Queen’s University Belfast: Entreprenurial mum graduates with PhD whilst creating fitness business to empower women

Carla (30), originally from Enniskillen, lives in Belfast with her husband Stephen and their two young children Lydia and Jasper. Carla and Stephen are expecting their third child in January 2022.

Speaking ahead of her graduation, Carla said: “I have really enjoyed my time at Queen’s, and it has been a real privilege to be a researcher and mother at the same time, although it hasn’t always been easy juggling everything at times! I had the opportunity to travel and present my work at different public health conferences in Scotland and England during my PhD which was one of my highlights as a student.”



Whilst completing her PhD, Carla created her own business called the FitHER Circle, a female fitness business offering personal training and fitness classes to women with a particular focus on, but not exclusively limited, to pre and postnatal women.

“I am incredibly passionate about empowering women, whether they are pre or postnatal mums, busy working women or older ladies to get moving more and to find the time to do something for themselves which is an investment in their long-term health. Exercise is a powerful (and often underused) tool for staying healthy, happy and strong!”

“I found training during pregnancy and the early postpartum days challenging as I had to scale back my usual training and I didn’t always know the appropriate exercises for the stage I was at. I loved my daily endorphin hit but found I couldn’t train with confidence as I was fearful of doing harm and there was a real lack of knowledgeable experts in pre and postnatal fitness in my area. Hence why I decided to study pre and postnatal exercise and nutrition so that I could help other women continue to enjoy exercise during this unique time in the safe hands of an expert.”

Carla is looking forward to celebrating her graduation day with family and will have her husband, children and parents by her side.

“We are all very much looking forward to celebrating together and marking the occasion after many years of hard work. I will be heavily pregnant with baby number three on graduation day so no doubt there will also be a nap at some point!”

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