Kipping it Real!

Welcome back to Kipping it Real with Coach Meg! I’ve said it before, but you’ve stopped by on a great day! Last weekend I was able to interview our very own Laurie Lawson who has a new credential to share with all of us at Fern Creek CrossFit.

Laurie has been a staple to the early morning classes for years. Her dedication and effort shines with every workout. In lamer terms, she is an absolute beast. Although Laurie happens to be Coach Erick’s wife, she has contributed her own blood and sweat into our facility to make it thrive and consistently steps up when volunteers are needed.

Without further ado, here is my interview with Laurie Lawson.

You recently became a Pregnancy and Postpartum Athleticism Coach. Congratulations! For anyone who doesn’t know what that entails, can you tell us about the process to get that accreditation?

Thank you! I’m really excited about this! It is a certification course developed by Brianna Battles after she developed complications with her deliveries. She is an athlete, who has degrees in Kinesiology, Coaching and Athletic Administration, but it wasn’t until she had children that she realized the need to look deeper into what exactly happens to a woman’s body when she gives birth. She put together a course for people that would certify them to coach pre and post natal women safely and effectively. There are so many interviews with many professionals such as, Pelvic Floor PT’s, OB/Gyn’s, mental health therapists, and women who are athletes. The course takes roughly 6-8 weeks, with a big test at the end. 

Why is this something that is important to you personally?

As a mother who has given birth to 3 of my 4 kids, it really hit home for me when I sat through a mini session about women and exercising. It upset me that after giving birth to 3 kids and working for an OB/Gyn office for 10 years, none of this information was ever discussed. We are told as women that we are cleared to go back to everyday living. 6-8 weeks is not long enough to heal completely.  Giving birth is considered a major surgery. Any other major surgery your doctor will tell you if may take at least 6 months to completely heal. If that is the case why are we telling women to get back in the gym and get that body back? We end up doing more harm to our pelvic floor than we realize. This is why some women pee when they jump rope or sneeze. We have to properly heal and properly and slowly build back.

When it comes to pregnancy and CrossFit style workouts, are there certain exercises that a pregnant woman should immediately rule out or is each athlete different? 

Yes and no… Each woman is completely different so what works for someone may not work for another. Also during pregnancy there are certain things you may want to stop or modify depending on what trimester you are in. It’s all about paying attention to proper form and watching where the athlete is holding tension in her body. To say all women should or shouldn’t do ‘X’ movement is just not going to work. That’s one reason I love this, it’s not one size fits all.

I was recently surprised to hear how long your body is actually considered “postpartum.” Why is the postpartum period so crucial for an athlete? And for any woman who is going through a tough transition postpartum while trying to get back to the athlete they were, what advice would you give them?

Postpartum is forever. Once you birth a child your body has been changed. A lot of women struggle in the postpartum phase because of the whole ‘get your body back’ talk. It can take up to 6 weeks for your hormones to balance back out. Then there is breastfeeding, sleepless nights, not having a schedule, and even sometimes not knowing what your baby needs. So much goes on in a woman’s head during this phase. She should not have the worry of getting her body or fitness back. We as women need to show ourselves some grace. We have just done some miraculous work. I love that I can talk with women to help encourage them during this time and start at the basics and build from there.

We’ve recently heard more open dialogue about the “pelvic floor” in the sports world and the importance of continuous work as you age. Many women have come forward having never had a single conversation with their doctor and feel overwhelmed with where to start. Can you talk a little bit about the pelvic floor? What is it exactly? Why is strengthening it after birth and as a women ages is important? 

The Pelvic Floor (PF) are muscles that help to hold your uterus, vagina, bladder, and bowel in place. You can have a weak or tight pelvic floor. Both can cause problems. Both can happen even if you have never given birth. When you give birth the baby pushes through your pelvic wall therefore weakening it and stretching it. If a woman is starting the menopause phases she will stop producing certain hormones. As those hormone levels decrease we start to lose elasticity in our PF and the organs that were being held, start to fall. Then you start seeing bladder issues or the feeling that something is falling out. If you start having any of those symptoms my first advice would be to see a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist. They can diagnose what is going on and then the therapist and I can work together to help you strengthen your PF. None of this means you have to stop completely working out. It just means we have to find a new way to reach your goals.

Any last words of advice for the women of Fern Creek CrossFit or for the men trying to understand more about women’s health?

I know this has been a lot but I hope you can feel how much this means to me. I am a mom of 4 and was recently diagnosed with being in menopause. I have been blown away with everything I have learned through this course. Also having my CF L1 has been so useful. I have started using some of the lessons I’ve learned in my every day training. No woman should ever be made to feel hopeless when she is in these situations. We can work to get you to your ‘new normal’ but you have to have patience and give yourself some grace.

A big thank you goes out to Laurie for sharing her time answering these important questions and opening the dialogue about women’s health. Also, a thank you to you readers for taking time out of your day to catch up around here.

Go do a random act of kindness and check back soon for another edition of Kipping it Real with Coach Meg!