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.
I want more energy! I want more energy to do the stuff I like to do, like:
Spending time with my wife and our 13-year-old (even if he doesn’t want to spend a lot of time with us.)
Working out! Sometimes, I just don’t feel like I have the juice to work out.
Writing, blogging and educating our members and fans. Trust me on this one (unless your a writer, in which case, the struggle bus is real), writing takes a lot of energy. To create a clear message that gets the point across without being verbose and aloof…it’s hard.
Helping more people. I want to help as many people as I can, and when you’re dealing with people all day long in personal training sessions and in the gym, it can really zap your energy.
Finally…I want to have more energy to spend time on myself. Every fit and healthy person that I KNOW (and I know a lot of them! Plus, they all aren’t just personal trainers) understands that to have that status they must invest time on themselves. I would go so far as to say 50% of your time should be spent on yourself if you want to be healthy and fit. That’s not that much considering you should be sleeping for a third of the day.
Rare pic of the kid smiling.
You know what…I am not alone either. I would go so far as to say EVERYONE wants more energy to do the things they want to do. They usually turn to gallons of coffee, 5-hour energy shots, monster energy drinks, etc. Because those things give you energy!
Spoiler alert – they actually don’t give you energy. That “buzz” you feel is caused by a lot of different things, but most noticeably caffeine increases the production of catecholamines and glucocorticoids…or what you would know as cortisol and adrenaline. This, in turn, tricks you into thinking you have more energy when in reality, it’s just your body responding to an “upper”. Not a GREAT idea if you’re already stressed out, operating on low levels of sleep and not getting enough food. This can lead to a host of different health problems like – adrenal fatigue, weight gain, thyroid dysfunction, etc.
When someone comes into our gym, whether it be for personal training, fitness, health, weight loss, rehab, etc. we always ask them – “What are your goals?”
“Have more energy” is almost ALWAYS on that list of three. In fact, it’s often number 1.
I recently sat down with a female member for a check in (yes…we like to check in with our members as much as possible, how else can we make sure they are happy?). We will call her, Betty. Betty is a mother of two young kids, works part-time, married to a husband that works for himself, weighs about 155 lbs, 5’7″, and is in her late 30’s. There’s some context for you. That’s probably a lot of you reading this right now!
She said she wanted to have more energy, I asked her what is she eating. Betty replied (this is actually copied right out of my notes):
Breakfast – 2 hardboiled eggs, banana or one hard-boiled egg a cheese stick and a banana
Lunch – salad with a protein with balsamic dressing with a little cheese. Protein is usually small chicken breast.
Snack – apple with peanut butter
Dinner – Porkchop, or some other piece of protein with side salad sometimes rice
After dinner snack – maybe 3 times per week – a bowl of chips, something salty.
Generally, eats more food on Saturday and Sunday because they usually go out to dinner. She eats the whole plate, will generally ask for double vegetables.
Drinks a few glasses of wine per week – “Can I drink more wine?”
I asked her if she felt like she was eating enough food, her reply was yes. I asked her if she would be willing to eat more food…her reply was, of course, I don’t want to gain weight.
Understandable and totally logical.
I asked her what exactly is food? Why do we need to eat it? What does it do for us? She immediately fired back – “it’s energy.”
Light bulb moment!
Food is energy people. No food = no energy. A calorie is simply a unit of energy your body uses to perform work. More calories = more energy to burn = ability to do more work (or spend more quality time with your loved ones instead of just crashing on the couch). But, the struggle with eating more food does pose a very real threat of gaining weight. So, how do you eat more food to boost your energy WITHOUT gaining weight?
Follow these three simple steps!
Lean protein. Lean protein is a great way to boost your energy without adding a lot of body weight.
Fruits and veggies. Fruits and veggies are TERRIFIC at giving you some energy. Plus, they are very low calorie, but very nutrient dense. Sometimes people lack energy because they don’t have enough B vitamins in their diet. Fruits and veggies are great sources of those B vitamins.
Chew real food. Yep…seems pretty easy right? Chewing food will actually give you some energy. Have you ever felt tired and started chomping on some gum and immediately felt more energized? It’s tough to feel sleepy when you’re chewing something. I say real food because real food needs to be chewed. You don’t need to chew yogurt, cheese or bread (to name a few processed foods) very much. But you bite into an apple or carrots or a hamburger and you absolutely need to chew that in order to get it down.
There ya have it! Some easy ways to boost your energy without gaining weight. Plus, I would go so far as to say, if you have been trying to lose weight for a long period of time and you haven’t been successful – eating more real food might be your answer. Maybe you are not feeding your body enough energy for it to burn that extra fat off?
That’s just a thought from some guy who owns a weight loss, personal training gym who also has a Masters in Nutrition and Human Performance (graduated Magna Cum Laude)…but what does he know 😉
There are A LOT more ways you can boost your energy than just those three steps. Let us show you how! On February 5th we will be launching our next challenge where teams of five will compete against each other to see who can change their body fat percent the greatest in 12 weeks. Winning team gets $5,000.00 (that’s not a typo!). We call it our New Year Better You Team Challenge.
Join the challenge, have more energy, lose body fat, make some new friends…and maybe walk away with $1,000.00! Click the link below to read more about it.
How hard are you really working during your workouts?
At the end of the day, you have to have burned more calories then you consumed to lose weight. You can accomplish this in only one of two ways:
You eat less food.
You burn more calories through activity.
There is a saying in the fitness field that goes – “You can’t outwork a bad diet.” That’s 100% true. However, you can absolutely work hard enough to stabilize a bad diet, and in some cases, actually, move the needle in the way you want it to go.
Meaning, let’s say you have to eat 2000 calories to lose weight. You eat 2500 calories. But through exercise, you burn off 700 calories. You will certainly lose a very miniscule amount of weight over the long term (year). You just won’t be fitting into those skinny jeans anytime soon.
So…how hard do you actually have to work to “outwork” a bad diet? Well…let’s dive into that!
In fitness there is something called an RPE scale, it stands for “Rating of Perceived Exertion”. It’s an objective scale used to quantify subjective feelings and is often used in research studies looking at different aspects of fitness. It’s also something personal trainers and fitness coaches can use to help figure out how much weight to put on the bar.
Researcher – “How hard did you feel you were working.”
Subject – “Hard.”
Researcher – “Ok. But how hard.”
Subject – “Really hard. Stop talking to me I’m out of breath ***hole.”
It usually goes like that. But with the RPE scale it can go more like:
Personal Trainer – “On a scale of 1-10 how hard did you feel you were working.”
Client – “I think I was at a 6.”
Personal Trainer – “Ok great!”
This is an 8! Good job Winny! Winny for Mayor!
It’s a great scale to use, but generally, it has some limitations:
When it comes to fitness, most people don’t know what a true 10 feels like.
Most people don’t understand the difference between an 8 and 9, or 6 and 7, or even 3 and 4.
People don’t rank their exertion in terms of numbers, they rank it terms of “I could have done 4 more reps or gone for another 30 seconds.
Great, your a 6, but how do we get you to an 8?
As you can see…pretty basic and plain. BORING!
This is more like a 4. Or what you should look like resting.
So….that’s why we came up with the KDR RPE scale! It fixes the above problems by:
Emoji. Man…emojis. You might not know what a 10 feels like, but if I showed you an emoji with X’s over its eyes, you can understand that’s working almost to the point where you want to pass out. That’s a 10.
Quantifying exertion during a personal training session or fitness work out. Think you can do 5 more reps, add 10 pounds.
Asking the simple question – “How much more could you have done?” And, “How did that feel?”
Why use the RPE Scale?
As a personal trainer working in the fitness field for over 15 years, I can attest that the hardest thing to do is to pick the proper weight for someone to use. This doesn’t matter if their goal is weight loss, rehab or just improving their health/fitness. There is no certification you can take, no books you can read…it’s more of an art that gets honed over years and years of seeing people lift weights. And, truth be told, it’s by far the hardest thing to nail down in regards to fitness.
Most people don’t work out hard enough, even sometimes with a personal trainer. A lot of personal trainers don’t feel comfortable pushing people that hard, again, there isn’t a course you can take in the fitness field to address this. And ultimately, I don’t think it’s the trainers job to say “hey let’s add more weight.” because if the client doesn’t feel comfortable adding more weight, a lot of times it’s a recipe for disaster.
That’s where an open dialogue has to occur between the personal trainer or fitness coach and their client as far as “how did it feel, do you think you could have done more reps or lifted more weight for the same amount of reps.”
The average person usually thinks their 6 is an 8, but in reality, it’s actually a 4. It’s not really their fault…the average person doesn’t have to do ANYTHING that is as hard as doing a back squat for 10 reps with a load they can maybe handle for 12 reps. That’s an 8 by the way…exactly where we want you.
Most of the time we want you at an RPE of a 7-8. That means you could have done an extra 1 rep, maybe 2. An 8 RPE is the perfect spot for most resistance training sessions because it means your working hard, but not hard enough that your form would substantially suffer.
Another way to look at it would be looking at it in terms of weeks or workouts on a fitness plan.
Week 1/start a new program = RPE 5-6. You’re just learning the moves, take it easy.
Week 2/2nd time on the program = RPE 5-6. However, work to really master the form, try and be at a solid 6 on your last set.
Week 3-4/3rd and 4th time on the program = You know what you’re doing, now push it! You should be at a 7 during these weeks, with your last set at an 8.
Week 5-6/5th and 6th time on program = CRUSH IT!!! PUSH THOSE WEIGHTS! Your whole work out should be at a 7-8 with maybe even touching a 9 or 10 if you feel VERY confident in the movement.
We rarely want you working below a 5 unless you’re really working on mastering a lift, but even then, you have to increase the load of the exercise eventually to challenge your ability to perform that exercise.
So, without further ado…I give you the KDR RPE Guide! Use it…love it…share it with all of your friends. Live a lifted life.
How are your New Year’s Resolutions going?
If you’re like most Americans, not that good. Stop trying to change something about yourself, just work on improving it…be better then you were yesterday. We have the perfect challenge for you, it doesn’t start until February 5th, but you can START RIGHT NOW for only $10. Click the link below to check it out. Fitness is hard, but it shouldn’t be boring.
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.
This year, I am focusing on being better, not new…better. Normally, most people think of the New Year as their chance to be a “New You.” But…I have something to tell you…I hate that saying…New You.
YES!!! That’s what I’m talking bout!
Yes, I know all you see right now is “New Year New You”. But, it’s all a marketing scam. You can’t be NEW. You get a new car because your old one is broken. You get a new bathroom because you are tired of your old one. You get a new wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend because the other one pissed you off too much.
But, through it all…your the same person. You can never change who you are. If you have an addictive personality, a short temper, give up easily, don’t focus on yourself, etc. Those aspects of you will always be there, but you can be BETTER. Who you are can’t change, and really…why would you want it to change. Your AWESOME! Your GREAT the way you are. You don’t need a new you…you WANT a better you.
You want a better version of your self that is thinner.
You want a better version of your self that is stronger.
You want a better version of your self that makes more money (yes…we can help you with that!), has more energy, eats healthier, is taking fewer medications, can see their toes when they look down, etc.
Those don’t require you to be new, they just require you to be better.
But, it still persists. If anyone wanted a new version of themselves, it was me in 2016 when I was going through treatment for Hodgkins Lymphoma. In that year, I lost everything I had worked so hard for.
Our business suffered. Try running a business when you’re throwing up every few hours, can’t get off the couch, your wife is taking care of our son, doing her best to make sure the gym doors stay open AND driving you to the hospital a few times every week for tests, scans, treatments, doctor visits, etc.
My health. Vanished. I couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without being out of breath. And not just a little out of breath. I would routinely have to lean against a wall because I felt light-headed after just going up a flight of stairs.
My strength I had worked so hard for, was gone. It wasn’t a quick change, but more of a slow gradual change. I fought for the first 3 months and tried to work out, but eventually, treatments caught up with me. The strength I had worked for over 2 decades for, the strength I was proud of…gone in 6 months.
I had to stop taking classes for my MS degree. When you can’t read for longer than 30 minutes before you need to take a nap, it makes studying pretty hard. Chemo brain is a real thing.
I developed a heavy reliance on medical cannabis that persisted into 2017. It was my drug of choice to manage my symptoms as opposed to the cocktail they usually put you on while going through chemo. I had severe reactions to a lot of the meds they put me on and after doing extensive research into medical cannabis, I decided that was going to be the way I managed the side effects. Every three hours I would consume a large amount of cannabis. That was the only thing that gave me an appetite, energy to leave the house, took my anxiety away, helped with my depression (it was pretty DEEP) and ultimately prevented me from puking 24/7, I still threw up A LOT, but not near as much as I would have.
Not the time to be training for anything…except to SURVIVE! You bet your ass I wanted a New Me at the end of this. But, I knew I couldn’t be new…only better.
By the end of 2016…I wanted a new me. But, I knew, it was impossible to be NEW. So I just focused on recovering.
When 2017 hit, I decided I was going to sit back (after beating Cancer!) and enjoy the year.
I finished my Masters in Nutrition and Human Performance.
I got married to my wonderful, amazing, beautiful, awesome wife (also my business partner).
I took more vacations then I ever did before.
I started offering more personal training at KDR (I love training people!).
I weaned myself off of being in a stoned haze for 18 hours a day.
I read more fiction books instead of nutrition, fitness, self-help, business books.
I spent more time with my friends, family, and fra-mily.
This about summed up 2017 for me.
Essentially…I focused on me. Not being a new me. Not being a better me. Just me. But this year, it’s all about being BETTER. I don’t want a new me. I want a better me. A me that is stronger, healthier, leaner, smarter, more energetic, well-thier, etc.
And, I/we want to help you be better this year.
Why RIGHT NOW is the best time to focus on being better.
This time period, after the new year, before the kids are done with school in June is one of the BEST times to focus on you! The weather is cold out, so that keeps you inside. There are no holidays coming up that would derail your healthy lifestyle efforts. You can get into a habit of prepping foods of the weekend (it’s not like your going to randomly take a trip to the beach because it’s a beautiful weekend!). Your probably slightly depressed and suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder – both of which you can fix with a little Vitamin D and exercise. You’re also probably pretty unhappy with how your clothes fit right now…I know I am. And let’s face it, after the brutal cold that has happened in the Upper Valley, who isn’t looking forward to warmer weather and being out in the sun! With that comes, of course, less clothing.
The list goes on. But, you get the idea. Most people go into hibernating during these months – that’s totally fine and understandable. I don’t know about you, but when I come out of hibernation this year, I want to feel, look and be BETTER than before.
We want to help you be better!
We are rolling out our next short-term program and we are looking for people that want to be healthier, fitter, stronger, leaner, more energized…BETTER in 2018. It’s called “New Year – Better You” and it’s a team challenge where you and 4 other people will compete against other teams to see who can lose the greatest body fat percent. The winning team will walk away with $5,000.00 to be split between the 5 people.
Interested? Click the picture below and let’s get started. We even give you an option to start RIGHT NOW for only $10. The challenge doesn’t officially start until February 5th, but we know some of you are chomping at the bit to be a better version of yourself.