Monday, January 8, 2018

Helping is Healing

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Monday, November 6, 2017

Chasing Strength is Making Us Weak

Something hit me a few weeks ago after reading comments in a CrossFit mom Facebook group. During pregnancy and postpartum while chasing strength, we are only making ourselves weaker.

Both CrossFit and competitive CrossFit changed my life in so many amazing ways. I am beyond grateful for those experiences and the coaches that changed my life; it truly made me a better human. I did things I never imagined were possible.

However, pregnancy is an entirely different beast and requires a completely different mentality. Listening to my OB and my coaches just wasn’t enough. OBs are not trained in evaluating pelvic floor muscles and nerves. And, unfortunately, most CrossFit coaches are not aware of the pre and postnatal considerations. So, like many women today, I just couldn’t see outside of the CrossFit bubble, and I had no clue about pelvic floor physical therapists.

As a result, CrossFit moms go into pre and post pregnancy with the same mentality as before, and this is creating a lot of harm in the community. Pregnancy and postpartum has turned into a competition to see who can do the most and/or who can have the quickest comeback. Messages about “listening to your body” and “doing what you have always done” are hurting many because that just isn’t enough guidance when it comes to the pelvic floor and the complexities of pregnancy.

I have recently read comments in the CrossFit mom groups that are making me more and more concerned. For example, one mom stated,  “I recovered so quickly because I was doing CrossFit up until 40 weeks.” Being active and healthy is always a good and can definitely help with recovery. However, it also largely has to do with genetics, what happened during delivery, and what you during 4th trimester and beyond. The misconceptions about how we heal postpartum are concerning.
What concerns me the most are comments like these. Women in the community are….

  • So scared to be weak that they are straining their bodies during postpartum when they are the most vulnerable and prone to injury
  • Joking about peeing themselves so they don’t have to modify certain movements
  • Pushing through pregnant pelvic pain so as not to look wimpy
  • Going hard on workouts at 6 weeks postpartum because they are “cleared” and were “fit” pre pregnancy
  • Ignoring advice because they may feel like they are above it because they are “fit”
  • Posting videos of themselves at X amount of weeks doing squat cleans at X  amount of weight with bad form but feeling proud they can still do the movement Rx
  • Climbing ropes at 20 weeks pregnant and encouraging others to do the same if they “feel fine”
  • Looking for ways to diet at 1-2 months postpartum while breastfeeding

...and the list goes on.

I am not criticizing these women because this used to be me on a few of these things. However, we need to spread awareness about this issue because women are not getting the right guidance within their communities. And, well, my heart hurts when I read this stuff.

The transition to motherhood is intense.  I instantly gave up a career and a competitive CrossFit life. None of this was easy for me, and we all crave our former identities before embracing our new one. However, all of those postpartum years of chasing strength, only made me weaker in so many ways.  

In order to regain that strength I had to learn how to….
  • meet my own self where I was at
  • be okay with lots of modifications
  • workout to heal, not prove that I am tough or to feel strong
  • choose sleep over the workout sometimes so my body could heal
  • change movement patterns and habits I have had for years

I feel this has been another test, and I will rise as the strongest athlete that I have ever been. I want each and every Crossfit mom out there to have a better experience than I did, but we need to change the message, culture, and information provided. It is no small task. Please help me spread the word.

**Please follow me at my NEW blog site called "Helping is Healing" at**

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Silent Majority

Anyone that knows me, knows I have been Crossfitting for a really, really long time. I don’t plan to stop. I love it. However, as in anything in life you need to question and be critical of the things that you love the most.
Lately, there has been a lot of push back in the CrossFit community against the "if you work out, you will hurt your baby." This is great and very much needed so people can stop being afraid when they see a pregnant lady working out. It can be scary for people that haven’t seen that before. I get it. These things are all relative. Keeping my heart rate down might look different than someone else, just as a weight that is light for me might look heavy to someone else. However, with all of this focus on the health of the baby one important thing has been missing…..
What happens to all the Crossfit moms that don't end up happily every after like the mom featured in the latest CrossFit Journal video?
Somehow we only hear the success stories. There are glorified videos of moms doing Crossfit pregnant. Moms trying to one up each other or compare what they can do compared to someone else. Then that turns into how fast they can get back in the gym and continue doing said glorified exercises. These stories of women recovering fast are only part of the story. So what happens to all the Crossfit moms that don't follow this storyline?
In the past two years of trying to find answers and fix my extreme case of Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation), I have found a graveyard of CrossFit women silently suffering with prolapse, incontinence, diastasis, umbilical cord hernia, and other pelvic floor complications. They are either embarrassed that they can’t keep up, feel like they failed, or are just clueless on how to get help because of the lack of information. I found that I am not some random abnormality. And, after my own traumatizing experience, I just cannot let this continue any longer. Women need the whole picture. All of the information. THEN they can choose what they want to do during pregnancy and postpartum.
Pelvic floor health and pregnancy are very individualized and complex, so you cannot just blindly follow one person’s story and think that will also be your own. You must find your own way. Additionally, just because you avoid certain exercises during pregnancy and postpartum doesn’t mean you’ll be problem free. However, with the right information, you can find your own way much easier. For example, when I was pregnant with Chase I had no clue about Diastasis Recti or pelvic floor health in general. If I had, I would have avoided certain exercises knowing that I was already at risk (big baby with a short torso). I also would have implemented some breathing methods, alignment considerations, and loads of other strategies that I have recently learned (Check out Julie Wiebe, PT and Brianna Battles, MS, CSCS, USA W). In fact, some people in the CrossFit community even made fun of me for avoiding certain exercises when I was pregnant with Chase and this was before I had the information that I have now. Why is pregnancy a competition to see what you can do? Why can’t we just move and be healthy for baby and for mom’s health? As I “listened to my body” for many months, I just made my Diastasis Recti worse. Listening to your body just doesn’t always work in this case.
For those of you that saw the former CrossFit Games athlete jumping on a really high box at 32 weeks pregnant, the reason I wrote that cryptic, angry post on Facebook was not because I was worried about her baby. Well, okay, it did freak me out but hey- Her body. Her baby. Her choice. The jump looked effortless for her. Not worth the risk in my opinion but 100% her choice and like I said before - it is all relative. My issue is that Crossfit HQ just posted it there to stir the pot while also looking like they promote a type of pregnant competitiveness that isn't healthy for women. Where is the pelvic floor health information about jumping? Where are the interviews with pelvic floor physical therapists on the CrossFit Journal? I want more. Not just interviews from female coaches that were pregnant themselves and then coached some pregnant women. The scope is WAY more than that. CrossFit is not in expert in this area. Let’s talk to the pros.
We desperately need to break the silence and open up the conversation with moms struggling postpartum. And, no, I am not talking about starting some crazy fear mongering. In fact, it is just the opposite! When you have all the information, it is actually a lot less scary! But we need moms to be making educated choices along with feeling like there is hope if they experience incontinence and/or a weakened core with a protruding stomach. Let’s weigh the risk vs reward in all we do pregnant and postpartum. I did CrossFit almost my entire second pregnancy, it just looked different than the first.
At this point I stop and ask myself: do I want to do this because I just want to do the movement OR will this actually help my healing process? It is hard to reign it in. I get it! However, we need to set a healthy mentality for others to follow. We need Crossfit HQ to set the right example. We need moms to speak out and help support each other. We need coaches to get educated on how to guide these women. We need to encourage women to seek physical therapy* as soon as possible.
As Brianna Battles always says. “ Pregnancy is temporary, Postpartum is forever.” I am now finally embracing my journey of healing. It may take longer doing it the right way, but I will be much stronger for it.
*This is tricky because not all physical therapists understand the athletic demands of CrossFit. Shop around before you settle in with one particular physical therapist. I highly encourage you to check out everything Julie Wiebe, PT has written :) I have seen some terrible PTs before I settled into one I trusted. :(

**Please follow me at my NEW blog site called "Helping is Healing" at

Monday, May 9, 2016

Pregnancy #2 and how it will be different

Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there! For my gift this year, all I wanted was a few hours this morning to write this blog. I have had thoughts floating around in my brain for a while, and now that pregnancy #2 is public, it is time to spread the word about pelvic floor health.
As most of you know from the post about my stomach last year, diastasis recti is actually a very common issue although it looks differently on everyone. For me, my stomach physically sticks out. For other women, they don’t even know they have it or maybe they only see a really difference after they eat. And for some, you can actually see a hole in their stomach. Two things have helped me accept my own stomach situation tremendously:
1)In the grand scheme of life, I know this is a very small thing. I practice gratitude each day (just like I teach my students) and keep that perspective in balance, always. I know I still have the right to get sad sometimes, but I keep it in check pretty well. We are beyond blessed over here at the Ryan’s house of boys.
2)I try hard to accept and love my stomach, but it isn’t easy! I was ready to embrace the loose skin and scars but wasn’t ready for a protruding stomach. However, I eat clean, workout, and feel confident about what my body CAN do. I have broken some old records on workouts from when I was training way more hours than I am now. While my abs do effect some of my lower body lifts, I still regained a lot of strength there and my upper body came back even stronger. I feel like the rest of my body not only looks good, but it is functional, which is the ultimate goal. When you make a goal to be able to DO something, you body naturally follows in a healthy way. Therefore, I do have a lot of positive self-confidence, even with my frustrations over my stomach. I am so grateful for CrossFit and for these mental strategies that I have gained over the years. This mental toolbox full of both mental and physical strategies helped me lose over 50 pounds from my pregnancy but in a slow and healthy manner. Most importantly, I remained pretty confident through it all.
However, CrossFit gyms and coaches, along with postpartum bootcamps and workout programs need to really understand what diastasis recti actually is and change how they guide their clients. I am still so angry about the lack of information out there. I had no clue; none of my coaches knew how to guide me. I took it slowly on my recovery back, but I did not have the correct tools to do it right. There are so many messages out there about supporting active moms, which is great because people get scared when they see pregnant women doing any type of fitness. However, there is not nearly enough guidance and education to help women navigate this road correctly. Yes, we should all be doing some type of fitness, but, in some cases, there is a misguided message in CrossFit that make women feel that have something to “prove.” I never gave in to that pressure myself; however, I would have liked a lot more actual knowledge on how to prepare and recover from having a baby besides just ‘listening to my body.” I mean…..I had a 9 FINGER GAP and was CLUELESS along with every single person around me at CrossFit and every doctor that I went to see. This went on for months. I listened to my body and didn’t hear a peep.
With the second pregnancy, I will “know better and do better” and this brings me to Brianna Battles, who has had her own journey with diastasis recti and an umbilical cord hernia. I was so lucky to be able to connect with her (thanks to Ashley Cecil) and she has single handedly saved my sanity. She helped me figure out which exercises I should and should not be doing while I was in PT for my stomach. For about 2-3 months I had to lay off some certain movements and needed help figuring out how to navigate which ones.
For the most part, everyone knows my story of getting my 9 finger gap down to a 2ish finger one. A huge thank you to my awesome PT, Amy Drean. Months after all this went down Brianna found even more answers when she met Julie Wiebe, a PT that changed the way she thought about everything. This is where some changes in pregnancy #2 are going to come in play. After purchasing and working through Julie Wiebe’s online courses I have learned two things:
1) You don’t have to live with peeing yourself just because you have had a baby. While I don’t have this problem, millions of women do and there are ways to fix this- but it is going to take some work. 2) I may be able to improve my gap even more!! I thought I was going to be stuck where I was forever, this may not be the case- but it is going to take some work.
I have worked on changing my alignment, how I walk up the stairs, how I pick up Chase, and how I breathe during lifts. I have been working on this for a few months and let me tell you it is NOT easy. Old habits die hard. However, like anything, you have to work hard for results!
I want to set up my pelvic floor and my abdominals to actually work together to be strong to support this pregnancy and my recovery. These two working together is very different than JUST having strong abdominals. Brianna is basing her entire career as a trainer around helping women with these issues. I plan to hire her to write my recovery programming this time around because I will “know better and do better,” as she says :)
Here are my resources. Please send them to all the pregnant ladies/mothers you know or anyone that coaches women in any type of fitness industry. The doctors and nurses often don’t tell you any of this, as they are focused on other things. So, I will never stop trying to educate women on how to heal their bodies the right way from the start.
Here is where you can buy the online courses:
Here is Brianna’s website. She also has a FB page: “Everyday Battles” you can follow Here is one of her recent posts:
When I was pregnant, I was praised for being healthy and fit. I was continually told how easily I would "bounce back" because of my training. I was told (and believed) that listening to my body was enough during this phase of life. The message of "keep doing what you've always done" played in my head daily. No one EVER mentioned Diastasis Recti, or pelvic floor health to me. Not a single coach, Doctor, woman, practitioner. And despite being in the fitness industry, I didn't know either. Again, I believed that I was fine because everything felt fine. That's just not good enough information. THIS is why I haven't shut the hell up for almost 3 years now. Cuz no one else around me was talking about this side of fitness. This mindset carried over into postpartum- "You're cleared! Just ease back in to normal activity," so I did. Again, that's just not good enough information. Pregnancy and postpartum require specific training and rehabilitative protocols. Don't let any coach or practitioner give you the easy answers. What you've always done is NOT necessarily what's best for optimal function, strength and recovery. ‪#‎buzzkill‬ 🙋🏼 Even the fittest, strongest women need a game plan. Incontinence and a weak core should not be an accepted norm...whether it's during pregnancy, immediately postpartum or years postpartum. What you DO and what you DON'T do during these chapters have lasting effects. Have questions? Need guidance? First, SEE A WOMEN'S HEALTH/PELVIC FLOOR PT. Second, I have a variety of coaching services (individual, group and online) that educate and empower women to move well with their function and strength in mind. Email: ‪#‎knowbetter‬ ‪#‎dobetter‬

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

From an 8-9 finger gap to a 1-2 finger gap!!

Big Tummy updates for those that are interested or going through your own journey of healing after giving birth. This is long...and conversational....
For a few days, I totally believed I would need tummy surgery, and wouldn’t be able to pick Chase up for 6 weeks. The first doctor (sports doc) I talked to that actually KNEW what diastasis recti was told me I wouldn’t be able to support another baby without the surgery. Because he was the first doctor to actually address the issue, I believed everything he said. I posted on Facebook to get surgeon recommendations, and I had more doctor appointments for more opinions scheduled but not for a few weeks.
As the next few days went by I started to calm down and gather more information. I found moms through my mommy facebook page that have had the surgery, but I found most of them waited until AFTER they were done having kids. Many told me they tried PT only to find that the gap just wouldn’t close. I also found another woman who had a 6 finger gap and healed it back to a 3 finger gap in 18 months. There were so many kinds of stories out there. While small gaps are common (most don’t even know what it is or how to heal it), larger ones certainly aren’t that rare either (I found a lot of women online dealing with issues similar to mine). However, with so many different stories out there, I still didn’t know what to expect with my particular case.
I called my lactation specialist who was my angel the first few months with Chase. I couldn’t have breastfeed without her and valued her opinion. She told me to breathe and that I could have a baby whenever I wanted to and that I just might have to wear a girdle to support my belly (which I did with the first pregnancy anyway because my belly was HUGE). She said I am super strong and my body can definitely handle it. Okay, that isn’t so bad….still more info to go...
In the meantime, I am trying to get a damn script for PT. I wanted a freaking physical therapist to look at me and see what he/she thought about it. You would think I was trying to get a script for vicodin.
I called the OB office, and they refused to give me one since this was a post baby issue. The sports doctor refused to write me a PT script and told me if could heal this on my own then he would write an article about me.
I went back to the primary care doctor I saw. She told me originally that they “don’t do that” for DR since nothing is “wrong.” She did tell me after I saw the surgeon she recommended to me to call back if I still wanted the script. Okay, great….. I’ll have a surgeon feel around in there and see what they say.
I called the surgeon’s office, and they don’t want to see me without a CT. A CT???? I mean sure if I NEED a CT I will get one but can’t someone just FEELING MY F@#$ING STOMACH and give me an opinion first? If nothing is “wrong,” why do I need a CT? The hunt continues….
Next up...I had TWO really good PTs recommended to me that specialize in women issues, and they both knew the size of my gap and STILL wanted to see me. There was hope! I realized that I might need surgery but why not at least TRY to do it on my own or at least get an OPINION from someone that works with muscles all the time. With shaking hands, I called back the primary care office and asked for the script….I had to wait a day to see if it went through and it did. Thank goodness.
I met my PT. She really knew her stuff, and she also had been Crossfitting for 6 months and loving it. This helped because she could tell me what to do/not to do at the gym. For the most part I was on the right track with my Crossfit modifications- that was good news! I left the first appointment hopeful but realistic. She said she can’t make any promises but that we could try a few things. 1) she did some muscle release and massaging of my c section scar. The problem was that my abs were in the wrong place AND they were really strong and tight (so they weren’t moving). 2) She gave me some more intense stuff to do than the MuTu program I was doing at home. Basically, I squeeze together my fat, skin, and rectus abdominus muscles and do a slight sit up using my transverse abdominus. I started just barely lifting my chin but now she has me actually lift up my shoulders. I do this a few times a day.
Next appointment with my old gynecologist (she doesn’t do deliveries anymore). She is amazing, so I had to wait 3 weeks to see her but it was well worth it. She knew what DR was and was so calm and helpful. The good news was I didn’t have a hernia (which was my other big concern- that would be surgery for sure). She told me to continue PT and see what comes of it, but she also suggested I also talk to a surgeon. She gave me the name of a plastic surgeon that is excellent but will not pressure surgery if it is not needed. Also, she said since my back hurts that he will be able to get the insurance to cover it (the other thing I was freaking out about). The most important news..I can have another baby whenever I want (not that we are ready yet). Another piece to the puzzle…and no surgery for now. Whew! I scheduled an appointment with the surgeon anyway just to gather more information for the future.
Well, I guess I should give the sports doctor a call back because…. my gap is down from 8-9 fingers to almost a 1. Yes… ONE!!?? I still can’t believe the progress that I had made in less than 2 months going to PT twice a week. The PT was beyond thrilled and called in other PTs to come check out this crazy story. And no one thought PT was going to do anything, huh?
I canceled my appointment with the surgeon for now, anyway.
Along with seeing the PT this is what I do each day:
~doing my special sit ups a few times a day
~lots of perfect planks
~I wrapped my stomach during the day for awhile. Now that I have healed my PT has told me to stop doing this since my abs are functioning better and she wants them to gain strength again.
~using PT tape on my stomach (see pictures). First, she did the cross taping, but now that I have healed more we just do the 3 strips across.
~still doing some of the MuTu exercises. Why not? anything that can help!
~laying off lifting heavy at the gym (staying moderate weight), no sit ups, no kipping pull ups, ring dips, or hspus (only strict in these movements), burpees on my knees, no T2b, no o lifting...doing extra KB work (sub this for barbell a lot of the time) and lots of lunges and squats! (Now that I am pretty much healed I get to slowly go back to doing all of these exercises which is so exciting for me. My PT is monitoring my every move :) )
~sitting up straight. This is way harder than you might imagine if you don’t pay attention to it. I don’t even sit that much during the day since I am not back to work yet…. but when I am sitting in a chair feeding chase, or sitting on the ground, or typing this blog… you better believe I am sitting up really damn straight.
~ no heels
~ I also just weaned completely, which I personally thinking helped me heal as my hormones re-regulated themselves.
~positive attitude
Even at a 1, my stomach still sticks out from extra skin, trauma, and who knows what else. I am trying hard to accept this, and it isn’t easy as no amount of working out and eating clean (which I do anyway) is going to make this better. So, I will post the pictures here in hopes that other moms are learning to love those post-baby bellies too. It sure as hell isn’t easy, but Chase is sure as hell worth it.
You have to advocate for yourself and fight hard for answers. Everyone that has DR, whether it is a 2 finger or an 8 finger, is going to have a different experience with the healing process along with other possible complications. However, there is not nearly enough education about this out there at ALL. Please pass along this information to any mothers you know. Both the during and after of my next pregnancy will be so much different with the knowledge I have gained. Stay tuned ;)
This is with 8-9 finger gap before I started this process. I posted this in my last blog.
These are the two different taping methods we have tried:
This is how I look right now:

Monday, February 9, 2015

Longer the journey, sweeter the success!

Well, it has been about month into my rehab to heal my tummy! I got upset just a few days ago wishing that progress would be a little faster. There is some progress that has been made, but it is smaller than I would like it to be. However, tonight I realized two things.
I should probably get a waist cincher! I was against this after my c section. I had a light binder I got from the hospital that I wore so I didn’t feel like my insides would fall out, but I never got anything more intense. I wanted to strengthen my abs more organically. After talking to Brianna Battles from Birthfit in California, I realized that these cinchers can help hold my split abs together and really help the healing process. So I am going to give the Squeem a try, wear it around the house while bending down and picking up Chase all day, fix my posture (been trying to be more aware but this thing won't allow me to hunch over), and keep an open mind. I am actually kind of excited about something else I can add into my healing practice. I’ll let you all know what happens. I hope I can breathe! :)
Cyndi Burnstein posted my video talking about the advisory program at New School High. A few of my former students wrote some nice things that made me cry. I literally just stood in the shower tonight and cried for like two minutes (so dramatic, typical). In the crazy high school teaching schedule you just keep moving along, wondering if anyone is really listening to you. Well, they are! Really! Similarly, I have been trucking along the last month doing my exercises, modifying at the gym, and wondering if it is going to help and wondering when I can do a heavy squat clean again. However, I keep reminding myself that once I am fully healed the success will be even sweeter since the journey has been much longer than expected. There is a reason I will never forget the day I got my first muscle up. I remember what I was wearing, who was there, what time it was, what the rings looked like...basically everything. That is because it took me six months to get there, along with mental and physical struggles along the way. These kind, thoughtful comments from my former students reminded me just how blessed I am to have been able to teach for the past ten years at three different schools, to be a part of the amazing New School High, to have such a happy son, to have a husband that is supportive of these goals in my life, and to have loving friends and family. Once my current goals are reached, I will feel AMAZING... and but then it will be on to new goals in fitness, career, and life. The journey is never ending. I cannot forget that.
** Since my last post I have talked to at least three other women that have realized they have DR that had no clue about it before...please help me spread the word! Here is the link to a GREAT article on diastasis recti by Brianna Battles!! Please send this around!!!!! I wish someone sent this to me before/during my pregnancy!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Part-time teacher next year, Mother all day, Crossfitter at noon

I’ve been thinking about writing something for the past few months to talk about my journey back into Crossfit after having my son Chase. I normally leave the gym each day with all these inspirational ideas in my head, then by the time night rolls around and Chase is asleep I feel like my head is just one big blur. I am still adjusting to stay at home mom life. I am sure once I get it all down, it will be time to start working again :) All of my inspirational thoughts probably would have only accumulated into a short little Facebook post. However, a few days ago I had a setback that demanded a blog post to actually happen.
Let’s start with this photo. This is a photo of my post-baby stomach in all of its glory (it used to be much larger). It isn’t pretty, but it bore human life (and a pretty cute one at that:) ). The reason I am showing you all my stomach that I normally spend so much time trying to hide with cute baggy blouses (thank god that style is in right now!) is to educate you. If you are a woman that likes to lift heavy and/or crossfit and also wants to have a baby, listen up!
When I got on the scale at the doctor I noticed I lost all but 4 damn pounds of my pre-baby, crossfit regional competitor, in-shape self. Damn! Well, that is exciting. I have been eating well and working out….. but….. WTF?! Why do I still look 5 months pregnant? I mean I plan to fully embrace the stretch marks, loose skin, and my c section scar. I don’t expect to have a 6 pack right now, and I am not asking for a miracle! However, having a weird, large, round, and hard belly (no, it isn’t even flabby fat which would totally make sense...) is unsettling.
I went to my new OB in Michigan, since I couldn’t see my doctor in LA, of course. She said everything looked fine, no hernia, uterus was good. I asked her to check my abs...yup, all was good. Hmmm.. I wondered...okay, well I did gain 50 pounds in the pregnancy, I have a short little torso, and I was pretty huge (a few friends told me they “feared for me” when she saw me around 40 weeks prego) fine….I am just kinda screwed up and need more time to get back to normal. Makes sense! I am also still nursing so that can mess with hormones and whatnot. Plus, it hasn’t even been a year yet so I told myself to suck it up and move on, ...... back to Crossfit. I felt blessed that I recovered from major stomach surgery well (that is scary stuff!) and patted myself on the back for coming back slowly and not going too fast and hurting myself. I felt like I had EARNED all of my PRs that I was getting at 10 months postpartum. I was patient and now I finally get to push harder and harder! Bring it!! I was PRing like crazy during this #comeback process and feeling like I was getting MY body back. I felt fresh, fun, and free and would get excited to see what each day would bring. I was truly enjoying the journey because I had no deadline, no competition, no pressure but my own goals. It was invigorating.
Little did I know... I WAS hurting something .... I was separating my abs more and more, and I had no clue because everything felt totally fine. And this comes from someone that got pretty good at listening to her own body over the years of competitions. After talking to some more women, I learned I have diastasis recti. This is why my stomach was stuck. It isn’t serious but actually very common. I have a huge creepy gap in my abs. Lots of movements I do at crossfit like lifting heavy weight, preforming toes to bar, and doing sit ups makes this problem worse (Anything that pushes your abs outward). Instead, I needed to be strengthening my transversus abdominis muscles to bring the abs back together. If I would have known, I would have treated my recovery so differently. 2 steps forward, 1 step back….
When I found this out I had a little pity party for myself for about 48 hours, talked to as many people as I could to gather information, and then was ready to move forward. I was angry my OB in LA didn’t warn me. She knew me well and knew about my Crossfit life! So I had to look for answers. I was posting to forums online looking around in a panic for answers. I didn't realize I had accidentally posted one of my frantic questions so people could see it on the Facebook feed. I felt bad for having a pity party all over Facebook because I have so much to be thankful for and this was just a set-back in my Crossfit game. It isn’t too late to fix it, and I most likely will be able to do it on my own since I will be very diligent in my rehab exercises. However, I realized once it went public that I should totally just write about it and help to spread awareness! So I decided I will share my journey of healing my DR.
I have included a few links to websites that have helped me this past week. I am doing the MuTu program at home each night, looking to the Breaking Muscle recovery plan exercises to help me modify the WOD each day at Crossfit, and following Brianna Battles and her “Everyday Battles” blog. The night I sat down to start the MuTu program I listened to the introduction video and all the symptoms of DR and CRIED!!! I had every. single. thing. she. described! I may have been alone at home, but I have never felt in better company! FINALLY, someone was talking my language. FINALLY, it all made sense. And with the next kid (God willing) l will be prepared with a better recovery plan!
I'm grateful for the competitive mindset that I have learned from my Valley Crossfit family for the five years I was in LA. While that mindset helped me be a great local and regional competitor, it translated to my everyday life. I made a plan to move forward and kick this DR! Even though I will miss the feeling of maxing out on lifts and will have to wait a little longer to get my muscle up back….. it will be a new and different kind of journey that will allow me to learn even MORE about my body and in the end, when I do make a full comeback- it will be just be that much sweeter.
****Please forgive the conversational writing, grammar, and typos. I am a tired momma :) ****