I have always known I wanted to teach people how to live a healthier and more fulfilled life through physical activity. Early on, I realized that in order to be successful in the health and fitness industry, I would need to find my niche. Well, finding your niche does not happen overnight. Several experiences have brought me to where I am now, a certified Pre+Postnatal Exercise Specialist. Becoming certified through Knocked-Up Fitness® and Wellness has changed my life in many ways and would like to share my journey with all of you!

During my second semester of college, I decided I was going to accomplish one of my lifelong goals and compete in a bikini body building competition. At first, I was going to write my own exercise plan and do it all by myself. But after 12 weeks of my own training, I decided to hire a body building bikini coach. Suddenly, I was part of a team with an amazing group of women who all wanted to do the same thing. One of my teammates was our very own Knocked-Up Fitness® and Wellness trainer, Annie Tinker!

One of my earliest memories of Annie was when I overheard her talking to our coach about not wearing a waist trainer since that can be very damaging to the deep core and pelvic floor muscles. I was so relieved to overhear another teammate disagreeing with waist trainers because, at the time, I was debating whether to use one or not. After getting to know Annie, she told me about the Pre+Postnatal certification through Knocked-Up Fitness® and Wellness.

Fast forward a couple years to when I was working on my Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. During this time, my mom was struggling with diastasis recti and what she thought was pelvic organ prolapse. Being an Exercise Science student, I realized the overwhelming lack of information provided by healthcare professionals regarding exercise before, during and after pregnancy. The most ever written in our textbook about exercise for pregnancy was only two paragraphs!

I started listening to the mothers around me. I heard things such as, “Every time I laugh, cough, sneeze, etc., I leak pee” or “People ask me if I am pregnant and it has been over a year since delivery.” Don’t even get me started on the amount of mothers that were unaware of the benefits of exercise during pregnancy. I reached out to Annie to help get me started in the Knocked-Up Fitness® and Wellness Pre+Postnatal Exercise Specialist Course. I signed up at the perfect time (right after spring semester) which gave me the entire summer to complete the course.

Immediately after starting the course, I began applying the information I learned into my own life as well as helping my mother with her struggles. I started practicing my own deep core and pelvic floor connection and changed my mindset to think about training my fascia (a super fantastic part of the body Erica and the whole Knocked-Up Fitness® and Wellness team have a passion for), and I started to see changes in my body. I was more mindful about my posture, breathing and core connection than ever before! I started telling my mom about what I was learning and demonstrated to her how to do the squat + rotation movement (my favorite exercise that I learned from Knocked-Up Fitness® and Wellness) to help connect her core and fascia since she just learned that it was her connective tissue that needed strengthening. Fast forward a year later, my mother knows how to properly activate and connect her core and been able to fully heal her diastasis recti!

After completing the course, I reached out to Annie and was able to observe, participate and help coach a pregnancy+postpartum class that Annie had started locally. During this time, I was able to get hands-on experience, which helped personally validate that I made the right decision to go down this path.

During my fall semester, I had to present a research project. I ended up doing my project on “How Physical Activity can Decrease Risk of Gestational Diabetes.” I was able to use a good bit of the knowledge I had learned from the Pre+Postnatal Exercise Specialist Course throughout my presentation.

Towards the end of the year, I was looking for a job as a fitness coach. One night I came across a local business that was a fitness studio for women only. I got super excited because I was ready to start working with pre+postpartum women! I applied and quickly got hired. What I love so much about the all-women’s studio is they shared a lot of the same views as Knocked-Up Fitness® and Wellness, especially when it came to mindful movement, slow + control and lengthening the body.

After settling into my new job, I saw an opportunity to teach these women how to safely + effectively activate their deep core. I set up a seminar and it was wildly successful. It changed so many women’s lives because they were struggling with the urinary incontinence, possible prolapse and even diastasis recti. Without having gone through the Knocked-Up Fitness® and Wellness Exercise Specialist Course, I would never have been able to teach these women this life-changing strategy to help them revive and rebuild their core.

Not only have I been applying my knowledge that I have learned from the Exercise Specialist Course, I have also started my own online business to help new moms reduce the risk of complications while promoting a safe, smooth and healthy delivery.

I owe it all to the knowledge I learned from Erica Ziel’s Pre+Postnatal Exercise Specialist Course. If you are a fitness professional or simply someone striving to gain more knowledge on exercise before, during or after pregnancy, then this is the right course for you! To this day, I still refer back to my course book and videos supplied to me during the course. I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to become a Pre- and Postnatal Exercise Specialist through Knocked-Up Fitness® and Wellness and cannot wait for what else the future holds!

~Madi Austad

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