Name: Pat Pope Age: 53 Location: Ohio How long have you been strength training, and how did you get started?…
What was your first thought when you learned about the Coaching & Training Women Academy and the Pre- & Postnatal Coaching Certification?
When I first found out about the Coaching & Training Women Academy, I thought “Finally! There is going to be a resource for women, by women where I can grow my potential as a personal trainer!”
As a woman in fitness and as a person who has worked a career in healthcare, having evidence-based resources is extremely important to me. I love that Girls Gone Strong supports not only women who want to know more about caring for themselves, but also women who want to serve and support other women.
When I first learned of the Pre- and Postnatal Coaching Certification, I was intrigued. As a Registered Nurse, I have earned both a Bachelor and a Master of Science, including a certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner. As such, my education included anatomy and physiology of the body as it changes during pregnancy.
I am a woman who has not had children, therefore I have not had the firsthand experience that comes with pregnancy and childbirth. The CPPC program impressed me as includes more than basic anatomy and physiology, but goes in depth as to how anatomical and physiological changes can affect a woman in each stage of her pregnancy and after.
The more I learned about the program, the more I felt it would be invaluable to me. I was right!
What do you do?
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a nurse. In my career, I worked in a hospital caring for patients before and after cardiovascular surgery. I also worked in a large long-term care facility with people living with a variety of developmental disabilities. My last job was working in healthcare administration, running the medical department in a prison. I am grateful that my career as a nurse allowed me to do all of that!
After making the decision to leave my “formal” career, I wanted to continue to work in healthcare in some way. Given my lifelong passion for fitness and my love of teaching people about how to care for themselves, I earned my certification as a personal trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and a Level 1 Coaching certification through Precision Nutrition. I currently work part-time at a local fitness facility as a personal trainer and provide private coaching as well.
What else do you do?
What do I do when I am not working? Ha! I am one of those people who retired and cannot imagine how I had time to work! I enjoy travel and see this amazing country and our world abroad. I am an avid fly fisherman, and enjoy tying flies. I ride my bicycles on the road and in the woods, often times laughing out loud as it makes me feel like a kid!
I love spending time with my family. Hubby and I have a wonderful home in the country and our Boxer, Jaxon keeps us entertained on a daily basis. As I have no children of my own, my brother and his wife are gracious enough to allow me time with my two nieces and one nephew. They are absolutely incredible children and they remind me that staying fit is important so I can play!
One of my greatest interests, which lead to my desire to become a personal trainer, has always been fitness. I can remember when Jane Fonda workouts were all the rage and the gym was full of high-impact aerobics classes. Yes, I had a collection of leotards and leg warmers! I love strength training and finding new ways to challenge myself. I train so that I can move better. Now that am now in my 50s, I realize even more the importance of self-care and mobility, which sometimes requires slowing things down.
There is room in my life for quiet time as well. I enjoy photography, reading, cooking, and most recently, have started learning to play the violin. You are never too old to learn new things!
Best compliment you’ve received lately:
The best compliment I have received lately came from a woman who said “You are amazing! Is there anything you cannot do?” The smile she provided with the compliment was worth even more than her kind words! Having learned to actually receive a compliment (thanks to the incredible Chrissy King), I was able to say “Thank you! I AM amazing!” and return the smile!
Most recent compliment you gave someone else:
That is a really difficult question to answer. I have made it a practice to compliment people as often as I can. My parents have always been an integral part of my life. Almost 11 years ago, my dad passed away. It was, and still is, a huge void in my life. With his passing, I realized that seizing opportunities as they come is so important. Therefore, I give compliments anytime I can as that opportunity may not present itself again.
Favorite way to treat yourself:
My favorite luxury to myself is travel. This past year I made trips to British Columbia, the Adirondacks and Catskills (both in New York), Annapolis, Maryland, and Colorado. The best thing is that I can often use those trips to reconnect with friends, getting out to hike and fish, sharing good food and drink!
Life is short.
Each day in my life is a precious gift. Losing people like my dad has taught me to never take for granted that there will be a tomorrow. Take the trip. Tell someone how you feel. Eat the cookie. Learn to play the violin. Play. Go barefoot in the grass. Stand on your head. Laugh!
Three words that best describe you:
Complex. Faithful. Optimistic.
I could not possibly pick one favorite book. My taste for books is as wide and varied as my taste for food. It depends on my mood, or if I have an objective, such as something I want to learn. At the present time, I am reading Stamped From The Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi.
I realize that having grown up in a rural, predominantly “white” setting, my ability to understand how racism has affected me and the history of my country as I know it is very narrow. I grew up in a loving, welcoming home and realize I was sheltered from hatred, which on one hand is so very good! However, the world is not that kind. I am currently reading something, not to be entertained, but because I want to grow as a person, outside of my comfort zone.
What inspires and motivates you?
My mum is a huge source of inspiration for me. She always told me “You can be anything you want to be”. She did not try to push me into a box, or cringe when I made decisions that may not have aligned with hers. I was a bit of a challenge growing up, and as an adult, made some questionable decisions in life. Even if she did not understand, she still supported and loved me unconditionally. I strive to love like that.
I am motivated by a determination to live each day of my life to the fullest. I do not hold grudges. I do not hate. I can honestly say that I am happy. Sure, there are days that I want to spend time on the couch with Jaxon and a book and a cup of hot coffee or tea. Even on those days, I am grateful for the ability to just sit and watch the sun shine or the snow fall.
Describe a typical day in your life, from waking up to bedtime:
I am a morning person. Typically, I am awake between 4:30 and 5 a.m. Hubby still works, so I fix him coffee and pack his lunch each morning. I eat breakfast and enjoy a strong cup of coffee. Two days a week I am at the gym by 5:30 a.m. to teach.
If I am not working, I use the early mornings to write, edit photos, or start on house projects. Once the sun is shining, Jaxon and I go outside for play time (weather permitting). He is an energetic breed, so if he does not get his play time, I get no peace! He is always eager for a walk, and before the weather turned bitter cold, was learning to jog with me.
Mid-morning is my favorite time for a workout. I am currently a client in Strongest You Coaching, and have dedicated Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to my strength workouts. My cardio days are either a run with Jaxon, the treadmill, or the bike on a trainer. My recovery days I enjoy Pilates. Almost every day, I find time for yoga poses, stretching, foam rolling and other mobility work. Movement is a huge part of my life and my health.
Later in the day, I get my chores done. Since I retired two years ago, and my husband still works, I try to get most things done during the week while he is at work. That includes house cleaning, mowing, tending the garden, and now, shoveling snow! That way, when the weekend rolls around, we have time together to spend doing things we enjoy.
Evenings are down time. Jaxon gets more play time. Hubby gets home from work. We usually eat at home, so I cook. Once a week, we go out to eat. Sundays we try to visit Mum (she cooks Sunday dinner so I get to see my brother’s family), or Hubby’s folks as they live nearby as well.
What lead you to enroll in the CPPC?
I work part-time at a local group fitness facility — I enjoy it so much I hesitate to call it work. Teaching people how to improve their movement to allow them to participate more fully in the things they are passionate about is my passion.
Since becoming a personal trainer a couple of years ago, I have been building on my education, wanting to find more ways to make me better at what I do, and help me stand out. When Girls Gone Strong announced the CPPC, I knew there was nobody offering a program like it, and certainly an area of lacking in mainstream fitness.
How would you describe your pre- and postnatal knowledge before completing the CPPC?
Given my education in healthcare, I would describe my pre- and postnatal knowledge before taking the CPPC as better than most, but quite basic, given it was never my specialty. My education and training as a personal trainer did not provide me with any guidance on how to work with women in pregnancy and beyond. Since I have never experienced pregnancy myself, you could say my education never went beyond the textbook, or hearing of experiences of other women.
Why do you think learning the information that’s included in the CPPC is so important to your profession?
At first, I thought the information included in the CPPC would be important to me so I could truly understand and support women as they moved through pregnancy and beyond. I live in a rural area, and the fitness facility is in a small town, so the population at the gym is reflective of the geographical area. When I started the program, there was one woman at the gym who was pregnant. I asked her permission to work with her as I worked through the program and she graciously agreed.
What’s been the best part about going through the CPPC?
The best part about going through the CPPC is that despite my narrow expectations — wanting to work with that one woman who was going through pregnancy — I got so much more!
Much of what I learned in the program I use with all of my clients.
There are fundamentals of breathing, programing, nutrition, and overall supportive care of a person beyond fitness and nutrition.
Now that you’re an official Certified Pre- & Postnatal Coach, what impact are you hoping to have?
Now that I am newly certified, and people are learning this about me, I have already started making a difference. I train with more confidence as I feel more well-rounded as a fitness professional.
I know that there is nobody in my area who is able to offer what I can, which sets me apart in the industry.
I am hoping that I can not only provide support to my clients, but steer other fitness professionals towards this certification to improve how we are training women as a whole.
What effect has your new Certification had on your work so far?
I was able to use information as I learned it, well before I completed the certification. I feel I have the skills to work with women as they move through their pregnancy, and make safe, thoughtful adjustments for them based on their unique experience. Given the way the program was structured, I have confidence in my skills as they were reinforced throughout.
The unexpected effect has been that I have the skills and confidence to not only support women currently experiencing pregnancy, but women with issues such as diastasis recti, pelvic organ prolapse, and even women who have required a hysterectomy as there are related issues in pelvic floor health that cross over. I realized none of this prior to the certification program.
How has your thinking about pre- and postnatal care changed since completing the CPPC?
This program has been an eye-opener for me. Before the program, I had a very narrow view of how the pre- and postnatal experience affected a woman. Given my lack of personal experience with pregnancy, my view was even smaller than most. I now realize what monumental changes occur in the body during and after pregnancy, and even more importantly, that many of the changes are lasting. These temporary and permanent changes require supportive care, and without the CPPC, I would have had no idea of what I could do, or how to guide a woman to receive care beyond my scope of practice.
What would you say to someone who’s on the fence about enrolling?
If someone is sitting on the fence about this program, I would say just do it! This is not one of those certifications that you might use. You truly can use the information every day.
For anyone who has not experienced pregnancy, it is even more important as it provides insight and information that you would not gain any other way.