This Local Trainer Focused on Moms and Moms-to-Be Is Opening a Fitness Studio in Fishtown

Exercise physiologist Ashley Reid is moving her small-group and personal training sessions into her own space.

fitness for moms

Exercise physiologist Ashley Reid, who specializes in fitness for moms and moms-to-be, is opening her own studio in Fishtown. / Photograph courtesy of Getty Images

When you’re pregnant, there’s lots of things your doctor will likely tell you to limit or omit from your daily routine — alcohol, caffeine, raw fish, unpasteurized milk, Ibuprofen, roller coasters, hot tubs. Although it’s a pretty selective list, having to think about your choices so much more intently is enough to make you paranoid, allowing your brain to question whether anything you do is OK for baby.

It’s logical that your mind might drift to exercise, especially since the American Pregnancy Association does recommend you avoid some forms with fall risks, like skiing and horseback riding. And the fact that bedrest has long been used for pregnant women at risk of preterm birth and other medical conditions (even though there’s little evidence to support it) puts the idea in our heads that less activity is beneficial for pregnant women.

In fact, though, staying in shape can help moms-to-be prepare for labor and create a more conducive environment to healing after they give birth. The key is a tailored approach that comes from experts with knowledge of which exercises are better for pregnant women and which to avoid.

And that’s exactly what Ashley Reid — a personal trainer, functional movement specialist, and mother — has been doing for several years as the owner of Active Mom Fitness, which serves both prenatal and postpartum folks. The Philly resident started by renting out spaces to host group training and then transitioned to more in-home sessions.

Now she’s combining the two in her own studio at 1822 North Front Street in Fishtown. “My overall larger vision has always been being able to be a resource and a home for moms to gather and get a good workout,” Reid says, “but also have that camaraderie and the expertise that I offer in one place.”

At 500 square feet, the space is small, but Reid says she’s always capped groups at a low number anyway. (A maximum of seven spots are available in each training session.) And the small class size is a boon when it comes to personalized attention; Reid goes so far as to modify the exercises depending on the specific people attending each training.

Her background is in strength training, and she accomplishes that with various equipment — dumbbells, yes, but also TRX bands, stability balls, and resistance bands that put less stress on the body. She also focuses on areas like the core and glutes that specifically need to be stronger for pregnant women because of the anatomical shifts and added pressure put on their joints from the weight of the baby.

For those who are postpartum, Reid tackles such conditions as diastasis recti (when your ab muscles separate) and pelvic floor dysfunction with intentional exercises but also partners with women’s health and pelvic floor therapists to refer her clients who need additional help. She’ll then communicate with these practitioners to see if they need to tweak the person’s fitness program. “I would love to continue to develop more relationships with physical therapists, women’s health, and pelvic floor therapists,” she says. “I’ve seen really good results with people addressing the whole body.”

The grand opening of the Active Mom Fitness headquarters is this Saturday, with guest speakers and mini sessions around diastasis recti, core strength, and pregnancy-related fitness in general plus giveaways. (Reid asks that you RSVP.) Discounted personal and group training and screening and consultations are available for the rest of the month.