Erin McNaught: With the second pregnancy and birth I actually was in better shape than the first time
Instagram model and mother-of-two Erin McNaught speaks to Liz Connor about her love for HIIT workouts
With two children, 170,000 Instagram followers and a full-time modelling career, it’s a wonder Erin McNaught manages to fit it all in. The 36-year-old Aussie, who is married to musician Elliot Gleave (best known by his stage name, Example), has one of the most coveted physiques on social media, which is no small feat when you consider that she gave birth to her second son, Ennio, in September last year (the couple also have three-and-a-half-year-old Evander).
Here, McNaught tells us about her fitness routine, post-pregnancy body, and how she fuels her weekly workouts...
How do you keep your amazing figure?
People want to know if there’s a quick way to do it, but the truth is that it’s probably a combination of a lot of different things. I’ve always been really into health and fitness. I raced mountain bikes for about 15 years competitively, so I’ve always had really strong willpower when it comes to working out.
I really enjoy the buzz I get from doing an intense workout and I’m not one of those people who goes to the gym and just does 10 minutes on the treadmill. When I go to the gym, I really go.
I eat pretty well and I think a lot of staying in shape during pregnancy is in not succumbing to the whole ‘I’m eating for two’ mentality. That’s completely untrue — you don’t need all of those extra calories during the first trimester. For me, it’s all about being educated on health and fitness.
Do you go to the gym every day?
No. With two children, I’m lucky if I get to go two times a week at the moment, but I’m always outdoors when it’s not raining. I’ve got a double pram, which is quite handy because it means I can go for really long walks with my two boys. It’s great because I really like to keep active throughout the day.
What are your favourite types of exercise to do?
I pretty much only do high-intensity (HIIT) exercise. Some days I do HIIT for 15 or 20 minutes. Other days I’ll still do high-intensity workouts but with longer breaks in-between exercises. I’ll never do more than 30 or 40 minutes at the gym through.
People were really in awe of your post-baby selfie on Instagram. How did you manage to get back in shape so soon after giving birth?
With the second pregnancy and birth, I actually was in better shape than the first time, and I can only credit that to the type of exercise I was doing while pregnant.
The first time, I was still working out a lot, but I was doing the wrong exercises core-wise. I found out later that they weren’t recommended in your second and third trimester.
I suffered with diastasis recti, a condition which means your abdominal muscles separate slightly.
During my second pregnancy,, however, I was really aware of the potential for it to worsen, so I did a lot of research into pre-natal core work and I definitely think that had a lot of impact.
I was still sort of squidgy afterwards, but I definitely felt a lot fitter than after my first pregnancy.
Is it hard juggling motherhood with staying fit?
It’s insanely hard. There are times where I haven’t been to the gym in two weeks. It’s not a nice feeling but, at the same time, you have to prioritise your kids and your family. I go to the gym as much for my own sanity as for my own health, but if your children are ill, you can’t just leave them to go to the gym for an hour. It’s a constant juggling act, but that’s life.
What’s your diet like?
I went dairy-free with both of my boys when I was breastfeeding because they both suffer with dairy intolerances. I don’t eat a lot of dairy now — mainly through habit — but I know it’s still important to get enough calcium elsewhere. Aside from that, I eat loads of salmon and chicken. I do eat red meat, but I try to limit it to once a week, but that’s more for ethical reasons. I still eat my fair share of junk food.
Do you and Example work out together?
No, we’re horrible together. We used to try to, but I’m too bossy. Whenever I go to the gym with my husband I’m always correcting him, saying things like, “Stick your bum out”, or, “Pull your chest in”. He hates it!
Do you take supplements?
I take pretty much every Link Nutrition supplement (linknutrition.com). They’re food-based so they don’t have synthetics, fillers, binders or anti-caking agents. I love the Beauty supplement (£24.95 for 60 capsules) for my skin, Symbiotic 7 (£19.95 for 30 capsules) for my gut, and Brain Food (21.95 for 60 capsules) for making me smarter! I think looking after your mind is so important.