When you choose the path of entrepreneurship, you will work really hard, every day. Weekends and holidays don’t exist. Double down on self-care strategies so you can really give it your all.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nancy Anderson.
Nancy Anderson is a certified fitness trainer, nutrition specialist, prenatal and postnatal expert, and the founder of Nancy Anderson Fit and Move Your Bump — virtual fitness platforms that provide moms with exercise and nutrition resources during all stages of pregnancy. After 15 years in the fitness industry, this mom of two is on a mission to help moms and moms-to-be live their best and healthiest lives possible. Nancy’s global community is growing on the regular, reaching tens of thousands of women in over 81 countries.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I’ve been in the health and fitness industry since I was 18. At the time, I remember assuming it would never be more than a side hustle. Then when I was in college, my father committed suicide. After that I felt incredibly lost, so I started running as a way to help myself feel better and move through my grief. Eventually I started training for and entering marathons. During my first official half-marathon, I had this “aha moment” where I realized that this was my calling. Health and fitness helped me heal, and I knew that it was my duty to share it with others. So, I went back to school, got my masters in Kinesiology, and got into fitness full-time.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
Every month I am overwhelmed and fulfilled with the number of clients who I get to watch transform before my very eyes. It’s incredible how much of a trickle-down impact taking care of your body can have. It truly shows me every month that I was born to do this work. Some of the clients that stand out the most to me are the ones who were severely struggling with pain and extreme diastasis or pelvic floor dysfunction.
For example, I had a client last year who was a mom of twins and had severe diastasis all the way down her core: the top, middle and bottom of her line alba had diastasis with a five-centimeter separation the whole way down. She was in pain, she didn’t feel like herself, she could not do daily tasks without discomfort, and she was told her only option was surgery, which she did not want to go through
I told her that we were all in to do everything we could to help her heal. We got to work, and watched this mom transform in every way. Her sex drive came back, her confidence came back, her aches and pains were eliminated (which was life-changing for her), and her diastasis healed completely through our protocols. She was able to avoid the surgery that she didn’t want and couldn’t afford.
She went from what she described as “rock bottom, to thriving” with the support of a community that believed in her and experts who knew how to help her. It’s just one of many stories like this that we see, but this mom specifically stood out to me because of just how much helping her heal impacted her entire life — not just how her body looked in the mirror.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Early on in my career, I thought I had to appeal to everyone. That meant I trained everyone — high school athletes, older adults recovering from joint replacements, celebrities — anyone and everyone under the sun, basically. The real problem is that I was still trying to train everyone even after I realized that the market I gravitated toward and felt the most inspired by was prenatal and postnatal women. It took me a long time to really just own that and move into that niche exclusively. Once I did, so many business opportunities presented themselves. It was like night and day.
The lesson I learned from this is that you should be completely dedicated to and focused on your chosen audience, but realize that your audience isn’t and will never be everyone. The sooner you understand this, the better you’ll be able to serve your community.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
First, I have to give a shout out to my husband. He has unwavering belief in me. Whenever I talked about how I was going to do something big and help millions of women, my husband’s response was always, “I know. How can I help?”
I’ve also had the pleasure of training a lot of really empowering women. Alli Webb, the founder of Drybar, comes to mind. As her friend and personal trainer, I was beyond inspired and honored to watch her journey from being a stay-at-home mom to heading back to work and eventually creating a multimillion-dollar brand. This woman literally changed the hair care industry, and I remember thinking that if she could have such a huge dream and accomplish it, then so could I.
Countless other women have served as maternal or big sister figures to me. It takes a village to build a company and I wouldn’t be where I am nor where I’m headed without the support and inspiration I’ve had along the way.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
At Move Your Bump, my team and I join forces with everyone in mom’s corner — including her medical team — to help her, her baby, and her family have the best experience possible. We believe every mom deserves to live in a body that she feels at home in, whatever that means for her. We are raising the standard of pre and postnatal care to include a range of research-backed resources and lifestyle strategies, from pregnancy exercise and nutrition to C-section recovery and ab rehab.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
- For women trying to conceive (or even beforetrying to conceive) — now is the time to get your nutrition in check via a sound diet and supplement routine. You want to go into pregnancy with a deep well of nutrients for you and your baby to draw from. This helps optimize development and minimize complications.
- The better your core function is, the easier it is to handle the normal demands of pregnancy and recover from postpartum challenges like ab separation, stress incontinence, and general aches and pains. Just about all of us could use some professional help here, as we live in a world where sitting in chairs takes up a majority of our day. My tweak here would be to seek out resources and learn some exercises even before you’re pregnant that can help you assess and improve your posture, core activation, and pelvic floor function.
- For women having normal pregnancies, the research is crystal clear: exercising throughout every stage of pregnancy is safe and beneficial. For you, exercise helps minimize pregnancy weight gain, reduces the risk of complications like gestational diabetes, and prepares you for labor and delivery. For your kid, the benefits of pregnancy exercise extend well into childhood and beyond. So, get moving! I recommend following a program from prenatal-informed professionals that includes resistance training and interval training.
- Postpartum, your workouts will look different as your body heals and as you adjust to life with your new baby. Give yourself the grace to navigate your new schedule with patience and self-compassion. Even just 10 or 20 minutes of walking, ab rehab, or breath work can go a long way for your physical and mental health. Don’t rush the process!
- Core and pelvic floor dysfunction is easily one of the most overlooked and misunderstood issues facing moms. Once a woman is postpartum, she’s always postpartum. So whether you’re one month, one year, or one decade out from pregnancy, take some time to check in with your posture and core. We can’t fix things like strength or pain before we correct alignment and motor recruitment, so team up with a women’s health physical therapist or other professional who can offer some individualized guidance.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
My movement is my mission — and it’s a big one! I’m here to elevate the standard of care for women pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy, and after pregnancy. This mission is a pure reflection and consequence of my belief that women deserve to have access to affordable experts that help them prep for, thrive during, and fully recovery after pregnancy. Realistically, we just don’t have that yet. But we’re not going to sit around and wait for Western society to create a more optimized and comprehensive support system for women in these incredibly important phases of life. We’re going to go out and create that support system, and that’s really what we’re doing right now through Move Your Bump and some other projects coming down the pipeline.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- Say no to almost everything. Your time is your biggest asset. Listen to your gut and prioritize the things that are truly going to help you move toward your goals, then delegate or discard the rest.
- Outsource what you’re not good at (see point 1) but be wary of self-proclaimed “experts.” Take the time the vet the people you hire to help you.
- When you find your ride or dies — the people you can truly trust — take care of them. You cannot do something this big alone.
- When you choose the path of entrepreneurship, you will work really hard, every day. Weekends and holidays don’t exist. Double down on self-care strategies so you can really give it your all.
- Use your own capital to better maintain control, so you can deliver a product and service you are consistently proud of.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Mental health really speaks to me. From a personal experience, I struggled with debilitating postnatal anxiety after giving birth to my first baby, which I think is dismissed a lot. So many of my clients experience mental health issues related to their motherhood journeys, too. My father also had bipolar disorder and struggled with depression, so this topic really hits close to home.
I think this area is really underserved in so many ways. Conventionally, we seem to take a symptomatic approach to mental health issues rather than really taking the time and doing the hard work to figure out why these mental health issues are occurring, which can be different for each person. This is also where the research and my professional experience tell us that health and wellness truly have a full-circle impact. Exercising and eating right isn’t just about looking the way you want to look, although that’s definitely important and laudable. Moving and fueling our bodies properly has a trickle-down effect on every single other aspect of life — relationships, energy, finances, mental health, and so much more.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Thank you for these fantastic insights!