Nothing will stop this fit mom from achieving her goals. Back in January, Mom.me got to know fitness trainer Stacie Venagro, whose Instagram account revealed her rock-hard abs under a growing baby bump. A former dancer, gymnast and Fitness America Pro champion, Venagro's story went viral, appearing in Cosmopolitan, People, ABC News and many more. The world was clamoring to know her secrets to a six-pack pregnancy (hint: you’re not really eating for two).
Today, Venagro is the mother of a happy, healthy, 7-month-old boy. She’s back to training in her Cranston, Rhode Island, fitness center, and her rippling abs are as strong as ever. We reconnected with the busy mom to find out what postpartum life is like after becoming the new face of fit pregnancy.
So how quickly did you get back into shape after giving birth?
People are going to hate me, but my stomach went back to being flat after three weeks. By six weeks, you could see my abs again.
Don’t your abs sort of separate in pregnancy? How did you build them back up so quickly?
You have to be patient with your body and start from scratch. You start with small, light crunches, some elbow plank holds a couple times a day. It felt so weird in the beginning because your insides are trying to go back into place.
How was your birthing experience?
I was in labor and delivery for 18 hours from when my water broke, but when it was time to push, it took me 15 minutes. Four pushes and he was out.
Did anyone comment on your muscles while you were in labor?
It’s funny, one of the nurses was telling me how she wanted to lose weight and I told her I owned a gym. She said, “Oh, I just read about some woman who is pregnant and fit” and my husband said, “That’s her!” She then told the doctor who said, “I have to see this!” While my abs weren’t there anymore, I did show him my obliques.
It’s obvious from your photos how strong your core is, but what types of cardio do you recommend after giving birth?
I started walking at three weeks. Once you get used to that, get on the elliptical machine. Then, as you build your heart rate back up again, you can go into spinning.
What other types of physical support do you recommend?
Even before I was pregnant, I would go to the chiropractor once a month, and I still do. Holding my son, bending over to put in his car seat, all of that puts your body out of alignment. My trapezoids and shoulders were also getting tight, so I recently started getting massages once a month.
How has life been with your new son?
He’s a very, very good baby and he sleeps 10 to 12 hours every night in his crib. It’s because I was calm during my pregnancy. I was healthy and I always kept myself away from any negativity.
Did you face any backlash once your story went viral?
Oh, there have been a ton of negative comments about the way I look, how my stomach was lumpy and weird. But they don’t know me. People just want to write their opinions, which of course they’re entitled to. I did what my doctor told me to and what I thought was best for me.
After your story went viral, how did that affect your work as a fitness trainer?
My Instagram account had about 1,900 followers at first, and it went to about 13,000 within hours. It spiraled from there and now moms from all over reach out to me because they know I can relate to their experiences. I have Mommy and Me classes now, which I could never do before. My son has taught me how to be a mom.