By Coach Manny A.
Let’s dive into a sensitive topic in the fitness world: the effectiveness of coaching, especially among women. ‘Mansplaining’ is a well-known issue, but there’s another less-discussed aspect: the approach of most female coaches and athletes. Now, hear me out before you jump to conclusions.
As a male coach who has worked with hundreds, maybe thousands, of women, my perspective is shaped by observation and interaction, not personal experience. I’ve seen the journey my wife went through post-pregnancy, striving to ‘bounce back.’ This term, often glorified in fitness circles, can be misleading. The pressure to quickly regain pre-pregnancy physique, heavily promoted by some female trainers and athletes, can do more harm than good. It can create feelings of inadequacy and failure in women who don’t ‘bounce back’ as easily or as quickly. This is a conversation I’ve had repeatedly with my clients.
The reality is, every woman’s post-pregnancy journey is unique. Some women pop the baby out like a skittle, have a lot of help from family, and have very easy going babies. While many have the literal opposite. So promoting a one-size-fits-all approach to ‘bouncing back’ can be a bit tone deaf and unrealistic. Some female coaches and athletes, especially those who had an easier post-pregnancy recovery, might unintentionally overlook the diverse experiences of other women. As a male coach, I don’t pretend to understand the physical and emotional nuances of childbirth and postpartum recovery. Instead, I focus on listening, learning, and supporting my clients. I collaborate with experts in women’s health, like pelvic floor physical therapists and psychologists (I live with one), to provide the best guidance.
On a side note, issues like urinary incontinence during physical activities are more common and less talked about than you’d think. This is just one example of the many women’s health issues that are often overlooked in our industry.
Some might view this discussion as ‘mansplaining.’ However, my intention is to shed light on the gaps in our industry regarding women’s health and fitness. We need more educated professionals, both coaches and medical experts, who are attuned to the specific needs of women. It’s not about who knows more, but about how we can all contribute to a better understanding of the diverse needs of postpartum women, create more advocacy (because peeing while jumping is no way to live), and an overall more supportive fitness community.