By Len Lear
There was a time when new mothers were regarded as delicate flowers who should not move around much to avoid harm to the anatomy. Not anymore. We know now that a post-natal exercise regimen is a boost for the physical, mental and emotional health of new mothers. And our area’s foremost proponent of this philosophy is Crystal Widmann, 36, a highly regarded yoga instructor who has carved out a special niche for herself with Y2B Fit Yoga & Barre, which started as a virtual fitness program and is now a studio at 7101 Emlen St. in West Mt. Airy.
A certified personal trainer, Widmann specializes in helping new mothers regain core strength and pelvic stability through her “mommy + me” programs. I just checked the 14 most recent customer reviews on yelp.com, of which 12 were five-stars and the other two were four stars.
For example, Whitney S. wrote on Dec. 16: “I tried the Y2 Barre 45 class today after work with Lauren (Leavell) as my instructor, who was great. I was pushed to my limits today after not working out for a couple of months, and I honestly feel great after class … I will be back on Thursday to get my butt kicked again, LOL!”
Jess G. recently wrote: “I absolutely love attending barre classes at Y2B Fit! I have been coming here for a year and a half, and I keep finding new things to love about it ! The teachers strike the perfect balance between keeping the classes consistent (so you can practice and get better at the moves) and dynamic (so you never get bored). I have taken classes at several other barre studios and have never felt as comfortable and at home as I do here. I would recommend Y2B to anyone!”
Widmann is a health and post-natal fitness expert, specializing in barre and yoga training with over 11 years of experience in the yoga and fitness industry. She won the 2016 Philadelphia Family Magazine’s “Love Award” for Best Personal Trainer for Families.
Widmann graduated from Temple University with a BA in psychology and a master’s in education. She earned a second master’s degree in exercise science & health promotion from California University of Pennsylvania. The knowledge gained there, combined with Widmann’s personal experience as a new mother, helped her develop her innovative BYO Baby Barre™ technique that targets the specific needs of post-natal women. The program fuses barre technique, traditional fitness training principles and physical therapy elements.
Although the purpose of Y2B fit is to engage mothers in a fitness routine, the classes are open to everyone. Most clients now are not new moms, and some are men. The programs offered include yoga, barre, post-natal fitness training and health coaching through either private sessions or online videos and live-streaming.
“While I was getting my degree in psychology,” said Widmann, “I was also doing yoga training, I took a yoga course for a fitness requirement, and that sparked my interest in becoming a teacher. I loved yoga, barre and exercise, and I knew that after I had my son (Nesh, now 5), I wanted to help other new mothers with fitness.”
Widmann developed BYO Baby Barre when she was post-partum with her son, utilizing her background in exercise science (master’s degree) to modify the workout to make it safe for the postnatal body. “Being a mother myself,” Widmann said, “I know how challenging it can be trying to exercise, let alone do anything without your newborn child, so I wanted to share fitness with new mothers through online videos. I later found an open space available that looked great for a studio, and it led me down a whole new path that I never imagined happening.”
When the business opened three years ago, it was just Widmann as the teacher and a handful of students. It has since grown, however, to a staff of eight teachers (plus Widmann) and a solid membership base. In addition to barre and yoga, they have also added more cardio and strength-based classes including Tabata and TRX.
Are there any plans for the expansion of Y2B? “We have been exploring options for expansion but are still in the planning phase. I’m not sure what this will look like yet. Hopefully, we’ll have more details soon!”
What is the best advice Widmann has ever received? “The best advice I’ve ever received is to ‘trust your gut’ and ‘slow and steady wins the race.’”
For more information about Y2B Fit Yoga & Barre, call 267-278-6251 or visit y2bfit.com.