- Published on Tuesday, 26 June 2012 11:12
Interview with Bethany Learn of Fit2B Studio
Tell us about your business
I am the founder of a unique online fitness portal called Fit2B Studio, LLC that has members in six countries now! After someone subscribes, he or she gets unlimited access to all of our specialized home workout videos that stream directly through our site to your smart phones, laptops, iPads, and HDTVs. We have everything from short, adorable workouts for children in our "Fit2B Kids" section to lengthier workouts that combine weightlifting, pilates and yoga in our "Fit2B Challenged" section. But my favorite sections are the ones that cater to moms and helping them put their bodies back together. That's where my heart is.
Why/how did you get started?
I've had a love for body science since I was six, literally learning to read from a book about birth and motherhood. The irony is that I went on to become a certified group fitness instructor and get a bachelors degree in Exercise & Sport Science, but I failed to apply my knowledge of pregnancy and birth to that until after I'd had two children of my own. The realization that my own expertise was NOT working on my postnatal body, and that most of my education had been skewed toward undamaged bodies that have never been affected by surgery, pregnancy, desk jobs, and aging was a huge wake up call! As a tired mom with a muddled middle that only seemed to get worse with more crunches, I began dreaming of ways to make fitness accessible to busy parents, specifically MOMS! Fit2B Studio is the realization of that dream, and the best part is that our workouts aren't based on fads or fashion, but on fact-filled research and fun!
Who is your target market?
My heart is for the exhausted mother who has given up on her body. She's been told by her doctor to either get surgery for her bulging belly or just accept it as is. My message is that moms of any age can heal from the inside out. I've become very involved in raising awareness about Diastasis Recti. Every mom's abs move apart to make room for pregnancy, but modern exercises make that split worse and increase her recovery time! Our workouts are safe and healing for those suffering from diastasis and its side effects: stress incontinence, bowel issues, chronic lower back pain, and bulging bellies.
Give us 5 tips for moms who want to get back into shape post baby!
1. Do not look at your belly as fat during the "fourth trimester." That extra skin and those loose muscles need time to heal and come back together. Any attempts to crunch, plank or shred your tummy back into condition will just re-bulge that area, pulling it further apart. Avoid crunch-like motions and planks and focus on "waking up" your transverse abdominus - affectionately called your God-given girdle - until your diastasis has closed. The sample workout you get when you sign up for my newsletter shows you how to find and flex your transverse from a standing or sitting position.
2. Check yourself for diastasis recti. Ignoring your diastasis gap and doing things to make it worse is inviting unnecessary health and medical issues into your life such as prolapsed uterus, pelvic floor weakness, chronic constipation, menstrual cycle dysfunction, respiratory stress, chronic lower back pain, irritable bowel syndrome, etc. Anything connected to your core will be affected by a deflated and weak core. Men and children are just as prone to diastasis due to poor posture, asthma, constipation (bearing down), surgeries that weaken the abdominal wall, and more. If you are an educator and you want a handout for your class, contact me!
3. Do the motions that heal your body and avoid the stuff that creates more damage. We all love a hard, sweaty workout that we know will make us so sore that we can't walk for three days... or do we? Did our ancestors do crunches in caves or planks on the plains to stay in shape? Um, no! Crunches work ONE muscle, and they ruin your posture and bulge your belly. If gravity wins the fight for your belly when you're doing planks, then those are also out until you can tighten your transverse abdominus against against the downward pull of gravity. This is because your belly is like the seam on an old pair of jeans: bulge it and it tears more! My site is full of non-crunchy, natural movement workouts. Here's an article I wrote about 5 moves that work your core without crunches.
4. Bind your belly. We threw out girdles with our bras in the 60's because they were both uncomfortable. But look what's happened to our waistlines! I'm not saying we need to wear a binder forever, but we support broken bones with casts, and a broken tummy is no different. I've felt hundreds of bellies, and the mamas who wrapped their bellies after giving birth have ZERO diastasis compared to moms who didn't who have 3-6 finger gaps years after being done having kids!
5. Pay attention to your posture! Everyone thinks kegels are the way back to a healthy pelvic floor, but once you tighten that muscle, how do you relax it again for for birth? For comfortable love-making? The job of the pubococcygeus (PC) muscle is NOT to flex over and over; its job is to support the weight of your organs. If you sit or stand with your tush tucked, then you've given the PC's job to your tailbone. If your PC doesn't get a chance to lengthen and do its job, and you're doing hundreds of kegels, you are creating a tight, weak muscle. Tightness does not equal strength. Your body's ability to perform your tasks is real strength. I recommend alignedandwell.com for more info on this.
What are a few fun ways for mom AND baby to exercise together?
Trips to the park where you actually climb around after your children are priceless! You don't need to pay big bucks for a postnatal yoga class where you're planking over your baby... hello danger to your belly and your baby! Wearing your baby in a carrier that supports your belly and going for a walk is wonderful for your core and pelvic floor. Toss in some squats and some wall push-ups, and you've got it made! Of course, for myself, I've never had more fun filming than when we get our kids on the set! I've created several "Mommy 'n Me" workouts, and many of our members spend more time moving with their kids in our "Fit2B Kids" section than anywhere else. You should really come check out Fit2B Studio today!
ABOUT the Author:
Bethany Learn lives in Oregon with her husband and two rambunctious kiddos! When she isn't acting as the CEO and founder of Fit2B Studio, her hobbies include crocheting rag rugs out of recycled shirts, dragonboating on the Willamette River, racewalking with her Portland to Coast team and working on her family's off-grid cabin in Montana.