Tiffiny Hall has made a living from exercise – but to call her a fitness trainer would be under-selling it.
The former Biggest Loser coach, who has gone on to launch her own fitness program TIFFXO, is whip-smart; she studied media and communications at Australia’s top-ranked University of Melbourne, where she also obtained a Diploma of Modern Languages in French, before penning, at last count, five health books and a series of fiction novels.
Add to that her ranking as one of Australia’s best female martial artists (she is daughter to an Olympic Taekwondo coach and black belt mother), and her regular stints on Channel 10’s The Living Room, and you get a pretty clear picture: Tiffiny Hall is a bloody impressive woman.
Oh, and she’s only 33.
How someone packed all that into a touch over three decades baffles me, but here Tiffiny is, just a few weeks post-birth of her first child, ready to tackle her next feat: helping women accept themselves, in a world where we are constantly bombarded with messaging that tells us what we are couldn’t be more wrong.
“I have a close-knit community through my program,” the TIFFXO founder tells Mamamia on the phone from her Melbourne home.
She’s just finished breastfeeding, actually.
“These are real women with not just one child, but maybe three, and they’re doing it tough. So I want to show the women doing my program, and the women who follow me, that it’s not easy, it’s not perfect… I still to this day look pregnant.”
This pursuit of authenticity was sparked by the influencer’s hellish pregnancy, hallmarked by hyperemesis gravidarum; that is, severe nausea from the early stages of conception all the way to birth.
It saw Tiffiny hospitalised every three to four weeks.
The condition is difficult for anyone, let alone a woman whose day-to-day is anchored by healthy food and consistent exercise. While pregnant, Tiffiny’s familiar routine of martial arts and vegetables was replaced with long, sedentary days and a diet of milk and carbohydrates. In the space of nine months, 30 kilograms were added to her slender frame.
“I was even throwing up with every contraction during labour,” Tiffiny tells me.
That labour – where son Arnold “shot out” of his mum in just two hours – was also traumatic for Tiffiny’s comedian husband, Ed Kavalee.
“Ed was really stressed in the delivery room. Arnold was born with the cord around his neck and Ed saw the obstetrician pull it off. Arnold was pretty limp afterwards… it was very scary.
“It was hard on Ed, it was really hard on Ed,” Tiffiny says.
Despite his dramatic entrance into the world, Arnold, thank goodness, is a completely healthy and happy baby.
But his existence has also highlighted to his mum how “ridiculous” the pressure on women to ‘bounce back’ after birth is.
“There’s not enough emphasis on mental health recovery after birth, it’s all about ‘my body looks like this’,” Tiffiny says. “I don’t appreciate it when women are [posing on Instagram] in a bikini two weeks later, it’s not easy or fair for other women.
“I know what it takes [to get my pre-baby body] and it takes a lot of time and sacrifice and I’m not willing to diet while I’m breastfeeding. I’m not going to jeopardise my milk supply. Because I had an episiotomy I need to wait for six weeks before I do anything.
“Getting to know my baby is what’s important to me right now.”
Listen: The Out Loud team discuss post-baby bikini shots. (Post continues…)
That’s not to say Tiffiny won’t eventually be returning to the fitness regime that saw her become one of Australia’s most respected wellness experts. After all, she says, “I’m at my best when I’m fit and healthy. I sleep better, I’m happier, I’m a better mum.”
Gradually, Tiffiny will be easing herself into pilates to strengthen her pelvic floor, before building her fitness back up with an army of women right by her side.
For now, though, she’s committed to being gentle on her body and her mind. Her focus going forward? Making herself – and her loyal followers – feel ‘strong, supported, and satisfied’.
“I could say I have excess body fat, or that I lost tone, but it’s happy weight,” Tiffiny tells me. “I have stretch marks now, and they’re like battle scars. I’m so bloody proud of them. When I’m modelling my activewear range [later this year], I’m going to rock them, point to them and say ‘that’s Arnold there, that’s Arnold there, that’s Arnold there’.
“Sure, you could say I’ve put on weight, but I’m happier than I’ve ever been, I gave birth to a child.
“My body did that. So, the way I see it, I’m the strongest I’ve ever been.”