If you’re a female it’s likely that at some point you’ve felt the pressure to look or act a certain way.
There is an expectation that we should be beautiful, hairless, tall, slim and should act ‘like a lady’.
If you scroll through any social media feed or look at fashion and beauty adverts, you’re likely to see perfect pictures of photoshopped women.
This sets an unrealistic standard for many, especially the girls growing up in today’s society.
But one fitness guru from Plympton is teaching mothers to love their bodies and be proud of what they can do.
Jo Greer, mother to a six-year-old girl, is also ensuring they are teaching their children the right body-positive habits, despite what they may see on television.
The pole-dancing teacher and personal trainer has recently launched ‘Mighty Mums’, a programme to inspire and empower busy women who often put themselves “way down the bottom” of the priority list.
She opened her ‘women only’ fitness studio nine years ago and offers boot-camps, aerial fitness, pole dancing and personal training.
The 33-year-old has seen hundreds of women walk into her studio with no confidence whatsoever, but as they attend her sessions and mix with other “amazing women”, they grow to love their bodies.
She said: “When the girls start they look at the other women in the class and think, ‘Oh my God there’s no way I’d ever be able to do that’, but within weeks, they’re doing those crazy upside down moves.
“I think a lot of the girls start with zero confidence and not very much self-esteem. But then they go out thinking something really amazing about themselves, because of what they are able to achieve.”
Jo said she doesn’t know why the women don’t have much confidence, but that they don’t prioritise themselves as they should.
She said: “I don’t know why but I think a lot of women don’t have much confidence and they put themselves down in the list of priorities, especially the mums that we get in here.
“They feel bad for having an hour on themselves and I think it’s important; yes you’re a mum, but you’re also a woman and you need to look after yourself physically and mentally.
“I think being around a big group of amazing women does a lot for your confidence and self-esteem as well.”
She added that the confidence issues might be to do with the pressures on women to be a certain way – but she is teaching women that “they are a bit more important than just that”.
She said: “I saw an advert the other day for facial hair removal for women. If we aren’t tall enough and skinny enough, and hair-free on our legs, now we have to worry about our facial hair as well.
“It’s all about how we look, I do think there is a lot of pressure on women these days. I think it’s up to us to kind of stick together and show each other that we’re a bit more important than just that.”
Jo often exercises with her daughter, Willow, and believes that it is important that children see their parents happy in their own skin.
She said: “I think children will definitely imitate you more than they’ll listen to what you are saying.
“It’s all very well telling children to eat their veg and keep active, but if you’re sat at home eating rubbish and not looking after yourself, they’re going to copy that.
“Exercising with your children is really fun, you’re killing two birds with one stone; you’re keeping them entertained and keeping yourself and them fit.”
What is Mighty Mums?
Mighty Mums has recently launched and is an online membership programme for busy women to get fitness and diet advice.
It is a four “transformational” plan that “gives you the tools to be a healthy, fit, mighty mum”.
Jo said: “I set up Mighty Mums because a lot of the women I trained in the studio are mums and I just want to show women, mums in particular, that you are a priority.
“We always put ourself down the bottom of the list after being a great wife and being a great mum.”
The programme includes a recipe book which offers healthy and quick breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack ideas.
There are also five simple video workouts that are 30-minutes long and once you have signed up you have unlimited access.
Jo said: “It’s me and a couple of my other mum friends just working out and you work out with us basically. The exercises are quick, the recipes are quick to make, and there’s some help with food preparation and stuff.
“It’s all simple, easy and just to show mums that can be done.”
As Jo is a mum herself, she hopes she can show people that exercise doesn’t have to rule your life.
She said: “I think a lot of people think that it’s a bit overwhelming, thinking about eating well and looking after yourself. It doesn’t have to take over your life.
“It doesn’t have to be a chore, it can be a hobby and something that you really love. It can have a massive positive effect on your life.”
Jo’s Mighty Mums programme doesn’t require that women come to her studio to workout but she wants to teach women that there are lots of different kinds of exercise that you can enjoy.
She said: “My main goal is to show women particularly, that anyone can keep fit and look after themselves.
“There’s so much out there, you don’t have to drag yourself to the gym and hate every second of it, you can come pole dancing or do a workout at home, there’s so many different things.
“Especially in Plymouth there’s loads, if you like rock music, some of the girls go to RockFit, club music, there is Clubbercise, there’s so many things to do.”
The Mighty Mums website reads: “I like to think of this programme as the first four weeks of the rest of your life.
“This IS NOT a four week bikini body programme. This IS NOT about achieving a six pack. Or being ‘beach ready’.
“This IS about transforming how you feel about fitness, food and (ultimately) yourself.
“These are the workouts that I did after having my daughter to get back in shape. These are the meals and snacks that I eat daily. I want to show you that looking after your body is easy! It doesn’t have to take over your life!
“You will see and feel a massive difference in your energy, physical appearance and confidence in four weeks. You can continue with these workouts and meals forever!
“I will continue to add new content to the site. Exclusively for members!”
If you’d like more information on Mighty Mums or want to sign up, click here.
If you liked this story, you might like reading about the amazing boudoir photographer empowering women.
For years, Rachel Harris struggled with her own self-esteem and body image – but now she feels “more positive than ever”.
Rachel is now on a mission to empower women all over Plymouth, teaching them to ignore “society’s idea of beauty”, and has even built up a community group of around 1,300 women, who all support each other.
Hundreds of women across the city, of all shapes and sizes, are flocking to Rachel’s studio and stripping down to their underwear – sometimes less – which is massively boosting their confidence.
You can read the full story here.
Do you know an inspirational person or have a human interest story to share?
Get in touch using firstname.lastname@example.org, call 07584591102 or tweet me @KatieTimms94.