One of the priorities during pregnancy is maintaining a healthy body, mind and routine. We chatted to Carla West, pre and postnatal fitness trainer, gaining some insight into her career as well as some valuable tips for pregnant moms.
DIFRAX: Tell us a bit about yourself as a mom and a fitness coach.
CARLA: For as long as I can remember I've always wanted to be a mom. My mom had my brother when I was twelve years old and I think that is when my obsession with babies began. I had some hormone issues as a teenager in my early twenties, and I thought I would never be able to fall pregnant naturally. To our surprise, on a spontaneous pre-Covid trip to Bali, our Bali baby was conceived.
With regards to fitness, I loooved sport at school, especially running. I tried every sport in that period, and I think I was only good at them because I was fast and fit. After school, and a gap year later, my mom found a course that had the words 'sport' in it. Sport was something I was naturally good at, and I had no idea what I wanted to study so I decided to give it a shot. During that course I found my absolute passion for health and fitness, travelled the world working as a personal trainer and ever since then, for the last ten years, I’ve lived and breathed that lifestyle. I am a qualified pre and postnatal trainer, sports conditioner, sports massage therapist, spinning instructor and I've worked as a PT since 2012 in London, Germany and Cape Town. I mostly just focus on online coaching now.
DIFRAX: Did you always have an interest in pre and postnatal training or did it become part of your journey when you became pregnant?
CARLA: No, I qualified as a pre and postnatal trainer in 2013, seven years before I had my first child. I already knew back then that it was my absolute passion to work with moms but I never fully committed to only working with moms because I wasn't there yet. Now that I've experienced pregnancy, birth, postnatal life and parenthood myself I can relate a lot more, and know this is definitely all I want to do.
DIFRAX: What tips would you give moms on how to keep fit and look after themselves during pregnancy and postpartum?
CARLA: Just show up. Every little bit helps. Training during pregnancy isn't always fun. You are often tired, sore and unmotivated because you aren't training towards a tangible performance goal. In the postnatal period you are tired, depleted, sleep deprived and have a million things on your mind. Someone once told me, if you wait for your children to sleep through the night before you start training again you're going to have to wait ten years, and I agree with that. It probably won’t literally be ten years, but if you wait until you have the energy to train again you’ll keep finding reasons not to. Doing small amounts of exercise adds up so much more than killing yourself in the gym once a week, or once a month. Consistency is key, and keeping the workouts under 30 minutes makes it more realistic to fit in to your schedule. Train when you are rested as well as when you are tired. It will always make you feel better.
For more fitness advice visit www.carlawestfitness.com.