FPC FOUNDERS ARE REVOLUTIONIZING PRENATAL FITNESS ONE PELVIC FLOOR AT A TIME
We recently caught up with Carolina and Joanie, co-founders of Fit Pregnancy Club (FPC) a NYC-based boutique fitness studio specifically geared towards mothers-to-be and new moms.
As moms themselves, they aim to revolutionize the concept of prenatal and postnatal fitness. Their ethos that workouts for new and expectant moms shouldn't be merely modified, but completely different - as their needs are different. Rooted in the concept that safe, yet vigorous, workouts will increase fitness for a stronger pregancy AND a faster postpartum recovery, they share more about why it's definitely not OK to accept peeing as the new norm every time new moms laugh or sneeze, and the reasons why pelvic care is so important.
Their classes, notably their signature "Pump & Kegel", empower women to train the specific muscles needed to support their changing bodies during pregnancy, and in turn, support labor and delivery and a healing process postpartum.
1. FPC is taking prenatal & postpartum fitness to a whole new level. What is your philosophy on how women should exercise during pregnancy and afterwards?
We believe that women shouldn’t be treated like they are sick or asked to make modifications in the corner during pregnancy and postpartum. Like any other fitness method, you train with a certain technique in order to obtain a certain result. It’s the same during pregnancy and postpartum.
Our goal is to train the specific muscles needed to support our changing bodies during pregnancy, support labor and delivery and help us heal ourselves again in postpartum.
2. Your signature class is the pump & kegel, can you walk us through some of the exercises and why they're important.
Our foundational class, Pump & Kegel, is teaching our clients to initiate every movement from their inner core unit. That consists of the multifidus muscles, the diaphragm, TVA and pelvic floor. In a fully functioning body, these movements fire milliseconds before all our movements. The problem is, most of us have muscle imbalances and inner core units that don’t fire as they should.
Our Pump & Kegel class integrates every day activities like lifting a baby, picking up toys, etc and shows women how to get back to that basic, functional movement in their bodies so they don’t injure themselves during pregnancy and postpartum.
Erin (pictured above) teaches Pump & Kegel at FPC. Above is her adorable pregnancy announcement wearing our cashmere Katelyn turtleneck.
3. Let's talk pelvic floor. Most women don't know what this is until they're pregnant. But even then it's still kind of a mystery. Please explain and tell us what we need to do to not pee every time we sneeze postpartum!
It makes us so sad when we hear women say that peeing during jumping, running, sneezing, etc is just the way it is because they’ve had a baby. In our world, that’s a completely unacceptable answer. Urinary incontinence is a pelvic floor dysfunction. It means that the pelvic floor muscles are either too tight or not strong enough and are not functioning properly as part of the inner core unit. Our foundational Pump & Kegel works to correct that.
Carolina (pictured above), who is expecting her 3rd, is feeling less aches & pains this time round while regularly exercising at FPC.
4. Diastasis is another foreign word for most women until they get it during pregnancy. Is there a proven exercise method to "fix" diastasis? Or avoid it altogether during pregnancy?
There are many misconceptions about diastasis recti and how to “heal” it. The most current research shows that the most important factor in making a diastasis functional again is being able to produce tension through it. You can have a few finger width gap and as long as your inner core unit is strong and fires during movements, you’ve made your core function again. Again, our foundational Pump & Kegel is a way to prevent it and also “fix” it in postpartum.
5. Joanie, you're a pre/post natal corrective exercise specialist. Can you tell us what inspired you to pursue this field and where can someone go to get their certification?
I’m a lifelong dancer, anatomy geek (ask Carolina- she often has to translate for me when I geek out about the science behind what we’re doing!!) and lover of all movement. Before trying to get pregnant, I did a ton of research on what happens to our bodies during pregnancy and postpartum (as any diligent professional dancer would) and fell in love with perinatal fitness and the thought of training the body for during and after pregnancy. I knew that a general pre/postnatal certification wouldn’t fulfill my appetite so I found an organization called, Fit for Birth. Their program is much more extensive and based on all the most current research. Through them, I received my certifications as a Pre & Post Natal Corrective Exercise Specialist and Diastasis and Core Consultant.
Erin is also a trained doula and will be teaching our Breastfeeding Workshop at FPC on 1/31. She's wearing our Gemma Sweatshirt above.
6. Can you tell our readers the top three little things they can do for themselves to make for an easier pregnancy and recovery.
Move! Movement during pregnancy lessons aches and pains, strengthens you for labor, delivers more blood flow to the baby, increases your endorphins and the list goes on!
Be cautious about continuing your pre pregnany workouts. We see many women coming to us after pregnancy who need to be “put back together” because they didn’t train with enough care during pregnancy. We always say, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Pregnancy and postpartum are a very unique time of our lives and we see it as a time to train with lots of attention and body awareness.
Learn to pump & kegel! Learning to strengthen your inner core unit will minimize your risk of injury, minimize or heal a diastasis, restore proper pelvic floor function and continue to support you for the rest of your life.
7. Tell us a small personal memory from that time in your life when you first decided to change the exercise game for pregnant women that pushed you to move ahead.
I was in a non-prenatal exercise class at a large gym chain here in New York and I informed the instructor about my early pregnancy. Instead of offering me modifications, she rolled her eyes, sighed and said “well, when we do the ab series I think it would be best if you perhaps did bicep curls and you probably shouldn’t get your heart rate above a certain number but I’m not an expert so…” I decided then and there that there had to be a place where pregnant and postpartum women could go to workout hard while never having to compromise their safety and health.
8. You started FPC as co-founders. Can you talk about how you and your partner complement each other.
Joanie is the science and Carolina is the cool. Joanie is a pre and postnatal exercise specialist and is really an expert in the field whereas Carolina brings her business background to the game. We literally could not do what we are doing without each other.
FPC co-founders Joanie and Carolina.
9. You opened your doors only a few months ago. Have you had any clients give birth yet?
We have had quite a few and as far as we know they have all had fairly easy labors and no emergency c-sections. We have recently discovered new research that suggests that too much strengthening of the pelvic floor can make it hard for a woman to go through a vaginal delivery. We always stress the importance that the release of the pelvic floor is just as important as the kegel here at FPC.
10. Carolina, you're pregnant with your 3rd baby. Tell us how this pregnancy (while having your own fitness center) is different.
The support I have for this pregnancy is just beyond anything I could ever have dreamed of and am so happy to be bringing it to other women around me too. FPC is really a community of women who are all going through the same thing in one way or another and it’s wonderful to have a place to gather and just chat about all things female. I am also experiencing less aches and pains this time around and I give the FPC method (pump & kegel) all the credit for that.
11. I remember as a new mom I had no time to go to a scheduled fitness class but I was dying to get back in shape and trim my waist. What mix of exercises can moms do at home?
If a woman has mastered the pump & kegel technique, she can treat every task at home like a workout. Pump and kegeling to pick up her baby, do laundry, wash dishes, pick up toys, etc. We also love squats, any kind of arm exercises with weights and moving to great music. One of my favorite postpartum exercises is still putting on my favorite tunes and having a dance party with my daughter.
12. What is the deal with exercising while breastfeeding and milk supply? We have heard a lot of conflicting information.
Every woman’s supply and experience is going to be different and it’s important that she just knows her body and does what’s right for her in the end. Joanie is still happily breastfeeding at 17 months postpartum and works out while teaching 3+ hours a day!
FPC's studio space in SoHo NYC
13. Future plans for FPC?
There are so many exciting things in store for FPC. As of now we are working on rolling out a comprehensive virtual workout program so women all over the world can experience FPC. We would love to open a couple of more locations in New York and across the US but we have also had women from London reach out to us regarding our workout so a location there is definitely not out of the question. We are also working on a couple of cool collaborations with some of our favorite brands so stay tuned via our social media or newsletter.
Thanks so much ladies! Can't wait to learn how to Pump & Kegel. Teat & Cosset is excited to sponsor a breastfeeding workshop on Wednesday, January 31st at FPC's NYC SoHo location. Call FPC to sign up. Limited space available.