Chris Nicklin is a certified Personal Trainer with over 7 years' experience, and the owner of Nxtep Personal Training. Chris qualified from Edge Hill University with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Sports Coaching and Performance Development, and has delivered over ten thousand one-to-one Personal Training sessions.
With our expert guidance, you will be able to exercise in confidence without worrying that your activity will be harmful to baby. Your personal programme will be adapted to take account of the changes to your body and baby’s development through each trimester.
The Benefits of Pre Natal Personal Training
Maintenance of cardio-vascular fitness
Maintenance of a healthy body weight
Preparation for labour and assistance in post natal recovery
Improved glycemic control in cases of gestational diabetes
Helps keep blood pressure in check
Reduced risk of lower back pain due to improved core stability
In addition, research suggests that active women who continue with regular exercise during pregnancy will feel better, have shorter labours with fewer complications and recover more rapidly. Many common complaints of pregnancy including fatigue, varicose veins and joint swelling are significantly reduced in women who exercise.
The Benefits of Post Natal Personal Training
Apart from regaining your figure, which is the focus of most women, there are many benefits to undertaking a specific postpartum exercise programme. With the guidance and supervision of your trainer, you will be reassured that you are performing appropriate exercises, at the right intensity with the correct technique.
The benefits to be gained by exercising post-pregnancy include:
Increased stamina and energy
Increased metabolic rate
Increased weight loss
Your Pregnancy Personal Exercise Programme will include specific exercises to reduce abdominal muscle separation (a common experience for pregnant women) and to strengthen the pelvic floor which will have long term health benefits.
Nutritional Advice During Pregnancy
Apart from exercise tuition, your trainer will be able to give nutritional advice and guidance to help you make the right food choices. This is an important aspect of looking after yourself and your baby and to get the maximum benefit from your exercise.
Pregnant women do not actually have to eat for two and you should not start piling food on your plate that you would normally consider unhealthy when not pregnant. The best approach is to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet during your pregnancy, and don’t use it as an excuse to overeat. During your pregnancy, you actually only need to consume around 200 calories extra to provide enough for both yourself and your baby.
At Nxtep, you are our focus and you can be assured of our care and attention at all times. Our pleasant, luxurious and private studio ensures that you will enjoy exercising during this important stage of your life.
I first met Chris in January 2020. I was 12 weeks pregnant with my first child. As a trained dancer, and teacher I was hoping to maintain my levels of fitness whilst minimising the risks of my pregnancy. My early dance training concentrated on training my limbs, while often neglecting my ‘centre’ or ‘core’. It wasn’t until a back injury in 2012 due to weak lower back muscles that my approach to training changed. When I first found out about my pregnancy, I worried about my back and how to keep it strong.Chris helped me through my pregnancy teaching me safe ways of keeping my core strong, helping with my postural alignment as well as addressing some muscular imbalances that I wasn’t aware I had. Most importantly, Chris gave me the confidence to continue training through pregnancy. I knew I was in safe hands. Chris is phenomenally knowledgeable in how our bodies work.May 2022, I am currently pregnant with my second child and still continuing to train with Chris at Nxtep. Luca has also joined the team and is a fantastic addition. They are a great team, and I am very lucky to be trained by them both. I would highly recommend anyone thinking about pre or post natal pregnancy training to consider Nxtep.
Before starting at Nxtep I would go through a cycle of starting to get fit, injuring my back, then avoiding exercise for fear of making it worse. The same happened when I started here, with my over eagerness to improve leading to the same old injury. Chris and Luca kept me motivated and coached me through the recovery process, allowing me to strengthen the areas susceptible to injury and enabling me to carry on where I’d previously have given up. Now I’m lifting ~100kg more than when I first started and the past few years of persistent back injury seem a distant memory. The guys have helped me with my nutrition, my outlook and overcoming what I previously thought I couldn’t. I can’t thank them both enough!
I’ve been working with Chris and the team at Nxtep, and the initially just wanted to get stronger and fitter somewhere local when the gym near work was no longer an option due to the pandemic. I know feel really confident handling weights and my diet. I recently saw myself in a film from before I started at Nxtep and other people couldn’t recognise me from me who didn’t know me well so, it definitely works! Highly recommended.
Training at Nxtep during Covid was tricky but Chris and Luca made it work! Started with training outdoors in the carpark before we were allowed to move indoors, it was always fun and I feel I made real progress.It never felt just like a business and always felt more caring, I was also doing it as part of my DofE to which Luca/Chris were very helpful with.I've had to stop due to other focuses in life but I've got some real fond memories of the time and am hoping to go back later if I can!
Wanted to improve all round fitness especially strength and conditioning so contacted & met with Chris.....was very impressed with his approach and was motivated to getting started & looking forward to the challengeChris was fundamental to me in making the nutrition and exercise changes required to achieve goals.... inspiring, motivational, encouraging & supportive he is great to work with......regular tracking & updates help me to stay focused..... Chris is easy to get along with and the sessions are challenging but enjoyable.....
Pre-Natal Personal Training
During pregnancy, many changes occur to your body during pregnancy as it adapts and provides your baby with everything they need. Hormones begin to flood your bloodstream from the first weeks, to prepare you and your baby for birth. Due to this (and many other things) pregnancy can feel overwhelming – but eating healthily and exercising will not only help you maintain a healthy weight and a good level of fitness, but it will also produce endorphins (AKA the happy hormone), making you feel better about yourself and life in general, which can only be a good thing for your and your baby’s health.
Our personal trainers can work with you at every stage of pregnancy to make sure that you are exercising in the most optimal and safe way.
We can start your prenatal personal training programme whenever it is convenient for you. The degree of intensity will be determined by a variety of criteria, including:
Your current fitness level
Your fitness level before your pregnancy
Your lifestyle and amount of free time
Your medical history
Your initial consultation will cover all of the above, which will then be used to create a bespoke prenatal personal training regime for you.
What does prenatal personal training involve?
Using functional training and strength exercises, we will work with you throughout your prenatal personal training sessions to tone and strengthen areas that may become weaker during pregnancy, such as your core, pelvic floor, hips and your glutes. We’ll also look at your eating habits and make any necessary adjustments to improve your health. Weight loss may be a goal for some, but it must be done cautiously during pregnancy to prevent affecting your baby’s growth.
Our pregnancy personal trainers can help you deal with any unexpected aches and pains that arise along the way, focusing on places you’ve probably never considered before (such as your pelvic floor), all to help you prepare for the most crucial and wonderful day of your life. Your training levels and intensity will of course change as your pregnancy progresses, but our specialist prenatal fitness specialists will be there to advise you every step of the way.
Is it OK to exercise while pregnant?
Yes, light exercise is not harmful to your unborn child. While pregnancy is not really the time to begin marathon training, the traditional attitude that pregnant women should sit on their hands and live a static lifestyle, barely leaving the sofa, is no longer valid. It is now commonly recognised that remaining active and healthy throughout pregnancy has several health advantages for both you and your baby.
Lack of physical activity in fact, is believed to carry more risk than exercise, as it can lead to increased lower back pain, pelvic floor dysfunction and even incontinence. We advise women to maintain a regular active lifestyle and to continue performing the kind of light exercise they were doing before to becoming pregnant, such as jogging, yoga, and swimming.
If you haven’t been active before, it’s not a good idea to start doing rigorous exercises straight away; instead, our prenatal personal trainers will ease you into a more mild regimen, taking in to account your more limited range of movement now that you’re pregnant.
It is recommended to start with 15 minutes of physical activity a day at first, before aiming for around 30 minutes – depending on your existing levels of fitness.
What exercises can I do while pregnant?
During your prenatal PT sessions, our personal trainers will teach you exactly how to carry out each exercise safely. It’s critical that you pay attention to avoid any potentially unsafe situations for you or the baby. For example, after your first trimester, you should avoid any high-impact cardio, and you shouldn’t perform any abdominal exercises such as stomach crunches or sit-ups, for example. After 16 weeks of pregnancy, prenatal women shouldn’t do any workouts that require you to lay flat (in what’s known as the supine position).
Pelvic floor exercises are a good idea both before and throughout pregnancy, as they will strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and lessen the likelihood of postpartum incontinence.
Low to moderate-intensity aerobic exercise may help you maintain your cardiovascular fitness, in addition to expanding your placenta’s size and its ability to exchange nutrients, waste and oxygen with your developing baby.
Yoga is a great light exercise for pre-natal women, as it can help relieve aches and pains, improve blood flow, and the breathing techniques involved can even be utilised during labour. Although many postures are safe to do during pregnancy, some of the more dynamic inverted poses, including downward dog, should only be done in the first trimester.
It is also important to avoid any exercise which involves you holding your breath during pregnancy, as this can cause an increase in intra-abdominal pressure, which is not healthy when pregnant.
The uterus’s increased weight may put pressure on the vena cava, a key vein that returns blood to the heart. This might make you feel dizzy, but it can also obstruct the passage of blood and nutrients to your placenta and to your growing baby. However, this does not rule out the possibility of strengthening your core – in fact, having a strong core will assist you in giving birth.
Your personal trainer will provide you with alternate but effective exercises that will help you increase core strength in safely for you and your baby.
Best Types of Exercises for Pregnant Women
1. To maintain your physical well-being and strength, your workouts should concentrate on the key muscle groups. The areas to concentrate on for both prenatal and postnatal training include the pelvic floor, abdominals, hamstrings, glutes, inner thighs, and upper/lower back. To support the baby’s development and to help you feel better in your constantly changing body, these muscle groups need to be lengthened and strengthened at the same time.
2. You must maintain your Kegel exercises and as mentioned above, do the appropriate kinds of ab work. While it is crucial to modify your abdominal workouts while pregnant, core strength is crucial to support your body as it adjusts to the ongoing postural changes. It’s all about striking the right balance; the stomach must be both flexible and powerful enough to sustain the baby’s development.
3. One of the best exercises for pregnant ladies is barre. It is a genuine muscular challenge with no equipment required, has a lot of unconventional (and safe for pregnant women) core activation, and is inherently low impact. Adding hip movements, such as circles and tucks, stretch the lower back and help maintain core strength.
4. Another great activity for expectant mothers is an all-fours position back extension. It is another crucial postnatal exercise that encourages excellent posture, core stability, and lower back extension. This is an exercise that should be carried out daily.
5. Other types of exercise I would consider to be absolutely essential for a mother-to-be is standing seat work. All of the pelvic-supporting muscle groups are worked out during this exercise, which helps pregnant women build balanced strength in their hamstrings, glutes, abs, and lower back. Focusing on stabilising the outer hips may also help lessen the waddling effect later in pregnancy.
Postpartum / Post-Natal Personal Training
Postpartum refers to the mother’s body after pregnancy, whereas postnatal refers to the baby, so at Nxtep we tend to use this word when talking about exercise after pregnancy, as of course, it is you working out, not your baby!
However, after nine months of significant physical change, your body may no longer feel like it’s even yours. While this is totally natural and normal, it can be upsetting. But the power of exercise and the motivational power of your personal trainer can help you ease you gradually into a new regime where fitness is just a part of your life, helping you look and feel like you once again.
We’ll assist you in carving out that much needed you-time in your week, and your exercise sessions will help you with recharging your batteries even on the most sleep-deprived days.
The most crucial thing to remember is that your body has just gone through a hell of a journey for the last nine months in preparation for childbirth. So, while we’ll be working hard, we’ll be doing so safely and concentrating on your key zones like your core, pelvic floor, bottom, and hips. We’ll improve your overall fitness by using functional training and strength strategies to help you lose baby weight while also toning and strengthening the rest of your body. We’ll also examine your dietary habits and make any required changes to boost your health. Eating correctly and exercising regularly will not only help you lose weight safely, but it will also produce endorphins (the happy hormone), which simply make you feel better.
Our postnatal fitness programs are intended to help you return to your pre-pregnancy fitness and health levels in a safe and effective manner.
Although, in certain circumstances, postnatal women training with us end up much stronger and fitter than they were pre-pregnancy. Our post-natal fitness programmes are a journey, and the intensity will increase when we believe you are ready.
To ensure that there are no long-term difficulties as a consequence of pregnancy or childbirth, we begin with gentle exercises. We build a strong foundation by working the deeper muscle groups before moving on to other objectives like weight reduction.
What kinds of exercises will I do?
Specifically designed for postpartum women, our postnatal personal training packages incorporate a blend of resistance, stability, cardio and postural exercises proven to help burn excess body fat, enhance cardio fitness, increase metabolism, strengthen the lower back as well as tone the muscles in the stomach, chest, bottom, arms and legs.
We will begin working on the pelvic floor exercises as soon as you feel ready. This is key because the pelvic floor muscles aid in the prevention of urinal incontinence. The recovery of your pelvic muscles might take up to four months, but after this we can begin more traditional workouts like aerobics, sit-ups, and abdominal exercises such as crunches.
Other exercises likely to be in your postnatal personal training package include light treadmill work, weight training, Pilates, boxercise, medicine ball work and light circuit training.
How soon can I regain my pre-pregnancy figure?
Pregnancy is the most significant physical change you will ever experience. You might gain 25 to 35 pounds in a matter of months. By the time you complete your pregnancy journey, the uterus as well as its lining will have grown to 500 times their original size.
Hormones are also produced by the body, which aid in the flexibility of the joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscle fibres. The blood vessels dilate, increasing the amount of blood flowing through them by up to 50%.
Approximately 10 – 13 pounds are lost soon after delivery, but many women may still appear to be five to six months pregnant even after the baby is delivered.
Usually, another 5 to 15 pounds are then lost over the next six weeks, but it might take anything from six months to a year to shed the remaining weight, and in many cases it is not possible without exercise.
While it’s natural for new mothers to want to get back to “normal,” now that they’re no longer pregnant, it has to be a gradual process. You’ll go from being pregnant to becoming a parent in a day, but the body’s recovery from pregnancy and childbirth can take many months.
However, after only a few weeks of sessions with us, you will have more energy, higher stamina, less stress, greater flexibility, improved self-esteem, and considerably greater body confidence. Our postnatal personal trainers can help you reduce baby weight, boost your energy, and tone up your body so you can feel better, and deal with the responsibilities of parenting more easily.
Do you offer group pregnancy personal training?
Yes, we also offer group personal training for both prenatal and postnatal mothers. Exercising with your other new mum friends is a fantastic way to motivate yourself and each other to reach your fitness goals. It’s also beneficial for pregnant women to be around others in the same boat who understand the challenges of pregnancy, rather than simply being in a gym class surrounded by people of all ages, many of whom may never have gone through the same experience as you.
What causes postnatal back pain?
Postpartum back pain is pain in your back that lingers even after you’ve given birth to your baby. There are a number of causes, including hormonal changes and strain on abdominal muscles. It takes time for your back to return to normal, so be patient and don’t do too much too soon.
You can help alleviate your postpartum back pain by being extra careful about how you use it and doing a few simple exercises.
When lifting your baby, laundry, a stroller, or anything else, start from your knees, not your back. When you’re feeding or tending to your baby, try not to bend over as much.
If you’re recuperating after a C-section, ask your doctor whether it’s okay to take a bath, as this is great for this kind of back ache. Get a massage if you can. Alternatively, you might have your partner or a family member to massage your back at home.
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