Fitness As A Support System
Aimee Ostrander began her barre3 journey as a client in Washington, DC in 2012. Her ongoing passion for the barre3 culture and lifestyle inspired her to open her own studios in Toronto with her husband, Chad Ostrander. Aimee has a background in marketing and web development and previously owned a medical marketing company in Austin, Texas. Through teaching barre3 classes and connecting with the incredible fitness community in Toronto, Aimee is a believer in the transformative power of a support network and healthy lifestyle.
As a mom of two and a workout instructor/owner of barre3, what are some workout tips you can share for pregnant moms and new moms? What are some caveats and things to look out for?First and foremost I would say you have to listen to your body. Every pregnancy is different and you should find a workout that resonates with you and modify it according to how you feel from day-to-day, trimester-to-trimester. Staying active throughout my pregnancies helped me sleep better and manage the inevitable aches and pains that came along with growing tiny humans.
I resumed working out at 8 weeks postpartum with both of my girls. It was slow. Some days it was just about getting to the studio to stretch and to have some social interaction. It’s amazing what an hour of movement can do for a foggy mommy brain.
Fitting in exercise when you get back on your feet post baby can be a challenge. What are a few quick-but-efficient exercises new moms can do at home?
Barre3.com has a ton of online workouts that are great for new moms. They are filled with gentle stretching and simple moves that are great for rebuilding your pelvic floor and core. I’m a big proponent of bridge lifts, this variation is great:
Sumo bridge lift: Lie on your back on a yoga mat and place your feet, slightly turned out, at the edges of the mat. Stack your knees over your ankles, and press into your heels and lift your hips a few inches while reaching long through your tailbone and letting your shoulders melt down your back. Start slow with a 2-count drop and lift for about 2 minutes, then hold at the top and pulse up for 1 minute. Finish with an isometric hold, keeping your hips at the highest point for 30 seconds.
Bridge lifts are super effective as they fire the hamstrings and the glutes while also working the core and opening up the hip flexors. The more you dig your heels as you lift, the more you will light up your back body!
Staying active throughout my pregnancies helped me sleep better and manage the inevitable aches and pains that came along with growing tiny humans.
As a business owner and mom of two, what advice can you share for maintaining balance?I have no advice! I can’t barely even spell ‘balance’ right now. I haven’t exactly figured out what the right balance is yet but I imagine that you have to focus on one thing at a time and get really good at saying no to anything that doesn’t fill your cup. I always say that you can have it all, just not on the same day. For example I try to be mom-of-the-year on Monday and a great business owner on Tuesday. The days that demand I juggle everything at once leave me feeling defeated and depleted.
What are a few ways you build self-care into your regular routine?I’m lucky that my work, teaching barre3, is self-care. It feels good to move. Even on the days where I have to drag myself to the studio after a sleepless night or being up with a sick kiddo, I come home recharged and ready to face another day.
I haven’t exactly figured out what the right balance is yet but I imagine that you have to focus on one thing at a time and get really good at saying no to anything that doesn’t fill your cup. I always say that you can have it all, just not on the same day.
New moms (and society) put a lot of pressure on bouncing back physically after pregnancy. What would you tell new moms who are feeling overwhelmed by this pressure?Ignore the noise! It took your body 10 months to create a human and it’s going to take at least that long to come back to itself – whatever that means for you. Give yourself some grace. Be kind and patient and learn to be friends with your new normal.
What are your favorite brands for new-mom workout wear?For leggings I love Beyond Yoga and DYI. Their pants have high waists (love!) and butter-soft fabrics. Best of all they wash well and last forever. I live in barre3 t-shirts and occasionally throw on a Lululemon or Lole tank.
I tell every mom to make time for their skin. Kids sleep at some point (even babies) and that little bit of care will make a big difference in the long run–both mentally and physically.
Can you share any advice for someone looking to start their own business, particularly a mom?I would say that it’s important to find something you are incredibly passionate about. If you are going to leave your kids to put time and energy into a business it should feed your soul. Flexibility is also important for moms. I want to be able to put my kids to bed, stay home when they’re sick, and have time to take them to fun things. Owning a barre3 studio gives me a good mix of mommy vs. boss lady time.
Feeling healthy takes eating well in addition to working out. What are some of your go-tos for maintaining a healthy diet while leading a busy lifestyle?Smoothies! My two year old loves them and it makes for an easy, healthy breakfast on the go. It’s also a great place to hide veggies like spinach and kale for my munchkin.
If you are going to leave your kids to put time and energy into a business it should feed your soul. Flexibility is also important for moms.
Do you have any advice when it comes to teaching healthful practices to kids?Lead by example. Monkey see, monkey do. My daughter loves to dance around the kitchen and tell me she’s exercising like mommy. She watches me practice for my classes often. I let her help me cut up fruit for snacks and make healthy muffins and nut bars. It’s a fun way to spend time together and to help her try new foods.
barre3 clients talk about how supportive and lovely the studio community is. What do you think makes for a great community for moms and women and what do you hope to find in the bellybrief community?What makes barre3’s tribe so incredible is that we are committed to real. It’s one of our core values. We never promote unrealistic images of “the perfect bikini body” or photoshop our pictures. It’s real people coming together to move and connect, make friends and support each other.
That’s what resonated with me about the bellybrief. I like the badass women behind it all doing their best to raise these wild kiddos. There’s comfort in knowing we have a place to ask questions and get answers from moms in the same boat.