Getting fit isn’t easy, especially when pregnant, and it doesn’t get much easier when you finally become a mom. Santa Monica celebrity trainer, Sara Haley, had the insight early on to realize this was the case, while working with many clients of childbearing age. She became certified in pre and postnatal workouts. Since then she’s become a mom of two (with a third on the way in June!) and has created a few award-winning pregnancy workouts moms-to-be can do at home. Sara fills us in on nutrition and fitness tips and how being a mom fulfilled her true purpose in life.
Tell us your backstory …
The short version? We’ll give it a try. I’m a graduate of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in English and Speech Communications (what?). Moved to New York City to be with my college sweetheart (now my husband of 13 years) to pursue my dream of being a dancer. While auditioning and performing, I supported myself by teaching group fitness. In 2007 I was recruited by Reebok Int. to be an ambassador for them which turned into being a Creative Consultant and co-creator of some of their programs they developed with Cirque du Soliel. The combination of fitness with dance and theater was perfect for me. I got to travel the world teaching instructors/trainers, be their media spokesperson, cover model and create/star in DVDs. Honestly, it was the time of my life! Not only did it prepare me for so many of the things I do now, but it was so much fun (a requirement for me when it comes to work and working out). When I was in NYC I was teaching classes for Equinox and working as a celebrity trainer. Because almost all of my clients were women of child-bearing age (and selfishly I knew I wanted kids one day) I did the smart thing and got certified in pre/postnatal so that I could continue to train them smart and safe through their pregnancies and beyond. Again, who knew this would become my niche market? Because I was the only trainer with this education, the company I was working for, started giving me ALL of their pregnant and new moms to train. Fast forward to me becoming pregnant and realizing the lack of at-home workouts for expecting moms . . . I create Expecting MORE®, my best-selling and award-winning pregnancy workout to give moms something challenging, safe and fun to do while they are pregnant. A few DVDs and kids later, I’m one of the go-tos in pre/postnatal exercise.
What’s it like being a trainer and a mom?
Being a trainer and a mom has given me an entirely new perspective on the challenges of exercise. Prior to kids I worked out whenever I wanted for as long as I wanted. It was pretty difficult for me to personally understand how someone couldn’t make exercise a priority. With each child it’s become more and more challenging for me to do that for myself and less of a priority, so I recognize how important and HARD it is for moms to include fitness in their lives, especially when it’s NOT something they are already passionate about. I LOVE to move my body and I still struggle to make it happen! I now am able to relate to clients more and develop material that actually works for their lifestyles.
What’s the number one fitness tip you’d give to pregnant or new moms?
Funny that you ask, I just blogged about it and it used to always be LISTEN TO YOUR BODY but as of this third pregnancy, I’m going to adjust that a bit. One of the reasons is due to social media. I’ve seen some pretty crazy stuff out there on Instagram of pregnant moms doing some “amazing stuff.” I do think that what they are doing probably does feel good on their body but it’s not necessarily the BEST thing for their body, so I’d probably say DO YOUR RESEARCH so that you can train smart. I can’t think of any time where it’s more important for you to be doing exercises that truly benefit what your body is going through, whether that means NOT doing crunches or avoiding exercises that can potentially prevent a successful recovery. On the other end of the spectrum, for those of us who feel like their bodies are telling us NO (which has been much more often during this pregnancy), unless you are high risk and have a condition preventing you from exercise, then just because you think your body is telling you no, doesn’t mean that’s the best thing either. I definitely haven’t been doing as much as I did with my first, but I do find that once I start moving my body (even when it’s telling me no initially) it feels better within minutes and of course, I’m always glad I did.
If I can also add . . . SOMETHING IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN NOTHING. You will never regret even just doing 20 squats or even a walk around the block, but you might regret not doing anything but sitting all day. I have a great FREE 5 minute workout you can download. It’s perfect for the days when you have NO time.
What is your favorite part about being a mom?
Feeling like I’ve finally found my true purpose in life.
What is one of your superhero mom moments?
Oddly enough my superhero moments occur when I’ve been able to do something for myself (or my work) and am still able to “mom it out.” I always feel like a rockstar at the end of the day when I feel good about me and about being a mom. That, and when I can carry everything from the car plus my toddler and the baby in my belly.
Any good nutrition tips for new moms?
Yes, figure out where your weaknesses lie so you can be more aware – whether that’s too much sugar or not drinking enough water. More often than not, we just don’t realize where our bad habits lie. Also, I know you’ve heard it before, but stop eating off your kids’ plate . . . just STOP.
If you could be any superhero, who would it be?
At the moment? Probably Batman (we just saw the Batman Lego movie) – I wouldn’t want to do it all the time, but having my own private Bat Cave to retreat to on occasion (not to mention the ability to save the world at the drop of a hat) sounds amazing. Do you love that it’s not even the super power I want? Just the alone time!
If you were to give advice to a new mom trying to balance its all, what would you say?
This is probably not the answer you want . . . You can’t. I’m not saying don’t try but I do think that thinking this is possible or imagining that other moms are actually doing it will set you up for failure and huge disappointment. The tag line on my blog used to be “Balancing What YOU Love with WHO You Love.” I dropped it about 6 months ago because I just felt like I was asking myself and others to do the impossible. The reality is when one thing takes priority, another is going to lack a bit. You can’t be the best at everything all at the same time. I think realizing that there are different seasons of life for each of us and that our priorities are allowed to change is a much better way to live.