Fam, Amanda is the real deal. Dedicated, educated, compassionate. She fits the Guild mold perfectly and we're so thrilled she's working with us to help give prenatal and postpartum families the foundation to wellness while growing a family. We hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as we have.
How did you get into fitness?
I was always active growing up, in my child and teen years I was in dance classes and dance competitions all year round. After I graduated college, dancing stopped and I was so exhausted from the insane work I had been doing the past four years. I gained twenty pounds, fast, and I was unhappy with the way I looked. I started researching nutrition and changing my eating habits. It wasn't until my father started lifting weights that I stepped into the gym. I fell in love with nutrition and the gym pretty hard and fast. I not only lost all the weight, but I started to get really good at my new found love affair, weight lifting and writing about nutrition. Two years later I became a personal trainer and haven't looked back!
What is your background and education?
I graduated college with a bachelors of science in Sustainable Interior Design. I grew immensely in college and got to travel all over Italy during my session abroad. I still use some of my education from my degree, helping myself and clients live cleaner, environmentally friendly lives. In 2014 the magic happened and I received my Certified Personal Trainer Certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and in 2016 became a Fitness Nutrition Specialist. I was working full time in sales and always had a second job working at a gym as a trainer. People were always asking me for nutritional advice. I decided to go back to school again, this time focusing more on nutrition and coaching. In 2017 I graduate from the Institute of Integrated Nutrition as a Holistic Health Coach. The school was amazing, and helped me to start my own coaching business. I left my full time job that year and started working for myself. My love affair of my own preconception journey and women's health put me on a path for more education. Early in 2018 I became a Pre and Postnatal Corrective Exercise Specialist through Fit For Birth. My absolutely favorite certification yet. This was the turning point for my career.
What made you interested in the pre and postnatal world?
Surprisingly, when I was in college I thought I did not want and would not ever have babies. So when I met my husband, fell madly in love, and realized we both wanted babies, my preconception plan began. I believe the second you know you want to have children is when you should start preparing. The concepts on fertility and hormonal health were fascinating to me, I became a huge advocate for fertility awareness, got off of hormonal birth control, started eating liver everyday, and detoxed! One night, my husband and I watched the documentary The Business of Being Born and my whole life changed. With tears flowing from my eyes, I knew I wanted to work in a field where I could educate women on healthy pregnancies.
What is the difference between exercise and corrective exercise?
You can exercise, and you can exercise correctly with a purpose. Corrective exercise focuses on correcting muscle imbalances to reverse and prevent injuries. As a coach, an initial movement assessment with my clients shows underactive and overactive muscles. From there, I create an individual exercise program to address these imbalances and get the body back to proper posture. Muscle imbalances lead to poor movement and posture which lead to pain and soreness and eventually injury. Corrective exercise has the capabilities of improving common movement patterns that Mamas do on a regular basis like holding, squatting, bending, pushing, and pulling all with baby. In my classes, I focus on correct muscle engagement and proper breathing mechanics to keep the kinetic chain moving optimally. As a pregnant belly gets bigger each week with, common discomforts can occur such as low back and pelvic pain. Although these discomforts are common, they are not normal, and corrective exercise can help greatly.
Why is corrective exercise so important during pregnancy?
There are numerous benefits for mom and baby if mom exercises during her pregnancy. Babies of parents who exercise are physically and mentally more ahead at birth and through all stages of life into adulthood. Babies are better able to handle the stresses of labor, resulting in fewer complications such as cord entanglement or meconium. Babies have increased blood volume, more oxygen present, and normal heart rate reactions. Babies of parents who exercised during pregnancy also have an easier transition to life outside of utero, they are alert and easier to care for. Additionally, the placenta of those who exercise during pregnancy grow stronger and faster which results in increased nutrient delivery and vastly improved toxin removal.
Labor and exercise elicit the same pain relieving hormones which means people who exercise during pregnancy train their bodies to produce these hormones more efficiently. Due to this, moms who exercise during pregnancy experience a 35% reduced need for pain relief during labor. And since they were exercising, they had a 75% decrease in exhaustion during labor, cutting the average labor by ⅓ for those who exercised through pregnancy. Exercise was not shown to increase incidences of preterm labor but in fact, moms who exercised during pregnancy are more likely to deliver at full term and on time. Interested in having a natural labor? Moms who exercise during pregnancy experience a 50% decreased need for nonsurgical interventions (such as artificially rupturing membranes, stimulating or inducing labor), a 55% decreased need for episiotomy, and a 75% decreased need for operative interventions such as forceps or c-section. Exercise alone reduces chances of c-section from one in three to one in twelve! People who exercise during pregnancy experience less weight gain and fat accumulation, which drastically lowers their chances of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. It also increases immune function and energy, which both can take a plummet while pregnant. And lastly, people who exercise during pregnancy experience overall less pregnancy discomforts such as low back pain, pelvic pain, stretch marks, varicose veins, diastasis, etc. You can maintain a positive attitude about yourself, your pregnancies, and your upcoming labor and delivery.
How can corrective exercise help women postpartum?
Parents who exercised through their pregnancy feel better and burn fat faster. Now they have the additional postural stressor of holding a seven pound weight that grows every day and cries if they are down. With the hormone relaxin still present postpartum, joint pains, back pains, postural strains, and tension headaches are all still a reality. These discomforts will be exacerbated or mediated by muscle balance and alignment through proper movement. Speaking of hormones, exercise postpartum, along with breathing, nutrition, and de stressing will all aid in balancing the important hormones present in the postpartum body. Exercise has been shown to reduce likelihood of postpartum depression. Pregnancy can leave women with more than just stretched out and underactive muscles. There is a high likelihood that there is severe damage to the pelvic floor (episiotomy of tearing) or severe damage to the transverse abdominis (c-section). Postnatal corrective exercise focuses on healing the pelvic floor and core that may have become dysfunctional with pregnancy and labor. Lastly, women who exercise postpartum return to pre baby weight much faster than those who do not exercise.
What are your long term career goals?
Continue to grow my business and keep creating! I would love to create educational resources whether that be ebooks, virtual exercise classes, programs, or retreats. I would like to transition from in-person training to solely online so I can work from home when I have my own baby. A huge goal of mine is to write a book (or many books)!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to read, I make reading part of my morning routine each day. My favorite books are ones on child care, fertility, hormones, and vaccinations. Still, my favorite form of exercise is lifting weights so you can typically find me at the squat rack at the gym. I also love to cook, create recipes, and visit restaurants featured on DDD. My husband and I have a tradition where we travel to a new National Park every year, so traveling is huge for us. We also love games (who else loves HQ?).
Thank you for taking the time to read! You can find more of me on my website. And be sure to follow me on Instagram! Join me for one of my classes at The River Guild - Prenatal Fitness is Wednesdays from 6-7PM and Baby and Me Fitness is Fridays from 10:30-11:20. Hope to see you there!