Bodyfit Mums' Aimee Oliver: I teach my mums that your diet shouldn't be a quick fix

Gail Bell asks experts and people in the public eye what keeps them going. This week: Portadown-based Aimee Oliver, mum-of-two and founder of Bodyfit Mums, Northern Ireland's first specifically designed programme for prenatal and postnatal fitness

Aimee Oliver, Sports and Exercise Science graduate and founder of the Bodyfit Mums fitness programme for prenatal and postnatal fitness

Aimee Oliver, founder of the Bodyfit Mums fitness programme which now runs in Belfast


Up and at it – what is your morning routine?

I'm not going to lie, mornings are not exactly the best part of my day. Before my two kids arrived, I was a 'Set 50 alarms and snooze 50 alarms' type of person. After kids, I'm exactly the same! Mornings usually consist of running about like a headless chicken while getting the kids sorted and fed. My husband, Matthew, and I are literally grab-and-go kind of people. I actually can't remember the last time we sat down for breakfast together on week days. Weekends are completely different, though: calm, easy-going and the chance to sit down and not just inhale our breakfast.


What might you eat in a typical working day for...Breakfast?

This will be either three boiled eggs and a banana or egg muffins made the night before.


As I'm always moving from one class to the next, my lunch is mostly eaten in the car. I always have something prepared and it would usually be a wholemeal pitta or wrap, filled with something like tuna, chicken, spinach, onions and chilli.

Evening meal?

Something wholesome and home-made that the whole family can eat.


Is nutrition important to you?

Nutrition is something of great importance to me. With being so active, I really need to make sure I eat enough of the right foods. I honestly believe that this helps our mood and how we feel every day. I don't believe in a 'diet' and I teach my mums that your diet shouldn't be a quick fix – it has to be a sustainable lifestyle change.


Best meal ever?

I love my dad's home-cooked Sunday dinners.


Do you have a guilty pleasure?

Chocolate, chocolate brownies, chocolate muffins and maybe chocolate cake that melts in the middle… with a chocolate sauce.


Have you ever been on a diet? If so, how did it go?

I've never been on a diet In my life. I was so lucky in my teenage years/early 20s that I could literally eat anything I wanted. Exercise, competing in sports and instructing fitness classes has been my whole life since I can remember, so I was constantly eating to keep me going and making sure I was nutritionally ready when competing. I watch what I eat a lot more now, as my metabolism isn't what it used to be, but I would say I would still have a very good balanced diet and know how my body reacts to foods.


Do you take health supplements?

The only time I took supplements was when I was pregnant. I would have taken protein shakes with added carbohydrates because I literally couldn't keep muscle or weight on me at one point when I was teaching 15-plus exercise classes a week as a gym instructor.


How do you relax?

Sundays, lying up on the sofa in my PJs with the family is my relaxation time.


Teetotal or tipple?

I'm honestly sounding like the worst trainer here – tipple.


Stairs or lift?

Stairs… all day. Something has to earn you those chocolates.


Do you have a daily exercise regime?

I exercise almost every day, either in a class (that I'm not instructing) or in the gym or at home. I also play volleyball one to three times a week, either for my club team or the Northern Ireland volleyball team. I've played for both since I was 17. As my job is teaching classes all day, every day, I would easily work up 25,000 steps and 2,500-3,000 calories on my watch, depending on how busy my day has been.


Best tip for everyday fitness?

Get moving some way – stairs, walking/fitness class at lunch-time. You could also put in a good 15-20 min HITT (High Intensity Interval Training) session at home. All you need is a stopwatch, some banging beats and motivation.


On a scale of one to 10, how fit do you think you are and how fit would you like to be?

I would say I'm a seven. There's always room for improvement.


Have you tried, or would you try, alternative therapy?

At present, it's not something I would be interested in.


Were school sports happy times or do you have a memory you would rather forget?

Oh, bring me back! These were literally the happiest times for me. I showed my daughter recently all the badges I had on my different school jumpers and blazers. I think I was part of every sports team and captain of at least three. I also loved saying: 'Daddy didn't have this many!'


Did you ever have a health epiphany which made you change your lifestyle?

Never. This has always been my life.


Best health/lifestyle advice you were ever given and would pass on to others?

Don't take advantage of what you can do and don't wish to be someone else. My old volleyball coach always said: 'Be determined. Be yourself. Set your own goals. Smash your own goals'.


Who inspires you or who would you try to emulate in terms of fitness / attitude to life?

I love Dame Jessica Ennis Hill, as I think she is such a great role model to young girls in the UK. I also love [Australian fitness star] Emily Skye, even more so after her first postnatal journey. I think she is so real to every mum and isn't afraid to show herself in every light.


What time do you normally get to bed and do you get enough sleep?

I usually get to bed around 11:30pm. I still get my hours in, though, as I love the 'snooze' button.


Would you say you have a healthy attitude towards your own mortality?

Mortality is something I try not to think about. My biggest fear, I guess, is losing the ones I love around me. Having said that, I would say I live life to the full and I try to go by my own beliefs in that we should enjoy every moment we have.

Bodyfit Mums, a specialised six-week fitness programme, now runs in Belfast, Lisburn, Portadown and Armagh. More information at; Facebook Bodyfit Mums; Instagram Bodyfit Mums

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