I walked into my first Hilliard Studio Method Essentials class, with Donna, six months ago when I was 18 weeks pregnant with my second child. Exercise has always been an outlet for me. Over the past few years, most of my workouts have been in the form of hot power yoga. Prior to walking into her class, I was very familiar with HSM. I had been going to HSM | Core three to four times a week before learning I was pregnant, and have always been amazed at how toned all the women are (several of my friends included) who regularly did HSM. I knew it would be a safe and effective workout for pregnancy, but I had no idea how much I would truly gain, both physically and mentally, once I started coming two to four times per week. I figured that in being 18 weeks pregnant, this wasn’t exactly the time to physically change my body, but I knew that with the full body workout that HSM provided, it could do nothing but benefit both my health and the health of my baby.
Following Donna’s class, I remember thinking, ‘this is so challenging (in a good way), I don’t know if I will ever be able to do the regular class.’ However, four classes later I was signed up for Lee’s Method class and made it through the whole thing. After a few weeks, I started noticing a difference in both my arms and legs, and even though I was continuing to gain weight through my pregnancy, I was noticing more muscle definition. Every teacher was incredibly supportive and helpful with the modifications throughout my pregnancy and at 39 weeks pregnant I was using 8 lb weights throughout the first section of class. This was a goal I set for myself when I first started HSM, but one that I thought would only be attainable after my pregnancy was over.
I am now 12 weeks postpartum and have been back in the studio for six weeks. Contrary to my birth of my first son, my second pregnancy resulted in a c-section, and shockingly, the most noticeable difference postpartum has been my core strength. The other major difference is how I’ve felt about myself; throughout this pregnancy, and after, I was actually proud of my arms. Even after having a baby and taking six weeks off from exercising, I was amazed at my ability to hold a plank (even if for only 30 seconds) in my first class back.
All of the planks, even modified, while carrying my daughter absolutely paid off! The physical strength that I have gained, and the goals that I continue to meet, whether it’s increasing weight, or staying on my toes in the plank series longer, have also had such a positive impact on my mental state. Every teacher has pushed me to my edge, and I love that each class continues to be a challenge. Liz and Clary have created an effective total body workout that produces results, in an environment that is incredibly supportive of wherever you are in your fitness journey. I am so glad to have found HSM when I did, and at nearly three months postpartum I am thrilled to be in a place, both physically and emotionally, where I am excited to get up and go workout. I am very thankful for all the enthusiastic teachers who continue to push me and for a studio that always leaves me wanting to come back for more. To quote one of my friends when his fiance was moving to Charlotte and searching for a place to exercise, “You have to go to Hilliard Studio Method… that place cranks out hard bodies.”