Fit Your Life offers fitness classes for women at very special times in their lives. We want to assist you in finding or reconnecting with your fitness journey by discovering something that inspires you! Pregnancy and motherhood are often times in our lives where exercise is forgotten or falls off the priority list. Your health is vital in you being the best mom, wife, partner, friend, and woman you can be!
I am physically the strongest I have ever been in my life. I
just achieved a personal best in a half marathon in August. I am one year
postpartum. So, you are probably asking yourself, why on earth would she go see
a pelvic health physiotherapist now?
In order to know where you’re going, you need to know where
you’ve come from, so let’s go back in time and I will tell you a little bit
about my pre and postnatal history.My first child, Everly, came along just over three years ago.I was active during her pregnancy; I
practiced yoga once a week, ran until about 20 weeks gestation, and afterwards
continued to walk daily.We lived
in Phoenix, Arizona at the time so it was easy to get outside every day.I had high blood pressure towards the
end of the pregnancy and was induced at 38 weeks gestation.After about six hours of labour
Everly’s heart rate was dropping with every contraction and I was about 1cm
dilated.My obstetrician, husband JJ,
and I made the decision to deliver by cesarean.The surgery went well, Everly was born healthy, and I had an
easy recovery.At four weeks
postpartum my obstetrician cleared me for exercise without much guidance. So
being naïve and not knowing any better at this point in my life, I started
running. I know. I am shaking my head at myself right now.
Fast forward two years and I was pregnant with my second
child, Camden.We moved from
Phoenix back to Edmonton during this time and I am so lucky to have found Fit
Your Life and Kellie.I was again
active during this pregnancy with running, walking and Fit Your Life classes
and took proper precautions to modify as necessary for my body.For his birth, my husband and I decided
on a scheduled repeat cesarean section and everything went smoothly.This recovery was not as easy as
Everly’s. I had a lot more pain in my incision site and bled much longer.I found it so much harder to take it
easy during this recovery with a toddler to take care of.This time around though, with more knowledge,
once I was cleared at six weeks postpartum, I continued to listen to my body
and heavily modified exercises for what my body needed.
So, I modified and took my time getting fully back into
exercise and I backed off when my body told me to, which leads me back to my
initial question…why did I choose to see Jillian Palmer at Bounce Back PhysicalTherapy?
I am going to try to be completely candid with you.
I was having a lot of pain on the right side of my c-section
incision when doing lower core strengthening exercises.
I was feeling pressure and heaviness rectally when I did
jumping jacks, especially weighted jack presses.
I knew I had some abdominal separation that wasn’t going away.
With all of those red flags, why didn’t I book an
appointment sooner? Why did it take me close to a year to finally book an
appointment? How can I work with women every day and recommend they take care
of themselves and not do the same for myself?
I could give you at least 100 reasons that ran through my
head telling me why I shouldn’t go, why I didn’t need to go.
I kept telling myself that I was ok.
If I really focused on engaging my pelvic floor while doing
jumping jacks, the pressure was less so I justified to myself that it was
fine.I just needed to focus more
while doing jacks.
When I self-checked for Diastasis Recti (abdominal
separation) and really activated my core to squeeze my abdominals I was able to
get my separation much closer together. Again, justifying in my head that I was
But really it came down to one little thing…I was
scared.I was nervous about the
internal exam.I was nervous the physiotherapist
would find something wrong with me.There were so many unknowns about booking an appointment and I really
don’t like unknowns and uncertainty.
I was in complete denial.
I finally decided that enough was enough.
I was telling other women that they should go get checked.
I was supporting women daily on their recovery journeys.
I started to think about the consequences of not going, if
there was something that needed to be fixed.
It was time that I stopped only talking the talk and needed
to walk the walk too, so I took the plunge and booked an appointment.
I felt an instant sense of relief once the appointment was made and pride that I overcame my fear and took the first step in advocating for my own health.
So what happened at my first appointment?What was my experience like?
evening air is cooler, the sunrise is later, and it seems like we are all
settling back into our routines. I love fall. I love the crisp breeze and
wearing scarves. Even for those of us not in school or without little ones in
school yet, the fall is still a great time to hit a reset button. Small changes
in our daily routine can have huge impacts on our health and overall fitness
Wake up 15 minutes
earlier each day to sneak in a quick sweat or stretch.
Challenge yourself to
test out one new healthy recipe weekly.
Carry around a water
bottle to make sure you are hydrated.
Focus on your alignment
throughout your work day or while playing with your little ones.
Schedule a class or two to attend every week to make yourself accountable to others.
are just a few ideas, but the list is lengthy! How are you adding a little
extra health to your daily life? A little does go a long way and remember, do
not strive to be perfect. Strive to find a healthy balance for you in a way
that makes you feel happy, proud, and motivated.
of October 2, 2017 all of our classes will be indoors (unless it is a gorgeous
day and then we will make sure to take advantage!) and ALL of our classes will
be held at the Queen Alexandra Community Hall (10425
University Ave NW).
would love to assist you in finding the healthiest version of YOU! We are
specialized in prenatal and postpartum fitness and strive to continually
educate ourselves to bring you the best ideas, tips, and variations to ensure
you enjoy a safe and effective workout each time you come!
Your first class is
always FREE! Our class passes are valid at every class we offer so that you can
work with your schedule.
We now offer eight
Mom & Me Fit is so much fun! Bring
your Littles (any ages welcome!) to workout alongside you or play with their
new friends while you get sweaty. Currently seeing a Women’s Health
Physiotherapist? Perfect! Once cleared, we would love to work together to
ensure you are getting back into fitness the best way possible!
Family Fit is now offered twice a
week! Bring your spouse and kids to the fun class and only use one class pass!
Families who sweat together, stick together and we want to be part of the organized
Mom & Me Yoga is now officially part
of our weekly schedule!! Your baby(ies) can participate with you while your big
kid(s) can follow along or bring quieter activities to keep them occupied
(colouring or crafts are great).
are also excited about keeping our two very special “women-only” classes on the schedule!
Fit Bootcamp is a great way for
veteran moms, expecting moms, and non-mothers to all be able to laugh and sweat
Prenatal Fit is the perfect way to
learn how to safely move your pregnant body as you prepare for the birth of
your baby – non-pregnant women are always welcome too!
you have any questions, never hesitate to contact us. Please also make sure to
complete any required forms prior to attending your first class or your first
class back after baby.
has a unique pregnancy, a unique birth experience, unique children, and unique parenting
styles. I was always told this, but I never truly understood until having my
was fantastic. I breezed through the first trimester with no nausea, had an
excellent second trimester where I felt full of energy and traveled across
Canada with family.During my
third trimester I finished my Master’s Degree and I walked across the stage at
convocation a week before Arlo was born. I had great energy levels throughout
my pregnancy and even worked at a fitness facility where I was doing close
shifts until 11pm until I was 39 weeks pregnant. I stayed as active throughout
my pregnancy and felt confident doing cardio, lifting weights and teaching spin
until the day before Arlo was born. One friend I worked with called me the “pregnancy
unicorn” and I understood all too well that my experience was unique to me and
to this pregnancy.
As you might
imagine, my labour and delivery story is also unique. I will describe my story,
but it’s not to scare you. By telling my birth experience, I want to share with
you how I was able to recover and get back into exercise.
I was in
labour for almost 24 hours (from start to finish). I was positive for Group B
Streptococcus (a normal bacteria found in the vaginal tract, but requiring
antibiotics in labour) and was told to head into the labour and delivery unit
if my water broke. My contractions started at about 5:00am on the Wednesday and
stopped at 9:00am. I went for a walk with my husband and after getting to the
end of the block, I thought I had wet my pants. I ended up calling the labour
and delivery room and essentially said “I know it’s possible I peed my pants
but my water could have broke as well”. It wasn’t the usual “gush” you hear
about. My water did break and I was induced around 1:30pm that afternoon.I did get an epidural. My contractions were
coupling (coming two at a time with no breaks) and with little sleep the night
before I couldn’t relax. After receiving the epidural, Arlo’s heart rate fell
and at one point we thought I was going in for an emergency cesarean section. Arlo’s
heart rate dropped one last time and the doctors needed to get him out
immediately. I was told to push (I maybe had time for 6 pushes) and heard the
words forceps and episiotomy. In the midst of the emotion, all my husband and I
were concerned about was the safe arrival of our unborn child. While I did have
a vaginal birth, I sustained 4th degree tears.
Vriend was born at 4:01am on Thursday November 24, 2016. Thankfully, we heard
Arlo’s little cry a minute after he was born and he was placed in my arms five
minutes after delivery. I required stitching that lasted about 45 minutes and
was told “this is about as bad as it gets when it comes to tearing”. I was
terrified. Not only did I have a newborn child but I was unsure what 4th degree
tearing was. I had no idea what kind of trauma I sustained. How was I supposed
to look after this newborn child while unsure if I could walk, go to the
bathroom, or look after myself?
learned is, many women who have a vaginal birth will have
a superficial tear that heal relatively quickly and do not require stiches. A
small percentage of women who deliver vaginally end up with a more serious tear
in their perineum that extends to or through the rectum. A third-degree
laceration is a tear in the vaginal tissue, perineal skin, and perineal
muscles that extends into the anal sphincter (the muscle that surrounds your
anus). A fourth-degree tear goes through the anal sphincter and the
tissue underneath it.
I’m here to
tell you that you can and will return to exercise after whether you have a “traumatic”
birth or a birth with no complications. You will be able to return to exercise
after a cesarean section. It may not look the same, you might need more time to
recover, but you will get back to it. I’m going to share with you my five tips
for an effective recovery to ensure you return to exercise the right way.
1. Take your time and rest.
took almost eight weeks off of any exercise other than walking. For the first
three weeks I had to sit on an invalid ring (the official name for a donut –
not nice!). There felt like a large led weight in my pelvic floor if I walked
for any duration. I truly believe that taking the time I needed to truly heal
the trauma part, was crucial. Yes – I almost went stir crazy in the house and
the hormones didn’t help, but had I not taken the time I needed, I might never
2. Take the medication you need.
was prescribed some pretty heavy duty pain killers that I needed to take every
three hours. At one point over the Christmas holidays, I figured I could tough
it off and get off the pain killers. I realized very quickly, I didn’t need to
be a hero (and wasn’t very good at it). Check with your doctor and pharmacist
that the pain killers are safe, but take what you need to heal. While you need
to look after this newborn baby, you need to look after yourself. And if you
are in pain, that’s very difficult to do.
3. Go see a pelvic floor
is probably the best advice I could have received and could give to you. Even
if you didn’t receive 4th degree tears and even if you delivered via scheduled
cesarean section - GO SEE A PHYSIOTHERAPIST. I had the opportunity to attend
the Royal Alexandra Hospital’s pelvic floor physiotherapy clinic because I had
such severe tearing. I also sought out a private physiotherapist who
specialized in pelvic floor therapy. The internal exam was scary but so was my
first bowel movement with 4th degree tears (was it going to open my stiches?).
All three physiotherapists that I saw provided me with techniques for safe
bowel movements, exercises to repair and strengthen my pelvic floor and make me
feel like I was normal again. I am happy to report that I have not struggled with
bladder incontinence but still struggle to hold gas from time to time.I still complete my exercises
(including relaxation exercises) and feel stronger than ever.
4. Ask for help.
spent a lot of my first two months with Arlo healing and learning about myself
and my new family. I am fortunate to have amazing family and friends nearby who
were more than willing to help when I needed it. People were more than willing
to provide food, advice, gifts and a listening ear when I needed it. I couldn’t
have done it without them.
5. When exercising again – seek a
post-partum exercise specialist and do the modifications.
am an extremely competitive person. I have always been an athlete and a
competitive athlete. Not exercising intensely for eight weeks in the cold of winter
nearly drove me crazy. At one point two weeks post-partum I cried to my husband
saying “I used to be a productive member of society and now I sit and
breastfeed for five hours a day!”. Having a baby is a big change and so when I
was cleared for exercise, I wanted to jump right back into where I left off
pre-pregnancy. Just because you are cleared for exercise by your doctor doesn’t
mean you can go all out. Just because you had a cesarean section and are
cleared for exercise, doesn’t mean you can take the highest intensity route.
Your body changes after pregnancy and needs time to heal (more than eight
weeks). The only reason I can run, jump and exercise at this intensity now is
that I attended Fit Your Life classes (with Jamie and Kellie) and chose the low
intensity exercises for another 3-4 months post-partum. I needed to re-learn
how to control my pelvic floor and exercise with breath and purpose. Don’t rush
back too fast. I know it seems slow but you can and will get back to full
exercise, in due time.
there are many other tips out there. What did you do to return to exercise? Did
it take a long time? This list is not exhaustive. Everyone will have their own
unique journey back to exercise, just as each pregnancy, labour and delivery, and baby are unique. One thing that I learned for sure is that women are
superheroes. I am amazed by the body’s ability to grow a beautiful human being,
sustain such trauma, and heal again. Remember
– you are amazing!
I met Annika of Born to be Adventurous during our undergraduate degrees at the University of Alberta. Mutual friends and the appreciation of a good time brought us together. Who would have thought that nearly a decade later we would each be married with two daughters and collaborating on social media to promote a lifestyle we both love ... being active!!
If you ever have the chance to meet Annika Mang, you will be smiling the entire time. Promise! Her friendly nature, awesome laugh, and sense of adventure will have you dreaming up your next trip to the mountains! Her blog has been a great source of reference for us as over the past three years. You see, we are lucky enough to have a daughter just less than one year younger than Annika's oldest. This means that she trials adventures at a certain age, blogs about it, and we benefit from reading about what worked...and what didn't! Perfect! When we first took our first born, Brooke, camping at two and half months old, Annika sent me a list of items to bring and it was very useful! Two years later, she wrote a blog post with a similar list. Read it here!
Some of my favourite blog posts of hers are: 10 Hikes for Preschoolers Near Calgary Ways to Encourage Unstructured Outdoor Play
Now... I bet the real reason you started reading this post wasn't to hear about my friendship with Annika. That was a bonus! Born to be Adventurous and Fit Your Life have teamed up to give one lucky family a Onya Pure Carrier!