Tuesday, September 6, 2016

#FitMom Talks: Barre Instructor and Fitness Fashion Blogger, Jessica Diaz

Now that it's September it's time to feature another awesome fit mom! This month I'm talking to barre teacher and blogger, Jessica Diaz. Jess had so much awesome advice for new moms regarding fitness; I think you'll really enjoy this one - 
Tell us a little about yourself and your business: Jessica Diaz, Mom, Barre Instructor, certified personal trainer, spokesperson for the American Stroke Association, and co-founder of a fitness and fashion blog called Ms Fit For Society. I teach at Asana Charlestown and EquinoxChloe is 8, and Chase is 5.
How long of a maternity leave were you able to take before you started to work (and workout!) again? 
I did not return to work after maternity leave. I was working in television advertising and marketing and the long hours and fact that my husband was traveling a lot made staying home with my daughter the best option at the time. And just about when I was considering going back to work, I had my son. So I was home through my second pregnancy and until my son was about two years old. So in total… it was almost 5 years between having my first baby and going back to work.

There were many times through those 5 years that I wished that I had a job that was flexible, that would make financial sense (childcare vs. paycheck), and that I loved enough to pull me back into working. I didn’t find that until my son was about one.
After both of my pregnancies, I turned to my favorite workout, Barre, to get back in shape. I had gained quite a bit of weight in both pregnancies and loved that Barre really focused on building back core strength, and was also non-pounding/jumping so it was a great option for me post baby (especially because I was exhausted all of the time). However, what I found was a lot of the classes at the time did not offer some of the modifications I needed. So I started researching different modifications and different exercises and started incorporating them into classes or just doing my own version of barre class at home. I started to see my body not only started to transform quicker, I also enjoyed the workout more, and reduced my feelings of strain during certain positions. 

After a few months, my body was back to better than pre-baby shape. I decided then that I wanted to become Barre instructor to create classes that offered more options for post-baby clients, barre beginners, and/or people working with injuriesIn 2012, I got my teacher certification and created a Barre program for a yoga studio. I have been teaching ever since.

In terms of the timing of when to back to working out. I would say really listen to your body. I think there is this huge rush to get back into shape. And we have to keep in mind that our bodies just went through 9 months of pregnancy, a delivery, and probably some sleepless nights on top of it all. I see so many women back in the gym six weeks post baby. I tell my clients that If you are feeling great, and have been cleared by your doctor, then by all means get back to it as soon as possible. But if you feel you need more time to recover, please take that extra time. Post-baby you can always look into breathing and stretching exercises to get started before jumping back into intense workouts. With my daughter, I did not really start working out until she was about 4 months and about 3 months with my son.
How did your schedule/routine look different before kids?
When my babies were infants it was really difficult to have a schedule. But once I got them on nap routines, life was more predictable. I went back and forth for a while between wanting to be that mom whose’ baby “just does and goes with whatever the mom is doing and can nap anywhere on the go" vs. "having a more structure schedule and being home for nap times”. The freedom of the first option was nice, but I really found being home for naps and having a little more structure seemed to make my babies much happier. 

In terms of scheduling workouts, I found, and I tell my clients this, is to learn to be more flexible. I used to be the type that had to get to the certain class/workout and get my spot etc. …that totally changed. I still had my top choice workouts/classes I wanted to do, but I had a plan b workout always in mind. Plan b maybe was a walk with the baby, or an at home workout.  It was important for me to not miss the weekly workouts I scheduled for myself, I just learned to be flexible with what they were.

Did your fitness outlook and goals change after becoming a mom? If so, how?
Yes, so much! I can honestly say post-baby was when I truly fell in love with fitness. It became not only important to me to get in shape and be healthier, but it also was my dedicated time to myself. I also think having the goal of losing that baby weight also helped keep me motivated.
What is the biggest challenge you've found in working and being a mom?
I am very fortunate my schedule is part-time and for the most part I have structured it around when I need to be home with them. And still I find it hard balancing it all. I give so much credit to moms who are working full time.

What is your favorite fitness-related activity to do with your kids (either one-on-one or as a family)?
This is a new one for me …Sports! I was never into sports growing up. Horseback riding that was it. As my kids get older, and as they are experimenting with different sports it has been so much fun. I just played tennis with my five-year-old. He was already way better at it and it was so much fun. My daughter is into ballet; I love watching her dance. And my son is starting lacrosse, so again, a whole new way to incorporate staying active and having fun.

Thanks to Jess for sharing her story!

To read more #FitMomTalks, click here!


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