We all know the importance of eating healthy foods, practicing other good health habits and of course moving our bodies – especially as parents with so many demands on our energy. But many of us don’t actually do these things. Getting healthy and active can seem too difficult or overwhelming to begin, which is why sometimes it really is a good idea to enlist the help of a professional, like MJ The Babywearing Health Coach. “All the little things we do everyday as a mum, we can do a little easier when we are physically and mentally conditioned, that is my belief,” says MJ. We spoke to MJ to find out more about her health and fitness coaching business.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
I am been in the health and fitness industry for over eight years. Returning back to The University of Western Australia to pursue a PhD in Exercise Physiology and Pregnancy opened my eyes to the barriers to exercise that mothers face. It was at the same time that I became a mother myself and the problem of reduced physical activity and exercise became very personal.
Through my research and my professional development, I begin to see the importance of a mum’s physical and mental health status on her children and her family. Parents are the first role models for so many aspects of life. And health is the most valuable asset we all have. My hypothesis is that active healthy mums results in active healthy kids. Perhaps through my model and business, we could tackle the problem of increasing rates of obesity in the world. My goal is to get one mum active and healthy at a time and may that instill healthy habits into their children, and slowly we can create healthier, active communities!
The Launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
The day I submitted my final correction for my PhD thesis, I was 39 weeks pregnant with my second child. The next day, I went into labour. So I didn’t think I was to most employable person at that moment. But, empowered by the knowledge that I have acquired after five years of research, I felt like I need to do something with it.
Like anyone’s business journey there are ups and downs and a period of figuring out what I have to offer and who I am. So made a lot of mistakes in the first two years, but eventually realised that I should get back doing what I do best: motivating others to become active in a way that works for them.
I signed up with a business coach and learned how to run a business (just because you have a PhD doesn’t mean you know everything!). I founded The Active Mama Tribe and launched my first mums/bubs and kids fitness class timetable in Winter 2018, and our members have quadrupled over the last three months. The feeling is so amazing to know that my business is impacting so many more mums and families. I currently run monthly walking challenges to encourage mums to make the first move toward fitness, which is to accumulate 10,000 steps daily through the Active Mama Tribe Facebook group.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
One of the first big breakthroughs was rebranding myself as The Babywearing Health Coach. The name truly encompasses who I am and what I am about in terms of my parenting beliefs and my beliefs in educating others about health and fitness. There is a difference between a trainer and a coach. A trainer works on a specific formula and a set way to do something. While being active and healthy does involve a certain degree of set steps, as a coach I help different individuals create a plan that works for them, because in health and fitness, there is no one way.
With my first breakthrough it lead me to create a supportive, caring and accepting group of mums focused on improving their health and fitness and overall wellbeing, known as The Active Mama Tribe. The relationships that my members are forming among themselves is truly heartwarming.
We have created our own village in a society where “the village” needed to raising children is disappearing slowly. To know that I am a catalyst for that is rewarding.
My personal parenting journey has not been one with a village, which has led to a period of postnatal depression when my first was 18 months old. So I know the importance of the social aspect of creating a fitness group for mums. Furthermore, adherence to exercise is greatly dependent on enjoyment levels and if there is not enough enjoyment, the regular exercising would stop and the benefits of exercise would be greatly reduced.