Kelsey Nogler is the co-owner of Training For Life Fitness Studio in Middleton, Nova Scotia and is a personal trainer as well as a prenatal fitness coach. After she had her son, she asked her doctor about hiring a postnatal coach and was shocked when the doctor said she didn’t know of any around here. That put Kelsey on the path to gain valuable information that she now shares with her clients.
Kelsey has been a personal trainer for about 6 years now and before that, she was working and learning from co-workers at the gym she was working at.
“I had this guy (my son) and I realized that there’s a ton of information that would have been so helpful during pregnancy and after for recovery that my basic training really didn’t focus on. So it’s after the fact that I learned it all. But now I’m able to help other people and share the knowledge that I really missed out on. That’s my goal now to just spread awareness.”
Cassie Doucette is the co-owner of Mooncoast Yoga in Berwick, NS which has been open for around 7 years now. Before her son, Cassie would teach Vinyasa flow and Yin and she now teaches a class for parents with their babies called Mat & Chat. Parents can come to do a 45 minute light stretch and a 30 min chat afterwards to vent, share struggles, speak to local experts. She creates a safe space to ask questions and connect with your baby. Cassie focuses on mindfulness and being present by simply watching your baby, seeing how they move, how they breathe and looking them in their eyes. She also emphasizes how important it is to practice daily gratitude even for the little things.
” I think the best thing about that for me is just knowing that you’re not alone, because with some of the things that I’ve gone through, I’m just like, well, this is really either weird or it’s normal, and I don’t know what it is. So it’s nice to have that space to come together and be like, is this normal? Like, are you guys going through this, too? Or to just talk about it or even just, like, cry about it sometimes support from other people, even if it’s complete strangers. “
Kelsey: “Well, that’s kind of a loaded question. It really depends on what trimester you’re in and how you’re feeling. And the thing is, I know we all know this, but everyone’s pregnancy is different. For example, I worked out all the time, but I couldn’t work out during my whole first trimester because I was so sick. So it’s really something that if you feel good, go do it. But if anything is causing you pain, you don’t want to push it. Just make sure the exercises that you’re doing in each trimester are safe for that stage.
Kelsey: “Honestly, if you go to your doctor, run by everything with them and get the clearance. But it’s mainly making sure the exercises are appropriate for each stage and how you’re feeling. When you’re pregnant, you release the hormone relaxin. What that does is prepare you for birth by softening all your ligaments and your hips and everything. So a lot of people may feel a lot of pain from that. If you were lifting heavy weights before, you might just have to modify. Make sure you’re breathing properly. There’s so much. It’s not a one-size-fits-all. The best thing to tell people is just if you’re feeling pain, then stop. Go see somebody because it’s not something you want to mess with.”
Cassie: “I was going to kickboxing, probably 2 or 3 times a week, which was awesome. I loved it. Still do. I’m just starting to get back into it. But the first trimester, I was so sick that I just could hardly even go for a walk. When I did yoga, I had really bad heartburn. I couldn’t fold forward or go into downward dog, which was okay because I can still teach without doing the poses. For my own practice, you want to stretch it out and do some downward dog (which feels really good on your lower back and releases pressure) but when you have heartburn that’s not an option.
I didn’t get back into kickboxing after my first trimester because, by the time I was feeling better, I was bigger. I went to my doctor and he said to go for it but it wasn’t something that I really felt comfortable with so I didn’t want to push it. But I did practise yoga right up until a couple of days before I gave birth. I have nothing to compare it to, but I think that really helped with my birth experience, especially mindfulness and breathing. I had a really quick, really painful birth, so it was very much like, okay, the only thing that’s going to get me through this is breathing. My partner really helped me with like “hey, breathe in and breathe out.”. Just having him coach me through that breathing was great. It was really helpful to have practiced before. And just being mindful, knowing that the pain wouldn’t last forever, really gave me hope.
We ended up practicing a lot of affirmations too. “This doesn’t last forever.” “People go through this every day.” “It’s safe.” “Everything is going to be what it’s supposed to be.” I found that really helpful because we practice some affirmations in yoga, too.”
Cassie: “Get a coach! I’d hire Kelsey haha”
Kelsey: “There’s just so much! I wish I did more of the breathing and stuff like that. I wish I spent more time on those things. I thought they were silly and I don’t know why. You want to do the prep work. You wouldn’t run a marathon without training for it. Training your body and your mind.”
Cassie: “I was just so scared to give birth. I had so much anxiety around giving birth. I thought the worst is going to happen and I’m not going to make it out of this thing alive. I’m just not prepared and I was like that right up until I was in labour. I think even just using breathing exercises to calm my anxiety down around the whole birth thing. I did a lot of reading and researching on giving birth. I read a lot of books. The really helpful one I found was Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. Going to school they didn’t teach us a lot about our bodies and how things work. Even the prenatal online group that I went to, I learned a ton. It’s crazy how much I didn’t know about my own body until I started researching it.”
Kelsey: “I had a c-section which I wasn’t expecting. So my recovery was a lot longer and a lot more frustrating than I thought it was going to be. And then you also see people who have had c-sections and they say they were up walking like days after. That they were fine to lift things. So I thought, “Yeah, I’ll be fine.” I got home. I couldn’t even walk down to see my animals. And I just remember crying. I was supposed to be fit after birth, like, this is my job. This is what I was supposed to do. I was supposed to heal fast, this wasn’t supposed to happen. You build up and with my job, I put the expectations on myself but you can’t compare yourself to other people. Everyone’s recovery is going to be different. I was so frustrated at myself that I can’t even walk, I can’t lift my baby.
There’s a point where I just gave up feeling bad that I didn’t recover like I was “supposed” to. But then maybe it’s a good thing I went through that because then people can come to me and feel comfortable knowing that I didn’t have it easy. I didn’t lose all my weight fast like everybody told me I was going to. Someone told me that because I was breastfeeding, my weight was going to drop off. So imaging me after that, my weight not coming off until I took this course. They went into depth about why some people don’t lose weight while breastfeeding, that their bodies will actually hold onto it. It’s their body’s defence mechanism. So that is a total myth. Just because you’re breastfeeding doesn’t mean that the weight is going to fall off. Everybody is different.
I’ll never use my platform to tell people to lose your “mommy pooch”.
A lot of people don’t know that you’re supposed to massage your c-section scar. No one told me that and it’s something so simple. And not doing it can actually create a problem with your core actually activating properly. So that’s where you get pain. That’s where you’re going to have that mommy pooch because your core is not actually healing. So anybody that’s had a c-section, please look into it and go to a massage therapist especially if you’re having pain.”
Cassie: “Well, it’s easy for me to go to parent and baby yoga because I just bring him along and we look forward to it. I rely a lot on my partner for supporting me and my personal health, and mental health, for going to kickboxing. I usually go when he’s home so he can watch him. I try to get outside and go for a walk at least once a day, if not, then a few times a week. Just bringing him with me, because he loves going outside and he sleeps better when he’s been out. I sleep better when we go outside for the day, and just being outside for even just like a 10-minute walk to the post office and back. Right now he’s teething and he’s just really cranky and doesn’t want a nap. It’s hard to even get dressed some days. So finding time to do that can be really hard depending on the day but I do rely on my support. Even if it’s just like going to get groceries or going out for a drive to get a coffee. Accept the help.”
Kelsey: “We have a studio so he can come with me but it’s getting more challenging. I do run classes so I’ll tell them some days like, this is what I want to do for my own workout and they’re pretty good about it. But I guess I do have it a bit easier. I’m back to work as a CCA so I rely on doing my exercise when I teach classes and utilize that time.
A lot of my clients will bring their kids and their babies if they don’t have childcare we can still work around it. There are so many barriers to fitness anyways. And as a mother, there are even more barriers. That’s why I like our private studio because it’s not a big gym where you can’t do stuff like that. That’s why we opened it specifically for those needs and they have the flexibility.
I tell people to just try to do at least 15 minutes even 4x a day or something. Everybody gets set on the idea that you have to take a full hour or half-hour at once. But it’s actually sometimes better for us to split it up. If you’re doing something, then it’s better than doing nothing.”
To connect with Kelsey you can find her on Facebook, Instagram or the Training For Life Facebook. If you want to connect with Cassie you can find her on Instagram, Facebook and The Loft Studio website.