I had been deliberating for some time about the term I used to describe my postnatal recovery programme. When I created my 12-week course, I wanted women to understand and relate to what I was doing. I wanted a term that meant something to them, so they knew what I was offering them. Get my body back, was the expression commonly used by the women who approached me, who were wanting to see a change in the way they looked and felt.
Over two years ago, I designed a postnatal programme, that targeted a whole -body approach to fitness. I looked at the way women were eating, and why, how hormones and impacting on health and how to balance them, using correct breathing and functional movement patterns encompassing the whole core and pelvic floor when re-programming it after birthing, and then applying the restored core to global movements of the entire body.
I discuss how sleep deprivation, incorrect movement and breathing patterns used in daily life activities, baby wearing and posture all affected the rate in which women ‘healed’ after birth. I empathise that a balance is required to support the recovery process, and it was mainly about women being kind to themselves in the mama role and accepting that self-care practices give them the mental and physical energy to not only progress their recovery, but also nurture their babies better.
I labelled my programme as a Get My Body Back Course for the postnatal mama. From the time I promoted the course using this title, there was a deep intuitive unease at the message this was promoting to women. Although I knew the angle I was coming from was NOT one of getting your body back, in the sense of getting back into your skinny jeans or down to a dress size that was not natural for you, I couldn’t help but feel that it projected to women’s lack of confidence in their body image. This term could be misconstrued to women that it focused on a one-dimensional approach to recovery post birth, similarly to the media portrayal of what women believe they need to do after they have given birth.
At no time did I want to be associated with this unhealthy image. That women need to focus purely on their looks, to achieve confidence and value in themselves. This is, and never has been, where I am coming from. My approach is one of sustained improvement in function and ability, for women to go throughout their day, and their entire lifetime, with energy, ease and confidence.
I recently read an article by fellow postnatal fitness professional Lauren Ohayon, an internationally recognized Yoga + Pilates teacher specialising in core and pelvic floor issues. She summarised the fitness industry’s lack of information and correct education in training the postnatal mother. She mentioned that misguidance in marketing often portrayed by the fitness profession, was part of the problem. She went on to say that because of this type of advertising, women didn’t understand there were other concepts around their health and wellness that needed to be addressed, and a deeper level of education was necessary.
It is unreasonable, unsafe and unprofessional for a postnatal woman to just attend a main stream class, led by an in experienced fitness professional in postnatal rehabilitation, do a workout, and leave, without her understanding: 1.) what she is doing; 2) whether she is doing it correctly; 3) why it will benefit her; and 4) what exercises are not appropriate for her level of core and pelvic floor fitness. No woman should put up with this dated approach. They need a more modern take on their health and fitness, to enable confidence and independence.
I no longer want to be attributing my services to a misconception about a postnatal woman’s condition. Getting my body back is no longer a term that fits within the ethos of my business. I don’t want to be associated with other fitness providers, who are inexperienced and target new mamas as a vulnerable population for extremes and poor exercise choices because they are desperate to get their body back. My new choice of course title, reflects where I have always come from. A professional who delivers a comprehensive, modern and research-based approach to postnatal fitness. It is also how I aspire women to feel.
Get My Bodacious Back (GMBB)
is the new name for my Get My Body Back course for postnatal mamas.
This course helps women to feel confident, informed, and valued! The more you learn about yourself and your abilities, the more bodacious you feel, the more bodacious you feel, the more you work at what you need to do to achieve great results, for both your body and mind!
My programmes for postnatal fitness have now evolved into two choices for mamas:
I am offering my 12-week GMBB course for new mums with babies under the age of 2 years. Non-crawling babies are welcome too. Research has shown that new mums value regular weekly contact when exercising in the postnatal period, and a study on postnatal depression found that courses of 12 weeks were beneficial in terms of improving depression scores (Da Costa, 2009). I have always found the 12-week course to be popular with women and have seen some fabulous results in terms of making healthier choices with food and exercise regimes, and expectations of themselves.
In the new year (2019) I will be launching a new 6 week programme called Holistic Core Restore® HCR Everywoman that targets mums who want a shorter course focusing on the same principles of my GMBB in re-programming and targeting the core and pelvic floor. I have aimed this more specifically at women who are experiencing some issues with continence, or core function from 2 years postnatal to menopause and beyond, and want to be on the right track in approaching fitness and improving their health.
References: J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 2009 Sep;30(3):191-200.
A randomized clinical trial of exercise to alleviate postpartum depressed mood.
Da Costa D1, Lowensteyn I, Abrahamowicz M, Ionescu-Ittu R, Dritsa M, Rippen N, Cervantes P, Khalifé S.