As physiotherapist, ex-athlete, fitness professional and mum of 3 I’m very practiced at goal setting when it comes to my multiple journeys back to fitness and that of my clients. You’re probably familiar with the concept of SMART goals, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed. This structure can be applied to the return to fitness and the post natal journey.


Your goal should be something you want to achieve… something you feel strongly about, YOUR goal. Not something you think you or someone else thinks you SHOULD achieve. If you dig deep you know what you want to do and who you want to be. This could be anything from wearing a pair of shorts and a vest confidently in the summer to competing at your previous level at your chosen sport. It’s all possible depending on what you put in.


As a physiotherapist we love measuring stuff! We enjoy seeing improvements and proving it with calculated measures. So make a training diary and embrace filling it in!, use a tape measure to see your shape return, or time your runs using a fitness accessory.  


This is a biggie! I encourage people to set their goals low, not because I’m a glass half empty kinda gal. This is why… so many people promise me they will get up at 5am (before the kids wake) every morning to do a workout despite not being a morning person. It’s unlikely you’ll achieve this and therefore give up and feel bad. Instead plan to do 30 minutes every day while the kids are sleeping, watching TV or eating dinner, that’s much more effective than 90 mins once per week because you failed to get out of bed on the other mornings.


As above, think more along the lines of the end goal. If you’ve never worn a bikini on the beach or played netball this may not be the best goal for you (although never say never).  Being realistic means you know with a little hard work you’ll get there because you’ve been there before. You can always set a new goal once the first is achieved.  With one week to go before your beach holiday you may not get that toned bod you’re looking for or beat your 10k PB 3 months after your first child is born. These to me are 1 year post-natal goals.


That brings me onto timing. Set your time scales realistically, as stated above you must think carefully about how long things take to change, when you had your baby and whether you are you still breastfeeding. It is also important to acknowledge what the challenges are and how they will that will slow you down. How much help do you have? Do you have other children? Is there a crèche at the gym? Are your kids happy with carers? What are the potential setbacks? Illness, sleepless nights, partners traveling and holidays. Include them in your timescales, give yourself a break and don’t try and workout on Christmas day/ when you’re full of cold!

Basically, go easy on yourself! Don’t set yourself up for failure, celebrate the small wins and don’t underestimate the challenges of being a mum. My main piece of advice is do something every day and don’t overlook the impact of even a 10 minute workout!