Emma Thomson from Mums Empowered

Emma Thomson created Mums Empowered, a health studio in Newcastle and online hub empowering new mums to take some much-deserved “me time”, to feel better from the inside out. She launched her new e-book 'The Baby As Your Weight Workout' in coordination with Postnatal Depression Awareness Week in November 2014.

Emma Thomson is without a doubt one of the nicest people I have ever met. On the day we were scheduled to have a chat, she had a million other things going on, and was scheduled to launch her new e-book at Lorna Jane the very next day. I had no idea of this yet, and she still wanted to squeeze me in for a catch-up. That’s Em. Always thinking of others, always on the go.

Emma and her husband, Jason, run a fitness studio in Merewether called Impact Health. When you walk into Impact, the first thing you see is a huge blue and green wall print saying “Wake up and be awesome.” It makes you stop and go… “Ok, I will.” Every damn time. That’s the philosophy Emma and Jason share; that we should make the most of each day, count our blessings and that health and happiness come from within. Theirs is a fitness studio with a difference. It’s not about getting fit to look good, it’s about getting fit and being healthy to feel good. 

Mums Empowered shares the same philosophy. Emma’s new project is a studio and online hub created to empower new mums to take some ME time and prioritise themselves and their health, free from pressure, judgement or guilt. Without the focus on “losing your baby weight”, because shebelieves that “when you help a woman build self-esteem and change the way she feels about herself, her body will change. I’m a huge believer that your own perception dictates your own reality. And your perception can be very warped.”

Yep. We’ve all stood in front of the mirror on a shitty day and wondered how we suddenly got five kilos heavier, amirite?!

"I believe that better methods of self-care actually improve your general health and specifically your mental health. In my experience, how you feel mentally is going to dictate the perception of your whole life. It’s the most important thing."

Emma has studied Psychology and Nutrition, and has spent over ten years working in the fitness industry as a Personal Trainer and Pilates Instructor. After suffering her own battles with depression and anxiety throughout her life, and particularly after giving birth to each of her three children, Emma is super passionate about improving the mental health of new mums. She can personally attest to the positive impact exercise has had on her emotional wellbeing and recovery.

So, the funny thing is, I actually contacted Emma to interview her about her new business The Vital Method, a holistic little café serving nutritional foods and providing catering and healthy meal packages for families on the go. Turns out she had sold the business literally the week before we met! And she’s the better for it.

“I just knew in the end that if I went through with it, something awesome would come from it. What we do here is so holistic, that brand came from nowhere and it was all in my head and worked at the time. It’s unbelievable how things that are meant to be just are.”
"I wanted to teach people that you don’t have to diet to be healthy. It’s about self-love and having a positive relationship with food."

To cut a long story short (actually, I didn’t really cut it short, did I?) through that happy coincidence I ended up being able to hear Emma talk about her new project, Mums Empowered, her e-book and its launch in coordination with Postnatal Depression Week

How does the Mums Empowered studio work?

I feel like women need to be able to say “me first” without that guilt that eats you up from the inside out when you’re a new mum and feel like you can’t take five minutes out. So in the studio, they can come in, pass their baby off to the crèche and spend as long as they like in the gym. Anywhere from half an hour to two hours. We hand them a coffee, and if they don’t want to train they can just come in and lie down. It’s all without the focus on losing baby weight.

What are you doing that’s different?

It’s a shift in thinking. I don’t think this is new or rocket science but no one seems to be encouraging women to take some me time for their health. As new mums we tend to join these mothers groups and sit around talking about our babies and we brush over the tougher issues of relationships, no intimacy, the really shitty topics. You don’t talk about the change from who you used to be to who you are now. Someone who exists for someone else. And that’s one of the most beautiful things about motherhood. But it’s really important to remember who you are. A lot of mums don’t do anything for themselves, because there’s this guilt. I can sit for hours preaching about looking after your body for your mind’s sake, but it’s about creating access. If you have a happy mum, you have a happy home. It’s kind of like the “happy wife, happy life” thing!

"You don’t talk about the change from who you used to be to who you have become and as a mum you lose your identity. Someone who exists for someone else and that’s one of the most beautiful things about motherhood. But it’s really important to remember who you are."

How can you create access for mums who don’t live in Newcastle?

I’m trying to build the brand of Mums Empowered and have a large following with content that’s delivered. I don’t want to be blogging all the time and take the focus away from the women, so we have a simple fortnightly e-newsletter, with just a recipe, and a little message. And on the website and Facebook I post videos with simple, quick workouts to do at home with your bub.

Tell me about your e-book.

So I’ve published an e-book, ‘The Baby As Your Weight Workout’, which you can buy online. It’s a fun way to work out with your baby at home when you can’t get to the gym. It’s nothing new, but what you often see on blogs and social media is super fit mums doing crazy shit with their babies that is impossible for the average mum. Then I’ve got two books coming out next year – one is a work out with kettle bells, and the other is about pelvic floor muscles.

That doesn’t get talked about much.

Exactly. Women of all ages, up to 60, will want to talk about that and a lot of trainers don’t want to talk about it. There’s no real focus on that, and it’s an area that we need to talk about! And you need to help women not be wearing waterproof underwear. We don’t want to do that! How the area down there affects you mentally is just insane. You have to really work on coaching strength and self-esteem back, as they go hand-in-hand.

What does the future of Mums Empowered look like?

I’m passionate about form and getting these women into their right strength and having them feel better from the inside out. I would love to look at opening more locations. My staff is awesome and I need more of them that I trust to not ruin the brand! And I’d love to do webinars and online training and things like that, to create access for more women. At the moment it’s getting traffic. I’m an instant person. Like… why don’t I have 5,000 followers yet?

But you’ve done so well already!

I know, I forget about celebrating the successes and I’m constantly driven by more. The biggest breakthrough I’ve had for me personally, is that most of it doesn’t matter much. It’s all about being and doing, and I really enjoy my work now because I have that mindset, which is what I encourage for women as well. Being present, and finding that simplicity. It’s too hard to be all things to all people and the world is only getting crazier.

This article originally appeared on Cool People Doing Cool Things, by Amy Lovat.