Post-Natal Recovery – harder than it has to be

The English are typically known to love a queue, have a stiff upper lip and can’t stop moaning about the National Health Service.

Whilst I think the NHS is an amazing resource to have with amazingly hard working people who work within it, there is an area where I believe much could be improved.

Continue reading Post-Natal Recovery – harder than it has to be

Diary of a Bra pt3 – Doing the Open

The title if these posts is starting to resemble a bad bunch of sequels lol.

Overall I pretty impressed with this sports bra

. I will conclude this series with a full summery.

For now the next test.

Box Jumps and a fast moving WOD.

The WOD in question is the second in the Crossfit Games Open 13.2.

Task:

10 minute Amrap

5 Shoulder to Overhead 35Kg/52Kg

10 Deadlifts 35Kg/52Kg

15 Box Jumps 20″/24″

This wod is geting back to the old skool roots of Crossfit. A simple unassuming looking WOD that has a big old sting at the end of it’s tail.

Scores are worked out on total reps.

So how did the bra measure up.

As I expected not a problem.

I have to make mention of the coverage it gives you. I am not usually one for training with my top off but for the first open last week (13.1) Mid WOD I had to tear my vest off, Hulk stylee.

The nice thing about this Shock Absorber is that it covers well so that even with a top off you don’t feel over exposed.

Box Jumps and Shock Absorber gets a huge thumbs up!

 

 

Sally Dixey is a Crossfit London Coach in Bethnal Green

 

 

Diary of a Bra -2

Skip test time.

I have just acquired a new speed rope from Wolverson.

Getting happy with my speed rope
Getting happy with my speed rope

I love it best 20 quid spend this month. It makes such a huge difference to your double unders!

How did my Shock Absorber find the skips?

No problem at all.

I know I have a small bust and your probably thinking that would still be the case if I had a few more cup sizes but honestly this new ultimate sports bra is not just comfortable but the design gives you maximum compression that your boobs aren’t going anywhere.

 

 

Sally Dixey is a Personal Trainer in Bethnal Green @ Crossfit London

My Picture Diary of a Bra

This is the first of many pictures I will use as I test how well Shock Absorber’s new ultimate sports bra lives up to it’s name.

Continuing from my previous post Handstands made the short list of movements that needed a test run.

How well did it keep everything in?

Was it comfortable?

I decided to test this out under wod conditions and as my handstand push up strength needs improving I decided on a scaled JT.

JT is usually 21-15-9 Handstand push ups, ring dips and push ups.

My version 9-6-3 Still tough enough.

Did everything stay in place? Check

Comfort? Sure.

How about a bit of hip snap with a kipping handstand push up? No problem.

 

Sally Dixey is a Personal Trainer @ Crossfit London in Bethnal Green

 

 

 

Boobs and Bras.

A big conversation amongst female gym bunnies that I have always felt a little left out of.

Not being very blessed with much, I can get away with something cheap and simple. I can imagine but not relate to the difficulty some of my friends face

It seems that comfort, support and of course colour are seen rarely as a set. So finding the perfect bra to accompany your training sessions has now become as much a drama as finding the perfect jeans.

You are wondering where I am going with this?

Well a few weeks ago I received an email from House of Fraser asking me to review the latest Shocker Absorber.

They wanted to know what I found of the fit, style and performance.

Obviously they were not aware of the ease I have finding a sports bra.

If they did they would have asked someone else.

Anyway I agreed. A few weeks later and it arrived. This is probably the most expensive sports bra I have ever worn so I had high expectations.

Would I notice the difference from my cheap sports direct bra? If I am honest not a lot.

I hate having small boobs but I guess this is the pay off -easy to find and cheap sports bras.

If I was to have a more constructive review of this bra I would  need to reach out. So turning to Facebook I posted for feedback and not before long I had a long list of criteria to run through. Brilliant.

Now the work begins.

While I test out the fit and performance why not give me your thoughts on how it looks.

Check out the straps!I had to keep the top catch fastened and take over my head.
Check out the straps!I had to keep the top catch fastened and take over my head.

 

It has a small clip attached for your ear phones.
It has a small clip attached for your ear phones.

 

Sally Dixey is a Persoanl Trainer @ Crossfit London, Bethnal Green

Problems with Sacro-iliac Joint Pain

Sacro-iliac joint pain.

Having just covered all matters relating to pelvic girdle pain (PGP) it seems like a perfect time to discuss the sacro-iliac  joint.

This can be another source of pain and discomfort during pregnancy, but thankful like PGP it is manageable and usually subsides after childbirth.

If at any time you have fallen funny and landed on your butt that was probably your first introduction to the Sacro-iliac joint.

(The science bit)
The Sacro-iliac joint is one of the largest joints of the skeleton, where the pelvis and spine join. The bone is smooth and slides together and with large ligaments strengthening their connection.

So the question is: how does pregnancy upset this joint and cause us pain? It’s all down to those pesky hormones that relax all our joints and ligaments. We couldn’t give birth without them but boy do they give us a rough time!

Normally our bodies have the ability to compensate for these changes.
But when hormone levels are higher than normal or there is already an underlying instability of the pelvis, the sacro-iliac joint can begin to slide out of place.

This is when pain is felt.

You could think of pain as the signalling telling our bodies:”It’s time to slow down and adapt your movements”

You will feel this commonly in the lumber (lower) region of the back, possibly radiating into the butt and down one or both thighs. Referred pain may be felt at the symphysis pubis .

So we can’t affect the release of the joint-relaxing hormone, this is a given.

What you can do is work on balancing out tight and/or weak muscles connected to the pelvis. The piriformis is a common culprit. It connects from your pelvis to the top of your leg. Try using a form roller or a tennis ball will also do the trick.

I  keep  mentioning stability and I can’t push this point enough. A stable pelvis will support your growing bump and counter the effect of the hormones by giving you a strong base to work from.

Never neglect your pelvic floor work. Use you abdominals to hold your bump in. And don’t be afraid of squats!
This all helps give the sacro-iliac joint the support it needs, to help reduce or eliminate any discomfort.

Next week I will be putting together a short video showing some simply ways to engage your pelvic floor .

(Sacro-iliac pain can sometimes be mis-diagnosed as sciatica. If you do feel pain and discomfort in this area please consult your doctor first. Seeking professional help with exercise is advisable)

For London based consultations you can reach me at sally@crossfitlondonuk.com)

Sally Dixey is a Personal Trainer in Bethnal Green @ Crossfit London

 


 

Dealing with Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (Pelvic Girdle Pain)

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction or Pelvic Girdle Pain as detailed in a past post is the separation of the symphysis pubis.

One of two things will happen if you experience this. You will want to stay in bed for the remainder of your pregnancy, everyday activities seeming too painful or you will want to carry on with some sort of activities least of all your day to day tasks.

First things first though make sure you see your doctor. In severe cases you will need to see a physiotherapist.

Either way management of the pain and knowledge of what will worsen or help the situation is always useful.

Exercises for someone with Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (PGP).

I wish I could give a straight forward answer but I can’t. I can generally state that movements that would worsen the condition would include movements that mean the hips, legs are separated ie a wide squat, lunges. Or simply putting one foot in front of the other ie walking.

Saying that though this will vary from woman to woman. Ranges of movement and particular exercises will differ across the board.

Prescription needs to be specific to each woman. How do certain moves and ranges feel? If pain is experienced quite simply STOP

I have seen a client who struggles with wide squats but found regular squats with a shortened range fine. Or couldn’t do lateral lunges but reverse lunges and regular lunges are fine.

If you want to continue to train you need to be realistic that something like Crossfit at this point is probably going to be extremely scaled and or stopped altogether for a more gentler approach.

Remember ladies this is fine!

Your symphysis pubis will return to normal after your baby is born.

It is Ok during pregnancy to take the tempo down. It is a small amount of time in the grand scheme of life.

Believe me you won’t have time to slow down when your baby arrives!!

In all cases focus on the core stabilising muscles of the pelvis is vital.

Working on transverse abdominal activation, pelvic floor recruitment will all make this condition far more manageable. And would be prescribed for any degree of PGP.

(Please note -Always seek help and advise from a trained professional)

Approaching day to day tasks you will need to think about how you move.

Here is an everyday example to help get in and out of bed.

Keeping your legs together. Hips and knees square, rolling onto your side and pushing yourself up to seated using your arms. Swing your legs gently, allowing your legs to dangle off bed/sofa, keeping them firmly together throughout the movement.

Remember the golden rule – if it hurts or gives you pain STOP

(A small minority will experience extreme pain, during pregnancy you are not able to use pain relief in the same way as before. Please consult your doctor or midwife for advice on pain relief and ways to deal with it.)

I hope this gives you a good starting point for PGP management. You can reach me through email for further advice on specific areas and questions. -sally@crossfitlondonuk.com

 

Sally Dixey is a Crossfit London Coach at Bethnal Green

A Brief History of Pregnancy

An article idea was given to me by a Facebook friend -The Changing Face of Pregnancy and Exercise.

Great idea, I thought what might make this even more interesting is a look back over history at what shaped the way we looked at pregnancy.

Ancient Times sounds like a very idyllic time to have a baby.

People were spiritual believing birth and death were like the sun and moon. Cycles of life.

Faith was put in women to carry and deliver children without male interference and almost entirely delivered in an upright position. Women continued with their day to day tasks until the baby was born. (The only exception to this rule is Greek and Romans, who had a distrust for women)

Labour pains were considered as a reaction to the baby fighting his way out of the womb. Death rate in delivery was very low.

Medieval Times to 17th Century is where things start to get a bit ugly.

Attitudes were starting to change as conflict erupted between the church and ancient traditions.

Labour pains became punishment for Eve’s sins.

There was little to no sanitation. Rooms were made dark and warm with straw scattered on the floor to absorb any fluids.

C Sections were performed during this time but on dead mothers.

Women were encouraged to spend the last few weeks of pregnancy in bed resting.

During these times it seems that a little more intervention started to take place and delivery became far less serene.   Death rate were still relatively low but certainly creeping up.

The next era to make there mark was the 18th century and the beginning of science.

The forceps were introduced in 1740! No antiseptic though!

Intervention was far more aggressive and common place and is when delivery started to make it’s way into hospitals (though upper classes thought this was very common and continued to have home births)

Living conditions were poor at this time, hygiene was still a long way off.

The nutrition of expectant mothers was dreadful which all led to increasing rates of death in labour. It didn’t seem to occur to the doctors how external factors impacted the death rate and chalked it up to the ‘danger of child birth’ this only seemed to make matters worse as intervention at this time was not as sophisticated as it is now.

Times started to change in Georgian to Regency Times.

Moving back to nature was starting to produce more normal births and a trend begun. Just as progress was picking up speed, the death of Princess Charlotte after 50 hour of labour, plunge England into mourning probably only ever seen again on that scale when Princess Diana died.

Shops closed for 2 weeks. People from every class wore black arm bands. People looked for a scapegoat. Dr Croft who attended to Princess Charlotte fitted the bill and after weeks of fingers pointed at him, he committed suicide.

Child birth from here on took a much more aggressive tone. Birth was seen as hard and very difficult process. Hygiene and better living did help but death rates were still very high. Activity during pregnancy was frowned upon, many women disappearing from society until after birth.

Victorian Era – A time when women were to be seen and not heard. Where women were seen as fragile frail creatures who were entirely to blame for miscarriage. Citing over exertion as the probable cause. You can imagine what this did for activity levels during pregnancy.

Yuck!! Pregnancy and a Corset!!
Yuck!! Pregnancy and a Corset!!

Pain relief became common place. Even Queen Victoria used chloroform. And the first successful cesarean was carried out in 1882.

Great strides were being made in the medical field during this time but a women’s natural ability to deliver, something she had been doing for thousands of years was wildly underestimated.

It is not until present day that we are now moving back to the idea that a women can deliver without medical intervention or drugs. Birthing centres were first introduced in America during the 1970’s.

Delivery reverting back to standing and squatting positions. Death rate over the last 50 years have plummeted

This marked the beginning of a new wave of women who wanted to give birth the way nature intended. Intervention is only used in emergencies and drugs offered in birthing centres are limited to be gas and air. Birthing pools and hypnotherapy becoming far more popular.

The advise to stay active during pregnancy is now picking up pace, with special classes being programmed and courses to educate fitness professionals increasing in popularity.

Slowly and I mean slowly people are starting to view pregnancy in a new light. Women is seen as a powerful force who is not only looking out for her own health by staying active but also giving her unborn child a great start too.

Still there are a lot of negative views of exercise, particularly something like Crossfit.

I love the photo’s of my friend Rachel Steadman during her pregnancy. The irony between the two different shots.

Accaptable – Holding her daughter overhead.

Unacceptable – A kettelbell Swing

Both of equal weight, it’s probably less awkward in fact to swing the bell.

Why such a view??

Because we have lost sight and forgotten that pregnancy is as old as time.

Looking at the history things only got worse the more we interfered, the less active women were and as cities and villages became crowed and unclean.

I am not suggesting we revert back to ancient times and bang clubs but we could learn a lot from how our ancestors view life, birth and death.

If a women has always done an activity,  carry water buckets on her head or swing a kettlebell why does she have to stop?

Please lets be sensible about how we look at a training pregnant women. I bet she is more in tune with her own body and more clued up about her limitations then you think.

(If you are pregnant and want to continue training I would always advise to seek out some professional guidance first and consult your doctor)

 

Sally Dixey is a Personal Trainer with Crossfit London in Bethnal Green

 

Deload Week for my Life

As a fitness professional and enthusiast I am very use to adding a deload week to my training schedule. This post shows my path to enlightenment! and Deloading my life.

I have been pretty quiet these last few days as Sebastian started to get a little cough late Thursday night.

Typically Seb was fine all day until bedtime, which meant a last minute class cancellation. Feeling sorry for my poor little bubba I decided to spend the day chill-axing and playing. We stepped out for a quick trip to the shops and that was it.

I didn’t check my emails, I didn’t once glance at Facebook. I didn’t pour over any class programming and as for my weekly article, not even a thought entered my head.

Putting Seb down for a lunch time nap I thought about cleaning the bathroom, moping the floors but as I lay him down to sleep, a huge wave of tiredness washed over me and before I knew it I was sliding into bed and within a matter a seconds I was in the land of nod just like Seb. We both slept for two hours solid.

Almost as if my toes had been set on fire I leapt out of bed in a panic, realising there was no fire, I gently woke up Seb. I decided I quite enjoyed this ‘no work and all play’ day. So it continued.

For the first time in ages I was ignoring the housework and pushed work to one side. It was glorious all the extra time I had. I could feel myself slowing down to an easy pace and that flustered red glow in my cheeks paled in comparison.

Being a busy working Mum, rushing to and fro it is easy to get blind sided to the cost of all this rushing and business. I am so used to adding a deload week to my training, what I really needed was to deload my life for a few days too.

One day of domestic abandonment wasn’t quite enough so for the next few days I looked at life like training. I did what was essential around the house, simple chores and of-course the odd load of washing.

Having children means endless pots of patients, it is part of the job description. It is also one of the first things to shorten when you are over tired. By making myself over-tired and stressed out I was not giving Sebastian the best I could.

Having this rest and prioritising playtime and rest with Sebastian was the best stress relief I could have reached for.

What else suffers?

Pretty much everything takes a dive when your tired. I get snappy and up-tight with Adrian. Cooking becomes dull, not to mention the increasing collection of bags under my eyes.

So what have I learnt from this, Life is like training. You need to give yourself enough rest to continue running at optimal levels.

After periods of stress or business you need to allow time to recover and ‘deload’ your life, re-charge the batteries.

We usually wait for a holiday to do this but I am suggesting that you periodically lessen the load for a week. I am not suggesting you stay in bed, under the duvet for days on end but sit down and work out where you can make your week that little less hectic for seven days.

Try it you will be amazed at the difference it makes!

 

Sally Dixey is a personal trainer @ Crossfit London in Bethnal Green

Stability in Pregnancy – A Must Have!

Symphysis pubis diastasis (SPD) is the separation of the pubic symphysis, a cartaligious joint approximately 6 inches below your belly button. It connects the two sides of the pelvis.

Symphsis pubis diastasis is common during pregnancy. This is because of the hormone relaxin, which is released to loosen ligaments. The pubic symphysis expands up to 2-3cm.

You can imagine the instability this creates and becomes a key point you need to consider when training.

Careful thought is needed to ensure that movements and workouts don’t exhaust an athlete’s ability to stabilise. Walking lunges are a good example, since although they can be done with no problem pre-pregnancy, it is advisable to scale to stationary lunges to allow better focus on stability.

It is not only Symphsis pubis diastasis that makes her more unstable, the baby bump will shift her centre of gravity too.

SPD is normal in pregnancy and if properly managed shouldn’t become an issue, but in some cases it can become quite painful causing pain sometimes in both the front and back of the pelvis. If pain is experienced you must stop any activities and discuss with your doctor.

This then is given the name Symphsis Pubis Dysfunction, it causes pain and discomfort, both in workouts and everyday tasks such as walking and climbing stairs. The best medicine is rest and time spent developing the surrounding pelvic stabilising muscles. Stability balls, TVA exercises and pelvic tilts are all common tools to alleviate Symphsis Pubis Dysfunction.

But as they say, prevention is better than cure. So I’d rather try and avoid it in the first place by scaling movements, addressing stability and stopping when something doesn’t feel right.

(If you feel you are experiencing more then just the normal symphsis separation –pain is a good sign. You must seek advise from your doctor or midwife.)

Sally Dixey is a Crossfit London Personal Trainer in Bethnal Green