An interview with Marie Behenna, founder of FitMama™
Marie and I go a long way back. I first met her in the early days of my photography business, when we collaborated on a fitness photography project. She is the mastermind behind FitMama™, an ante- and postnatal fitness programme designed to lead Mums through pregnancy and those delicate months after giving birth. She also runs Studio 41, an alternative, functional training gym in Basingstoke where I myself have had the opportunity to train, with great results and outstanding support from my dear friend.
Marie’s pregnancy fitness classes are a fantastic way for expectant Mums to build a support system around them while having fun and taking care of their precious, hardworking bodies. Having photographed many mums from the FitMama™ courses and their newborn babies, I have seen friendships blossom and a strong sense of community that continues well into the years.
In this little interview, Marie gives us the lowdown on how her programme works and answers a couple of my nosy questions, too 😉
Tell me more about FitMama™.
FitMama™ is a service I launched back in in 2005 for pregnant and postnatal mums, teaching safe exercise, birthing techniques and recovery programs, as welkom l as pain relief support and abdominal & pelvic floor repair methods.
How far along must I be to join in a class?
Mums can join as early as 12 weeks pregnant, and work with me right up until delivery. After baby is born, I help mums recover from as early as 2 weeks after birth with my super safe postnatal recovery course, and then safely progress them on to more intense exercise when they are individually ready.
Is it safe for me and my baby?
It is safe to exercise with FitMama™ in the second and third trimester if you are generally well as this can most definitely benefit both mum and baby on so many levels. All the information about these benefits are listed in my book, The FitMama™ Method. The book also outlines some situations which may mean you cannot exercise, such as placenta praevia or very high blood pressure. If you are unsure, you should always consult your midwife for further advice.
What is the funniest/strangest thing that ever happened during one of your classes?
We do have many amusing moments in our sessions, but what goes on within FitMama™ walls stays there, so if you want to know more, you definitely need to sign up with us. I can tell you that as an instructor, I have had a few interesting moments when mums have started their labour during class… I am yet to use my emergency delivery pack yet though 😉
Give us your best million-dollar advice.
My advice to all mums is this… Don’t be afraid of pelvic pain, it is a sign that you need gentle exercise to help the pelvis cope. So many people stop exercise when they suffer normal pain of pregnancy. Exercise will relieve it, and if you need more help than that, there are clever techniques that can truly help you. I offer a free assessment to help mums with pregnancy pain, don’t suffer alone!
To find out more about the FitMama classes, visit the studio page.
A little peek into a FitMama fitness class – click to enlarge
And of course, what better way to celebrate your incredible pregnant body than to organise a maternity photo shoot before your baby arrives! Here is just one portrait of beautiful Marie with her husband, Johny, looking marvellous with her bump at 34 weeks (baby Samuel, who is now two years old!). Contact me here to find out more about my maternity photography and Belly to Baby package.