I am often referencing my time after giving birth to my fourth son, (poor kid gets blamed for everything). My body fell apart after his birth, hormonally, emotionally and physically. This post will focus on what I did for my physical healing. I worked closely with my naturopath for healing my hormones and had some amazing people and groups involved in my emotional healing.
During pregnancy, the growing uterus stretches the muscles in the abdomen. This can cause the two large parallel bands of muscles that meet in the middle of the abdomen to separate — a condition called diastasis recti or diastasis recti abdominis. Diastasis recti might cause a bulge in the middle of the abdomen where the two muscles separate"
- Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor
- Place your fingers with the palm facing you just above your belly button
- Lift your head and neck just slightly off the floor (don't do a big crunch) while you press down with your fingers, and feel for a muscular ridge on either side. If there is a gap that you can fit one or more fingers into (this can go up to 10 fingers or more in some case), that is the diastasis.
- Do the same test just below the belly button and directly one your belly button (as the gap can measure differently in these places)
They want a core and a pelvic floor that work, that feel right and that do their job. It’s for women who want to lose weight after childbirth and keep it off. It’s the definitive, medically endorsed Mummy Tummy Workout System, created by postpartum fitness expert, Wendy Powell. An international best-selling, industry acclaimed, award winning, holistic, realistic and supportive exercise and recovery program for Moms that truly works. A proven, truly effective, tried and tested solution for ‘mummy tummy’, diastasis recti, pelvic floor weakness and core that isn’t as functional or strong as you’d like it to be.".
That was me! So I signed up. Along with the progressive exercise videos, they recommend switching your shoes to more minimal wear, less elevated heel and more flexible. They also suggest a 10-20 minute walk everyday. It was not too much to be overwhelming and it felt manageable, but enough to feel like it would make a difference.
I was commited! I did everyday and all the suggestions. I felt things shifting and all the educational videos made a difference in my understanding. By week 10 my diastasis was closed! (This has been confirmed by my doctor who was shocked. Yay!)
While I did the program religiously, I did not find any true support or change in my pelvic floor. I still had the heaviness, and honestly, this was my biggest concern from the start of the program, looking for a way, not only to shrink my tummy, but to support my lower back and pelvic floor.
Pros and Cons:
Videos: Videos are clear, easy to follow. They are laid out as one exercise after another, demonstrated by the founder Wendi and a variety of women but it's not like an exercise video, just one and then move on to the second.
Education: The educational videos are very informative and helpful. The information helps make everything click without being overwhelming or unmanageable.
Cost: The Program runs around $167 for 12 months access, but they do have sales occasionally, which can bring the cost down.
Focus: The focus is more on getting your shape than function back, there are a lot of before and after pictures on the website and social media pages. Part of me gets it, visual examples of how it works, but the other part of me really doesn't like the focus being on our exterior form and shape rather than function and strength.
Support: There are forums and Facebook groups, but it is large and so you get some helpful and unhelpful feedback from people who may or may not know what they are talking about.
Time commitment- 20 minutes a day for the exercises plus a 10-20 minute walk recommended six days a week, plus 4 days a week intensive workout that is about 20 minutes, plus a few educational videos a week. It was broken up into quite a few chunks that seemed a bit overwhelming to get through in a week for me.
Lifetime access now costs extra- Starting August 1st 2018, they have started charging for lifetime access, so the base package of $167 gets you access for 12 months only, then you have to pay extra to continue to get access. This means if you want to use this program after different pregnancies or you find this works really well in your body, you'll need to be paying more.
Addressing my main concerns: My DR was closed. But my lower back pain and pelvic floor weakness were still very much present.
This is where I kept up my search. I needed to figure out a way to have my whole body heal, not just close the gap, which up until this point seemed to be the main focus of all the programs I had found. Enter Restore Your Core™ by Lauren Ohayon. I found it via Facebook. She has an awesome group on Facebook with a lot of free videos and materials to get a feel for her style and information. She is also very involved in her group and answers questions and really invests in people even if they haven't bought her program. Pulling the trigger to buy was not immediate. It has about a $200 price tag. She occasionally does sales for $30 off, but even then, $170 is not something I just throw around. I tend to be thrifty and want to get the best deal, but I also understand you get what you pay for. I spent a lot of time processing, watching her free videos and I kept coming back to her work. My pelvic floor was still a mess and a constant stressor to me. So, I went for it. I told my husband I had a good feeling about the program and that I needed to keep trying to find something that would help my pelvic floor, and he supported me 100 percent.
Restore Your Core (RYC™) is a 13 week course with 4 progressive stages. There are a lot of informational videos, extra webinars on extra subjects like Sacroiliac Joint Pain (which is gold and with the entire $200 in and of itself! If you suffer from SIJ you know how debilitating it can be!) or common cheats. During a week you alternate one flow exercise video and 1 core exercise video daily, staying on that stage for 3 or so weeks, depending on your body and how you feel. It was a challenging and effective work out. I realized that I really enjoyed it. It was not a hard program for me to stick to, because it felt like self care. I could lock myself in my room during nap time or after bedtime and hit play, move and afterwards my whole body felt amazing. I stuck with it, for 13 weeks, but before that I lost count, it became part of my life.
After completing the system 1 time through, my POP was asymptomatic. I had no heaviness, leaking or pain. None. I can now jump on a trampoline and run with my kids without worry. I can sneeze without worry. I did get a nasty hacking cough a few months ago, and started to leak a little, which I freaked out a bit, but then realized, I have the tools to support my body. So after I healed from the cough, I started up RYC™ diligently again, and within 2 weeks, my pelvic floor was back to being as strong as it was before. This fact is sometimes still stunning to me, and empowering. I have had 4 full term pregnancies, with 9 lb. babies, and I can jump on a trampoline and run full speed down a sand dune with my boys and feel strong.
Now 2 years later, I still practice RYC™ about several times a week. I gravitate to flow and core 1 when I'm feeling tired or on my period, and flow or core 4 when I want a challenge. I love that my whole body feels amazing afterwards, my core is not only strong, but reflexive, and I can't say enough about how much hope I have now that I know how to support my pelvic floor in a whole body way.
Pros and Cons;
Time commitment- 25-20 minutes a day for the exercises, plus a 10-20 minute walk recommended, six days a week.
Videos: Videos are clear, easy to follow. They are laid out as one long class, which you can break up into two if that's how life is, but it is a nice flow from one exercise to another, which I really enjoy.
Education: The first week of the program is all about the informational videos, explaining breath and alignment and all the basics which make the rest of the program make sense. Lauren is very generous with what she offers and is always including extra webinars or posting free videos and answering questions.
Holistic- Lauren focuses on how the breath is connected to the core and pelvic floor. She spends time not just saying that, but walking you through retraining your breath and breathing patterns, which I know was a missing piece for me and had a huge impact on my healing of my pelvic floor.
Life Time Access- Once you buy Lauren's program it's yours. Which has been fabulous because 3 years later I still weekly practice RYC™, not because I have to but because it makes my body feel amazing!
Cost- I'm listing this as a con because that was my initial reaction. Parting with $200 is hard. But now I see you get what you pay for, and it is the best $200 dollars I've spent in a very long time and so worth it, but initially, this price tag was hard.
Addressing my main concerns: My DR has stayed closed, my core is highly functional and reflexive, I no longer have back pain, and my pelvic floor has gone from being a weak mess that stressed me out daily, I also have the education now to know how to address any pain that does arise, and I'm now able to be strong and functional and I'm free to live my life and be the mom I want to be!
All in all, I can't recommend Restore Your Core™ highly enough. This would have to be my top pick by far.
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. The thoughts and opinions are all entirely true and accurate. I would never recommend anything I didn't fully believe in, no matter what the commission was.