What is my running secret?

I have a secret…

It is no secret, I love to run.

So here is the bombshell secret….
Post Run Lilly Hugs – I get all excited after I run!

The actual secret….

This was not always the case!

I didn’t always love running. In fact I had mostly convinced myself that I hated it and couldn’t do it.

So, how did I fall in love with it?

Well it was pretty simple, I just started. I put my shoes on and went for a little run to the beach when I first moved to the Easter Suburbs of Sydney (mostly because driving in those parts was terrifying!) It was 2km. And it was a start!

Starting was the hardest thing. Because for the longest time I had convinced myself that “I couldn’t run”.

Truth bomb.

I could run.

I just didn’t.

My competitive little ego was telling me that I wasn’t good at it, therefor I couldn’t.

I can’t actually pin point what I was worried about. I don’t think I particularly cared what I looked like, or what other people thought. But I was 100% convinced that it just wasn’t any good, so probs best just not to do it at all.

I started small.

Built up my stamina and strength and progressively got a little longer a little faster and a little bit more efficient. 

So what was it that hooked me?

✨The Runners High✨ – it is an actual thing. The endorphin rush. Magical little things endorphins. They turn the pain feels into positive feels and seriously, I could bust into a happy dance every time I get home after a run.

✨The Physical Benefits ✨ The cardiovascular benefits that I gain when I am consistent with my running make me feel as though I could do just about anything.

✨The Me Time ✨ Running is something that I can do on my own, with nothing at all. If I run on the beach, I don’t need shoes. I just need me. There is something that is super freeing about that.

Truth be told, when I reflect, I think it is the impact on my mental health that pulls me in the most,

I always feel so good after I have been for a run. Yes, my legs get sore. And yes, I puff (alot more now then I did when I was young, fit and kid free!!). But, mostly, my mood improves so so much after a little trot (Just ask my husband!).  No matter if it was around the block, or 10km. It literally allows me to reset and start again.

So, why post about this now?

I want you to know, that you CAN run.

That little voice in your head that is stopping you, is actually ALL that is stopping you.

I’d love to help silence that little voice, and give you the tools to get out and love to run the way that I do!

On Sunday the 20th of October – the amazing Mel Wright is coming to Belle Movement, to deliver the “Fit to Run” workshop!

They perfect place to start your running journey. Learn some tips and tricks to “hit the road” (like what I did there!) and run just a little bit more efficiently.

For more info click the link below and book your place!

PS….

It was running that made me fall in love with pilates!

Yes, friends it is true. It was pounding the pavement, one of my life’s true loves that broke me, sent me to the physio, who, started me on my pilates journey (Mark Mitchell, if you are reading this, many many thanks pal!) and in turn led me to another true love, pilates!

And I am so so thankful for that.

But, I have to say, I kind of wish it had been the other way around!

(Had I have taken the time to get Fit to Run I could have saved myself a little bit of pain)

You had a baby, your body did something huge! Now lets help it recover properly!

These small humans changed my life in many ways, mentally, socially and physically. My body is different and I am not talking about how it looks!

Over the weekend I attended a course all about prescribing appropriate movement and exercise to women to ensure the best possible physical postnatal outcomes. (Look up the Women’s Health Collective, it is amazing!)

It was amazing, because I learned some super practical things!

But more so, it lit a little fire inside me. Actually, it stoked a fire that was already burning and one that excites me greatly.

So what is it? It is hard to quantify in words, but the crux of it is…

Having a baby is a big deal. It is a big deal physically, it is a big deal mentally, it is a big deal socially and it is a big deal for our sense of self.

And as a society, we don’t do enough to settle this big deal.

Doing what I do, I can really only speak for the physical side of things, but the more I think about it, the more important I think it is that we start to talk more about exercise as medicine and the way that it can heel our bodies, particularly postnatally.

So if you could indulge me for the next few minutes, I want to stand on my soap box and yell.

WE NEED TO SUPPORT WOMEN IN RECOVERING FROM HAVING A BABY.

Physically, mentally and socially.

I think we are getting way better at socially supporting one and other. Mothers groups, online forums etc are bringing us closer together than ever been before. They aren’t perfect by any stretch, but they are moving and they are driven often by social constructs such as the local early childhood clinics etc encouraging us to get together and share our experiences with others.

We are also progressing in recognising and treating postnatal mental health struggles. Again, brought on by social constructs and shifts in our culture to recognise the signs and symptoms of mental distress AND treat it. You can access a mental health plan from your GP, you can get guidance from various organisations such as PANDA, Life Line, Beyond Blue . Again, this is not perfect, but it is socially driven change and is moving in the right direction.

But physically…. What do we actually do to support mums to recovery physically from being pregnant?

What education do we provide them?

What do mum’s actually know about what is happening/ has happened to their bodies and how to recover from that to allow for a life full of physical activity?

What even is physical recovery from pregnancy?

As a society we are getting much much better at placing value on life long physical activity.

We know how great exercise is for us.

So at 6 weeks post partum, we get a “check” and we are sent on our way.

WTF?

Where are the pamphlets about ways to identify if you have Diastasis Recti (DRAM)? And what does that even mean? Where are the info posters about Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) and the signs to identify if you have one or not? Where are the cute little post cards with an image of a mum and her baby that say “is your lower back in pain? Dial 1800 WHPhysio to book your appointment and check that your pelvic floor is in order”?

It doesn’t exist. And it is a flippin failure to the female kind. 

(Ok, I will stop yelling now).

Let me pepper you with some facts info before I start to yell again.

  1. The physiologic and anatomic changes of pregnancy generally return to the pre-pregnancy state by approximately six to eight weeks postpartum. Most research, however, considers the postpartum recovery period to be up to 12 months following birth.
  2. 100% of women will experience abdominal separation (DRAM) in their 3rd trimester of pregnancy. 66% of women with DRAM will experience some kind of pelvic dysfunction.
  3. 75% of women will experience some kind of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) during their lifetime.
  4. A large proportion of women can not describe what their pelvic floor is, or how to activate it, or why it is so important to be able to do this.

So why, please someone tell me why, are we not offering women more obvious avenues to get back into prescribed exercise programs specifically designed to rehabilitate the female body postnatally?

Why when we know all of the benefits of life long physical activity are we not actually encouraging women to rehab their bodies to enable this life long activity?

And I am not talking about encouraging women to go for walks with the pram after having a baby (which is so great for you! Please don’t get me wrong!!) but actually driving them towards professionals who can actually guide them to building strength in key area’s so that they can heal and progress?! And progress well!

Crickets!!

All I hear is crickets.

I am not an angry person, but this makes me seriously seriously frustrated.

Bust ACL – see the Dr, see the surgeon, have surgery, see the phsyio, rehab for a year, slowly return to walking and running.

Have baby, have “6 week check”….. And you done. On your way Mumma.

Why aren’t mums more frequently referred to women’s health physio’s?

Why aren’t new Mum’s and expecting mums educated about how to recovery from pregnancy?

Why why why, when we know how good on going exercise is for physical health, mental heath and social connection are we not doing more to educate and empower Mum’s to understand their bodies?

So here I am, in my little studio, breathing a little sigh of relief, that maybe in some tiny way, Belle Movement is part of the shift in this space. I am not an expert. Not even close. But I will keep on working with experts to ensure, that here, we are supporting women to move. To recover physically, mentally, socially and find a version of ourselves that we understand and love. 

Thank you to “The Women’s Health Collective” for stoking this little fire. I couldn’t be more excited to drive this passion even further!

Pls Jenna, talk more about the TA 😂

“TA’s”

“Deep Abdominal Muscles”

“Linea Alba”

” Diastasis Recti”

“Diaphragmatic Breathing”

“Pelvic Floor Engagement”

All of these can fall under –

“Shit Jenna says in class but I have no idea what she means”

And that is ok.

I didn’t know much about it either. But it is super important and particularly important for for Mum’s.

**Great, more information for Mum’s**

But stick with me here, I think that perhaps there might be a gem or two that can help you along the road of postpartum recovery!

Let’s go back to the start!

So baby is here.

This tiny little bundle, officially lives in your actual house. These times are tricky. You will talk about poo and sleep more than you ever thought humanly possible. You will learn about let downs, bottle temps, nipples, dummy’s, sensory toys, car seats, strollers, milestones, leaps, spew, poo and did I mention sleep?

Yes, much learning to be done.

And to top it off, your body has changed in ways that you can see and ways that you can’t.

And to be honest, learning about that, is right down the very bottom of that long list of things.

Something that you will hear getting dropped around on the frequent is “abdominal separation” or

“Diastasis Recti”

(Tick, those words are on the list!)

So what even is stomach separation?

Diastasis Recti is the unnatural distance of the right and / or left halves of the rectus abdominus from the midline. It is estimated that between 66% to 100% of women in the third trimester of their pregnancy will experience some degree of stomach separation. ” Katy Bowman

Separation can be regarded as mostly cosmetic. And, yes, it can be. However, there can be functional complications that come along with separation (which we will touch on in a moment).

It is important to remember, that your muscles aren’t actually “separated” or “torn” (for majority or women any ways). The upper layer of your abdominal muscles, the “Rectus Abdominis” Aka, your 6 pack, have always beet separated slightly. In actual fact, what has happened is the connective tissue (the Linea Alba”) that holds your abs together has actually become stretched, a little damaged and weakened.

So, rather than thinking or bringing your abs back together as such, what the research is telling us to do, is strengthen and build up some tension in that connective tissue. So then, we have a functional “core” to support our bodies.

“Although reduction in separation may appear to be an obvious rehabilitation objective, the alternative view is that Linea Alba tension…. is necessary to support the abdominal contents and to transfer force between opposite sides of the abdominal wall” Dianne Lee, Paul Hodges

BIG THING to note – because your linea alba is connective tissue, we don’t actually “train” it as such, but we strengthen what is behind it, to build up that tension and ultimately give your truck the support it needs to be super efficient and functional.

Excellent.

Ahhhh, so what is behind it and how do we build strength?

So glad you asked!

Our TA (Transverse Abdominis) is behind it!

DING DING DING! Yes, that muscle I chat about a lot. That is back there.

Soooooo important to begin to engage your TA and build strength in your deep abdominals.

Ok, Ok, so I now know where it is, and what it is… Why is it important to work on this?

Well, Diane Lee (super guru on this stuff…) says….

“Women with stomach separation may also experience lower back pain, pelvic girdle pain, pelvic organ prolapse or urinary incontinence. Sixty-six percent of women with stomach separation (DRA) have at least one support related pelvic floor dysfunction such as urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse or feral incontinence.” Dianne Lee, Paul Hodges

And lets be honest, how has time for that?

Now, this is why I loooooooooovvee to bang on about breathing!

Stay with me here,

This is where it gets good and us Mum’s get to reap the massive benefits of breathing and in turn start to get our strength back.

So, when we breath in our diaphragm (a large dome shaped muscle that you will find at the base of the ribs) contracts and when exhale it relaxes and allows the air to exit.

This exhale, can be made quicker by engaging the TA. Think of when you cough…. Quick exit of air right?! That is an example of how the diaphragm and the TA work together.

**BOMBSHELL** 🤯 you’ve been using your TA with out even knowing!

That contraction, the working together of the TA and the diaphragm can help us rebuild our core strength and the TENSION that I mentioned before in the Linea Alba, reduce Diastasis Recti and help improve our strength and function of our pelvic floor.

Last little part of of the puzzle….

Think back to that cough I mentioned earlier…

After having a baby, that cough or that sneeze can feel as though it is fraught with danger, “the-little-bit-of-wee-might-come-out” kind of danger.

You may have joined the dots here… Your TA is also connected to your pelvic floor!

That’s right, we can start to work on your pelvic floor via your TA.

(I plan to dive a little deeper on this one next week!)

How do we begin to activate our TA? Through our breathing!

So we have kind of come full circle here. And this is where I will stop for today.

But the short story here is, we want to build the endurance of our TA, to take it further than just bracing on the occasion cough, to bracing us day to day.

This is why, in our classes, I will talk so much about breathing and breath and deep abdominal muscles!

So, a couple of exercises you can practice at home….

  1. Diaphragmatic Breathing – as demonstrated by our lovely friend below here
  1. And some super specific TA activation exercises as demonstrated by our friend in this link here.

Dianne Lee & Paul Hodges; Behavior of the Linea Alba During a Curl-up Task in Diastasis Rectus Abdominis: An Observational Study; Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 2016 Volume:46 Issue:Pages:580–589 DOI:10.2519/jospt.2016.653 https://www.jospt.org/doi/full/10.2519/jospt.2016.6536

Katy Bowmen; Diastasis Recti: The Whole-Body Solution to Abdominal Weakness and Separation, 2016.

Juggling – No not really

So my kids often come to work with me. This is one of the main reasons that I started “Pilates and Play Dates”, so that I could build a business whilst the kids are accommodated.

Any of you out there who have been to one of my classes, on a day that my kids are there, will have met them.

Why?

Well, they aren’t always on the best behaviour.  They don’t always do as they are told. They often break out of the “Play Date”  and they do 100% think that everything in the studio is theirs and they don’t particularly want to share it with any one.

So yeh, sometimes they are tricky to manage, whilst I have a class full of paying customers moving on machines. 

The pic up the top of this page is during the very very first class that I ran back in 2018. On my left is my 2 year old.

Is she supposed to be right there. No.

Is she being helpful? No.

Was she being somewhat of a pest. Yes.

Did she know that she was supposed to be elsewhere? Yes.

Did she care? No.

How frustrating was it? I can’t eve begin to tell you!

I remember thinking in this very moment “well, this is it. Fail. No one is going to want to come back.”

I remember being a tiny bit cranky with Lilly for misbehaving, on my day, on my really important day!

And I also remember thinking – “if I don’t seem like I am clam in this situation this whole thing is going to turn to shhhiiiiittt.”

So that is what I did.

Faked being calm.

Put on my best calm “Lilly, can you please give me a minute” mum voice, carried on teaching the class, at times carrying her around yelling and not cooperating, and all the while thinking “calm, Jenna, calm” whilst mostly on the inside I was FREAKING THE HECK OUT.

The best news about that day? My other baby couldn’t crawl yet, and therefore stayed exactly where she was supposed to be. What a win!

So, the class went on. Lilly displayed a lot of pork chop behaviour, I fumbled through, we made it to the end.

Was it perfect?

No, I didn’t think so.

Did it work? Ahhh, weirdly it did.

By the time the class was over. My pent up frustration with Lilly had all but subsided.

My fake clam behaviour had, to an extent, worked.

However, it had little to no baring on Lilly. She literally could not have cared less that she had rail-roaded what I had hoped would be the perfect class.

But it did however have an impact on me. 

And this was my “ahh-ha” moment and maybe the my so called “secret” to the juggling thing.

So here is my theory.

Toddlers are the way they are. Often getting their one track mind of the one track thing is impossible. Nothing I say in that moment to them is going to change what they are doing.

So what can I control at that moment? Me. Only me. That is all I can do. And for my own good and for the good of my clients, and I guess ultimately the good of my kids. Calm is probably my best option. 

So, 9ish times out of 10, I take a deep breath, calmly intervene with my nutcase, and carry right a long.

That 1ish time out of 10 I do get super flustered. I do loose it at my kids. I loose track of the class. It all comes to a grinding halt for a few minutes, and then we carry right along.

We are only human right!!

So what am I getting at here?

I don’t think there is actually a knack for it. Remaining calm, carrying on. I don’t think there is a secret. It is something I have to consciously make myself do. It does not come naturally in that moment. But if I can, we are alllll so much better for it!

So, has anything changed since this photo? Yes it has!

Now my littlest baby can walk, so often she brakes into the classes and I have 2 of them all up in my face hahahhaa

Happy Wednesday every one!

1 month, $120 Unlimited Classes!

Your eyes do not deceive you!!

To celebrate the opening of the new studio and the induction of reformer classes to the program, we are offering one very awesome intro offer….

$120 – Unlimited classes AND this includes the cost of your Play Date!!

Yes, that is correct.

$120, all the classes, all of the Play Dates.

I want to share with as many of you as possible how great Pilates can be for you!!

How does it work?

All you need to do is follow the link below to the MindBody site/ app.

Once you have signed up to the 1 Month Intro offer, you will be able to login to MindBody and book as many classes as you like for the next 30 days.

How many classes should you book?

Well that is totally up to you! But I would recommend starting with 2 per week and building it up each week.

What if the times that I want aren’t available?

Pop your name on the wait-list! The wait-list is very active and changes are made all of the time so there is a high possibility that you will get the class you want.

What if I need to cancel?

Totally fine. We just ask that you give 90 mins notice. You can jump on the app and cancel if you need to. It is super easy!

Keen to give it a go???

Follow the buy now button bellow!

Lorna Jane are coming for a visit!

YES! This is true!

Lorna Jane – arguably the leader of the pack in active wear is coming to Ettalong beach, and they will be setting up in our new Studio!!

Our fit out will be just about complete and you will be able to have a sneaky look around the Studio AND if you are very keen, you will be able to book in for a FREE class!

Classes will be available on….

Friday 26th at 9:30am (with onsite Creche)

Saturday 27th at 9:00am

Saturday 28th at 10:00am

To book in, hit the “Book Now” Button, and click on the date you would like and the rest is easy!!

Don’t miss the chance to check out the space before we officially open the doors to our new studio!

Exciting!! We are opening a studio!

The dream for Belle Movement was to create a space where people can move. A space where people felt comfortable and confident to exercise. A space that was beautiful. A space with the power to created a sweet little community of like minded individuals.

AND

Last week, we signed a lease on a studio which we are currently preparing to do alllll of those things.

We will be opening 6 days per week, offing a variety of classes, including

  • Mat Pilates
  • HIIT/ Circuits
  • Yoga
  • and….. REFORMER PILATES

AND we will be creating a really special “play date” space for our little loves.

We are hoping to be opening in early May, but stay tuned for more information with regards to the time table, booking classes and memberships!!

Jenna xx