This month’s trainer tip comes from Stacey Menchel. As a former professional dancer and mother, Stacey shares a tip she learned a few years ago at a workshop — and has lived by ever since — that was the key to helping her increase her muscle definition, boost her energy, and lose the last few pounds of baby weight she struggled with. Learn more about Stacey, and discover her tip, below.
What was your motivation for working with the pre and post natal population?
I had trained people in a variety of populations for almost a decade, but I became particularly interested in pre and postnatal fitness when I became a mother. In the beginning, I wanted to learn how exercise could benefit my pregnancy and help me achieve a quick recovery. However, the real turning point for me was childbirth. I wound up needing to have an emergency C-section with my daughter, and found such a lack of proper resources on postpartum recovery, especially recovery for those who underwent such a significant abdominal surgery like a C-section. I am now invested in trying to fill the gaps and develop new techniques in postpartum fitness. I want to strengthen and empower women throughout their entire motherhood experience, and help other women benefit from what I have learned.
What is one tip you always give your clients?
Drink 1 liter of water within the first 30 minutes of waking. Here’s why…
Hydration is an essential aspect of any health routine (especially as about 75% of Americans are dehydrated¹), but it is especially important for pregnant and postpartum women. Immediately upon conception, your body’s demands for water dramatically increase, as fetal growth is dependent upon water. Beyond the importance to baby, adequate water helps prevent overheating (critical during first trimester), and also helps to reduce headaches, muscle cramps, fatigue, swelling, and even nausea. For postpartum women, drinking water can help boost energy, replenish lost fluids due to nursing, and regulate metabolic activity.
Since I had been a dancer my whole life, I had always been in the habit of staying hydrated, and always had a bottle of water with me during ballet classes, rehearsals, and workouts. However, I found that once I had my daughter, I got caught up in all the new-baby action, and forgot to remember exactly how much I water I had consumed. I felt huge waves of hunger during nursing and often felt thirsty and dehydrated.
Then, a few years ago, I attended a workshop focused on joint health, put on by the osteopathic organization ELDOA (experts in joint health, postural issues, and chronic pain management). This workshop encouraged us to drink 1 liter of water within the first 30 minutes of waking. The course also encouraged drinking throughout the day, but posited that this first push of hydration in the morning would rehydrate body tissues and joints after a night of sleep, overall regulate hunger, and boost energy for the rest of the day. Fascinated, I gave it a try, and now almost 3 years later, it has made a huge difference.
Almost immediately, I found an increase in energy. There was no longer a need for green tea to give me that caffeine kick. I found that my joints felt less stiff, my hunger became regulated, and there was a boost in my metabolism. I saw my muscle definition increase, and the last few pounds I was on holding onto post-pregnancy went away. I still drink water throughout the day and take around a bottle, but since I added my morning water routine, I overall feel less thirsty.
I have encouraged my clients to start this routine, and they have also found great success. It is a safe, inexpensive, and an easy addition to any health routine, especially for busy moms.
¹Medical Daily. 75% of Americans May Suffer from Chronic Dehydration. July 3, 2013.