By Mia Pruitt
I have always been committed to my health and fitness. I grew up dancing and running; I danced professionally for the Dallas Cowboys, completed several half marathons, and have taught dance in addition to being a certified Bar Method instructor. So naturally when I became pregnant with my first daughter, I wanted to continue keeping my health and fitness as part of my routine. Admittedly, it was a challenge.
At the time, I was not yet taking barre classes regularly and tried to use light running, dance and occasional yoga as my prenatal workout regimen. After suffering a back injury while teaching dance, I was unable to run and by the third trimester of my pregnancy, I quit working out altogether. Though my birth was uncomplicated, the recovery to gaining my physical strength back was a long, arduous process. I became certified with The Bar Method nine months into my postpartum journey. I had taken class a few years prior, but after enduring childbirth, I could not believe how efficient the method was at strengthening and toning my body. It always made me smile to work with our prenatal clients and hear their testimonies of how incredible they felt during and after pregnancy, too!
Fast forward two and a half years later and I found out that I was expecting again (with another girl!). I had consistently taken a Bar Method class four to five times a week for about two years at this point, and my body was truly in the best shape it had ever been in! I knew I would continue to dedicate myself to The Bar Method during and after this pregnancy, even if I was taking virtual classes during the pandemic. It was a vital commitment I made to equip myself with the strength I needed for another healthy delivery with hopes of a better recovery. Let’s be real, I really needed the strength to take the role of raising a newborn and toddler!
Here are five reasons why The Bar Method is incredible for your body before, during and after pregnancy:
1. You can practice barre all the way until delivery
This is so important to me. As I mentioned, I had to stop working out altogether towards the end of my first pregnancy. With The Bar Method, your workout is tailored to fit you, your body and your pregnancy. The instructors are specifically trained to work with pregnant clients, offering the specific modifications you need to work out safely, but at the same intensity. I was able to work out four times a week up until the day before I delivered! If you’ve lived through the third trimester, you know that is a major win!
2. Your abdominals stay strong
It is no surprise that during pregnancy, your abdomen takes one for the team. After delivery, many women find their mid-section to be the hardest area to tone. Taking Bar Method before pregnancy taught me how to engage my inner-most layer of abdominal muscles—the transverse abdominus. If you’ve taken a class, you’ve undoubtedly heard your instructor talk about activating this muscle through strong breathing. In short, they pull your abdominal wall back and only then is it effective to build the “six-pack abs” on top. Here’s the catch: they’re only engaged through strong exhales (they’re the same muscles you feel tighten when you cough!). By taking Bar Method before pregnancy, I already had a strong foundation. During pregnancy, the deep breathing continued to tone my abs even after curling was off limits. Due to all of that work, my body is now responding even quicker post–delivery. I am so thankful for this unseen strength through all of these phases of my life! Our bodies are truly incredible!
3. It is gentle on your ligaments while challenging your muscles
What I love about The Bar is how you leave each class unsure of how you’re going to walk up the stairs, but sure that it’s not because your knees might give out. You can embrace the challenge knowing that your instructor has your back in more than one way! While you are pregnant, it seems you have a new ailment every day. That makes it hard to stick with most workouts consistently. There’s no better testimony to how The Bar Method supports every body than by observing the diversity in a class. You see women, men, young adults, mature adults, prenatal women, postpartum women—and everyone in between. It doesn’t matter what restrictions you may have, you will leave feeling challenged and pain-free. I love that I have found a workout regimen that will sustain and support me through ALL seasons of life.
4. It alleviates pregnancy pains
After the injury in my back with my first pregnancy, I never quite recovered. I’m fortunate to be married to a chiropractor, but it didn’t take long for my sciatica to flare up with my second child. When you’re pregnant, your body releases relaxin which loosens your joints and ligaments to prepare for birth. Many women suffer with back pain and it can be extremely uncomfortable and even sometimes debilitating. With the strategic balance of stretching and strengthening, barre was an incredible tool to help bring me relief. It was also a great mood booster, which is necessary for the harder moments.
5. It can aid in a quicker recovery
After delivery, I was so nervous about how I would recover because with a toddler, there isn’t much room for that. I felt much better so much faster this time around because my body was strong. With just a few pushes, I had my sweet baby girl in my arms. I decided to wait the recommended six weeks before beginning to work out again, but I physically felt ready to go around the two-week mark. When I took my first Bar Method class postpartum, I felt like I had never stepped away. The beautiful thing about The Bar Method is that even if your delivery wasn’t as easy or your recovery not as quick, the modifications are still there for you to jump back in at your own pace. Truly, I am so thankful for this body that was built by Bar!
About the Author
Mia Pruitt is a wife, mother, Bar Method instructor, and the blogger behind Contoured in Bliss, a lifestyle blog. A former Dallas Cowboy cheerleader, Mia has a passion for dance and barre. When she is not teaching classes at The Bar Method, you can find Mia spending time with her husband and two daughters Elle and Isla.