A trainer who coaches postpartum mums on how to get their bodies back after birth says being at home with a baby is no reason to let yourself go.
Niki Zoumpouli, 28, makes six figures a month teaching women, many of whom are mums, how to get back into shape and has over 100,000 clients who use her fitness app.
A mum herself, Niki, who is originally from Greece but now lives in Miami, Florida, US, has a two-year-old daughter.
While she is understanding the struggles of being a mum, she says women shouldn't use it as an excuse. Instead, they should incorporate their baby into their workouts – even using toddlers as 'free weights’.
“Home workouts will save you a ton of time and stress getting a babysitter," Niki said,
“I have built a top-of-the-range home gym in my garage because this is my career but all you really need is some dumbbells and a resistance band to get started.
“I want my daughter to watch me make the time to train and eat right.
“Your kids will do what you do so lead by example, start where you are and use what you have at home.
"Being an at-home mum with a newborn is no reason to let yourself go."
The fitness influencer knows exactly how it feels to struggle with weight after pregnancy; after giving birth to her daughter in May 2019, she had gained 30lbs – the most out of shape the PT had ever been.
The mum also had a tough pregnancy with "all day sickness" in the first trimester and deep pelvic pain as her pregnancy progressed.
Niki now regularly shares videos and pictures of herself working out with Aria on her social media channels, including Instagram where she has 175,000 followers (@nikizoub).
Niki said: “You would have thought that I’d have been able to train throughout my pregnancy with my background in fitness but things turned out to be different.
“I was so tired, I had to listen to my body and rest.
“Then I returned to training six weeks after birth and I never imagined I’d be so out of shape.
“My body felt foreign – I couldn’t move or perform the same.
“It was heartbreaking to see years and years of hard work vanish.
“I remember laughing in the middle of my workout because I felt so weak.
“It was one of those moments where you had to laugh or cry.
“Looking back, I’m so glad I had that hard experience because it made me understand my clients a lot more and cater to their needs."
Together with her partner, in 2018 Niki founded her business, the GoodFitness app, working with women who want to lose the pounds they gained during pregnancy, focusing on strength training.
She said: “Most of my clients are mums who want to lose their pregnancy weight and gain confidence again.
“So many women message me saying they are depressed and don’t know where to start.
"They don’t think they have the time but I show them how to work out around their baby.
“I even use my daughter, Aria, in my workouts.
"She has been around me through the whole journey of growing my business and while I worked on my own postpartum body goals.
"Aria is my biggest motivation.”
However, while Niki believes in getting back into the gym after pregnancy, she wants women to embrace their 'imperfections' – and realise the power of what their bodies can do.
She said: “I resent women being told that having babies ruins their body.
“I do have stretched skin, stretch marks and don’t get me started on the eye bags but I am not ruined and neither are the women I help.
“My body is powerful, it made me a mother and in fact I feel the sexiest, strongest, most confident and most healthy I have ever felt.”
When taking on a new client, Niki will first ask them if they are concerned about any health issues in particular and to first speak to a doctor.
Once they are cleared to get started on their fitness goals, she takes them through a two-stage process – a fat loss phase, followed by a muscle-building phase – through her Mom Body Program.
She said: "Our bodies can’t lose fat and build muscle at the same time so we have to focus on each goal separately.
“When my own postpartum fitness journey began I focused on dropping body fat first.
"I used my own program to drop fat and it took me about four months to drop the weight.
"Then I focused on building muscle and giving my body the shape I wanted.
“Between the fat loss and muscle gain phase it took me a whole year to get to my goal physique.
“I tell my clients change won’t happen overnight. It takes time and consistent effort.
“It is hard but mums shouldn’t give up on their health because they are in a season of life that makes them feel their goals are too hard to achieve.”
“If you have lost hope, then remember your dreams, your passions, your lifestyle, it is all your responsibility.