to sit down with this super mum to ask some hard hitting questions.

Q1. As a GP, is there particular exercise or nutrition advice your give clients when pregnant?

There are so many benefits to keeping active throughout pregnancy.  In general it is fine to continue your pre-pregnancy exercise regime but reduce the intensity and listen to your body’s cues.  It is recommended not to overheat excessively (e.g. saunas or hot yoga) or participate in more dangerous activities where you could fall (e.g. skiing).  If you have any pregnancy complications or are new to exercise it is best to have a chat to your GP or obstetrician.
Regarding nutrition; some of the more important advice I give women is about avoiding exposure to listeria, limiting the consumption of certain types of fish and which vitamins to take.  It is easy to feel overwhelmed with the guidelines but in general you just should aim to eat fresh and healthy food (and not panic if you accidentally had some smoked salmon!).  Pregnancy can cause lots of food aversions and cravings so often you cannot eat as well as you planned.


Q2. Prior to having Eleanor, you were already quite active. Did your training regime have to change while pregnant? If so, what were the major changes?


I cut down the intensity of my training when I became pregnant.  I kept jogging (pretty slowly) up to around 30 weeks when it started to feel a bit uncomfortable.  I continued weight training up to around 34 weeks but focused more on conditioning and modified exercises as my belly got in the way.  Then I switched to prenatal pilates for the last bit.

Q3. Coming back to training and getting your pre-baby body back is an overwhelming pressure most active girls feel post-partum. What is your advice to women who are in this boat?


Relax! You have just grown a baby human which is an amazing thing.  I don’t think women should be thinking about weight loss before 3 months postpartum.  At some point after that things will get easier and you will be able to focus on yourself a bit more.  Then look at making gradual, sustainable changes.

Q4. I quite often get asked, if I recommend training if you are not feeling well. Does training with a head cold make the illness worse? Is there a general rule you give patients around when to rest and when to push through?

Generally, if your symptoms are above the neck (runny nose/sore throat) it is ok to train, but if they are below the neck (cough/fever/fatigue/gastro) it is best to rest.  I get lots of head colds and often find if my symptoms are not too bad I actually feel better after training.  But make sure you also use lots of alcohol-based handwash to prevent spreading those germs!

Q5. Over the last 5 months, you have lost nearly 8kg, gained lean muscle and look insane. What do you think has been the 3 biggest secrets to your success?

I have followed MFD’s fantastic advice!  I think changes to my diet have made the biggest difference.  I started by tracking my daily food intake and realised I was probably eating too many calories and not enough protein.  I added lots of protein and gradually dropped my daily calorie intake each time my weight loss slowed.  I have found that this ‘flexible dieting’ approach really works for me because I love food and can always factor in a piece of chocolate or glass of wine at the end of the day providing the rest of my food choices are pretty good.
Secondly, training! Fortunately I didn’t have to resort to hours of cardio. I aim for 3 strength sessions per week and Ange is always encouraging us to lift heavy!
Finally – consistency and routine!  I think this is the secret to maintaining any long term lifestyle change.
MFD is excited to be opening up a Mum’s and Bub program in 2018. If you would like more information on this program, ensure you register your details here.

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Our founder

Ange Drake is an personal trainer, women’s empowerment coach and fitness blogger in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. She is the director of one of the few womens’ only strength training gyms in Melbourne, 23W. Ange helps women to learn how to use strength based training, nutritional strategies and a positive mindset to transform their bodies, relationship with food and mind.

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