The first wants to deconstruct the image of physical appearance as the primary purpose of training and encourages women to develop healthy life habits while building their self-confidence. The second assists and advises women of all ages who want to take care of themselves and learn to understand their bodies by listening to it carefully. Here’s what they discussed.
Was training always a part of your everyday life, Anne-Marie?
I’ve always been active, but during my teenage years, when just like many women-to-be, I adopted self-destructive behaviour, I decided to learn more about training, but mostly, training the right way. My relationship with training changed a lot while ageing. Today, not only is it my job, but it is also a mental outlet that allows me to channel my stress, my anxiety, and center myself. It is equally what I am trying to transmit to other women: the desire to train to spend time with ourselves instead of responding to a certain beauty standard.
We usually identify training with a source of wellbeing and stress release. But how about the changes it brings to our bodies?
The physical results come when we’re working as a team with our bodies. When we are fighting against it, and we wish to change it absolutely, it is generally when we are not capable of developing any changes. It only proves that our mind plays a huge role when it comes to improving our athletic potential or in the wait of our physical objectives. The intention behind each of our moves is super important. If we eat and train to lose weight, our body feels it, and that is when it becomes hard to maintain a healthy life rhythm. When our intentions are noble and aligned with the achievement of a better version of ourselves, it becomes way easier to develop good long-term habits and adapt them to our lifestyle.
I am so aligned with what you are saying! Thank you for sharing your views on training. Speaking of adapting our good habits to our lifestyle: you are pregnant with your second child and continue to train regularly. How do you do it?
I have to admit that my relationship with training is not the same since my first pregnancy. During my first pregnancy, I had a lot more energy, and I was capable of training at high intensity. But this time, it’s the complete opposite: I am tired and do not feel like training with weights, which was always part of my routine. I even started yoga! My approach is much softer this time, and even if I always knew that each woman is different, I concluded that the same woman could live her pregnancies differently. My pregnancies have taught me that you have to be open to change but also, accept it.
Which advice would you give to women who want to start training while being pregnant?
First off, it is super important that these women communicate their plans to their doctor or their midwife because, even if health professionals support moderate training, in a few cases, it is better not to force the body during pregnancy. Otherwise, my biggest advice for these women would be to pick an exercise that they are capable of doing. It is better to train five minutes a day, but use this moment to fuel yourself than doing too much and exhaust yourself. This tip applies to women who do not train and the ones who were training before their pregnancy: our body reacts differently when we are carrying a baby!
You train nearly daily, how do you adapt to your training?
All women are different, and so are their bodies. There are still a few movements and exercises that need to be rethought: like avoiding jumps, stop trying to increase your cardiac rhythm intensely and ban specific abdominal exercises such as sit-ups or torsions. What we want is to take care of ourselves while taking care of our baby. We then need to be attentive to our bodies and our changing morphology.
After childbirth, how long after can a woman feel ready to reintegrate her active lifestyle?
We tend to think that post-partum is limited to the fourth trimester, which is twelve weeks after childbirth, but it can be felt for longer than that in reality. For my part, I think it took me around twelve months to come back to my normal hormonal and physiological state. And again! It’s important to understand that we need to adapt to our new body and, mostly, our new lifestyle of being a mom. Our expectations need to be managed. But obviously, the best person to tell you if your body is ready to train again is your doctor.
You often mention the notion of balance. What is your definition of a balanced life?
I think a perfect balance may not exist, but the pursuit of it is always present. We define our vision of balance according to the season we’re in: it is then not an absolute, but a quest. In our exploration, we need to ask ourselves what makes us happy and plan the rest of our lives based on this particular response.