Fitness

CrossFit Fitness

Peeing During Workouts? How Six Physical Therapy Sessions Solved My Humiliating Problem

05/27/2016

Spoiler alert:  I’m about to get really personal with everyone, and if you’re a guy- might I suggest reading this post, or this post, or this post instead?  If you’re a woman, keep reading because this post might just be for you…

I’m getting ready to admit to the interwebs something that I’ve felt really embarrassed about for a while now—well, for the past 2 years and 8 months to be exact. Almost three years ago, I was lucky enough to give birth to my son, all 8 lbs. and 15 oz. of him. I had a vaginal water birth and I pushed for about two hours because my little guy didn’t want to come out! Motherhood has been the most incredible experience of my life, but with the good also comes some bad. There are all sorts of articles about what to expect after giving birth, but until you experience things like the extreme hair loss that happens about 4 months postpartum, there’s no way to really know. A couple of changes to my body seemed to be permanent…the stretch marks on my thighs, my cute innie belly button being replaced by an outie, and crossing my legs when I sneeze. “Crossing your legs when you sneeze” you might ask? Yes. And it’s not because becoming a mother made me more lady-like when I had a head cold. Crossing my legs was necessary so I didn’t pee my pants. It seems that by exerting so much force in an effort to bring my son into the world, I had done some serious damage to my nether regions. If crossing my legs when I sneezed ended up being the only burden I had to endure, I may have just lived with it, but because CrossFit and working out is such a big part of my life there was something else that this little problem prevented me from doing– double unders. If you’re not familiar with this movement, a double under is when someone jumps rope, but instead of the rope passing underneath their feet once, it passes underneath twice for every jump. As a result, you have to jump higher and exert more force.   IMG_2303 Double unders are one of those skills that you have to practice a lot. It’s not like riding a bike where one day you get it and the ability is there for the rest of your life. I could do double unders before I had my baby, but after I came back to CrossFit it took a really long time before I got them back because my practice was always interrupted by… you guessed it– me peeing my pants! So, I started to rely on a stock of maxi pads that I kept at the gym, and I would run to the bathroom before workouts programmed with double unders. With protection in place, I got increasingly better at the skill, but pads are bulky and uncomfortable.     Last year, I competed on a team at the Pensacola Beach Brawl CrossFit competition. My team chose tight, stretchy shorts to all wear for our uniform. When we found out double unders were in the first workout, I asked everyone if we could switch to different shorts so I didn’t look like I was wearing a diaper beneath the spandex. Did anyone notice the wardrobe change?

I finally decided that enough was enough when I had to leave the gym mid workout because my protection failed and I didn’t have a change of shorts with me. It was mortifying. I didn’t tell anyone that I was leaving; I just left as fast as I possibly could. I reached out to Dr. Whitney Braswell, a physical therapist at Therapydia Nola who specializes in women’s health, to see if my condition could be treated, and I was so happy when I was informed that my problem was common and fixable.   Was it just kegels?   Yes, kegel exercises were involved in my treatment, but the extent of the exercises didn’t end there. Whitney said that many women don’t do kegel exercises properly, so first she made sure that I was engaging the correct muscles. She also gave me breathing exercises because she explained that diaphragmatic breath work helps to increase strength and control of the pelvic floor. My favorite part of the therapy was when I was hooked up to a biofeedback monitor that responded to muscle contractions. Basically I stuck electrodes to my body that were attached to a handheld computer, and I would see a number on the screen every time I contracted or relaxed. The higher the number, the more effective I was during the contraction. I loved seeing a score applied to my exercises, and it was helpful that I was able to quantify my improvement after each appointment. Over the span of 6 appointments over 2 months, Whitney gave me the necessary education and exercises to strengthen my pelvic floor muscles. That’s all it took!  6 appointments and I was cured of my embarrassing problem. I almost cried when I did 300 double unders with no issues and no pad!   Why didn’t I do this sooner? Well, because I honestly didn’t know treatment like this existed. If I had known that it was relatively quick and entirely painless to correct such a humiliating problem, I wouldn’t have waited almost three years to get help! As I said before, issues like these are pretty common, even among women who don’t have children, so there is no need to feel shame or embarrassment about getting help.   If you’re in the New Orleans area and you’re having similar issues, I highly recommend contacting Whitney for treatment. She offers individualized care for women experiencing urinary incontinence, pelvic pain syndromes, and pre- and post-partum dysfunction.  

 

Disclaimer:  This post was sponsored by Therapydia Nola.
Never in my life did I think I’d get therapy for my hoo-ha as a blog perk!
All opinions are my own.    
Fitness

Yoga, Brunch, and Lululemon

01/18/2016

It’s amazing what opportunities life brings if you’re open to new experiences. I tried yoga for the first time this weekend at a yoga and brunch event hosted by Lululemon.  The event was a pre-celebration for the opening of their new store later this month.  My husband has been recognized this year as a Lululemon Ambassador which is an awesome gig full of fun perks.  Sometimes I get to tag along with him and hang out with the incredible community of people that are associated with this company.  For anyone who doesn’t know, Lululemon is a fitness apparel brand, but it’s really so much more than that.  Their clothes are life changing, but I’m discovering that the people who work for the company do so much to inspire others to live a life that their clothes were made for– an active, fulfilling, and quality life.  Normally I would say I don’t do yoga because I’m not flexible, but I realized that sounds just as silly as someone saying they don’t do CrossFit because they’re not strong or they’re not in shape.  I don’t judge someone who walks into my gym who can’t do an air squat with perfect form, so why should I be nervous about people in the class judging me for not being able to touch my toes?  If I don’t try, I don’t grow– so why not? We gathered outside on a Sunday morning at Maison Lafitte, a historic home built in the 1800’s that has been converted into an event venue.  The space was gorgeously set under oak trees dripping Spanish moss from their branches. It was a morning, amid such beauty and positive energy, that I couldn’t help but feel grateful. The class was taught by another ambassador, Brigitte, who teaches yoga at Pilates and Yoga Loft.  I thought what I was getting was an hour long yoga instruction, but I came away feeling as if I received a lesson in life.  Brigitte is an incredible teacher.  She began the class sitting on her matt with her legs crossed, and she said she wanted to introduce us to an idea.  The idea being that we hold every age we ever were inside of us now, and that it’s important to give our younger selves compassion for things we have done that didn’t serve our best self.  She told us to breathe in everything that we wanted in life– empathy, inspiration, forgiveness– and breathe out anything we wanted to let go– regret, resentfulness, or feelings that we’re not enough. When a pose became hard to hold, she told us to breathe into it, allow ourselves to feel the discomfort, and know that the feeling wouldn’t last forever. What a lovely metaphor for life!  I appreciated that when she could tell that people (probably me) were taking things too seriously and judging themselves for not being “good enough” or “flexible enough”, she reminded us to smile and to remember that we’re alive.  Yoga isn’t about being “good”, it’s about experiencing and centering.  It’s about feeling something in yourself that you didn’t know was there.  Brigitte came by to each of us after the class to rub essential oil on our foreheads that smelled like spicy citrus.  I later asked her what scent it was, and she said “It’s called Peace”. I’m not sure if it was Brigitte’s words, the beautiful setting, the awesome playlist, the yoga poses, or the oil… but I definitely felt at peace.  We warmed up with some coffee and delicious food inside.  It couldn’t have been more perfect!  I mean, is there anything better than raw oysters and champagne? I honestly almost didn’t share this on the blog.  I recently purchased a new, fancy camera and I’m frustrated because when I try to apply what I’m reading in books to the camera, it doesn’t give me the results that I want. I was disappointed because I desperately wanted to share this beautiful experience through beautiful photographs, but I’m trying to implement what I learned in the yoga class to my life.  I may not be the photographer I want to be… yet, but I am where I am now, and that’s enough. I’m not going to let it hold me back from sharing a meaningful experience. Luckily, there happened to be a professional photographer at the event who I connected with.  I offered to help her with her photography shoots in exchange for teaching me a few tricks, and I couldn’t be more excited about it.  So, friends, here are my photos that don’t come close to conveying how delightful everything was.  I can’t wait to get better at capturing beauty on film!  IMG_0450 IMG_0452 IMG_0473 IMG_0460 IMG_0464 IMG_0468 IMG_0470 IMG_0472 IMG_0476 Thank you, Lululemon, for allowing me to be apart of such a lovely morning, and thank you for the new yoga mat!  I think I will be getting some use out of it!  What is something you’ve always wanted to try, but haven’t because you’re afraid you won’t be “good enough”?  What’s the worst that can happen? You’ll grow either way!