We’re back for day two of our blogger edit with Amy Kiefer. Check out our last post to learn all about her and read on to find out about her fitness program designed specifically for mamas-to-be, Expecting and Empowered. And get excited – next week we jump into a pre-natal workout routine!
Motherhood: What led you and your sister to start Expecting and Empowered?
Amy: Expecting and Empowered is our passion project. There were so many women around us asking, “What can I do during pregnancy? What is safe?” We knew smart women who would believe the old lies that working out can cause a miscarriage. We also saw people doing dangerous things to the other extreme and not making proper pregnancy modifications. We knew that together we had the knowledge, experience and drive to produce something really special. My sister Krystle holds a doctorate in physical therapy and has taken specialty courses in obstetrics and pelvic floor health. As a personal trainer and nurse myself, we just knew we had all the tools and resources to make the best pregnancy guide possible.
I called her one day on my way home from the gym and pitched her the idea. It was easier than I thought to get her on board and we just started working! Little did we know how much work it would be, but we are thankful our business baby was born in October.
Motherhood: How does your program work and how does it differ from any traditional fitness regimen? What makes it pregnancy-friendly?
Amy: Expecting and Empowered is an instantly downloadable PDF. A really fun detail is that we were both pregnant during the creation, so we were able to model for our own guide! You will see me in my first and second trimester and Krystle as the third trimester model. Our pregnancy guide consists of three guided days of pelvic floor, flexibility and strength training exercises. There is a lower body day, upper body day and full body day. We also suggest two days of cardiovascular training and give you our recommendations for those days. All in all, we are hoping women get five days of exercises in a week to reap all the benefits.
Expecting and Empowered makes all the proper pregnancy modifications when necessary. For example, women should not be on their backs for an extended amount of time after the first trimester. Women should not be doing planks after the first trimester. Women should not be doing unilateral movements (lunges) later in pregnancy. E and E (as we affectionately call Expecting and Empowered) makes it easy, because we have only safe workouts ready to go for women. Because Krystle is a women’s health physical therapist, one element that makes our guide very unique is having an emphasis placed on pelvic floor health. This under-talked about subject can mean big issues postpartum for women, including incontinence and inability to return to a normal sex life. Krystle is incredibly passionate about preventative health and helping women avoid these common issues, so there are pelvic floor exercises included in every single day of the guide.
Motherhood: Beyond the actual exercises, what kind of community are you hoping to build?
Amy: So glad you asked, because this has been a favorite part of our business. When we were dreaming up this business, this was a pillar of it. We knew we wanted a place where women could connect and share experiences. We created a private Facebook group for customers. The women have made it their own! They share everything from positive pregnancy tests (some women start E and E before conception) to recipes, to energy tips, to morning sickness advice. It is a really awesome thing to be a part of and I look forward to meeting and cheering on more women.
Motherhood: It’s hard staying motivated to work out. What is some advice you would give to women who want to work out while pregnant? And maybe more importantly, post-partum when time and energy is even harder to find?
Amy: I love this question! It is counterintuitive, but working out gives you a huge boost in energy and mood. One of my very favorite experiences as a personal trainer was to see someone START a workout journey and quickly become hooked and excited. At first, they were dragging themselves to the gym, but once they established a routine and experienced the positive benefits…they became hooked. I was able to see their confidence, fitness and dedication soar.
Take it slow postpartum! You are not supposed to be able to jump right back into it and most of your energy will go toward taking care of your newborn and recovering yourself. When you are a little bit further out, you can return to a regular fitness routine. The Expecting and Empowered postpartum guide that is currently being created really picks up at six weeks postpartum. Prior to that, we are just giving women exercises that will help them heal.
Motherhood: Since it is the first week of January, we can’t let you go without asking if you have any resolutions for 2018?
Amy: I am not a huge resolution gal, rather I love to continuously work on improvement. Most of the audiobooks and podcasts I listen to would fall into the self-improvement and positivity category. That way, I am always inspired.
Expecting and Empowered will launch a postpartum guide early this year. We are excited because we know that women have a lot of questions and make mistakes in this period. Krystle and I are excited to give women a guide that shows them how to safely return to a place where they are comfortable. Essentially, we will have women covered the whole way through their mamahood journey.
Stay tuned all month for specific workout tips and tricks from Amy! And as always, show us your 2018 workout goals with #thisisgoingtobefun @motherhoodmaternity – Happy New You!