If you train female clients, I’m sure you have come across the challenge of your online training clients wanting to stop training during their pregnancy (which, unfortunately, means less income for you). Sadly, there are plenty of old wives’ tales and misinformation floating around out there that could lead an expecting woman to think training through pregnancy is dangerous. And while you can’t force someone to do what they don’t want to do, we know as fitness professionals that keeping up with exercise during pregnancy is great for both the mother and the growing fetus.
In fact, exercising regularly can not only help alleviate some of the most common side effects of pregnancy such as backaches, swelling, and decreased energy, but exercise during pregnancy can also help make labour easier and speed up the body’s return to its normal shape after delivery.
So how do you help expecting clients overcome their fears and continue training?
Cater The Program To Them
Trainerize allows us to create custom programs including stretching, slower pelvic floor exercises, and also adapt exercises to a client’s current situation. This can be done by filming your own videos for clients, using those already provided by Trainerize, or by finding videos on YouTube to copy into the app. If you were already training the client before they were pregnant, this is the best case scenario because you are completely aware of what they were doing prior to pregnancy.
Sell them on the Benefits
Currently, I am 30 weeks pregnant. I have not stopped training throughout my entire pregnancy and I feel amazing; however, I did receive a lot of “negative comments” from those who thought my training could be harming my baby.
The myth is still alive that once a woman becomes pregnant she has to sit still for nine months and eat ALL THE FOOD. Keeping up with exercise (obviously modified) and continuing to eat healthy throughout my pregnancy has helped me continue to feel normal and actually feel great up to this point! I still feel strong and filled with energy, just as a “non-pregnant” person who exercises would feel.
Sure, if you are not or have not been pregnant, it’s hard to share your experience; however, backing up your thoughts with research on exercise and pregnancy might help convince your client to continue training. If your client is still worried about training during their pregnancy you can advise them to show the program you’ve developed to their health care provider and ask for a second opinion. Maybe remind them of all these amazing female athletes who keep active during pregancy, like Serena Williams who won the Australia Open at 8 WEEKS PREGNANT!
Again, you can’t force anyone to continue training during their pregnancy, but a little encouragement and coaching through this time in their life might be just what they need. I speak from experience that the weight gain that comes with pregnancy can be a hard thing to wrap your head around at first (especially if you are used to being lean or just worked really hard to lose a lot of weight), so having you as a coach to help them maintain some muscle mass and prepare their body for labour would definitely be beneficial.
How do we leverage our training for the pregnant population or those thinking about getting pregnant in the near future?
Some things to consider:
If you don’t know much about pre or postpartum exercise DO NOT attempt to train someone online who is pregnant or just had a baby.
This is a very important rule to abide by. If you don’t know much about training the pregnant population, do not attempt to take these clients on. Perhaps you might want to develop a relationship with another online trainer who specializes in this area that you can refer clients to and develop a client referral system with them.
Create online programs to attract new clients to your online training business who are looking for advice on how to exercise during their pregnancy.
Again, if you do not have an education on this subject, do not attempt this. If you do have experience in this area, this could be an untapped market you have yet to dip into. Since sharing my pregnancy workouts and eating on my social media platforms, I have had many messages and emails from other women looking for tips and help with keeping up with exercise while training. Try running a few social media ads and share a few blogs discussing the benefits of exercise during pregnancy discussing your online programs.
Build pre-pregnancy training plans for current clients that have shared their plans for an upcoming pregnancy
Do you have a current female online training client who has shared with you their plans for pregnancy in the near future? Start modifying her workouts to incorporate strengthening of both the pelvic floor muscles and core to help prepare her body for what’s to come. Inform her that starting now will make pregnancy, labor, and postpartum recovery much easier. Sell her on the long-term benefits and a long-term package that includes programs to keep her strong through all phases of pregnancy (perhaps offer a discount or “on-hold” option for the time that she is not able to workout right after popping the baby out).
The last thing you want is to lose a client because they become pregnant, lose contact, and then never come back. Even if a client decides to put their program on hold for a time during their pregnancy, continue to check in on them just to see how they are doing. Keep the relationship alive so that once they are ready to start training again postpartum, you are the first person they contact.