Hauttie Of The Week: Hugs & Kegels


We’re kicking off a weekly post here at Haute Mom’s Life called Hauttie Of The Week (so original) celebrating inspiring Moms who offer something unique and special to our community. A chef, blogger, teacher, celebrity, yogi, someone who makes a difference as a leader, an innovator and a mother.  

Today is special because it’s our first. I want to introduce you to mom of 3, Natalie Garay. Let me start by saying this - Natalie signs off every email the same way, “Hugs & Kegels, Natalie” I mean, how genius is that for a pilates instructor specializing in postpartum rehab!?

Moms around the globe love to practice pilates, but why? What is it about this form of fitness that has mamas transforming from Frump to Fabulous overnight?! Hollywood Mom Reese Witherspoon’s a fan, so is Megan Fox and now Natalie shares her secrets on how every one of us can transform our own post-baby bods into an A-list masterpiece.



  • What was your Aha moment that lead you to finding your niche in postpartum Pilates?

My aha moment came when I was working with a client one day and she shared a story about going to a trampoline park with her kids. She wanted to join in on the fun, but with her first jump she completely wet her pants! The story was vaguely familiar because another client shared a similar story with me sometime before. After that I realized, uh yeah, if you’re not rehabbing after childbirth, these things can happen!

Thankfully, I was introduced to Pilates while I was pregnant with my twin daughters. Had I not practiced Pilates after a two-month bed rest stint and a cesarean section surgery, who knows what my body would feel like. Pilates really was my saving grace, it helped me rebuild my strength and then some, plus prepped me for my second c-section surgery 19 months later.

After interviewing hundreds of moms I learned that only a handful were given suggestions about how to recover after delivery! As I connect more with Doulas, Midwives, and OBs, I hear over and over again, “Postpartum care is SO needed!”

*How is it different from other workouts?

Pilates differs from most workouts in that its focus is on form, breath, and it works the deep abdominal layers. Pilates doesn’t require heavy weight, or a lot of repetition, which surprises a lot of people that’s it so effective. Pilates works the slow twitch fibers of the muscles, which means that the work lengthens and strengthens the muscles for a long, lean body.

Pilates can be practiced on a Mat with certain props, or on Pilates equipment such as the Reformer, Cadillac, and Wunda chair.

  • What are some of the complaints you hear from moms during pregnancy and after giving birth?

During pregnancy women gain anywhere from 25-95lbs in a short amount of time; that puts a lot of stress on organs, joints, and muscles, so I hear women complain about an achy back, achy neck, knees, and of course a heavy pelvis, and stress incontinence.

After delivery, it’s a lot of the same complaints, but sometimes the pain and aches increase because now their body is weak, plus now their caring for their baby and the rest of their family, so there’s a lot of moving around, carrying the baby and no strength to help.

  • How does your teaching of Pilates help these ladies?

I help mamas reconnect to and strengthen their abdominals after surgery and childbirth. By strengthening their abdominals, moms are able to prevent and relieve low back pain, neck pain, improve posture, plus reduce chances of bladder prolapse and uterine prolapse.

Plus, while we’re doing all of this amazing rehabilitative work they’re also getting a great full body workout, which every mama wants so that they’re not having to lurch themselves on to the bed to get their favorite pre-pregnancy jeans on.  

  • Is Pilates for everyone?  Anyone who should stay away from it?

Absolutely! Pilates is amazing, it can be tailored to meet any body’s needs. I’ve worked with clients ranging from the professional athlete to the post-operative hip replacement patient.

  • 3 helpful tips for moms looking to shed baby weight

I tell all of my clients that slow and steady wins the race. Just start moving your body, whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood after delivery, or by sprinkling in a Pilates video during baby’s naptime.

As long as you move your body on daily basis, whatever you can squeeze in, come a few months later, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

My 3 favorite go-tos:



*Walk (or video)

  • You offer Pilates classes online.  That’s awesome.  Can you explain how that works?

It’s so much fun! Yes, I offer One-on-One sessions via webcam, online group Pilates classes, video courses, and downloadable videos.

  • Do I have to be tech-savvy to take these classes?  What do I need?

If you’re familiar with Skype or FaceTime you’ll be set! 

For the live online sessions all you need is a laptop with a webcam, or an iPad, a Pilates/Yoga Mat, and a willingness to have some fun!

At times I will recommend certain props if I think the client can benefit from them, but they’re not required.

I have clients who own a Pilates Reformer and Cadillac that we’ll use during the session, but again, not required.

  • Do you train any celebs?  Or do you know of celebs who swear by this form of exercise?

Yes, when I lived in the Los Angeles area I did train a few celebrities. The gals I trained loved it because Pilates creates long, lean muscles for that dancer-like physique.

  • Anything else?

I usually recommend practicing Pilates a minimum of twice a week so that you and your body can become familiar with the fundamentals of Pilates, plus start to feel and notice a difference in your body more quickly.

 I also warn my clients that Pilates is addicting. It just feels so good, and it’s really remarkable what you’re accomplishing without putting more wear and tear on your body.

 Joseph Pilates has a famous quote: “After 10 sessions you’ll feel a difference, 20 sessions you’ll see a difference, after 30 sessions you’ll have a whole new body.”

 ***Check out http://nataliegaray.com *** Or click on the link on the homepage of www.HauteMomsLife.com