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Great Content By Mothers, For Mothers
Welcome to the special Mothers Week Edition of Best Fitness Content.
You'll notice we're changing things up this week. Rather than singling out articles, podcasts, videos, and posts as the "best of the week," we're sharing some of our favorite content produced by mothers, for mothers, regardless of when it was originally published.
We're also dropping the "best" designation. It's impossible to compare such wide-ranging content from such a diverse mix of authors, coaches, and physical therapists and conclude that any single article or post was objectively better than any other.
That's especially true when the content covers such intensely personal topics as premature birth and postpartum depression, and when the person selecting the content isn't a mother.
But I did have a front-row seat to the birth of my three kids—the first of which, as I wrote in this homage to my amazing wife, followed 83 and a half hours of labor. Yes, she really was in labor for three and a half days.
The next two births were (somewhat) faster and (marginally) less traumatic, but 24 years later, she still feels the aftereffects of that first one.
I won't detail those aftereffects for privacy reasons. But if you look at the mix of topics in this special Mothers Week edition of Best Fitness Content, you can probably guess a few of them. And if you guess accurately, you'll understand why I have so much respect for the mothers included here.
— Lou Schuler
How to Create a Safe and Effective Strength Training Program for Pregnant Clients -- Marika Hart, Girls Gone Strong
Early in this comprehensive guide to training prenatal clients, Marika Hart shares an eye-opening stat:
"More than 85 percent of women will have children at some point in their lives. That means that among your female clients, almost 9 out of 10 will either become pregnant, are pregnant, or are postpartum."
Most of your pregnant clients will benefit from strength training, including those who are new to the weight room. And it's easy enough to find a list of conditions that make lifting inadvisable.
The rest is details, and when it comes to the health and safety of an expecting mother and her unborn child, the details are really important.
Three Reasons You Should Rehab Like an Athlete After Having a Baby -- Tabitha Harder, The Postpartum PT
Rehab professionals have known for a while that the earlier an athlete begins the recovery process, the faster they return to their sport.
Tabitha Harder believes the same philosophy should apply to mothers. Like injured athletes, they have strained tissues, atrophied muscles, and site-specific pain, inflammation, and weakness.
The work you do with those postpartum clients will not only help them recover faster, it may else head off more series complications like diastasis recti and pelvic organ prolapse.
Cribsheet (four-part series) -- Emily Oster, Slate
Emily Oster isn't a fitness or nutrition pro; she's an economics professor at Brown University. One of her papers is titled "Unobservable Selection and Coefficient Stability: Theory and Validation."
The Cribsheet series, adapted from her book of the same title, offers evidence-based advice on the most confusing and contentious issues new parents face. The overall message is that we focus too much on things that don't matter, and not enough on things that do.
Outstanding Podcasts, Part 1
Mental Health in Pregnancy, Postpartum, and Beyond – Alice Pickering and Brianna Battles, Practice Brave Podcast
Motherhood is when the most driven, goal-oriented woman suddenly finds herself in a world filled with phenomena she can’t control. She can’t control her physical or emotional health. Her body looks and feels different. She can’t sleep, work, eat, or exercise on her own schedule. That baby is the ultimate wild card, and the mood swings can be sometimes overwhelming. She alternately feels angry, guilty, sad, anxious, and so, so tired.
This podcast episode is for any mom who thought she was alone in having those emotions, or who thought she could exorcise those negative thoughts through exercise. As Brianna Battles and Alice Pickering discuss, asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s the ultimate flex.
Videos We Love, Part 1
Winning Your Food Fight -- Reshaunda Thornton
On the surface, Reshaunda Thornton's message applies to every client, whether they've given birth or not. But we suspect it will be most helpful to moms who're struggling to make better food choices with the goal of losing weight.
Using words like "fight" and "struggle" is part of the problem, Thornton says. It implies an adversarial relationship with food, when what you want is a partnership.
Think of it this way, she suggests: Would you choose to breathe the most polluted air? Would you go out of your way to drink the most toxic water? So why do we assume we're powerless to choose foods that reflect the value we place on our health and well-being?
Outstanding Podcasts, Part 2
Premature -- Sarah DiGregorio and Lucas Rockwood, The Lucas Rockwood Show
It's one of the scariest words in a pregnant woman's vocabulary, and one of the least understood. In this enlightening conversation, author Sarah DiGregorio shares what she learned when researching and writing Early: An Intimate History of Premature Birth and What It Teaches Us About Being Human.
Enlightening Social Media Posts
We linked these two posts for an obvious reason.
Prolapse: The Basics -- Ashley Nowe
Low-Pressure Prolapse Exercises -- Julie Baird
Videos We Love, Part 2
What Is a Diastasis, and Can You Fix It? -- Sarah Ellis Duvall, Core Exercise Solutions
Diastasis recti is a natural and predictable consequence of pregnancy and delivery. But it's also poorly understood. As Sarah Ellis Duvall explains, that lack of understanding makes it easy to exacerbate with unwise training decisions and methods.
More Great Fitness Content
Yes, Men Have Pelvic Floor Muscles Too -- Jeanice Mitchell
Black Maternal Healthcare and Reproductive Justice -- Tekara Gainey and Jessie Mundell, To Birth and Beyond
How to Deal With Your Child's (Literal) Growing Pains -- Lisa Nichole Folden, Healthy PhiT Physical Therapy
How to Get On and Off the Floor During Pregnancy -- Sara Chan Reardon