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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

HCM People: Vern HillFounder, Carifit

Our free online membership, Carifit 4 All, was designed to help mothers get back into fitness and is now listed in the Royal College of GP’s Clinical Lifestyle Toolkit

Published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 2
Hill worked as a PT at his ‘mum-focused gym’ in London before launching Carifit
Hill worked as a PT at his ‘mum-focused gym’ in London before launching Carifit
There was no such thing as a babywearing workout when we started Carifit and in truth, there is no one doing what we are doing, even to this day

Tell us about Carifit
It was the first babywearing workout. Mums get all the benefits of a real workout from qualified babywearing and postnatal experts that understand postnatal biomechanics and the physiological recovery of new mums.

We’re proud that Carifit provides a powerful moment in time that can’t be recreated elsewhere. Being able to work out with your baby is an incredibly special experience and really helps to create a stronger bond with your baby in the postpartum period.

The classes or workouts haven’t been modified from another type of workout or class, they’ve been created, tailored and geared towards new mums.

What makes it special is the effort, care and attention to detail we put into creating the workouts, so every aspect is as special as it is achievable.

This ranges from us being qualified in babywearing, to the way we create music with an infant audiologist and interlace sensory sounds into our live classes, to the level of connection and interaction we create for new mothers.

Where did the idea come from?
I’ve been a PT for 20 years and for the large majority of that time I’ve been pre- and post-natal focused.

I had a gym in Wandsworth that delivered pre-and post-natal fitness and a big part of that was that mums could bring their babies to the sessions. I ended up ‘wearing’ my clients’ babies while demonstrating the exercises, which led to the nickname ‘The Baby Man’.

We noticed the babies were much happier, more engaged, content and less inclined to interrupt their mum working out while I was wearing them and that the sessions were calmer, less interrupted, less stressful, and more productive!

This was my lightbulb moment and I decided to create Carifit babywearing workouts.

It took off and now over 20,000 women have transformed their confidence, energy, fitness and postnatal bodies.

How has it developed?
I had to become acquainted with the world of babywearing. My wife and I had our first child by this point, but I wanted to go deeper into the knowledge – for example, establishing what makes a baby comfortable in a carrier, how to optimise the carrier for the baby and mum’s comfort, the developmental benefits for the baby and the mental health benefits for mums.

We built out the team, brought in a babywearing consultant who we learned from and who helped create video modules and tutorials for every age and stage of babywearing.

Over the course of five years (prior to lockdown), we were delivering 120 live, in-person classes in and around London via a team of accredited trainers. We’ve also developed a three-day course for teachers and trainers to develop their skills and become experts in postnatal fitness, babywearing and the Carifit methodology.

We provide an online offering which includes a postnatal care package with medical, physio, babywearing and mental health modules. The online platform was created so Carifit workouts could be accessible anywhere in the world and over the last year has seen a surge in members.

What are your goals?
For every mum in the world to know about Carifit and have access to it, either through our paid-for membership or through our free online classes.

Our free online membership, Carifit 4 All, was designed to help new mothers get back into fitness and is now listed in the Royal College of GP’s Clinical Lifestyle Toolkit, alongside schemes such as Park Run and Couch to 5K.

The goal now is to raise awareness of our free tools and resources through a network of GPs. And once we’re back to teaching live, getting as many passionate, qualified, postnatal fitness professionals as possible to train up and teach Carifit.

How did the Royal College of GPs link happen?
After providing them with scientific research, which Carifit conducted independently with Dr Lucy Gore, on the scientific benefits of babywearing workouts on the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of new mothers, they listed Carifit within their directory.

Ever since, we’ve had a multitude of GP recommendations of the Carifit 4 All scheme, and at the moment, due to COVID-19 with GPs and new mums having to do their six-week checks remotely, they’re leaning on Carifit and signposting it for new mums looking to start their postnatal fitness journey.

How can it be evolved?
Our reliance on keeping the programming fresh is a lot less than most fitness programmes because our audience is always fresh.

We typically work with mums for around 6-12 months, so we don’t constantly need to re-invent classes, because the biomechanics and process of restoring the postnatal body doesn’t change.

We programme our workouts based on the physiological challenges of parenting a new baby, for example, will the workouts make life easier for a new mum? Will these workouts protect their body from the common aches and pains new mums experience?

We work with a wonderful physio, Lucy Allen, and a team of medics to make sure Carifit is medically underpinned.

What are the challenges?
Understanding the postnatal population, the challenges they face and the directions they’re being pulled in as new mums and supporting them so the outcome is beneficial to mum and baby’s mental health, physical recovery, and emotional wellbeing.

Helping them understand the process their body has been through and the journey it’s now on in order to get back to full strength and fitness.

We live in an age of comparison culture and new mums are faced with a bombardment of information, bodies and different people going through their own postnatal journeys. If we can free people from this by helping them to stop comparing themselves to others and start enjoying the process, their outcomes will always be better.

How do you ensure their anatomical and physiological wellbeing?
We work around all the specific programming concerns you’d apply for any postnatal client – low impact, core activation, appropriate breathing, good posture and good alignment.

We also make sure the babywearing aspect is spot on, as learning how to use a baby carrier for fitness is just as important as learning the right technique for lifting a barbell.

How have you built the Carifit community?
We didn’t have social media when we started Carifit and built it through sheer hard work and founder-led learning.

Mums love to talk and share their experiences of parenting and we’re fortunate that most people who encounter Carifit talk about it favourably.

These days we share a lot of user-generated content. It’s all about the incredible mums we work with who are actually doing the workouts and we want to share their amazing achievements.

We provide a safe space where new mothers are treated with care, which is really important, as they’re often in a more vulnerable state and it might be their first time back to a fitness class.

Do you see babywearing workouts as a growing trend?
Babywearing workouts are here to stay. One of our great differentiators is that we’ve built a whole business around them. We’re not a studio incorporating it into our schedule once a week. We live and breathe babywearing workouts and are continually collaborating with experts in the field.

There was no such thing as a babywearing workout when we started Carifit and in truth, there is no one doing what we are doing, even to this day.

Do you have evidence of efficacy?
Following our independent evaluation with Dr Lucy Gore, Lucy Allen’s study showed there was a statistically significant difference in the postnatal depression scores of new mums, in their pelvic floor recovery and in their bonding score with their baby.

How many active clients do you have at any one time?
Prior to lockdown, we had around 1,000 women per month at live classes. We have up to 5,000 new mums working out through the paid online platform, which starts at £25/month and free Carifit 4 All membership.
Our live classes on YouTube have received 600,000 watch minutes since lockdown started.

Is there a retail operation?
We partner with Ergobaby, the biggest babywearing brand in the world.
And a social dimension?

Absolutely. Our online and Facebook community is wonderful for new mums. We offer meaningful and impactful support and guidance and it’s a great way for new mums to form friendships.

When it comes to live classes, mums always stay and chat afterwards, forming really wonderful bonds with other mothers.

How has the pandemic hit this market?
As we had an online offering, we’ve always been able to offer ongoing support. We also have a waiting list for live classes when they restart. Parenting has been massively challenging through lockdown and Carifit offers an online space for new mums to feel ‘normal’ when not much else feels so in the current climate.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
The sessions are designed together with physiotherapist Lucy Allen and a team of babywearing experts
The sessions are designed together with physiotherapist Lucy Allen and a team of babywearing experts
The group currently has up to 5,000 mums using the paid online platform
The group currently has up to 5,000 mums using the paid online platform
The sessions have been evaluated by Dr Lucy Gore
The sessions have been evaluated by Dr Lucy Gore
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/93666_674228.jpg
Babywearing workouts help new mothers regain strength and confidence, says Vern Hill, the founder of Carifit
Vern Hill, Carifit, ,babywearing fitness, mums fitness, workout with baby
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features

HCM People: Vern HillFounder, Carifit

Our free online membership, Carifit 4 All, was designed to help mothers get back into fitness and is now listed in the Royal College of GP’s Clinical Lifestyle Toolkit

Published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 2
Hill worked as a PT at his ‘mum-focused gym’ in London before launching Carifit
Hill worked as a PT at his ‘mum-focused gym’ in London before launching Carifit
There was no such thing as a babywearing workout when we started Carifit and in truth, there is no one doing what we are doing, even to this day

Tell us about Carifit
It was the first babywearing workout. Mums get all the benefits of a real workout from qualified babywearing and postnatal experts that understand postnatal biomechanics and the physiological recovery of new mums.

We’re proud that Carifit provides a powerful moment in time that can’t be recreated elsewhere. Being able to work out with your baby is an incredibly special experience and really helps to create a stronger bond with your baby in the postpartum period.

The classes or workouts haven’t been modified from another type of workout or class, they’ve been created, tailored and geared towards new mums.

What makes it special is the effort, care and attention to detail we put into creating the workouts, so every aspect is as special as it is achievable.

This ranges from us being qualified in babywearing, to the way we create music with an infant audiologist and interlace sensory sounds into our live classes, to the level of connection and interaction we create for new mothers.

Where did the idea come from?
I’ve been a PT for 20 years and for the large majority of that time I’ve been pre- and post-natal focused.

I had a gym in Wandsworth that delivered pre-and post-natal fitness and a big part of that was that mums could bring their babies to the sessions. I ended up ‘wearing’ my clients’ babies while demonstrating the exercises, which led to the nickname ‘The Baby Man’.

We noticed the babies were much happier, more engaged, content and less inclined to interrupt their mum working out while I was wearing them and that the sessions were calmer, less interrupted, less stressful, and more productive!

This was my lightbulb moment and I decided to create Carifit babywearing workouts.

It took off and now over 20,000 women have transformed their confidence, energy, fitness and postnatal bodies.

How has it developed?
I had to become acquainted with the world of babywearing. My wife and I had our first child by this point, but I wanted to go deeper into the knowledge – for example, establishing what makes a baby comfortable in a carrier, how to optimise the carrier for the baby and mum’s comfort, the developmental benefits for the baby and the mental health benefits for mums.

We built out the team, brought in a babywearing consultant who we learned from and who helped create video modules and tutorials for every age and stage of babywearing.

Over the course of five years (prior to lockdown), we were delivering 120 live, in-person classes in and around London via a team of accredited trainers. We’ve also developed a three-day course for teachers and trainers to develop their skills and become experts in postnatal fitness, babywearing and the Carifit methodology.

We provide an online offering which includes a postnatal care package with medical, physio, babywearing and mental health modules. The online platform was created so Carifit workouts could be accessible anywhere in the world and over the last year has seen a surge in members.

What are your goals?
For every mum in the world to know about Carifit and have access to it, either through our paid-for membership or through our free online classes.

Our free online membership, Carifit 4 All, was designed to help new mothers get back into fitness and is now listed in the Royal College of GP’s Clinical Lifestyle Toolkit, alongside schemes such as Park Run and Couch to 5K.

The goal now is to raise awareness of our free tools and resources through a network of GPs. And once we’re back to teaching live, getting as many passionate, qualified, postnatal fitness professionals as possible to train up and teach Carifit.

How did the Royal College of GPs link happen?
After providing them with scientific research, which Carifit conducted independently with Dr Lucy Gore, on the scientific benefits of babywearing workouts on the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of new mothers, they listed Carifit within their directory.

Ever since, we’ve had a multitude of GP recommendations of the Carifit 4 All scheme, and at the moment, due to COVID-19 with GPs and new mums having to do their six-week checks remotely, they’re leaning on Carifit and signposting it for new mums looking to start their postnatal fitness journey.

How can it be evolved?
Our reliance on keeping the programming fresh is a lot less than most fitness programmes because our audience is always fresh.

We typically work with mums for around 6-12 months, so we don’t constantly need to re-invent classes, because the biomechanics and process of restoring the postnatal body doesn’t change.

We programme our workouts based on the physiological challenges of parenting a new baby, for example, will the workouts make life easier for a new mum? Will these workouts protect their body from the common aches and pains new mums experience?

We work with a wonderful physio, Lucy Allen, and a team of medics to make sure Carifit is medically underpinned.

What are the challenges?
Understanding the postnatal population, the challenges they face and the directions they’re being pulled in as new mums and supporting them so the outcome is beneficial to mum and baby’s mental health, physical recovery, and emotional wellbeing.

Helping them understand the process their body has been through and the journey it’s now on in order to get back to full strength and fitness.

We live in an age of comparison culture and new mums are faced with a bombardment of information, bodies and different people going through their own postnatal journeys. If we can free people from this by helping them to stop comparing themselves to others and start enjoying the process, their outcomes will always be better.

How do you ensure their anatomical and physiological wellbeing?
We work around all the specific programming concerns you’d apply for any postnatal client – low impact, core activation, appropriate breathing, good posture and good alignment.

We also make sure the babywearing aspect is spot on, as learning how to use a baby carrier for fitness is just as important as learning the right technique for lifting a barbell.

How have you built the Carifit community?
We didn’t have social media when we started Carifit and built it through sheer hard work and founder-led learning.

Mums love to talk and share their experiences of parenting and we’re fortunate that most people who encounter Carifit talk about it favourably.

These days we share a lot of user-generated content. It’s all about the incredible mums we work with who are actually doing the workouts and we want to share their amazing achievements.

We provide a safe space where new mothers are treated with care, which is really important, as they’re often in a more vulnerable state and it might be their first time back to a fitness class.

Do you see babywearing workouts as a growing trend?
Babywearing workouts are here to stay. One of our great differentiators is that we’ve built a whole business around them. We’re not a studio incorporating it into our schedule once a week. We live and breathe babywearing workouts and are continually collaborating with experts in the field.

There was no such thing as a babywearing workout when we started Carifit and in truth, there is no one doing what we are doing, even to this day.

Do you have evidence of efficacy?
Following our independent evaluation with Dr Lucy Gore, Lucy Allen’s study showed there was a statistically significant difference in the postnatal depression scores of new mums, in their pelvic floor recovery and in their bonding score with their baby.

How many active clients do you have at any one time?
Prior to lockdown, we had around 1,000 women per month at live classes. We have up to 5,000 new mums working out through the paid online platform, which starts at £25/month and free Carifit 4 All membership.
Our live classes on YouTube have received 600,000 watch minutes since lockdown started.

Is there a retail operation?
We partner with Ergobaby, the biggest babywearing brand in the world.
And a social dimension?

Absolutely. Our online and Facebook community is wonderful for new mums. We offer meaningful and impactful support and guidance and it’s a great way for new mums to form friendships.

When it comes to live classes, mums always stay and chat afterwards, forming really wonderful bonds with other mothers.

How has the pandemic hit this market?
As we had an online offering, we’ve always been able to offer ongoing support. We also have a waiting list for live classes when they restart. Parenting has been massively challenging through lockdown and Carifit offers an online space for new mums to feel ‘normal’ when not much else feels so in the current climate.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
The sessions are designed together with physiotherapist Lucy Allen and a team of babywearing experts
The sessions are designed together with physiotherapist Lucy Allen and a team of babywearing experts
The group currently has up to 5,000 mums using the paid online platform
The group currently has up to 5,000 mums using the paid online platform
The sessions have been evaluated by Dr Lucy Gore
The sessions have been evaluated by Dr Lucy Gore
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/93666_674228.jpg
Babywearing workouts help new mothers regain strength and confidence, says Vern Hill, the founder of Carifit
Vern Hill, Carifit, ,babywearing fitness, mums fitness, workout with baby
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Click on a catalogue to view it online
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Diary dates
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Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
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Online,
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-04 Jul 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
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Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2021
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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