Fitness for a Woman's Life 1

Two Fort Worth trainers have advice on women’s fitness, motherhood, and the navigation of both.


Motherhood informs a major transition in many women’s lives, one in which former primary concerns become secondary, and life’s focus shifts to the welfare of another. It’s an unfortunate consequence of these new responsibilities that many mothers let their commitment to fitness lapse.

To get some tips on the integration of fitness into motherhood (and women’s lives in general) we found a pair of experts with first-hand knowledge of both: Sarah Cornett of the Pilates Concept, and Shawna Gibson of the Brick Gym.

What recommendations do you have for women who need to juggle fitness and motherhood?

Sarah: Workout with your kids! If they’re babies, get that jogging stroller and hit the trails. Lots of studios and gyms offer “mommy and me” classes, or childcare. It’s important for moms to take care of themselves and not always put themselves last.

Shawna: The biggest thing I can say is to give yourself grace. It took you nine months to put that weight on; you shouldn’t expect it to disappear in nine weeks. Work back slowly, and listen to your body and your doctor. Your body will come back, and will come back better and stronger than ever.

What are some different ways that you tailor workouts to pregnant clients? What about female clients in general?

Sarah: We can modify our workouts for every client, whether they’re in a group class or private lesson. Every woman is different, both in terms of where she is in life, and also how she goes through an experience like pregnancy. When a woman is pregnant, her body progresses through stages that affect what exercises she can and cannot do. We make sure to keep tabs on the heart rate, and also encourage lots of pelvic floor exercises.

Shawna: We keep pregnant clients moving throughout the nine months of pregnancy. This allows them to jump back into workouts sooner than normal, once they receive the doctor’s okay. We also work to strengthen the pelvic floor. For women in general, we offer tailored CrossFit programs and a specialized program called LeanFit. We’ve found that a lot of women are intimidated by CrossFit because they don’t want to bulk up. With LeanFit we go lighter on the weights and focus on body sculpting and fat burning.

How would you describe your efforts to balance motherhood against your career?

Sarah: The first few months were hard, and I felt guilty anytime I wasn’t with my son. I did learn, however, that I loved being back at work, and as he’s gotten older, I’ve gotten more used to our schedule. Every family situation is different, and you have to figure out what works for you and not dwell on what you think is “normal.” As mothers, we are very hard on ourselves, but I’ve learned to do what I feel is right.

Shawna: I’m blessed that I’m able to bring Greyson into work with me. I don’t know if I’ve found the secret balance yet, but I’ve learned that life happens around being a mom. Living in the moment now informs my identity, and that’s what I try to do every day. You have to be flexible and remember that nothing is black and white. If you can keep that in mind, you’ll set yourself up for success.