Go ahead and do a search for "postpartum workout" on YouTube. I'll wait.
What do you find? Pages and pages of weight loss challenges, high intensity cardio, videos designed to help you "bounce back!"
There are some high-quality videos, of course, but finding them? Goddamn that's a challenge. And how do you KNOW what's good? How do you know who knows what they're talking about and who is just throwing together workouts based on what they think postpartum women want, rather than what they might need.
And if you are a trainer, or want to be one, who can you look to for evidence-based education that will help them and not hurt them?
This is not the announcement of my 10-minutes a day exercise program that will blast belly fat and shred your abs and shampoo your area rugs while you sleep. I'm still learning right alongside all y'all (sorry, living in Tennessee for 2.5 years is starting to rub off).
A dawning awareness crept up on me that there was a huge hole in what I'd learned about working with moms that a brief webinar in my group fitness instructor training program didn't even begin to fill.
I googled endlessly and tentatively reached out to one of the bigger names I'd seen on Facebook: Jennifer Campbell of Mama Lion Strong and Healthy Habits Happy Moms. I honestly didn't really expect a reply, but she quickly and warmly responded with a few names that I should look into.
Now that I'm a little further down this road I understand her enthusiasm and willingness to share her knowledge. I have yet to meet a single trainer who works with moms who zealously guards her wisdom like they're patented trade secrets and doesn't want anyone else to know about it.
We're shouting this stuff from the freakin' rooftops. We want EVERYONE to know because it is LIFE-CHANGING. We dream of the day when every single trainer (and anyone who works with women in any health, fitness, and wellness capacity) has and uses this information.
TL;DR: Here's a list of educational resources for personal trainers that I wish I'd known about when I was floundering in the flotsam and jetsam of crappy internet information.
Some of these are affiliate links, but I bought all courses with my own money. I really, really love the work that all of these amazing people are doing and have learned SO MUCH from all of them.
Start here. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Start. Here.
Her program for individuals is a great place to start if you want to dip your toe in before dropping several hundred dollars. It's $50 and you won't regret a penny of it. I also have a few of her pro courses and those are fantastic as well (specifically, The Female Athlete: Ready for Impact). If you've heard me talk about piston breathing, lifting beans, and basically anything related to the pelvic floor, this is where it all came from.
Where you go next depends on your budget, background, and current (or desired) clientele. You really can't go wrong with any of these, and none of them have the exact same information as any other course.
Don't ask me to pick a favorite or a "best" one. There is no BEST course. I'm happy to make recommendations if you want to email me, but I can't just say "this is the one course that everyone should take." I've taken (or am in the process of taking) most of these, and will update this page with more in-depth information after I finish them.
General Pre- and Postnatal Fitness:
Disclaimer: Jessie's course is the only one on this list that I haven't enrolled in, but I know Jessie and she's an incredible resource of information about training perinatal women. I feel completely comfortable recommending this without having taken it myself. Jessie is also on the advisory board of Girls Gone Strong, and they have a whole page on their site that talks about the differences between the two programs.
I've just started the Girls Gone Strong certification and what I've seen so far is incredible. I wouldn't be able to do this certification (or Jessie's course) justice by trying to adequately describe them here, so go take a look at both websites. I will say that they are both comprehensive, practical programs that look at pre- and postnatal fitness as far more than just exercise and also take nutrition, mental health, diet culture, body image and mindset into account. Which is awesome! We should all be doing that! Within our scope, of course.
If you're looking for some light bedtime reading to help you brush up on your DR knowledge...this ain't it. If you don't have a solid background in anatomy (read: if, like me, you're not a pelvic floor physical therapist), a lot of this will go right over your head. There's a lot of very technical information that is a bit beyond me, but what I can decipher is superb. If you're on a tight budget or if you haven't done any of the other courses on this list, I would skip this one for now. It won't make much sense or be very helpful without more background information. But combined with any of the other courses, you can consider this advanced training in DR. Fair warning, there's also a fair bit of manual therapy covered, which is obviously beyond my scope as a personal trainer. But physical therapists should absolutely get this book, as should trainers who understand their scope and have some experience with DR. I've heard her in-person workshops are fabulous as well, but I haven't ever been to one.
Bridging the Gap Between Rehab and Training:
I'm eagerly waiting for this course to start in a few weeks. I've followed Sarah on Facebook for a long time, and her blog posts and YouTube videos are solid gold. If this course is anything like what she offers for free then I know it's going to be awesome. I'm quite confident in my theoretical knowledge about working with women who have pelvic floor issues, diastasis recti, etc (oh right and I AM ONE), but I'd love to have even more practical tools at my disposal. That's what I'm expecting and hoping to get out of Sarah's course.
I can't even tell you how much I love Brianna and Antony. They are the ones that eased my fears about lifting weights and helped me get my confidence back. Antony has a couple of shorter courses on his website, and while I give those two thumbs up, I highly highly HIGHLY recommend you see him in person if you can. His weekend workshop on the female athlete blew my mind and I'd attend AGAIN if given another chance. It's that good.
Brianna is just as awesome and her course is fully online (it also includes Julie Wiebe's course; something to keep in mind when considering the price of all of these classes). You won't get exercise plans to share with your clients; her course is all about the WHY. If you don't have a personal training certification, I'd probably do that first, because the course assumes you have a working knowledge of anatomy and exercise technique. But once you have a handle on that, you'll learn how to apply the piston strategy to every level of exercise for every level of athlete, from the mom who just had a baby to someone who's training for the CrossFit Games.
What did I miss?
Any other courses on your radar that I missed? Is this helpful? Please let me know, I'd love to hear from you.