A Q&A With A Harrisonburg Prenatal Pilates Instructor

Black and white backlit pregnant woman in field of flowers in Harrisonburg, VA

I have loved getting to know Justine in the last few weeks and can’t wait to share her tips for staying fit and healthy before and after pregnancy!   She was the sweetest pregnant model and just glows with joy and excitement when she talks about becoming a mama!

Tell us a little bit about who you are.

Hi! I’m Justine (pronounced Justin), a personal trainer and fitness professional in the Shenandoah Valley. I live in downtown Harrisonburg with my husband, Luke and our two lovable doggies. We are expecting our first kiddo early June 2021 and couldn’t be more excited! Luke and I love hiking, running, traveling, music and anything outdoors. I’ve been teaching Pilates and fitness full time since 2014 and opened up my own small personal Pilates training studio in June of 2019 called Pasco Pilates. I teach group fitness classes at The Grace located in downtown Harrisonburg in the Ice House.

Pregnant Harrisonburg prenatal pilates instructor in a field of yellow flowers

How did you decide to specialize in pre/postnatal fitness training?

I became interested in prenatal fitness early in my teaching career when I had the opportunity to work with some pregnant and postpartum women. They wanted to know how to ease some pains and have a healthy labor and recovery after labor and that’s when I decided to further my education. In 2016, I went to California to get pre/post-natal certified so I could safely help mommas in the Shenandoah Valley feel good through healthy pregnancies and help their bodies recover postpartum.

What do you see as the biggest benefits of prenatal fitness for moms?

There are so many benefits of prenatal Pilates and fitness for moms it’s hard to list just a few. There are of course physical benefits- strengthens pelvic floor and muscles needed for birth, improves posture, helps with general aches and pains, breathing techniques help with labor, recovery after birth is faster. There are also mental benefits- balancing the mind, enhances self-confidence, improves control over thoughts and general anxiety. Emotional benefits- release of endorphins will help elevate mood and help prevent postpartum depression. And there are holistic benefits for mom- self-awareness of body and mind, gives mom time out of her busy schedule to focus on her body and growing baby and gives a support system of working out with other pregnant moms. I always say a happy mother results in a happy baby 🙂

What can a pregnant mama expect during one of your Harrisonburg prenatal pilates classes?

A pregnant mom can always expect a supportive environment in my classes. I listen to each of my mommas and really try to address their specific aches and pains. I hope with every class you walk out feeling much better than you came in!

Harrisonburg maternity photo in a field of flower with a view of the mountains

How do you help prepare a pregnant woman for labor and help ease common pains associated with pregnancy? 

We do lots of things to prepare for labor such as breathing exercises, specific pelvic floor strengthening and relaxation exercises, and slow mindful movement so mommas can connect to their bodies and their intuition. We have lots of stretches and strength building exercises utilizing props and Pilates equipment so each mom feels safe and supported while she’s working. All of the work is developed for pre/post-natal moms so we are able to address common aches and pains of pregnancy and postpartum.

How intense should the workout of a pregnant woman be? What’s the limit?

The intensity of the workout depends 100% on the mom who is training. We look at her fitness level, stage of pregnancy and how she’s feeling that day. Pregnancy is not the time to push yourself as hard as possible. You will learn to listen to your bodily cues and know what and how far to go for you that day. And if you’ve been pregnant before you know you have some days where you can’t get off the sofa and some where you feel like running 3 miles. Prenatal Pilates will give you the cues to be able to tap in and listen to what your body needs.

Pregnant woman in a flower garden in Harrisonburg by Be Thou My Vision Photography

Any tips for women who are pregnant, just gave birth, or are trying to get pregnant?

Just keep moving. I promise if you give yourself just 15 minutes of non-distracted time for yourself to move you’ll feel so much better!

YOU are pregnant!  YAY!  Do you plan to continue teaching prenatal pilates in Harrisonburg after you take maternity leave?

Yes, after I take some time with my kiddo I definitely plan on getting back in the studio and continuing to help moms feel good throughout their pregnancies and into their postpartum lives as well!

Pregnant woman in flower garden by Be Thou My Vision Photography

Are you interested in a maternity session?  Reach out and let’s chat!!

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