Get to know...
Nikki Bergen, founder of The Belle Method, pre and postnatal fitness expert and mama to Gabrielle.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a mother? Biggest surprises? Biggest joys? Biggest challenges?
A: Hearing your little baby call for “mama” and being the one to comfort them — that has been such a crazy joy for me. My capacity to push through sleep deprivation is something that surprised me — this is coming from someone who always required 8+ hours of uninterrupted sleep pre-kids! Balancing running a business and being a present mother has been challenging, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Q: Tell us about THE BUMP METHOD™ and THE BELLE METHOD™ that you founded — how do these fitness programs differ from others and what kind of results can women expect?
A: Our methodology combines Pilates with the latest research in pelvic health, creating choreography from science.
The Bump Method teaches pregnant and postpartum women how to engage their deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles, heal diastasis recti and feel confident and empowered for birth and recovery.
The Belle Method is a more intense fitness program for women during all other life stages—before pregnancy and after the postpartum period. We build on Pilates and pelvic health principles, challenging you as we take core training to the deepest possible level.
Q: How has your fitness routine changed since pregnancy #2 (and having a toddler)? How often do you workout? What are some of your favourite pregnancy workouts — do you focus mostly on your own or do you do weights, cardio, etc.?
A: I definitely practice what I preach! I normally teach 18+ Pilates based classes a week, but now that we are social distancing, I’ve moved several classes online. It’s definitely harder to teach virtually from home with a toddler running around, so I schedule classes around naps and after bedtime.
The key is to learn how to manage the IAP (intra-abdominal pressure) created during pregnancy from the growing baby. THIS is what we teach women — how to breathe diaphragmatically and co-contract the pelvic floor during all movement. This is important whether you’re doing cardio, swinging kettlebells, doing crossfit, yoga or Pilates. It’s not what you do — it’s HOW you do it!
Q: How have you been personally managing all the stress around COVID-19? Do you have any tips that you can share that have helped you cope with the current environment that has been incredibly overwhelming (especially for moms that have to wear so many hats right now)?
A: I think the key is to surrender to the things we can’t control, be kind to ourselves and realize that our usual levels of productivity are going to decrease — they have to, especially for moms trying to manage homeschooling kids, running a business, running a household, etc. It’s all a little bananas! It’s ok if you need to use TV cartoons to occupy your kids while you respond to emails or prepare a meal. You are a good mom and you are doing a great job! These are unprecedented times. Go easy on yourself.
Q: Now that you are spending 24/7 at home — how have you been able to manage your time and find a balance (if any at all) between work and motherhood (and homeschooling and cleaning and cooking, etc., etc.)?
Balance is bullshit. I work until midnight after my daughter goes to sleep, I ask more of my husband around the house, we eat a lot of slow cooker meals and I rely too much on Dora the Explorer! My toddler is learning Spanish, so that’s a bonus. :)
Q: Has your diet changed from your pre pregnancy routine? What are some key foods you having been eating the last few weeks to maintain your energy, stay healthy and feel good? We would love to hear what a typical breakfast, lunch, dinner (and snacks) looks like for you.
A: I eat more eggs during pregnancy to help with choline and protein intake (I don’t eat them much when not pregnant). I’ve also cut out coffee as I find it makes my heart race during pregnancy. I do miss it though! I crave juice and sparkling water all day long.
A typical day right now would be:
Breakfast: green smoothie with avocado or egg on gluten-free rye toast
Snack: almond butter on dates with chocolate chips
Lunch: Spinach or arugula salad topped salmon or chicken
Snack: hummus with cucumber
Dinner: Veggie chili, lentil stew or some other slow cooker or instant pot meal
Dessert: homemade ice cream — been experimenting a lot with my Vitamix and it’s been pretty delicious!
Q: Any last words of wisdom for our fellow moms — especially any new moms that are feeling overwhelmed by all the uncertainty going on right now?
A: We are all in this together. We are SO much stronger than we think. Learning to surrender to the craziness is a way of taking back our power. Find your breath, trust that this too shall pass and know that you are not alone!