Dr. Candace’s Recap of the BIRTHFIT Coach Seminar
It’s Monday morning, less than 12 hours since the first BIRTHFIT Coach Seminar wrapped up at Deuce Gym in Venice, CA and I have 5 hours (uninterrupted) at 14,000 feet to process this weekend (although I could probably talk about this for weeks on end). This weekend was filled with so much inspiration, love, emotion, and education. Words cannot even describe how leaving a BIRTHFIT Seminar leaves you.
Here are some of the top things that I took away from the BIRTHFIT Coach Seminar:
BIRTFIT is a safe space. From my personal experience outside of the seminar to each day of the seminar, this is demonstrated. Many women and men so bravely talked about their losses, their emotions, and their fears. Miscarriage, infertility, and traumatic birth can leave fear, pain, and so many indescribable emotions. These losses and experiences can be difficult to talk about, even with your partner. BIRTHFIT gave so many the space to mourn, grieve, and share. To those who have had losses and those who have struggled, my heart goes out to you.
DISCLAIMER: You will cry at any BIRTHFIT Seminar. It’s inevitable.
It can take up to 280 days to heal connective tissue. Erica Boland (the BIRTHFIT Core and Pelvic Floor guru) reminded us of this. Moms- be patient. Healing a diastasis rectus abdominus is simple, but takes work and patience. Getting a BIRTHFIT Consult and doing the Functional Progressions ASAP is ideal (especially pre-pregnancy!!).
“The secret to mastery in any field is to be a student forever” (Martin Palmer). This weekend was very humbling. BIRTHFIT uses many principles, some being DNS. I took my first DNS course almost 6 years ago and the most recent course I took was about 4 years ago. I realized, this weekend, that I have been a little “stuck” in the ebbs and flows of practice and over the years have gotten a little “sloppy” on how I explained various positions. I can make every excuse in the book about why I have not taken a course in more recent years (time, other required certs, expense, etc.), but this weekend was definitely a reminder of how important it is and how good it feels to be a student. To be open to criticism and learn from mentors and peers is invaluable.
BIRTHFIT is more than just modifying CrossFit workouts or workouts in general. It is not about a mom rocking out snatches, toes to bar, or a 5k at 35 weeks pregnant or 10 weeks postpartum because she “still can”. Okay, this is something I already knew, but it is something that we see constantly from clients, patients, social media, etc. Lindsey, Melissa, and Nast broke down specific recommendations for weightlifting, Olympic Lifting, and running at each week prenatal and postpartum—this information is mandatory for anyone who coaches or trains the pregnant or postpartum athlete. Being BIRTHFIT does not mean that you compromise the bar path on Olympic Lifts just because you can. Being BIRTHFIT does not mean that you compromise your gait and continue to run just because you can. Melissa Hemphill reminded us that “being a great weightlifter means you hit the positions”. Being BIRTHFIT means that when your bump is in the way of the bar path (if you even ask the questions “is my bump in the way?”, ditch the barbell), focus on IAP (intraabdominal pressure), do some kettlebell/dumbbell snatches and cleans, and work on deadlifts & squats (snatch deadlift, snatch balance, etc.). Being BIRTHFIT means that if you are running, you are also spending two days each week strength training. It means you are focusing on opening up your hips. It means you stop running when you lose good running form (this usually happens around 28 weeks). There is plenty for you to do that won’t send poor patterns to the primitive part of your brain to remember.
BIRTHFIT is growing. It is growing beyond pregnant and postpartum women. I sat in a room with men who thought this was just going to be another tool in their toolbox, coaches who don’t have any pregnant clients at their gym, and people who are “nowhere near having children”. One participant shared that in the first two hours of the seminar, he learned more than he has for the first 20+ weeks of his wife’s pregnancy (WOW!). We spent a lot of time sharing and reflecting. The seminar ended sharing something we were taking home with us. It was incredible to see the amount of growth that each participant and member of the seminar staff made in just three short days.
Lindsey Mathews is one of the most inspiring people I have ever met and worked with. If you have not met Lindsey, you need to. If you have met Lindsey, you know that she is incredibly humble and has a beautiful soul. She started this movement with nothing but guts. She saw flaws in the system that many of us see and took action. She has created this tribe, The BIRTHFIT Tribe, and has made so many sacrifices to keep this movement flowing forward. Leave it to Lindsey’s other half, Logan Gelbrich, to share this fitting quote, “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” (Anne Lamott).
HUGE Thank you to the BIRTHFIT Seminar Staff:
Lindsey Mathews @birthfit
Erica Boland @birthfitwisconsin
Melissa Hemphill @birthfitcolorado
Jess Brown @birthfitlogan
Nast Whitson @birthfithawthorn
Emily Russak (Embo) @birthfitlosangeles
I could go on and on about the information that I learned this weekend, but would not do it justice. If you have interest in BIRTHFIT, want to be BIRTHFIT, or want to be a bigger player in the BIRTHFIT movement then I encourage you to meet with a Regional Director near you, enroll in a series or workshop, stay up on the blog and podcast, or sign up for online programming. The best way to be involved in BIRTHFIT is to BE BIRTHFIT.