This is how Jillian Michaels bounced back from motherhood

By Samantha Yardley

The COVID-induced baby boom is upon us, with a recent study* indicating that despite an initial slow in birth rates following the pandemic, experts anticipate a dramatic surge this fall. Step forth TV trainer legend Jillian Michaels who’s teamed up with holistic health coach Taylor Walker Sinning to offer a brand-new prenatal program on the award-winning Jillian Michaels Fitness PLATFORM.

“I am a huge fan of Taylor’s and I feel no one has really stepped up and taken the prenatal fitness space where it needs to go for modern mommies” begins Jillian, whose epic collaboration with Barry’s Bootcamp super trainer Taylor is being hailed as the go-to fitness program for pregnancy and beyond. “Taylor is the perfect expert to do just that – experienced both personally and professionally, as well as being incredibly approachable and inspiring” she beams. “Women can expect the perfect coach to guide them through all aspects of prenatal fitness and prep them for giving birth.”

Taylor adds: “When Jillian and the team reached out, they did not know that I was three months pregnant with my second child. To my surprise, they were delighted and asked if I would be up for creating a fresh prenatal program. Was I ever?” she exclaims. “Times have changed tremendously since our own mothers gave birth and yet, very little has changed in terms of prenatal offerings. Many women do not understand the vast amount of benefits exercise has for mom and baby, and they rarely take a deeper dive into connecting with and supporting their changing bodies.

“Learning how to properly breathe and fire the correct inner unit muscles can aid in prevention of common pregnancy-related issues like diastasis recti and pelvic floor dysfunction. So, I set out on a mission as a pre/postnatal CES and aspiring hypnobirthing instructor to create a program to support women in mind and body throughout their 40-week journey to labor and delivery.”

The one-stop pregnancy fitness platform comes at the opportune moment, as many women across the globe embark upon their own journeys into motherhood thanks to… quite frankly, having not much else to do, after a tirade of Corona-triggered stints of isolation.

“One word: lockdown” laughs Jillian.

“I am one of the baby boomers” Taylor grins. “In many cases, more time at home together equates to more support, more love, and ultimately, more intimacy.”

“I am a huge fan of Taylor’s and I feel no one has really stepped up and taken the prenatal fitness space where it needs to go for modern mommies”

“Everything changes when you become a mother though,” continues Jillian, “and some of those changes are hard – it’s possible you will mourn aspects of your life pre-kids, but… like everything amazing, there is work and sacrifice involved, and your kids are worth every bit of it!”

“Before kids, I was on the road every week and living a very self-focused life” reveals Taylor. “Enter a very alert newborn, a cross country move, and postpartum anxiety, and my world flipped upside down! One thing I wish I had known is that not only do you birth a new life, you birth a new version of yourself and  it takes time to find comfort in her. You have to work hard to find pockets of time for exercise, meals, sleep, and self-care but all of the hard times are temporary. We live in a social media-driven society, where mothers feel like they have to do it all, but the truth is, the harder you try to do everything, the harder it is for yourself on just about every level. It is okay to say: ‘I am not okay’ and to ask for help.”

The sheer life upheaval and omnipresent challenges of raising a newborn is tricky to navigate, even for the most maternal women, but both inspirational mothers are on hand to offer their words of wisdom.

“Not only do you birth a new life, you birth a new version of yourself”

“Give it time and trust your gut” says Taylor. “You know what is best for you and baby. I wouldn’t say ‘enjoy it’ because some of it downright sucks, plain and simple. In the tough moments, the last thing a new sleep-deprived mother, with engorged breasts, and spit-up all over them needs to hear is: ‘enjoy it’. When you feel ready, take baby steps. The mother is often made to feel like a ‘discarded vessel’. All the focus goes to the new baby, and you’re given the okay to get on with life at six weeks. Yet, you rarely feel ready for anything at the six-week mark. So, understand that grapple with it, and then ask for the help you need.

“A solo walk with a podcast, or ten minutes a day to work on connected diaphragm breathing can be super healing. Then, make an appointment every week to do something for you if you have child-care or put it on your partner’s calendar. If you can afford a housekeeper once a month to deep clean, do it! Order your groceries and diapers online, and if you have a circle of friends or family close by, reach out to have them help with meals. Do not continue to put everyone else’s needs before your own. You cannot continually pour from an empty cup.”

“As a new mom it is really tough if you don’t have help in particular” agrees Jillian. “So, what I’d say is that it gets easier as they get older. Ask for help from friends and family, wherever it’s available. There’s a reason they say it takes a village” she muses wisely. “Plus, dream feed (the practice of feeding your baby while sleeping to encourage longer sleep periods) and have a schedule with your partner so you take turns.”

“There’s a reason they say it takes a village”

If there’s one topic that furiously unites the two ladies, it’s the absurdity of the pressure on women to snap straight back into shape after giving birth. “It is simply ridiculous” exclaims Jillian. Taylor concurs, “It is an outdated, unnecessary, and almost dangerous notion that can lead to harming and shaming the body.”

“I write an entire book called ‘Yeah Baby’” says Jillian, “with specialists in obgyn, pediatrics, pregnancy fitness, and endocrinology. The book covers everything from getting your body ready for pregnancy, to pre and postnatal. The general consensus is to give yourself a year to ‘bounce back’. Women need time for their bodies to adjust hormonally, they are tired, potentially breastfeeding, etc. Relax. Take the pressure off. Focus on the emotional and physical well-being of you and your family. You absolutely will get into fantastic shape if you choose to, but give yourself some time, love, patience, and care.”

“Trust that your body has been perfectly designed to deliver a baby and a little education and breathing practice can serve you well”

“It takes nine months to create a baby, why would we think it should only take weeks to get our bodies back? It is the same body after all. So, I think women need to start to think of healing, relaying a foundation, and ultimately building strength over time” says Taylor. “The reality is that that can take up to a year plus. Even longer if you are breastfeeding.”

As world-renowned advocates of healthy living, Jillian and Taylor insist that it is vital to prioritize fitness in order to instill its importance into your own children. “Leading by example is the key” says Jillian. “Monkey see monkey do.”

“Remember that you are the ultimate model” agrees Taylor. “What they see, they do. At home, we cook a lot and drink a lot of water, but we also enjoy cookies and ice cream without having to eat a whole plate of food. We exercise as a family and often, our son joins in on the fun. He hops on our backs for planks and push-ups, and we have dance parties for family cardio. We also talk a lot about what food can do within our bodies and read books like ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’ to make the connection to how food makes us feel. It is amazing how much children know at such a young age. We like to offer a wide variety of foods and don’t pressure them to eat every piece of food on their plate or make dessert a reward. No food in our home is considered ‘good’ or ‘bad’. We want to encourage our kids to have access to all different foods, and if all else fails… throw it in a smoothie!”

“Do not continue to put everyone else’s needs before your own”

Both women have two children, Jillian adopted her adorable pair, while Taylor “trained for labor and delivery like a major fitness event”. She passionately maintains that “you can have an empowered, joyful birth that doesn’t have to be unmedicated or in water. You do you! Trust that your body has been perfectly designed to deliver a baby and a little education and breathing practice can serve you well.”

When quizzed on whether they are considering adding to their brood, each has a different outlook.

“We are trying to make that decision right now” Taylor reveals. “It is such a process, especially for a woman in the fitness industry, but if I had to give an answer right now, I have to say a third is on the horizon. I am tired and some days are hard, but my babies make me and my husband more complete than I ever could have imagined. I know that there are so many families who are struggling to conceive or have had to deal with the unimaginable pain of pregnancy loss, so the fact that we have two healthy babies is not lost on me.”

In contrast, with her trademark candidness, Jillian quips with a smile “Nope! Two is plenty for me.”

jillianmichaels.com

Taylor’s Photographer: Luccia Lowenthal

Jillian’s Photographer: Don Flood

 *JAMA Netw Open

If you love Jillian as much as we do, the JILLIAN MICHAEL’S 12-HOUR RULE might just change your whole outlook on life.
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