CORE FITNESS MYTHS UNMASKED
After reading this blog title, I’m sure some of you may be thinking … and even rolling your eyes …“Ugh! If I hear ONE more talk about fitness or healthy eating I’m going to go out, eat too much pizza and icecream and scream “I HATE KALE!” Ha!
My hope though, is that this blog turns your attention to some different things that may not have been on your fitness radar and gets you thinking and asking questions.
So … here we go. In this blog we are going to focus on two ‘hot’ women and fitness topics.
1. Core vs. A “Six Pack”
The “core” is a very integral topic in women’s fitness but when I say core, many think sit-ups, and a six pack. Others think the purpose of core exercises is to burn abdominal fat. So let’s “broaden” our approach to training the core and ensure that we are prioritising the core with the right mindset.
Check out the diagram. The Rectus Abdominus is the “six pack muscle” that most of us are well acquainted with. But underneath this is the the Transversus Abdominus. This is the deepest of the abdominal muscles and works as a stabiliser for the spine! It wraps around the abdomen like a corset and connects to our Pelvic Floor - these muscles support the bladder, uterus, and rectum like a hammock.
Combine these, and more and this is your CORE.
These muscles weakened or injured can be responsible for issues like chronic back pain, lack of bladder and bowel control, painful toilet trips, and even an “un-orgasmic” sex life (if that is even a word?) – Yes, I’m aware that lack of female orgasms have to do with a host of other issues but Pelvic floor strength has been linked to improved female orgasms, which is pretty great.
So while getting rid of the muffin top or getting “leaner” isn't a bad goal, thinking beyond this will set us girls up with a host of benefits! Let’s raise our glass to a lifetime of strong cores and great orgasms!
Here comes point two.
2. The Post-Baby Body
Many women have had good childbirth experiences so if you’ve not had a bub yet don’t take my story as a norm for childbirth – it’s not. Mine left me thinking, “OH. MY. GOSH are you serious? This whole childbirth thing? You’d think that how far we’ve advanced in scientific breakthrough that you could just grow them on a tree or something.”
45 hours of labor, sheer exhaustion, many stitches and swelling it left me inching my way around the ward with a catheter (go Google it). Needless to say I didn’t want anything going anywhere near my lady parts let alone IN or OUT of there EVER again. Also, I may or may not have “Vasectomy” on my Google search history (don’t tell hubby). Sorry about the horrible first time mum overshare.
Truly, it is whilst our bodies are at its weakest, that us mummas go straight into caring, feeding, bathing, changing nappies, daily chores, lifting 9-12kg strollers and doing it all with a baby weighing roughly about 3kgs and ending up at around 10kgs in the first year! Plus some of you legendary mums have had multiples! So if you're a new mum, chances are you are probably battling with some form of back, shoulder, neck pain.
Remember, if you had a “desk job” or generally a more sedentary lifestyle for years, launching into standing, walking, lifting, moving, carrying, and bending all day as a new mum whilst trying to heal is fairly traumatic.
My advice is to get strong, get moving, and stretching BEFORE pregnancy and baby. I’ll chat about mobility and daily activities you can do in the next blog.
Many of you know that Pilates is a great way to retrain your core but don’t limit your core training to lying on the floor as this will not train your muscles and spine to accommodate the “multi-dimensional” forces that your core experiences whilst doing life on your feet! Oh how I wish I could spend more time lying down for a nap!
In the pictures I am training with a tool called ViPR that trains the core by putting weight on the body in varied directions and positions. Using similar weighted tools and exercises performed safely and with the correct form and breathing patterns is fantastic as well!
Hope you've gained just a little bit of insight in these two points. Feel free to follow me on Instagram @anna_pond and “like” the Sweat Styles Facebook Page. Drop me message! love to hear from you!
Always remember, to seek the advice of a GP or Physiotherapist before you begin a fitness regime and ensure you disclose a pre-existing injury or illness to your Trainer or Health Professional.
Anna is a Personal Trainer and Group Fitness instructor that’s certified in Pilates, Les Mills, and ViPR. Her love for fitness is about making movement, health and strength a lifestyle.
She has worked in brands like Virgin Active, and F45 studios as well as owns her own PT and Group Business - Sweat Styles. Her and hubby Brad have recently embarked on the incredible journey as parents with their beautiful baby boy Taj!