Jennifer Penny is a Mom of four kids - three girls and a boy, ages 17, 15, 12 and 9. She has been involved in the health and fitness industry for the past 25 years, working both full and part-time, as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. After dealing with pelvic floor issues for nearly her whole life and hearing her problems were common for years, she decided to take matters into her own hands. Let's hear more of her story below!
When did you begin to experience pelvic floor problems?
I have had lifelong problems with accidental leaking. This started with exercise (running) when I was young (late teens/early twenties), certainly well before any of my pregnancies. I was always told that it was “just one of those things” that women struggle with, it can only be fixed surgically, and was really nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, after having four kids, things only got worse.
How did you feel during your pregnancies? Did you get any insight from your doctors regarding your symptoms?
During and after all four of my pregnancies, I mentioned these problems to my Ob/Gyn. But each time, the answer was, “this is common, this is not unusual, not something to worry about, and it’s only fixed with surgery.” So, I kept teaching classes, working out intensely, running, high impact, etc… all wearing a pad. By the time I hit postpartum with my fourth, I was needing a pretty heavy-duty pad just to make it through the one-hour class I taught. I distinctly remember teaching a group fitness class in the late spring of 2016, and halfway through doing some impact move I felt something in my pelvis shift, everything felt wrong. I left that class with the feeling like I may have done some actual damage.
That must have been a scary feeling. What did you do next?
So I did what most of us would do, and googled my symptoms. 😉 And it was then that I discovered my symptoms were indicative of a pelvic organ prolapse. I called my Ob/Gyn but couldn’t get in to see her for a month. I am not a patient person by nature so back to google I went, and after searching, I found Sarah and her programs. This was back in the summer of 2016. I bought access to her pelvic floor and diastasis programs and got to work.
Were you able to find relief with the programs?
They worked! So quickly and so well that I felt 100 times better before I even got in to see my doctor one month later! I was completely hooked on these programs, and as each new program came out, I worked through them and learned so much!
That is amazing! What results did you see after using her programs?
My posture improved, my breathing improved, I got stronger overall, and my leaking (FINALLY!) went away. So, when Sarah released her PCES course, buying it was an absolute no-brainer! The big difference in the PCES course is Sarah’s dedication to explaining WHY things are happening as they are in your body, and how to change these patterns to change the results.
How have you used your knowledge from PCES as a trainer and instructor?
Taking this course has completely changed the way I work with my personal training clients. It changed the way I cue when I teach group fitness classes. The PCES course improved my ability to see what is going on with a client's body mechanics. I am changing the way in which I work with clients to help them get even better results. The world has moved online with Covid, and I am moving with it. Typically, when I see someone, they have already been to see a Pelvic Floor PT and usually have tried another program (or two) as well. Often, while the PT was helpful, they aren't able to get back to where they want to be in their workouts just by using the exercises from the PT. I love helping women make that transition to more strenuous exercise while keeping their pelvic floor safe.
You’ve accomplished so much already with helping women and with your online community, what goals are you working towards now?
Moving forward, I want to bring a new awareness to pelvic floor issues within the group exercise realm. I want women (of all ages, kids or no kids) to understand that if you’re dealing with accidental leaking, especially while you’re working out, you shouldn’t ignore it! You can’t safely wear a pad and forget about it. If that’s what you’re relying on, you may be in for a bigger problem. I’d also like to see a greater awareness within the medical community that surgery is NOT the only way to end leaking. Throughout the years that I was dealing with leaking and pelvic floor issues, I asked three different Ob/Gyns and a urologist what was going on? Not a single one of them pointed me to pelvic floor PT. I didn’t even know that pelvic floor physical therapy existed until I found Sarah.
Those are awesome and important goals! You have completed the CES programs (and even make an appearance in Shoulder Solutions!), the PCES course, and now you are a member of the Inner Circle. Many of us have experienced first-hand how great it is to have your knowledge and experience in the Inner Circle. Can you share with us a little bit more about how the Inner Circle has benefited you? (For those that do not know, the Inner Circle is an online paid membership group for PCES graduates.)
I have been a member of the Inner Circle since Sarah started it! I love it! I have made so many friends and business acquaintances through the Inner Circle. This is a whole group of educated professionals in one place, ready to help each other out. I can get extra help with client challenges, ask questions about things I may not have as much education on, and get help or advice for myself as well. It is always great to be able to bounce ideas off of other professionals, people who you know are talented and care strongly about their profession. It has been a wonderful tool for networking, and Sarah has an amazing team of women available to help you out! I learned so much about the nuts and bolts of setting up and maintaining a business (both in-person and online.) It is an amazing resource for continuing my education.
Anything else you’d like to share about your experience with Sarah and her team?
Finding Sarah’s programs literally changed my life. I love being able to take her information into the classes that I teach each day and help other women.
Thank you so much, Jennifer! We love having you as part of the CES family and as an original member of the Inner Circle. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience and expertise with us! Please find Jennifer’s contact information below:
Website - ABCStronger.com
Facebook - Free Facebook group - Stronger Pelvic Floor - coaching and support
IG - abc_stronger