How Dorothy the Dinosaur is helping mums get fit

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To many children and parents the country over, Dorothy the Dinosaur is a familiar figure. But behind the scenes and underneath all that green is someone adhering to a gruelling schedule and contributing to a successful team.

Four years ago, that person was Lauren Hannaford.

Now Lauren, who is also wife to "Red Wiggle" Simon, has launched her own training program for busy women FHIT by Lauren Hannaford.

Lauren Hannaford & Simon Pryce
Lauren Hannaford & Simon Pryce  Photo: Instagram: @lozhannaford

FHIT stands for Functional High Intensity Training and Lauren's program combines cardio, resistance, abdominals and mobility training in easy-to-follow 15 minute workout videos as part of a six week program.

Here the fitness expert and wife to Simon "Red Wiggle", tells Essential Kids about her experience and how it was the inspiration for her own fitness training schedules.

How long were you in the Wiggles?

All up, I was with the Wiggles for about four years.

How often were you performing?

It varied, but as an average we did about 350-400 shows in a year, and toured for 10 months out of 12.

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We toured all over the world. At the start of the year we'd tour Australia and regional Australia, and then we'd go to the UK, followed by America, Canada, New Zealand and then back to Australia. A couple of times we went to Dubai too, so I have a lot of stamps in my passport!

When we weren't doing shows we were filming and rehearsing.

Why did you decide to refine a special technique of training during this time?

Being on tour there was very limited downtime and, even though the shows were quite physical, I still needed time for me, to push myself and be in a good head space.

I have a background in gymnastics so was used to structured training times, and I also did body weight training and HIIT training. But once I was without a gym I had to work out how to train while on the road.

To what extent did your travels dictate that you needed a quick workout only?

I needed a quick high intensity training session that would keep me going for the day.

I had to develop something that I could do with limited time and space. I worked out in hotels, backstage in amongst the costumes, in the carpark and in the tour bus.

What inspired you to share your workouts with others?

During and after touring, I had so many mums and followers on social media writing to me and asking how to train. They could see how physically fit I was flipping around and they'd ask my advice, especially about working around the littles ones at home.

Because of that I put together a workout which came from experience of being time poor and created something that was adaptable for others in the same situation.

What kind of things does your workout incorporate?

The workout is all about high intensity exercises. There are your standard exercises, such as burpees, push-ups and lunge jumps.

The workouts are divided into four 15 minute workouts; cardio, resistance, abs and mobility.

The cardio and resistance training includes high intensity paced exercise, such as running on the spot and side shuttles. The abs and mobility are kind of inspired by the exercises that we would do as gymnasts to create the stabilising core and more active flexibility.

Every single workout is about building a strong stabilizing core and helping with functional movement and better postures.

Its only 15 minutes – is this enough?

Because it's high intensity, it's a quick and effective workout. It's been proven that HIIT style training has you burning more calories and keeps your metabolism burning even after a workout.

How suitable is your work out for busy mums? Why?

It's perfect for busy mums as it can be done while baby is napping or the kids are having some downtime.

A mum sent me a photo the other day of her doing a workout with the baby monitor on the computer screen. Another mum told me that she set up the kids to watch a movie while her and her hubby did the workout. She told me that they felt great and the kids hadn't even noticed they weren't here. That's exactly what it's about!

Would there be any alterations you would recommend to the workouts for mums?

In the members' area of the site there's a variations tab where you can watch videos of me doing each exercise, with 2-3 alternatives for those who need it.

I always say to try to do the full version first, but there are options for those who can't

Are there parts of the workout that mums could do with their kids?

I've seen on Instagram a baby lying on the map next to mum while she's doing the burpees. And other mums have written to me telling me that their kids have joined in running on the spot and jumping around, which is brilliant.

I didn't expect that to the be the case, so I'm pleasantly surprised that their kids have been doing it with them.

What are the benefits of this workout?

You'll feel great both mentally and physically and, by exercising, you're more likely to incorporate other healthy habits into your life.

What do you say to anyone who is skeptical of this?

I would say get in and give it a go because the program is very flexible. There's no contract and subscriptions can be cancelled anytime. So, you can just try it for a week and, if it doesn't work for you, you can go back to whatever you did before.

For me, I just want people to realise how much activity impacts on their brain health and self-esteem. I'm not tying anyone into anything for my own benefit.

For more information about FHIT by Lauren Hannaford visit www.laurenhannaford.com.au.