By: Emily Stearns, CPT at Lone Peak Performance, Big Sky
Pregnancy and motherhood has rocked my world – and my fitness career – in more ways than I can count. I never knew what to expect with either of them (I don’t think anyone does) and I reacted to both stages of life different than I thought I would, both mentally and physically.
I put on a lot of weight during my pregnancy, and I, like most other new moms, was shocked and unprepared when it came to the postpartum period. How do I lose this weight? How do I even find time to try to lose this weight? There was never a convenient time to workout. But let me tell you, at 60 pounds past my norm, I was more motivated than I ever had been before.
I realized that in order to get back to my normal self – and my normal, self-employed training career – I had to essentially bring my baby into fitness. Sofia (my daughter) needed to eat every two to three hours, so a trip to the gym was both inconvenient and impossible – home workouts became my norm. Before Sofia, I described my personal training business as “on-the-go,” meaning I offered to bring all of my own equipment to my clients’ houses for our training sessions. Now, Sofia was part of that cargo, and my clientele condensed into only the people who were understanding of me needing to bring her with me to our sessions.
Inconvenience? Yes. Career changer? Inevitably. However, necessity is the mother of invention. As I worked to get back to being comfortable in my own body, I became motivated to show and help other new moms do the same thing. So many people talk about the postpartum body as something to cope with, something to be accepting of, even if you’re unsatisfied with it. I never understood this mentality. For me, I have greater self-esteem about my postpartum body than I ever did before pregnancy, because now this body was a real warrior.
Anyways, with needing to bring Sofia everywhere with me and with craving getting back to training more, I invented my town’s first ever Mommy & Me Bootcamp which launched when Sofia was 8 months old. To this day, I view this as one of the best things I’ve ever done with my career. I designed total body strength training workouts using our babies and our strollers for equipment instead of weights. I was very intent on making sure that this was a solid total body workout, not just playtime at the park. For 30 minutes, 4 days a week, local moms and I would get together with our babies and get a quick, functional workout in, complete with lots of smiles, baby giggles, and the occasional blowout or two : )
So now when people ask me about fitness and motherhood, I tell them that becoming a mom certainly means that your career will change, but it definitely won’t end. I learned so much from this journey and now, back to training full-time at Lone Peak Performance, I’m able to empathize with everyone on a much deeper level than I could have before parenthood. While parts of being a mom make it one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, it’s also hands down the most rewarding, and the way in which I’ve been able to give back to the fitness community because of that is certainly part of it. I will always be grateful for how it changed my career and forced me to become better in the process, both as a person and a trainer.