Name: Meryl Alappattu Age: 35 Location: Gainesville, FL What does it mean to you to be part of the GGS…
What was your first thought when you learned about the Coaching & Training Women Academy and the Pre- & Postnatal Coaching Certification?
I immediately thought “This is definitely something I have to do!” It came to me at a perfect time since I was starting my maternity leave and I thought it would be the optimal time to dive into this material, using the time between naps and feeding.
What do you do?
I am a certified personal trainer, group fitness teacher and yoga teacher. I have been doing this since 2010, and managing postnatal classes since 2011.
What else do you do?
I have four kids — ages 11,8,6, and 1 — and so most of my time is spent running after the kids, taking them to practices, helping with homework and all the other mom stuff. I am also a singer and I have been trying to make time to do more of that lately.
I love running, going to the gym and doing yoga. I also really enjoy spending time outdoors; hiking, skiing, camping, etc. I read a lot and it’s most often some material that has do do with health and fitness, yoga, and spiritual stuff.
Best compliment you’ve received lately:
“You are really a hard worker,” meant in the context that I go after the things I really want. I don’t just talk about it, I make things happen for me.
Most recent compliment you gave someone else:
I told my friend that she was doing a good job as a grandmother. She is really dedicated to her grandchildren and helping her son and daughter-in-law, and I admire that.
Favorite way to treat yourself:
Relaxing in a hot tub or the swimming pool alone or with my girlfriends or husband — no kids! Glass of red wine, sitting down with a book in hand and a piece of chocolate. Good cup of delicious coffee with a friend also goes a long way…
Recently I’ve been diving into the books that Brené Brown has written and I love her work. She quoted Theodore Roosevelt in one of her TED lectures and it really stuck with me:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Another one that I try to remember everyday is “Be your own hero.”
Three words that best describe you:
Caring. Passionate. Dedicated.
What inspires and motivates you?
My kids motivate me to be a good role model in every aspect of life. My motivation in health and fitness is that I want to be the best healthy version of myself.
I’ve come to know myself well and I know that my choices affect me in a great way, so I choose how I nurture myself and I try to find a balance in exercise — doing the things I love both in a soft and a hard way.
In the past couple of years, I’ve learned to be my own best motivator.
Describe a typical day in your life, from waking up to bedtime:
Well it’s summertime and everyone is off school and I’m still at home with the youngest one so it’s quite different from how it is in wintertime.
Two to three times a week, I wake up at 5:30 a.m. and I have a running practice or a workout at the gym before everyone wakes up. I get home and since it’s summertime everyone wakes up a little bit later than usual so I enjoy a couple of moments alone with something to read and a cup of coffee. When everybody wakes up it’s breakfast and soccer practices throughout the day and some playing around in between.
What event or situation in your life lead you to enroll in the CPPC?
I have been managing postnatal classes since 2011 so it was logical to enhance my knowledge in this field. Having carried and delivered four kids and trying to find my way in the gym during all the pregnancies and then finding the way back is also a big part of it — there’s a lot I’ve learned from that.
How would you describe your pre- and postnatal knowledge before taking CPPC?
It was rather basic, and the main focus everywhere was always on the pelvic area — remember to do those pelvic floor exercises! — and just doing everything in moderation. I did not have these good tactics of coach/client interaction in my toolbox. That was what I found the most useful personally in the CPPC study guide.
Why do you think learning the information that’s included in the CPPC is so important to your profession?
It is so important that the coaches who oversee the training of pregnant and postpartum women have good knowledge of the physical as well as psychological changes a woman goes through in pregnancy.
I think that oftentimes we don’t realize just how much this influences the woman mentally and physically. This is a time when a woman “loses” control over her body (and mind in some ways) and we as coaches have to be there for them, and give them the necessary tools so that they can regain control, feel empowered and learn to be happy about themselves through all this.
What’s been the best part about going through the CPPC?
All the practical knowledge that comes in handy right away. I felt empowered as a coach right away and the material also had a huge impact on me and the way I took care of myself (mentally and physically) after giving birth to my baby boy.
Now that you’re an official Certified Pre- & Postnatal Coach, what impact are you hoping to have?
I am confident that I am a better coach having done this certification. Now, I hope to empower all women — both the participants in my postnatal classes and the women around me.
I have this vision of having a positive impact on girls and women and the way they look at themselves and treat themselves. I want to be an advocate for a positive body image and self-love.
What effect has your new Certification had on your business / work so far?
I started to use the knowledge right away in my postnatal classes and I feel that in the future it will give the classes more credibility and value when women have to choose where they want to exercise.
I can say confidently that they will be taken good care of in my classes.
How has your thinking about pre- and postnatal care changed since completing the CPPC?
Doing the CPPC definitely underlined that there is no rush in this period, and that it’s necessary to know oneself and to listen to one’s needs. Having someone on your side to remind you of that is so important.
As a coach, the listening aspect has definitely increased, and when I’m coaching I’m always very aware that there are all sorts of feelings going on in the classes I teach. I remind myself of sending out positive reminders to participants, underlining that carrying and delivering babies is no small job and it has a big impact on their body and their life.
What would you say to someone who’s on the fence about enrolling?
Don’t hesitate, give yourself a gift and sign up. You won’t regret it!