In honor of International Women’s Day, today we are featuring one of the most inspiring women we know. A former professional dancer in london turned fitness professional here in the states, she’s a master in movement, founder of the PH Method, mother to 16-month-old Sebastian, and co-founder and the brains behind Moving Mom SF. She’s the ultimate Moving Mom, with a wealth of knowledge to help get other moms moving…Meet Peri!
Jessica: What is the biggest lesson you have learned since becoming a mother?
Peri: To let go. This was one of the biggest lessons I had to learn, and it took me a while to get my head around this idea of letting go and relinquishing control on the uncontrollable things that come up as first time mothers. I remember in the first few months of motherhood I would find myself getting frustrated that I wasn’t able to complete all the tasks/items on my to do list that I had set out...because I had a newborn, and they move to the beat of their own drum! I would find I would get frustrated and upset because of this. I would sit in this frustration of having an expectation of how I thought my day should/could play out, which didn’t align with the reality of my situation being a new mom. Tired of this frustration, I began to open myself up to the concept of ‘all or something.’ Eventually, I came to terms with the fact I couldn't do it all, but I could do something. Once I started to let go, I was then able to be more present with my son and husband and felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.
J: When did you start exercising again after having Sebby? And what was that journey like for you?
P: I started attending low impact classes again like Barre and Pilates around 6/7 weeks postpartum, after I was approved to exercise by my OB/GYN. Some of these were at home workouts I taught myself and about twice a week when my husband could be home to look after our newborn, I would attend a Barre or Pilates class. In terms of introducing movement back into my body after delivering, I actually started gentle Pelvic Floor rehabilitation exercises 10 days after giving birth. These exercises mostly focused on the breath and starting to stimulate the muscles and tissues of the Pelvic Floor and Core Unit. Once I was discharged from hospital, each day I would get outside and walk. To begin, my walking was more of a shuffle as I was still tender and sore from my episiotomy stitches. Gradually, I would walk for longer and eventually started hitting the Lyon Street Steps, but only once my stitches had fully healed.
J: Do you have a weekly workout routine? If so, what does that look like?
P: I usually workout 5-6 days per week on top of the classes I teach. My workouts mostly consist of Barre & Fusion classes at The Dailey Method, I aim for 4 of these a week. Then, I like to take 1 yoga class and 1 class that is outside of my comfort zone --something like Barry’s Bootcamp-- each week. I love to crosstrain across different fitness modalites, and I am also checking out new studios and the latest workouts. If for whatever reason I can’t get to a studio, I will do an at home workout using Obe Online Streaming, Modelfit or The Dailey Method Online.
J: What else do you do to stay healthy and active?
P: I love to be outdoors and so each day, unless it’s raining, I will make sure to take my son Sebastian on an afternoon brisk walk in the stroller after his nap. During these walks, I love to listen to a podcast with some of my faves being The Goaldigger Podcast by Jenna Kutcher, How I Built This, Motherkind and Happy Place by Fearne Cotton. At home, I enjoy making wholesome, healthy meals for my family consisting of tonnes of veggies (I add spinach and kale to everything!), lean proteins and smart fats. This is another way I like to unwind at the end of the day once I put my son to bed at 6.30pm.
J: If you could give one gift to all the mothers in the world, what would it be?
P: It would be the gift of time. Time for self-care. To have 1 hour in your day to do whatever you need to do to restore yourself, to recharge yourself, so you can re-enter the rest of your day giving your best self to those you love. Whether it is a workout, taking a bath or connecting with friends. I know for me, I am a better person to myself and those I love if I take the time each day to move my body in a mindful way. Exercise might not be your thing, maybe it’s reading a book or taking a bath. Whatever it is, it’s important and valuable if it lights you up.
Also, a Pelvic Floor Specialist for each and every mom postpartum to help with the rehabilitation process, and to do the necessary scar tissue work if you have had a C-Section or Episiotomy. It blows my mind that this isn’t a standard practice in the U.S.
Sorry that’s two! :)
J: How do you manage to balance your time among being mom, work and spending time with Mike?
P: It’s a constant work in progress. Our time and schedules are never fixed in my household, aside from Sebastian’s routine (that’s nailed down!). I am a freelancer and alongside my teaching classes and private clients, I have smaller projects I am constantly working on. My husband works in Finance and his hours fluctuate depending on his projects. So there is this constant ebb and flow and seasonal shifts happening with our schedules.
To stay on top of it all, I have to schedule everything down to the hour. From play time with my son (yep, i schedule that!) to when I am teaching, working out or producing content. I color code depending on the work/project, family time and my ‘me’ time. This way I can look at the week and see where I am off balance. If there isn’t much ‘pink,’ I know the following week I need to dedicate more personal time to myself and self-care. My husband and I also love to travel, and I love nothing more than having trips planned out throughout the year for us to look forward to.
J: What does your morning routine look like?
P: I wake up between 5:30 and 6am so I have a full hour to myself before the rest of the house wakes up. I like to take my time in the morning, and I enjoy the peace and quiet before the day kicks in. Upon waking, I will drink a big glass of water with lemon. I will then put the coffee maker on as I hop into the shower and get myself ready. I like to sit down with my morning coffee --with a dash of Almond Milk and Collagen Peptides-- and look through my class plans for the day and mentally prepare for my classes ahead.
Once I am fully awake, I will enjoy a small breakfast, usually overnight oats that I prepared the night before (½ cup Gluten Free Oats, ⅔ Almond Milk, 1 tsp Chia Seeds, 1 tsp Hemp Seeds, 1 tbsp Almond Butter, Blueberries, 1 tsp of Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend and a Sprinkling of Toasted Coconut Flakes and Pumpkin Seeds). Usually by 6:45/7am, I start to hear my son Sebastian stir and then I will go and change him and give him his morning bottle.
J: Tell us a little about your background in movement and how you got to where you are today.
P: For as long as I can remember, I have moved. I trained as a professional dancer back in Europe, danced on stage and toured with a dance company throughout Europe. In my early 20s, I went on to certify as a Pilates Teacher --after studying Pilates for many years as part of my dance training at Laban-- and a few years later found my way to the UK’s Barre Fitness studio Barrecore as a founding teacher. Barre and Pilates really resonated with me because of the vigorous dance training I had done before. I love how both modalities focus heavily on alignment. They teach you to workout smarter, not harder.
It was while at Barrecore, now a Master Teacher, that I started to work more closely with Pre and Postnatal students who would flock to Barre and Pilates classes due to the low impact nature of the workout. I went on to study with Carolyne Anthony, who is an incredible woman and mentor and leads the Center for Women’s Fitness. I studied with Carolyne in London, and gained my Pre and Postnatal Specialist qualification. That gave me the tools to better understand the physical and emotional changes happening in a pregnant women’s body, and how mindful exercises and breath work could help to heal the body postpartum and strengthen the body for a healthy pregnancy.
For the past 4.5 years, I have been based in San Francisco, working with The Dailey Method as a Master Trainer. I helped launch Dailey Baby in the city, SF’s first Barre class for moms with babies worn in a front pack carrier. I launched this after having my son, when he was around 3 months old. This was an incredible way for me to connect with other moms who were passionate about moving and staying fit and healthy. Having gone through pregnancy and labor myself, I have a deeper, more informed understanding of the needs of my pregnant and postpartum clients that no textbook can teach you. I am on a mission to build more awareness around working out safely pre and postpartum. I want to help educate and empower moms to exercise before and after pregnancy in a safe and mindful way. That is why I am super excited for all exciting events we have in the pipeline for Moving Mom SF!
J: As a fitness professional specializing in pre & postpartum, what is your advice for moms trying to get back into fitness after baby?
P: Be kind to yourself. We often forget that through pregnancy and labor, our bodies go through an immense physical trauma and that takes time to heal. Often times, we focus so much on ‘losing the baby weight’ and we forget about the internal healing that is the most important layer for our overall postpartum recovery and health. Some women are fortunate to be able to return to their post pregnancy weight just months after giving birth and for others, that process can take much longer. The pelvic floor can take 9 months to a year to fully recover after giving birth. No matter how physically strong you may have been going into labor, the recovery for your core unit takes time and as simple as it may seem, it starts with the breath. You are essentially retraining your muscles to function again in an optimal way. If you do the right work at the right time, you may find you have a stronger core and pelvic floor than you did before baby!
If you have any questions for peri or would like to know about her next workshop, feel free to reach out to us!
keep moving, mamas!