Pushing It—The Reality (TV) of Prenatal and Postpartum Fitness

Jenny Skoog, left
Jenny Skoog, left, working with a client.

I’m so busy these days that I’ve had to seriously curb my TV watching. If it’s not Thursday night (weirdly addicted to Hannibal) or Friday or Saturday nights, I’m working rather than watching TV. But when I heard of the new reality show Pushing It, I started wishing I had gobs more free time to hit up programming that is right up my alley! Pushing It follows birth coach and personal trainer Jenny Skoog and three of her clients who are in different stages of pregnancy—before, during and after. Here…I’ll just let her tell you all about it!

Tell me a bit about the show—what’s the premise? Pushing It follows three of my existing clients through different stages of motherhood: one woman has a baby and is trying for another, one is about to give birth and I’m her doula, and the third woman is thinking about trying to get pregnant.

Were these women clients of yours before the show? Or women who came to you specifically for your prenatal fitness training experience? Yes. These are existing clients of mine to this day. Since I’m a bride-to-baby trainer, many of my clients come to me to look aisle-hot. After the wedding, these women get pregnant and seek my expertise as they embark upon motherhood. I bridge the gap between pre- and postnatal-training.

What can viewers expect to learn and take away from the show? Many heavy topics discussed on Pushing It are taboo in many social circles. While we find humor during the show, there is much to learn about fertility, traumatic birthing and trying to hold onto a sense of “self” while becoming a mother.

What’s the biggest mistake you see women make when it comes to prenatal fitness? Doing too much cardiovascular training and not enough strength training. Women should get off the elliptical and step into the weight room to train for the “sport of motherhood”…after all, the baby is only going to get heavier and the stroller harder to push. All while running on barely any sleep at all.

What are some of the best exercises you can do to prepare for labor and delivery? Any exercise that strengthens posture muscles (i.e. rows), pelvic floor and core stabilization (squats, balance and hip bridges) and arm strength in case of a C-section—with a compromised core, she’ll need those arms (pulldowns, bicep curls, tricep extensions).

As a birthing coach, what advice do you give to prepare for that which cannot be prepared for? Mental strength, clarity and visualize a healthy childbirth. I cannot stress enough the power of positive thinking and mental preparation. Whether it’s prenatal yoga, hypnobirthing or Lamaze, choose a relaxation modality that will be easy to draw on during those painful contractions.

Any advice for new moms trying to get back into fighting shape? Have patience with your body: 9 months on, 9 months off! Give yourself enough time to bond with your baby. Remember that breastfeeding burns 20 calories per ounce, so in the beginning, you’ll have a lot of help. When you feel up to it, focus on getting your core and pelvic floor muscles back. Do not overdo it—build from where you left off and increase intensity and time spent working out as time passes.

What exactly do you do as a birthing coach, and how does that role influence your role as a trainer? I am a certified doula.  Since I’m also a personal trainer, I transfer that coaching mentality into the hospital room during labor and delivery. I only coach existing clients during their births, so the trust is already established. Traditional doulas are a bit more focused on massage, aromatherapy and touch. I simply offer my clients a steady hand, solid advice and experienced knowledge. I am a can-do problem solver and work best in intense situations.

Anything else to add? Watch Pushing It Sundays at 9 p.m. on Cozi TV starting June 2. For more information on me and a full list of my certifications and experience, visit Skoogfit.com.

Are you in the market for another TV show? How awesome to have a personal trainer also be your birth coach! —Erin

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