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"Body after baby bootcamps" and what you need to know about PostPartum Fitness

the StrongBoard Mommas fitness class promotional shoot with KTLA last year

I recently posted a link to a blog post on my FB page from one of my respected fellow postpartum trainers. It was a ranty-style post (which I honestly like to avoid) but it completely rang true for a variety of reasons. (Link in bottom of post.)

Basically, her argument was that most Mommy & Me bootcamps encourage new moms to perform exercises that are extremely dangerous. I had to agree... I train most of my clients in popular parks and playgrounds and I see this ALL the time.

The sad fact is, you, my wonderful pregnant and postpartum clients, are a highly desired and "untapped" market in the fitness industry. People have been having babies as long as the entire human existence, yet only recently we've discovered appropriate ways to train you.

To be completely fair, many of these bootcamps, "body back" etc classes are completely safe and lead by leading industry experts. These are the phrases that make headlines in beauty magazines, it's simply good marketing.

But not all of them are.

So, my fellow postnatal and pregnancy fitness experts tend to get extremely frustrated watching most of these. We're passionate, studied, and bonafide certified to work with moms... but not everyone in the industry is. (Okay, to be completely fair, there IS a section on pregnancy training in MOST fitness certifications.... as are all "high risk populations", diabetics, persons, cardiovascular-risk persons, and the elderly, etc.)

There's also this- I've held several "basic" fitness certifications and none have discussed postpartum fitness. For good reason, every birth and birth experience is different! I have trained hundreds of women and everyone has a completely different postnatal journey. There is no "one size fits all" approach to fitness as a whole, exercise science is not an exact one, so you can imagine how difficult it must be to design a common stance on postpartum exercise.

My takeaway (and you will note this in my reply) is this:

Triple check your instructor's credentials when signing up for one of these "mommy and me" bootcamps. Just because the instructor had a baby and "got their body back" doesn't mean they are qualified to teach a class of extremely different birth experiences. Even being a trainer beforehand doesn't qualify them to work with your diverse population.

I can't begin to tell you the sob-stories I've heard from women who come to me with injuries from going too hard too soon while under the care of an unqualified trainer. I'm not going to name names, but some of the most popular bootcamps out there are franchises that provide their own certifications... and sometimes, that's not enough.

If you are less than 3 months postpartum, you will likely need to sign a waiver and provide a physician's release form. You should learn ways to train your "total core" including pelvic-floor work, breathing exercises, and gentle abdominal exercises that incorporate functional-exercise training and stretching.

Plyometrics, cardiovascular interval training, running, breath-holding, and crunches aren't appropriate for most women before this time. You also have to go with your gut... if you feel any pain or discomfort, you have to stop and notify your instructor. It's simply not worth the risk.

Original post (and my response) can be found here.

For the guidelines of pregnancy fitness, please visit my pregnancy page here

For the general guidelines of postnatal fitness, please visit my postnatal page here

I would LOVE to hear your comments on this... the good and the bad. (Especially the good! Any pregnancy or postpartum fitness classes local to your area that you love? Feel free to shout them out!)


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