anna holmes fitness mummyonmymind

Pre and Postnatal Fitness with Anna Holmes…

With the ongoing Dubai Fitness Challenge encouraging all Dubai residents to exercise 30 minutes for 30 days, what better time is there to introduce you to Anna Holmes, a personal trainer as well as a qualified specialist in Pre & Postnatal Fitness. Read on to find out more about Anna and her passion for fitness, as well as how she supports women to ensure they remain healthy before and after giving birth. 

anna holmes fitness mummyonmymind

Tell me a little about yourself

From a young age I have been passionate about health and fitness. My younger sister, Sophie, suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, which is a genetically inherited life threatening condition that she struggles with daily. Therefore, maintaining good health and a fit body in our family was always an important aspect of our lives.

After being in Dubai for 4 years now, it has opened up many opportunities for me – in a country where health and fitness is becoming a very big part of everyday life. I have learnt to adapt to divergent cultures to provide clients with a professional and holistic service – not just providing them with exercise, diet and nutrition, but also, coaching each one about self belief and emotional wellness. I find that being physically strong and fit as a female can feel very empowering, seeing myself progress and improving my strength in the gym is a great feeling and something I love teaching to others! I train hard and eat a healthy, wholesome diet but also recognize the importance of rest and balance in life – who doesn’t love a treat!!

Over my time in the UAE I have built up a strong reputation in training ‘Pre and Postnatal’ women as a qualified specialist. I train women throughout pregnancy, preparing for labour, birth and also postpartum recovery period. It really is very rewarding niche market to be a part of and without a doubt a true passion to me.

Tell me a little about your journey into becoming a Personal Trainer and coaching?

I have been in the industry for 6 years starting back at home in the UK with my younger sister running bootcamps and 1-1 training. After some time, an opportunity came up to work in the Middle East, so I applied, and within 6 weeks I was here! SMART Fitness gym is really like no other, in that it is super female friendly, and very easy to settle into a team of people who I would now call my second family.

anna holmes fitness mummyonmymind

You offer both online coaching and online nutrition, along with being a personal trainer. What’s the most rewarding part of your job? What’s been the proudest achievement for you so far?

I would not select one achievement as a success but for me the most rewarding part is having a long-term impact on someone’s life. Transforming a person’s body whilst also improving their health and well being for long-term sustainability is the ultimate goal. Transforming the body is about changing the mindset and the lifestyle and these changes require consistency, positive reinforcement, dedication and patience!

What’s been the most frustrating or challenging aspect of your coaching/training, and how have you overcome it?

Some clientele have many obstacles they have to face to reach their goals and this usually is to do with inconsistency in making changes, committing to training and learning that actually eating healthy foods does not have to be boring!!

On a daily basis I meet many different people and have to adapt to them and this has taught me patience is key as well as making sure changes are gradual so that consistent progress can happen.

anna holmes fitness mummyonmymind

I love that you offer Pre & PostNatal support. Why is this of such significance importance to offer this service?

Staying fit and healthy has become an essential part to many women’s lives, now that ‘strong is the new skinny!’  Fitness can not only shape a women’s body, empower their mindset but also enable them to life longer and more healthier lives. Because of this, exercising during pregnancy is becoming more of a natural progression for healthy-minded mums! I aim to teach, educate and inspire mums to take full care of their body and exercising is a fantastic, if not the best way to grow themselves, mentally and physically during such a special time in a woman’s life.

What exactly does the Pre & Postnatal support include, and how long does the program last?

The programme is run over a duration of 6 weeks – 3 classes per week. We offer a full support package with a team of professionals, myself, biokeneticists and the owner of the facility is actually a midwife by trade! Each member receives a full pre screen that assesses any muscle imbalances or weaknesses as well as a postural analysis. This is recorded and saved onto a google drive so that if their doctor or obstetrician would like to understand what we do they have their own portal to access.  Each member is also part of a group whatsapp and facebook that enables us all to contact each other and for all mums to meet a whole new circle of mama friends!

The classes take women through from trimester 1-3 with safe and effective exercise, addressing the changes in posture that occur as the baby grows, also including mobility to target lower back pain.  For the postnatal care – again we run these classes 3x per week and limit the classes to 8 as we do with prenatal. We double check each member to assure there are no pre contradictions to exercise such as Diastasis Recti or pelvic floor prolapse and carefully progress individuals back to strength.

anna holmes fitness mummyonmymind

What are the advantages or results of prenatal exercise?

As for my own personal experience, out of 10 babies so far in the group we have had only 1 C-Section delivery. I feel this has a lot to do with being fit and active and ‘able’ throughout pregnancy. When a women exercises during pregnancy, her heart is healthier, her metabolism is functioning well, and they will have a healthy body composition – that will stand them in good steed after delivery. What’s more it has been said to improve the baby’s metabolic function inside the womb and if the heart is able to carry oxygen around your body at a more efficient rate this also promotes a healthy blood flow to the placenta for the development of the baby.

Are there any myths about Pre & Post natal exercise that you would like to debunk, to encourage mothers and mothers-to-be?

Prenatal exercise more so than postnatal is a hot topic right now! Many women still are uncertain about the benefits of exercise. But this really is to do with lack of education and understanding the changes that are occurring in their body pregnancy and why exercise can help the body deal with these changes.

A woman’s cardiac output increases by 50% during trimester 2 – 50 percent!! Now consider this in regards to training…

Exercise enhances the mother’s ability to deal with the increases in blood volume, skin blood flow, heart chamber size, and oxygen delivery – why so? When we exercise, these changing factors are influenced in the same way as in pregnancy. This makes the body more efficient at coping with the changes that are happening. What about the baby too? By making raising the heart rate the body is pumping blood faster and more efficiently this actually promotes a healthy blood flow of oxygen to the placenta for the development of the baby, it has also been found that because of this metabolic rate and function the baby is improved.

Another point I feel should be made is that years ago it was recommended that pregnant women keep their heart rate below 140 beats per minute during exercise. However, according to an ACOG Committee Opinion released in December of 2016, ratings of perceived exertion may be a better way to monitor exercise intensity in pregnant women.  This is important as everyone’s’ heart rate is going to be different according to fitness level, so there is less a concern now for those who may just be starting out with exercise – plus more reason to get started!

anna holmes fitness mummyonmymind

What’s your advice to mothers that are hesitant about joining a pre/postnatal program?

Training during pregnancy is for maintenance and wellbeing, NOT to break records. 
Remember your fitness goals are very different now and if you are new to exercise then by all means get started it is never to late to start taking care of your body. Pregnancy is a fantastic excuse to improve your fitness and body strength regardless of your current ability. Follow my top 5 rules and your body will reap the benefits, with improved energy, improved mobility and less aches and pains!

  • Top 5 tips!
  1. Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine – I do also include a full pre screen analysis even when the doctor gives you the go ahead!
  2. Always listen to your body! Some days you may have more energy than others, if this means a light walk for half an hour this is ok.
  3. Stay hydrated. This is particularly important to avoid overheating and to make sure that the right amount of blood is reaching the placenta
  4. Eat enough calories. This is particularly important to avoid hypoglycemic episodes. Trimester 2-3 you should be consuming 200-300 more a day and I would suggest you cycle these around your workout window – where your energy expenditure will be at its highest!
  5. Be careful when changing positions. It is very important to take care when shifting positions because of the change of center of gravity during pregnancy.

Tell me about a day in your life, as a personal trainer?

My usual wake up is 5am Sunday – Thursday – bright and early start to the day where I have my first client 6am through until around midday! Breakfast is usually consumed first thing to fuel me for the morning and this would be over night oats, a simple mixed meal of protein, carbs and fats!

At lunch time I will train myself and also spend a couple of hours of client “after care”, this means following up on their training, their meals and seeing how they are getting on. This is basically me keeping a 24/7 check on them to ensure we get them to progress as needed! Client’s results for me is so important, not just in the short term but also for a long term impact on an improved change in lifestyle.

After I train I will make a healthy post workout meal, this could be protein pancakes a simple and quick stir fry or homemade burgers!  In the afternoon I sometimes hit some steps on the beach, top up my vitamin D consumption for an hour before heading back into work for the afternoon / evening.

Thank you so much Anna for giving us a deeper insight into pre and postnatal fitness, and the amazing work you do in supporting the women through this process. 

For more information or to get in contact with Anna to discuss your fitness plans, head on over to Anna’s website or follow her on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated.

anna holmes fitness mummyonmymind

Note: All photographs in this post belong to Anna Holmes and have been used by the owner’s permission.


  • Mumzy Notebook November 7, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    I know exercise can also help you loose the blues that one may suffer during and post pregnancy. So, this is definitely wonderful and you get a bunch mama friends in the end too! Win-win!

    • Zeyna S. November 8, 2017 at 2:50 pm

      That’s a very good point, it does help with baby blues!

  • Frommummytonayel November 11, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    definitely my top priority for the next pregnancy inshAllah! Thanks for such a detailed information blog! ❤️

    • Zeyna S. November 23, 2017 at 1:08 pm

      You’re very welcome! 🙂


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