Postpartum Fitness Tips featured by Beck Burgess with top US macro coach, Amber of Biceps After Babies.

SHOW NOTES

Calling all ladies who are, have been, or will be pregnant! Today we get the inside scoop from Becky Burgess, postpartum and pregnancy specialist and we talk about all the things as they relate to fitness and pregnancy/postpartum. Ever wondered when to push yourself and when to rest? What about feeling guilty when you aren’t able to do all that you’d like while pregnant? Becky and I go through those common concerns and questions that so many pregnant and postpartum women have. (Ahem – diastasis recti!) Becky offers great, tangible advice to guide you along your pregnancy and postpartum journey. 

Highlights:

  • How do you listen to your body while pregnant when it comes to exercise and rest? (8:38)
  • Why strength training is so important during the pregnancy part of life. (13:05)
  • Dealing with guilt when it comes to restrictions and exercise while pregnant. (17:12)
  • When should I start to be active after having a baby? (21:39)
  • Being on the same team as our body. (26:53)
  • How to tell if you have diastasis recti, and specific exercises for diastasis recti. (27:40)

 

Join us as we discuss what it really means to “listen to your body” as it relates to fitness with pregnancy and postpartum. Our hope is that you walk away with some guidelines about staying healthy and having the best, fittest and safest pregnancy that you can! 

Listen to Episode 37  “The Awkward Truth About Your Pelvic Floor with Dr. Taylor Brueseke” on Biceps After Babies Radio

 

Check out Becky on Instagram and at her website: www.goodfortheswole.com

Also, some of her resources:

goodfortheswole.com/workout-subscription for pregnancy/postpartum workout subscription

goodfortheswole.com/guides for postpartum guide, pelvic floor guide, and soon-to-be pregnancy guide

Episode 63 – Postpartum Fitness with Becky Burgess

Introduction 

You're listening to Biceps After Babies Radio episode number 63

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 PRs. It's about feeling confident in your skin and empowered in your life. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke, a registered nurse, personal trainer, online fitness coach, wife, and mom of four. 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.

(00:49)

Hey, Hey, welcome back to another episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke and I cannot believe it is December. I mean, I feel like this year has just flown by so darn fast and I hope that you had a great Thanksgiving and I hope that you're looking forward to Christmas and 2020. I remember when I was a kid, first of all like 2000 seemed like it was crazy, right? Like that was crazy. But 2020 seemed like it was so incredibly far away and it's kind of blowing my mind a little bit that it's just around the corner. But I'm excited for a new year and I hope you are too. A big thank you to those of you who have left reviews on iTunes. I love those. I read them and they are so helpful for helping people to find the podcast. So if you have not left a review on iTunes, I would greatly appreciate it. And if you don't know how to do it, you can go to www.bicepsaftebabies.com/2 and on the show notes of episode two, I will walk through visually how you can leave a review on iTunes, but that is very much appreciated. And I do enjoy reading what you guys are loving about the podcast. So thank you for doing that.

 

Amber: (01:58)

Today on the podcast, I am bringing on pregnancy and postpartum specialist, Becky Burgess and you're going to love Becky. First of all, her accent is very, very charming. I could just listen to her talk all day cause she just has such a cute accent. She really shares some really good stuff. For those of you who are thinking about getting pregnant, who are pregnant, who are in the postpartum period or who may become pregnant in the future, she gives a lot of really tangible takeaways about things that you can think about, exercises you can do. We talk specifically about how to take this idea of listening to your body and actually kind of quantify that a little bit so that you have some guidelines about staying healthy and having the best pregnancy and the fittest pregnancy and the safest pregnancy that you can. So we will dive right into that episode with Becky Burgess. I would like to welcome Becky Burgess to the podcast. Hey Becky. 

 

Becky: (02:58)

Hi, how are you? 

 

Amber: (02:59)

I am doing awesome and I'm super excited to be able to share you with my audience because I've been following you for a long time. Like I feel like we've been long time Instagram friends and you have such good content that I think a lot of the moms around that postpartum period are really gonna be able to benefit from today. So I'm excited you're coming on. 

 

Becky: (03:21)

Yeah. Thank you. I feel the same about you and I'm just flattered that you asked me to come on. Honestly. 

 

Amber: (03:25)

Yes. We're going to talk about some good stuff, um, for, for people in that postpartum period today. So first off, can you just tell us just a little bit about you, what you do and how you help women? 

 

Becky: (03:37)

Yeah, so my name is Becky. I have two young kids, so I have a girl called Piper and she is three. And then I have a little boy called Jack and he has almost two. He'll be two in December. So, um, yeah, they're, they're pretty young. They're a handful, but I kinda got started into this whole thing, um, during my pregnancy. So prior to that I graduated in public health and nutrition. Um, and then I was working as a health coach primarily for weight loss, um, and certified personal trainer. And during that time then we got pregnant with Piper. Um, I started getting more into what should I do during pregnancy and what's appropriate and not appropriate. So then I got certified as a women's fitness specialist. I got certified in pregnancy exercise and um, as a pre and postnatal fitness specialist. So it's kind of been this gradual progression and kind of changing gears of what I'm focused on. But I mean if you check out my Instagram page, I'm obviously super passionate about it. I just think not a lot of women get this information, so, um, I'm just happy to share it and, and help women throughout the process. 

 

Amber: (04:47)

Yeah. I think for so many years it was like women shouldn't exercise during pregnancy. Right? Like a lot of our moms kind of grew up in that time or it was like, no, you just like sit on your butt. Like you don't want to injure anything. And we've moved into this new phase where we kind of understand how important it is to continue moving and how beneficial exercise can be. But I do think we are still at that point where like you said, we don't necessarily give a lot of guidance with it or like people understand. Yeah, it's important to say active. It's important to exercise, but then they're really worried about like where the line is, what should I be watching for? What's okay to do.

 

Becky: (05:22)

Yeah. Nobody really tells you, I mean your OB GYN or midwife or whoever you're working with in general. I mean there are some exceptions, but you know, they're like, okay, make sure you're exercising. It's really good for you and your baby. And that's kind of where they leave that and you're like, uh, what do I do? Um, so women end up, you know, like maybe they are doing what they did pre pregnancy or maybe they start exercising or whatever it is. Or sometimes women are afraid to start exercising because you hear, you know, like don't do something that you weren't doing pre pregnancy. So if they weren't active, like, well I'll have to wait until after I had my baby. Um, or you know, they're doing exercises that they think are okay cause they don't know any different, but they're actually doing so much more harm than good during pregnancy. So it's just really interesting. So I think, um, there's, uh, there's gradually, I'd at least, I'd like to think maybe it's just cause I'm focused on this, but I think there is a little bit more information being thrown out there now. Um, that's hopefully helping women really get the guidelines that they need.

 

Amber: (06:27)

Yes. To be able to like find that line. Right. Where, where is that line? Um, so I, I'm pretty sure I started following you when you were pregnant with Piper. So like I've been through Piper and I've been through Jack and been able to see, see what that's looked like for you. Um, so how did you, um, get in specifically into strength training and what has that looked like personally over your different pregnancies? 

 

Becky: (06:54)

Yeah, so I, um, let's see. I mean, I've always been active, always kind of grew up doing different things. We're always playing outside. We're always, I kind of just grew up, that's just what we did. Um, so I would say up until college I was primarily just really doing cardio with maybe some abs, right? You know, some crunches or whatever it is. Um, but during college I took a personal training strategies class and honestly changed my life. I was more, um, going towards the nutrition side of health prior to that with my degree. Um, and then that class, I just, and found it so fascinating and we really dove into strength training and the benefits of it and how to actually do it. Um, and so right after that class I went and got certified as a personal trainer. Um, and so kind of from there, I really got into strength training and I love it. I mean, I hardly ever do cardio anymore because I just love strength training so much. Um, so during pregnancy I definitely still did a lot of strength training, weight bearing exercises, um, and it just kind of changed based on how I was feeling. So, um, you know, something didn't feel great. I modified it or I changed that workout. But um, yeah, I would say I taught spin classes throughout both classes too. So with both pregnancies too. So I did still have a little bit of cardio. But yeah, for the most part it was still weight training, just maybe reduce the weights when needed. And um, I honestly feel like it kept me, me strong and helped me transitioned through pregnancy and postpartum and then having another baby pretty close to, um, my first child again.

 

Amber: (08:38)

Yes. Um, so here's a question for you. You mentioned this, this idea of like the way that you feel, right? Like, so if you're feeling good then maybe you'll do a little more. Or if you're not feeling good, you don't modify. So what would you say to a woman who doesn't really know what that would feel like? Right. Like feeling is kind of a relative and so for someone maybe who hasn't done a lot of strength training before and they're like, well, I feel really sore after that. Is that normal? Is that not what I should be doing? How, how would you help someone who maybe doesn't have quite a good perception of like what it normally feels like? How does she figure that out during pregnancy? 

 

Becky: (09:17)

Yeah, so that's a really good question because I think the phrase listen to your body gets thrown around so much and. 

 

Amber: (09:22)

Then people are like, how do I do that? 

 

Becky: (09:25)

What does that really mean? Like I don't know, my body’s not saying anything. So the things that I would say to really look for when you're working out during pregnancy, and this also applies to postpartum, is any kind of discomfort or pain is not normal. So pelvic pressure, pelvic pain, um, if you're feeling cramping, nauseous, light-headed, anything like that is your body saying, Hey, something's not right and it's time to stop, take a break, reevaluate how you feel. Um, maybe you're dehydrated, maybe you need to just stop working out for that day. Um, so that's gonna vary again on, on how you're feeling. Um, yeah. Pelvic pain, pelvic pelvic pressure are huge indicators that you're, you know, maybe doing something that your body is not quite ready for and you can still do maybe strength bearing exercises, but just reduce that weight, you know, or, or maybe just take the weight off and you know, do squats without weight. Um, so there's modifications you can take. But yeah, really this listening to not necessarily the soreness or like, Oh, this is really challenging but more are you in pain is a, um, discomfort or something like that, that is really your body saying, Hey, this is not what it needs to be doing right now.

 

Amber: (10:46)

Yeah. Do you, do you find that most women, um, tend to push themselves too hard or do you feel like most women in that, in that pregnancy period tend to give themselves like extra grace? 

 

Becky: (11:00)

Yeah, I think it can go just the two extremes, right? So you have people like, you know, I'm pregnant, I'm going to like rest and eat whatever I want, give to any of my cravings. This is my time to just like chill and take advantage of that. Just being able to dial it down. And then on the other extreme, you have women that are like, I don't want to gain any weight I want to gain, you know, 10 pounds. I don't want to get any fat, just only baby weight. Um, and so maybe they push it a little too far where it's actually, it's, it's, it's kind of a little dangerous, really. Um, and not healthy as well. So I think this kind of a balance in between the two, right of, of, you know, giving your body grace because you are, you're growing a human being from scratch and there's so much, I mean, you know, you have your four kids, four kids,

 

Amber: (11:51)

four kids. Yeah, yeah. 

 

Becky: (11:52)

Do you know, you've been through pregnancy a few times, but it's, it's hard. It's really hard. And some days the very last thing you want to do is, is exercise. Cause you just don't have any energy. Um, so yeah, and again, I think it goes back to, again, listening to your body but also reminding yourself that yes, you are growing a baby, but there are a lot of benefits to exercise too. So maybe some days resting is what your body needs. And maybe other days, maybe just just starting to move and reevaluate how you feel. Maybe a few minutes into it and see if it was just kind of you just wanted to relax and chill or if it's your body actually needed that rest. Does that make sense?

 

Amber: (12:34)

Totally. Yeah. And from, um, and from a medical standpoint, maybe like what are some of the benefits that women in that pregnancy period get from weight bearing exercises from strength training and how, cause I think when we understand the why behind something that we can wrap our heads around like taking action to make it happen. Um, so what would you tell someone who is maybe thinking about getting pregnant or newly pregnant or in that pregnancy period of life, why strength training is so important?

 

Becky: (13:05)

Yeah. Um, well first of all, I mean, this doesn't have to necessarily do with actual pregnancy, but think about after pregnancy, right? Especially if you have multiple kids. I mean, you're lifting multiple babies. You're carrying like groceries and car seats and strollers and all just the daily physical demands that your body needs to do when you're a mom. Um, there needs to be some strength behind that. Right? It's going to help you so much. Um, but more than that, I mean, think about lower back pain during pregnancy. I think it's about what, 80 to 90%. Don't quote me exactly on that, but it is around, it's quite high obviously around that women are dealing with these aches and pains that can actually most of them, um, go away if you are strength training properly and doing the things that your body, the body can use to help you do those movements.

 

Amber: (13:59)

Yeah, and some of this is a little bit beforehand too, right? Like as you have a strong core beforehand, as you have a strong back, um, that carries over into your pregnancy too as you are changing that, that center of balance. 

 

Becky: (14:13)

Absolutely. Absolutely. And it's going to help you be able to do exercising throughout your pregnancy. Maybe a little longer than women who, um, maybe weren't active prior to pregnancy, um, and are starting now. So you're going to be able to physically do a lot more. Um, but also if you're active during pregnancy, if you're getting more blood flow throughout your body, the placentas of women who are active during their pregnancy are healthier than women who are not active. And your baby is getting more nutrients. 

They've done studies on these babies with active mothers versus mothers who maybe aren't active, um, are a little more sedentary. And these babies actually have brain development, um, because they, they're getting more nutrients and they're getting that, that extra blood flow. Um, and it's also preparing your body or your baby for labor and the stress of labor. Because even though exercise is great and there's a lot of benefits to it, it is still a slight stress to your body. Right? It's a, it's a good kind of stress, but it's stress. Yeah. And so when your body is going through that, your baby's actually preparing to go through that same stress during labor. So when you're actually having giving birth, your baby's better prepared for, for the whole process because it is quite stressful for a baby to obviously to be born and go through the birth canal and, and it minimizes a lot of issues in that sense as well.

 

Amber: (15:34)

I always felt too that the stronger I was in, the more I trained my body during pregnancy, the faster I recovered in that postpartum period that I was able to get up and move and like recover so much faster than, um, I didn't work out quite as much with my first one and the, the difference between my first and then my later kids. Um, absolutely that recovery period was much shorter. The more active I was and the stronger I was. 

 

Becky: (16:02)

Yeah.

 

Amber: (16:03)

Because if you consider it like pushing out a baby, it requires a whole lot of strength and stamina, right? Like totally. And so as you can like prepare your body and I love that you bring in preparing the baby as well. Like that's such an interesting take, um, that like what you're doing is, yeah, it's kinda like you're eating for two. Not really, but like you're eating and the food that you eat goes to the body, but then it'd be the baby. But you think about the exercise you're doing also goes to the baby. It's such an interesting, um, to a way to, to, to phrase that for women who are trying to get up the energy to, you know, why do I want to make this happen? Well, it's good for me, but it's also good for my baby as well. 

 

Becky: (16:44)

Yeah. I think, I think it puts things in perspective and you know, I get it. I mean sometimes in pregnancy I'm just so tired and the thought of, okay, this is really going to help me. This is actually going to give me more energy. It's really going to help my baby. It's going to help my postpartum recovery. Those reasons are what get me off the couch, you know? And maybe just even if it's a 10 minute short circuit or 10 minute walk or something like that, I feel so much better and I know I'm doing something good for me and my baby.

 

Amber: (17:12)

Yeah. And here's something I want to bring up too as well because I know that there's some people listening and I get people who messaged me and I'm sure you do as well. Um, with some feelings of guilt sometimes. Um, when they have some sort of medical issues, right? So sometimes you have a preeclampsia or you're put on bed rest or you have like really severe SI joint pain and I hear from a lot of women who feel guilty, right or bad that they like aren't physically able to do the exercise that maybe they would like to do or that they want to do. I think it's really to give ourselves some grace. Um, and pregnancy is kind of a crap shoot sometimes. You know, sometimes you may be put on bedrest and it's important to give yourself some grace.

 

Becky: (18:01)

Yeah, I mean I, I got a blood clot in my arm when I was about five weeks pregnant with Piper my first. And so my doctor, I wasn't allowed to exercise during the whole first trimester because of that. And I was like, shoot, I'm not going to be able to have a healthy pregnancy. Um, you know, I'm, I'm not going to be able to, to stay up with my activity and you know, I'm not doing good for my baby and for me. And I felt a lot of that guilt too. I totally understand that. But I think again, yeah, giving yourself some grace but also understanding that rest is what is best for your baby and your body, you know, so even if it's not exercise, you're still giving your body and your baby the very, very best and that's what you need. So I think just kind of shifting your perspective in that way can maybe help and maybe take away some of the guilt.

 

Amber: (18:50)

Yeah. And what about in this postpartum period? So as women go through and then they have their babies, we see, I feel like we see such a range maybe just on social media specifically of like some women just jumping right back in and they're like in their, you know, six weeks postpartum and they're fitting back in their jeans. And then we have, I feel like the other side of the spectrum where they're like, ah, it's going to take you, you know, a year to be able to, to get anywhere. Um, how do people gauge the rate at which they should go back? Um, some of the things that they need to consider that they may not know as they go back to exercising after they have a baby.

 

Becky: (19:29)

Yeah. So are you talking about like what exercises to do or just kind of like where should they begin?

 

Amber: (19:35)

Well, I think let's start with where they should begin and then we can actually go into like specific exercises.

 

Becky: (19:41)

Yeah. So again, and this is, I would say regardless of how active you are during pregnancy, how active you have prior to pregnancy, I think after you've had a baby, everybody should go back right to the basics. Because regardless of your physical ability, even if you're able to do more, you need to go back down and stop from that and build a such a solid strong foundation because your pelvic floor is a lot weaker now because pregnancy takes a toll on it. And delivery takes a big toll on it. Um, and so really like retraining the core and, and beginning from that is going to help you so much more. You're going to be stronger than you were pre pregnancy. You're going to be more effective. You're going to be avoiding things like, um, incontinence, which I think everybody thinks there's a normal and it is absolutely not normal. Um, hernias, prolapse, diastasis recti, all the things like that. Um, so I think just really, really dialing it back and beginning with those basic forms of movement is going to be the very, very best thing that you can do, um, regardless of of what you feel up to.

 

Amber: (20:50)

So good. Yeah. And if you guys listening want to learn way more about your pelvic health and your pelvic floor, you can go back and listen to episode 37 where I interviewed my husband who's a pelvic floor specialist. Um, so we talk a lot in that episode about all these things that Becky's bringing up of pelvic prolapse and incontinence and these things that we don't want to talk about. Uh, and we think maybe that, like Becky said, peeing your pants is normal after having kids. It's not, and there's things that you can do and there's actually as you can do in therapy is that you can do in order to, um, not have that occur. Um, so that's really good. So then when we're talking about how long we should wait, is this something, do you go by feel, is it like the six weeks standard rule? Um, what's kind of your guidelines for your clients when it comes to when you go back to exercising?

 

Becky: (21:39)

So I always say, um, wait to do more intense exercises or more like maybe like “proper exercises” until your six week checkup with your doctor and even longer. Um, because sometimes I feel like the OBGYN, it's like a two minute checkup right after you've had a baby though. They kind of just check that, like how you feeling, have any depression, you know, and they're like, okay, yep, you're good to go. And that's it. You know, you've just had a baby pregnancy and then it's like, all right, bye. And, and maybe there are the issues going on but then not fully checking for. 

So I think a good thing would be maybe even going to just meet with a pelvic floor physical therapist or somebody like your husband, you know, that specifically deals with the pelvic floor, um, who can kind of just assess you and really check for, you know, prolapse and hernias and that kind of thing to make sure you are in good shape. But yeah, I would say usually around the six week mark and prior to that, the only things I ever recommend are walking when you feel up to it. Um, and pelvic floor recovery exercises, which is more just, you know, that deep core breathing and activating those muscles and working on that brain and muscle connection so that once you are cleared to exercise, you have that solid foundation and you, as you continue to build that foundation, you know, you can add other exercise into it and make sure you're doing it in an appropriate way.

 

Amber: (23:06)

Awesome. And you talk a lot about those, um, those exercises on your Instagram account, right? Like you have videos and stuff. So I definitely recommend if you're like, it's really hard to talk about demonstrating an exercise. So if you want to go see it in action, definitely go follow Becky. Um, at for the swole. Right. I get that. Right. So yeah. Uh, Oh, goodfortheswole. That's right. Good for the swole. Um, she has a lot of videos. Um, and I think that can be really a helpful resource. Um, I love this idea of during that first six week period yeah. Focusing on walking when you feel ready and prepping your core, um, for going back to maybe some more strenuous types of exercise. Um, yeah, it really solidified that mind muscle connection that you may have lost a little bit over the nine months. That's different. It's like in different places, right? 

 

Becky: (24:01)

And you're like, wait, what is this muscle again? So much different. So it's just, it's frustrating. It's, it takes a lot of patience and a lot of practice, but I promise it will be the very best thing you can do for your body. 

 

Amber: (24:13)

Yeah. So good. So talking about women's bodies and talking about pregnancy and there's a lot of shifts that go on during pregnancy and the way that we perceive our bodies and the way our bodies look and the way our bodies feel. What are some things that you want women to think about when they think about their bodies or you, that you want women to feel when they feel, when they're thinking about the way they look in that postpartum and, pregnancy period.

 

Becky: (24:39)

Yeah. I mean, it's so hard because I get it. I mean, I'm sure you felt this way too. After you have a baby, you're like, what the heck, you know, like your, your baby comes out. Especially after I had my first baby after she was delivered and you know, all of that stuff, I was like, wait, why do I still look pregnant? I'm confused. Um, cause you know, I just thought once a baby's out, you know, like sure you have like fat and skin and all of that stuff. But, um, I was just kind of shocked that I still looked pregnant. And I think just, um, you know, when I had my second baby, I was a little more prepared for that. So I think mentally I was like, okay, I'm going to look like kinda crazy for whatever, however long. Um, but, and then just going back to like giving our bodies grace and we like, we just made a human being like we with tiny eyelashes and fingernails and you know, and it's, it's incredible when you think about that. Like our bodies did that. 

So I think just regardless of your physical appearance, yes, you're going to look different. Yes, you're gonna feel different and there's nothing wrong with wanting to feel, you know, quote normal or, or, you know, just just proud of the way that your body looks. So whatever it is, I don't, I think women sometimes feel guilty for wanting to feel that way because then you have other women saying, well, you just made a baby and then you should be grateful for that because yeah, you should be grateful, but you can still be like, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm grateful for my body did, but I had these goals that I want to work on. And I think that's fine, but just allowing yourself to just take a break and just marvel what your body did. It's amazing. And I just think we're so blessed to have these bodies and we're so strong and incredible and I think when you're just like on the same team as your body, instead of maybe being against it, um, it just helps so much more, right? Because I think you're working together as opposed to, you know, I can't do this. I can't do that, or I hate my body. It's not good mentally. And I think it kind of starts manifesting itself too outwardly. Um, when we think like that.

 

Amber: (26:53)

Yeah. I love this, this visual of being on the same team as your body. I think that's such a good visual cause I do think that a lot of women don't feel that they feel like it's like them versus their body and when you can come and be like, no, we're on the same team. Like we're working together. We're, we're in this for the long run together. It sets you up for success in a different way. 

 

Becky: (27:14)

Yeah. 

 

Amber: (27:15)

Um, let's talk a little bit about diastasis recti because I know that's something that a lot of women, um, one I feel like either they haven't ever heard of it and they don't really even know what it is or how to watch for it. And two, if they've heard of it, they just have this idea that it's like out there and they don't really know. How do I know if I have it? If I do have it, what do I do? So what can you tell our audience about? Um, DR – diastasis recti?

 

Becky: (27:37)

Yeah. So, and there's a lot of fear behind it too. Like you hear, 

 

Amber: (27:40)

Totally. 

 

Becky: (27:40)

Diastasis recti and it's like, Oh my gosh, like I better not get that. Or like what do I do or whatever. So I first just bring it down to our bodies. Basically what happens is diastasis recti is abdominal separation. So when your baby is growing, your uterus is growing, it's putting precious on pressure on those rectus abdominal muscles but are like the six pack muscles basically that you see kind of those outward muscles, um, in the stomach. So what happens is that pressure starts pulling them apart, this connective tissue kind of right below that, um, and that starts weakening and stretching. And so diastasis recti is that separation. You see that? Um, and that is normal. Everybody during pregnancy will have some degree of abdominal separation or diastasis recti. And so it's your body's way of preparing for this growth, you know, in your belly. 

But again, this goes back into pregnancy and doing the right exercises in the strength training, you can minimize it and you can help your body stay strong and still have some separation. But after pregnancy, um, the way that you work out during pregnancy and the things you do during that recovery period can bring those muscles back together or if maybe you're not exercising appropriately or not doing anything, um, you know that can get a lot worse. So that's kind of what diastasis recti is. Um, so I guess kind of talking about like how to see if you have it or not. Um, you can YouTube this, which might make more sense. It's like looking at it visually, but I'll kinda explain it. You just kind of want to lay on the ground, um, with your feet bent arms down by your side or your knees bent, excuse me. With your arms down your side by your side. Um, just to relax and you want to barely, barely lift your head and shoulders off the ground. I think a lot of people will go up into a full crunch and that actually brings your rectus abdominals closer together so you're not going to get the best of reading on the actual separation. So it's just a slight lift of your head and shoulders. And you want to check just two inches above your belly button, right on your belly button and two inches below your belly button. And you can use your fingers and the finger width. So you'll hear about like if I have a two finger width, um, separation or three or four, whatever it is. That's what they're throwing to that. Um, and then so that's the width. And you also want to check for that connective tissue, um, the tissue below. 

So once you've checked the width, you check for the depth and with your same thing as you want to just kind of push down right there along that midline of your belly and you want to see, you know, is it firm, is it squishy, what's going on that, um, so that's kinda gives you a good reading on that. Um, and really about one finger width separation is, is considered normal. That's, that's kind of where it should be. And any more than that is separation that you want to work on closing. Um, and again, you can do that with specific exercises. 

 

Amber: (30:42)

Yeah, so what are some of those specific exercises that they should be looking into?

 

Becky: (30:47)

Um, so yeah, I have a ton, ton, ton of them on my feed, so, um, go check that. I mean so if you scroll for like two seconds you'll find a bunch, but it's really just again, engaging your pelvic floor and your transverse abdominals, um, which is going to help stimulate that connective tissue right below those muscles, which is what brings them together. So when you're checking for that depth or like the squishiness of the firmness, again, that's a connective tissue. So you want it to be nice and firm, so engaging your pelvic floor and your transverse abdominals. But it's really just small movements. Honestly. It's things like, um, glute bridges or laying on your back and doing heel slides, um, or using a stability ball and it's kind of hard to explain. I don't know how to specifically explain these exercises without demonstrating it. Um, but a lot of it has to do with how you breathe throughout that movement and how you're engaging those muscles. Um, but yeah, I mean that would really help just to strengthen the connective tissue, bring those core muscles back together again and then, um, you're going to be able to do more intense exercises because you have that core strength to do it. Um, so you're not going to be making it worse. 

 

Amber: (31:59)

Awesome. Now are there things that women should be considered of while they're pregnant that will help to prevent or reduce diastasis recti in the long run? 

 

Becky: (32:08)

Yeah, absolutely. So, um, a big thing I say is, is incontinence and I get it when you're pregnant, you have this baby resting right on your bladder. Um, so I mean, you're going to the bathroom all the time and there might be a lot of pressure there, but anything that causes incontinence, pregnancy and also postpartum, um, that's a sign that there's too much pressure on your pelvic floor and also that your pelvic floor is weak. So anything that causes, I would say to avoid, but really the biggest thing is, is to watch for the coning or bulging in the midline of your belly. Um, and so this basically is caused from too much intra abdominal pressure. So that pressure gets built up and it starts pushing against that rectus abdominal muscle. And that's what you see that, that coning or bulging or peaking just right there along the midline of your stomach. And so doing exercises or even movements, right, if you sit right up out of bed, that will cause coning. Um, but doing those things and having all that pressure that it's gonna pull the muscles apart. So just keeping an eye, and again, this goes back to listening to your body too. Um, keeping an eye on that and see how your body's reacting to each exercises, each exercise, and it's saying if you need to modify that exercise,

 

Amber: (33:23)

Perfect. That's so good. And hopefully that's really helpful for women who are in that period or were going through that period. I think, um, diastasis recti is something that confuses a lot of people. And so having some like action items that women can be able to do during that period is, is really key. Um, so thank you so much for sharing that. Um, so what, can you talk just briefly about what pregnancy and motherhood has been like for you? Um, and you know, specifically that transition from, you know, being alone and being by yourself and then starting to take care of these like two little humans. What is that been like for you?

 

Becky: (34:03)

I mean, it's been amazing and hard, right? And, like, Oh, I mean, I think any difficult thing is the most rewarding. Sure. Um, but yeah, I mean it's, it's a transition and I don't think anybody can fully prepare you for it. Um, until you actually just have a baby and you, your body, your needs is, is always second, right? I mean, that, that little baby needs you and you want to give it everything. So, yeah, I mean it's, it's difficult in the best way. Um, and I think, I mean, this is talked about on Instagram all the time, but really just making sure you're taking care of yourself too, right? When you hit the analogy all the time of the plane, making sure you put your oxygen mask on before you put someone else's on because you're not any good to anybody else if you, or not like functioning your best. Totally. Um, so I think just making sure I'm taking care of myself or giving myself at least a little bit of time every day, which is where workouts working out comes in for me. But, but yeah, I mean it's just, it's the best thing. It's the best thing ever. And it's, um, yeah. I don't know. I don't think, I don't know. There's nothing else I can think of that compares to it. Um, or the, like I said, prepares you for it, but yeah, it's, it's amazing. Yeah. 

 

Amber: (35:32)

Yep. Agreed. I second second. Agreed. Um, so as a fellow group fitness instructor, do you have any problems taking your kids to the gym? And do you have them go to the nursery or what do you do with your kids?

 

Becky: (35:45)

Yeah, so I am, I'm not teaching spin classes right now. Um, I just kind of took a break from that. So I actually, where I live has a big gym complex. It's incredible. It's like amazing, like full CrossFit gym and it's huge. So I just take my kids with me and they kind of just play next to me or you know, sometimes I whip out Netflix if I need to. Um, I don't know. I'm sure people have their own opinions on that, but me just letting them play or whatever and see me exercise too. I think it's, it's beneficial for both of us and they like to play with me. They'll join in, they'll always do, might to steal my foam roller or whatever. Um, but yeah, I love working out right by them and um, yeah, I mean they're so used to it now that they're pretty good. They're not, you know, crying for much attention. They'll need me to open a snack here and there or whatnot. But yeah, they love it down there. They always are ready to go in the morning. 

 

Amber: (36:44)

That's awesome. That's so fun. I think it is such a good, good thing for them to grow up seeing you, prioritizing that part of your life. Um, okay. Last question, if you could send a message to the Becky 10 years younger, um, what would you say to her?

 

Becky: (37:00)

Oh, man, this is such a good question and I think this is so cliche to say, but I would honestly say just, just don't worry about what others think. Um, I just follow like what your passion is. Um, I still have to remind myself of this even now, right? I mean, it's easy to get sucked into what will someone think if I do this or whatever. But I think just dialing into like, what do you care about? What's your passion? I think we all have something to show with the world and, and to make it back to it. And I think just tuning into what you really care about and using it to not only back to yourself, but also those around you, um, and whatever is, I mean, that's going to be a wide variety of different things for every single person. But I think, um, you know, the more you're, you're just true to yourself and what you care about, like the less those other things are going to matter.

 

Amber: (37:57)

Amen. Amen. So awesome Becky. So if people are wanting to follow you, where can they find you?

 

Becky: (38:05)

Um, yeah, so on Instagram, uh, @goodfortheswole. Um, and then yeah, I have a lot of pregnancy workouts, pregnancy, um, workout subscription, postpartum guide, pelvic floor workouts, um, all for purchase through my website, which is good for the soul.com.

 

Amber: (38:21)

So awesome. Definitely go give Becky a follow, especially if you're in that pregnancy thinking about getting pregnant, you're pregnant or that postpartum period. She has such good resources for you. Thank you so much for coming on today, Becky, and for sharing your knowledge with our listeners. 

 

Becky: (38:37)

Thank you so, so much for having me. I loved it. 

 

Amber: (38:41)

I hope you enjoyed that episode with Becky and that you learned a lot about some of the considerations that need to happen during the pregnancy and postpartum period. I, I actually loved being pregnant. I'm one of those weird women. I really did love being pregnant. Um, and I know that as I stayed active during my pregnancy, it helped so much in that recovery period. Kind of like we talked about in the episode with Becky. 

But I do also recognize there, there are some of you out there who wish you could be active or wish that you could lift weights during pregnancy. And I really do want to just reemphasize what I said during the episode about giving yourself some grace. And this takes a little bit of knowing yourself, of knowing whether you need to be somebody who you tend to like let yourself off the hook. And maybe you need to like push yourself a little bit more versus those of you who tend to be very hard on yourselves. And sometimes it really means leaning towards giving yourself some grace. And that's a little bit about knowing yourself and knowing where you're at and, and where you want to be, uh, when it comes to setting goals and when it comes to accomplishing things. 

But I do encourage you to, um, yes, try to be active. Yes. Try to, to, you know, continue lifting weights and to stay healthy and fit during your pregnancies. But if you are unable to do that, it's not the end of the world and it will be OK. Uh, you're not gonna ruin your body. Taking time off of exercise if that's what's required of you to have a healthy pregnancy is going to be okay and you'll be able to get back to it and your baby and your body will thank you for making sure that you're not pushing it too hard in some, in some aspects. So hopefully that was a good takeaway for some of you listening because I know that there's a range of people who are listening to this episode and I want you to all have something that helps you to be able to do a little bit better and feel a little bit better and reach the goals that you have. 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. 

 

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