Tara Heckler Explores What Training Means to Her During Pregnancy
As Coach Matt made his rounds explaining the ForceFit workout for the day, Tara Heckler stood amid all her friends from the 5:15pm class, quite as could be until another woman in the class pointed at her shirt and immediately ran up to her to give her the biggest hug.
“I don’t like being the center spotlight,” Tara says. “I had to figure out a way to announce I was pregnant to my Force family and knew I couldn’t just show up to class and say it, so the Pregasaurus shirt was perfect.”
Tara is 26 weeks pregnant, and wants to continue training for as long as possible. She feels like Force has made her more than comfortable to continue exploring what training as an expecting mother feels like to her.
“The big thing is setting the expectation at the beginning,” Coach Matt says. “Training while you’re pregnant is a lot like an athlete training in season. We’re emphasizing recovery, good movement patterns, and not pushing her past her limits. This isn’t the time to be hitting PR’s [personal records]; growing a freakin baby is her lifetime PR right now.”
Tara says she’s seen Matt work with other expecting mothers, and having her doctor’s clearance to continue exercising has made her feel better about continuing to exercise.
“This has always felt like a more inclusive gym to me,” Tara says. “And that has helped a lot. You’re always encouraged to push yourself and try more weight, but not to the point where you’re going to injuring yourself.”
That’s truly the key to training while pregnant—listening to your body and keeping the lines of communication open with your coach. If it feels sketchy it probably is, Matt says.
“Training can be a central piece to preparing for this massive life change,” Matt says. “I think there is a lot of fear with many women about what their body will look and feel like after pregnancy and it not ever being the same anymore. As a coach, it’s important to understand the basics of training pregnant women and have a healthy perspective on fitness in general.”
Matt says Tara is the glue that holds his 5:15pm Force Fit class together, and she hopes to stick with group training as long as she can.
“It’s a whole variety of ages and life experiences and we all get along, which I love,” Tara says. “Matt has so much fun while he’s coaching and that just helps the whole group have fun and be relaxed. No one is ever trying to one up the other, it’s really about challenging yourself and not worrying about what’s going on with other people.”
Matt says the community aspect of fitness is often the softer element of training that sometimes gets ignored.
“Tara wants to stay with group training as long as possible because those are the people she feels most comfortable with,” Matt says. “It’s about creating a safe place as much as it is getting the best results because if you don’t feel happy, safe, and support, there’s no way your results are going to be great.”
Tara has been at Force for about two years and Matt says she is definitely stronger and moves well while understanding her body way better than in the beginning. She is able to naturally adapt to new situations and exercises that are thrown at her.
“She’s always so consistent and humble, yet works really hard,” Matt says. “She’s willing to jump in and play around but also takes training seriously. She fits in so seamlessly and it seems so easy for her to be in class, and I appreciate that willingness and ability to be all those things within the group.”