We’ve all heard of the tremendous benefits of continuing safe movement during pregnancy. After all, you’re preparing your body for birth and postpartum, perhaps the most physically daunting transition the female body ever endures. And we know the power of connecting with others and forging relationships that fill us up. So what if you could do both at once?
Boutique group fitness studios tap into this idea that you can merge these two worlds. You can nurture yourself physically while nurturing yourself emotionally and mentally. But not all group fitness is created equally, especially for the hopeful, expecting, and new mom. Wherever you are on your motherhood journey, here are 3 tips for finding the perfect boutique group fitness class for you.
The ever-changing female body during the motherhood journey should be honored in all forms of exercise. Limitations should be respected and strengths should be celebrated. Make sure that the instructors at whatever studio you’re attending are equipped to provide options to make the workout safe, effective, and energizing.
Talk with the front desk prior to booking, and introduce yourself to the instructor to let them know you’ll like some alternatives to accommodate your situation. For example, if you’re in your 2nd or 3rd trimester, ask for modifications to exercises that require you to lie on your back. Likewise, they should offer additional exercises that will serve you well during this time, such as those that open the hips, strengthen the deep inner core, and connect you to your breath.
That Mom Connection.
Beyond the physical benefits it offers, a fitness studio can also be a haven of support from others who are on similar stages of the motherhood journey. As a studio owner, I’ve witnessed the blossoming of friendships between expecting and new moms, some finding their new best friend! Being able to relate to someone who not only shares your same passion for movement and exercise, but who also is dealing with a growing bump or a fickle newborn can be incredibly uplifting. It makes the whole transition that much less lonely.
Even if there isn’t a mother who is at your exact same stage, the right studio fosters a culture of connection and support. One of my clients remembers, “There were other clients that were pregnant too, which made it such a supportive community…I met so many new friends, and received great advice in preparation for delivery and having a new baby.” Finding your tribe becomes especially important during this ever-changing time.
All the Other Perks.
New motherhood is hard. And finding some “me time” can be especially challenging. Being a member of a studio that accommodates the challenges and makes self-care time easier and more accessible is essential to actually making working out happen on the regular. Look for a studio whose class times work with your and baby’s schedule, rather than only accommodate commuters or students who workout extra early or really late. Some studios — like ours — even allow you to arrive late without penalty which is so important for busy moms who run into unexpected delays. We know that even squeezing in a 20 minute workout can be a mental, physical, and emotional lifesavers on some days!
Additionally, find a place that offers safe and professional childcare services in-house so you can fully enjoy your workout without spending precious mental energy worrying about making extra plans a babysitter or daycare. One of my clients who takes advantage of our studio Play Lounge echos a sentiment shared by many new moms, “I’m grateful to be able to bring my son to barre3 and have an hour to sweat and destress. It was comforting to me to know he was always in such good hands.” Taking the time to yourself is crucial to filling up your own cup so you can be your best self, so look for studios that are mindful of all that a mom is juggling. Plus, don’t dismiss the importance of a fully stocked bathroom of hair ties, pads, deodorant and all those little things you may forget that make your workout and post-workout more enjoyable.
Creating a special sanctuary for active hopeful, expecting, and new moms is more than just about the workout. Incorporating a community-oriented culture, one that encourages connection outside of the studio, and honoring the practical needs of moms (like childcare!) are essential. It’s these little things that can help make working out truly part of your new lifestyle as a mom. Plus, there’s a tremendous endorphin high you get from not just from breaking a sweat, but also from getting out and socializing. This culture is something that we strive to cultivate at barre3, and I think one of the new moms summarized all the benefits well when she said, “The workout is incredible, and I have so much energy when I finish, but it’s so much more than that. It’s the philosophy, the community.”
Becca Licht is owner and instructor at barre3 Rivertowns in Dobbs Ferry, NY. She discovered barre3 in 2012 and was immediately drawn to the warm, welcoming community mindset and challenging yet adaptable workout. After a stint working for Maven Clinic, a women-focused healthcare startup in NYC, Becca opened her studio, excited to share this workout with the Rivertowns community. While her Maven Clinic experience gave her a tremendous appreciation for providing truly intentional prenatal & postnatal support, her barre3 training gave her important fitness tools to do so effectively. She is eager to spread the barre3 philosophy within — and beyond — her studio walls, empowering moms everywhere. Connect with Becca on MyNestwell.