Hey everybody, welcome to another edition of slumber party. I invite you to my slumber party, except unlike the ones you attended in the 90s. This one actually includes sleep for you, your children, and the entire family. Every week I have a unique guest, or I answer a fun question about sleep to get you and your family, the sleep that you need. This is a judgment free zone. All types of sleep are encouraged. So put on your headphones, walk around for the duration of a crap nap and just enjoy yourself.
Hi Dara, are you there?
I’m here. Hi!
Yay. Okay, so today I’m here with Dara Bergeron, fitness guru, lifesaver, personal life saver *laughter*
Perhaps a slight overstatement.. *laughter*
I’m not sure. I’m not sure. I am so biased, Dara, because I was a member of Belly Bootcamp, which she created and founded after having her children. And then as a member of Belly Bootcamp, I later hired Dana, arghh Dara, not Dana, Dara. Does that happen a lot?
No, But I was thinking how you, I don’t think you’ve ever, in all the years I’ve known you, have ever made that slip, but once we’re recording, then you did!
Always, I think. But I think I’ve actually done that before.
I actually get Dara a lot.
How do you say your name? Wait, how am I saying your name?
You’re saying it correctly, Dara! Do we just start over now?
Oh, no, no, no, no. Let’s keep this. I want people to know the real me. And this is three years after knowing someone, how do I say your name? I actually have a lot of people ask me how to say your name. And I’m like, I’m pretty sure it’s Dara because she’s never told me no, but you could be being polite, but I’m glad that we’ve clarified this. So now everybody knows. But Dara created Belly Bootcamp, and I hired Dara after I was feeling like absolute dog shit. And I remember you posting something about like nutritional coaching, and just the words that you use and like, that doesn’t say diet. And I don’t want to do a diet. And I really wanted you to come on because basically I think a lot of people when, when they’re working with me, they’re, when I talk about the goals that they want for after, it’s like I want to be able to work out, I want to get back into the gym again. I want to feel like a human again. And I know that sleep and rest and recovery and, and health are so, so, so connected and, and you have such a great message about fitness and body image and I just had to, had to have you on here.
Oh I’m so happy to be here!
Yeah, I mean, I think if you’re not following Dara on Instagram, Darra, what’s your handle exactly? So I don’t eff it up like your name
It’s mom bod love, but it’s @mom.bod.love because somebody else has mombodlove and it’s just laying there dormant, which is the most frustrating thing when you’re an instagrammer
Somebody else has Slumber Party. And it’s also dormant, and I actually messaged them, I was like, “Hey, I will buy this” and it’s like a dead account. And I’m like, you’re just killing me anyway.
Exactly. Annoying , but yeah, Mom Bod Love with period: @mom.bod.love
Okay. And then tell me a little bit about how Belly Bootcamp was created and you know, what you’re doing now and all of your… You’re so different from everything else online about body image and working out. And I just feel like, I want you to be like, tell us your message.
Okay. Well, I used to be really the same, which is where, which is where I had to grow from is that I’ve been in the fitness industry since I was 19. And so, you know, you start anything I think at that age and you just learn to kind of, tow the line, you know, and, and do what you’re told. And so, um, I came up in, in the time of like the bodybuilding nineties, you know, and it was very fat-phobic, super cardio heavy, low fat bodies, low fat diets. Exactly. And so, yeah. So I really, I became kind of a, you know, bastion of that and I, and, and I, and I didn’t question it. You know, I was young and I was low fat, you know, and so, and then, when I started having children, I decided I wanted to leave like the mainstream fitness industry at that point I was working in a medical clinic and you know, just regular, regular people, executives, and I wanted to work with moms when I became a mom. I think that’s a really common thread when I see other women who change careers, when they become mothers, it’s often like, you know, your interests shift, right? Like your worldview shifts. And so I wanted to work with other moms. And so, about 11 years ago I started belly bootcamp and it was, the concept was just to do, you know, fun but science-based and like serious, but I guess I mean serious like thought into the programming. Not serious like… like you had to write an exam!
But yeah..What I will say is like, having been a client of yours and a member of Belly Bootcamp. What I really appreciated and I think was missing for me is like I would go to do like prenatal yoga and it was a nap and I was like, I don’t feel like I’m doing anything. And I might be, I might have just attended the wrong prenatal yoga to all the yoga listening to me. It just probably wasn’t the one for me. I know, I know someone’s offended… But what I enjoyed is like I remember being 37 weeks pregnant. I think I was 35 weeks pregnant when I joined Belly Bootcamp.
You were so, so third trimester when you started. I still remember, the flower pants and the red shirt. You were possibly the most pregnant to ever come for a first class. Like if not the most then you’re in a small crew.
I just hit a wall at the end of my pregnancy. I had a really tough pregnancy where I was sick all the time. Like just, I had a cold like literally for six months. And then I was starting to feel like my, I was feeling antsy in my body and I remember messaging you being like, can I just come and like move a little? And you were like, yeah, for sure. And I remember you just took me seriously, you were like, “Yeah. Do some like squats.” And I was like, thank you! And like posed, it like it was a workout. It was appropriate. I didn’t kill myself. I didn’t, you know, harm myself ’cause you’re so thoughtful and safe about the postpartum body. But I was sweating and I hurt. I was like, thank you. Yes, yes.
And you wanted to come back Yeah. That’s, that’s the most important thing. And I think that, so I guess if we’re coming back to kind of where my career has taken me now, it’s just, for a variety of reasons, my own mental health journey with my past as a trainer, eating disorders and body image issues, but just starting to, you know, raising children and raising girls. You know, especially, especially although I do have a son and I worry for his mental health as well. But, but I think I’ve just come to a place where I realised over the last several years that coaching and training is so much more about meeting somebody where they are. And I think that’s where the fitness industry is still, and in whatever industry you’re in. I mean, it’d be the same in your industry. I can’t help but think, you know, that’s why you’re so beloved because as I’ve told you before, because, because you meet people where they are and what’s different, I think about some industries like fitness is that because there’s this enormous cultural value placed on our appearance and our appearance of fitness and all the extrapolations about our personality that get made based on our appearance, I think it becomes such a loaded industry to work in and people like I did, just get so swept up in it that they’re really doing damage to their clients potentially physically but also mentally. And so when I, several years ago I just had to choose a line. I saw it, I saw it around me more and more. I suddenly, you know, I got woke and I was like, ‘wow, Holy shit. I have to choose what side of this line I’m going to be on.’ And I just remember thinking really clearly, I have this little local following, you know, I mean, I might be understating it. It’s quite a large following, you know, that’s been through Belly Bootcamp. It’s a huge network of women. And there was, there were times when I when I spoke to fat loss and I spoke to appearance and toning and all these insidious terms, which really are meant to trigger a feeling of not good enough and especially in a woman. And so I had to make a decision about five years ago, I think is when I really started to change the way that I looked at what we did and the way that I looked at my own future and how I could stay in the fitness industry and not hate myself. And that was to say, there’s so many voices on this side of the line that will try to sell you, that you, that you need to look a certain way. And all I can do is just be this voice, however, so small, on the other side of the line that says there is a million other reasons to move your body and you can learn, you can unlearn what they’ve taught you basically. Cause I have, and it’s a long, slow process. But when you get there, you see all the BS around you and you can finally recognise it for what it is and then you can start to really listen and speak to yourself in a really positive way.
and I feel like, yes, and it’s so good because I mean I had, I’m always kind of reluctant to talk about my experience because the end of that is weight loss and a body change. And so for many it’s like, yeah, that’s, that was the end goal. But you know, you especially know that when I started I was like, I just don’t want to feel like ass anymore. I am sick of feeling like, I know that the things I’m putting in my body are no longer serving me. I’m sluggish, I’m tired, I feel depressed. Like there’s something up and I need to change that. And the moment I took all of the power out of the food and, and what working out meant and that it like that the end goal would be a change in my body. Like the result was weight loss because I just like, I just chilled out. I don’t know. I don’t know what it was, but I’m still not afraid of food. I can have a bag of chips in my house and I don’t pound the whole bag, but there several times a week.
Or like go to What A Bagel, or whatever!
Oh my God, it’s so bad because it came in, this is so unrelated. If you don’t live in Toronto, I’m sorry, but it came into my neighbourhood and there’s another bagel shop in my hood that I absolutely love and I was like, Oh my god, people are going nuts about What A Bagel, what is so great about What A Bagel? It’s a freaking bagel and we already have this place that does amazing bagels. What I didn’t know is like, it’s so much more than bagels. So like they make these amazing sandwiches and smoothies and I’m like, I don’t go there for the bagels. Actually I go there for this Brooklyn sandwich that I would think I, I wish I never knew about it. It’s a problem.
You need to show us the sandwich in your next Instagram story.
I will show it to you! But that’s a great example, because there would be a time where
I need to see the sandwich!
Five days in a row and I’d be like, I am a horrible person. But for me, I’m like, I really like it and I’m getting it out of my system and it has no power over me. Like it just doesn’t, I don’t care. And it truly, it’s this and I don’t have to eat it at all.
It truly has no power, it’s just a sandwich.
If I want to eat it all, I won’t blow up. It’s like I, I just, and I don’t mean blow up my body. I mean like I, there was such shame involved in all of the things. If I didn’t work at that one day, I was bad. If I didn’t eat like kale, it was bad. And it was like, I, I just didn’t believe that. And like, I hate, I wrote for your blog that one time. Like I hate sharing my story because it does result in weight loss and a change of body. But I think what it actually reflected is like my insides match my outsides and even like right now my body is unconventional, right? Like I have boobs, I have an ass, I have a tummy and I don’t care. And I’m, I, I’ve never been more in love with my body ever. And I think it’s like as soon as you just kind of take back that power and like, again, moving for all the right reasons, you’ll notice that like fitness has so many more benefits than just weight loss and like looking thin.
Exactly. I mean, maybe even the term ‘fitness’ needs to be done away with. I, I feel, um, recently, you know, I’m talking to moms and I keep hearing this term, which we’ve all used, I’m sure many a times, but ‘out of shape’, you know, and they’re saying, I know I’m right or I feel out of shape. And even that term, I don’t, I don’t even think they mean it from a, um, an aesthetic point of view, but it’s just so loaded with the fact that, that their only goal as a woman or as a human in terms of moving their bodies would be to appear in a certain shape, you know? So I think where,
Yeah. I mean, I think the, you know, the thing with the bagels and, and the sandwiches when there’s so much, first of all, so much misinformation that people and I, and because there’s always a new study every single day, a new study and there are a million people who want to sell you something. And so they are, you know, if people are confused, and I get that, you know, and in fact, even as a, as a professional in this industry, it can be, it can be really difficult to keep up with like the trends and the research, you know? And I think that that kind of paralyses people to a certain extent, but I think what paralyses people, especially moms. And you’re thinking about moms who are in the stage of like working with you probably in their first couple of years. You know, postpartum or, or at least after having had another baby. And the, I think the paralysis comes from this idea that like, that there’s nothing except for one standard and that standard is perfection and that standard is like five hours a week. That standard is nowadays it’s Keto, you know what I mean? And if you’re not, if you’re not, you know, like literally, I mean, five years ago it was vegan. If you weren’t vegan and doing yoga five days a week, you’re a loser. And now it’s like if you’re not Keto and doing, you know, I don’t know, fuck, spin?! Whatever it is now. You know what I mean? You’re an idiot. And so why bother fatty, you know what I mean? Basically this is in messaging. And so how do you possibly begin to see any opportunity when the only opportunity presented to you is hate your body, beat the shit out of yourself five or six hours a week, and then spend the rest of the time under nourishing yourself in order to hope, in order to hopefully one day be considered acceptable. And that’s just such a like terrible, but in essence that is the gist of the mainstream fitness industry still even in 2019. And I feel like it is shifting. I feel like there are some smaller voices and some more, inclusive voices. But I think it’s really important, especially for people like me who work in a, sort of a niche, like an area where people kept, are maybe somewhat marginalised or where there, especially where there’s mental health issues potentially, that we’re really aware of the fact that we’re not helping anybody by setting standards that are unrealistic, for virtually everybody, you know, I mean, who has time for that? Like, even non-moms don’t have time to go to the gym five, six hours a week usually, you know?
Totally, totally. Well and I think that like, yeah, I just think that it’s shifting. Like I think, like you said, it’s been kind of funny how the conversations have taken that turn on this podcast with, I talked to Joanna Griffith from Knix, and, Suzanne Colmer from Your Shop Girl. And it’s like we’re starting to recognise that different bodies exist and also have value. And I know like you talked about growing up in the 90s, I actually talked about this with Joanna as well. It’s like a certain body was the only option in the nineties.
Oh, 100%. Like Cindy Crawford or bust.
Yes, yes. Or like the Kate Moss for so long.
That was just such a trip, a whole like heroin situation. It’s like really?! This is what, this is how we’re raising our girls.
So there’s that and then it’s like, it’s so refreshing that now I feel like, you know, even our, our curves are now being politicised like, and, and who is, what kind of curves are acceptable versus not. But I do think we’re in a, like, I feel very hopeful. I feel like most of the media, and again, I choose what I consume, but most of the media that I’m seeing is being like really body positive or trying to get there. And it’s not just like we put one, you know, quote unquote plus size model on our cover a year. It’s like, it’s everywhere these days. Like even in some fitness stuff that I’m seeing, it’s like, yeah, like everyone can can be fit or whatever word that we’re replacing for fit. You know, like I, yeah, I feel like it’s so exciting. So what I guess what I want to talk about is people listen to this podcast because they want to sleep and hopefully they do at some point, and a lot of my clients’ goals are to like get back into fitness. So like, you know, I’m, I’ve been so tired I can’t get off my couch. Actually, this is a huge motivator for me to do this work. Cause I would go to Belly Bootcamp and meet friends that stopped coming, because they stopped sleeping. So what are, what are some like ways that a person like me who is not really super fit, or afraid of fitness and like going to a place and getting their ass whooped. Like what are some like ways that you can gently get back in?
So many ways, like so many ways. And I think the first thing is like, just to stop maybe considering that you have to do even 30 minutes at a time or 60 minutes at a time or that it needs to be head to toe or you’ve got to be like, you know, rolling on the floor, dying afterwards because that, the concept that every, like we’re very, like, I think the cross, you know, we’re, we’re, you know, we’re talking about like how it was vegan and yoga and now it’s like Keto and CrossFit or Paleo and CrossFit was big for a while. And so there tends to be these combinations of like diets and exercise methods. But, since CrossFit came in and the concept of, you know, and Bootcamps got big and, and this kind of thing, I think there’s this misconception that you have to do what we call Metcon or metabolic conditioning in every workout or it’s a waste of time. And metabolic conditioning basically means like, it’s really what it refers to is fat loss conditioning. And in fact before that just comes back to that whole concept that everything you have to do has to be motivated, motivated by the desire to be thinner. And so while Metcon is an important part of your program, at some point perhaps when you have the mental and physical energy to do, that harder stuff, but it’s definitely not the only way to exercise and it’s actually not really appropriate on a very big scale for moms who are dealing with like hormonal and sleep-related and like, you know, other kinds of stress in their lives cause it’s also a stressor. And so there are lots of simple things you can do at home that don’t involve having to like follow a prescribed program. And it could be anything from literally just getting out and trying to walk. And I’ve had a lot of mums apologise for that. They’re like, all I do is walk. And it’s like, “Hey, listen, a hundred years ago I guaran-fucking-tee all your grandmother did was walk.” You know what I mean? She walked and she did, she did housework. And, and for sure there, you know, there’s always like another study the other day just about like, it was harder or it was easier for our, our, you know, distant relatives like our, our ancestors to stay thin than it was us. And they were talking about like chemicals and they’re like, there’s always a reason to explain. Everybody loves studies to explain why we’re fat. You know what I mean? Like, cause if someone can figure it out, then there we go. There’s the silver bullet, right? But yeah, but the truth is, is like really like over the history of human time, we have never focused on concentrated exercise as like a matter of hygiene. It’s sport, or it’s for recreation. And so if you can find a way to make your exercise of recreational, it might not always feel that way. And so you can treat it kinda like flossing your teeth. Do you know what I mean? Yeah. Or taking a shower or whatever. And it can be, I mean, who takes showers? I don’t know.
Haha! Not me!
I know I probably exercise more than I shower. I don’t know if that’s, but yeah, if you can, you know, try to find a balance between treating it a little bit as hygiene in terms of like, I’m not always going to feel like this is exactly what I want to do with my time right now, but it also shouldn’t be something that you’ve got to like work your way up to. Like you’re, you’re, you’re nervous. You know what I mean? Or you’re, you’re dreading it. Right? So a combination, literally getting out and walking, take your kids to the public pool, you know, and then while you’re in the pool, go ahead. Do some backstroke. Let your shoulders open up. Like you, you can think of that, your body moving and think about what’s good for it without always having to be like, a CrossFit class. You know what I mean? Or a 5k and there doesn’t have to be an end goal of being center and there doesn’t have to be an end goal of a marathon. There doesn’t have to be an end goal of fitting into a certain piece of clothing or whatever. It can, it can actually just be enjoyable. But I think that comes with starting to like experiment with little bits of movement and say, finding, you know, like at Mama Reset, we have this membership site as you know, and, and it’s, the idea is that they’re 10 to 30 minute workouts and they’re videos. So just press play on the video and it’s combinations of strength and cardio and yoga. Or maybe it’s like you have a, you know, I don’t know, like a Pinterest or whatever, you know, but just, it can be something, it could be something very small that kind of can provide you with some structure or it could literally just be like, go ahead, go and do a walk. You know. And if all you know how to do at home is to do pushups, that’s okay, do pushups! Like if you know, if all you know how to do is your old nineties step class moves, do your old nineties step class moves or put on, you know, there’s tons of free yoga on YouTube, there’s tons of free video workouts. There’s, you know, find a friend, build, build enjoyment into it. So some of the tips, and you’ll know this cause from working together, like some of the tips that I offer to clients are like, work out in your living space. Don’t, everyone thinks they need like this home gym or it’s gotta be this like, you know, dark, dingy basement with the weight bench that your partner keeps down there and it never gets used or whatever. No, but really like bring all your shit into the living room. Leave your foam roller laying out so that when your shoulders are tired, you’ll be like, you’ll see it and it’ll cue you and you’re like, Oh, I could totally like just lay on the foam roller for a minute right now and it would feel good afterwards and we have to build that association of, Oh look, you know what, the baby went to sleep because I’m working with Amanda Jewson, obviously, and I’m going to go and I’m going to, I left my dumbbells out and you know what? I’m just going to do 10 pushups, 10 squats and 10 rows. I’m just going to repeat that until the timer goes off in 10 minutes and, and, and you know what? If you went seven minutes into it and the baby wakes up, who cares? You did something. right?
What you feel at the end of that is you feel better. Your body wants to know, your body likes to move and your brain wants you to move and likes you to move. It helps manage your hormones, helps manage your stress levels. If it’s done in the right way. So once you start to build that like Pavlovian kind of responsive, like I was actually feels really good and it’s, it’s, it feels good even if it’s only eight minutes and it feels even better when it’s 20 but I might not always be able to get 20 and it feels amazing when I get 60 but that’s probably not going to happen more than once a week. And then, and then you start to think, I actually really want to work out, I wanna work out instead of instead of always thinking that the, that the end result of exercise is to be skinny. We realise over time hopefully that the end result of exercise is to feel really good. And so when you start to find new opportunities, even if it is eight minutes at a time or a walk or going to the pool or going for hike or putting your kids on their scooters because that lets you walk a little bit faster, you know what I mean? And you find those little little moments and 10 pushups on the kitchen counter or whatever. It doesn’t have to be super structured. But when you find those moments and you start to see the opportunities, then we can realise what we’ve all been, we’ve all kind of had the wool pulled over our eyes. That movement is for everyone and movement is super accessible and movement is very possible and in a, in a million different ways and it feels really, really, really freaking good. It feels better the more you do it. And so when you can kind of start to build that response, then you can stop believing what they lied to you about, which is that the only reason to move is to look better or look different, you know?
And then I think that’s when you get that real sense that you’re in now where you want, like where you are now, where you’re like, yeah, I want to do this and I’ll probably do this forever. Right,
Exactly. Well, and I think that like, I think that was something that I needed to get over. Like I didn’t think a workout was worth it if, unless it was an hour. Like, I don’t know why, but that was in my mind and I have never worked out more and I’ve never been, you know, stronger is probably a better word. And I never work out more than 30 minutes ever. And if I do, I’m like, Ugh, I can’t, it’s too long.
Well because it’s a long time to stay focused. And that’s one thing about homework. It’s a long time to stay focused on something by yourself longer than 30 minutes. It’s like going to a class is a great way. If you wanted to work on like longer bouts of exercise or like meet a girlfriend for a long jog walk or something because it truly to like to discipline, like to sit, unless you’re being motivated because you have to perform in some way or something, doing more than 30 minutes of like putting your own nose to the grindstone at home in between your own four walls with other shit you’ve got to do to is pretty hard.
Amazing. You need help to do that, like a caregiver!
But it’s so doable. And, and, um, I think I just say, I guess I’d say to your mom’s like, you know, it’s really important that you, that the exercise that you’re doing, it doesn’t feel scary because if it feels scary, it’s not right for you. And if it feels, physically exhausting, like to the point where like, like your energy levels later in the day are significantly different, also not good for you. And it’s not to say that that can ever be right for you. But the truth is that early motherhood is extremely physically exhausting. And we tended to discount the amount of physical work that we do just in our day to days. So, you know, just running up and down your stairs around your house, school, you know, pickups and dropoffs and, you know, housework and lifting kids up over and over and over and over. So all of those things really do add up. And so, your exercise should be something that you can fit within your existing energy allowance, basically. And then you’ll find over time if you keep it in that not intimidating place where you’re like, ‘Oh my god, it’s only 10 minutes or it’s only 15 minutes or it’s 25 minutes,’ but it’s something I really love or I feel comfortable with. Like I, I’ve, I used to do yoga, so 20 minutes of yoga feels like no yoga, you know, or whatever it right. Something that is like exciting, approachable and not intimidating. When you can do that, then like all of a sudden, you know, four, six weeks from now, 30 minutes doesn’t seem intimidating anymore where it might’ve been, you know, or like moving, you know, picking up the dumbbells. Maybe you were, you were only comfortable with body weight and now you’re like, ‘Oh, you know what, actually I could probably, I’d like to try and using some dumbbells.’ And so you really, I think it’s so different from person to person. It’s personal choice, it’s experience level. It’s, um, you know, how much room you have, how much money you have, how much time. There’s a billion reasons that will affect what you choose to do for exercise. But there are many super dirt, cheap, easy do at home options and all you want to do, I think is keep it in that place where you feel like, yeah, I could, I can 100% do this, or 98% do this and I’m going to ignore the 2 percent of me that doesn’t, that just wants to lay on the couch. And then what will happen is what you feel super comfortable with will change over time and you will find you’re doing more or you’re doing harder things and, but that’s gotta be a natural progression, right?
Yeah, totally. Okay, Dara, where can people find you if they want to work with you?
So if you’re in the GTA, we have classes, all across downtown Toronto. And then we have actually Pickering, Clarington, Scarborough and Vaughn starting up this fall as well, which I’m super excited about. So, that’s bellybootcamp.ca and that’s mostly if you’re in the pregnancy, postpartum, whatever stage of that journey, you know. And then I have Mama Reset, which is on the online programming and was talking about, and that’s, so that’s a video membership. That’s TheMamaReset.com. And then social media @mom.bod.love, dammit. I’m going to be so mad. So mad about that forever.
They’ll find you! Just find my profile. See who I’m following!
Or just Google Dara Bergeron and I’ve been around long enough that you’ll hit my, I’ll be the first few pages of, there’s not a lot of Dara Bergeron’s, so yeah!
Exactly. Awesome. Well, Dara, always a pleasure. So refreshing. Definitely see Dara, if you’re thinking about getting back into exercise and it terrifies you because it will change your life. And thank you so much for coming on!!
Aww, thank you so much. I hope it’s helped.
It is. Thanks Dara!! Bye! inaudible].