Amanda Fisher Coaching

I help women get crazy strong - physically AND mentally - through strength training, sustainable eating habits, and a heathy mindset.

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 11)

Postpartum: The Fourth Trimester (And Beyond!)

My name is Amanda, and I haven’t updated you guys on the fourth trimester (ummmm, sixth trimester?) since I was 14 weeks postpartum.

Oops! Sorry not sorry, though. I mean, life happens. Ummmm, we have an active nine month old (“active” is an understatement). And a 4.75 year old. And, since I last updated you guys….I BECAME A FREAKING DANCE MOM. I mean….life is busy! Ha!

I’m going to drop you a picture of me postpartum at some point, but I can’t remember when. I’d update the picture, but it’s like 37 million degrees below zero right now in Minnesota, and to be honest, I’m lazy….and cold, so this one will suffice.

I’m still pretty much here, as the picture shows. And to be clear, I’m not showing you a postpartum belly picture for comparison purposes. This picture, given the right audience, could be something to laugh at. Or, given the right audience, it could be something to admire. I’m not sharing the picture for judgement purposes, I’m sharing the picture because it is a clear shot of a topic I’ve become very passionate about in the last few months.

It’s a picture of a body who has grown a healthy human and birthed a healthy human (almost on the side of the road, because our baby had jazz hands about coming out STAT, but….we made it to the birth center!), gone through the ringer mentally and physically a bit postpartum, and….well, is coming out on the other side full of lessons learned and the big guns to help other women.

I digress. There’s lots I’m going to talk about here. So I’m just going to get into it.

If you have been a part of my postpartum journey, you’ll remember that I was wondering if I wasn’t dealing with some sort of prolapse early on postpartum. I actually wasn’t (and still am not), but to be honest, it was the biggest mental mind game to go through. There is not lots of quality (FACTUAL) info out there on prolapse other than “have the surgery” and “don’t lift more than five pounds” and “don’t be on your feet.” Well...that’s actually not humanly possible as a mom. It’s just not. It’s shitty advice, and, now on this side of it….is absolutely untrue and GARBAGE advice for most individuals. This is gonna be “my thing” to rage about for awhile, I feel like….the complete disservice that moms receive as “postpartum care.” I will assume you can feel my blood boiling through my words.

I am ECSTATIC that I had been working through a postnatal fitness course at the tail end of my pregnancy and now throughout postpartum. It gave me the tools I needed to advocate for myself, and the tools I can share with my clients so I can be in THEIR corner when they need me.

If you remember, I was under the care of a physical therapist, specializing in pelvic floor and women’s health. You guys, this should be standard stuff for mamas. A part of recovery and “pre and postnatal care.” It’s SO IMPORTANT. During my sessions, I went through everything from posture, to resting and nursing/feeding positions, to how to use or minimize force on core and pelvic floor, how to pick up baby in certain positions, how to exhale through exertion during movements that require extra “oomph”.....if you can imagine hauling an infant carrier up into a high seat of a car to the car seat base, you probably can understand “oomph.”

Here’s the thing….even though I’m not dealing with prolapse, I’ve learned…..that about 50% of women ARE. Perhaps mild, and undetected. And many women know they have it, but don’t talk about it. Because it seems embarassing, or gross, or like….a failure of your body or something. And it’s just NOT those things, it’s really just a sign that something, somewhere, isn’t working like it should.

And here’s where it gets interesting. Upon conversation after conversation with my physical therapists (I’ve visited two now), SOMETIMES they come from pregnancy. In the pregnancy realm, they can occur because of a long labor or long pushing phase. Or because of tearing. And not healing.

They can also have NOTHING to do with pregnancy, and come from faulty mechanics of our core and pelvic floor. Our “pressure system,” if you will. They can come from a few other places too (excessive coughing, heavy lifting….again, if your pressure system is off).

After an interesting discussion, my pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms are likely not from our second daughter’s birth. They are from the FIRST daughter’s birth, almost five years ago. Long labor. Long pushing phase (4+ hours). Severe tearing (level 3, I should have been referred to a physical therapist right off the bat, but wasn’t).

On top of a core and pelvic floor that wasn’t ever properly rehabbed, I added layers upon layers to the mix - lots of direct core work and always holding tension during my lifts where I possibly didn’t need to, which resulted in holding tension in my core during everyday life as a habit. Finding myself holding my breath during certain everyday life tasks, which didn’t really help with the force and pressure in my core and pelvic floor.

And on top of all THAT, add in a second pregnancy. The weight of growing another human. And pushing that human out.

Get it? Stuff ADDS UP. It’s compounding.

Upon further work, I’m really not dealing with a super weak pelvic floor. I’m dealing with one that is ALWAYS holding tension because it’s compensating for what my core muscles AREN’T doing. And, it’s freaking exhausted, yo.

And so, with the help of my postnatal course, diving down the rabbit hole on this stuff and geeking out at book after book after book on this stuff, AND with the help of two physical therapists who have been absolutely WONDERFUL, it’s truly coming down to this.

I have been a shitty breather for most of my life. For the past few years I’ve paid attention, but not before that. And, for many, many, MANY years, I’ve been a “suck in the gut” girl. And if you think about what happens internally when you suck in your gut, you push things UP and you push things DOWN. Things that aren’t meant to work up and down, or move like that. And….that breeds dysfunction. My internal “pressure system” is off.

So for three solid months, I’ve been working on breathing. Breathing in a variety of positions. Expanding my belly AND my ribs. Working on breathing lying down on my belly and breathing into my upper back. Side lying breathing. 90/90 breathing. All fours breathing. Blowing up a balloon. Because breathing, the expansion that happens is what sets off the muscles of the core working, AND what helps pelvic floor muscles function as they need to. Proper breathing, that is. Improper breathing, well...basically just AMPLIFIES everything in the worst way.

This has been a mind game for the better part of those three months. At first, it was easy. And then, I caught myself holding my breath a lot without knowing it. And then when that got better, I felt weird and like I was “off” because my muscles were changing and my posture was changing, and….after 35 years of my body used to doing things a certain way, supporting structure and fascia and muscles, and STUFF were having to operate differently.

And of course, this has impacted workouts too! Because I’m always focusing on breathing during every exercise. And I’m exhaling during the hardest part of my lifts (blow before you go). I’m regulating my pressure system in real life, and in workouts, and….it’s been mentally draining. But physically, I can feel the good stuff coming from this.

My pelvic floor symptoms are MUCH better. Not amazing yet, but like, we are getting places. I still sometimes feel off if I’ve been on my feet all day, or had a shitty breathing day, or didn’t sleep enough or something. But most days, things are good. I’m currently in the very early stages of training for a Highland Games competition (throwing stones, tossing a caber, that sort of thing) and working on my power and explosiveness with light weight, executing my breath, so….I can PATTERN that over and over and over and when the time is right, increase the weight as I need to.

I’m still working on breathing. I’m still working on the mind muscle connection between core and pelvic floor areas. And I’m working on not holding excess tension in my core during everyday life AND during my workouts. And that, some days, feels like a full time mental job.

My last conversation with my physical therapist was a good reminder. I was pissy and frustrated because I feel SO FAR postpartum and she reminded me I’m SO EARLY postpartum yet. My body is still changing and shifting. My hormones are still out of whack. And I still have some joint laxity that I can feel. I asked her to talk me off the ledge and she didn’t….she just gave me a gentle reminder that this can take awhile to work through to get to a point where I don’t think about it all the time. How long? She says 18 months is still early postpartum. So….I’m just shutting up and getting my breathing done. And my other exercises. And being experimental and mindful when adding in new exercises to workouts and training. And I’m being mindful to “blow before I go” when lifting and exerting effort.

Here’s the lesson that I needed to learn through all this. The last nine months have been a hell of a lesson in working on the shit that matters. Everything can “look right” on the outside, but also be a hot mess underneath the hood. So, this is a good lesson for me to be learning. I’m so glad I have gone through this at the same time I’ve worked through a postnatal fitness course. I’m so glad I have gone through this to gain compassion for my clients coming back to workouts after baby.

I’m so glad I have an ever expanding toolbox to help other women.

And so, I want to invite you to join my #CoreBoss course where I give it to you straight, and help you with the basics of what I know. My learnings from my postnatal course. My learning about breath and breathing and how a “core” actually works. If you are a woman, this free course is for you. Even if you aren’t postpartum nine months. Even if you’ve never had a baby. Even if you are postpartum 30 years. I am passionate about this topic, and I want to share it with tons of women, because….it seems, we need to get the word out that stuff like this MATTERS.

Please share this post with a girlfriend who needs this info. We need to pass this on and talk about it MORE, not less. This is not “do sit-ups and hope the problem solves itself.” This is USABLE information. You will learn, and then apply, and then learn more, and learn how to assess YOURSELF along the way. And you will learn what questions to ask when it’s time to advocate for yourself.

And, when you are looking at a postpartum mama and see a belly or no belly or whatever, instead of asking her if she’s dropped the baby weight yet….maybe ask her how her body is feeling and remind her that rest is freaking important. Because, you know, the FUNCTIONING of everything inside is a big deal. What the outside looks like….well, is only one sliver of information.

And to all you ladies guilty of sucking in the gut. Please stop. Your insides will thank you.

Four Things I’d Tell My Younger Self About Fitness

You know when you stop and reflect a bit on things, and you get clarity?  The saying “hindsight is 20/20” is LEGIT.  I love looking back on things and seeing how I’ve learned and progressed.

Do you ever do that?  Stop for a minute and take in all the lessons you’ve learned?

I tend to do this at the end of a year, as we approach the new year.  Most recently, I went back over my fitness year, and then kept going….the year before that, and the previous year, and the previous, etc.

And I got to thinking about my fitness journey as a whole.  How much it’s changed.  How much I’ve evolved.  And my priorities and needs for fitness change year after year.

And then in the five plus years I’ve been coaching fitness, how much my skills have changed, and how much differently I train clients NOW versus when I first started.

Rooting through all of this, and reflecting on it, I’ve come up with four things I’d go back and tell my younger self about fitness.

These are the biggies.  Four big lessons.  Yup, that’s definitely more fitting….four big lessons.

Wanna reflect with me?

Let’s go!

Fitness in a way that you LIKE, not in a way that you think you SHOULD.

Fitness can be enjoyable.  It can be easy(ish) to incorporate into your life.  The key to fitness is to fitness in a way that feels fun and enjoyable to YOU.  Guess what?  Fitness is miserable if you fitness in a way that you think you SHOULD fitness….and do things that make you “fit” that you actually loathe.

It is 1000 percent ok to spend time finding fitness things that you enjoy.  It is 1000 percent ok to try new fitness things.  It is 1000 percent ok to change your mind about a fitness activity or realize it is no longer serving you and try a new thing.  It is 1000 perfect ok for your fitness journey to ebb and flow, to grow, and to change.

You know why?  Because you grow and change, your life ebbs and flows, and you evolve.  It is sort of expected that your fitness might do the same.

Fitness and health aren’t necessarily synonymous.  

Fitness is basically being able to complete a task, often times….an athletic or physical task.

Health is being disease and injury free.

See?  Not really the same thing.

Can you be both fit and healthy?  Absolutely!  Can you be healthy and not fit?  Yup.  Can you do fitness in a way that isn’t healthy?  Uh, I’ve done it.  So yes, lol.

So, it might make you think twice when you see six pack abs and assume the wearer of them is healthy.  Or….it might make you think twice when you see someone who is struggling with cholesterol but can lift an ass ton of weight.

Things that make you go “hmmmmmm,” right?

Fitness can (and should) be hired out sometimes.

It is absolutely ok to ask for help with your fitness.  Different fitness credentialed  professionals specialize in different things.

If you want to learn how to fitness in a specific way, hire it out to a professional who fitnesses that way.  If you want to train for a specific event, hire it out to a professional qualified to get you there.  If you want to be better at fitness week in and week out, but struggle with motivation or knowing what to do, it’s cool to hire it out!

I’ve hired out my fitness when training for the RKC.  I’ve hired out my fitness when wanting to learn particular skills (barbell lifts, specific conditioning, endurance).  I’ve hired out my fitness when I was so sick of thinking about what to do for my fitness that I just couldn’t take it anymore and just needed someone qualified to tell me how to bring up my weaknesses and what exactly to do in the gym.

Hiring out my fitness has been some of the best money ever spent because it had a direct correlation to improvement in confidence, skill, and knowledge that I continue to use over and over again.

The key is hiring credentialed professionals that fit with YOU to help YOU reach your fitness goals.

Fitness on Youtube and Instagram aren’t the same as fitness in real life.

Another way to say this is….just because you see someone do it on Youtube….doesn’t mean it fits YOU, your needs, your life, your skillset.

Another way to think about this is….are you completing a particular exercise to look cool on Youtube?  Or are you completing a particular exercise because it makes YOU better.

This is perhaps the biggest takeaway for me.  Spending loads of time on movement patterns, timing, coordination, alignment, breathing….has carried me into moving well with almost ANY implement (kettlebells, barbells, dumbbells, bodyweight, random objects in nature) AND helped me carry and mother children.

For years I let my ego take over and just try to do cool shit that I saw online.  And couldn’t understand why I hurt, ended up injured, couldn’t actually DO the fitness task, etc.

Fitness is really available everywhere, and if you have the basics under your belt, you are so well off.

And….if you don’t want to hurt all the time, get seriously injured, or get mauled by a barbell, master the basics.

And when you see people online doing a barbell back squat on a bosu ball while juggling a kettlebell, remind yourself that you are on the right side of the emergency room, and that the basics are absolutely A-OK.

Wanna get better at squatting?  Master breathing better and ribs over hips.

Wanna get better at deadlifting a barbell?  Learn how to deadlift a kettlebell.

Wanna get better at Turkish Get-Ups?  Buckle up and be patient.  Lay down on the floor, and start trying to get up without the use of your hands.  Progress from there.

And, want to hear me wax on and on and on about workout dumbassery?  Check out my video on just that.

The best way to learn about fitness and get better at it?  Really…’s just start.  You will evolve over time, and you will learn so many lessons.  Some the hard way, and that’s ok.  But the best thing really is to stop reading tons of fitness shit online, and just take what you know and apply it.  On your own, and with the help of a coach, too, when you need it.

What have YOU learned about fitness?

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Three Ways To Stop Effing Yourself Over Nutritionally This Holiday Season

“The Holidays” are upon us, folks! Cue the twinkling lights, the warm and wintery smells of cinnamon and spice, and visions of sugar plums dancing in your heads.

Or something, lol.

It’s also the time where social media tells us on repeat that the holidays are where people gain 7-10 pounds. Which starts the cycle of fear around food and food choices.

Here, I'm chatting at length about the three biggest nutrition mistakes women make during the holiday season:

Cliff’s notes of the video:

  • We can easily fall into the trap of thinking in scarcity mindset versus abundance mindset about food this time of year (Like, OMG, I’m never going to get another Christmas cookie again, so I better eat ALL of them)

  • We can easily fall into the trap of trying to eat like a bird all week leading up to a holiday party and then binge like crazy after feeling deprived all damn week

  • We can easily center our conversation around food and how we “shouldn’t” eat this or that

It seems, you see, that we are very black and white with eating. This time of year, “the holidays,” you know. But also the rest of the year, too.

We are either “on” or “off” with our eating. We tend not to allow for shades of gray.

Or said another way, we don’t allow for ebbs and flows.

We’ve been fed bullshit for so long on “good” and “bad” foods that we forget that food is fuel, yes, but it’s also enjoyment, and nourishing, and health, and yummy. And there is room for both healthful things lots of the time, and also a balance of treats, too.

There literally isn’t an on or off switch with food or eating. There is just the next meal, the next day, and life always goes on.

With all this being said, I’m going to give you three of my best helpers on nutritionally sabotaging your holiday season, so you DON’T feel like you need to diet or cleanse something come January 1.

  1. Plan to enjoy a few holiday parties and/or meals. Literally, write them down in your calendar or note the meals/parties/dates or whatever where you will have a meal that is based on what you REALLY want to eat. This isn’t a free for all. This is you saying “it’s cool to eat what I want to enjoy right now” and then eating that something. ENJOY that something. Feel no guilt about that something. Just freaking DO it. You are telling yourself that it’s ok to enjoy meals like this sometimes, even if it falls outside of your “normal” and there is no reason to freak out about that.

  2. Stock your fridge with easy, tasty, and quick protein and produce options. I mean, you can’t eat what you don’t have on hand, right? Some go to options might be some greek yogurt, a carton of eggs, some rotisserie chicken from the deli, and some tuna (the new flavor creations are sorta awesome) in a pouch. Snag some easy veggie wins like those bags of snap peas, carrots, broccoli florets, tub of greens, and mini peppers. While you are at it, grab a bag of apples and container of grapes. Right here, you have lots of options and creations for healthy meals that will carry you well during the days and meals that AREN’T party meals.  You know what you are doing here?  You are keeping yourself energized, satisfied, and healthy with these quickie options.  Oh, and SANE, because you don't need to spend tons of time to get them into your mouth!  If you need more meal ideas that are super quick and easy, check out my free meal system

  3. Schedule time each week that isn’t scheduled. Read that again. No one wins when they are committed to stuff every waking minute of the day. I’m going on repeat here, one more time. Schedule time each week that isn’t scheduled. This time if for you to chill the eff out if you need to, or do something spur of the moment that pops up and sounds fun. Literally, it’s YOUR time that isn’t slated for work, for holiday commitments, for kids activities, etc. It’s YOURS to do as you wish. And...I find, this goes a LONG way to helping me stay and feel balanced, and when I feel balanced, I’m not eating myself into oblivion, lol.

Here’s the thing. The internet is full of information, and this post is part of that. The worst thing that one can do is continue to take in MORE information without every applying any of it.

So, you and I, we’re going to change that. Take ONE of my three things and implement today. Implementation is KEY. Always. You cannot know yourself into a successful holiday season where you feel good about how it went. You have to DO, you have to APPLY. So, I’m triple dog daring you to choose ONE of my three tips and own it right now.

And, if you are sitting there spinning your wheels on which is exactly the perfect tip, I’m going to choose for you.

You get #3 - schedule time each week that isn’t scheduled.

Ready, go!

Oh, and if you need help generating 20 meals in under 20 minutes, PERFECT for the busy holiday season, check out my #20Under20 Meal System!

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