Bianca Oppel might seem like another pretty face, but this mommy proves that dynamite indeed comes in small packages. Not only is she a Master Mat Work, Reformer and Pregnancy Pilates instructor, she is the doting mama to 8 month old Paxton, the cutest baby in the world, I might add.
∇ Tell us about your family
My family consists of my Hubby, Paxton (son), Spencer (dog) and Felix (cat).
∇ How did you become a Pilates instructor and eventually the owner of Mint Pilates?
I was born with double hip dysplasia. When I was studying at The Cape Academy of Performing Arts all the hours dancing led to constant inflammation in my hip joints, lower back and knees. The physio at the Sports Science Institute suggested Pilates. I discovered Body Control Pilates through my “hip rehab”. The technique worked so well for my hips and spine that I decided then to do the course. I started my own studio after completing my course.
∇ What is the hardest part of juggling a career and family?
My time management skills have improved substantially since having a baby, but I would say the most challenging thing would be saying goodbye to my little angel every morning.
∇ Do you do Pilates with Pax? What are the benefits?
When Pax was younger and less mobile we would exercise together a lot. Now that he is crawling he only allows my to use him during my exercise for up to 20 minutes. Sometimes their bodies get sore being handled longer than that so I include a walk with him in the pram or on cooler days I will put him in his pouch. The benefits include: special bonding time, establishing good habits and routines, setting a good example, improved strength for you and your baby.
∇ Why should preggy moms try Pilates?
Pilates is always a good form of exercise for anyone wanting to promote joint longevity, strength and good alignment. All of these things are very important to keep you comfortable during your pregnancy and to ensure that you regain your strength post-pregnancy.
∇ Did you decide to know your baby’s gender beforehand?
I couldn’t contain my excitement and had to know everything about anything that had to do with pregnancy and the baby and how my baby was developing. Next time I might choose to wait for my surprise!
∇ What is your secret to balancing life and a baby?
My secret combination is good routine for you and baby, my best friend “TEX the nanny”, a hands-on hubby and just a good family infrastructure in general. I would say in the absence of any of these things – a routine might be the absolute best bet to maintaining your sanity and productivity. My routine is like my “life–line” and I strongly believe that even in the event of something spontaneous happening you are still better equipped to handle stress. Every Sunday I take an hour or so to organise my diary, teaching schedule, shopping lists, any extra activities etc… I make sure the Nanny and Husband are on board with meals, any routine changes and or events that take place.
⊕ Baby product: Pampers and Bebe comfort (their products are simple, stylish and easy to use)
⊕ Baby clothing: Sticky-Fudge, although the budget doesn’t always allow
⊕ Baby snack: dried mango strips and multi seed rusks
⊕ Outdoor activity: hiking
⊕ Family friendly restaurant: Route 44 – Audacia and Blaawklippen are the best combination of an outdoor picnic as well as a variety of food choices. We’re not big on restaurants with little ones.
⊕ Weekend getaway: We have only been to a beautiful Guest farm in Ladysmith called Oakrest. This guest house is suitable for a big or small family. It has access to many different hiking trails, a large dam and a huge family braai area!
© Photographer: Lindie Meyer
The wonderful peeps from Maaji sent us some beautiful clothing for a Pilates inspired shoot (coming soon!) The Colombian brand, Maaji, is famous for their swimwear, but recently launched this colourful equestrian inspired range of fitness attire.
The Studio Collection boasts an eclectic range of feminine silhouettes including athletic tops, dazzling leotards, sports bras, and figure fitting yoga pants as well as eye-catching shorts and capri-style pants. Mix and match prints in Nylon and Lycra blends ensure that garments work equally as efficiently both in and out of the water. The Maaji Studio Collection starts from R999 for sports bras, R1099 for tank tops, R1199 for yoga pants, R1399 for capri’s and R1699 for body suits.
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