An interview with personal and perinatal fitness trainer: Lily Gredley – how the Versaclimber can improve perinatal fitness
While the Versaclimber is an all-time favourite with fitness stars Andy Murray and LeBron James, it has also been loved by pre and post-natal women. Pregnant women and new mums of all fitness levels have enjoyed benefitting from the Versaclimber’s effective full-body workout during all three trimesters and postnatal recovery. In each stage it has been said to reduce back pain, improve posture, increase energy levels and keep the core strong and mood lifted.
Here, we chat to personal trainer and soon-to-be mum Lily Gredley as she tells us why the Versaclimber is the ideal pregnancy workout; providing a full-body, low impact workout at a time in life when fitness is more important than ever.
Your Instagram’s key message is that you can maintain your health and fitness even throughout pregnancy – at a time when people usually become more sedentary. What is your fitness background?
Perinatal fitness is an area I am really passionate about. I’m a level three qualified pre- and post-natal personal trainer and have been qualified since 2005. I really loved working with perinatal fitness and sought out work experience alongside pelvic health physios – something that really helped to enrich my offering. I then became a specialist in the area about eight years ago and haven’t looked back.
Interestingly, my sports background is actually in showjumping but I’ve got massively into weights and HIIT training over the last 15 years. I just love how good you feel when you’re strong and fit, hence my love of the Versaclimber.
Where did your love story with the Versaclimber begin?
At my favourite gym, Body Society in Fulham, a few years ago. They do a Versa class and I immediately fell in love with the rush of endorphins it gave me. I started coaching classes for them when I worked there and just got the biggest buzz from it.
When I moved out of London and got my own studio, the Versaclimber was the first thing on my list to get! The beauty of it is you can make it as hard or as easy as you like which makes it great for pregnant clients.
What I really love about the Versaclimber is how it works your whole body (when your legs get tired you can use your arms more), it’s low impact so I’ve never got an injury from it, and it gives me a great challenge.
The Versaclimber has been brilliant at improving my fitness, so much more than any other cardio machine. I just love putting a good song on and getting lost in the music and climbing to the beat. The endorphin rush I get after is more intense than with any other workout.
You use the Versaclimber in your prenatal fitness classes, tell us more.
We have a very strict health and safety policy at my studio and everyone goes at their own rate. My ethos is always to ensure that all the relevant checks have been put into place and that the participant feels good. Following that we can put a really great adjustable programme together, often incorporating the Versaclimber, that can be used throughout the whole pregnancy.
My clients enjoy the challenge that the Versaclimber gives, it’s great at helping to prevent excessive weight gain and improves lung capacity and stimulates that feel good hormone. As we become less active in pregnancy it’s so nice to be able to get your whole body moving, even in short bursts. When pregnant, it can be tricky to incorporate cardio into your exercise routine – high impact jumping and running can be unsafe as well as hard on the pelvic floor so the Versaclimber’s low impact function is amazing for this.
What other methods work well for your prenatal / postnatal clients?
If there is ever a time in your life where you need to be fit and strong (for birth and everything that comes after) this is it. Weight training provides endless benefits and I always try to incorporate this into client workouts.
Circuit training is brilliant too. I usually add the Versaclimber in, often at the end so participants can make time for a rest as well as a few yoga postures.
What do you need to ensure with regards to safety when teaching perinatal women?
With any exercise for pre and postnatal clients it is crucial that you listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right then don’t do it, if you feel fine you can probably carry on.
The main rule of safety with exercise in pregnancy is to use the talk test. If you can speak a short sentence then you’re good, if you find you’re gasping for breath so much that you can’t string two words together then you definitely need to slow it down. Also take it easy if you feel like you’re overheating and keep hydrated!
Although the Versaclimber suits most classes, I avoid it with anyone with pelvic girdle pain. I tend to use it a lot if a client is putting on excessive weight or feels like they don’t move much in their daily lives.
Finally, have your classes evolved since Covid-19?
Luckily I haven’t had to adapt too much. I’ve always kept a very clean studio, but I’m certainly a lot more hygiene conscious! I make sure I give everything a good wipe down between clients. There’s nothing worse than a dirty gym with someone else’s sweat still on the equipment!
One of the best things to have come out of lockdown, for me, is the flexibility of online training. I never gave it much consideration before, but most of my clients moved online when we couldn’t meet and it actually worked really well. Since I’ve moved out of London I’ve managed to retain quite a few of my clients who wanted to continue online training as it was convenient for them, they’ve seen great results from it.
Social media wise I’m a big fan of Instagram – I get so much inspiration from other trainers I follow. From my experience so far, I’ve found that everyone in the industry has been really friendly and supportive. A lot of people seem to find it really helpful when I post workouts and tips. Covid-19 has presented many issues but an even better fitness community has sprung from it and I love that!
You can follow Lily on her Instagram. Find out more about the Versaclimber on our social media @VersaclimberUK.
Pre- and post-natal women should receive permission from their GP or a midwife before taking on any exercise programme and use of the Versaclimber.