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FitPro member Claire Young tells us how she juggles her Pilates business with her role as a mum to two children.

I never planned on running my own Pilates business alongside being a mum to two young boys but I’m so grateful that it happened. I don’t wish for more hours in the day, as I would just fill them with new classes rather than keeping on top of my already busy timetable. The truth is, I love it and believe that’s the key to the success of juggling both. The day I no longer enjoy my job is the day it will take a back seat and I will focus more on my home life.

My seven days have become a well-oiled machine that I have perfected in many ways over the last five years. I am very lucky to have a busy work schedule alongside a great school, nursery and very supportive partner. I love being a hands-on mum and am lucky to get time around work and school to spend with the kids. Being in the fitness industry often means you have to fit into your clients’ work schedules, so evenings and weekends are prime times, but I never work on Sundays. This is my family day: pjs, movies, parks, walks and roasts – no Pilates. I need this as much as they do but not for all the same reasons. To be honest, it also helps to stop me from feeling guilty about the missed bedtimes and lack of hands-on play while I desperately try to complete work tasks like writing lessons.

The main reason I manage my life is because it interests me. This is why I’m always training and challenging myself. I believe the day I become bored may be the day the machine starts to fail. I brainstorm business ideas, classes, workshops and competitions while running and do all my shopping online, which frees up lots of time.

My partner and I enjoy socialising and go out most weekends; this helps to prevent Groundhog Day. We’re also lucky to go away with friends a few times a year alongside our family trips. I call them my ‘mum’s pilgrimage’. The beginning of the year is a night at a spa and the summer is three nights somewhere hot. These breaks are sacred and allow me to take some down time. It may seem self-indulgent but it allows me to spend the other 359 days thinking about my two sons, partner, family and in the region of 100 clients.

I’ve learnt to become an opportunist. If my partner finishes work early or has a day off, my focus is on the word ‘blitz’! Blitz the house, blitz my admin, blitz my to do lists. This helps to keep my stress levels down and home-to-work ratio happy.

Given time, you eventually start to knit your business and home life neatly together. For me, the formula that works is – be an opportunist; be social with a life that excites you, a family that loves and supports you and a job that ignites you.

Claire’s top three moves when short on time

These are three of my favourite moves for strengthening your core while increasing flexibility when you are short on time.

The one hundred

Traditionally the first move in Pilates, this move can be performed with the legs in a table top position as shown in the photo or with the legs straightened to a 45ᵒ angle. With the arms reaching long by your side, draw your chin into your chest while curling your upper back off the floor. Hold the position for 10 breaths or the count of 100 while performing small beats with the arms. This is a great work out for the rectus abdominis and a good way to get the blood pumping around the body and increase circulation.

The single-leg stretch

This is a great move for strengthening your core while stretching hip flexors and glutes. Lying on your back, draw both knees into your chest. Taking hold of one knee, straighten the other leg to 45ᵒ and roll your upper body off the floor so you are chin to chest. Gently draw the bent leg towards you, then swap legs. Build up to six to eight on each leg.

The scissors

This is one of my personal favourite moves for stretching hamstrings while strengthening the core and lumbar spine. Starting with the knees drawn in, extend one leg to the ceiling, bring yourself chin to chest and take hold of the extended leg. Straighten your other leg and drop it parallel to the ground (depending on flexibility). Keeping high in the torso, scissor the legs focusing on keeping the legs as straight as possible. Softly pull the leg towards the body, taking care not to yank before scissoring to change leg. Increase to six to eight reps on each leg.

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Where to next? How do you create entertainment in your classes?