About BirthFit

*zie NL versie hieronder 

I have heard people say that BIRTHFIT is fitness for pregnant women. But it is so much more than that.

When we talk about being Birth Fit, we aren’t just speaking about being physically fit. The conversation is about your foundation, the base in which you will create, birth and nourish both you and this new being you are bringing into this world.

Are you physically fit? Are you creating a good nutritional foundation for you and the human you are growing through the food choices you make? Are you researching and making decisions based on your own personal philosophy and not someone else’s agenda or out of fear? Are you preparing your home, your relationship with your partner? Are you asking questions? Are you mentally preparing for childbirth and parenthood? Are you doing everything you can to mobilize your body through things like a visit to the chiropractor, acupuncture, massages or even meditation?

At BIRTHFIT we are founded on four pillars *that guide the education and services we provide:

Fitness: To functionally train in a way that develops competencies in physical skills as well as enhances the three main metabolic pathways.

Nutrition: to consume a diet that is rich in color and nutrients, from a wide variety of animals, fish, plants, fruits, and fats and starchy fibers. 

Chiropractic to be structurally balanced, free of subluxation, so that the nervous system can function ideally and communicate with all systems of the body.

 Mindset to be present in the moment, grateful for your life’s experiences, and welcome the transition into motherhood.

All of these things matter and work synergistically to prepare you to be in the best physical and mental shape for this next chapter in your life- whether you are thinking about conception, are pregnant, have one or multiple babies- BirthFit is for you.

*The four pillars are discussed in more detail in the book titled “The Real Deal

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Over BirthFit

Ik heb mensen horen zeggen dat BIRTHFIT fitness is voor zwangere vrouwen, maar het is zoveel meer dan dat.

Als we het hebben over Birth Fit, hebben we het niet alleen over fysiek fit zijn. Het gaat meer over jouw fundament, de basis waarop jij het geweldige wezen, wat je op wereld gaat zetten, maakt, baart en liefhebt.

Ben je fysiek fit? Hoe zit het met jouw  voedingskeuzes? Zet je een goede nutritionele basis  neer voor jou en de baby die in je groeit? Ben je iemand die graag onderzoekt en vragen stelt en beslissingen maakt op basis van je eigen, persoonlijke filosofie?  Bereidt je je mentaal voor op het bevallen en moeder worden? geef je jouw eigen lichaam aandacht door bijvoorbeeld een chiropractor te bezoeken, acupunctuur te laten doen, massages te nemen of zelfs te mediteren?

BIRTHFIT is gebaseerd op vier pijlers* die het onderwijs en de diensten die we geven vormgeven:

Fitness: Om functioneel te trainen op een manier die competenties ontwikkeld in fysieke vaardigheden en de drie metabole routes verbeterd.

Voeding: voedsel eten dat gevarieerd is en boordevol voedingsstoffen, met een grote verscheidenheid aan vlees, vis, groente, fruit, vetten en zetmeelrijke vezels.

Chiropractie: om structureel in evenwicht te zijn, vrij van ontwrichting, zodat het zenuwstelsel optimaal kan functioneren en kan communiceren met alle systemen in het lichaam.

Mindset: aanwezig zijn in het moment, dankbaar voor de ervaringen in je leven, en bewust zijn in de overgang naar het moederschap.

Al deze dingen zijn belangrijk en werken tegelijkertijd samen om je zo goed mogelijk voor te bereiden om fysiek en mentaal topfit te zijn voor het volgende deel in je leven.

Of je er nou over aan het denken bent om zwanger te worden, zwanger bent, of als je al een of meer kinderen hebt. BirthFit is er voor jou.

*De vier pijlers worden uitvoerig besproken in het bok “The Real Deal”.

“BIRTHFIT is a revolutionary movement that is empowering women and changing the course of the future. BIRTHFIT is building a new type of woman—a woman who possesses not just physical strength, but strength of mind, heart, and character. ”M.H

 

Considerations on training postpartum

Some two weeks ago, a mom I worked with during her post partum phase shared her feelings of discouragement because she was unable to train as much and as intensively as when she was a competitive rower.

I remember those days when I too believed that if you cannot train with the intensity and volume as you did before, you might as well not train, After I stopped kayaking and hadn’t found CrossFit, I simply couldn’t make myself exercise as much as I did before without there being a competitive goal.

Back then I was in my twenties and if I wasn’t studying, odds were I was in my kayak covering many kilometers or pumping iron inside the gym. Although I really had no idea what an athlete should be eating to fuel herself (shocking I know), I was as lean as ever and fully convinced that I was super fit and healthy.

Like the mom in this post, I too had the mindset that in order to be fit and feel good about my body I needed to do a massive amount of work. Mind you, I was injured and over trained.

But is this mindset correct? Do we need high volume and intensity to be fit? I would say yes of and no. It depends. And no I am not being facetious.

First of all let me borrow one of the dictionary’s many definition of fitness: it is “the quality of being suitable to fulfill a particular role or task.” Mind you the dictionary also defines it as “ an organism’s ability to survive and reproduce in a particular environment.” Considering that you are reading this, I am presuming that your goals are higher than this.

For you reading this, I would like you to consider a few things:

Where are you in your postpartum journey? If you just had a baby, I would advise that you please be kind to yourself. Start by joining a Post Partum series and take it from there. There is so much going on, the last thing you need for the sake of your own mental and physical health is to force your body into competitive training.

What are your goals? If you were an athlete before and intend to continue down that path, you, just live everybody else, need to take the time to recover physically from pregnancy, delivery and adaptation to the new reality. In this case I would also advise the postpartum series, seeing a women’s health physiotherapist to take a good look at your pelvic floor. I am a huge supporter of seeing a pelvic floor specialist so you really know what is going on before you start ramping things up

What does your training program me look like? This may upset a few people but please find someone who understands how to train post partum women. Contrary to popular belief, simply scaling exercises really isn’t the way to go about it. Does the person training you know how to progressively load you to start doing things like running, jumping, cleans, snatches without destroying your pelvic health? Are you even ready for loads? You are caring for a baby and your frontal load carrying is off the charts. Does your training reflect that reality? Do they understand the hormonal and physical changes your body has undergone in order to program me accordingly? How are you sleeping? Can you even recover from the intensity or volume of the training you need to do for competition? Are you getting better or are you breaking your hard earned muscle down?

Do you have a support group? You know by now that taking care of small humans and deal with life is no easy feat. Heck lets call it what it is: mentally and physically exhausting in ways, I personally never began to envision.

If you cannot answer these questions positively you may want to ask yourself some serious questions. Adrenal fatigue is no joke. I was there once and it was one of the roughest rides of my life. It takes a long and painful concerted effort to get over it and it can even jack up your thyroid and your mental health. What are the long-term consequences of taking this road for you as a person and are they worth it? This is of course an answer that only you can give.

This being said, the odds are that you are not a competitive athlete. Maybe you are a CrossFit mom, I am going to presume that you love hitting that glycolitic pathway. You like fast and hard workouts that leave you huffing and puffing on the ground, for going 100%. Maybe you were going 4-5 times a week to the gym and felt good about yourself.

Even if you aren’t into CrossFit, right now your goal may be to lose body fat and get back some of that muscle mass that allowed you to do all that fun stuff at the gym and wear your favourite outfits so well.

But things have changed, you aren’t getting much sleep, you may be struggling with breastfeeding, maybe you just returned to work and are in the process of trying to find some kind of balance in the chaos and constant change of plans that is motherhood.

By all means I know what it is like to look in the mirror and wonder what the heck happened, I know what it is like to maybe look at your belly button and realize that it got a bit beat up with the pregnancy, maybe it will go back to what it was before, maybe not.

If you were once super proud of those lines you achieved through dieting and exercising like a fiend, I understand feeling sad and frustrated because it all seems to have disappeared. But here again my question to you would be: “what are your goals mama?” To be fit and strong? Well maybe start by defining what those words mean to you.

If the goal is to look exactly like you did before, let me just say that the odds are that you won’t. Your body has undergone a massive change. A body that has adapted and grown another human doesn’t ever go what it was just like there is no amount of dieting that will get a full grown woman’s body back to her pre teenage years. Wanting, punishing our badmouthing our body into not wanting it to have any signs of the amazing work it has done is a disservice to us as women, growers of other humans.

Mind you I am not saying you cannot be a fit and strong badass mama and feel great about your body. In fact let me get you in on a secret: you don’t need to hit the gym as you did before to get the results you want. You don’t need two-hour sessions and you most certainly do not need to feel like you are doing Fran every time you do a workout. It is neither healthy nor efficient use of your time. If this is how you are training, please engage with your coach or maybe find a new one. Anyone can help you get a good sweat. Getting you fit, flexible, strong and healthy is a whole other game.

I would suggest that what you need is your own definition of “success”. A healthy, fun and realistic plan that you can mostly stick to in the long run. And I say mostly because, you know, motherhood is a whole other set of curb balls and a three that doesn’t bend, breaks in the wind.

A few weeks ago my child and I got to spend a few days with a good friend who is a competitive CrossFit Games athlete in the open division. She is a mother and has long passed her twenties. It was amazing to see how she manages her life, motherhood, marriage, work and training for the Games. It takes organization, being able to bend, having a good coach that knows how to program me for her reality and an awesome support team.

It takes a village mama and you know what? That village isn’t just for raising that child but to also help keep the mother healthy and sane.

Whatever you chose, however you define it, my wish for you is that you find your way to something that leaves you fulfilled and at peace with yourself.