Meet AFPA member Sara Haley!

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Sara Haley is in the AFPA Member Spotlight!  She is one of the most sought after Prenatal and Postnatal Exercise Specialist and creator of the award-winning prenatal workout program, Expecting MORE® and her newly released postnatal program, Expecting More®:The 4th Trimester Workout. With over 15 years of experience as a fitness specialist, including 7 years as a Reebok Master Trainer, Sara has a passion for educating women about staying strong, fit and healthy during pregnancy and beyond, in the safest and most effective ways possible.  

Personal/Professional achievements & experience

 - My biggest achievement to date is the birth of my two boys: Landon (4.5 years) and Liam (1.5 years), and 11 years of marriage to my husband, Sean. 

- Creator of The Daily Sweat workout DVDs: Award-winning (NPPA) & one of top selling pregnancy workout DVDs on Amazon: Expecting MORE® with 6 different workouts and a calendar for all 3 trimesters http://sarahaley.com/about/expecting-more/; Sweat UNLIMITED workout program for anyone short on time http://sarahaley.com/about/expecting-more/; new all-inclusive postnatal workout program: Expecting MORE®: The 4th Trimester Workout with 8 different workouts and a 12-week calendar for all moms, whether they had a baby 6 weeks, 6 months, or 6 years ago, modifications for diastasis recti and C-section http://sarahaley.com/about/expecting-more-the-4th-trimester-workout/

- Reebok Master Trainer for 7 years - helped create workouts for Reebok & Cirque du Soleil, trained instructors and trainers from all over the world (as far as India & HongKong), TV media host & spokesperson

- Creator and lead talent for over 10 workout DVDs for Reebok/Gaiam

- Ranked as one of Shape’s Magazine’s Hottest Trainers 

- Former celebrity trainer

- Presenter at IDEA & ECA fitness conventions

- Teaches classes for Equinox fitness clubs for over eight years

- Certified in everything under the son- AFPA Pre & Postnatal Exercise Specialist, ACE Personal Trainer, AFAA Group Exercise Instructor, Schwinn Cycling, Kettlebells, rban Rebounding, JUKARI: Fit to Fly, Mat Science, Kickboxing, Stability Balls, Medicine Balls, Smart Bells, Body Bar, Body Wedge  

Sara's training philosophy 

My training philosophy has changed a lot over the years, mostly due to becoming a mother myself and not having as much time to work out.  “Do WHAT you can WHEN you can” is one of my favorite sayings, because sometimes we only have 5 minutes to workout, and we forget that even that counts (especially if you’re really working hard in those 5 minutes). Something is always better than nothing.  It’s what my Sweat UNLIMITED workout DVD (http://sarahaley.com/about/sweat-unlimited/) is all about - 5, 15, 30, & 45 minute workouts for the busy parent or professional. 

I believe in your workout being a trifecta of cardio, strength and/or resistance training, and flexibility. This usually means interval training, but the key is to work effectively and efficiently, which means (assuming you are NOT pregnant) pushing to your max ability so you don’t have to do hours of cardio on the elliptical to get the results you want. 

Most people don’t believe it by looking at me, but I also believe in picking up real weights (more than 3 pounds please!). As a mother or mother-to-be it’s essential, not only for your own health but in order to take care of your children. They are heavy and require a lot of stuff - strollers, car seats, diaper bags. You need to be able to carry all of that without injuring yourself. It’s fine to train to look good, but it’s more important to train for life. 

When it specifically comes to training pregnant and new moms, my training philosophy is to work out at a moderate level for you. This is why it’s super helpful to have worked with a client prior to their pregnancy. If you know what she did prior to, it’s easier to figure out what and how to modify her program. Was she jumping prior to being pregnant, swinging a kettle bell, or taking advanced yoga classes? If she hasn’t, she definitely shouldn’t now, but if she has been doing challenging workouts prior to pregnancy, she may be able to do more than you think. She may just have to do less, or you, as the trainer, may have to be creative in modifying the exercises. Remember that pregnant women and new moms need to be inspired, so if there are things they love doing, find ways to do it but in the safest way possible for both mom and baby. 

I could go on and on about pregnancy and postnatal recovery. If you’re looking for ideas, feel free to check out my workouts: http://sarahaley.com/shop/, and I have lots of helpful information on YouTube.com/sarahaleyfit, especially regarding diastasis rects (the split of the abdominals that can often occur during pregnancy). If your client experiences this, there is a lot that you need to be careful about and do to help her recover. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QT4-dMmhYDY

If a mommy-to-be is just coming to you now that she is pregnant, don’t freak out.  You’ll just need to get from her a detailed list of exactly what she was doing prior to being pregnant.  Also, remember that every day is going to feel different for her, even in post. Encourage her to listen to her body. That might even mean in some sessions you’ll need to say to her, “We need to stop for today.” Again, it goes back to "Do WHAT you can WHEN you can.” When you’re pregnant or have just had a baby, you never know what the day may bring or feel like, so on the days you feel amazing, work hard! And on the days that you don’t, rest your body. 

Strategies for remaining relevant in the fitness industry

I think the best thing any fitness professional can do is to find their niche. I never knew what mine was until I myself became pregnant (so be patient!). I had a general pre/postnatal certification prior to my own pregnancy and trained pregnant and new moms, but it wasn’t until I became pregnant myself that I became a pre & postnatal exercise specialist (because it became that much more important to me). Once I’d gone through pregnancy and postnatal recovery myself, I knew I could relate to my clients better. It’s similar to being a trainer that was once overweight or obese or a trainer who has recovered from a serious injury. Once you’ve gone through these challenges, you are more passionate about what you are doing and who you are helping because you can be empathetic towards how much work it truly is.

The fitness industry is so extensive. By having a niche, I think it’s easier to stay relevant because you can keep your research efforts focused. To stay relevant you need to follow blogs like AFPA’s that present the newest research and trends. As a pre & postnatal exercise specialist I read http://www.acog.org/http://www.lifescript.com/ and other wellness sites that focuses on women’s health. I also recommend putting subjects that pertain to you and your clients in google alerts, so that you are always in the know. 

Start a blog (http://sarahaley.com/blog/), YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/SaraHaleyFit), be active on social media or write for other websites that have similar niches and goals as you.  To stay relevant your peers and your followers need to see you and hear from you on a consistent basis. It’s a lot of work but can be so rewarding.

Thank you Sara for sharing your story!  Keep inspiring us!

Interested in being in the next AFPA Member Spotlight?  Email afpa@afpafitness.com

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