Why You Should Look For a Trainer Who Specializes in Mom’s Health & Fitness
As women we need to use a personal trainer who specializes in moms! This is a topic I actually struggle to talk about. I am SO INCREDIBLY passionate about it that it is hard for me to communicate without sounding patronizing… which is NOT something I am proud of and 100% something I am trying to change.
Our society has created this idea of women “bouncing back” from giving birth as if it were a badge of honor, and many women will do this at the cost of their own health… a health they don’t know they have until it is actually gone. (we’ll talk a bit more about this)
But, to be honest… This isn’t actually the woman’s fault… We are just victims of an incredibly patriarchal society that makes it taboo to talk about things that women experience EVERY.SINGLE.DAY and yet they have to pretend nothing is going on… or at best pretend they are normal when they actually are not. (Leakage when exercising, anyone??)
Another thing that is VERY important to talk about is the education given to personal trainers about the pregnant and postpartum population.
Did you know that there is only ONE module in most Personal Training Certifications that actually talk about the pre and postnatal population? This module is called: “The special population”, which also includes seniors, people with diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, children… to name a few.
Let’s look at this… There is only ONE module to discuss all those situations and conditions!
Now, that you got this information… Let’s think about this for a second! 67-75% of folks who hire a coach or trainer are women. 85% of women will have a baby at some point in their life.
How is it that we have these numbers about the pre and postnatal population and yet we are considered “special population”, and coaches are not being properly trained to coach real women with real issues??
Let me be the first to say, this is not ok!
As I said in the beginning of this blog, I totally understand how it can be challenging for moms to know the importance of having a coach who specializes in their health. Moms are constantly being told that the issues they have is totally normal and that they just have to “deal with it” and work harder.
They don’t know that it CAN be different. That training CAN be challenging and yet have the proper adjustments for the body they have NOW.
I have compiled a list of 5 (of MANY) reasons why women who have kids should be working with a coach who specializes in their specific needs:
1- Postpartum is forever!
Yup! You read that right!
Pregnancy changes your body, and sometimes those changes do not just “disappear” at your 6 weeks check in… Heck! These changes might not even disappear YEARS after you have a baby.
This is also true regardless of how you delivered your baby: C-section or vaginal delivery.
They both create significant changes in a woman’s body. From the abdominal separation that needs to happen to create space for the baby and the added stress to the pelvic floor due to the weight of the baby to hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy.
The truth is that we assume that everything just goes back to “normal” as they should after their baby is born; however, that is not always how things go.
Ok. I am going to address the elephant in many rooms right now and talk about something that many women live with, but pretend it is just ‘’normal’’.
Nearly 45% of women have some form of leaking urine 5-7 years post-delivery, which means it is VERY common…but, if you ask most personal trainers how to address that, they won’t know!
I have been involved in the fitness industry for 21 years, and a trainer for over 10. Having taken dozens of different courses to further my education, and it wasn’t until I became pregnant and sought specialized courses… Personally, I just thought that incontinence was normal and that women should just wear black to avoid embarrassment. Or maybe stop doing the activities they loved because of it.
Women don’t need to stop doing the things they love because they have incontinence, women do not need to just wear black when they work out because they are afraid of peeing themselves mid workout, women do not need to pretend nothing is happening when they pee a bit every time they sneeze.
There are things that can be done to improve your quality of life, you just have to find a professional that knows how to modify and coach you properly so you can learn how to properly move when you have these symptoms.
A prolapse occurs when organs in your pelvic region, such as the uterus, bladder, or rectum bulge into or out of the vagina, and MANY women may not even know they have a prolapse if it is in the milder stages.
And, here is the thing: The Women’s Health Initiative study found that about 44-percent of women have some degree of prolapse, and never ONCE when I was getting my regular Personal Training certification was the word prolapse mentioned.
It wasn’t until I started taking very specific courses about Pre and Postnatal women as well as courses about Pelvic floor health that I started to hear and understand prolapse.
While there isn’t anything wrong about exercising with prolapse, it is paramount that seasoned moms who have been diagnosed with prolapse and newly postpartum moms work with a coach who understands the proper progression of movement for women with it.
Here are 2 main benefits that can come to mind about working with specialized trainer when you have prolapse or are a newly postpartum mom:
- There are a number of techniques that can be used by a trainer who has the knowledge and skills to work with moms with this condition. They will not only increase their quality of life by implementing strategies that will allow the women to keep on doing the things they love without experiencing pain and discomfort.
- Exercises will be properly adapted and progressed to make sure that the mom is being able to move without pain and discomfort, but most importantly to make sure that the activities mom is doing are actually not making the prolapse even worse.
Diastasis recti abdominis (DRA) is the abdominal separation and/or the thinning of the connective tissue that runs down the midline of the abdomen which happens more frequently to women during pregnancy to make room for the growing baby.
This thinning, along with weakening of the abdominal muscles, can lead to the bulging.
With proper breathing and pressure-control techniques, exercises can be completely and 100% safe.
The issue is that given the amount of conflicting information online, the lack of information and education in regular personal training courses, most coaches do not know how to properly adapt routines and properly cue women to train safely when they do have Diastasis recti.
It is incredibly important to learn these techniques from someone who specializes in the postpartum body and its unique concerns.
5- Understanding Schedule Limitations
I remember before I had kids, I’d be all about the “what is your excuse?” motto at ALL costs… oh… but, what a reality check have kids been! LOL
And, while I do think it is important to prioritize the things that are important for you, since becoming a mom, I have now come to understand that life sometimes just happens… and, that’s fine.
There is nothing more that breaks my heart than when I receive messages on Instagram or from the girls who decided to join my program, telling me about their previous experiences with other professionals who might not yet be at the stage of life to understand all the juggle that comes with parenthood.
The most touching one was a lady who sent me a message on Instagram, in tears she told me how she was very close to giving up on her fitness journey as a new mom.
She had gone to her pre-pregnancy trainer for help. He put her on a training routine that required 2 daily trips to the gym + meals every few hours… while caring for a 3 month old baby!
Every time she told him she was struggling to stick with it, she was told to “stop making excuses!”
I don’t know about you, but even for me who has been a professional athlete… the thought of going to the gym 2x/day while caring for a baby makes me want to cry before even getting there.
(Shortly after chatting to her, she decided to join my signature program for moms: The Mother Strong League.)
The truth is that sometimes it can be very hard for someone who hasn’t walked in the shoes of a tired, sleep and time deprived parent to understand the daily struggles and limitations we have.
The other day I heard an analogy being used by a fellow Pre and Postnatal trainer, so I thought I would share it with you because it perfectly describes what I am trying to explain in this post:
“Imagine that you had a Ferrari and you had to get it checked up. Where would you take it?
To the little moms/pops shop next door OR to the Ferrari specialized shop?
My guess would be that you said the Ferrari specialized shop, right?
Well, my friend! YOU ARE the Ferrari who is just as worthy of specific care to this stage of life you are in!”
One last thing, I would like to make very clear is that this is in no way a post bashing other trainers… I actually believe personal trainers are as much of a victim of the way certifications work as you are!
They are made to believe they are ready for the real world, when in reality there is a lot more that needs to be taught and learned, SPECIALLY to work with the Pre and Postnatal population.
However, they are not educated in pelvic organ prolapse, diastasis recti, incontinence, strategies for exercise for a functional pelvic floor, and many of them have never even heard of or considered these things.
Now, I want you to remember… You are a Ferrari, baby! A Ferrari!