Diet Heart Hypothesis – Part 2

Part 2

Cholesterol as an Enemy of Heart…

Cholesterol is an organic molecule that is essential for the normal function of our cells and our body is capable of making all the cholesterol it needs. We all have heard of LDL (“bad”) and HDL (“good”) cholesterol and how supposedly high LDL is related to the high risk of CVD. So how did the scientist came to this conclusion?

Let’s look at the studies that tried to support the idea of cholesterol causing cardiovascular disease.

In 1986 the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) has published a study that became a standard and is used as a reference to this day. “Relationship between serum cholesterol and risk of premature death from coronary heart disease” by Stamler et al. In this study, scientists came to conclusion that “ 1% higher serum cholesterol level was associated with an almost 2% higher CHD risk”.

But let’s look at the actual numbers in the study and see if this conclusion makes sense.

People with the lowest LDL cholesterol:

99.7% – didn’t die from CHD

0.3% – died from the CHD

People with the highest LDL cholesterol:

98.7% – didn’t die from CHD

1.3% – died from the CHD

So how did the scientist came up with a risk factor for high cholesterol, you ask? If you take the extremes and divide 1.3% / 0.3% you will get 4.13 which translates into 400% risk factor or increase in deaths. Math magic isn’t it?! 

It’s worth remembering an important point: correlation doesn’t equal causation. 1% rate of deaths across the entire range of cholesterol amount is a way too small to be considered a “cause” for any type of disease.

There several other studies, including the ones from the large pharmaceutical companies (the ones that produce statin drugs) that also manipulated data in such fashion. But we also have a few that have some evidence showing LOW levels of cholesterol AND LDL can be linked to the increased risk of CVD.

  1. Familial Hypercholesterolemia: a genetic and metabolic study” by Harlan et al, published in 1966: “no evidence that familiar hypercholesterolemia appreciably shortens the life and affected individuals. On the contrary, they show that high levels of serum cholesterol are clearly compatible with survival into the seventh and eighth decades”.

  1. Cholesterol and all-cause mortality in elderly people from the Honolulu Heart Program: a cohort study” (20 year long study) by Schatz et al., published in 2001: “Our data accord with precious finding of increased mortality in elderly people with low serum cholesterol, and show that long-term persistence of low cholesterol concentration actually increases risk of death”

  2. Lack of an association or an inverse association between low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol and mortality in the elderly: a systematic review”, meta-analysis by Ravnskov et al, published in 2016: “ Since elderly people with high LDL-C live as long or longer than those with low LDL-C, our analysis provides reason to question the validity of the cholesterol hypothesis.

As you can see, the actual studies give quite opposite answers to what we normally hear these days.

The reasons behind cardiovascular diseases are quite versatile and cholesterol DOES play a role but not in the way you probably used to think.

Here are some facts:

  • There are 5 types of LDL and HDL molecules

  • Not all LDL is bad and not all HDL is good

  • LDL-a are “fluffy”, large molecules that are harmless and serve their purpose

  • LDL-b molecules, are very small and “hard’, golf-like molecules that are dangerous for our health

  • Some HDL types do not reduce inflammation that’s why some people with high HDL still develop heart disease

  • At least 50% of people with high total cholesterol have healthy hearts

  • Cholesterol alone is not a reason for heart disease.

Useful to know: Next time you do your cholesterol check instead of simply checking total cholesterol, do the particle test. That’s the only way to know what is actually happening with your cholesterol. Low total cholesterol but a high amount of LDL-b particles are BAD news. On the other hand, over the top high total cholesterol with a high count of LDL-a particles are GREAT news.

Unlike in the criminal justice system, where you are innocent until you are proven guilty; in science, the hypothesis is considered wrong until proven right.

This post is my attempt to bring your attention and to encourage you to think cryptically of anything you hear on the media, literature and even your doctors. As my 7th-grade physics teacher said: “don’t believe everything people say just because they say they know better. Analyze before you come to your own conclusion”.

This post is inspired by the work of many influential people, including Dr. David Diamond, Uffe Ravnskov, Nina Teicholz, Dr. Thomas Seyfreid, and many others. I highly recommend reviewing their lectures and books for a more in-depth understanding of the topic of nutrition.

The “Diet-Heart Hypothesis”

Part 1

The great tragedy of science: the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact” – Thomas Huxley

It all started in the early 1900s when American oil manufactures found themselves in a tough spot wanting to produce more packaged foods with longer shelf life and cheaper production cost. Series of changes in the products manufacture strongly correlated with a rapid increase in a number of heart disease cases which by 1950s became almost epidemic.

In response to the skyrocketing number of heart disease cases, scientists began a frantic search for the reason, which eventually led them to a hypothesis: a diet that is high in saturated fats causes heart disease.

A hypothesis became an accepted truth before there was any evidence to support it and Ancel Keys was the one of the main reasons for that.

Ancel Keys was a very smart, charismatic and influential individual, with BA in economics and political science, Ph.D. in zoology and human physiology, he became the main driving force and a father of “Diet-Heart Hypothesis”. In 1961, Mr. Keys appeared on the cover of the Time magazine with the main article stating that Americans eat too much of saturated fat, which leads to the increase of blood cholesterol, which leads to the damage of the arteries and causes coronary disease. Keys advised to cut saturated fats to 4% of the total calories and reduce total fat intake to no more than 15%.

This article became the base of the recommendation for the entire U.S. nation (and many other countries) that is used today by the majority of doctors.

So what is wrong with it, you ask?

The problem is that all studies on the diet-heart hypothesis had a very high failure rate, but due to the series of chronological events, greediness of big corporations and political interests, these result had to be rationalized and altered in order to fit the hypothesis that became a matter of institutional credibility.

Majority of American society, including doctors, sincerely believe that low-fat diet is beneficial and can prevent heart disease. Ancel Keys had such a powerful influence that American Heart Association still follows the guidelines Keys provided in 1961.

There were several big-name scientists who were strongly against such dramatic changes in dietary guidelines for the entire nation, but their voices were not heard until the recent years. How could that have happened, you ask?

The explanation is very simple actually, in today’s world it is easy to express ourselves and therefore being heard with a help of internet and social media. Regardless of your beliefs, associations and/or support from big names your opinion can be heard by millions of people with just a “click of the button”. The internet gave us the power we never had before. Back in the 20th century, on the other hand, your opinion could only be heard if it aligned with the opinion of highly influential subjects of the society. While today we don’t need anyone’s permission to publish our opinion or a study, back in the day, you needed the approval of people in power. Ancel Keys, American Heart Association (that was given a check for 1.2 million by the Oil Company in the exchange for the support. Talk about conflict of interests) and other big names of that time, had no interest in being proven wrong. So the truth had slipped through the fingers for quite some time.

Since the scientists that disagree with Keys’ theory were a minority, they were not favored by big companies who funded research, they were pushed out of the publications and generally didn’t get any light outside of the science community, which means general public was greatly unaware of their existence.

Over the years, more and more scientists from all over the world were piling up the evidence against diet-heart hypothesis and in 2015 the Time magazine had published another article stating that saturated fat doesn’t cause an increase of cholesterol and/or risk of cardiovascular disease.

To be continued…

Recovery: Hot vs Cold

Growing up as an athlete in Russia I always knew that a hot bath or wet sauna are great for recovery. When I moved to the US, however, I quickly realized that this concept is quite foreign to athletes and fitness enthusiasts here. More often than not I see people applying ice packs to the sore or swollen muscles and when I suggest doing the opposite I am usually met with a puzzled look.

Let’s take a look at the science behind both options.

Cold Therapy for Recovery

A hard workout will create small trauma to the muscle and other tissues, which means inflammation. Cold therapy is aiming to reduce the inflammation as fast as possible and relieve the discomfort. But here is the thing, inflammation is NOT a problem in this setting, itis only dangerous if it becomes chronic. Inflammation is a necessary tool that acts as a signal for recovery. Taking ice bath, for example, does indeed reduce inflammation but it also slows down the recovery process.

On the other hand, cool rather than cold bath/shower may help the recovery. During the workout, blood rushes to the muscles and our vessels become wider. Taking a cool shower or bath helps with shrinking blood vessels just enough to reduce the inflammation without postponing the recovery.

Hot Tub or Heat

When my clients pull a muscle I usually recommend applying some cold for the first day and then sleep with the heating pad. Here is why. The body has a natural way of healing: inflammation, repair, remodel. Applying ice reduces inflammation, but too much of it will slow down repair and remodel. Heat on the other hand, helps keeping the vessels dilated and brings all necessary nutrients to the injury site.

I use this method on myself and my clients; I always note how much faster I heal when I apply heat vs cold, or not applying anything at all.

When it comes to post-workout recovery I now often use a combination of both: warm bath for 20min followed by a cool shower. This way I can reap the benefits of both worlds 🙂

Which option do you prefer? Have you tried other ways for a faster recovery?

Eating Out – Tips

Let’s be honest, a lot of people simply don’t have an opportunity to food prep on daily or weekly basis due to work/travel schedule. The good news is that you DON’T HAVE TO eat homemade food in order to stay in shape year round. All you need to do is to be mindful of yourchoices. Let’s look at some points.

  • Mindfulness with EVERY Choice 

Before you order your next meal think about what you already had through out the day. Your choices should depend on each other. Did you have enough protein in the morning? Did you have too many carbs at lunch? Chose accordingly.

  • Keep it Simple

It’s great to be able to enjoy something special once in a while, but when you eat out on regular basis, balance is the key. Keep your meal choices as simple and customize accordingly. For example, you can always ask for the salad dressing on the side, refuse an extra serving of bread or rice. Eat for your goals!

  • Portion Control 

This one could be really hard to do especially if the food is very tasty and/ or you are too hungry. Drink plenty of water before eating and eat SLOWLY. The faster you eat the greater is the likelihood of you overeating. It takes about 20 min for your stomach to give the signal to your brain that you are no longer hungry.

Being mindful of your choices while eating out will help you stay on track with your fitness goals. Instead of using restaurant meals as an excuse, make them a part of your health plan.

Artificial Sweeteners and How they Affect our Bodies

Most people on the diet avoid or at least decrease the amount of sugar they consume and substitute it with artificial sweeteners. Some fitness “gurus” are against artificial sweeteners because they believe in their harmful effects. As for me, I think moderation is the key. Ideally, you should stick with natural calorie-free alternatives like Stevia and Monk fruit, but consuming “artificial sweet” few times a week is better, in my opinion, that consuming an all natural sugar, and definitely not going to kill you.

Let’s take a look at some facts

Saccharin

This compound was found in 1878 by researcher Constantin Fahlberg. In 1978 studies in rats linked this sweetener to a bladder cancer in rodents. For a while, saccharine was claimed to be harmful to humans but numerous human-based studies have shown that cancer in rodents doesn’t translate into cancer in humans. In 2000, FDA cleared saccharine as a generally safe substance to consume within daily dosage limits.

While saccharine is a calorie-free sweetener, it does raise blood glucose levels to some degree. It can also cause GI distress in some people, allergic reactions and headaches.

Aspartame

Despite the loud claims of the opponents of aspartame who claim it causes cancer, there is no actual evidence to support such a conclusion. To this date, the only “evidence” we have is several studies in rats showing that in some cases, extremely high dosages of aspartame were linked to the development of the brain tumors. That being said, there is no evidence that supports such claims in humans. Agencies in the US and in Europe evaluated aspartame and found it safe for use.

There is only one case in which aspartame presents a risk to health, Phenylketonuria is a rare genetic disorder (present at birth) in which the body can’t break down phenylalanine (one of the amino acids that make up aspartame).

Sucralose

The most well-known brand that uses sucralose is Splenda. Sucralose is a zero calorie, artificial sweetener. Over 100 studies have been analyzed by FDA and European Union Scientific Committee on Food, no evidence of carcinogenic properties was found in the process. Sucralose is safe for consumption by humans.

These are just a few, most common artificial sweeteners that we can find in almost any processed food. While I always support the idea of eating whole foods, I also support the notion of not being paranoid about small things. 

When it comes to artificial sweeteners it’s worth to note that while they don’t have any calories they do give a signal to brain similar or in some cases, identical, to the one that is produced by sugar or other carbohydrates. This sometimes translates in craving extra portion of calorie dense food later throughout the day. That all being said, I don’t see anything wrong with enjoying occasional diet soda here and there as long as you are mindful of your overall dietary targets.

Have a beautiful week, my friends!

GymKat

Why do you gain weight

Besides the well-known reason – you eat more calories than you spend, there are quite a few reasons to why you may not be losing the weight.

1. Stress
During stressful times our bodies produce more of a stress hormone – cortisol. Chronically high levels of which lead to a lot of dis-balance. But even relatively short spikes of cortisol will affect water balance in the body. Higher cortisol levels = water retention.

2. Increase in carbs
Each gram of carbohydrate attracts up to 3g of water. So if one day you ate more carbs than usual, you sure will see it on the scale.

3. Water intake
Our bodies regulate water and sodium balance by different mechanisms. Diuretic hormone vasopressin and anti-diuretic hormone ADH are largely responsible for the water balance in your body. Every time you change your water intake your body needs time to adjust. Let’s say you drink 1 gallon of water a day on regular basis. If on one of the days you drink 2 or 3 gallons you will notice weight gain next morning because your body didn’t have time to catch up with the new water intake amount.

4. Salt intake
Similar to the water balance, the amount of salt in bodily fluids is also tightly regulated. Variation in salt intake causes cells to either shrink or swell by attracting more or less water.
Food in restaurants tends to have more flavor and salt than the one we eat at home. So often, even if you eating out meal was a good healthy option, you will see an increase in your body weight the next morning.

5. GI problems
Any kind of GI problems, like diarrhea or constipation, will cause weight fluctuations due to the constant salt and water balance change.

6. Weighing at different times/conditions
This one seems obvious, but yet… Weighing yourself first thing in the morning will always yell different results from the weight you see during the day or in the evening due to the food and fluid intake. To get the most accurate measurement, ensure you are weighing yourself in similar conditions every time.

There are a lot more reasons to why your weight can fluctuate on a day to day basis and that is exactly why weight should be used only as a tool. For the more accurate progress measurement include circumference of your waist, navel, and hips. Measuring once a week or every other week will give a good idea on whether you are moving in the right direction.

Stay fit,

GymKat 🙂

Sweet Tooth Cravings

I haven’t met a lot of people who don’t like sweets. In fact, I’ve had a horrible sweet tooth myself, for the most part of my life. Things have changed for me when I switched to a ketogenic diet. It wasn’t an overnight process, though, it took some time, but eventually, I lost my “thing” for sweets. A ketogenic diet is not for everyone, so even if you are on a regular carbohydrate diet there are ways to battle the sweet tooth. Here are some tips:

  1. Clean your palette

From experience and research, we know that a human brain is wired to want/ crave something that we eat on regular basis. The tastier is your food – the more you want it. Sometimes, in order to stop craving different foods, including sweets, all you need to do is to clean the palette. Sweet foods also tend to be the most calorie dense, which is a plus from an evolutionary perspective but a big problem if you are trying to lose body fat. So when you remove all sweet products for some time, your brain literally forgets the taste of it and no longer craves it. The period of time will depend on the individual. In general, I would say 15-30 days would do the trick.

The trick here, however, is to remember is that this process is NOT a punishment and that you CAN, in fact, eat the sweets, you just CHOSE NOT to. If your mental state is not on point, you are risking falling off the wagon and binging.

  1. Find a substitute

One of my favorite tricks is to eat something salty or spicy when I crave something sweet. It totally confuses the brain and kills the craving. Give it a try!

  1. Emotional Dependence

Comfort Food” can take different shapes. Some love pizza, some pasta and some devour a pint of ice cream in one seating. Many people use comfort foods, alcohol, and drugs as a way to relieve emotional discomfort. The key to battling the problem is, first of all, to recognize the problem, and then find a substitute. Make a conscious choice to do something not related to food when you are under stress or other emotional problem. YOU have the power to change the outcome by changing your actions – one at a time.

  1. Your diet is not balanced

It doesn’t matter if you are on a ketogenic diet or on a regular carbohydrate diet, if it is not structured properly you will crave “something tasty”. To balance it out, make sure to eat enough protein and fibrous veggies. This will keep you full for a while and provide you with all the necessary vitamins and minerals. Only then, add your carbs (if you are on a regular diet) and make sure that at least 80% of your daily carb intake comes from whole food sources (rice, potato, beans, etc.). Last, add fats to fill up the remainder of your caloric needs.

Of course, there could be more reasons for your cravings but these are the most common. That’s why it is important to have an individualized approach to the diet and exercise program.

Stay healthy and fit,

GymKat

Postpartum Fitness – What Are We Missing?

Social media is saturated with images of fitness models that pride themselves on “getting their bodies back” (as if there is such thing), along with the fitness centers and boot camps that encourage you to try their “magic formula”. Being a Mom is hard. Lack of sleep, never-ending stress and responsibilities, and now, added pressure from the society that tells you “being a mom is not an excuse to be out of shape”. While it is true, it also creates a sense of urgency and a requirement for the moms to look a certain way and get that perfect body FAST.

So what SHOULD we do? Should we, women, be concerned with the “fast track to better body” or should we rather be concerned with the safe and proper way of getting a NEW, STRONGER and HEALTHIER one?

Let me start by stating one simple truth: during pregnancy, our bodies change dramatically. Once the baby is born our bodies never come back to what they used to be. POSTPARTUM IS FOREVER. It doesn’t matter if you had your baby 1 month ago or 15 years ago – you always be a postpartum athlete.

That doesn’t mean that you will never be able to get in a better shape than before the pregnancy, or that you cannot be stronger or leaner. No, not at all! Of course, YOU CAN achieve anything you put your mind to (there are plenty of examples of women that have done that). Rather, what it means is that we need to learn how to be patient with our bodies postpartum and ourselves, how to listen to the NEW body we have after the baby.

Let’s take a look at some symptoms that we should be on the lookout for AT ALL TIMES:

  • Incontinence during any type of activity or at rest

  • Diastasis Recti

  • Organ prolapse

  • Painful intercourse

  • Lack of stability during movements

This is just a short list of very COMMON but NOT normal symptoms that women experience during pregnancy or postpartum. I’ve met a lot of women that have these symptoms YEARS after having their kids and don’t do anything about it simply because they don’t know that IT IS an issue that needs to be taken care of.

I wish there was one size fits all type of workout or advice but unfortunately, there isn’t one. However, there are a few tips I would like to share that can help you become more aware of your body and determine the COURSE OF ACTIONS.

  1. Talk to a pelvic floor physical therapist

Even if you have any of these symptoms years after having your kids you can still see pelvic floor specialist that can help you understand what is going on and help you adjust your fitness routine. Even if your insurance doesn’t cover it, realize, one visit will give you a lot of valuable information.

  1. There is no rush

While it is tempting to get started with a strict workout regimen and diet in an attempt to get leaner and fitter as fast as possible, the INITIAL FOCUS should always be on RESTORING and REBUILDING. There is no right or wrong timeline, each person is different. Some of us will need just a few months to recover and rebuild, while others may require a couple of years. Either way, it all should happen on YOUR terms.

  1. Work with the specialist

Work with a personal trainer and/or physical therapist that have knowledge and expertise in this specific field. Working with people that know what they are doing, is a crucial part of the process. Note, that each professional works in his/her scope of practice. Your doctor is not there to prescribe you a corrective exercise program, a physical therapist is not there to build a workout routine for your or motivate you, and a personal trainer is not there to rehab you. The more eyes you have on you during this chapter of your life, the better and faster results you are going to see.

  1. It is SERIOUS but it’s NOT the end of the world

If you experience any symptoms postpartum please, don’t feel like it’s the end of the world. Pain and discomfort are NOT the enemies, they are SIGNALS telling us that something needs to change. There are only two mistakes you can make in this situation:

  • Ignore the signs and continue your normal routine through pain and discomfort; OR

  • Panic and get discouraged

Almost any issue that arises with pregnancy is fixable with the right approach. But in order for that to happen, you have to listen to what your body is telling you and take an action.

I hope this post brings attention to the importance of understanding the pregnancy and postpartum athleticism. If you feel like you need to get some help with getting started but don’t know where, let me know, and I’ll do my best

Stay strong and beautiful,

GymKat

Happiness

Shawn Achor, an American author of the best seller book “Happiness Advantage” made his career on studying “happiness”. Shawn believes that as a society we have focused our attention on productivity and completely forgot about the meaning of our lives along with happiness.

According to Shawn traditional formula of happiness: “I will be happy when I achieve or get something” is fundamentally wrong. We should be able to be happy in a present moment, content with what we already have while still working on our goals.

So what is the recipe for a happy life according to the advocate of positive psychology? Let’s take a look.

1. Grateful for today

Every night, before going to bed, spare at least 5 minutes to write down 3 things you are grateful for today. What happened throughout the day that made you happy? The idea is to condition yourself to see new things to be grateful for every single day and never repeat them.

2. Duplicate a positive experience

Think about a positive thing that happened in the last 24 hours. Spent several minutes “re-living” the moment by talking about it and try to find at least 4 details about it. When you go through the particular situation one more time (positive or negative) the brain begins to magnify the significance. The more details you include in the description of the positive moment the more positive emotions you are going to receive at the end of the exercise.

3. Happy 15

Science has proved it many times, exercise makes a positive impact on our psychological state. The good news is that you don’t have to “live at the gym” 7 days a week. As little as 15 min of exercise a day can positively affect your emotional state. Take your dog for a 15 minute walk, go for a short jog, or do a simple bodyweight circuit at home.

In addition, Achor adds that out brain looks at the completed exercise activity as a victory that spreads to other actions throughout the day.

4. Meditation

Spare couple of minutes every day for doing absolutely nothing, but seating still, turning off your brain and watching your breath.  Even a very short conscious break can help you to lower your stress and bring you to the more calm and happier state.

5. Acts of kindness

Doing good for other people simply because you can is a great simulator of happiness. Try sending a positive message to a person you know in the morning, buying a coffee for a next person in line or holding a door for someone. Little things add up and they do make us happier.

6. Social connections

Social connections affect success, happiness, and even life longevity. Besides, the feeling of social support is extremely important for our happiness. That doesn’t mean we always need to be surrounded by people (some of us are introverts after all). But rather be in connection with friends, family, and people that are important to us.

Happiness is something we all have to work on. If you are currently in not so happy place – you have nothing to lose. So give these tips a try and let me know what you think.

Best wishes,

GymKat

Pregnancy and Postpartum Fitness

Today, I would like to cover pregnancy and postpartum fitness. First of all, let me put you at ease by saying I’m NOT pregnant BUT there are a lot of women around me that are, so this topic just came to mind. The goal of this post is to simply bring awareness to the ongoing issue and hopefully encourage to look at this topic from a different point of view.

While pregnancy and postpartum create a new and completely different chapter of a woman’s life it is often taken lightly from a fitness point of view, and it really shouldn’t be. When we talk about postpartum fitness the first thing that comes to mind is weight loss and getting your body back. But what about the HEALING of the body that created a human-being? How does this get lost in the race for the good LOOKING body? We have this idea in the society that once the baby is out you can go back to doing what you have been doing before pregnancy as long as you “listen to your body”. But why?!

Pregnancy is a huge stress for the body, and the delivery itself creates a trauma. The muscles and connective tissues are overstretched, the hormones are all over the place… I mean, any mom will tell you that for at least one year postpartum she didn’t feel like her body belonged to her. So why do we treat it as if nothing happened?

There are so many nuances that usually accompany pregnancy and postpartum athleticism that are often overlooked or misunderstood.

Here are some examples:

  • Do you know what exercises you (or your client if you are a coach) should be and should not be doing if there is an issue of diastasis recti postpartum (besides generic “don’t do crunches”)?
  • Did you know that recommendation for pregnant women of not going above 140 heartbeats per minute during exercise is far long outdated and should not be promoted as a guideline?
  • Did you know that incontinence affects women who haven’t had babies (and sometimes men), and that 85% of women will develop this issue towards the end of the last trimester?
  • Did you know that overhead movements, jumping and running should not be implemented in MOST cases of pregnancy and postpartum?

And those are just a few of the most common issues. So simple but yet such important topics to look at and be able to screen for, but how many of us actually do that?

A big part of it is a lack of education in all branches of medicine and fitness (for ex. a Dr. who discharges a patient from the hospital with words “go back to your regular fitness activities as long as you feel fine”, along with the trainers and coaches that don’t account for all the changes that female body is going through and prescribe inappropriate exercise routine). Another part of it is social media. The feed is bursting through the seams with “get your body back” posts from new moms. And while the intention of those posts is good, the consequences are often not so much.

We also have female trainers and fitness enthusiasts that got themselves in a good physical shape soon after giving a birth. But how many are actually talking about all the behind the scenes issues that are having? And besides, nobody is claiming to be a doctor just because they are generally healthy, so why is it O.K. to give uneducated advice just based on a personal experience when it comes to postpartum fitness?

So what CAN we do?

AS COACHES

  • Educate ourselves on this particular population just like any other
  • Build a better connection with our clients so that they feel comfortable sharing important details that affect their health
  • Know when and to refer to pelvic floor specialists and physicians

AS ATHLETES

  • Work with a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist during pregnancy and postpartum (most insurance plans in the US will cover the visits, at least for some time).
  • Educate ourselves on what is normal and what signs of dysfunctions we should be on the lookout for. And by educate I don’t mean “google it”. I mean talk to qualified professionals in different areas of expertise..
  • Let every professional work in their scope of practice. You Dr is not there to prescribe you exercise program and your trainer is not there to diagnose and treat.

AS A SOCIETY 

We need to talk about pregnancy and postpartum fitness more. We need to be more aware and educated of this particular population as much as of any other (like kids, elderly patients and people with disabilities). Pregnancy and having a baby is such a huge chapter in any woman’s life and should not be overlooked and taken lightly.

With all that being said, here are some resources that helped me to be more educated on this topic:

1. Brianna Battles – “Pregnancy and Postpartum Athleticism” course

2. Julie Wiebe PT

3. Dr. C. Shante Cofield

I hope this post helps you look at pregnancy from a bit different angle. Using words of Brianna Battles ” Pregnancy is temporary but postpartum is forever” so it shouldn’t be treated lightly.

With Love,

GymKat