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Let’s Get Physical | Having a Safe Return to Exercise After Baby Ep 13

Iva 1:15

Welcome to the Mom Bosses Abroad podcast. Let's get started. We are here today with Jen Landry and she is sharing with us what does it look like when you want to have a safe return to full exercise after the baby and what is truly possible in that sense. So Jen, welcome to our podcast. We're so excited that you're here with us today.


Jen 1:50

Yeah, thank you so much for having me. I am looking forward to it. I'm glad to be here.



Yeah, so Jen, you're the leader in Functional Fitness. She specializes in pregnant, postpartum, and everyday women. She's a mother of two little girls but those two pregnancy actually left Jen feeling weak, broken and in need of answers. So, she discovered the Pregnancy And Postpartum Corrective Exercise Certification. And when she obtained the certification, it totally changed the way she looked at pregnancy and postpartum fitness as well as female health in general. And it ignited that fire to help as many women as possible so they could avoid what she experienced. She is the CEO and owner of moms fit life and her mission is to teach moms that they can trust their bodies to rock mom life with confidence. Super-duper excited to talk to you about your mission.


I know it is I am myself. Nine months postpartum I still feel I have postpartum symptoms. It feels like it happened so long ago, but sometimes it feels like feels like it happened yesterday. So this is such an interesting topic. And yeah, we just love to find out more. You have so many tips and tricks that you are willing to share with us today. 


Jen 3:33

So yeah, yeah. And I want to touch on you know, you talked about how I have said before that I felt weak and broken and stuff and you know, in a lot of ways motherhood we all know that it's the emotional change, there's so much that takes place and you kind of lose yourself emotionally and stuff. But for me, so much of my identity is working out and Fitness and Sports and I couldn't do it. And it was you know, so you add all that emotional component to


Iva 4:09

your identity was taken away.


Jen 4:12

Yeah. And you have that emotional side of things, you know, and then you add that you can't physically do it either. And it was really hard for me. You know, nine months after my first I still was struggling physically to get back to where you know and I for even after my second for a little while because I didn't discover my recent certification and this the postpartum and pregnancy corrective exercise specialist until a little after my second was born. And I felt like I was still experiencing that. What I want women to get away from of that bounce back culture. No, it is such a shame and I fell for it. And I'm in the fitness industry and I know how hard it is to make changes and I know how hard it is to see progress even without having tried babies and pregnancies and stuff and I fell for it.


Desiree 5:16

And there's so much pressure, isn't it? It's this pressure of like you said this bouncing back and it makes you question then yourself what is wrong with me? You know, everybody is completely different first of all, and our body has been through a lot. 


Iva 5:37

It's incredible and we have become a culture where we want speed above about above anything else right like we want to the hacks and the trip that the tricks and the tips and everything to get us like quick, quick, quick to whatever it is that we want to get towards to and in this case with back to your like, pre-baby body. It seems like a race, like you need to do in the shortest amount of time as possible. Because if you don't then again, the shame and the guilt and what might be wrong with me that I cannot accomplish that


Jen 6:18

right. So like you shouldn't be locked out of the hospital.


Iva 6:22

Yeah, exactly. So Jen, can you can you tell us what are I mean, what is the normal expected timeline been to start creating that mental shift to say like, wait a second, you know, I just had a baby. What time does my body really need to heal and to and to get strong again for me to even start considering the bouncing back part.


Jen 6:46

So that's a wonderful question. And I was actually going to touch on it when you mentioned the quick fix to and I think that it's kind of this two-fold answer for you. So, it kind of depends, first and foremost, how well you function and move and learn to be physically able while you're pregnant. And so it's learning how to manage the pressure in your core and work through your abs strength. And make sure that you can be in control of your new posture as it changes so that when you go to birth, birth is a little bit easier. And therefore there's less things that your body has to fight or less trauma that happen. And then that translates then into postpartum where. So, if you've done what you need to do in pregnancy and you can be super strong and you've learned all the right techniques, then postpartum you may bounce back much quicker. Wow, okay, it's really fast, but depending on what's happening, if you didn't do any of that, right, it kind of depends on what your birth story is. It kind of depends on what happened was part of and it may take longer.


Iva 8:14

Wow, this is so fascinating, because this is the first time that we- this is the first time that we actually hear about what happens during pregnancy and how much of an impact it can have on the recovery process. And on the aspect of getting you know into the healing and the strengthening part. So what what are some considerations because not everybody has the same pregnancy. Not everybody, you know, goes through the same. You know, I for example, I remember when I was pregnant with both of my children that I had hyperemesis gravidarum so I was, you know, sick and throwing up for about like five months out of my whole pregnancy. And so what when you we talk about, like, making sure that you understand how to balance your core and to work on it during pregnancy. What are some things that most people can do? I know it's been very general strokes here and everybody wants to really see I mean, disclaimer, please talk to your physician, with your doctor before attempting anything that we're discussing right now. And then also of course, get coached by someone like Jen right, who understands all the biomechanics of these exercises, according to your situation, but just general strokes, is there anything that for the most part, when we're pregnant, we should be focusing on in terms of exercising or keeping ourselves fit? 


Jen 9:51

So that was the first yes and that's a wonderful question. Because, yes, you, as you said, it's a broad stroke and everybody's different and everything but there are two things that everybody can do without question. And the first is to get a pelvic floor physical therapist. Somebody who can help you learn to control and manipulate your pelvic floor, which ultimately helps make a vaginal birth 10 times easier. Right? They can teach you then how to manage that pressure in your core and use your abs appropriately while you're going through the pregnancy. Because your core and your pelvic floor are tied together. And they need to work in unison they need to work together. And a lot of times weakness and stuff in the pelvic floor is what leads to things like prolapse, leaking even back pain. So a pelvic floor physical therapist is a wonderful place to start, but then also just learning how to breathe which seems so crazy and so simple, but learning how to breathe because you have your pelvic floor sits at the bottom and your diaphragm sits parallel to that at the top and everything in between all the muscles of your back all the muscles of your core, the diaphragm muscle, the pelvic floor muscles they all need to work as a unit in order for you to be strong and stable. Where that maybe is what so


Iva 11:32

Yeah, it is because we always forget we think about breathing with lungs. We have long so we breathe and that's the end of the story. But we don't really see how it connects to everything else.


Jen 11:45

And it does and it makes a huge difference. And you know, you think about too as the baby grows, as we all start to breathe up into our shoulders and it's short, fast breathing and you know, I the joke that you hear a lot is oh, I took my first deep breath once the baby's born. Why? Why is it so you can practice it? And that can actually work the core from like an internal way to work the core that you're using? Yes, yeah.


Desiree 12:23

I also I found that I mean I did for my second baby now. Hypno birthing and did the whole like just looking at birth a whole different way right that like the natural way the first one was really like I had no idea I didn't really have that much of a guidance. But the second one I was much more prepared and it was really this breathing your baby out is not pushing you shouldn't be pushing. It's breathing your baby out and that for me was a game changer just that that that rhythm and that also mentally easier. Way too easy. Okay, easy is like the wrong word to use here but close


Iva 13:10

Like there's like a natural rhythm.


Jen 13:15

It's my absolutely yeah, absolutely. 


Iva 14:10

Okay, so first, so just to like summarize a little bit like there's the pre, you know, the pregnancy part, right, we're breathing and understanding the pelvic floor like exercises that help strengthen like your core are important. And then once you're on the other side once baby's out, then what are the things they people should be looking out for like women should be looking out for to ensure that there is a smooth and gradual transition back into


Jen 14:42

The very first thing you can do you can do it in the hospital is the breathing, start breathing. start bringing that core back in balance. Start working that pelvic floor as soon as you feel ready now, most of the time in the hospital, you're not going to want to do it. You know, maybe the first few days even you're not gonna want to do it once you're home but as soon as you feel like you're even remotely ready, start practicing breathing and it comes from your exhale should start by lifting your pelvic floor. Okay, yes. So you lift the pelvic floor and then you bring those lower abs and think about it like you're tightening a corset. So you lift the pelvic floor and then you start to zip up that corset in the front and everything starts to tighten in. And then you bring your ribs down a little bit and that gets the whole core engaged, and you do your full exhale and you want to have it be like so that you can hear it and then be that right out of the gate starts with foundation that enables you to then start to move a little bit better and when you're walking, you can start practicing it to get that support because walking is probably the first best thing to do. Yeah, right as soon as you can. You know and then things to watch for is as you start to gradually add exercise back in as you want to make sure that things like well first check to see if you have a diastasis still after baby and because the breathing will help close that up. Again and firm it up. So that's the separation between your abs for those who are unclear. So


Desiree 16:35

Someone like a pelvic floor therapist can help with that.


Jen 16:38

Okay, but you want to pay attention for what's called coning or Domingo in the abdomen. So like if you go to do like, let's say a plank, everybody knows what a plank is. You can make sure a plank, and if you work at your belly, you do not want to be as you get into that plank and as you take your exhale, everything should shrink. Everything should tighten.


Iva 17:08

Tighten right.


Jen 17:10

If it starts to bulge along your belly button, along your abs right or that diastasis would be right in the middle of that six pack abs or it starts to look like triangular. That is a sign to back off. You are doing too much and you will make other symptoms a lot worse. Back pain is another big one that if you feel that you know back off a little bit just work on the breathing and then like you can even do things like adding a balloon to your breathing can be like adding a weight to a bicep curl.


Desiree 17:48

Wow. So trying to inflate a balloon is that way you


Jen 17:53

And you want to be able to inflate the balloon. You want to be able to inflate the balloon without any of that coding or knowing and then as you take your inhale through your nose, the balloon should remain inflated without you cinching it off.


Desiree 18:12

Ah Oh my god. I'm gonna try that now. Like after this.


Jen 18:18

And again, think about it like you have a zipper that's all the way down and as you lift your pelvic floor, you start to close the zipper and then you tighten those abs and you invert closes a little further and your ribs go down a little and that's a full exhale. And that is the single best and especially if you learn how to do it right and you know, watching yourself in a mirror or having someone like myself who can watch you and give you feedback can make all the difference if you just start with learning how to have those good, deep breaths. Now, I don't expect you to be like that, you know, walking around or talking and it's a tension.


Desiree 19:02

Yeah, like with intention. How long were how often should you be doing this breathing exercises at the beginning.


Jen 19:14

If you are doing it correctly, you know, five to six full and like when I say a full exhale like I want you exhaling until you cough because you're like you've literally blown out all the air that you can. Then we want to make sure to on your inhale that you're filling your ribs and you're not just coming up into your chest and you're not just coming out into your belly, your ribs need to move but you do five or six deep, full inhales and that scales two or three times and then you can do that two or three times during the day.


Iva 19:54

And can I say for the most part, if we have time to scroll for five minutes, we probably had time to do a couple of these exercises.


Desiree 20:09

I always did it now while breastfeeding actually, you know as needed because I was sitting down I was focused, you know, so I was you know and it's kind of fun. It's like I would blow her face as well. She thinks it's funny. You know, it's like just incorporate that breathing now, and it's really effective.


Jen 20:34

That's wonderful to like breastfeeding like you said and it's that that becomes a habit that way too because it's a trigger. You're doing it Yeah, you know, take every time you go to the bathroom. Take a minute to do it. And then what's wonderful about that is once you've got that down, then go into like lifting, running again, even or just some of the more higher intense physical activity. You now know how to manage your core pressure your abs, and you can translate that to your exercises. So one you're going to be stronger in those exercises. But two it's not going to set you back and you're not going to like go into all of a sudden having a diastasis or prolapse or whatever it is like you're going to be able to protect your body now because you have this foundation and this baseline and you can take it into these wonderful squats. You can go into heavy lifts, run.


Desiree 21:41

Do the like the second stage type of exercises and movements. 


Jen 21:47

Yeah, and a lot of people skip that first initial step of like reconnecting with your core and your ribs and your abs. So that when they go into those exercises, they are you know it's a disaster because they've skipped that first foundational step. 


Iva 22:06

I just wanted to go back and and ask just for the sake of clarification, maybe not all of us have, like in our readers like what diastasis recti really means or prolapse or like, you know, what are certain things that you should be looking out for even if you're not like very recently postpartum, but maybe down the line you're like, oh, you know, I never really paid attention and and also connected to this. Like how late is too late to check on this thing. What's your what's your take on this?


Jen 22:42

I'm gonna work backwards through those questions. It is never too late. So if you have issues, you know, it's like the running joke to in motherhood. Oh, I have to cross my legs when I laugh. Or, you know, I can't jump anymore. Like I can't get on the trampoline with my kids because I'll pee my pants and stuff like that is so common, but it's not normal and it can be fixed even if you've been dealing with it for years. 


Iva 23:10

So that's great news because he really, really there is hope.


Jen 23:14

Yes, absolutely. It is never too late. And so things to look for. So like the diastasis recti I kind of mentioned the coning and the domain and stuff. So like if you're seeing like these weird shapes when you shouldn't be shrinking and tightening up during a core movement, then that's a sign of an issue. So other like prolapse is going to feel like a heaviness in your pelvic floor kind of like your organs are trying to fall out because in reality, that's a little bit what prolapse is. the pelvic Floor is not supporting them the way that it should. Leaking is going to be based on either a tight pelvic floor or a weak pelvic floor. Most often it's the tight pelvic floor. Things like back pain could be a whole range of reasons related to your pelvic floor and your core weakness.


Iva 24:20

Can I just go back one and one second ago we didn't just to clarify. If you have a tight pelvic floor, you can leak? Because I thought having a tight pelvic floor was what as all about at the end too. Like tight like it's like it's strong.


Jen 24:37

So that's the difference. That word right there strong versus tight. Think about it. Like when you carry tension in your shoulders and your shoulders are killing you and you get a massage and they're like oh you're so tight. Yeah, but you may not be able to shrug, you know, 60 pounds on each hand because meat hadn't been due. So you're not strong there but those muscles are super tight. Or you think about like a rubber band. For example. When you stretch it out. That's not when it's doing its best work for you when it's at full speed. Like fully lengthened out fully strengthened, but it's really taut because it stretched out. Be a little less stretched. And when you put it around something, it releases some of that tension to hold whatever you're trying to hold with the rope. And that's stronger. So tight and strong are not the same.


Iva 25:50

Wow. Yeah. That's a big distinction. I had never thought of it that way. 


Jen 25:58

And like Kegels are not always great. Most of the time in fact, they're not actually good for women. 


Desiree 26:10

Really? Yeah. Okay. Tell us more


Iva 26:12

That’s not what we have been told. We have been told like a myth for all these years. Kegels are supposed to be like the Holy Grail of pelvic floor. As I understood it.


Jen 26:23

Yes. And they can be very helpful for people who have like a weak and loose pelvic floor because they need to strengthen it. So that's pulling it up. But the key is with what they don't teach you with a Kegel and this is kind of why it's not awesome is so you think about like a bicep curl, for example, you go to straight you, you start with your arm straight, and then you curl the dumbbell or wait up to your shoulder, and then you straighten your arm back out. Again. So the Kegel is essentially taking you from an already bent position to your shoulder. And then you're going back to that bent position. You're not ever learning how to straighten the arm all the way. So you're not getting that fully relaxed pelvic floor before you pull it back up. Yeah, so you need to learn how to relax and lengthen the pelvic floor before you can tighten and strengthen that dinner


Desiree 27:38

I have to say as well I went through a bit of a six-week postpartum routine as well with a coach to get my strength back and she taught me that and that was also new for me because I had no idea after the first draft I don't think I really did anything to prepare myself for exercise again oops right but this time knowing as well this is the last baby I'm gonna have I really wanted to do it all right, you know to reset my body and make it strong again. But yeah, it's really interesting. And it really goes to show that you need a guide, a coach and someone by your side because there's a lot of myths out there in the internet world right? But there's also so many things that no matter how experienced of a fitness person you are, no matter how fit you are you it's very different how you need to exercise after having a baby and really it depends and people often underestimate that but a lot of our future, just like it's so important to build that foundational strength again for anything that you do to be fit for your children right to absolutely know.


Jen 29:01

And like you said, I'm in the fitness industry, and I've been doing it for so long, I did it in college like that was my major in college and then I've been doing it for 13 years after and I have taken courses on how to train a pregnant woman and all that, but never to the depth that I know now. And I didn't do anything right, from based on what I know. And I had two C -sections. And I'm 98% sure that if I knew what I knew now, my births would have gone much differently.


Desiree 29:40

Yeah, and so bless you for them teaching other turning that into your business, right and like I mean, you were in the fitness industry before but finding your niche in a way to help these moms. So they don't and like we said at the beginning so that they don't have to go through what you went through and teaching the correct way. And I do want to shift now the conversation just a little

And I want to shift a bit, and just about before we hit record as well. I mean, you said it's 8am You've already done two sessions with clients. Yet you do have two little girls as well. How do you manage your time between your business your clients and being a mom?


Jen 30:25

So the first rule I have for sure is on Saturdays and Sundays I try very hard not to work. Occasionally something comes up but I work really hard to just, it can wait till Monday. Everybody else in the world does it – it can wait ‘till Monday. But I am definitely you know if I get, if I have to get my work in or my workout so when I train in-person clients, it's before the girls are awake or after they've gone to school. And same thing with my workouts I fit them in, either before everybody in the house is away, or right after the girls go to school


Iva 31:08

You have a very early start into the day


Jen 31:12

I have a very early start. But basically, what I do is I take my priorities to like what's most important to me and one of them is my health and fitness because if I'm not taking care of me I cannot be here long term for my girls. And so I do that before I do almost anything. And then I put it out of the way I knock it out when I have the most energy and the most fresh. I do it as soon as I can. And then that allows me time and clarity as well. Like I'm more clear after a workout because I that's I joke that it's my therapy.


Iva 31:52

But it is! I mean, I always quote Elle Woods. You know when she said like, but exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy and happy people do shoot their husbands? and I'm like 


Desiree 32:10

Yeah, well, that's at the end it's your Harmony, finding your harmony in that way. One question that we always like to ask our guests and you've already answered that though, is what brings you harmony in your life because balance is so last decade it's extremely difficult to find balance as a working mom of young children especially. So we always want to find out from everyone what is their one thing that brings them the harmony? You know, it's not going to be unbalanced, but what makes you happy and so I could definitely hear you've said it already. It's taking care of yourself, exercising, getting it done very early before even anyone gets up and you can cruise through the day a lot more joyful.


Jen 33:02

I think also just knowing my limits. So like I know by a certain point in the day because I'm up so early, but I don't have it in me to get the workout done or the work done and it's a lot less painful to wake up that hour earlier than it is to fight the crash at three or four in the afternoon. I think you'll find a lot of people in general not just women or moms have a point in their day where after a certain time they just don't function as well. And so it becomes even harder to battle the excuses. And so I know that it's a lot. It's still hard to wake up early. Sometimes I want to hit snooze. I don't want to get out of bed every day. But that's an easier battle for me. Then the afternoon slump.


Iva  33:58

And I just want to go back a little bit. Is there like a correlated impact between your ability to say okay, I can go back to having the same level like sexually of pleasure and everything that might be damaged or let's say impacted by not following through with a proper like getting back into shape getting back into


Jen 34:25

Absolutely. So you know, that that doctor's appointment that they clear you and stuff is usually the six week mark. There are some conversations in the I believe the American OBGYN board or whatever where they're starting to go. Maybe six weeks isn't a great thing for everybody and how can we adjust that? But that's generally when you are cleared for exercise, full swing that's generally when you are cleared for sex full swing that is basically the good to go. Change mentally you get somebody who makes you wait till eight weeks, especially if you're a C-section mama. But yes, if you have things like a tight pelvic floor because of all the trauma of birth, or you cannot contract and relax your pelvic floor appropriately. If your core is all messed up, sex can make those things worse. You can have pain with sex that you might not have had before. You might just not enjoy it as much because there's too much tension too much tightness, too much weakness in the pelvic floor. So yeah, if that's something that can be remedied with learning to breathe, getting the ribcage moving again and working into progressing into exercise. Now that's not to say that you can't have sex in six weeks. If you aren't doing those things or if even if you are and some of those things are still act maybe you're breathing is still your breathing exercises. are still very difficult. You can still have sex but it will get better as you progress through those movements and get as you get stronger and as you get more mindful of your body. So yeah, it absolutely can have an effect.


Iva 36:33

This is so interesting. And we could continue the conversation for much longer. But I do know, Dan, that you do have a freebie for our listeners and we're really excited to hear about it. Can you share with us what it is and why we why you know the mamas that or anyone as you say because there really is no timeline into going back and saying, Hey, maybe you know, there's a couple of things that I can still, you know, correct or looking to for myself. So can you share with us?


Jen 37:08

Well, of course like for anybody who's listening that is having trouble visualizing some of what I've discussed in stuff. I do have all those videos on my Instagram or in my Facebook group. So you are welcome to check those out as well. Breathing, checking for diastasis all of that, but I do have a posture reset workout. For that and I call it a posture reset workout because there's a lot of other components to having a baby that change your posture and have different effects on it. And getting your posture right comes down to balancing the core and the pelvic floor but it makes you feel better if you're not if you your butt disappeared while you were pregnant. And you're like no, I have no butt where's my butt and then you find the workout. It's like, Yes, I look good again.


Desiree 38:01

Where did it go?


Jen 38:05

When shoulders and you're like I used to stand up straight, you know? So it can really help with a variety of the issues that women face postpartum. And it's a wonderful workout. Nothing crazy. It's not like I'm asking you to do some kind of CrossFit workout. Just super simple and easy to help get your body back. 


Desiree 38:33

Awesome. Thank you so much for sharing that with everyone. And like we mentioned it's never too late right to get into the suburbs. To have just had a baby. So yeah,


Jen 38:44

It could be 30 and if you're still leaking, I can help you reach out. You know, it's never too late.


Desiree 38:53

Oh my god. Yes. Yes, we are going to put all those links so people can actually reach out and connect with you. So we know that you have a couple of projects on the horizon that you're working on.


Jen 39:11

Yes. So I have a it's called Fit Foundations Level One it is out it's a four week program and I'm working on level two and level three. And there is a there is a fit Foundation's core. I'm it's out there right now I am working on tweaking it a little bit but that is a wonderful place to start as well to just practice getting that core back in shape as well.


Iva 39:39

Yes. Okay. So we really, really look forward to sharing all your details with our listeners because I guess the biggest takeaway is that, as you said just because pregnancy happened a while ago already, where it seems like a while ago. If there are things that you feel that are not right, as you say or that you know that could be improved. You are the person to go to, to help with that. So we want to thank you Jen for being here with us and chatting and really we've learned so much already just in like this like, you know, very brief period of time, but if you want to connect with Jen, you can find her on Instagram @momsfit_life and she has her Facebook. She has her LinkedIn, she has her website. Plus she has the links to her beautiful freebie and all the amazing other projects that she has currently in the works and also already launched. So we want to thank you once again this has been really an eye opener.


Jen 40:49

Thank you. No, this was a lot of fun. It was a good conversation. Thank you for having me.


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Jen Landry

Jen Landry is a leader in functional fitness specializing in pregnant, postpartum, and everyday women. As a mother of two little girls and two pregnancies that left Jen feeling weak, broken and in need of answers, she discovered the Pregnancy and Postpartum Corrective Exercise Certification. Obtaining this certification changed the way Jen looked at pregnancy and postpartum fitness as well as female health in general. It ignited a fire to help as many women as possible, so they could avoid what Jen experienced. She is the CEO and Owner of Moms Fit Life. Her Mission: to teach moms they can trust their bodies again and rock mom life with confidence!



IG @momsfit_life




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