Why is the postnatal conversation about weight loss, getting back into our 'pre-pregnancy clothes' and attending to bootcamp??
Why are we not talking about the fact that 1 in 3 of us (at least!) are struggling with much bigger issues than being able to get back into our skinny jeans.....
I was beautifully 'neat' in my first pregnancy (picture taken 2 weeks before baby arrived) and super fit before I got pregnant.... no-one mentioned diastasis, stress incontinence or prolapse to me and so I didn't even consider to check or ask about these things when baby came.
I was up and about, walking a couple of miles within a couple of weeks with the dog, running within a couple of months and felt pretty good. All I knew was that I peed myself each time I ran and my lower back ached a lot.
Second baby (aka the bowling ball!) was enormous by comparison (I still have no idea how he came out naturally!!) and took me a lot longer to recover...
I still cannot and will not run (14 months after the event) and thankfully, by virtue of my role and education as a Holistic Core Restore® Coach, I am 100% body aware of what my body can and cannot do.
My babies and a career of heavy load lifting, enforced bootcamp exercise, extended runs and bad posture has left me with a front and back wall prolapse... I still have some weakness in my belly wall and if I do not do my pelvic floor exercises, I need to wear a pad..... sorry if TMI BUT...
I am not alone.
1 in 3 women have these symptoms and yet it takes YEARS for some women to seek help.
I hear DAILY, women discussing their latest exercise class and needing their (said behind giggles...) 'wee break' or needing to wear pads otherwise they will pee themselves doing whatever they are doing.
I see women in the gym, doing sit-ups with no flexibility in their spines, walking stiffly with no movement in their hips or lifting and carrying with the old lady'esque 'eurgh' exertion blowing out noise as they pick up heavy children and heavy loads.
Yet, the conversation is not about 'how on earth do I get back to feeling like I am in my own body again...?', its about losing the baby weight, the latest diet, the local bootcamp....
The conversation is never about being kind to ourselves, or restoring our exhausted, vulnerable soft bodies... it is about punishment, deprivation and physical toughness.
This has to stop. We have to honour our AH-MAZING Mum bodies... jeez ladies, WE MADE HUMANS.....!!!!!
I want to help...
I want you to know that the leaking, the weakness, the tummy doming, the backache, the poochy Mummy-Tummy....it's not forever.
You do have choices. You do have options. This is not 'you've had a baby, thats the way it is..'
You have teams of well educated women who specialise in women's health - pelvic floor and deep core strengthening who are ready to help you.
You just have to recognise that you matter - your health matters, your body matters - and none of these issues will just magically disappear overnight... oh how I wish that were the case.
Please - Mums of the world!!!!
Invest in your body; your health; your continence!!!
If you are leaking / doming / protruding / heavy / uncomfortable / can't move like you did - GO AND FIND SOMEONE DECENT WHO CAN HELP.
....Women's Health Physios, Holistic Core Restore® Coaches and a plethora of specifically trained professional who care about your health, not their profit.
VALUE v COST…WORKING WITH AN HCR® COACH…
How do you judge an exercise class or programme?
By its cost or its value?
For too long, too many in the fitness industry and their vast numbers of users have focused on the cost of a class rather than the value of what the client gets from being there. It has focused on the ‘sexy kit’, the challenge of ‘best effort’ and ‘getting fit’ and offers these goals for around £4 an hour.
This means that most people judge a programme/class based on its cost and if it looks fun, rather than the impact it will have on them personally.
This means that people preclude programmes and services without even looking the value because they set mindset blocks at the price.
In real terms, this means that a postnatal Mum will go to a boot-camp and do burpees and sprints because it is cheaper… even though she has, let’s say, stress incontinence or a prolapse…
I have met countless Mums, of all ages and stages who cannot comfortably do a sit-up because they do not have the deep core strength or have lower back issues… and numerous Mums who are doing sit-ups in the misguided hope that they will get their tummy back because the sit-up is the only exercise to do….
As Mums and women, we need to focus on what our body needs rather than just opting for the cheapest option…we need to be looking at what our minds and body need rather than what is fashionable and trendy at that moment….
I’m not saying we shouldn’t have fun – and if your exercise class brings you joy, then yes! Do it!
But what if you feel embarrassed during your £4 sessions? What if you have ‘oops moments’ in the middle of your circuits? What if you need to go for half a dozen pee breaks during your HIIT class? What if you have an ‘issue’ that you need to tell your instructor but there’s never an opportunity to tell your story. What if you don’t feel supported? What if your instructor doesn’t even know your name?!
That’s where cost v value comes in…
‘Why are your classes so expensive…?’
This question used to fill me with dread…I would breathe more shallowly and feel like I had been caught out…that I had done something ‘wrong’.
You see, as a Holistic Core Restore® Coach specialising in Restorative Postnatal Exercise and Wellness, it is difficult to ‘compare’ me against a general fitness instructor.
If I were to compare what I ‘do’ against a Zumba® instructor for example, I would offer that it costs a new Zumba® instructor around £223.20 to become certified for a year. A new HCR® Coach will invest £1008.80 for their first year, notwithstanding any other costs incurred to become a Fitness and/or Health Professional in the first instance.
In terms of qualification, a basic Zumba® instructor does not need any fitness qualifications to become qualified (although it depends on where they teach: if it is in a sports centre for example, it may be a requirement for the instructor to have that to work there..). So long as they have attended a Zumba® class, are older than 18 and are in good health, they may lead a class of however many they deem approropriate once qualified.
As an HCR® Coach, our journey to offering our services is much longer, requiring us to be a “fully certified/qualified Fitness or Health Professional or aligned professional such as a Physiotherapist or Midwife…:”
This means that we have spent months or years, studying and qualifying to become a Fitness/Health Professional before we became a coach. Therefore our knowledge is greater and our understanding is deeper. We are already experienced at working with clients in a wider setting. Our education allows us to screen deeply and thoroughly before working with clients and we know how to support a woman’s body from the inside-out with respect and relevant exercise and wellness prescription.
We will normally always have other qualifications; for me…I am also a Pregnancy & Postnatal Massage Therapist; 3rd Age Coach and am currently studying Postnatal Nutrition for Optimal Healing. I am an NLP Life Coach and Hypnotherapy Practitioner. I am a Mum of 2 and had an almost 20-year military career before changing to the Fitness & Wellness Industry… I am not your average exercise instructor and my programmes are not average either. In cost terms, I have spent £thousands in training in this area – so no, I will not apologise for being ‘a bit more expensive than the other exercise classes…'
It is the VALUE of what we offer as HCR® Coaches that sets us apart from any other instructor…
* we are deeply trained in Women’s Health and Wellness…
* we screen EVERY client thoroughly before we take a penny…we know your name, your physical challenges, your physical history…and we will amend our exercises for you or signpost you to a more appropriate practitioner if you are out of scope…
* we are all aligned with local Women’s Health Physio’s with whom we collaborate and seek advice so that every one of our clients is offered a gold standard of care…
* we offer strategies for the very real challenges that simply are not talked about anywhere else…c-section recovery; closing the diastasis gap; prolapses, stress incontinence...these issues affect at least 1 in 3 women...and we are leading the way in supporting their return to fitness and functionality…
* we view the woman holistically as a whole and not as a set of body parts…we will always ask about your pelvic health and every single programme we offer is focused on strengthening and restoring your body from the inside-out, offering learning and education as well as ‘exercise’ which will last your lifetime…
* we belong to a community of HCR® Coaches, led by the GLOBAL leader of Women’s Exercise and we collaborate daily; sharing information, links & articles that will improve our knowledge so that we can serve our clients better…
So, when you work with an HCR® Coach, you are not simply signing up for an hour’s worth of sweat and a good workout.
You are signing up for our education, our knowledge, our experience, our understanding of the pelvic floor, our strategies for healing and restoring precious Mum-Bodies.
So, it all starts with what you need…if you need restoring…see someone who can help you restore. If you want just to raise your heartbeat and get sweaty, then greatm go and see someone who can offer that for you.
But the next time you think ‘that’s expensive…’, I encourage you to think about the value and not the cost…or simply ask yourself …
“If I was my car and I had an oil leak, would I put a towel over the leak and go rally-driving?”
“Do the problems that I have stop me from enjoying my life to the very fullest and from feeling confident in myself from the inside-out?”
I hope the answer to the first question is no (!) and I want your answer to the second to inspire you to take the right action for your long-term health and wellness.
You only have one body. Only one pelvic floor. You must get empowered about what to do to keep it strong and healthy for the rest of your life. Your body, time and money are precious.
Cheap does not always = better.
I am sitting on the train enroute to Brighton.....wooooooo......my annual pilgrimage to hook up with the very best of female fitness professionals working to help the world a better place for other women.
We have a dinner/dance (posh speak for buffet and disco!) on Saturday night and I have plumped for the funk look with my new-bay (New to me from ebay) spangly sequin skirt, silver glitter pumps and a cool black jacket (and for those that truly go posh, that IS posh for me!).
There are loads of wonderful speakers and I shall come home Sunday refreshed after 2 nights completely undisturbed sleep and feeling the female funk from a darn good boogy and few glasses of the bubbles to celebrate all that we are!
Question. What are your opinions on cocopops!??!
I've got to confess and say I absolutely love them. They don't go soggy like Rice Crispies and they remind me of being a child. We buy the Lidl ones - no designer food in our house! We buy them OCCASIONALLY. Like, twice a year. Christmas being one of those times.
I'm not going to get excited about that. Life is real and too short to not have a Cocopop occasionally (that is in my world you understand!).
So, I'm sat in a coach train with a load of young boys on their way home and I am bemused, surprised, slightly weirded by the fact that one of them is eating an entire box of (designer) Cocopops. Like, scooping his hand into the box and then covering his whole face with his hand whilst he inhales them. And then proudly shows his mates and says 'look, I've still got these left...'
Bruce Bogtrotter would have been really proud of him...
The young boy is - on the outside, fairly slim, looks healthy...but he thinks that handfuls of Cocopops are the answer until dinner time.
Its a bit like being in Lidl at school break times. All the 6th formers slink in and demolish the pastries, doughnuts, cookies...
What am I trying to say?
I don't actually know. I just know it is a topic we need to talk about - what are our kids eating before they get home from school when they go via the shops. I know i often see young teens in our village with cans of Monster and bags of blue sweets....yup, thats going to set the family up for a good evening together....
I don't mean to sound 'judgy' because I can quaff a freshly baked double chocolate cookie in less time than it takes to breathe (shhh, don't tell anyone - did I mention I work in the health & wellness industry.....!!!)....but we all get the 4pm snack attack, the HANGRY hour and low blood sugar.
I think its more how we plan for those moments - if we acknowledge we have them, instead of pretending we don't...then we won't have to hide in the food cupboard secretly eating baby rusks pretending to get the ingredients out for dinner....
I joined the Army on the 16th August 1996. THAT is a lifetime ago...or so it feels! I always wanted to join the Army - I wasn't academic and I loved working in a team; being rewarded for effort and knew I wanted to be in an environment with comaraderie, good pay - and good parties!
I joined the Military Police as a soldier...then I commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1999 and returned back to the Military Police some years later. Not because i loved Military Policing I hasten to add....I was actually pretty rubbish as a Red Cap because a. I actually forgot my rank & name when I did my first arrest and b. I just wasn't very good at enforcing the law or being the 'meanie'...I went back because i didn't think I was good enough to be in the Royal Engineers....because my (male) bosses always told me I was too friendly, too nice, not clever enough...blah blah blah.
So I ended up in role that I hated - at one point my hair started falling out and I was working 7.30am - 10pm+ for no thanks and felt utterly unhappy...but i wanted to make my family 'proud of me' and wrongly understood that I had to stay in the same job and progress up the 'career path' for that to happen.
Hindsight is a brilliant thing and I now recognise that whilst the Army did great things for my financial security, it did nothing for my creative soul...I used to wear bright pink socks to be 'rebellious' (wow, so out there!) and loved organising the big social functions, meeting everyone, looking after everyone, being the cheery person that remembered stuff about people...
I retrained as a Personal Trainer - I actually won my diploma by entering a competition by writing to the CEO and telling him why he should give me the diploma...I wrote a poem which i never in a million years thought would win!!
At this time I was 4 years into stress incontinence following the birth of my daughter and had found ANSWERS to my frustrations of not being able to find information...and I decided that it should not be as difficult to get answers about our bodies as a woman....and from that moment, I committed to being a Woman's Exercise Specialist.
That decision led me to Burrell Education and the best mentor I have ever had: Jenny Burrell, who has given me more self confidence and business know how than anyone I have ever met.
Flawed and Awesome has simply come from recognising that women - and me! - will not do 'fitness' unless they have 101 other things in place first. I have been so self -critical during my Motherhood journey, trying to be perfect and all things to all people. I just saw the phrase 'FLAWSOME' and thought, yup - that's actually me; its my friends & family and its every Mum (and everyone!) everywhere. All imperfectly-perfect, all doing our best, all making mistakes but still turning up at each day, ready to do battle with whatever the world brings us.
So - whilst my time in green made me feel crap and undervalued at times, it has set the path for me to realise that my perceived flaws by one person are my strengths to another. What other people think of me is actually none of my damn business!
I have defined what my own values in life are: what & who matters to me; what & who help me to feel centred, loved, valued, seen & heard...and that is the path I shall continue to tread.
High Five to our FLAW-SOMEs!