16 Aug 2012
One Saturday, I was invited to go back to Physique 57 to partake in their specialized Pre/Post-Natal class that I loved so much when I was pregnant. When I arrived, I noticed that I was surrounded by pregnant women. I had completely forgotten that the class, called "Pre/Post Natal Physique" would have, of course, pregnant women!
I remembered when I went the first time, the instructor constantly referred to "your and your baby" throughout the workout. "Hug your baby towards your midsection" she would say. Being in this setting, however, not pregnant; it felt like something was missing. For the first time during an exercise class, I remember missing Sophia.
Still, while I missed my daughter, there are many reasons why both pregnant women and post-natal women belong in the same class at Physique 57. And I thoroughly enjoyed the class, just as I did when I was pregnant.
Why Pre and Post in the Same Class?
Tanya Becker, Co-founder of Physique 57 and Alica Weihl, Director of Training, say "since all of the muscle groups that need strengthened and lengthened during pregnancy are the same ones that need realigned and rehabilitated postnatal, we have incorporated the two classes." The pre/post natal class specifically focuses on the glutes, hamstrings, inner thighs, pelvic floor, abdominals and the upper and lower back, which are most affected by the postural shifts during pregnancy, resulting in muscle imbalances.This class is designed to help support the postural changes during pregnancy and to bring the body back to proper alignment post-pregnancy.
Ideal Exercises for Post-Natal
--Your Upper Body
The other day, trainer extraodinaire Kira Stokes took a look at me and told me she could tell I was holding Sophia more on my right side than my left side. She was absolutely right. Now that I am conscious of that fact, I have been trying to hold her more on the left side, but it is clear how much stronger my right side is from my left. When I am working out, I work both sides equally; however, the added daily activity of holding Sophia has clearly caused my body to disalign.
Tanya and Alicia say that Physique 57 addresses the issue of this daily activity for new moms: "The upper body needs to be strong to facilitate the mother in picking up, holding, and feeding her baby." By targeting the shoulders, biceps, triceps, chest, Physique has created a class full of functional exercises.
Just make sure to equally hold your child on both sides after your workout
--Your Pelvic Floor
You've heard it before, and you are hearing it again. After giving birth, your pelvis has opened up so the surrounding muscles need to be strengthened in order to bring back stability to this area. Physique's inner thigh, quads, glutes and hamstring exercises are essential to postnatal women as the pelvis has opened up and shifted to allow the baby to pass during labor.
Today, almost five months post-pardem, I still feel as though some abdominal exercises I could do pre-pregnancy are more challenging. My abs are clearly the last muscle group to get back to pre-pregnancy form. I asked Tanya and Alicia when women could expect their abs to return to normal. While they told me it differs women to women, they did reiterate the importance of maintaining some strength throughout the pregnancy and the quicker one returns to exercise post-partem, the quicker the recovery. Tanya and Alicia say that Physique's "focused and comprehensive abdominal sequences that target the transversus abdominus and pelvic floor, the obliques, and the rectus abdominus (6-pack exterior central muscle sheath) will help with improving posture and rebuilding strength and muscle tone."
Don't be scared to delve back into regular Physique
If you are anxious to rejoin "regular" classes, have no fear. A few weeks ago, I went to Physique 57's intermediate level class. I am not going to lie; it was EXTREMELY challenging but definitely accessible. Whoever says you do not get a cardio workout during a Barre class is, well, quite mistaken as I know I feel my heart rate rise and definitely sweat!
And What to Wear? Don't Forget Your Grippy Socks!!
I admit; I have been trying to "get away" with wearing my regular socks instead of buying Physique's grippy socks. The other week, during the intermediate level class, I felt myself slipping all over the carpet. I have decided I am being "ridiculous" and am buying the grippy socks. And, literally, just as I am writing this line, I noticed that Physique is offering a 20% discount until September 4th on the socks by going to this link and entering the discount code SOCKS20!
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