Are you a mom and have you ever peed yourself? You might have something called Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. It’s a common problem female’s have after giving birth. If you have ever:
Felt like you were going to pee your pants during exercise, fitness classes, personal training sessions, coughing, sneezing or anything that made you bare down.
Experienced pain with sex or inserting a tampon.
Found yourself going to the bathroom more, even when your not drinking a lot of water.
Found it difficult to empty your bladder or bowels.
Had lower back or pelvic pain.
Then you may be suffering from pelvic floor dysfunction.
I’ve been there…
I remember the first time I peed my pants while deadlifting. I was horrified and felt ashamed!
I was in a gym with a bunch of guys, training for my first powerlifting meet. I had just lifted 250 pounds (10 pounds shy of my goal of hitting a double bodyweight deadlift), that’s a lot of weight for anyone, let alone someone that weighs 130! I knew halfway through the lift that I had peed my self, but, I gritted it out, cause you gotta finish that shit!
So there I was, with wet pants and I remember thinking “this is not normal”, something is wrong with me. I was so EMBARRASSED! Thankfully I had a change of pants, so I ran to the bathroom and came back to finish my work out. None of the guys asked why I changed my pants…I think they all might have suspected, but most guys get a little timid when you start talking about the female reproductive system. My son was born 10 years prior so I never thought that I was dealing with pelvic floor issues but after this incident, I went to see my OBG who suggested that probably was it.
After meeting with the OBG, I talked with a number of my female clients who were having the same issues. Most found it too embarrassing to discuss with friends and partners, nevermind their personal trainers, and some even resigned themselves to just putting up with the issues.
Peeing your self is NOT NORMAL and it’s NOT OK! You CAN do something about it!
I believe that somewhere along the line there is an assumption that, as we age, we should expect some kind of urinary incontinence. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth.
Pelvic Floor 101
It’s important to understand first that the pelvic floor is not only affected by pregnancy and birth; aging, nutrition, hormones and exercise can also affect it. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles and connective tissue that sit inside the pelvis. The function of the pelvic floor is pretty simple – it keeps your insides, inside!
This is a great side illustration from the “Pre and Post-Natal Training Certification” text book from Girls Gone Strong.
The five pelvic floor essentially does five things:
The pelvic floor muscles (PFM) constrict (in a good way) the urethra, vagina, and anal canal. This constriction is vital for good bladder and bowel control.
PFM’s offer support for all internal organs, so they literally help to keep internal organs inside the body. They keep your insides…insides!
The PFM’s are a part of the deep stabilizing systems for the trunk. That means a weak pelvic floor can contribute to lower back and hip issues.
They respond to breathing and changes in abdominal pressure. This is why it’s common for women with pelvic floor issues to pee themselves when they sneeze.
The pelvic floor muscles respond to pain and emotion via the sympathetic nervous system.
What I did about it and it can help you!
While I knew doing Kegal exercise were important pre and post natal, 10 years later I had stopped doing them. Which lead to peeing my pants while working at the gym. Immediately I began doing them during my warm-ups, hey I had to start somewhere. But this wasn’t enough for me at that time because I also started experiencing low back and hip pain. Through extensive research and talking to other coaches and personal trainers, I included three other exercises to my daily routine(let’s face it, it takes a lot more than 3 hours a week to see results).
Remember muscles get strong and maintain strength through use so it’s important to exercise the pelvic floor muscles just like any other muscle. If you don’t use it, you lose it.
Here are three exercises I added to my daily routine (and use with dozens of my personal training clients):
Breathing: I added a 2-3 minute breathing drill. The breathing drill helps connect the core and pelvic floor. This drill will not only help regain tone throughout the entire floor but it also is great for gaining and releasing tension in the abdominal and pelvic floor.
This is a great video that walks you through “Connection Breathing.”
Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch with an Overhead reach: This stretch will improve stability, as the position itself is a bit unstable. It’s a nice opening side stretch for the diaphragm and the ribcage which can become tight with the daily positions and movements involved in life. Do 8 reps on each side.
Squats will help maintain good mobility and movement through the ankles and pelvis. This can be done assisted or body weight but it’s important to incorporate the connective breathing above while performing the squat.
Once I added these to my daily routines not only did the incontinence get better but my lower back felt better. I competed in my first powerlifting, broke a deadlift PR and did NOT pee my pants. Check out a video of me hitting a very hard 250 in the gym. This was a few years ago…watching this makes me want to write a blog post about how to improve your deadlift. Stay tuned!
Don’t be embarrassed! Statistics say that 1 out of every 5 Americans (of every age) suffer from some type of pelvic floor dysfunction at some time in their life. Over 25 million Americans suffer from urinary incontinence alone or involuntary loss of urine. I can help you! If this article hit home, let’s connect! All you have to do is click the link below, sign up for a 30-day trial and I will be in touch to schedule a strategy session and get you started. It’s that easy!
Side note: There are many serious issues relating to pelvic floor dysfunction. It is important that you see your doctor, OBG or find a Pelvic health physiotherapist if you are experiencing any issues or you believe you are dealing with some pelvic floor dysfunction. My job is to help women achieve their goals by providing an evidence-based training and nutrition program along with body-positive and self-care information.
Resolutions are not my thing. Resolutions are acts for solving problems. I am not a problem and neither are you! I am more into honing in on a habit that’s not healthy (and fixing it), relationships that I want to improve or let go of (because they are unhealthy) and just being a better person.
I like me! However, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be a better version of me. I believe there is always something to learn, improve or get better at. Some things I want to be better at are small, like remembering to take my Vitamin D every morning.
Some aspects are bigger, like eating 4 meals a day.
In my opinion, the most important thing is working towards being a better version of your self. My husband is great at identifying things he wants to change and attacking them. I think that’s the questioner in him. He will work on a few things every month, like educating himself on fitness/nutrition, improving his lifestyle habits, etc.. Me on the other hand, I struggle with being better (it has a lot to do with my rebel nature) in the sense I see so many things I want to improve that I often get overwhelmed.
That’s where I have to remind myself…
After all, to be a better version of your self, you need to understand and know where you want to be better. Then once you know, you can do.
A few things I want to be better at:
Communication – I suck at it! You probably do too. Boring…I know BUT if I can become better at communicating (which is a broad term) I believe that other aspects of my life will be easier. I am currently reading “The Four Tendencies” by Gretchen Rubin it has been very eye opening to both my own tendencies AND others around me. It’s helping me understand human tendencies and how to communicate/work with them. Currently working on communicating with my rebel teenager.
Being me and working with my expectations – In the beginning of the book above, there is a test you take to determine what tendency you are. I happen to be in the 1% – a rebel. This probably does not surprise those close to me. I resist outer expectations AND Inner expectations. In the book, Gretchen devotes the longest chapter on how to deal with rebels…shit.
What’s a rebel? I resist outside (others and society) expect and I resist what I expect of myself. That means sometimes I don’t know what I want and it’s difficult for me to decide. For instance – if I have to choose between two things, and I don’t want to do thing A and know I should do thing B, but don’t want to do thing B…I have a hard time making myself do the thing I don’t want to do, but know I should.
When I say being better at being me, I mean embracing who I am, being better at expressing who I am and doing more for me. Essentially working with my own rebel nature.
Using a timer – Time management is an issue for me! When I am coaching or training I use a timer – all sessions on the hour or half hour for 60 minutes. I focus on one thing. I put all my attention to one thing. I rock it and move on.
I think my son and husband need this timer!
I also tell my lifters to use one, to time at home stretching/mobility work (let’s face it I can’t fix 8 hours of sitting in one hour, you need to do some shit on your own). Time their meal prep (no one has time to prep for 3 hours). Time their meditation, much easier to do in 10-20 minute blocks. Right now I am watching the clock (5 minutes left) to ensure that I give my full attention to writing this blog and hopefully helping you be a better version of you.
Being in my lifters shoes – I honestly believe that you can not be a good coach/trainer/teacher if you don’t understand what it’s like to be in your lifter/students shoes. Personally, I like to set performance goals because I find appearance (how you look is WAY LESS important than how you feel) is a hard goal to chase. I don’t know about you but I can put on 5 pounds of bloat in a few days sometimes.
A few performance goals I have for 2018: running a full 5K or 10K (there is a reason I only do obstacle races…I like to break up the running), compete in a 5-minute long-cycle Kettlebell competition and of course do some more mud runs!
Looking forward to this year’s Mud Runs!
I also want to focus more on aspects of pre/post natal training (like pelvic floor training and health, I am learning so much through the certification I am getting through the Coaching and Training Women Academy!).
Those are just a few but my list goes on and on.
As we move into 2018, I want to help you become a better version of you. Whether that’s getting stronger, running a fast(er) mile, losing 20 pounds of fat, or just feeling better about your self inside and out. Let me help you make 2018 the year you get BETTER!
We have a great program at the gym that’s going to start in a few weeks.
Push-ups are one of my go-to exercises. Like you, sometimes I struggle to get my workouts in, so my resistance training days need to be quick and include total body movements that build muscle, burn fat and make me feel like a bad ass. Push-ups are one of those bad ass moves ladies! Seriously, when I feel good and can randomly bust out 10 perfect push-ups…I feel like a total boss!
You must mean Jamie. And, yes you did.
One way to horrify my husband is by challenging someone/friends/family to a push-up challenge. I will challenge almost anyone, (except my husband 😉 and have been known to throw down at bars, parties, etc. It’s a great ice breaker PLUS, it feels awesome to do better push ups then most out of shape guys.
That time I did a push-up contest with the guys.
For me, the push-up was one of the first exercises that I trained for that made me feel powerful, strong and confident. Each time I did them I was a little bit better, a little bit stronger, and more confident to push-my self to do more.
This is a big reason why I am passionate about getting other women to do push-ups. I love coaching women to do push-ups! As a coach, I see potential in most of the women I train that they do not see in themselves. So the first time I say ” Next we are doing push-ups.” the fear and doubt in their face reminds me of where I started. We all have to start somewhere.
Other than push-ups being totally bad ass here are five reasons to do push-ups:
Builds Upper Body Strength: you can build upper body strength without having to use a ton of weights. Push-ups target the shoulders, pecs, and triceps which will develop a strong and defined upper body.
Strengthens your core: most people don’t know that a strong core is key to a push-up. Ever wondered why your hips sag or hike during your push-ups? Your abdominal muscles are acting as stabilizers during the push-up just like they would in a plank. Weak abs = poor push up form.
Increases energy quickly: Sure does! Two scenarios come to mind for this. First one, I hit a 2pm energy dip, I already had a coffee (or 2) and am about to coach a class, but I am still draggin a little. What do I do? Drop down and bust out some push-ups. Second, it’s been a long day, I have plans with friends to get some drinks and listen to some live music. It’s too late for coffee. Psst…push-ups! You see now why I like to challenge people? I get a quick increase of energy…I am really just helping everyone out while I get my competitive energy out 😉 Both scenarios create an almost immeddiate boost in energy. Just a few push ups increase circulation, fire up the brain, heats the body up and boosts energy levels.
Increases Bone Mass: Let’s face it, as we get older our bone mass declines. That’s why doing weight baring exercises like push-ups are important to keeping our bones strong. Along with major muscle groups, push-ups are also good for your wrists and elbow, so your risk for injury is low.
Weight loss: Since the push-up is a total body movement it will increase your heart rate quickly…yay. Increasing your heart rate will result in burning more calories, weight loss and overall improvement in your body composition. PLUS! The less you weight, the more push ups you can do!
I love push-ups so much that I created an 8-Week Push-up Princess Program that I am testing out RIGHT now with a group of women ready to become a Push-up Princess.
Are you ready to become a bad ass push-up princess with me?
I live by guidelines, not rules. Read on to see mine!
Rules don’t leave any room for life obstacles – where as guidelines can be more flexible.
Rules make you feel like you have succeded or failed, but reaching your goals isn’t that black and white.
Guidelines help you make the best decisions for YOU in that moment vs. rules are often times non-negotiable.
When it comes to food rules, nope, not for me. I will break every rule set for me. When Ben and I first started dating, he would try and create rules for me to help me lose weight or build muscle. I could never follow them for more then a few days. It’s just not in my nature.
I started making a list a while back of guidelines that are important to me, guidelines that help me explore myself and my life, guidlines that allow me to learn and understand what is good for my body and mind.
I received such great feedback on my last blog (read that one here http://kdrfitness.com/be-a-rule-breaker/ ) about why guidelines are better then rules, that I decided to give you the guidelines that work for me.
Here are MY guidelines:
Use a small plate, it makes me choose less food.
Eat protein at every meal, that helps keep me satiated.
Water makes me feel better, drink more.
Go to sleep by 10pm on weekdays.
Check my email twice a day.
Limit electronics in the bedroom.
Eat at least 3 servings of veggies a day.
Don’t be scared of fat!
Spend at least 10 minutes in the bathroom like the boys, it’s quiet and peaceful, I get it.
Limit negative body talk
If I eat it everyday, get the best quality I can.
Take my supplements everyday. Everyone around me will be happier.
Limit conversation before coffee.
Take 20-30 minutes everyday for soft tissue work, stretching, and meditation.
Label my food so the boys don’t eat it.
Hang from a bar everyday.
Food prep – regardless of what day it is.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Limit social media after 8pm and limited on weekends.
Use clothing as a measurement tool, not the scale.
When I drink, I eat clean.
Lift weights at least 2x a week.
HAVE FUN! Life is too short.
Limit beer, stick to the clear stuff.
Ask for help!
If asked to share dessert…don’t do it. Order my own!
Make sure the cat doesn’t sleep on my head.
Strong glutes for life!
Limit pushing my beliefs onto others, unless it betters their health and happiness 😉
Do you have a list of guidelines that are important to you? Write that shit down. There will be a day that doesn’t go according to plan, another family get together to tackle, a holiday to plan, or a life changing event that will get in the way of your rules, if you write your guidelines down you can always go back to them…use them to troubleshoot life.
I hate rules! Ask my mom, I have been a rule breaker for some time.
This is me! Sometimes you come across an inflatable obstacle course on Lake Winni and trespass. Oops!
When it comes to food I think it’s important to have guidelines…not RULES.
When Ben and I opened KDR Fitness, we wanted to create a simple to use, easy to follow set of nutrition rules everyone could use to be healthier, lose weight, feel better and reduce inflammation. But, some people…like me…don’t like rules. In fact, I hate them! Give me a “rule” and I am sure to break it just because it’s a rule! Maybe your like me?! Do you hate rules?
Ben has rules he follows. I don’t. I tried using his rules, but, they never worked for me (see above…rule breaker!) and I realized I do so much better when I set guidelines for myself. So far my guildelines work for me!
One of my guildlelines is if I want it bad enough, I have it.
But…it wasn’t always like this.
I read a lot of books, articles, etc. and with so much information out there it was hard for me not to put nutrition rules on myself, like:
Eating within 30 minutes of waking up
Eating all organic fruits and veggies
Making sure I ate every 3 hours even if I wasn’t hungry
Not eating out because it was too difficult to manage calories and portions.
I found myself fighting every single rule put in front of me.
Those were rules I was imposing on myself. When presented with a obstacle like eating out, a family function, or an “I can’t afford to eat all organic” scenario I wasn’t sure what to do, which usually resulted in not eating anything or saying “fuck it, let’s eat everything.” Both of which were not great decisions.
I recently overheard a couple at the grocery store having a similar conversation. He was talking her out of buying non-organic berries from Peru but then proceeded to by a box of 25 cookies that were cheaper.
The rules that we impose on ourselves, sometimes, may actually hold us back. When I took the rules away I was finally able to explore, learn what worked for me, and actually understand what my body needed. Taking away rules meant that I could eat ground beef, rice, non-organic veggies and skip breakfast if I wanted to do so.
Guidelines are helpful, but RULES can be really harmful, especially when you become to set in your ways and punish your self when you break your rules. I learned that the hard way. Some people THRIVE off of rules, but, not me.
Guidelines are suggestions, such as: “try to eat vegetables and lean protein at every meal” or “try to keep most of your carbs to fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.”
Rules are statements such as, “you have to have 2 servings of vegetables and 20 grams of protein at every meal” or, “no carbs after 6pm.”
Rules don’t leave any room for life obstacles, where as guidelines can be more flexible. Rules make you feel like you either succeeded or failed, whereas guidelines help you to make the best decisions for you in that moment.
Stay tuned for the next article, where I will tell you the guidelines that I use to eat, live and work out.
What rules do have on yourself? Let me help you break them!
Do you need some help breaking free from your nutrition and fitness rules? We can help!