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 2 of 11)

What Does Your Six Week Postpartum Check-Up Really Mean For Your Fitness?

You birthed a baby!  Congratulations!  You’ve made it to six weeks postpartum, and you realize that newborns are wonderful and amazing, and you’ve never loved anything more in your entire life.  And you’ve also realized that you can probably survive ANYTHING if you can survive six weeks with a newborn, lol.  You may be sleeping regularly, and you may be wishing you were sleeping regularly and wondering if that adorable new little human in your life is EVER gonna stay asleep when you need them to.  Either way, you are up to your eyeballs in hormones, dirty diapers, and the fear of getting pregnant again right now, along with love, snuggles, and new smiles, and someone calls you Mom.

And it’s time to go back to your doc to get that magical six week check-up.

At this point, you may feel normal again “down there” or you may feel differently.

At this point, you might be considering taking on some workouts, or you may just be trying to keep your head above water with a brand new baby.  You may feel ready to rip a barbell off the floor right after you check out of the doctor’s office after getting clearance to “ease back in.”

So what does getting clearance from your doc at six weeks postpartum REALLY mean for your fitness?

There’s a lot to discuss here.  So, let’s get to it.

As a post natal fitness specialist, and personal trainer, I have LOTS to say on this topic.  Also, having lived through this twice as a mother who has birthed beautiful humans, I have personal experience as well.

Hopefully your doctor has assessed you for a diastasis, or the separation of the abdominals while growing your babe.  This separation is completely normal, but….you need to know about it, and how to rehab yourself and your core to protect your abdominals from separating further with not-so-awesome exercise choices postpartum, and also from herniating your intestines through that abdominal wall (so sexy, isn’t it).  Your doctor likely will have you lie on your back and and raise your head and feel with his/her fingers for gaps in your abdominal wall from your sternum down towards your pubic bone, and tell you something like “you have a three finger gap at this location” or give you a measurement in centimeters.  Guess what?  Whether or not you birthed vaginally or via C-section, all this stuff matters for you.

What your doctor may not tell you about a diastasis:  Your doctor may not advise you how to begin healing your diastasis OR your doctor may not give you proper exercises to begin healing your diastasis.  Your doctor may not tell you that it’s important to check your diastasis regularly and assess whether or not you feel tension in your abdominals even if you have a diastasis that seems to be improving.  Your doctor may not tell you that it’s important to avoid exercises or activities that put additional pressure or force on your diastasis to aggravate it (planks and push-ups come to mind).

Hopefully your doctor has assessed your vaginal health and healing (especially if you had any tearing during labor).  This may be a quick exam, but it doesn’t hurt to ask for the health of your pelvic organs and their position here as well.  Be detailed with your doctor, and ask him/her to check for any pelvic organ prolapse concerns as well.  Let them know if you are struggling to go #1 and/or #2 at this point.  Also, be sure to see how you are healing if you experienced tearing or anything of that nature.

What your doctor may not tell you about pelvic health:   If you experienced any tearing other than surface tears on the skin, it’s pretty important that you see a professional who specializes in pelvic floor health, because your pelvic floor has trauma and injury and likely needs help returning to top notch functioning to prevent future pelvic floor issues down the road.  There is likely tearing or injury to your perineum, rectum, and other “down there” geography, and those areas need time and attention to begin healing properly.  Your doctor may also not tell you or even check about the status of your pelvic organs and their health/positioning.  It’s important to ask about this yourself, and ask to be checked.  In the event this area is a concern, it’s important to visit a professional who specializes in pelvic floor health to begin healing and/or improving the conditions for pelvic organ prolapse as well.

Your doctor may ask about your mental health.  Be detailed with your doctor about your mental health.  Um, you just went through A LOT, and the health of your baby is top priority on your brain right now.  Guess what?  That’s AWESOME.  Here’s the thing, YOU, YOUR body, and YOUR HORMONES are going through the ringer right now, and YOUR mental health is important too.

What your doctor may not tell you about postpartum mental health:  Build yourself a team of support.  This team will likely be comprised of other moms that are friends and that you can talk candidly with, even if it’s just to drop a few lines via text of “I’m hanging in there, but shit this day is kicking my ass.”  This team will likely include your partner, but guess what?  They go back to work at some point, and then you are flying solo with baby and your emotional rollercoaster.  Also, they sometimes have difficulty understanding the physical and emotional rollercoaster stuff, so while I believe your partner should be on your team, I also feel strongly about having an arsenal of other people in your corner as well.  Breastfeeding?  Get some moms who have breastfed successfully in your corner and who aren’t gonna BS you about how easy it is.  Getting your postpartum tribe together is HUGE for your mental health.  But also recognize that if you need more help than what your tribe can give you, it’s awesome to speak with your doctor about that too!

Your doctor may give you the “all clear” to begin easing back into fitness.  Be detailed with your doctor about what you did before pregnancy and what you did during pregnancy, and what you are hoping to get back to postpartum.  Make sure you doctor KNOWS what you mean when you say “deadlifts” and “barbell squats” and things like that.  When your doctor gives you the “all clear” it absolutely does not mean “do your normal stuff.”  It truthfully means “begin exploring structured movement again at an appropriate pace for YOU.”

What your doctor may not tell you about easing back into fitness:  Returning to fitness as you knew it pre-pregnancy isn’t a smart idea.  To come back safely, we need to consider how your body and moved, changed shape, and gained or lost function in some areas.  This is true for vaginal birth AND C-section birth.  During this period, it’s smart to work with someone who specializes in postnatal fitness for a variety of reasons.  This professional will help you design a workout program that prioritizes your core and pelvic floor health of your postpartum body along with treating YOU as a whole person.  Guess what?  Hormones, lack of sleep, breastfeeding, and getting the hang of life with a newborn are HUGE things, and they ALL impact your fitness (whether or not you want them to).  This professional needs to be knowledgeable in exercise selection and how they impact core and pelvic floor health, and how they help make YOU better for motherhood and for life.  This professional also will refer you to someone who specializes in pelvic health if the need arises.

Here’s the thing.  Your doctor helped YOU during pregnancy and helped you deliver that beautiful new baby.  Your doctor had the overall health of YOU and your babe to care for.  Your doctor can’t be your personal trainer, your pelvic floor professional, AND your support team at home.  We have to advocate for ourselves, here, mamas.  We have to be diligent, ask questions, talk about concerns, so we know WE are getting the care WE need right along with our new babies.

Dear Mama, I know you.  I KNOW how you want to just jump right back in where you left off.  But Mama, I got you, I AM YOU.  It’s time to let your body rehab and heal, and come at it with your WHOLE self in mind.  Remember, just because we are strong enough to do something, doesn’t mean we SHOULD do that something.   Postpartum lasts the rest of your life, and it’s time we give it the attention it deserves.

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Three Reasons To Love Activity Trackers (and three reasons to hate on them)

Do you even Fitbit, bro?

Fitbits, Jawbones, Misfits and the like are SUPER POPULAR right now.  It is not uncommon to see a bunch of people sporting an activity tracker on their wrist….even if it doesn’t go with their outfit (I am a repeat offender on this one).

I was a Fitbit Charge HR wearer for a few years.  Mostly, it reminded me to move when it is very easy to be sedentary.  I am one of those people who can plop down and watch reruns of The Nanny and Will & Grace for hours easily.  While I AM ok doing that sometimes, mostly that results in me wanting to sit more and move less and puts my mood in a funk.  It isn’t a good thing for me on the regular, so  I began wearing the Fitbit Flex a few years back.  Since then, I have absolutely increased my movement by becoming more AWARE of my non-movement habits and the steps I WASN’T getting.  I spend more time on my feet, around my house, at my job, and I do find myself (weather permitting) walking to work at times too.  Many of these things were brought about by the awareness of what my Fitbit told me.  I naturally increased my steps each day from 8000-ish back in 2013 to 15000-ish pre-pregnancy.  I took a break from my Fitbit for a while, and have just gone back to wearing the basic model, the Zip, about a week ago.  Mostly I’m curious about how many steps I ACTUALLY get right now, and it’s a lot less than my old days.  Mostly because I’m still prioritizing sitting a ton plus feeding a baby :), and I’m totally coolio with that at this point in time, but will be increasing gently over time.

Alas, there are many reasons to love on activity trackers.  Let’s talk about my favorite reasons.

  1. Activity trackers create awareness.  They point out the obvious – yo, do you even sit much?  Or, if you are a mom of three, a school teacher, or someone who doesn’t formally exercise but moves frequently throughout the day, you might be surprised at what your tracker tells you.  Perhaps you move about 2500 steps a day because you have a desk job.  Or, perhaps your norm is 15000 steps per day because you are the mail person who walks the neighborhood delivering mail.  It doesn’t matter WHICH person you are, but by wearing your tracker, you are AWARE at how much you move each day, or don’t move each day.  Awareness is (in my opinion) a powerful thing.
  2. Activity trackers tell you a rough estimate of how many calories you burn each day.  While I’m not all about calories all the time, I do think this is powerful for people trapped in the diet mindset.  For instance, my average burn each day is about 2900 calories, given my activity level, my weight, height, and the like.  Of course this number is, at best, an estimate…but it’s still significant.  As someone who struggles with a diet mindset and used to cling to the idea of eating 1200-1500 calories per day that some women want to default to….well, this kind of shoots holes right through that disaster, doesn’t it?
  3. Some activity trackers tell you about your sleep.  Maybe this isn’t a huge deal for some people, and that’s ok.  I think this little tidbit is cool, though.  I dig sleep.  I am unable to act like a human (or to be honest, a nice person) if I don’t get enough sleep on the regular.  My Fitbit has made me AWARE of my sleep habits.  It is a bit motivating for me to see my average sleep time increase from six hours per night to seven something.  It is motivating for me to see how increasing my food appropriately from crazy diet mindset days/times to an amount that supports my overall energy expenditure and watch my sleep QUALITY improve.  It also amazes me that I started sleeping better when my husband got braces and stopped snoring.  Basically, the point again here is AWARENESS.   Little things matter, and affect other things.

All good things, here, in my opinion.  But, as always, for every good thing or two, there might be some not-so-good things for some that come along with, right?

  1. Activity trackers can bring out the obsessive.  So, for a person NEEDING to hit a certain step count each day, they might find themselves walking up and down their stairs needlessly just to accumulate steps, even on a day where they truly might NEED to rest.  If I’m walking because I want to walk, cool.  If I’m walking just to accumulate steps, maybe not so cool, right.
  2. Sleep tracking activity trackers might actually make you STRESS TOO MUCH about your sleep or lack thereof.  And a “stressed out about sleep you” might mean you aren’t going to improve your sleep simply because you are TOO focused on it.  I know for me, when I knew I got 4 or 5 hours one night, I spent the whole day being focused on being SO TIRED.  However, when I took a break from wearing a tracker, I didn’t know how much sleep or quality sleep I was getting.  I also noticed that those I wasn’t needing to focus so much on the sleep I WASN’T getting some nights.
  3. Activity trackers can make you justify eating calories because your tracker tells you your data.  I know I could easily try justifying eating 500 extra calories one day because my tracker told me my burn was high.  And I could probably easily justify that even if I wasn’t hungry.  So……maybe this isn’t awesome either, right?  And also, activity trackers aren’t known to be super accurate, they are ballpark figures usually, sooo…..what good is it to go on hard and fast numbers?

As always, activity trackers could be SUPER beneficial for some, and SUPER over the top for others.  Right now, I’m digging my super basic version because it’s giving me that awareness again of my movement habits.  However, I feel like after taking a break from wearing one for a while, I’m coming at it with a new set of eyes.  I’m not needing to do something just because my tracker is telling me I’m low on steps or calories.  I don’t feel obsessive about data right now, and I actually am looking for a gentle increase in movement again.  For right now, it’s a huge helper for me.

So, should YOU wear one?  It depends on YOU.  What are your needs?  Do you need awareness?  Or how do you plan on interpreting the data it will tell you?  Can you wear one without getting crazy obsessive?  I want to hear!  Drop me a comment on my Facebook page and let’s discuss!

Hello 2017!

Happy 2017!

It’s only the second day of 2017 and I’ve already worked with quite a few badasses in the gym, and get to work with a few more yet today.  How cool is that?

I’m sure you’ve already picked this up from my bloggy blog, but you know I didn’t set any resolutions this year.  Because I’m not that girl.  I’m not motivated that way, I can’t create change that way, it’s not my gig.

I did, however, set an intention for the year.  My intention is basically one word.  It’s the word “do.”  As in, think and over-analyze less, and “just do it” more…..even if “it” isn’t perfectly planned.  I intend 2017 to be a year of creating and doing and learning along the way.  

In 2017, here is what you can expect from me:

  • Some snarky snark in my writing
  • Pessimistically positive – AKA sometimes an a-hole but a positive one who does smile a lot
  • A happy, emotional, and dog ass tired mom of TWO  (the emotional and dog ass tired part will kick in more around late March/early April)
  • Creating a brand, programs and helpful “stuff” with the help of Jill Coleman and the Best Of You Coaching Club I’m taking this year
  • Workout and nutrition posts that are helpful and provide insight for you on how to do this stuff “for life”

So, here we are.  Let’s do this!

I hope you stick around!

But if you don’t like any of this…..don’t look 🙂


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