Personal trainer for exercise-shy mom

I'm a 38-year-old mom who has struggled to exercise consistently my whole life.  I know that it's good for me and I feel good when I do it, but it's hard to motivate myself and minor injuries tend to break any exercise habit I form.  I think a personal trainer would be useful for keeping me accountable, and teaching me to move in ways that don't cause injury.  I looked on Yelp, but a lot of personal trainers seem geared toward turning people into athletes.  I don't want to run a marathon, get huge muscles, or even necessarily lose weight.  I want to feel good in my body, strengthen my muscles to protect my joints and balance, and get the mood, sleep, and cardiovascular benefits of exercise.  Any recommendations for a chill, wise personal trainer?  I'm in North Oakland near Emeryville.

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Hi Nebula, I recommend that you work with Mary Rocha. She has been my trainer for over 20 years (I'm a senior woman). I am not a serious athlete...but I did want to get stronger and more confident. I have never experienced an injury from working with Mary. She will accurately assess your level and go from there. 

Mary specializes in working with people like me (and you). She has her own studio in West Berkeley. She is a lovely person whom you will enjoy spending time with. Mary advertises on BPN ( You can schedule a free phone consultation and go from there. You won't be disappointed!

I recommend Sylvie Boland. Her business is called Solid Balance. I did some personal training with her and, as someone with no strength training experience, she designed something very accessible and personal. She’s a mom too so totally gets the physical changes we go through postpartum and she is also a nutritionist so she can help with food recommendations as well. I found her whole approach and demeanor to be incredibly understanding and thoughtful! 

Highly recommend Haley Shevener:

Happy to talk in more detail about my own and friends’ experiences with her but she’s great to work with and I think has a really good approach for what you’re describing, also a kid of her own and a ton of expertise in the postnatal body. 

I started training with Laura Stronach at Truve Fitness in Oakland and could not recommend her more! I have very similar goals to yours mainly strengthening after pregnancy/birth and for healthy aging/keeping up with littles.

I highly recommend Mary McQueen, who runs Momleta. She does both group classes and personal training. I do both with her. She's relaxed, experienced, and mostly trying to make women feel strong, happy and healthy in their bodies (not look a particular way). She does a lot of her classes and training at Lake Temescal. Good luck!

Try Jessica Di Biase or Sara Montoya. They are both moms as well and former athletes who really get women and their varying needs. I have trained with them both and they are lovely and kind and accepting and will cheer you on too.

Good luck!

Hi, I was looking for a similar thing in my postpartum and thankfully my birth doula is also a comprehensively trained pilates instructor. She infuses a lot of different kinds of exercise and emphasizes healthy movement for your joints and strengthening smaller muscle groups to prevent injury to your body. She does teach athletes as well but again she’s very individually focused on your health and she mentioned that she’s just completed a training for teaching individuals with Ehler’s Danlos Syndrone/ hypermobility. She’s awesome, highly recommend contacting her at brijettpilates [at]

Hi, I recommend Truve, which is woman-owned by Alison. I have worked with her as a personal trainer for the last 2 years and have been at the gym for the past 7 years. Alison and her team can meet you where you are in your exercise goals. Most importantly the gym is a place of community. I currently do personal training with Alison and a group of moms who help keep me motivated to show up for myself and also make the workouts fun.