In our second month of interview series, we are speaking to Jane Wake, one of the most highly qualified, inspirational and respected talents in the fitness arena. Jane has been running her own Health & Fitness consultancy, Body A-Wake, since 1993.
Jane has a Master of Science degree in sport and recreation management, trained as an Advanced personal trainer with the American College of Sports and Medicine and holds numerous vocational qualifications from pre and post natal exercise to Pilates.She has created numerous innovative exercise brands including her pre/postnatal Programme Baby A-Wake and more recently Pilates Flow. Everything I know about pelvic floor is from attending Jane’s postnatal classes, which are informative and she tailors to each person’s needs and abilities.
Jane wholeheartedly believes moving muscles, whether it be the ones in your face that make you smile or the ones in your bottom that power you to run and walk – is the answer to much of our health and happiness.
Jane wrote her first book in 2004 ‘The Fat Burner Workout Book’, and regularly contributes to national newspapers, sports and lifestyle magazines. During and soon after her last pregnancy she filmed her own DVD series ‘Baby A-Wake’. These acclaimed DVD’s, approved by the Royal College of Midwives, were recognised by Boots Plc as a valuable product for their mother and baby audience and went on sale in selected stores in January 2011.
Jane lives in South London with her husband, son Daniel 11 and daughter Gracie, 6.
We got a chance to interview Jane, and here is what she has to say:
Q. You have been teaching Pilates for over 20 years, what keeps you going?
I have been teaching Pilates for about 16 but I have been in the fitness industry for 30 years! I trained as a fitness teacher in my teens and funded my way through uni by teaching fitness classes to students. I went onto do a Masters in Sports science and I have numerous vocational qualifications in health and fitness. I think what keeps me going is constant reinvention. I like a project to get my teeth into And it’s rare that I don’t take up any opportunities that pass my way. I forget the number of varied jobs I have done over the years but they go as far and wide as devising fitness plans for deep sea vessel crews, personal training a number of celebrities to working as a health and fitness presenter on TV programmes.
Q. What do you love most about your job?
I get to move a lot! My first job out of uni was working for a fitness company but I couldn’t believe how the work environment was so unhealthy! People would glare at me for going for a run in my lunch break! Thank god it’s different now but it put me off ever having an office based job again. It’s why I left that first job and have never been in full time employment since. I set up my own personal training company and started to develop training programmes for other fitness leaders and I have been self employed ever since. It’s been a handy career as a Mum! I’ve never really had worry about juggling a career and motherhood – I’ve just made my career fit around me being a Mum,
Q. To a lot of new mums, bouncing back is one of the main concerns. What would be your main advice to bounce back?
Bounce back is silly term invented by certain types of media who are desperate to show pictures of celebs looking amazing only weeks after birth. No one bounces back – yeah sure, Some women can resume normal duties very quickly and seem to handle everything in their stride – I was one such mum. But it’s so not about what you look like on the outside. Internally EVERY WOMAN, mentally and physically, will go through significant changes after pregnancy and birth. It doesn’t matter what birth you’ve had – we fundamentally change. I am all about embracing that change. I personally believe that pregnancy and birth is physiologically the single most amazing thing we humans do! (sorry boys!) . Yet it happens every day, so we don’t view it as spectacular and because, like anything we do view as spectacular, there are complications, risks and uncertainties – we air on the side of caution, make sure we’ve ticked boxes and heads down, get on with the job. In my antenatal Pilates classes I love to show women just how strong they are! And that birth – whichever way it happens, is an amazing physical feat that we are all capable of.
Q. You have recently switched to online classes as well- how do you find the online classes versus the in person antenatal classes?
I have worked in TV for years and have filmed my own DVD series so for me, to live stream my classes it was a very natural extension to what I have already done. I’m use to live telly so knew I’d be able to handle a live camera situation in the studio. Of course, there is nothing to replace the detail and one on one attention you get when you come to my classes but for years everyone has been saying to me how good it would be if they could have me in their living room! Well now you can! A lot of the exercises we do are about functional , everyday movement that you can do around your kids or with your baby, so it all works rather well together.
Q. What are some myths about fitness that you want to quash?
That women should put their feet up during pregnancy and not move. Pregnancy and movement go hand in hand and we now know categorically that exercising the right way during pregnancy can shorten labour times, reduce intervention and mean quicker recovery after birth. I also think, if we are ever to convince everyone to move more, we have to ditch the idea that exercise is something you HAVE to do. In reality it has to be something that you WANT to do. When everyone has cracked that, we will all be moving far more than we currently do.
Q. Where do you see Body A-wake in 10 years?
I have always been someone to look ahead and aim for goals but I have learnt that some of the best things are happening right hear and now and that – long term predictions don’t always come to fruition. That’s because things are constantly changing. So, as I have said before, I like to constantly reinvent based on the hear and now! I think what I’m trying to say is I have no idea!!! But whatever it will be, it will be good!! and hopefully at a slightly slower pace than it is currently!!!
Q. You have young kids, how you manage work life balance- any tips?
Ahh – well its hard – very hard, but as I have already said, I have been lucky enough to mould my career around having kids – hence why I developed Baby A-Wake after around the time I had Grace – I wanted to work with like minded people and one of the things I love more than any is that, if my kids are sick , there is always a sympathetic ear to hand. The tide is definitely changing and the need for more flexible working hours is finally being heard. But I would also say to all mums to always look out of the box and to follow your instincts. I cam up with a lot of flax from people around me when I set up Baby A-Wake. I took my eye of the corporate world and no one thought I could make it work. Now Baby A-Wake is bigger and better than my corporate and media activities – so it just goes to show, you can build a business as a mum and on your terms and with little feet constantly running around you!
Q. You live in South London and have run your classes in Balham and Clapham- what attracts you the Clapham area?
I have always always had to live near green space (I’m a country girl at heart!) so I have lived in and around Balham and Clapham – usually within 100 metres from either Clapham or Tooting common! For 20 or more years. I love it here – I love the green space and the fact that I can hop on a tube and be up in town within 20 minutes.
Q. What are your favourite haunts in the neighbourhood? With and without kids?
Love the lido and the athletics track – they are great spaces for me on my own or with the kids. The kids always use to drag me into Bertie and Boo (so they could sit in the blue car!) but Now, as they are a little older, I rather relish my cup of coffee their in the mornings on my own, often grabbed in a take away cup! – it’s a lovely independent café that has mums at its heart. Ive dipped in and out of various other haunts over the years – Current favourite is the Rose and Crown and their pizzas! Finally we have a local on Tooting Bec that’s right up our street!
Q. If you had to give one piece of advice to younger self, what would that be?
To not lose confidence in yourself. First instincts are often right – we have this bravado (well at least I did) in our teens and early twenties which makes us go for anything, whether they are wrong or right. I became very cautious in my late twenties and thirties – it made me loose confidence and think I had to always be influence by others or be guided by them – well – You DON’t! – trust in yourself! In the same way we become mums without any training what so ever! Well you can do that in your career and in many other aspects of your life too and become the best at it! Instinct and self knowing is a very powerful thing!
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