Shakira Akabusi is an expert in women’s health – specialising in pre and postnatal fitness – founder of StrongLikeMum, author of The StrongLikeMum Method, and keynote speaker.
As a mum of four, Shakira understands first-hand the juggle of balancing parenthood with a healthy lifestyle.
Through StrongLikeMum, Shakira offers expert advice and support, answering all the questions women might have about how to keep active during and after pregnancy.
She is passionate about looking at the power that the female body and mind have on pre- and postpartum and during pregnancy. She believes that mums can be strong and provides advice on exercise, sleep, nutrition and overall lifestyle.
She speaks fluent German as her mother is German.
She is also a mental health advocate and has gone public with her own experiences with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
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Beginning her career in musical theatre in London’s West End, Shakira retrained and qualified as an expert in pregnancy exercise and postnatal rehabilitation in 2013, just before giving birth to her first son. Initially coaching women on a one-to-one basis, Shakira expanded this work by sharing her expertise on social media at live event, while documenting her own journey through pregnancy exercise, postnatal recovery and motherhood.
Shakira has appeared several times on ITV’s “This Morning” and “Lorraine” and GB News and has been a contestant on “Celebrity Pointless” on BBC1 partnering with her dad, Kriss Akabusi. She has worked with brands doing presentations, talks and corporate work for Adidas UK, Vogue, Virgin Start Ups, The National Running Show, Bugaboo and COS and has been featured in Women’s Health Magazine, Vogue, Mother and Baby Magazine, BBC Tiny Happy People and on BBC Radio.
Hailing from a big family with strong traditions steeped in both German and Nigerian cultures – a love of family is at the heart of everything Shakira does. When not working she is kept on her toes by her four children and boisterous chocolate Labrador Hugo.
“I found that during my first pregnancy I was continually bombarded with negative stereotypes and outdated myths of what motherhood would be like. Whilst we can encounter challenges in parenting, we can also feel physically and emotionally confident throughout, if given the right support. My aim with StrongLikeMum is to shatter the outdated stereotypes and offer that support for all women.”
Initially working in musical theatre, Shakira Akabusi retrained in pregnancy exercise and postnatal rehabilitation in 2013, just before the birth of her first son. She has since shared this expertise on social media – where she has over 30,000 followers – and at live events.
As of 2023, Shakira was a mum of four, and through this first-hand experience, she understands the juggle that being a mum and having a healthy lifestyle can be, and she wants to help other mothers going through the same thing.
Exercise during pregnancy can be a scary time, especially if the pregnancy comes after a previous loss. Some expectant mothers may be reluctant to do any for fear of harm. Shakira provides expert advice on keeping active during and after pregnancy and maintaining a healthy mental mindset.
In 2022, Shakira published her book The Strong Like Mum Method: Awaken the Power of Your Pre and Postnatal Body Through Instinct, Knowledge and Exercise. In the book, she drew on all her knowledge and experience to look at the stereotypes of pregnancies and motherhood and what a ‘modern mum’ can be, specifically looking into physical fitness and mental health. The book was a hit and would go on to chart in Amazon’s ‘Pregnancy & Exercise’ bestsellers list.
Shakira strongly believes that physical health and mental wellbeing go hand in hand, especially during pregnancy or after birth. Her own mental health difficulties have led her to be an ambassador for The ReThink Mental Illness charity.
Whilst on Lorraine in 2022, Shakira told her story of experiencing post-pregnancy OCD. She explained, “We were meant to be going on holiday to California and we were at the airport. I could see all the cracks on the floor leading to the check in desk. I had a complete breakdown. I knew I could not get to the check in desk, let alone on holiday. It had been going on for years. At that point I realised although I thought I was keeping everybody safe, that was the moment where I realised how much of a hold it actually had over me. That was a really scary moment and that was the beginning of the change.”
She explains that she initially hid her compulsions and mental health issues, believing she could deal with it herself. Realising that wasn’t possible, she went on to have talking therapy and hypnotherapy, and combined with her own physical activity, she began to recover.
Shakira is often asked to appear on TV and radio shows, such as This Morning, Lorraine, and GB News, and speak at large industry events in the hope that she will shatter stereotypes around motherhood and fitness. Her expertise has been featured in national publications, including Vogue, Mother and Baby, and Women’s Health Magazine.
She has been featured on several industry podcasts, including Mum’s the Word! The Parenting Podcast with Ashley James, where she spoke about how to approach exercise after childbirth; Happy Mum Happy Baby – Asking for Friend, talking about how to stay fit during pregnancy; The Therapy Edit, where she spoke about adapting to new situations; Outside & Active, where she spoke about squashing motherhood stereotypes; and Relatively About Siblings, appearing with her sister Ashanti, talking about what their upbringing was like with their famous father Kriss Akabusi.
Shakira also runs her own podcast, the StrongLikeMum podcast, which looks at all aspects of pregnancy, childbirth, and pre and postnatal wellness.
– Mental Health and Wellbeing
– Diversity and Inclusion
– Female Inspiration
CLIENTS: Adidas UK, Vogue Global, Virgin Start Ups, The National Running Show, RunFestRun, Pregnacare, Aveeno, Refinery 29, Liz Earle Wellbeing, the NACWG, Fitpro, Bugaboo, COS.
Shakira was a thoughtful, articulate and energetic panelist. She articulates a powerful framework of how physical wellness and mental health go hand in hand. Shakira blends together her own personal journey with a broader understanding of wellness, she was bright and compelling. I would highly recommend her.
Adam Crook, Goldman Sachs International
We worked with Shakira on a number of projects. During each stage of the collaboration, Shakira proved her passion, experience and knowledge that were simply priceless. Shakira is a positive, pro-active and creative person.
Daria Prygiel, Marketing and Communication Manager, MoKee