Why I became a Pre and Postnatal Specialized Trainer 

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I have been a personal trainer for over 10 years, have worked at a number of different gyms and taught many different classes along the way. 

After training many pre and postpartum clients, and preparing to have my own children, I realized how little (and often times contradicting) information is available to pregnant women who want to work out. I also found that because many women aren’t sure what the safest and most effective way to workout is, causing them to do nothing, which is a huge disservice to themselves and their unborn children. 

I decided to dive in and spend months doing extensive research. I received additional certifications, read numerous books and interviewed doctors, nutritionists and moms. 

The information I found was amazing! 


Not only are there research studies that debunk outdated information, but I also learned the amazing benefits to staying healthy and fit throughout pregnancy for me and my baby! 

Did you know that women who workout during pregnancy have shown to be in better shape AFTER the baby than ever before?! …Or that babies born to mothers who worked out during pregnancy score better on stress tests during labor?! Also, if too much stress is put on the abdominal wall (often times from sit ups) it can cause your abs to split, known as Diastasis Recti, which leads to improper core function, lower back pain and the undesired ‘belly pooch”. But there are still ways to work your core to set you up for a more seamless recovery!  

I know it sounds silly but I want to shout from the rooftops everything I’ve learned!!!


After talking with many friends and clients I realized that there is a HUGE need for more classes, specialized training, and even community outings for moms and moms-to-be. 


When pregnant, a mother’s body and mind are constantly changing and almost feel like they aren’t her own. It’s important for the mom to be educated about what she should and shouldn’t be doing, how to safely and effectively work her core, prepare her for labor and recovery, etc. It’s also important for pregnant women to work with someone she can relate to; someone who has been through it all first-hand. 

I began putting together a program for prenatal and postnatal clients and when I got pregnant in September 2017, I put myself through the nine month prenatal program, followed by the Trimester 4 postnatal program after my little one arrived! 

I now run an online training program for moms and moms-to-be, personal train exclusively pre and postnatal clients, teach prenatal workshops and numerous mom and baby fitness classes! 


Educating and helping these mamas is so gratifying and brings me so much joy. However, I’m not just helping them, they’re helping me and each other as well. The community and mom-tribe we are building is the best part of what I do!!! 

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Are you pregnant or recently postpartum and looking for a little extra help along the way? Let me know what you need!

5 surprising things I quickly learned after having a baby

June 11, 2018 - Getting ready to go in for my planned C section at Beth Isreal Hospital

June 11, 2018 - Getting ready to go in for my planned C section at Beth Isreal Hospital

  1. C-sections aren’t always least preferred and longer recovery.

    People have always told me that C-sections resulted in a longer recovery than vaginal birth. So originally when I learned my baby was breech and I would need a C-section I was devastated. But that’s not always the case. I had a wonderful C-section recovery and I believe it has a lot to do with staying healthy and fit throughout my life and pregnancy. However, I’ve also known people who’ve had healthy and fit lifestyles and pregnancies and had the absolute worst vaginal delivery (resulting in severe tears, infections and unable to walk for weeks after). I think that one thing that helped me was going in with a positive mindset and trusting that everything will be great. It’s important to have a birth plan and idea of what you want delivery to be like but keep an open mind and understand things may change. Just keep saying “Everything is going to be great!”

  2. The weight may not or it may fall right off.

    The biggest thing here is to not compare yourself to others and stress too much about losing the weight as soon as possible. Many people assume if you’re breast-feeding, you’ll burn thousands of calories and the weight will just fall off. Although that is very true for some it was not true for me. It took about 4 months to get within 5 lbs of my pre-pregnancy weight, and in the grand scheme of things, I think thats pretty good! Focus on eating healthy foods and caring for your body and the weight will come off when it supposed to.

  3. Your relationship will take a toll.

    I love my husband very much and he is amazing. But no matter what, the stress of a crying baby, sleep deprivation, and hormones will most definitely interfere with your happy family. My advice to you is to talk things out as much as possible BEFORE the baby comes. Come up with a plan of action for nighttime feeds, errands, chores and time off. And when all you want to do is scream at your partner, try to take a deep breath and revisit the conversation when you can talk and not scream. It will be better for you, your partner and your baby.

  4. Don’t be surprised if you don’t have an instant bond with your little one.

    I always see people post on Instagram how head over heels in love they are with their newborn the day they meet them. They talk as if they’ve never taken a breath of air until this moment. Well it took me a little longer to feel that way about my son. Yes I love him, don’t get me wrong. I carried him for nine months and he is the most beautiful creation of my husband and I, but I didn’t feel instantly obsessed with him. Don’t feel bad or guilty if you don’t either. You are not a bad mother or person feeling that way. Trust me, a couple months from now you will be so head over heels in love. Now I am so obsessed with my little boy and sometimes think I’m in an exclusive relationship with him :)

  5. Breast-feeding is a lot more demanding than anyone tells you.

    I always planned on breast-feeding the recommended one year because of the benefits for my baby and myself but I never knew how demanding and draining breast-feeding could be. I am fortunate that I had no issues with supply, latching, cracked nipples and my baby taking a bottle. Everything worked great except for the time consuming, lifestyle change it brought. I never knew a baby could feed for an hour and then need to eat again an hour and a half later! I also didn’t realize I would have a ticking time bomb on my hands. I hate getting locked down to wherever I am at the moment to feed him if we don’t time it right. Some places is fine, but it’s not always appropriate to whip your boob out in public; God forbid you forget a nursing cover-up. Every week I would say “this is the last week Im doing this!” But just know, as difficult as it is, it gets much easier after the first 2 months. Four and a half months later, I’m still nursing him. And if you decide to stop before then, that’s ok! No mom guilt or judgement here! You do what is best for YOU and your baby!


LOOKING FOR MORE HELP NAVIGATING THROUGH THE UNKNOWNS OF PREGNANCY OR MOTHERHOOD?

What is the right level of intensity to workout during pregnancy?

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Many people use heart rate as an indicator of how hard they should be working out during pregnancy. However, there are numerous reasons why this is not the best way to know how easy or hard you should be training. 

Here’s a few reasons why heart rate is not the best indicator: 

  1. Heart rate can fluctuate day to day for each person based on time of day they’re training or how hydrated they are. 

  2. Everyone’s heart rate spikes during the first and sometimes second trimester. 

  3. Based on your age your resting, target and maximum heart rate can be drastically different that another woman’s. 

  4. If you are an athlete or in good physical condition you’re heart rate will be much lower than someone who lives a sedentary lifestyle. 

So what is the best way to tell how hard you should be working out?!

The Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion is the best way to to monitor exercise intensity during pregnancy

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On a scale from 6-20, women should workout around 13-14 (somewhat hard). This theory is based on each woman being able to use how she feels as an accurate indicator of how hard she is working in relation to her maximum capacity. And it allows her the flexibility for each day to be different based on how she is feeling.

Is it too soon to workout?

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My thoughts and a few things to consider before walking back into the gym... 

Believe me, nobody wants to lose weight and get back in the gym more than I do, but, jumping back in too soon and doing too much before your body is ready can set you back even further. 

Even if you had a successful vaginal delivery, your body still underwent something extremely traumatic. It is so crucial to give your body the necessary 4 to 6 weeks of rest (and up to 8 weeks for C section) before getting back into your workout routine. Yes it’s true, if you were healthier and more fit before pregnancy, it does help you to get back into the gym sooner. However, even if you mentally and physically feel ready to go, your body has a lot of healing to do on the inside. 

I’m not saying you should be bed ridden for the 4-8 weeks by any means. Going for a walk, getting outside the house for lunch and beginning some pelvic floor and breathing exercises is highly encouraged. 

Diana Perkins, owner of Reclaim Your Strength Physical Therapy, is physical therapist and women’s pelvic health specialist who I met with before giving birth to ensure I was correctly doing breathing, pelvic floor and core exercises during my pregnancy and to understand the best exercises to do postpartum before returning to the gym. Whether you have or haven’t experienced D.R or bladder incontinence I think at least 1-2 sessions with a pelvic floor specialist before and after giving birth is extremely valuable.

One key thing to keep in mind: Even if you did not experience diastases recti during pregnancy it is still possible to experience it postpartum. This is why it is very important why you should NOT jump back into abdominal exercises such as crunches, sit-ups and in some cases, planks, step ups and overhead lifting for an additional few weeks even after being cleared to workout. Also, although bladder incontinence is very common, it is not normal and should not be overlooked. It is very important to allow your pelvic floor the chance to heal itself for the 4-6 weeks post delivery without any jumping, running and interval training. 

You just gave birth to a beautiful baby and this is a wonderful time to bond with them and also take some time to relax and enjoy yourself as a new mom, without the guilt or expectations about losing the weight as soon as possible. 

I am and always will be a very serious advocate of fitness, but in a society that sets such high expectations for new moms and women in general, I’d like you to consider being kind and gentle with your body. Understand it will take time. It took 9 months to get where you are and it may take 9 months or longer to get to where you’re going. But you will get there. 

You’re strong and fierce and you can do anything you put your mind to. 


LOOKING FOR A COMPLETE CORE REHAB AND POSTNATAL PROGRAM?

Looking Back on the Last 9 Months!

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These last nine months have flown and crawled by!

It hasn’t been always been easy but thankfully it really hasn’t been too difficult. And I truly attribute it to taking care of my body through nutrition, fitness and positive thoughts. The insomnia, winded workouts, sober vacations, body changing without control, cravings, emotions running wild, etc. could have really caused me to feel down and out. Sometimes it did, especially in the beginning. But during those times (and with help from my friends) I reminded myself that this is a beautiful moment in time that must be embraced and cherished. I reminded myself that not only is it “ok” to slow down and take care of me, but it’s required.

I wasn’t always as obedient with healthy eating as I said I would be prior to becoming pregnant. The cravings are real and when your unable to eat, drink and do the things you’d like to do, sometimes the best comfort is found in sweets. I allowed myself to be ok with that. I tried my best to choose the “cleanest” sweets and desserts, to not over indulge and definitely not to feel guilty or beat myself up for doing it. 

I allowed myself rest days from the gym when needed, treated myself to massages and baths, but also forced myself to move my body and stay committed to a fitness program even when I didn’t always want to.

As uncomfortable as I felt, I told myself “as long as you're able to do it, just do it.”

It really got me through everyday. I laced up my shoes and got to it. I haven’t ran much at all over the past 9 months because of being winded, constant feeling of needing to pee and just felt it was too much pressure on my body; but I walked a ton! My goal was at least 2-4 miles a day. I also signed up for fitness classes, made workout dates with friends, whatever would help hold me accountable and make it as enjoyable as possible.

Many people have said to me during my pregnancy, “You make it look easy, you never complain.” And I’d answer with, “Well I could complain but no one wants to hear it and we all have something to complain about, pregnant or not.” On one hand, thankfully I haven't had any sickness, scares, issues or complications that some people unfortunately have to deal with. But also, I feel like a huge part of it is mindset. If you go in thinking about how terrible and miserable your going to feel, then you are, for sure, going to feel that way. If you constantly focus on the negatives, those negatives with magnify. But if you focus on the positives and think about how amazing life will be once you meet your little baby, it really will make a huge difference. It’s a temporary moment that will pass and years down the line, chances are, you’re going to look back and miss that feeling of your baby inside your belly and miss the quiet and alone times you had to yourself.


So tomorrow is the big day! 

We get to meet our little boy! I couldn’t be more excited and can’t wait to see what life will have in store for our new family. I’ve read endless amounts of books, blogs, articles and done as much preparing as I possibly could. However, I know we will still feel so unprepared for what we’re about to go through. I look forward to all the laughs and amazing memories we’re going to create and I pray that our love and hard work will get us through all the difficult times that will come our way. 

Thank you for following along my journey and supporting me through it all. I'm looking forward to introducing Baby Mehr and bringing you more fitness and nutrition motivation in the days to come!

xo Kayla 


NEED A PLAN TO FOLLOW DURING YOUR PREGNANCY?

THE LOW DOWN ON DIASTASIS RECTI: WHAT IT IS, WHY IT'S BAD, HOW TO CHECK & HOW TO HEAL IT

I'm sure many, if not all of you, have heard of Diastasis Recti. If not, it's imperative that you become familiar with it. Your abs will thank you later! 

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What is Diastasis Recti? 

"D.R." is separation of 2.7cm or more between the rectus abdominis (those 6 pack abs). 2/3 of pregnant women get it and refer to this as “the pooch” but it can actually occur in male and females.

Why is it bad? 

DR is not good for a few reasons. More functionally, it can make vaginal delivery more difficult, lead to increased back pain, constipation and urine leaking. From an aesthetic stand point it can make your abs look soft and look like a bulge in your mid section. 

How can you check if you have Diastasis Recti?


1. Lie on your back with you knees bent and feet on floor
2. Put one hand behind your head and lift head and shoulders off the floor
3. With the other hand, take two finger tips and place right above your belly button. Fingers should be parallel to your belt line, nails are facing away from you. 
4. Poke your abdomen with your finger tips and feel for the separation between your abs. 
5. 2-2.5 finger tip separation is normal. Anything more is considered DR. 


How to heal Diastasis Recti-

To heal DR you should not do any sit ups, crunches, planks, heavy lifting, twisting, back bends or anything that causes strain and “coning”. With core activation exercises that stay away from putting added strain on the abdominal wall, it should heal after about 12 weeks post birth. More severe cases can take a year to heal and should be treated by physical therapist. 

...AND DID YOU KNOW?! 

Even if you didn't get Diastasis Recti throughout your pregnancy, it is still possible to develop it in the first couple months postpartum. Make sure you give your body (pelvic floor especially) time to heal before jumping back into your fitness routine. I always recommend a fitness program that looks much like a trimester 3 program for the first 12 weeks you resume working out. 


DO YOU HAVE DIASTASIS RECTI OR WORRIED YOU MIGHT?

THE IMPORTANCE OF KEGELS

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KEGELS: WHAT ARE THEY AND WHY SHOULD WE BE DOING THEM?

Kegels are exercises done to help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Doing them during pregnancy will help with urinary incontinence (loss of bladder control), which two thirds of women experience during and after childbirth. Even after giving birth, doing Kegel exercises will help with controlling your bladder and improving muscle tone of the vagina, making sex more enjoyable!

HOW TO DO KEGELS?

  1. To make sure you are using the right muscles, try to stop urination half way through. If you are able to make yourself stop, you've located the right muscles. 
  2. Continue doing Kegels with an empty bladder. Doing Kegels while urinating can actually be harmful to your bladder. 
  3. Squeeze these muscles for 3 seconds and then rest for 3 seconds. You should not be tightening up any other muscles and do not hold your breath.
  4. Repeat this 10-15 times, three times a day. 
  5. Each week, add a few seconds to each hold until you are able to hold for 10 seconds at a time. 

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I BE DOING THEM?

Aim to do about 10-15 repetitions about 3 times a day. You can do them anytime, anywhere! Doing them during your daily commute, brushing your teeth and conference calls are a great way to help pass the time! 

If you have any other questions, or unsure if you're doing them correctly, your Dr. can help you with this.

EASY AND DELICIOUS VEGETABLE FRITTATA

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This is so easy to make and great to last for a few servings. I used the following ingredients that were in my refrigerator but feel free to use your own preferred veggies and add meat and/or cheese if you'd like!

Ingredients:

10 eggs

1 cup of spinach (I thawed 1 package of frozen)

1 cup chopped red peppers

1 cup chopped onions

1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup almond milk 

STEPS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Mix eggs and all ingredients, except tomatoes in a large bowl. 
  3. In a greased 9x9 pan pour egg mixture in. 
  4. Top with tomatoes.
  5. Cook for about 30 minutes or until center of pan is firm when you give it a little shake. 

Why is this good for you and baby?!

  • High in Protein which helps in production of amino acids, repairs cells and muscles, stabilizes blood sugar, prevents gestational diabetes.
  • High in Vitamin B12 which is important in DNA synthesis, maintains nervous system, important for fetal brain development. 
  • High in Vitamin C which assists body in collagen production, helps fight infections.

WANT TO LEARN MORE GREAT RECIPES?

4 Stretches To Help Lower Back Pain / Sciatica

Have you started feeling lower back pain or sciatica since becoming pregnant? Here are 4 stretches you can do to help with that!

STRETCH 1: CHILD'S POSE WITH OR WITHOUT STABILITY BALL

STRETCH 1: CHILD'S POSE WITH OR WITHOUT STABILITY BALL

STRETCH 2: STANDING AGAINST THE WALL PRACTICING PELVIC TILTS 

STRETCH 2: STANDING AGAINST THE WALL PRACTICING PELVIC TILTS 

STRETCH 3: FLAT BACK TO ROUND. SIMILAR TO CAT AND COW POSE WITHOUT ARCHING YOUR BACK

STRETCH 3: FLAT BACK TO ROUND. SIMILAR TO CAT AND COW POSE WITHOUT ARCHING YOUR BACK

STRETCH 4: FIGURE FOR STRETCH. CAN BE DONE SEATED OR STANDING 

STRETCH 4: FIGURE FOR STRETCH. CAN BE DONE SEATED OR STANDING 


looking for safe and effective exercises?

10 WAYS TO FEEL BETTER WHEN YOU’RE NOT FEELING GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF 

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1.Book a spa appointment!  Get a manicure/pedi/facial/massage. Nothing makes you feel good like good old fashion pamper 

2. Practice positive affirmations

3. Plan a date with friends

4. Get a good workout in 

5. Get enough sleep or take a nap 

6. Make a list of 5 things you love about yourself

7. Visualize everything working out exactly how you want it to and meditate 

8. Sing, dance, run, do whatever that activity is that makes you feel alive! (Taking pregnancy precautions of course!)

9. Plan a weekend away 

10. Remember it’s ok to say “no” when you’re not feeling up for something. There’s no better excuse than “I’m pregnant!”

 

 


want to start feeling better now?

Diaphragmatic Breathing

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What is diaphragmatic breathing? 

Diaphragmatic Breathing also known as deep breathing or belly breathing, is done by contracting the diaphragm. The Diaphragm is the primary breathing muscle in the body located horizontally between the thoracic and abdominal cavity. 

In order for proper core function, diaphragmatic breathing must be present. Weakness in the core can lead to imbalances throughout the entire body, making it extremely important to begin all exercise programs understanding how to perform a successful diaphragmatic breath.  

Why is it beneficial for mommy and baby?

Benefits of diaphragmatic breathing include stronger core, decreased stress in the mom and baby, increased nutrient delivery to the womb, decreased pain in the lower back, and easier labor.

How do you perform diaphragmatic breathing?

  1. It is important to make sure you are filling up your belly rather than just your chest. 
  2. The easiest way is to start laying down on your back, knees bent or with feet up on a chair.
  3. Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach. 
  4. You may want to put a magazine or book on your belly to notice the stomach rising. 
  5. Inhale as deeply as possible through your nose like you are are filling up your stomach with as much air as possible. 
  6. Exhale through your mouth and picture a corset around your core tightening. 
  7. If you notice your chest rising more than your stomach, you are using your neck and chest rather than your diaphragm.  
  8. Once you’ve mastered diaphragmatic breathing while laying down try breathing in a seated position

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