Be fit and fab anywhere with Nicole Brodie. She has a fantastic first fitness and wellness online training program for women in pre-pregnancy. Yes, you can get fit before pregnancy to promote a healthy pregnancy.
Nicole, tell us a bit about your background…
I grew up in the land downunder, in the city of Melbourne. Like most teenagers, I went through a hard time trying to work out who I was. After going through a somewhat rough time as a teen, a young engagement which was later cancelled, to a long term on an off boyfriend plus a last minute freak-out which ended our relationship abruptly, my life was kind of an uphill battle of emotions at the best of times.
After moving to London, where I joined the party scene to take my mind off the past, I met a crossroad. It was a divine moment where I decided that things needed to change. On that very day I quit cigarettes and everything else that had been in my life for that period of ‘healing’. I have never looked back.
Skip 10 years, over that time I found fitness to be my saviour. Feeding my body with healthy food and exercising – they helped me get through very hard times.
Today I am happily married with a sweet and cheeky 3 year-old – living the dream that I had for so long to help women around the world achieve both mental and physical well-being. I have always used health and fitness as a tool for myself – now I am sharing it in a way that is very close to my heart.
How did you come up with the first fitness and wellness online training program for women pre-pregnancy?
I’m currently trying to conceive again. A few months ago, I was doing a pull-up at my crossfit box – something for which I worked hard on for a long time. I wanted to be able to do a pull-up whilst pregnant, just a silly goal of mine. I told the trainer “I’m doing pre-pregnancy training”. I remember it as my “a-ha” moment. I thought to myself:.. Why isn’t there a program for women planning to get pregnant?
On the same week I had a friend who was pregnant at the time confided in me about her fitness struggles during pregnancy and that she wished she went into pregnancy fitter and healthier. With all my heart, I wanted to help her or just fill her with some love and anything that would make her feel happy.
I realized at that precise moment that there is a serious need for creating something that would help woman as they approach the journey of getting pregnant and beyond. Not only with their body, but I also wanted to invest lot of time and effort into providing tools, guides and tips across lots of aspects that help relieving some of the stress when trying to conceive – including nutrition and mental wellness. So that is how the ‘Fit and fabulous pre-pregnancy’ program was born.
My first pregnancy happened as planned. However, once I got pregnant it felt like things were out of my control and anything could happen. – “Would I be able to train”? , “What if I was not feeling well all the time”?, “Would I put on a lot of extra weight”?, “Would I be at risk of postnatal depression”? – so many questions and my only solution was to get into ‘pre-pregnancy’ training mode and hone in on the spots I felt would help me the most.
So I have already been my own ‘guinea pig’, and I know how much this program can help women, just as it helped me.
When I fell pregnant with Shai and spoke to the Doctor about my exercise regime he told me: “ You can continue doing most of you fitness routine as long as they are exercises you you did before pregnancy”. That was another key factor in putting this program together – so women that aren’t fitness junkies like myself can take a preventative approach which will enable them to keep on training throughout their pregnancy.
Why is it important for women to strengthen both their body and mind ahead of pregnancy?
Where do I start! Let’s start with the mind…. as a busy mum who runs multiple businesses I can say that the number one stress reliever for me is getting my sweat on. It’s not new nor groundbreaking, exercising releases endorphins and improves your mood – among many other benefits. So it’s a fantastic stress reliever and specially important for women who may be on the longer end of trying to conceive, which can cause anxiety and emotional turmoil.
Exercising is a great outlet that helps escaping routine with a positive and healthy alternative to closing-off from the world, which is sadly common.
In terms of the body, and from first-hand experience, going into first pregnancy fit and healthy really helped my entire journey from trying to conceive, prenatal to postnatal. Fitness promotes fertility, a healthy pregnancy and what is meant to be an ‘easier labor’ (those two words should never be used together!). Exercise is also known to prevent gestational diabetes – which has worryingly jumped from happening in 3% to 4% of pregnancies, the current rate of 6% to 8%. It is a terrifying fact that now up to 8% of moms-to-be are diagnosed with this prenatal complication.
Recovery is also significantly easier and faster for women who stay active. In addition, exercise reduces the risk of weight gain and stretch marks. What’s more, getting back into fitness after childbirth is a lot easier. I was back on track relatively fast (within reason of course) which helped me cope with the joys of motherhood even more.
In my mind, if you are physically able, every woman should be thinking preventatively and not wait until childbirth to ‘get back in shape’. Not only for themselves, but for their babies.
Why do doctors advise against taking on new routines?
If you choose pregnancy as the time to get in shape, it’s not really the way to go. Of course you can do low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming etc, but doctors advise against new routines since your body isn’t used to it and is going through a lot of changes as soon as you conceive.
There is a hormone that is released early during pregnancy called relaxin. The function of relaxin is to soften structures of the musculoskeletal system, particularly around the pelvis.
This means that ligaments, tendons and muscles are softer and less elastic. If you are starting a new routine and not used to the exercises, this can lead to injury in some instances. It’s just something women need to be warey of and of course if you are starting something new, these things are even more likely to occur.
When starting a new routine you are usually less fit, which causes your heart rate to increase – something that needs to be monitored. The rule of thumb is that you should be able to hold a conversation during the exercises – if you cant, its a sign to stop.
So keeping this points in mind, the safer solution is to start before you get pregnant which will enable you to continue with your fitness regime (with some alterations and your doctor’s blessing, of course!).
How can our readers enroll in your online training program?
The program’s core is a 3 month exercise program, 3 days a week and each session is less than 30 minutes. It’s not a body transformation, it’s focused on core strengthening that is for newbies and beyond. I have included a lot of other goodies. Such as my own personal recipes which I use for promoting a healthy body for conception, menstruation trackers, food logs, ovulation calendars, and much more! I really believe in providing women with a healthy and safe approach to their journey of becoming a mother with the ambition to help them reduce any added stress. After all, we all want for this journey to be healthy, beautiful and pleasant!
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