New Ms Fit Feature: Pilates Expert and Creator of The Belle Method, Nikki Bergen
I was thrilled when the creator of Belle Method, Nikki Bergen reached out to me from Toronto to introduce me to the fitness method she designed. And also to share with me her passion for helping women struggling from issues related to weak core and pelvic floor muscles, especially moms. Nikki is helping women from all over the country to get rid of their "mummy tummy" and learn more about how to restore their core. I believe that what Nikki has to share is so important for so many women. After speaking with her, I quickly offered to help her bring her workshop to the studio I teach at, Asana. Thank you so much Nikki for sharing with Ms Fit, and I am so looking forward to your visit to Boston!
WHAT IS KEEPING YOU BUSY THESE DAYS?
I’ve been traveling outside of my hometown of Toronto and training some fantastic instructors in our exercise method to help women train their bodies safely and effectively before, during and after pregnancy. It’s all about pelvic health – and we’re talking more than kegels!
I’m thrilled to be in Boston on Wednesday, August 17, at Asana Charlestown for a workshop on how to repair diastasis recti (over-stretched abdominals) and fix post-baby “sneeze leaks.” It’s a big problem and people don’t talk about it enough. There is actually a lot that we can do to prevent and fix these issues!
YOU CREATED YOUR OWN FITNESS METHOD, WHAT IS THE BELLE METHOD ALL ABOUT?
The Belle Method is a fitness philosophy for women with a focus on exercising for better pelvic health. We combine Pilates, Dance Conditioning and Functional Movement into a workout method that transforms how you move. When you change how you move, you dramatically change your body.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE THE BELLE METHOD?
I started out as a professional dancer and discovered Pilates when I injured my knee at the age of 24. Pilates literally fixed my knee, and I was hooked! I got my certification, threw myself into anatomy text books and started teaching at a physiotherapy clinic during the day, rehearsing dance at night. People of all ability levels began showing up to class at the clinic. I’d have a varsity 19-year old soccer athlete, a 35-year old new mom and a 70-year old with a hip replacement, all in the same class.
They all wanted a good workout and I needed to create a class that would give them the burn they craved, while still addressing their needs. That planted the seed for creating a method of exercise that would be fun, challenging, results-driven, and yet accessible.
PLEASE TELL US HOW YOU BECAME FOCUSED ON PELVIC HEALTH AND WHY IT IS IMPORTANT?
Great question! Honestly, it started when I was teaching an outdoor bootcamp and the women in class joked they couldn’t do certain jumping drills because they weren’t wearing a pad. About half the group chimed in to confess they were peeing their pants on the regular. I saw this had somehow become an accepted rite of passage for moms. I dove into the research and found that incontinence is a symptom of deep dysfunction through the whole core system. The “get your body back” mommy bootcamp style workouts were not only not functional, they were actually doing more damage. Little “sneeze leaks” might seem harmless enough, but if left ignored they are linked to pelvic organ prolapse (when your inner organs decent downwards and you eventually need a bladder or uterine mesh lift surgery). A lot of the bootcamp ladies also complained of stubborn tummy pooches and spoke of doing 100 crunches a day and holding plank for minutes at a time to try flattening their abs. Turns out many had diastasis recti, or overstretched abdominals from pregnancy. Their core systems were totally compromised and the more they tried to “get their body back,” the worse it got.
We need to change the dialogue for women from “get your body back” to “restore your core.” We need to practice self-care, be kinder to ourselves and advocate for better maternal health in North America. Your core is much more than your 6-pack. It’s your deep support system. Restoring your core starts with reconnecting to your body, not punishing it. Once you’ve healed that deep core system, you’ll be able to run, jump, laugh, sneeze without any accidents, and you’ll have a flat tummy.
I AM THRILLED YOU ARE BRINGING YOUR WORKSHOP TO ASANA! PLEASE TELL US WHAT WE WILL BE LEARNING?
It’s called the Restore Your Core “Mummy Tummy” workshop and covers the essential steps on how to retrain your abdominals and realign your body to fix sneeze leaks once and for all!
Participants will walk away with 10 exercises for a proven at-home core restore program. They’ll also receive a personal assessment for diastasis recti if they would like. Pelvic Health Physiotherapist Elizabeth Akincilar-Rummer MSPT, President and Co-founder of the Pelvic Health Rehabilitation Center in Lexington will also be answering questions and offering assessments.
I cold called called Elizabeth’s clinic from Toronto a month ago, never having met her, and asked if she would like to be involved. She didn’t even hesitate to say yes! We are both so passionate about this topic, and truly hope to empower as many women as possible to take control of their health.
HOW WE CAN STAY IN TOUCH WITH YOU?
and find me on Instagram at www.instagram.com/thebellemethod
Join me at the workshop at Asana Charlestown on Wednesday August 17, 2016 from 7:15 pm – 9:15 pm!
We are also holding a BelleFusion Pilates class on Tuesday August 16, 2016 from 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm at Vega Vitality. Let’s spread the word about women’s health! Thanks so much for having me Jess!