“‘You make me feel so empowered.’”
It’s rewarding every time Brittany Scott hears this phrase from one of her clients after a workout to rebuild connections between their minds and bodies.
“There's a lot of mom guilt about spending time or money on themselves,” Scott said. “They'd rather spend it on their kids. They'd rather spend it on things they think they need in their home.
“One thing I like to tell them is the better you take care of yourself, the better you can take care of those around you. The healthier you are and the better that you feel, the more you'll be able to be present with your kids and the more you'll be able to play with your kids without being exhausted and tired all the time.”
Growing up as the daughter of a college basketball coach, Scott said, sports were always a big part of her life, as she played soccer, basketball and volleyball throughout high school and college. After earning her education degree in 2011 at Northland International University in northern Wisconsin, she taught middle school history at Shiloh Hills Christian School in Georgia. During this time, she also coached Amateur Athletic Union basketball in Atlanta, where she discovered her passion for coaching ran deeper than what she had for teaching.
On Brittany Scott’s Mom Gets Moxie Instagram account, she posts free fitness information for her followers, including workouts, advice and articles, to help women make informed decisions when it comes to their health and fitness.
So, Scott became certified as a strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Because she intended to work with female athletes, Scott took a continuing education course on pregnancy and postpartum. Even as a female athlete herself, she said, she was surprised with how much she didn’t know about how pregnancy affects fitness.
To make the valuable information she learned in her course accessible to all women, Scott pivoted her career and became certified in pregnancy and postpartum fitness. Since moving to Muncie in 2020, Scott now offers fitness programming through her business, Mom Gets Moxie, for women who are pregnant or postpartum.
With Mom Gets Moxie, Scott does twice-a-week, hour-long, in-home consultations because “every mom is different, and, sometimes, they’re not comfortable going into a gym setting.” She also takes into consideration her clients’ fitness level and pregnancy and postpartum experiences, she said, as some moms have more traumatic deliveries than others.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Scott also sends workouts to her clients, and she meets with them virtually so she can coach them through their workout and see if they’re doing the exercises correctly.
“As a female athlete my whole life, I was like, ‘If I don't know this, then other women don't know this either,’” Scott said. “Moms have this idea that if their youngest is older than 3, they're not postpartum anymore, and it's not true. Once you've had a baby, you’re postpartum forever. I've seen stuff that I do help women in their 60s that just never knew what had happened to their bodies.”
When Scott first came to Muncie with Mom Gets Moxie six months ago, one of the first connections she made was with Brittney Russell, a Muncie-based personal trainer. Russell was looking for another personal trainer, and when Scott started taking on a few of Russell’s clients, Russel said, she was impressed with how incredibly knowledgeable Scott was.
“She truly lives the lifestyle of a trainer and a coach — she walks the walk,” Russell said. “She's incredibly sweet, very caring. You can tell she's just a very genuine person, and that's very important when you're working with clients, especially with such an intimate thing because, as a coach, our clients have to really trust us.”
Scott helps her clients practice their breathwork that connects them to their pelvic floor so they can strengthen their pelvic muscles, which are weakened after delivering a child. Unless women are intentional about reestablishing and strengthening these muscles, Scott said, they may end up with low back pain, incontinence or feeling like they have a weak core in general.
“One of my favorite parts of being a coach is seeing women make connections between their mind and their body,” Scott said. “Sometimes, I'll coach them through a move that connects them to a muscle that they have not felt for a long time, and you can see it on their face, and it's like an ‘aha’ moment.
“They start making progress really quickly, and their bodies see body changes. They see an improvement in their quality of life. It's just so fun to see how something as simple as fitness can have an impact on a lot of areas — not just your physical health, but your mental health as well. That's really fun to see moms thrive once they start taking care of themselves physically.”
During Scott’s eight-week postpartum course for her clients, she starts with foundational movements like squatting, pushing and pulling. These are movements her clients do hundreds of times a day, Scott said, when they pick up their babies from their crib or squat to pick up toys off the floor.
“I want women to feel empowered about what's going on in their bodies,” Scott said. “I have one client in particular who I didn't even start working with until she was well into her third trimester. I worked with her for about three-and-a-half weeks. She texted me shortly after her birth and said, ‘It was night and day difference between my first birth when I didn't work with you and the second birth when I did work with you.’ She felt much more prepared. She said she didn't feel so much like she got hit by a truck. She could get up and move a lot quicker after this delivery.”
Because Muncie is a smaller city, Russell said, people typically must drive to Indianapolis for specialty programs. So, as a mother herself, she believes what Scott is offering will be beneficial to those in the Muncie community who are pregnant or recovering from their pregnancy.
After her second child, Russell said, she had a bladder lift, which was hard to recover from and inconvenient when she had to take care of her children. Because her doctors and nurses never told her about pelvic floor issues, she didn’t know she wasn’t supposed to lift anything over 60 pounds when she was working out.
“I could have gone through a program like [Scott’s], potentially avoided the surgery and learned how to strengthen my pelvic floor,” Russell said. “[I could have] fixed some of these issues without having to spend the money and time recovering from surgery — all of that just to then turn around and have it fail because of how I work out. Not enough women I know understand the benefit of educating women more on what [Scott] does and how it's helpful.”
One of Scott’s main goals with her postpartum fitness program is to help her clients heal and return to fitness activities they enjoyed, like Zumba and yoga, but weren’t able to because of the trauma they experienced after childbirth.
“Women — moms in particular — tend to be very self-conscious about their bodies because their body changes so much,” Scott said. “They don't understand what's going on. They don't understand why they feel the way they feel, and they feel embarrassed to reach out and ask for help.
“I have seen and heard it all, so nothing will surprise me. Nothing will take me back. I want women to feel safe and not embarrassed to reach out to me to get help because they don't have to live with pain. They don't have to live with a body they don't enjoy. Overcoming that embarrassment and that fear is the biggest step. If they can do that, then we can set them on a really good course for a successful return to fitness.”
Contact Nicole Thomas with comments firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @nicolerthomas22.