I'm thrilled to have this incredible guest on the podcast today. Let's meet Jessica Cahoy, she was an elite CrossFit athlete and now embracing the journey of becoming a new mom. We also discuss her pregnancy journey, delivery, and postpartum experience. If you are a mom, if you're thinking about being a mom, or if you're just interested in what it takes to be an elite CrossFit athlete or just an athlete, this episode is definitely for you.
Find show notes at bicepsafterbabies.com/282
- Jessica’s athletic career (04:03, 06:10)
- The lifestyle of an elite athlete (08:55, 09:15)
- The decision process to step away from being an elite athlete (11:50, 14:03)
- Pregnancy journey (15:02, 15:44, 17:55)
- Pregnancy Postpartum (22:13, 25:11)
- Diastasis Recti (27:23, 27:46, 28:17)
Jessica Cahoy’s Instagram
You're listening to Biceps After Babies Radio Episode 282.
Hello and welcome to Biceps After Babies Radio. A podcast for ladies who know that fitness is about so much more than pounds lost or PR's. It's about feeling confident in your skin and empowered in your life. I'm your host Amber Brueseke, a registered nurse, personal trainer, wife and mom of four. Each week my guests and I will excite and motivate you to take action in your own personal fitness as we talk about nutrition, exercise, mindset, personal development and executing life with conscious intention. If your goal is to look, feel and be strong and experience transformation from the inside out, you my friend are in the right place. Thank you for tuning in. Now, let's jump into today's episode.
Hey, hey, hey! Welcome back to another episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke. And today on the podcast, I'm fangirling a little bit because I have Jessica Cahoy on the podcast. If you follow CrossFit and watch the CrossFit Games, you might know her as Jessica Griffith because she's competed at Regionals and Sectionals and semifinals and the games several times. But that was before she was married, so you may know her by her maiden name, which is Jessica Griffith, but she is now married. She now has a baby, and her name is Jessica Cahoy. And I am so excited to have her on the podcast because today in this episode, we talk about her transition from being an elite athlete, going to the games, what it took to be to train at the level to become an elite CrossFit athlete, and then her getting pregnant, going through pregnancy and delivery and postpartum and what that looks like for her, going from training, you know, six hours a day to taking it a little bit easier during her pregnancy and some of the things that I want to highlight about this episode that I really think, especially if you are going through pregnancy or are thinking about becoming pregnant. We talked about Diastasis Recti and pelvic floor disorders and I think this is something that we say this in the episode, but something that's not talked about enough, it's not well known enough and too many women suffer in silence of not really knowing that this is something that can be fixed so I really appreciated Jessica opening up and sharing her experience sharing some of the nitty gritty about what Diastasis Recti is, pelvic floor disorders, her own experience with these things, and being able to prevent them as much as possible during pregnancy and things that you can do during pregnancy to prevent those and then after you know the postpartum period, what she's done to rehab those as well. So lots of really awesome things that we talked about during the episode. If you are a mom, if you're thinking about being a mom, or if you're just interested in what it takes to be an elite CrossFit athlete or just an elite athlete or an athlete at an elite level, this episode is definitely for you, so let's jump into the interview with Jessica.
Amber B 02:58
I am so excited to welcome to the podcast Jessica. Jessica, thanks for coming on today.
Jessica Cahoy 03:03
Thank you for having me.
Amber B 03:06
This is going to be so fun. I was fangirling a little bit when I reached out to Jessica because I watched you at the CrossFit Games for so many years and cheered for you. You know, sectionals and regionals and.
Jessica Cahoy 03:18
Semifinal webinar calls.
Amber B 03:18
Semi-finals and all the things. And it's just, it's I'm really excited about the conversation we're going to have today because you are a recent mother. And I thought, what an awesome thing to talk about. Being a professional elite athlete as well as that transitioning to motherhood. So I think this conversation is gonna be really, really awesome today.
Jessica Cahoy 03:39
I feel like you and I have a lot in common.
Amber B 03:41
Except that I'm not an elite athlete. Mine is the elite athlete part.
Jessica Cahoy 03:46
You do CrossFit. That's enough, OK.
Amber B 03:47
I did make it to quarterfinals a couple of times. That's about as far as I've gotten. OK, cool. So for people who maybe don't follow CrossFit, maybe don't watch the CrossFit Games. Tell us a little bit about you, yourself, a little bit about your athletic career and you know, how you got into CrossFit.
Jessica Cahoy 04:03
Yeah, so I graduated nursing school in 2013 and I, you know, anyone who went through nursing school knows you go from studying 80 hours a week. Feels like 80 hours a week to working only three days a week and so I had so much free time and I had a friend say, I think you would really like CrossFit. So in August of 2013, I stepped into a gym and I was competing by that October, just the local comp. It was the in-house gym competition, but immediately you know, anyone who does CrossFit, you get that. You do it and you get the bug and they call it. You start drinking the kool-aid. That absolutely happened to me. So fast forward to 2015, two years later, I was competing on a team at the CrossFit Games. I competed twice on a team and then decided to go individually, which is a little bit harder to make it individually, so qualified for my first time individually in 2017 and then, you know, competed a couple more times. So I've been to the games twice individually and three times on the team. And it was an amazing ride.
Amber B 05:18
So awesome. I guess I didn't realize that you did nursing first and then CrossFit came second. That's, it's fun for me to be able to have this conversation because I was a nurse as well. Practice as a nurse and that was kind of my first, my first thing, and then came home and started being a mom and stayed home, have my babies and then kind of got into the fitness side of things and CrossFit. So it's kind of fun. We swapped a couple of those like, steps because your baby came afterwards.
Jessica Cahoy 05:49
Amber B 05:49
It's fun to be able to have that. So, did you, I'm really curious, did you ever, like, make the decision that like, you know, you tried CrossFit and it's just this thing that someone suggested, was there ever that decision point where you're like I want to go like all the way with this. Like I want to go all in on this. What was that decision process like or was it kind of just accidental? Where it's like, oh, I'm really good at this. Let's see where it goes.
Jessica Cahoy 06:10
Yeah, a little bit of both. So it was definitely gradual and I think that that's how it is for anybody. You find that, you know, you are making a lot of progress really quickly and you're like, maybe I can do this so that my, I was kind of exposed to that thought doing team. And so I was still working as a full-time nurse when I qualified in 2017 as an individual. So working full-time, training full time, but I was single and I was only like 22-23 so I could manage the lack of sleep and you know, high output and then 2018. So I was actually I'm working as a travel nurse, so you just work a short-term contracts. I was working 13-week contracts at a time and I kept resigning at the same hospital like, I was able to work a deal where I was training in Saint Louis under, you know, a team of people and was able to work at the local hospital well in 2018. It was like, I think it was like 6, four to six weeks before I, I think it was called sectionals at that time, the regional sectionals level.
Amber B 07:19
It's all changed so many times.
Jessica Cahoy 07:22
It was the big competition, to qualify for the games, whatever it was called. And it was like 4 to 6 weeks before that competition and my hospital told me that they were not going to renew my contract. So I was going to have to start a new job. Four to six weeks before the event and I was not having it, I was doing nutrition coaching on the side simultaneously and I had a couple of sponsors and so I just kind of took the leap of faith of I'm going to quit my nursing career and just go all in on this CrossFit thing and I have not turned back. I was pretty miserable in my nursing career. I became a nurse because I want to help people and the public healthcare system, in my opinion, it just, it puts band-aids on chronic issues with the medications and I realize like, fitness and exercise or exercise and diet like, kind of prevent a lot of those problems. So I was having like, moral dilemmas anyway. But the fact that they weren't going to renew my contract kind of put me over the edge to like, OK, then maybe this is my open door to pursue CrossFit full time and it worked.
Amber B 08:30
That’s so awesome. OK. So then you competed at the games, you know, went to the elite, elite athlete. I'm just, give us a little peek into some insight into what that is like, what, what is that lifestyle like as an elite athlete? For those of us who like, you know, show up at the white box like, you know, an hour a day. I'm just so curious as to what it looks like to train as an elite athlete.
Jessica Cahoy 08:55
Yeah, so there, if you want to be the best of the best which you know, in my opinion, I didn't even get there. Like I consider the top 10 athletes at the games like, they are the absolute anomalies of life. Like they are free, free and I was always, you know at the bottom of the pack, which people don't care. But you know, when you're an athlete in that position, you know that that's not as.
Amber B 09:14
Wanna be the best? Yeah.
Jessica Cahoy 09:15
You want to be the best, right? To be the best of the best, like there are so many sacrifices and it is very, it's very focused life. So it's every, not just gym time, but every decision you make, even outside of the gym, revolves around your performance. So you wake up, you know, you have your morning ritual. A lot of athletes, like won't even drink coffee like, they're drinking water as soon as they get up. They get up, have their, you know, very healthy breakfast. You usually get to the gym, you know, depending on how disciplined you are, anywhere from, you know, 9 to 10, you train for usually 2 hours, 2 to 3 hours you go home, you make lunch, you chill. You like literally just lay there or you, you know, do something recovery-wise, whether that be sauna or mobilizing, you know, whatever. And then you go back to the gym for four-ish, and you're usually there till 6:30, 7 o'clock. Go home. And you, you know, have your snack before the 4:00 session. Go home, have dinner. I would always take a 45-minute Epsom salt bath like five nights a week and then you're in bed, hopefully by 9:00, so you can ready sleeping.
Amber B 10:29
That's so crazy. I mean, it just is like, full dedication. I remember hearing Matt Fraser say. Like up to like a month or two before the games. He, like, wouldn't even use like, knives because he was, like, so scared he was going to, like, cut his finger and like, that's like devastating, right? So when I heard that.
Jessica Cahoy 10:47
Yeah, and that's what I mean. That's like the, the top of. The top, that's the Super.
Amber B 10:50
Yeah. When I heard that, I was like, wow, cause you said it is like your whole life, right? So many things outside of just the gym have to change in order to promote and support this. This training that you're doing. When I heard that I was like, oh wow! They’re like, really taking it to the next level of like, you wouldn't even use a steak knife. That's some dedication.
Jessica Cahoy 11:10
I think maybe that's why I was bottom, I was using steak knives.
Amber B 11:14
That would have been your ticket to, to top ten. Dang it! had you known. So then walk us through a little bit about the last couple of years because I remember watching you in semifinals last year or two years ago, was that you in it?
Jessica Cahoy 11:31
It was 2021 so two years ago, it's just.
Amber B 11:33
Two years ago.
Jessica Cahoy 11:34
Crazy that it's been that long.
Amber B 11:35
So I remember watching you at the semifinals there. So then what has happened since then? When, what was that decision process like for you to step away from being in the elite athlete, getting pregnant, walk us through that, that decision-making process for you.
Jessica Cahoy 11:50
So funny story, I knew that 2021 was going to be my last year competing. I've been doing it for eight years and it's just a lot. And I was ready to start enjoying other things in life. So I actually got married one week before the CrossFit Games. My now husband proposed to me on a Monday and we were married by Sunday and that following weekend I competed the game. So yeah, and now that looking back in hindsight, you know, I was single all through my 20s. And I think CrossFit was just kind of my outlet for me to kind of like, fill my time with something because I didn't, you know, I didn't have a family or somebody to come home to, and so it just kind of like and I'm not mad about that. Like my 20s were awesome because of CrossFit. So, but he was. Just CrossFit with something to kind of like fill the void, I guess. And so once I got married, you know, I was ready to kind of, you know, I was 30. Wanted to step into kind of a new chapter of life. So we, 21, August of 21 was my last time competing individually. Newly married, we actually, I was in an apartment. We ended up moving into my parent’s basement to save money because the housing market was absolutely crazy. And then in March of 22, we found out I was pregnant and we weren't trying. We weren't, not trying, but obviously living in my parent’s basement wasn't ideal for finding out that we were pregnant. We were like, OK, we got to get our crap together now. It was a good push to, you know, get everything in order. And so quit competing and now, you know, and that also means that sponsor money goes away when you're done competing and kind of exit the CrossFit space. So it, I launched a, I do I kind of mentioned earlier I did nutrition coaching and so I now teach other people how to become nutrition coaches and launch their own nutrition coaching business. So we bought a house, we had a baby and I launched a new business.
Amber B 13:59
Oh yeah, it’s like boom, boom, boom.
Jessica Cahoy 14:02
Amber B 14:03
So many things. When you made that decision to step away from competing at the elite level and, and start a family and do something different, did you feel any pressure from anybody or you feel like, anybody had expectations for you as to what that looked like or people were disappointed or did you feel like people were pretty supportive of you being like, no, I'm ready to be done, I’m ready to move on to this next phase of life.
Jessica Cahoy 14:27
People were definitely supportive, and even if they weren't like, I don't really live my life based on other people’s opinions, they never have unless it was someone I really valued, you know, a parent or a close you know, sibling or my husband at the time, you know, so I wouldn't have cared, even if I did feel pressure.
Amber B 14:46
Yeah. Yeah, good for you. So talk to us a little bit about, you know, you found out you're pregnant in March, did you do the open that year?
Jessica Cahoy 14:56
No. So another thing. So I finished competing and I, again you get burned out after a while
Amber B 15:02
I would say yeah.
Jessica Cahoy 15:02
And so honestly finding out I was pregnant like I had stopped intensity and heavy, heavy lifting once I was done competing because it's just, I don't like to hurt and heavy lifting like killed my spine. So I had already slowed down intensity and just overall volume. But finding out I was pregnant, I was even more excited to slow down even more and have an excuse and, you know, be a little chubby girl for a little bit.
Amber B 15:32
Yeah, yeah. So talk to us about your pregnancy. Did you feel like, did you feel any pressure? You have to like, be like the epitome of, like, fit pregnant women. Or were you, like, embracing the look, I can do it right now.
Jessica Cahoy 15:44
So there is definitely huge pressure for, I think, moms to be Superwoman while pregnant postpartum, make the comeback. And honestly, I could just, I am really passionate about breaking that, I don't know persona or myth that like I want to show when like, to me, exercise in pregnancy there's one purpose, like I don't think girls should trying to be PR-ing. I don't think girls should be trying to increase fitness, improve body composition. The sole purpose of moving while you're pregnant is to move blood around to keep that baby healthy. And so yes, I did still work out, but if my body in any way shape, you know, after doing CrossFit for eight years, you become very familiar with your body and you can listen to your body very well, so when I felt even the least bit uncomfortable. Whether that be high heart rate or you know my belly, I was in a weird position with my belly or, you know, stretching in places that I didn't feel like, we're supposed to be stretching or pulling. I would just stop and I think that's so important that like I want to set the example for other pregnant mommas like, you don't have to be super woman during pregnancy. You just need to move your blood around and you can move your blood by walking, like even walking in to consider, you know, you gain, you know, I think I gained 30 to 40 pounds in my pregnancy. To walk with a 30 or 40-pound rock or like, weighted vest.
Amber B 17:13
It's a rock on your back.
Jessica Cahoy 17:15
Right. Like that's a workout that people do. So why can't we just do that with a pregnant belly? Yeah, I'm definitely very passionate about breaking the mold of, you got to be superwoman in pregnancy or postpartum.
Amber B 17:26
And it's so everyone has such different experiences too, it's like. It's a lot harder for some women to work out than it is for others. Some people have easier pregnancies, some people have hyperemesis like, I mean, there's just so many variables that I think it is really damaging to have this expectation that everybody is going to have the same type of pregnancy and everyone's going to be able to say super fit and super lean and have this cute little baby bump and right, I'm all for like moving away from that. Did you lift during your pregnancy or did you back way off and stay with weights?
Jessica Cahoy 17:55
I backed way off, but for a couple of reasons, like I wanted to lose my competition muscle mass anyway like, my traps are up to my ears. I couldn't fit in cute shirts like, and that that body served a purpose like to compete at the top level. You have to have that muscle mass, but that's not my ideal body, and I knew that. And I speak very openly about that. And not to say that that's not a beautiful body. A lot of people like that body type, it's my personal opinion, not my favorite. And so I purposely backed off the really heavy lift. You know, I can clean, I could clean 260lbs and I'm like, I don't ever need to do that. I don't ever want to be able to do that again, and so I backed off just to lose the muscle mass, but then also yes. And like I think during my pregnancy, I wouldn't, I felt uncomfortable dead lifting like 125. So I would usually it was like below the waist. I wouldn't do more than 95lbs and above my head. Or, you know, above my waist. I guess you know, it was like no more than 65lbs. And again, I was being mindful of pregnancy, but also just trying to lose that muscle mass. I had, I had a girlfriend tell me one time she was like and this might be offensive to some people, but I don't know, sometimes I offend people, she said, skinny girls don't lift heavy weights and I'm over here with like 50lbs dumbbell and I'm like trying to figure out why I'm not getting that leaner body that I'm looking for? And she's like, just skinny girls don't use 50lbs dumbbells.
Amber B 19:25
Yeah, well, I appreciate you talking about the idea of losing muscle mass cause I think sometimes women are worried about lifting weights because they're afraid they're gonna get super bulky, and they're afraid they’re gonna get super big. And I think it's important to recognize that, that you can intentionally lose muscle mass, but we don't really talk about that. We don't really talk about, what if I, what if I don't like the amount of muscle mass that I have my body? What if I want to lose the muscle mass understanding that it's never too late. It's not like you can't turn back. Like you can't intentionally lose muscle mass, you just stop lifting, you do more cardio, you know and you're going to lose muscle mass.
Jessica Cahoy 19:57
Which I will say, you know, being a nutrition coach, this is a topic of conversation I have all the time with women, you know, and my favorite example, and I can send you a post. There is a girl, she wanted to, you know, have that kind of lean sculpted look that a lot of women are going for and all she was doing was running and for like years, she was just marathon training and not getting the results that she wanted. I had this program on my app called Body Fit and it's just like it's like if hit and CrossFit were to have a baby, it's like long, lightweight, high Rep workouts that's anywhere from like 15 to 30 minutes. She started doing that program and then started incorporating just the lightweight, higher Rep movements to her workout routine and her body completely transformed into what she was going for in six weeks and it was like you have to do a little bit of weights like don't just do all cardio because you know your muscles have to grow to give them that shape. So it definitely is important to strength train, but it yeah, but to and then another thing like you kind of said I don't want to look bulky if I lift weights and all the cross fitters are looking at you like, listen, you don't know how long and how hard I tried. Yeah. Like, trust me. You ain't going to get bulky like.
Amber B 21:14
That's what I'm saying. It's like you look at the cross fitters like, well, I don't want that body. You're like, yeah, you're not gonna get is you're gonna accidentally wake up one morning and have traps up to your ears like.
Jessica Cahoy 21:22
Yeah, like unless you wanna train 6 hours a day, it ain't gonna happen, so don't worry.
Amber B 21:26
Yeah, that's exactly right. So I think, I think helping women to understand that maybe you have more control over how much muscle you have helps women to feel a little bit more like, OK, well, I'm willing to go and see what I can do. See what kind of muscle mass I can put on with the knowledge that I can always go back. I can always revert. I think that helps to remove some of that worry, that oh, if I put on this muscle mass, it's just like never going to leave and never going away. So I like being able to talk about that. Talk to us a little bit about delivery and postpartum and what was that experience like for you? I know there's so many variety of experiences going through pregnancy delivery postpartum. What was that like for you? Was it what you expected? Was it different than you expected?
Jessica Cahoy 22:13
So my delivery I was in labor. I can't remember. It was like 52 hours, I think. And I've been.
Amber B 22:21
Oh, bless you.
Jessica Cahoy 22:22
Yeah, so I tried to go all natural and actually on a mission to talk to, you know, as the elite cross-fitters more and more of them are starting to have babies now. I'm on a mission to like, collect some data, so I have this theory that because of our immense strength training, you know a lot of these girls are very, very strong. But our pelvic floor is incredibly tight and we're not able to relax enough to have our eye because I've talked to, I think two or three other elites who have had babies. And they had the same problem as me. They were not able to dilate. I was, I was at one for I was an active, active labor for 12 hours and I was, could not dilate past one. So I ended up finally getting an epidural and got 12, four, and 30 minutes and then delivered no problem. And, and that, that has happened to a couple other girls who's really throwing me off as Stacy Tovar, who has been another elite athlete. And she said her delivery was great, so again, still collecting all that data to prove my theory. So yeah, my delivery was very long because I just couldn't dilate. And finally, you know, I gave it everything I had. And finally, you know, I was like, I'm OK to go, get an epidural. I'm so glad I did, my husband was so glad I did. And so, delivered vaginally, hardly tore, which I also, you know, there's big talk of all this induction talk and I just think God's created our bodies to have babies and I think like as minimally based like the induction rate is skyrocketed in the United States and I hate that because, you know, I just had a friend, she got induced and she tore so bad. And it's like it probably could have been avoided. If she just let her body do what God created her body to do, you know, and then you know, there's a time and a place for intervention absolutely. And I'm grateful that we have the healthcare system that does, you know, they've learned how to implement these interventions, but I'm definitely also an advocate for like, let's try to go as natural as possible for as long as possible, and when you're at your breaking point, then let's you know, do something about it. So then postpartum? What are you? What are you looking for with that? Just recovery?
Amber B 24:38
Yeah, yeah. Recovery was, did you feel like? It was it was easier than you thought harder than you thought. I think the thing that's hard with pregnancy for a first-time mom especially is we just have no idea. It’s like, you can talk to people. You can get, you know, advice but it's like when you actually go through that experience of having a baby, of pushing a baby out of your vagina, like going through that process, it's different for most women than what they expect. So I'm just curious, did you feel like it met expectations? Or was it like, Whoa, what are we doing here?
Jessica Cahoy 25:11
I, it, so I think just having a baby in general and Lord bless her, I have the sweetest, best little baby ever. She's such a good baby and my husband and I have kind of been looking at each other. Like people said, this was going to be terrible, miserable, and it's actually been really doable. So again, I feel blessed that I've got a baby like that. And then I think the recovery process, you know, yes, having the baby was what I thought it was going to be. I relied on my strength to push her out, and I pushed her out. And like, I don't know, 6 pushes or something. Something very quick and so that all kind of went, the only thing that didn't go as planned and was my real curve ball was the labor time, but everything else went, you know, really smoothly luckily and, you know, the hospital was good, but I also, like, gave myself a lot of grace. You know, I kind of in my head, you know, I believe in speaking life and it wasn't that I was speaking death over my situation and, you know, proclaiming that, you know, things could potentially go really wrong. But I was open to the fact that if something did go wrong or I had a negative experience that it was OK, like I'm not a failure at being a mom because it didn't go as planned, and I think that's also really important of just keeping an open mind to like, what your birth story could be, so the same thing in the recovery like I knew and I'm always, I love to learn. And I'm OK to listen to people who have been through something that I haven't been through. And like, take their advice. So I was really concerned with public floor therapy postpartum. And like, you know, healing my diastasis and I wanted to make sure that I was a good example for that, because again, there's this expectation to bounce back and I just wanted to break that mold because I wanted to help moms. Like, I just want to help girls that are feeling that pressure, that it doesn't have to be that way and like even a little bit of exercise again like, walking is still OK, you don't have to bounce back in four weeks postpartum.
Amber B 27:23
Yeah. Will you talk a little bit about your Diastasis Recti that I don’t, not everybody knows what that is and will you talk a little bit about what that is and how you went through the process of healing it, because I think it's something, we don't like, we don't talk about enough and people don't even know what it is when they go into pregnancy.
Jessica Cahoy 27:37
But I think that the diastasis education and public floor therapy, the fact that people don't know what it is just blows their mind.
Amber B 27:43
It's so bad. Why we're not talking about it.
Jessica Cahoy 27:46
I don't know. Yeah, I would love to talk about this. So, you know, when the diastasis is the separation of your abs, your abs have to separate when you become pregnant to accommodate the baby, so it is inevitable that that's going to happen when you're pregnant. If you are noticing that your belly is conning and it's very obvious like you're your belly gets very narrow in the middle and it's like I don't even have to try to explain it, you would recognize it if you saw it, but that your belly just look..
Amber B 28:15
It's like a tent in the middle.
Jessica Cahoy 28:17
Yes. Yeah, perfect. So if you notice that you're doing exercises that are causing that, the reason you want to avoid that, and the reason why is because if you are allowing a lot of conning, it can make that separation of your abs worse. So when you get to postpartum, you're not just recovering the damage that naturally happens. But you're also having to recover the damage, the further damage that you caused because of all that, excuse me, conning. So it just is like a preventative thing of like reducing recovery time if you're mindful of your conning when you’re pregnant and same with your public floor. Like, that's why you don't want to be squatting a lot. And the way I explain, the public floor is like, it's like a bowl. And your, you have your rectum, your vagina and your bladder that are all sitting in this bowl and then, you know, you have your, the opening to your vagina at the bottom of the bowl. So when you're pregnant, that bowl also gets really stretched and that tissue that holds those three things in gets stretched and weakened. So that's why you don't want to add excessive weight and pressure by the heavy strength training during pregnancy. So being mindful of your diastasis in your pelvic floor during pregnancy is important just for the recovery purpose of you know, the recovery status. So once you get to postpartum, you want to make again everything has stretched out, it's weakened. It's gone under like they say, pregnancy or no, it's just like, obviously delivering a baby via C-section or vaginally is just very hard in your body and something to touch on, too is this information does apply to C-section Mamas because you have still carried a baby to term, and that all of that stuff has still stretched a lot. So you're not just because you didn't deliver vaginally doesn't mean you're excluded from this and that's something that people don't realize. So when you are postpartum, it's important to make sure you don't jump back into exercise quickly because you're rehabbing that stretched tissue. So again, making sure that you're not jumping right back to sit-ups, you're being mindful of that conning. And again with the pelvic floor steps. So for me, I'll just get a little personal here I assessed myself, you know, slipped my fingers up my vagina and bared down and I was feeling bulging like and all you know from my bladder, from my rectum. And I immediately freaked out because that is what prolapses. You can have a rectal prolapse, vaginal prolapse, or your bladder prolapses, and that's when it literally falls out of your vagina. I was feeling like bulging, like even, not on the outside of my vagina., but like very close and so I went inside the pelvic floor therapist. She assured me that this is normal. I still need to give it time to heal. So I was just very careful, you know, box jumps, squatting, lunging, like heavy weight bearing, talk to, definitely talk to a pelvic floor therapist if you feel like you're dealing with, or if you're peeing and it's also important to like, make sure that you heal that pelvic floor because you can deal with symptoms like incontinence, AKA peeing your pants, pain with sex, there's a couple of other things I can't think of the top of off, the top of my head, but peeing my pants and pain with sex are two things that I don't want to mess with anyways. And so there are programs that you can do, for my diastasis, I did deliciously fit and healthy her alternative.
Amber B 31:49
We’ve had Andrea, on the podcast she's awesome.
Jessica Cahoy 31:51
So she is awesome. Yeah. So I followed her ultimate postpartum guide. Loved it. It's got videos. Explanations. It's 100 bucks and so worth the money, and my diastasis is I'm seven months postpartum now and I like, really six months. Could say that I felt very confident. I'm not peeing my pants when I run because I was mindful of the pelvic floor stuff. So yeah, big, big, big advocate for diastasis and pelvic floor therapy.
Amber B 32:20
Amen, that's so good. I'm really glad that you're willing to talk about that because I agree our education about that is so terrible and so many women have struggle and they don't even know what to call it. Or they don't even know that. It's we, we have this, it's like peeing is like a rite of honor, it's like, oh, I'm a mom, so, of course, I'm going to pee when I, like, do double unders or go fun.
Jessica Cahoy 32:41
And people think it's normal and it doesn't happen in normal.
Amber B 32:42
Thinking right and right and it's like that can be fixed like, there are ways to be able to fix. There are people that are, my husband's actually your gynecologist. So he does, if the pelvic floor therapy doesn't work, he's the one who's gonna surgically repair it, but there are people out there who can help you with that, those things. And I think the more we talk about it, the more women realize there are answers out there. You don't have to just suffer with it or deal with it. And so I'm, yeah, I'm super happy that we're, we're talking about it because I think the more women understand and know the better we can be at treating this and preventing it as well, which is so important. So you are seven months postpartum your baby, seven months old. What does your exercise, a routine look like now that you have a baby?
Jessica Cahoy 33:25
So I'm still breastfeeding. So I notice that if I, you know, I get competitive with myself, then I'll, you know, be just chilling in my workouts and, you know, short duration light intensity. But then I kind of get a little antsy. Like, I'm ready to ramp it up and then my milk supply totally drops off and so I'll kick myself. It’s been a lot of trial and error, it generally right now looks like four days a week. I'll do a 20-minute. My body fit program on my app. That low-weight high rep. And just keep my heart rate like, a very conversation pace, not too intense for me. And then I usually try to go for a walk. So I find if I do that, my milk supply can stay in check for the most part. Sometimes I have to take a week completely off of working out and just do my walks to get my supply back up, so yeah.
Amber B 34:21
That's really good. I'm glad that. Yeah, that's a good thing to mention, too for moms who are getting back to exercising, is being able to manage how much stress you're placing on the body in order to maintain that milk supply. And so it's, it's good to remind people to be aware of that, that you can kind of pull back. Let your body have the rest and recovery it needs to be able to increase that milk supply and find that sweet spot for you which is going to be different for every single person. I'm curious, do you think that you will ever go back to like, more of a balls to the walls, push yourself till you want to die, place that I'm sure you had to go as an elite cross-fitter.
Jessica Cahoy 34:59
I never say never because when I say I'm not going to do something, it's usually the next thing I do. So, I really, I do think I'm done competing individually. I just know what, you know, watching the girls, they competed, you know the last three weekends and I just know what it takes to be at that level and I feel like in my heart I very much know that I'm just not willing to do that sacrifice anymore.
Amber B 35:24
Do it, yeah.
Jessica Cahoy 35:25
Being a mom has fulfilled like, I think in my CrossFit career, you know, I was searching for purpose, challenge, adventure, all of those things and it did definitely give me that. But being a mother fills those voids tenfold. Like it's a challenge every day. It's exciting every day. That gives me purpose every day, so I definitely love being a mom way more than I loved being an elite CrossFit athlete. So if I did do it, it would be for fun. I would definitely go team. Should that you know, if the cards all fall in the right place and I've got the time and you know, again, I never say. But if I did do it, that would definitely be the route that I'd take.
Amber B 36:11
You said earlier that you're not, you're not one that wants to, like die or you like said, something about not, you're not loving to like, push yourself to like to bring. I just like, don't even know how you become an elite cross-fitter without that, like, I feel like they have that in their, the defect in their brain of like the willingness to like hurt. Do you like, did you feel like you had to, like, train that ability to go into that, like hurt that pain cave?
Jessica Cahoy 36:36
Well, I do feel like I am willing to like, I knew that that's what it took to be at the top. So and again I was I wasn't even at the top like the top ten girls hurt on a way higher level than I was willing to, yeah. So, but you know, obviously, you do have to want to hurt. But I knew that that's what it took. So I was willing to do it, but now that I don't have to do that, I'm like, why would I subject willingly myself to do that? Yeah, we don't. We don't do that.
Amber B 37:11
That's really awesome. I did want to ask, did you feel like that ability to go to the pain cave helped you during delivery? Did you feel like it was like the same part of your brain that you were tapping into?
Jessica Cahoy 37:24
Absolutely. I actually have a hilarious story about this, which again might be TMI, but I feel like it's a bunch of moms listening, so there's no such thing as TMI. So my mother and I, we definitely butt heads. But you know, I love my mother and we've just kind of accepted that that's how we operate. And the mothers always want to tell you what to do. And so the one thing my mom always tells me over and over again, she's like, and she's from Rhode Island. So she has a wicked New England accent. And she's like when we tell you to push, you got to push. And she's like you got to go hard because you're going to get tired and you got to push. And on the snake.
Amber B 38:00
Jessica Cahoy 38:03
They start telling me to push the hospital, all I can hear is my mom's voice in my head. Like when they tell you to push, stop pushing. So I gave everything I had and I do feel like that's why I was able to push her out. You know, so quickly was, you know that strength and intensity, it's like bike sprints, you know. David, David, everything I had which I will say for first time moms , I did, I have an Instagram account called Baby Momma Workouts where I post all of my workouts. But now in hindsight, I wish I did more interval training because delivery is intervals.
Amber B 38:37
That's, that's what it is. It's like hit.
Jessica Cahoy 38:40
So, any Mama, any momma’s listening, just do intervals training for, you know, pregnancy.
Amber B 38:47
It’s such a good point. I never thought about that but it really is it's like you go up the contraction peaks, you go down, you get a little bit of rest. And then you do it again.
Jessica Cahoy 38:55
Yeah, right back to. So like that. So yeah, exactly. So push the baby out and I do feel like, you know, that intensity that and just strength that I had and cost that I definitely use for the delivery. So they told me to OK, it's time to deliver the placenta now, and I was like, do I push as hard as I push for the baby? And they said, yes. Ohh and I'm like, OK.
Amber B 39:20
OK, let's do this.
Jessica Cahoy 39:25
And that shot across to the other side, had them send them, but they were. I was like, you know, who you're messing with right now telling me to put.
Amber B 39:35
Yeah, yeah. You didn't know that I was going to take you at face value. And actually like push as hard as possible. That's, that's really funny. Last question, I'm curious, as you have entered this, you know, you, you've picked up this new identity now as an identity of a mother, what have you learned about yourself? Maybe that's different than I'm sure you learned specific things about yourself as an elite cross fitter, and then you've likely learned new things about yourself as, as you've taken on this identity of a mother. Will you kind of talk through some of those things that you've learned about yourself?
Jessica Cahoy 40:11
Maybe not about myself, but just like God's creation, you know, so I kind of talked about this like I was single all through my 20s and I was chasing this desire to seek adventure, to seek thrill, to seek climbing the ladder and I think a lot of people feel that way, especially the way Instagram is these days. Like there's this pressure to, you know, do all of those things and I just think it's, like, so incredible that being a mother checks all of those boxes and like, of course, that would be God's design that like it. It does that. And so that's just been something one of the like, really eye-opening things in this process is, you, you can't help but wonder, am I going to miss that life that I lived for, you know, almost a decade that was so thrill-seeking and just amazing. So any moms that are wondering, like, am I going to miss being single or, you know, having a little one, you know, totally depend on me and, you know, take it from somebody who had lived like one of the most incredible lifestyles, being a mom of all the life. And I've lived lots of different and lots of different seasons of life. And this has easily been the most incredible season of life that I've been in, and I, that's so that's kind of fun to discover about myself. And again, just kind of like God’s design of like it's freaking so cool that that is how fulfilling this is, you know.
Amber B 41:43
So awesome. I'm super, super happy for you. Super happy for you, your husband and your new baby and being a mom is so great, it changes you know, I have a, my oldest is almost 16 now and so it changes, but it still is great like, you talk about CrossFit being like variation, right? It's all like unknown, unknown and unknowable, I feel like that's parenthood to a T, it’s like every time you feel like you got this down. I've figured out this stage of childhood, then it's like, you're older and it's like, OK, we gotta figure out a new, a new stage, but it really is being a mom is the best and I’m happy for you and what you got to come cause it keeps getting better.
Jessica Cahoy 42:24
Yeah, it is.
Amber B 42:28
Truly awesome. Alright. Any last words that you want to give? Maybe some words of advice to someone who, if you could go back in time and give yourself some advice, maybe March of when you got right, found out you were pregnant. If you could give yourself some advice, you know, over the next year, year and a half, what would it be?
Jessica Cahoy 42:47
You know, I honestly, I love the way that my journey played out but and a topic of conversation I have a lot with ladies is just have grace with yourself. Like it's OK if you, you know, gain unnecessary weight and your fitness journey is kind of, you're kind of at a hole with it, because of the pregnancy, of your breastfeeding journey. There is always your fitness and working out will always be there, like the moments that you have with your newborn baby. You know, even me being seven months postpartum, you know, everybody says when those moments are gone, they're gone and you know, one of my girlfriends just had a baby and I brought Charlie, over there to, you know, meet them and it's like man, she's already doubled the size of this new born baby and it goes so fast and it's like working on exercise will always be there. So I just want to encourage moms. So like you know, you don't necessarily have to briefings on the back burner like a 15 minute workout can get the job done during nap time, but you don't have to, you know, don't waste these moments because man, they're freaking precious. And again, you just don't get them back so.
Amber B 43:52
It's really good, really good. Well, thank you so much. If people weren't to connect with you, what's the best way to do it?
Jessica Cahoy 43:57
They can find me on Instagram, it's jessica.cahoy
Amber B 44:00
Awesome. Thanks so much for being here, this so fun for me to be able to get to talk to somebody who I've watched on the screen and cheered on at the games and I'm really happy that we're able to talk about motherhood. And you brought so much to the table that I'm really excited for people to hear. So, thanks so much.
Jessica Cahoy 44:18
Thanks so much. Thanks for having me.
Amber B 44:21
I hope you enjoyed that episode with Jessica. She was fantastic to talk with. It's always funny when you meet people in “real life”, or at least talk to people on the podcast that you've watched on TV. There's a little bit of, oh, my gosh, she's like, so amazing. And I've seen her compete at the games, and then she's so down to Earth and just such a genuine person to talk to on the podcast. So very grateful for Jessica, for coming on the podcast, and that wraps up this episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm Amber, now go out and be strong because remember my friend, you can do anything.
Hey friend, have you heard the news? We have a Biceps After Babies Radio insider list. If you love Biceps After Babies Radio, you don't want to miss a thing head to bicepsafterbabies.com/insider to join the group. You'll be the first to know all things about the podcast. See some behind-the-scenes and get special messages from yours truly. We want to make this a special community for those who are fans of the podcast. And last, did this episode particularly resonate with you? If so, will you please share it? Either send the link to someone who would find it valuable, or take a screenshot and post it to your social media and tell your family and friends why they should listen. Make sure you tag me @bicepsafterbabies so I can hear feedback and give you a little love. And you know, if you aren't already following me on Instagram or Facebook, that's the perfect time to hit that follow button. Thank you for being here and listening to Biceps After Babies Radio.