Category Archives: Uncategorized

09Sep/19
starting a blog

Ever thought about starting a blog?

It’s lovely being a Mum but nice to have hobbies too. If you’ve ever thought about starting a blog this interview I did with the Health Bloggers Community will show you a bit about what’s involved in running a business or blog, or being an influencer.

You can read the interview on the HBC site here.

Or here’s the transcript below:

The fit mum formula: behind the content with Pollyanna Hale

Pollyanna Hale helps Mums lose weight, get fit, and have more energy and body confidence with online coaching and programmes, books and a free Facebook community group. A Mum of two young girls, Polly understands how hard it is for us Mums to make ourselves a priority when all our energy and willpower gets drained before we’ve even done the school run! Everything she teaches is designed to be compatible with crazy busy Mum-life, because you matter too, Mum.

If you could share with us who you are and what’s your mission, what would you say?

I’m Pollyanna Hale, weight loss coach to Mums. But what’s unusual about my story to becoming a health coach is that I spent many years very ill with anorexia. Is that ironic? No, because it all stems from the same problem – not loving or respecting yourself or your body enough to care for it. Mums come to me to lose weight but really it’s about deeper issues than that. Why aren’t they eating well in the first place? Why can’t they take time for themselves to exercise?

Once people realise that prioritising your own health makes you not only happier and healthier but importantly a better Mum too, self-care somehow becomes worth the effort.

Would you consider yourself more of a blogger or an Instagrammer?

Blogger, I love writing and have written for several magazines both print and online, published two books (so far!), and really believe I write quite well as well as get what I want to say across in an entertaining and easy to understand way. I came to Instagram quite late in the game so am still building a following, but my followers are more Facebook based anyway.

How do you choose the content that goes into your accounts?

It’s pretty simple – will this really help the person reading or looking at it? Will this make their life somehow easier, healthier, better or happier? If I can do something as simple as bringing a smile to someone’s face then it’s worth it. But sometimes if what I say resonates with someone deeply enough, that one simple post could be the trigger to changing their life for the better for good. That’s really quite special to be in that position.

What is the process behind each post you produce?

I don’t put too much thought into it. I think if you try and ‘curate’ content too much it looks too professional, to polished, too distant from the ‘real’ lives of your followers. That works for some brands but my followers feel like they’re friends with me and vice versa, I’ve built some amazing online relationships and have a real soft spot for some of my more engaged followers, and that comes from being just ‘me’, and saying whatever I want to say at the moment.

What has been a career highlight so far?

Being asked to speak on Sky news twice so far was pretty cool! My first full-page spread in a national newspaper was pretty cool too.

But as soppy as it sounds when I see a Mum go from depressed, unhealthy, lethargic and feeling like there’s no hope for them to being confident, energetic, motivated and loving life, knowing I’ve played a part in that is unbeatable.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I didn’t focus on what my followers really wanted and was really vague about what content I put out. I’m a weight-loss coach but by qualification, I’m a personal trainer and nutritionist, so was putting out all sorts from gut health to the best type of dumbbells to buy to where B vitamins are found. No wonder I didn’t get much engagement! I was trying to be too professional. People don’t want science information, they want someone who understands them and their life.

As I’m a real Mum with young kids, we have so much in common. For the record, fish fingers for supper are fine by me!

When it comes to health and wellness, how is the content you are creating helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

I want to empower Mums to be able to take their health and life into their own hands. I pride myself on being able to turn health tips into really easy to understand and implement action steps that don’t seem overwhelming. There’s no point in trying to push people too far or they just do nothing. But if I keep it simple and that person manages to have an extra portion of vegetables with their supper every day, just that one thing can really make a difference and lead to more, bigger changes.

What is the biggest misconception about social media? What was the practice that has helped you with your strategy?

That what you put out gets seen. As much as you need to be authentic, learn what the algorithms want and your content will be seen by more people. Engagement is key. What you think might be a great post, the social platform might disagree and then people won’t get the benefit of seeing that post.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

There’s no one person I can pinpoint but I am extremely sociable both on and offline, I’ll chat to anyone and have put myself in situations where I’ve met and learned from some incredible people. There’s no one ‘right’ way to do business so don’t take any one person’s thoughts as gospel. Meet and talk to as many people as possible, ideally people who are doing what you want to do but are a few steps ahead. Then try things and see what works for you.

What do you think is the most important thing about working on collaborations with other influencers and brands?

Integrity with what you believe in. I’d make a lot more money short term if I accepted every sponsored post, guest blog or product review that I was offered. But I just can’t bring myself to showcase things I don’t believe in, like weight loss tea!

Who is your ideal collaboration with?

Someone who has a complementary but not conflicting service or product to the same market as me. Someone who targets Mums! But to be honest if I love a product or service I reach out to them anyway, so I’ve already teamed up with a few companies whose products I absolutely love and can talk about passionately and honestly.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start in the industry now?

Figure out who you are and what you believe in, really nail down what your message is and stick to it. Don’t veer off in other directions just because something seems popular or your message will get diluted.

26Jul/18

We Enter The World of Beatrix Potter

This Summer I achieved a childhood ambition of visiting the magical world of Beatrix Potter by booking a holiday to where she lived near Lake Windermere in the Lake District.

 

Not only that but a quick google led me to a special ‘Beatrix Potter Experience’ holiday run by the Lindeth Howe hotel, the only hotel which is a former home of Beatrix, as she became quite a property investor with all her book royalties.

 

The experience included a tour of the area including a trip to Hill Top Farm (where most of the Beatrix Potter boos are set) and a boat trip on the lake, plus entrance to The World of Beatrix Potter experience centre. Not to mention enjoying the beautiful chocolate cottage hotel and 6 acres of grounds and gardens, and finding time to slot in some obligatory walks over hills and round lakes.

 

The reason for this post, which as you’ll notice has nothing to do with healthy eating (other than the odd mention of meal times) is because after two family members being quite ill in the last two years I decided enough was enough and it was time to ‘Live More’, while we could. Not everything has to be expensive – we’ve spent more time having family meals, going for country walks and playing in the garden together this year than we have done, well, ever. This holiday was the first thing I booked and symbolises our goals to live life to the full.

 

Whether you’re after some light reading or are considering a family trip to the lake District yourself, you’ll find information you need here on all the places we visited and hopefully be entertained and inspired to take your own magical trip somewhere.

 

P.S. I’d love to know where you’ve always wanted to visit so please do take the time to come and tell me in my Facebook group here or email me at polly@thefitmumformula.com!

 

 

Hotel Tonight App

Our adventure started with hitting the roads with nowhere to go or stay. Well for one night anyway. We didn’t want to either get up at 3am or waste the first day of our holiday travelling, so decided to hit the roads on Sunday night, see how far we got (it’s a good 6 hours from us on the South Coast, without wee stops), and find a room using the Hotel Tonight App. Not having used it before it was a little concerning, but what’s the worst that could happen? Somewhere would have a room, even if we ended up having to pay more than we’d hoped for in a cheapo travel inn style place because we only really needed the beds for a few hours.

hoteltonight app

The app combines your GPS location or desired destination and links to a huge database of hotels, plotting them on a map with price labelling. This first step was fab – we literally just needed cheap beds for a few hours and quickly found a few suitable. Unfortunately you can only seem to search for 1 or 2 beds, no good for a family of 4, but I simply called a couple of hotels that the app had shown up and in 5 minutes had a room with two double beds for £89 and that included breakfast. Big up to the Holiday Inn which was not only clean and staff polite but there was a lovely pool (which we didn’t have time to use), a fully equipped gym (which I did use at 7am while the others slept), and 24 hr room service. You can’t get a single with no kettle for that money south of Oxford.

Get the HotelTonight App Here

 

Lindeth-Howe

The only hotel that was a home once owned by Beatrix Potter herself, Lindeth Howe on Lake Windermere is the only place to stay for a Peter Rabbit and friends short break in the UK.

I’ve been told about the wonders of the Lake District for years but as a child who, for every night for two years running made her single Father read ‘Mrs Tiggy-Winkle’ at bedtime, visiting the farm and surrounding areas where the stories are set was a must for me, and preferably before my girls got too old to emerse themselves in the stories and help me spot locations and animals from the books.

lindeth howe hotel review

The hotel itself is a charming country home adorned with Beatrix Potter memorabilia, with beautiful gardens and spectacular views over the lake. The rooms are cosy and the restaurant serves local, family friendly food, and while there’s free WiFi throughout, this is the closest place you’ll get to tech-free peace and bliss without sending the kids off to Grandparents while you go to a spa.

The gardens and surrounding area turned out to be just perfect for some early morning ‘me time’ too. I’m an early riser so while Daddy and kids slept in (following holiday typical late nights) I took advantage and went on an hour-long power walk/run/uphill climb hybrid that cleared my mind, blew the cobwebs away and allowed me to dive into enjoying the day ahead refreshed.

https://www.lindeth-howe.co.uk/

 

 

The World of Beatrix Potter

The slightly more commercial and child friendly walk through experience ‘The World of Beatrix Potter’ was walking distance from our hotel but don’t worry, it’s not ‘if Butlins did Beatrix Potter’ and is way more charm than chav, with a fully planted vegetable garden, a cute walk through of all the locations in the stories like Mrs Tiggy Winkles kitchen complete with flagstone floor, Mr McGregor’s Greenhouse, and there are shows to watch and characters to meet every day throughout the Summer.

world of beatrix potter

Queues were long (30 minutes wait) and it took about the same time to walk round but the children loved seeing all the characters, especially 5 year old Bella who loves cuddle animals and insisted on spending most of her saved up pocket money on a fluffy talking Lily Bob Tail.

Visit The World of Beatrix Potter website here

 

 

Hill Top Farm

If you’ve read a Beatrix Potter book, you’ll already be familiar with Hill Top Farm. Bought in 1905 with the proceeds from her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, she used Hill Top Farm and the surrounding countryside as inspiration for many of her subsequent books.

The house is full of original artefacts and Potter’s possessions and the garden, a National Trust area, is maintained to exactly how it is in the books.

hill top farm review

While not huge, the gardens are beautiful and Mr McGregor’s garden is exactly as you’d expect, complete with blackcurrant bushes to stain little blue rabbit jackets and a little path just right for a hedgehog to run up. The house is almost untouched, and you can see areas that are right out of the book, as if the illustration was done that very morning. It brought the books to life for the girls, who were completely enchanted with the dolls house inhabited by two bad mice, and I bought the Miss Potter movie in the gift shop so the girls could learn the story behind the amazing woman who created the stories.

This was a truly magical place if you were ever read Beatrix Potter stories as a child, it’s like walking right into the pages of a book.

hill top farm review

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hill-top

 

 

Peter Rabbit; Let’s Go! App

It’s it incredible how fast children learn to use technology? As an online business owner I’m pretty tech savvy but to be honest I’ve got better things to do than spend ages figuring out children’s games they’ll ultimately be playing without me. I wasn’t sure what to do as soon as we opened the app but neither was I worried. 5 minutes in Bella’s hands and she’d figured out how to hunt for bugs and vegetables and was over the moon with her fruit reward badges.

We couldn’t see any introductory instructions (this would have been helpful at first) – this would be one thing I would add – some kind of walk through that’s easy and clear (but not annoying) enough for both kids and non-techy adults to understand so that children can get playing asap with minimal frustration. But I wasn’t worried as Bella seemed happy swiping and clicking away and discovered the colouring in area, where she can create Beatrix Potter pictures and save them to be printed when we get home.

The games can be played ‘as’ various characters; Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny and other hoppy friends, and there’s a map hunting game, a ‘catch the butterflies and bees’ and the aforementioned colouring in. Cute children’s voices narrate (in a surprisingly non-irritating way) and fruit badges are rewarded for efforts and wins. Bella was very proud she could recognise every fruit and vegetable – and as I nutritionist so was I! If your young kids are totally against fruit and veg in every way this could be a way of making them fun. In fact in the ‘free hand’ drawing Bella chose to actually create bright pictures of all her favourite fruits, which made a refreshing change from the hundreds of ‘Mummy Daddy and Aurora and our two cats’ pictures I have stuffed in an art folder and smothering the fridge.

The app really came into it’s own at a family wedding. We hadn’t taken their iPad but come 9pm when the older kids were still going on cake and Bella had had enough, colouring in on my phone kept her going on my lap for an hour before we retired to our hotel. It was a novelty that there was a game on my phone as I don’t let them use it normally but I was pleased it was there at the time. So many kids’ games are noisy and stimulating and annoying but this was calm and quiet and well, like the Beatrix Potter books I guess in that respect!

In fact this is probably the best bit. The vast majority of children’s apps are noisy, shouty, musical, and stimulating, with all sorts of unsavoury characters who are either trying to kill each other or dress up like prostitutes (I’m looking at you, Barbie Fashion…). The app retains as much of the calm and charm as the Beatrix Potter books as you can for a digital app, and if we can survive a 6 hour drive to the Lake District with it with neither kids nor parents going insane, that’s pretty impressive.

 

Find the Peter Rabbit; Let’s Go! App here

 

If you have young children or are a Beatrix Potter fan yourself it’s a lovely short break. And if you’re not a fan then I think the Lake District is now my favourite British holiday I’ve ever been on. If you have any other suggestions I or my followers might like then please let us know!

 

30Jun/17

10 BENEFITS OF ONLINE WORKOUTS & NUTRITION

If you’re one of the busy Mums who cite no time and/or childcare to exercise as your reasons for not getting in the workouts you know you should be doing, then online training is probably right for you.

 

Click Here to read the original article published by Pulsin Bars

 

Even if you are able to get to the gym, it might not be as good an option for you as training online at home.

Gyms and even forking out for a Personal Trainer come with downsides. Most people aren’t aware of the best way to spend their time when they are at the gym – what exercises will get them closer to their goals, meaning they go week after week but don’t see results.

Personal Trainers overcome this by giving you a personalised plan (or at least they should be, not all PTs are created equal unfortunately), but are only with you for around 1-3 hours per week. What about the other 167 hours in a week? What then?

Online training has grown enormously in the past few years. In fact when The Fit Mum Formula first launched in 2013 we were one of the first, at least in the UK; a fact I’m rather proud of.

Internet, email, Facebook groups and forums, blogs, membership portals and dedicated workout plan software means that wherever you (or your coach) are, you can access the help and information anytime you need it.

This means that you have the resources and support you need, to keep you on track 24/7, and as a result are much more likely to reach your goals, and in less time.

Here are 10 benefits to training online, from home:

 

Time Saving

Travelling to the gym takes time. Parking the car, changing clothes, finding a locker….you can skip the lot if your workouts are done at home. I don’t even bother ‘getting changed’ properly – if you follow me on social media you’ll know my favourite workout outfit is my pyjama bottoms and a sports bra!

 

Good Value

With no special equipment or workout clothing you’re already saving a few quid, but the real saving comes from the (rising) costs of gym memberships and Personal Training services, especially if you’re tied into a contract you don’t end up using. Having the support of an online coach is often much more cost effective, since there are few overheads for the coach to pay (PT’s pay rent to gyms), and the flexibility means more clients can be taken on than with in person training. There are some very high priced ‘transformation’ coaches around, but I’ve yet to see one who can justify the thousands (literally) they command each month. Personally I see this as an opportunity to pass those benefits on to you by being able to charge a much more reasonable monthly price while still getting you to reach your goals.

 

No one else to judge

A strange concept people have is that they have to ‘get fit’ before they can go to the gym. Isn’t this what exercising is supposed to do, not the other way round? But it really stems from insecurities, a fear of being judged by others further along the health/weight/fitness goal path than you. Never should you be made to feel insecure stepping into any fitness facility, it’s unacceptable. However sometimes these insecurities come from within our own head, and while this needs to be challenged, training at home gets round this while still enabling you to make progress.

 

No one to hog the equipment

Applicable more to those who workout with big heavy weights or machines (and why else would you use a gym?), imagine having a plan, workout template, your preferred workout to do, all prepped and ready, only to find that the local college are teaching their trainee PT’s that day, there’s a special offer on to use the gym, and half the machines are ‘out of order’. Your home is your private gym, and equipment based workouts can easily be switched for effective and select body weight exercises in most cases, especially if your goal is simply to lose weight and tone up (which is most Mums’ goal).

 

Flexible

No one plan suits everyone. No timescale is right for every person. You go on holiday, change jobs, have sick children, move house. Having a strict meal and workout plan won’t work in these circumstances. Paid for three times a week training but need to take the dog to the vet that morning? You won’t likely get a refund. But with online training that’s fine – just fit it in when it’s a better time for you; when you get home from the appointment, in your hotel room, before the school run, heck even at 2am if you want to (night shift workers?!).

 

Accountability

You can’t see an in person trainer at all hours, every day. They have other clients to train, inflexible schedules to stick to, places to be. While this is still partly true for online coaches – I still have work to do – the flexibility means I can stay in touch with clients whenever they need me, and technology makes keeping in touch with many people in less time possible. For you this means you don’t get forgotten, and likewise the regular contact keeps you on track and accountable, so you’re less likely to deviate from what you need to be doing.

 

Upskilling

Let’s get this straight – with any trainer, on or offline, you’re not paying for information. We have information overload in the form of the internet. What you get with a good coach is relevant, informed, personalised information that is applicable to you. Understanding why your coach is telling you certain things makes you more likely to agree and follow through with instructions, which in turn will, you guessed it, get you closer to your goals, in less time. Never is delivery of information easier than online, where articles and links to specific information are just a click away and can be sent to you in seconds.

 

Monitoring Progress

Like benefits of flexibility and accountability in points 5 and 6, adjusting and tweaking your plan is important to make sure it a) is working and b) works within your life and circumstances. This is much easier if you have resources and contact with your trainer to help you tweak as and when necessary, rather than having to wait until you next see them.

 

Understanding

While a concern might be that a coach you’ve never met won’t fully understand you, this couldn’t be further than the truth. Not only do platforms like Facebook mean that people put much of their life online anyway, but the regular contact and community created between myself and all my clients mean we get to know each other far better than if we only saw each other a couple of times a week. I’ve formed fantastic bonds with many of my clients, and this understanding means I can better determine exactly what they need from me at any given time.

 

Super Effective

If you thought exercising at home wasn’t as effective as going to the gym or a class, then you’ve clearly not yet seen or experienced the results that my clients, with the right type of training, are getting. In fact home workouts are the only thing I’ve ever done since having children (my eldest daughter Aurora is now 8!). Following along to a DVD is an option, but it’s a stab in the dark since it might not be right for you, and you obviously don’t get the support, accountability and help with other things like diet and meal planning that you do with a coach.

 

 

For the busy Mum  who wants to lose weight and tone up but either can’t get to the gym, or isn’t getting the results you hoped for, online training is an option that’s flexible enough to fit into your crazy Mum-life while still getting you the body and body confidence you want.

01Feb/17

Ann Summers founder loves The Fit Mum Formula

Ann Summers and I have something in common, and no it’s not about sex burning calories.

 

We’re both here to boost your confidence, and in ways that are much more interrelated than you might think!

 

Lingerie store Ann Summers was founded in 1972 and later taken over by it’s current CEO Jacqueline Gold, who is passionate about women’s rights, equality and empowerment both in the boardroom and the bedroom, supporting a number of female business initiatives and charities alongside her work.

 

Read this too – Fitness Fanatics Have Higher Sex Drives

 

Body Confidence is something that unfortunately so many women are lacking, and it’s not always about body size.

 

When you look after your body, treat it well, nourish it and train it to be strong and healthy, the weight will take care of itself, but you’ll also feel a sense of achievement and pride that no quick fix detox can ever give you.

You’ll also have more energy, better mental health and mood, and a better hormone profile which means yes, a higher sex drive too.

It’s a whole body and mind transformation, which gives you the confidence to be yourself and have pride in the body you have.

Here’s my story of why I decided to help Mums like you:

Like many women entrepreneurs my business stemmed from not wanting to go back to full time employment after having children.  I had no way of channelling my drive and passions and wanted something that was ‘me’ outside of washing and toddler groups. The Fit Mum Formula was launched in 2013 when my younger daughter was just 7 months old, and never for a moment did I imagine it would grow to be as big as it is now.

I’m actually still primarily a stay at home Mum, since Bella is only in nursery three mornings.  That’s very much why my business is a membership site with members paying on a monthly ongoing basis until they are confident enough to trust themselves to eat well and exercise without me looking over their shoulder! The portal can be accessed anytime, 24/7, and members get support from me through a private Facebook group, meaning it fits around their personal lives and schedules as well as mine. 

Many years ago, and before children, I was a dancer, as well as a beauty and holistic therapist and nutritionist at a 5 star spa.  I’ve always loved health, fitness and wellness, and I realised once I had babies that there was sadly virtually no resources and support for Mums like myself who couldn’t find the time or childcare to go to the gym, and that most diets were unsustainable, unhealthy, and incompatible with family life and meals.

My entire ethos is that everything I do, say and encourage has to be totally doable and realistic for even the most time poor, sleep deprived Mum. This is whilst giving them maximum energy, minimising hunger, creating long lasting healthier habits, and of course giving them back their body and their body confidence!

Since I won #WOW in February 2014 The Fit Mum Formula seems to be becoming a bit of a household name!  I’m regularly featured in National magazines, newspapers, radio and was even invited to talk on Sky News. It’s fantastic as I want to help as many Mums as possible, so media helps me to reach Mums who need me. I love seeing the new WOW winners every week, I always give them a welcome, and have discovered some fantastic women, companies and products as well as joint ventures such as cross promotion and blog swaps. 

For me, the biggest challenge has been time – the business grew unexpectedly fast yet I still didn’t want to put the kids into full time childcare; I love being a Mum too much. However Bella starts school this year so I’ll be ramping up my intake of Mums as I’ll have more time to serve them.

To me being a female among the entrepreneurial world of men doesn’t bother me. I’ll do what I want to do regardless of what anyone else says or thinks, a personality trait that’s got me into trouble but serves me just as well! If there’s one thing I know for sure though from being a health professional, it’s that a strong body and a strong mind go hand in hand.

24Dec/16
theo dragons den sbs

Dragon’s Den TV Celeb Award!

When you’re picked up on by a Dragon’s Den investor you know you’re onto a good thing…

Entrepeneur Theo Paphitis awarded The Fit Mum Formula his #SBS (Small Business Sunday) Award on Monday 19th December, making me the final winner of 2016.

 

Talk about ending the year on a bang!

Don’t be mislead by the ‘small’ in #SBS – The army of loyal Mums following The Fit Mum Formula astounds even me,

It’s actually that I’m actually a Mums just like you, I just happen to be running my own fitness & nutrition business and am pretty good at helping Mums like you look and feel their best, even when Mum-life makes that really challenging.

The award will provide publicity and help me reach more Mums like you who need my help.

But BBC Dragon’s Den investor Theo doesn’t choose his winners lightly and it’s because of loyal followers like you that I caught his eye.

So thank you!

I do this for you and will continue to help Mums lose weight and get their body confidence back for as long as you need me!

My profile will be featured on Theo’s website here.

Once again thank you for all your loyal support and here’s to a healthy 2017!

16May/16
Ben Settle

On The World Famous Ben Settle Show!

When you get asked to speak on the Ben Settle Show – he of email marketing expertise and king of ’email every day’ sales techniques, you don’t say no!

Ben Settle

Ok so I wasn’t actually interviewed it was a testimonial, but still, with hundreds of thousands of listeners hearing my testimonial and being told my www.thefitmumformula.com website URL, it’s pretty good exposure if you ask me.

But I would have done it anyway – Ben is an awesome dude who I’ve learned a lot from and was honoured to spend two days with at the Biz n’ Brewz marketing event in Portland, Oregon, in March 2016.

It was a bit of marketing and seminars, a lot of fun and partying – check out my video diary here!

Anyway here’s the short but significant testimonial that will be featured on Ben’s infamous podcast: