How Mum Claire Got Back in Incredible Shape Post-Surgery

It can be a real challenge getting back in shape after having children.

But for busy working mum-of-two Claire it was even tougher after she underwent major surgery following the birth of her second child.

Surgery left Claire unable to exercise and even perform basic tasks for nearly a year while she underwent intensive rehabilitation physiotherapy.

Surgeons told 36-year-old Claire that she would not be able to lift weights or go near the gym after the operation – saying that a life of swimming would now be her only keep-fit option.

But with just 20-weeks working under the world-class PTs at Ultimate Performance and Claire confounded doctors to safely get in the best shape of her life.

With a structured training and nutrition plan she lost 7kg, shed 40% of her body fat from 23% down to a lean 14% and lost 9cm off her waist.


“Having undergone major surgery in February 2016 and rehabilitation physiotherapy for 10 months after, I can honestly say that my expectations were pretty understated in terms of a physical/aesthetic change,” Claire says about taking the decision to start training and getting fit again.

“My surgeon had warned me off using weights and painted a life of swimming as my only means of physical exercise which doesn’t motivate or inspire me.”

Claire had been fit and active before her second pregnancy and loved to train with weights, so it was an incredibly tough time for her faced with the prospect of not being able to train again after the abdominal surgery.

“Post-surgery, I hadn’t done any exercise for 10 months, and as a physically active person, I was feeling frustrated,” she explains.

“I have always had an active lifestyle and attended a gym regularly, and weight training was part of that. 

“I was looking for a trainer to help me get ‘back’ to where I was pre-surgery, but more specifically, help me redeem my strength and confidence in the gym.”


Claire says it was quite a vulnerable time for her as she was recovering from surgery but wanting to start getting back in shape. 

“I was navigating my way through the delicate balance of wanting to push my body to gain strength and confidence, without damaging or setting back my recovery and hurting myself. 

“By the time I re-joined UP In November, I was ready to focus on getting stronger again and testing/moving my body to see if it could perform in the way it had previously.”

But she made a choice to come and train with the team at Ultimate Performance to get help her on the road to recovery.

Despite her modest expectations, the bespoke training and nutrition plan created by her UP trainer helped Claire get in truly incredible shape – something she thought would be impossible after her operation.

Going from being unable to sit up out of bed, to lifting heavy weights and sculpting a stunning new figure in 20-weeks is testament to what can be achieved.


“I have absolutely loved the training,” Claire says. “I have trained three times a week, which is more than enough with a full time and hectic working and home life. 

“Every session and every week I am tested and pushed. It is hard and very demanding, but so incredibly rewarding. The stronger I got though, it never seemed to get any easier. The discipline of training and achieving new personal bests I find totally addictive.”

One thing she credits for helping her achieve her amazing transformation is the help and commitment of her UP personal trainer Tony.

From modifying exercises to make training safe, to helping rebuild her confidence and even get her doing sit-ups again post-op, she speaks in glowing terms about UP’s world-leading PTs.

“My trainer Tony Folland has been just amazing. His commitment, rigour, support and reassurance has helped me regain my confidence in the gym and allowed me to achieve a new height of personal bests. 

“He is also very nifty at bespoking almost all of the gym equipment for me, given I’m vertically challenged at only 5ft 3ins! 

“We have a very strong client/trainer relationship, and I’m incredibly grateful to him for all his help and support the last few months, we have made a great team.”

She says her results after 20 weeks training with UP were better than anything she thought possible.

“While I’m both leaner and far stronger than I have ever been, my biggest achievement is that I can now curl up from laying on a workout bench without having to roll sideways to stand up! 

“I have also incorporated some weighted crunches into my training, again, something I thought I would never be able to do or feel comfortable doing after my surgery.”

Claire has also developed some solid, lifelong knowledge to help keep her in peak physical condition for many years to come.

“I’ve learnt a huge amount about the science behind nutrition and flexible dieting and now know what a macro actually is! 

“I know how to navigate my way around a gym and most importantly that weights won’t bulk me up. 

“My trainer’s taught me the art of perfect form and keeping tension in the muscles I want to train; he also taught me that if I’m not slightly scared before I squat then it’s probably not heavy enough!”

If you’re inspired by Claire’s transformation and are ready for incredible results of your own, speak to us about our UP Personal Training Plans