Today’s post is a guest post from a client, Antigone, about the value of Coaching during pregnancy.

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My name is Antigone Oreopoulos and I have been a coaching client of Scott’s for many years now; at least 5+ years. I have stayed with him for this length of time for many reasons, but the main one being the feedback that I receive from him that helps me to improve mentally, physically and emotionally. Over the years he has grown to know me so well that I can say he knows me better than I know myself at times.

For example, sometimes his feedback is a harsh dose of reality that I need to hear for me to learn that what I am doing at present is not serving me well, and other times his feedback reinforces that I know I am on the right path: But either way, I look forward to his email response every week. Just like during the years I spent as a competitive athlete, I know that I would feel lost without this coaching and guidance now; it would be impossible for me to know what I need to do next with my own impartial perspective. I have also stayed with him for this long because I enjoy his training programs so much. They are always fun and challenging, and improve my physical conditioning in some way.

I consider Scott to be my Big C Coach, my teacher as well as my friend.

Between the ages of 35 and 37, I have been through two pregnancies with Scott as my coach. I didn’t know what to expect during pregnancy the first time, but I knew that I wanted to continue to train for as long as possible, and hoped to get back to my original fitness level after having the baby. I believe that Scott’s Coaching was instrumental before the pregnancy as I went through infertility treatment, and during the pregnancy – getting Scott’s specific workouts to help maintain some degree of fitness and enjoyment in the gym. Scott’s feedback helped me to keep my sanity when things got tough, and to help my body recover afterward.

I have a very good obstetrician who encourages his patients to continue to exercise throughout pregnancy, pending no complications. My obstetrician does not give his patients heart rate limits or other exercise limitations, but rather advises patients to keep moving with most types of exercise that you are used to, stay hydrated while exercising and to slow down when needed. As he said to me, “you are pregnant, not sick”. So I asked Scott for a program that I could do while pregnant and received a ‘pregnancy compatible workout’ that was challenging and interesting, yet could be done right through to the end of the pregnancy as my belly got big. He reminded me that this was not the time to push myself or to make gains, and stressed the importance of listening to my body as the pregnancy went along. And then TOGETHER we adapted the program to suit the physical changes my pregnancy presented – see below

During the first pregnancy, I unfortunately developed pelvic girdle pain (pain in the sacro-iliac joints and the symphasis pubis) very early on, at approximately week 8. After the physiotherapist and chiropractor were able to get the pain to the manageable point (once it’s there, it doesn’t go away until after delivery due to the hormones), I started Scott’s pregnancy compatible workout. There were a few exercises that I could not do because of the pelvic girdle pain, and Scott was able to suggest substitutions which I could do pain free; another bonus to having a knowledgeable Coach.

With the first pregnancy, I exercised right up until the day before I delivered at 36 weeks, and up to a week before delivery at 38 weeks with the second pregnancy. I remember how difficult it was to get myself to the gym during those last few weeks; I always felt better mentally and physically after the workout, but my motivation to go was practically non-existent. Moving around an extra fifty pounds with a big belly was not fun! I remember Scott telling me near the end, however, “just do what you can, each day you get to the gym now is a bonus” I stated that I felt as though I should get a “high five” every time I got to the gym and he certainly agreed and kept encouraging me.

He also helped me decide on the right time to cut down the number of workouts per week based on my biofeedback to him. He kept it all real for me during this time.

Before I delivered the first time, I told Scott that I had a plan to be back in the gym as soon as possible. He reminded me that this may or may not happen and to not put pressure on myself to do so. I had a very uncomplicated and easy delivery, and I believe that maintaining my fitness and continuing to move right up until delivery played a role in that. After four weeks, I let him know that I felt physically and mentally ready to start training again. Given my pelvic girdle complications, he started me off slowly with a few weeks of the same program I had done during pregnancy. In retrospect, I think that this was exactly what I needed to increase my confidence before trying a different program and to figure out where my body was at during this stage. After my first workout I complained that it felt like I had never set foot in a gym before and I worried that I would never get back to where I was. Scott told me to just “trust the process” and he emphasized that my body had been through a lot. Both times post-delivery Scott has reminded me of this fact, and I think that this speaks volumes to his Coaching ability and his understanding of how pregnancy and delivery and post-partum scenarios affect the body.

Pregnancy is more challenging at the beginning and at the end. In the beginning, I dealt with the usual nausea and food aversions. I gained weight right from the start, which caused me a lot of stress initially. Scott encouraged me not to worry about how much weight I put on, and to just eat what I could stomach when I was hungry. I gained approximately fifty pounds during my first pregnancy, and about forty during the second. After the first pregnancy, at the three-month mark, I asked Scott for a diet plan that I could follow to help me get the weight off: He gave me a plan that was strict but very balanced and healthy. What I know about Scott’s programs from being with him for so long, especially the diet plans, is that they work if you follow them. The only times I have not had the expected results were when I strayed from his plans and tried something on my own.

Eight months after the first pregnancy I had lost all but approximately ten pounds and felt that I had gained my strength and conditioning back to a level close to where it was before getting pregnant. It was at that time that I decided to return to the fertility clinic to have a second baby. It was important to me to feel physically ready before another pregnancy, and I definitely achieved that goal with Scott’s help.

I had a caesarian section with the second baby and once again I had a very uncomplicated delivery and quick recovery, possibly facilitated by my training right up until the end of pregnancy. This time however, Scott’s post-delivery program for me included mainly body weight exercises and circuit training to get my core and cardiovascular conditioning back up before initiating strength training; which I truly love doing most. This was specifically designed to let my incision continue to heal; and to get my conditioning back knowing that my established strength would still be there and come back quickly once I was ready. Thankfully, Scott was there to keep me from jumping the gun on that one. I am now three months post second baby and just started back on the same diet plan I used post-partum last time; and everything is just going so well – even with two children at home now.

I am grateful to have Scott as my Coach for this long. He is someone that I place a great deal of trust in and I have personally grown physically, emotionally and mentally thanks to his help. Hiring Scott was one of the best decisions I ever made and I cannot see myself being without a Big-C Coach anytime soon. And I am so happy he was there to support and guide me through two pregnancies – pregnancies that issues and right-hand turns along the way.

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