From starting BodE in lockdown to managing stress and a busy schedule, talented and inspiring Elena Pappas gives us some valuable tips on how moms can fit a workout into a busy day while being a momtrepreneur.
DIFRAX: Tell us a bit about yourself as a Fitness Instructor and Health Science Graduate, and how you came to start BodE?
ELENA: My goal was always to become a medical doctor just like my dad, so I started off with my Health Science Degree in Public Health, but things ended up going in a completely different direction when I moved to Cape Town. Fast forward a few years and here I am, still somewhat in the health industry as I always hoped, but in a totally different way. BodE was born during lockdown when all we had was online workouts to keep us moving. During that time, I also had the opportunity to complete my fitness instructor course, and I started off by doing a couple of Instagram workouts which people really enjoyed. From there I had my website built and slowly started to grow and evolve to where I am now, which is an online platform and mobile app that has five different trainers as well as a nutrition team. The way that BodE has helped and inspired others is what drives and fulfils me, so I may not have become a medical doctor, but I still get to change lives one way or another. That’s good enough for me!
DIFRAX: As a business owner and mother, what does a typical day look like for you from start to finish, and how do you manage to balance your schedule with family time?
ELENA: I definitely do struggle to juggle everything, and I often find myself becoming really anxious and stressed about how much I need to get through, but I am definitely starting to manage my time better. We have an incredible nanny who helps out twice a week, so those are my days to film and edit workouts, and to complete all my admin. On the days she is not around, I am in mom mode, which involves playing with Ethan most of the day. When he naps I try to squeeze in a workout, some admin or just getting things done around the house. I don’t really get much time to chill, but I am really blessed to be able to have my own business and to work from home, so I really can’t complain. I absolutely love what I do, but I also love being a mom and being with my son, so I try my best to find a good balance.
DIFRAX: What are some of the obstacles that pregnant and postpartum moms encounter when getting motivated to work out and trying to maintain a balance?
ELENA: I think the two biggest obstacles are time management and exhaustion! I speak from experience when I say that trying to find the time to train when you have a baby or when you’ve hardly slept is almost impossible. The same goes for the fatigue you feel when you are pregnant, but I can also say that I have NEVER regretted a workout, so you really need to dig deep and find that motivation, because you always feel fantastic afterwards. BodE workouts are designed to be short & effective, so they are easy to fit into any type of schedule. As a mom, I don’t have enough time to get ready for gym, drive to gym, do a workout and then still drive home. With BodE, I can do all of that in under 45 minutes in the comfort of my own home. What more could one ask for?
DIFRAX: We’ve seen a rise in popularity of home workouts since the pandemic started, offering a safe and accessible way to exercise and stay fit from home. What benefits does this offer stay-at-home moms or moms on maternity leave?
ELENA: The beauty of online workouts is that they offer one the ability to train while still being at home with their little one. Most moms aren’t able to go to the gym and leave their baby at home alone, so why not wait until he/she takes a nap, or even when awake, they can safely play with their toys right next to you while you get your workout in. Another factor is self-confidence. The last thing a pregnant or postpartum mamma wants to do is step into a gym full of people. Half the time you are in pajamas and you haven’t even brushed your teeth… absolutely suitable for home workouts! If working out is a hassle, then most mammas won’t do it, so my aim is to make exercise as fun, convenient, accessible and affordable as possible.
DIFRAX: We see you offer both BodE Bump and BodE Postpartum packages for moms. How do these workouts focus specifically on pregnant and postpartum moms?
ELENA: The pregnancy safe workouts are a bit of everything, so the library has a combination of Pilates, Barre, Yoga and my workouts. They are all pregnancy safe and low impact, and there are three difficulty levels for members to choose from. For the Postpartum library, I have an incredible trainer based in Johannesburg who specialises in pre and postnatal movement, and we have structured the library into a 17 week program for postpartum mammas to work through. I did the program myself after having Ethan, and I can safely say it is highly effective and extremely enjoyable. It’s the perfect way to ease back into exercise, because it builds up in difficulty as you progress through the library, with a specific focus on core connection which is something that so many women forget about when it comes to postpartum training. Exercise during and after pregnancy is really important, and having been there myself, I really want to ensure that I can offer women a safe, effective platform to use throughout their motherhood journey.