No matter what guise I come to you as, be it Personal Trainer, Rehabilitation or Post-Natal specialist, health and wellbeing coach, the beginning starts the same way: What are your goals?
Most commonly, the response will be to tone up or to lose weight and in fairness, there is nothing wrong with having goals that are linked to making us feel more accepting of ourselves by being a little kinder on the eye when we glance in the mirror (as long as it is true to our personal desires and not a result of social pressure post-natal mums have piled against them). Yet, mostly, what we need is to function properly and free of pain, whether we are recovering from the The Creator’s greatest gift exiting our human body, or a few decades of gravity being stacked against us post-hysterectomy: we need to function.
Did that shock you? Don’t get me wrong, I will happily create a bespoke 12 week programme for you and include exercise and meal plans that will change the shape of your body and make you feel good. But I’d rather we focused on actually moving correctly before you are beaten with burpees in the hope of the next irrisistable/unattainable Instagram post-workout photo.
After concluding functional movement means moving free of pain and correctly, attention needs to be given to why this is so important.
Rewind two years and there is evidence on the Ether of Instagram that I can be found posting a post-natal picture of me in my work-out gear stating that I was straight back into my jeans – one week after birth. It was true, I was. But I was a different shape everywhere and the challenges of my recovering body hadn’t even started to show. But I looked good, tired but good. So off the gym I went and started lifting weights again four times a week to ‘tone-up’ (there’s that pesky phrase again) and to show how ‘strong’ I was (because clearly pushing out a baby and starting my own business in the same year wasn’t enough to show my personal strength!).
Fast forward to being nine months post-natal, on a slightly cool September morning I decide to take myself for a run. I empty my bladder (or I think I do) before leaving the house and off I trot with a spring in my step and a heart full of gratitude that I had actually made it out of the house before my daughter’s bedtime.
Six houses down and I feel a trickle down my legs that grows stronger and stronger. By the time I have reached the end of the road I have taken off my long sleeved top and wrapped it around my waist to cover the huge puddle around my crotch. I walk back home down the ally, to avoid being seen as much as possible, embarrassed, mortified, confused and feeling completely dysfunctional.
That was when I realized that moving functionally is crucial: crucial for confidence, mental health, post-natal recovery and in fact daily life.
A functional core is the key to basic, pain-free movement, a strong pelvic floor and overall strength. Many of my clients have Diastasis Recti (a gap down the middle of the abdominal wall), which may be a result of pregnancy or even exercising incorrectly for a number of years. This can contribute to low back pain and, at times, discomfort when lifting (thinking car seat into the car – yes, that lift and twist is often a good way to gauge core strength!).
Then there’s the Intra-Abdominal Pressure (IAP). When this becomes dysfunctional we can suffer from incontinence when we cough, laugh or sneeze. It is very common, but that doesn’t make it right.
So how can I help you become functional? With the right nutrition (yes, nutrition is also key in healing), progressive fitness and implementation of hypopressive exercise (low pressure) I can help you become functional as well as tone up!
Hypopressive exercise is for anyone who suffers from a dysfunctional core, which often gives us signs such as:
- low back pain
- diastasis recti
- incontinence – in any form
- stages 1 & 2 pelvic organ prolapse
- core strength.
My 6 week hypopressive programme can help you combat these safely and effectively. Invest in your health, be functional.