Name: Ali Handley
Company: BodyLove Pilates
We love a mama that is focused on bringing wellness and strength to pregnant and postnatal women and we adore Ali Handley for bringing her knowledge to any mama who has access to the internet. Inspired by her own experience with pregnancy and getting in shape post-baby, Ali launched BodyLove Pilates, a prenatal and postnatal studio you can access, anywhere, anytime. Helping mamas feel stronger is her mission and we’re fully on board.
Quote you Love: “A friend is one of the nicest things you can have – and one of the best things you can be.”, Winnie the Pooh
Best advice you’ve ever been given?: Be good to your mother.
You moved to New York City from Sydney 8 years ago. What is the biggest difference between motherhood in the US vs what your friends tell you about motherhood in Australia?
The big difference for me is raising my two small kids without the support of my family. I’m super close to my mom and definitely miss being able to call on her the way I know my girlfriends back home are able to do. I miss out on having last minute childcare, my mom’s company and simply sharing the experience of my kids growing up together. Also, a lot of my friends back home take a full year off when they have babies and in New York I think this is quite rare.
What was the motivation behind starting your business, BodyLove Pilates?
I found myself asking the question, “Why is it so hard to find information and workouts online?”. I discovered so much misinformation and miseducation about what is a safe and effective exercise during this time, and no one site offered both information and workouts. I came up with the idea of an online “Studio” which was an accessible resource that gave women everywhere the same quality workout I give my private clients in New York. Being a mom, I also know how hard it is to carve out time for myself, so I created workouts that were all around 10-15 minutes long and designed to complement each other if you could steal more time in a day. As a private instructor and mom of two, I am also time poor and my goal with BodyLove is to serve and support a larger population of moms worldwide. I’m excited to begin teaching the BodyLove method to group classes in Manhattan and Brooklyn in February 2017. So stay tuned!
You create maternity and postnatal workouts for mamas. what do you think is the most important thing we can do to get in shape post baby? Are there any exercises you recommend?
Yes! Don’t discount how important it is to stay fit during your pregnancy. Staying active and consistently strengthening your deep core is crucial, and will set you up for a speedy postpartum recovery. During pregnancy, the superficial layer of your abdominals (your 6 pack!) have to divide and separate to make room as your baby grows, stretching a delicate tissue down the midline of your body called the Linea Alba. This separation is called Diastasis Recti . The first step when you have had your baby is to heal this separation and I recommend this healing should start ASAP. I’m a firm believer that the sooner you start, the quicker you will recover! I filmed my recovery in the video, “10 minutes of simple seated deep core exercises everyday” and by the time I had my 6 week check-up, I had closed my Diastasis. Deep core exercises target the muscles of the TVA and pelvic floor and these are the most important ones you need to reactivate to get back into shape.
What is one mistake that women often make when thinking of getting fit after baby?
The biggest mistake woman make is doing incorrect core exercises; crunches do not give you a flat tummy, in fact, they make it worse and ensure your “mommy tummy” hangs around. I recommend you heal the separation first with consistent and effective deep core exercises. Unfortunately, you cannot rush this recovery and it takes patience and daily exercises. The second mistake is running too early. Running is not recommended for postnatal women for at least 6 months after childbirth. There are lots of ways to get cardio in that doesn’t place so much strain on the joints, particularly the pelvic floor muscles. Instead, try swimming, power walking, barre, spin and of course, pilates!
What are your 3 pearls of mama wisdom?
- There’s no blueprint to being a mom, just blue paint everywhere.
- Everything is just a phase, good and bad, and this too will pass.
- Laugh, love, sing, dance – repeat