It is an exciting time! The importance of women’s health is finally gaining awareness and women are no longer accepting messages like “light bladder leakage is just part of being a woman” or “it is normal to leak a little after you have children and get older.” Women are more educated, more aware, and are seeking professionals outside of the medical community who can help them manage, improve, or eliminate the symptoms they used to think they had to live with.
canfitpro was one of the first to bring women’s health education to the fitness and wellness professional, and they are continuing to forge the path with their new Understanding a Fit Pregnancy online course. It highlights the key areas fitness professionals need to be aware of when training women through their trimesters.
Pre/Postnatal Fitness Education has come a long way in the past few years. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada recently updated their pregnancy fitness recommendations for 2019. The increased awareness about pelvic health challenges in women, as well as diastasis recti, has truly put women’s health and fitness in the mainstream.
Challenges like incontinence, organ prolapse, chronic low back pain, or a tummy that will not flatten are common and, until now, often never addressed through fitness. Many women have avoided fitness altogether (running and a “leaky” bladder? Yikes!), which never address and may even contribute to the underlying problem: the core and pelvic floor.
Does Your #FITFAM…
- Get back pain when working their core?
- Have continuous back pain – even with the core-building workouts you’ve given them?
- Avoid certain movements because of back or hip pain?
- Pee before every workout (and maybe after too)?
- Rush to the bathroom mid-workout?
If you answered If you answered YES to any of these questions, it’s time you learned the reasons why and add the missing link to your toolbox that will transform the way you train women!
You, like many fitness professionals, may assume that if you do not train women who are pregnant, you do not need to know about women’s health or become certified in pre/postnatal fitness. Here’s the thing – most women you train will be, or have been, pregnant at some point in their life. But most importantly, the concepts of pre and postnatal fitness can be applied to all clients – pregnant or not, male or female – as they relate back to breathing patterns, the muscles of the pelvic floor, and rehabilitation exercises.
Learn how to safely & effectively train your client through this special stage in her life. Women out there are looking for fitness professionals who are in-the-know!
The Core Breath
Proper breathing is an important aspect of fitness for all clients – male and female. A true, proper Core Breath involves the lungs, diaphragm, and pelvic floor to create enough pressure for an effective breath. Dysfunctional breathing can lead to a world of complications, including back pain, weakness in the core and pelvic floor, poor posture, and more. Teach your clients to breathe properly and practice on your own.
Coaching the Core Breath
- Instruct your client sit on a stability ball or chair with one hand on their side ribs and the other on their stomach
- Have them take a few deep breaths and ask where they feel the air going (ideally, you - and they - will see/feel a lateral expansion in the ribcage with an overflow into the stomach
- Ensure they are relaxing and softening in their belly. Ask them to bring their pelvic floor – the space between their ‘sits’ bones.
- As they inhale, ask if they can feel a sense of fullness between their ‘sits’ bones (their perineum). As they exhale, they should feel the fullness subside.
- Instruct your client to purse their lips and blow on the exhale. “Imagine blowing out your birthday candles.” Then, inhale to feel the expansion and fullness in the stomach and perineum.
- On the exhale of the next breath, cue them to voluntarily contract their pelvic floor. Common cues are “hold your pee” and “imagine trying to pick up and hold a blueberry.” The inhales are all about relaxing the pelvic floor and expanding the belly.
The new Understanding a Fit Pregnancy online course will give you a taste of all there is to learn about the core and pelvic floor. A collective of women’s health professionals have collaborated to bring you an exciting course that is sure to lead you down a path to expand your awareness, knowledge, and business.
This may take you (and your client) out of your comfort level, but it is important to recognize the pelvic floor and diaphragm as the foundations of a strong, functional core. Your body – and your clients – will thank you.
About Kim Vopni
Kim Vopni is a self-professed pelvic health evangelist and is known as The Vagina Coach. She is a certified fitness professional who became passionate about spreading information on pelvic health when she was pregnant with her first child in 2003.
She is the founder of Pelvienne Wellness Inc - a company offering pelvic health programs and coaching for women in pregnancy, motherhood and menopause. She is also the co-founder of Bellies Inc, a company focused on improving births and postpartum recoveries with the revolutionary Ab System.
Kim is a published author, a passionate speaker and women’s health educator, as well as a mom to two boys. Kim teaches live courses for fitness professionals throughout the year including the Core Confidence Specialist intensive at the canfitpro 2019 conference in Toronto. Her books Prepare to Push, Your Pelvic Floor: The Inside Story, and Pregnancy Fitness are available on her websites, as well as amazon and Human Kinetics.