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.
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.
Let’s face it, if you are a busy professional, chances are you are – stressed out, overworked, short on time, tired and struggling to fit health and fitness into your life.
Aren’t we all busy professionals at this point? Running around trying to fit more things into a single day – from spending time on yourself to spending time on your career…don’t forget the family! Sometimes I even have to ask myself “Do I have time to workout today?”.
Yes, I know I work in a gym. You might say “it must be easy for me to workout and stay in shape”. However, I am still a busy professional trying to balance work, life, family and my health.
Making time for myself sometimes makes me feel guilty and selfish. Do you ever feel that way?
So for me “Do I have time NOT to focus on myself?” is a better question.
Well when you put it that way…
When focusing on yourself is hard.
Focusing on yourself is HARD. We as women know that. But, we usually don’t admit it…aloud. When I find myself straying TOO far from focusing on myself into focusing on other people/things, I try and map out the the big priorities to SELF-CARE. For me, that’s working out, de-stressing and food prep. Your self-care might be different, but it should include those three things.
When Ben was going through Chemo (you can read more about that here if you want), I realized that I was not consistent with movement/workouts, my meals were all over the place and my sleep (self-care) sucked. It was certainly a stressful time, but, I was still a busy professional that had to take care of myself.
Workouts: I was stuck in a mindset that I had to get in 4 hours a week of strength training, then 1-2 hours of conditioning or cardio. That’s 5-6 hours! Unrealistic for me at that time.
Meals: I was grabbing and going…with little to no planning or prepping whatsoever. I had this idea that food prep would take hours and I just didn’t want to do it. I would rather spend time with my husband supporting him while he was going through his battle.
Sleep: I don’t watch a lot of TV but when I do it was right before bed, with my phone in hand or in bed. I needed a distraction to help me unwind from the day.
At the end of the day, our health is the only thing we can count on. I realized I had to get back to taking care of myself.
So what strategies did I come up with?
These are what I used to help me. You have to figure out what your making time for, then where do you need to put more time in or what do you need to work on the most. You might decide to start small by just getting to the gym twice a week or you might try food prep on the weekends. Whatever it is, commit to that one thing for a few weeks before you add in more.
For my workouts, I realized that I didn’t have to workout 4-6 hours a week to feel strong, maintain my weight or muscle. I trimmed my workouts down to 30-45 min with 1 day of resistance training in the gym and 2-3 days of kettlebell or body weight workouts at home or anywhere. I also added in 15-30 min walks every day. The dog and I were both happier for it;)
For my meal planning. I started planning out what I was going to have for dinner each night and wrote it on our family white board. This allowed me to plan other meals (I don’t like eating the same things everyday) and prep accordingly. If you missed it, check out http://kdrfitness.com/mastered-meal-prep/.
For my self care, I revisited my Sleep Hygiene Rules – no phones in the bedroom EVER, no watching TV right before bed (I just love to lay in bed sometimes and watch TV), take my supplements 30-45 minutes before bed (the last one is hardest for me), if I wake up and cannot get back to sleep, GET UP. I used to lay there stressing out about not sleeping…which kept me awake. Putting that structure in place really helped me declutter my pre-bed time.
Are you a busy professional? We have a great resource for you (see below) that covers a lot of the things I talked about, gives you some great tips and tricks to help you re-focus on your self AND downloadable.
Just click on the picture below and follow the steps!
Protein shakes! There tends to be a love/hate relationship with them. Often times we get asked how to make a super shake. We think of a super shake as something that has protein, fruits/veggies and fat all mixed together. This is not your standard protein and water/milk shake! Super shakes are a great way to:
Get calories in if your having a hard time eating due to surgery or something else. Maybe your one of those lucky people that we tell you to eat MORE food. It happens more then you think!
Add in a quick meal that stays “fresh” for a long period of time.
Increase your water consumption if your having a hard time getting enough water in.
Eat while traveling.
But, if you type in “protein shakes” you come up with over 10 million hits. Meal recovery shakes give you over a million hits. Super shakes? 19 million!!! Let’s make it easier on you. Here’s a great infographic that gives you a step by step process to making a super shake, from the liquid to the topping PLUS it gives the pro’s and con’s to a magic bullet vs. a vita mixer.
We will throw this out there – if your a guy, or if you like a more robust shake with lots of liquid and ingredients then you want to get something that has a large volume capacity (at least 32 oz) and a lot of WATTS!!!! MORE POWER!!! Generally over 1200 watts will take care of a lot of stuff. I have made plenty of shakes that have been disasters because I put too many ingredients in them relative to water. I have also burned motors out of shakes for the same reason. The Ninja does a pretty good job if you get the beefiest version you can find. Like this one -> click on the link to get it from Amazon. We don’t make any money of this (disclaimer).
Enough words – show me the goods!
Click the picture below to download the pdf. Don’t worry, it’s not a booby trap or anything, unfortunately I am not smart enough to figure out how to all of the features of our website. But, I am smarter to fix 99% of your injuries and get weight off of you…and isn’t that the more important thing?
Do you have summer GOALS? We want to help you reach them! We are offering a special summer membership. Click on the picture below to learn more about the summer membership.
Dumbbell Romanian(What do the Romanians have to do with it? Not sure…but it sounds bad ass) Deadlifts are one of our deadlifts variations (hence the name). This movement strengthens your glutes, hamstrings, lower back and a little bit of the lower leg. The execution of the exercise is not particularly hard but there are some fine points that everybody should know.
Deadlifts/Romanian Deadlifts are one of the best exercises to lose weight or gain muscle mass. Oh and maximize your booty!
DB RDL Steps:
Start standing with DB’s at hips.
Keep the DB’s close to the body.
Bend at the hips – Hip hinge with flat back and head neutral.
The SA Bent Over Row is a great exercise for building an amazing back! Your biceps and grip are also involved as you pull the dumbell to your belly button. Dumbbells offer you the unique advantage of performing the bent-over row unilaterally. We recommend including both unilateral and bilateral exercises in your strength-training routine because unilateral movements activate the muscles differently than a bilateral movement, offering a new way to challenge the muscles.
SA Bent Over Row steps:
Bend at the hips – Hip hinge with flat back and head neutral.
Use your back to pull the DB to your belly bottom.