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Inclusive Programming & Return to Instructing Postpartum, with Alice Scott

Episode 64:

Inclusive Programming & Return to Instructing Postpartum

Today we are joined by Alice Scott in a candid and necessary discussion about breaking down barriers in the Pilates world and teaching in the postpartum period. Alice is Head Coach of Pilates at Virgin Active Australia. She currently teaches in Sydney and has been teaching Pilates for more than 12 years both in Australia and internationally. Alice has excellent advice to share stemming from her personal experience of navigating life as a Pilates instructor and new mom.  She offers practical advice for working with multiple skill levels in large groups, welcoming clients regardless of previous experience, and making Pilates accessible to everyone. 

What You Will Learn:

  • The barriers which prevent people from doing Pilates and what we can do to remove them
  • How to facilitate an empowering experience across varying skill levels in a large group 
  • Alice’s personal experience teaching Pilates prenatal and postpartum
  • The challenges of teaching Pilates postpartum and the stigma surrounding it: from pelvic floor dysfunction to other “taboo” topics, and tips for coaching clients through this time
  • Why clients and instructors alike should vocalize concerns about postpartum body changes and seek help when needed

The power of layering

Large groups can be a challenge if you’re not sure how to tackle programming for clients with varied needs and skill levels. In one class you may have clients who are postpartum, recovering from injury or a chronic health issue, or facing any other limitations. So how can you create a program which caters to everyone? Alice offers excellent advice for programming for success via exercise layering. She explains how to take clients on a movement journey starting together at the foundational level of a movement. Gradually, build up the exercise in stages until you offer the option for the full expression of the movement. This way, everyone is challenged and feels a sense of achievement. Those who want to modify are free to do so while clients who are able can advance as much as they choose.  

Diastasis recti, incontinence, and other taboos

Diastasis recti (abdominal separation) and urinary incontinence are extremely common in the postpartum period, but many women feel unsure how to seek help for them. Some even go to the extent of avoiding hydration and carrying extra clothes in case of an accident. This presents a problem because these moms suffer as a result of stigma surrounding what are totally normal issues. Alice and Cloe break the ice on postpartum body changes, encourage women to speak out, and explore the experience of doing targeted pelvic floor exercises with a women’s health physiotherapist.

Experiencing self doubt as a new mom and Pilates instructor

After Alice gave birth she wondered, “How am I ever going to go back to teaching?” She was just so exhausted, it was hard to imagine teaching the same classes and hours with the same vigor as before. Postpartum exercise can be a daunting idea for many new moms, and Alice was one of them. Alice explains how she successfully returned to teaching Pilates despite energy fluctuations and changes she experienced with her body.



About Alice Scott:

Alice has been in the Health and Fitness industry since 2009. Based in Sydney, Australia, she is currently the Head Coach at Virgin Active Australia. Alice holds qualifications from Breathe Education, STOTT Pilates, and Elixr Pilates, along with a bachelor’s degree in applied science from the University of Western Sydney. She has international Pilates teaching experience, having taught in Dubai, UAE. Alice is keen on encouraging fearless movement and empowering her clients to experience their full capabilities in their Pilates practice. Aside from teaching Pilates, Alice is passionate about fitness, food, and being a mom to her lively two-year-old son.

How to Connect with Alice:

About Raphael and Cloe:

Raphael Bender, CEO, Breathe Education

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

Cloe Bunter, Trainer, Breathe Education

With 8+ years in the industry, both teaching Pilates and nurturing new instructors, Cloe is passionate about empowering new and seasoned instructors to think critically and move fearlessly. Empowered instructors empower their clients, and in turn, change lives.

She finds great joy in building connections with clients, students, colleagues, and the broader movement and rehab community. Co-hosting the Pilates Elephants Podcast, with Raphael Bender, has provided an incredible platform to bust common Pilates, movement, and rehab myths whilst creating a worldwide community of critical thinkers who are elevating health literacy.

Cloe is fascinated by movement in general, and its ability to enhance our lives, at any age. Her own movement practice includes Contrology/Pilates, running, weights, and kettlebells. She has a Diploma of Clinical Pilates, Cert IV in Pilates, and Cert IV in Training and Assessing.

How to Connect with Raphael and Cloe:

Raphael Bender’s New Book:

  • Strengthen The Person Not Just The Body Part here

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