Awesome Abs Tip #1

Stop Drawing In Your Belly Button!

I am not a fan of focusing on aesthetics when I start working with a new mum, especially as the majority of the gorgeous women I work with have just been on this amazing & beautiful journey of carrying and giving birth to a tiny little miracle.

However, I am aware that the majority of mums would like to reclaim their bodies after having their little ones, start feeling energised again and look the best they can, which includes having a little less around the mid-section.

But what does having awesome abs mean to you?

Does it mean having a flat stomach?

Does it mean feeling like you are strong in your mid-section and that your pelvis is not going to give way if you lift a heavy item or your lower back is going to go out without you?

Does it mean losing that ‘muffin top’ that seems to like to hang around all over your pants?

Or does it simply mean feeling good about yourself when you go out with the love of your life or your girlfriends?

Whatever it means to you, having ‘awesome abs’ is something we should all work towards, especially from a functional perspective, so that we can live an active, healthy, fulfilled lives, both now and in the future.

Drawing in your belly button, or “engaging your core”, all the time is not a good thing to do for your body.

Though it might make you look aesthetically better, it does not support your body with functioning optimally.

But why?

Our core muscle system consists of your deep core muscles, which includes your diaphragm, transversus abodminis muscle (“corset” muscle), pelvic floor and multifidus  (muscles that run between the vertebrae in the spine)

And it includes the muscles that are fundamental to the deep core working effectively, including your rectus abdominus (‘six-pack’ muscle), obliques (external & internal), gluteus maximus (buttock) and erector spinae (muscles on the spine).

For muscles to work effectively and efficiently, the need to be able to contract and relax to their full length when required and be able to work through their full range of motion.

If our belly button is drawn in the space in our abdominal cavity is reduced, and, therefore, the space for the diaphragm to contract and move down into on the inhale (breath in), which increases the pressure in the abdomen. This in turn hinders our ability to breath deeply, and, more importantly, affects the function and the demands on the rest of the core muscle system.

Think of it like a juice box. If you held a juice box gently around the side and gently blew into the straw, the air would get taken in and, if there was juice in the box, bubbles would be produced. But nothing else would happen.

Now, if you held the juice box tightly and did the same thing, the air would not have very much space to go into, so you would likely end up with the air and juice spirting back out the top. And, if you blew too hard, you may even see the juice box split open. Why? Because, the air has to go somewhere.

And that’s the same with the core muscle system. If your core muscle system is already pulled tight, and then it needs to contract to withstand more pressure, the pressure builds within the abdominal cavity, and there’s no where for the pressure to go except for up, down or out!

So, the result can potentially be:

  • pelvic floor dysfunction
  • prolapse (sagging or bulging of the pelvic organs into the vagina) or
  • hernia (an organ pushes through an opening in the muscle or tissue that holds it in place).

And, well, a sucked in tummy sags when you finally breathe out and relax.

Therefore, we need to be able to turn on the core muscle system on when it is required, and relaxes when it is not needed.

We need to ensure that when we push, pull or perform any movement where there is an increase in intra-abdominal pressure in our bodies, that our transversus abdominus contracts when our core muscles engage, providing lower back and pelvis stability and preventing injury.

So, your challenge  is to simply stop drawing in your belly button!

Relax and soften your belly when you are sitting, lying or whenever you are not loading your body, and let your core muscles relax.

Having a well functioning core muscle system will assist with repairing your diastasis recti (abdominal separation), improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your breathing, help restore your core and contribute to having awesome abs!

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Jody is a pregnancy and post-natal specialist, with tertiary qualifications in exercise science and registered as a Level 3 Exercise Professional with Fitness Australia.
Jody is also a mum of two young children, and therefore understands the demands and challenges of being a mum.
Jody is passionate about educating, energising and empowering pregnant and post-natal women through the provision of safe but effective exercise programs and fitness sessions.
Contact me today to see how I can help you with your fitness and health!
Disclaimer: This article is advice only. All individuals should discuss the suitability of their health and exercise program with their doctor, exercise professional, physiotherapist or midwife.
For further advice about your individual fitness needs, speak to a pregnancy and post-natal exercise professional, women’s health physiotherapist or health professional.

Peppermint – The Oil of a Buoyant Heart

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Since having doTERRA Peppermint Essential Oil in my toolbox of essential oils, I have truly come to appreciate the wonderful properties and uses of this beautiful oil.

The peppermint plant is a hybrid of water mint and spearmint. Peppermint is renown for having many medicinal properties, including helping to alleviate occasional stomach upsets and promoting a healthy respiratory function.

Peppermint is also used in many of our daily household products, such as toothpaste, mouthwash and chewing gum, as it is assists in oral hygiene.

Personally, I have not always been a huge fan of the scent or taste of peppermint (even in my chocolate!), preferring the citrus scents and flavours of wild orange, grapefruit, lemon and lime.

However, doTERRA’s Peppermint Essential Oil is now used almost daily in my home, and here are some of the many ways I like to use it to support my health and the health and wellbeing of my gorgeous family:

Invigorating Morning Wake Up

Do you sometimes wake up feeling, well, ‘blah’, for use of a better word? Or, do you want the kick of a coffee without actually having to drink coffee?

Place a couple of drops of peppermint essential oil in your hands, rub palms together, cup over your nose and breathe deeply.

Or, put a drop of peppermint oil onto your thumb and then place it on the roof of your mouth. Take a few deep breaths and you will definitely feel awake, energised, and ready to take on your day!

Also, this is a perfect use just before a workout to increase alertness, invigorate the lungs and awaken your senses!

And, diffused with lemon, wild orange and/or frankincense, an uplifting environment is created, which will definitely leave you feeling revitalised.

A Natural Antihistamine

A blend of peppermint, lavender and lemon is a natural alternative to try to deal with hay fever, either diffusing the blend or taking it in a veggie capsule (also available from doTERRA®), as this blend assists with clearer breathing and supporting healthy respiratory function.

Instant Cool Down

On a hot day, a spray bottle of peppermint oil and water is the perfect combination to cool you down and invigorate you.

Also a spritz of peppermint oil and water is amazing before a workout to energise you, or during a workout to cool you down and keep you going!

Ease a Headache

Apply to temples for soothing comfort. Also, applying to the back of the neck will help ease strPeppermint 1ess and tension.

For a gorgeous blend to relieve headaches, combine with eucalyptus and frankincense essential oils, and apply to the neck, temples and forehead.

Tummy Calmer

A couple of drops in water each morning and/or before each meal is reported to support digestion.

Or, do what I love to do, and add it to my smoothie to not only invigorate me but also support my digestion.

For new mums that are breastfeeding, please be mindful of topical or internal use of peppermint essential oil. Though everyone reacts differently, peppermint oil has been reported to affect milk supply for some women by decreasing or stopping milk production. It is recommended that peppermint essential oil be avoided if you have any sensitivity at all, and only diffused if you would still like to continue with some of the benefits of this beautiful oil.

Emotionally, peppermint is the oil of a buoyant heart. It invigorates the mind and body, and reminds us that life can be happy and there is nothing to fear.

Would you like to know more about doTERRA® essential oils and products…..

If you’d like to learn more about doTERRA® therapeutic essential oils and how you can use essential oils to support you and your family’s health and wellbeing, contact me to have a chat or go to my doTERRA®website to find out more about doTERRA®.

Disclaimer: All information provided are recommendations & advice only. All individuals should discuss the suitability of their health and exercise requirements with their doctor, exercise professional, physiotherapist, midwife or health professional.
For further advice about your individual health, wellness and fitness needs, speak to a health professional, women’s health physiotherapist and/or pregnancy and post-natal exercise professional.

 

2017 – The Year of Honouring Myself

 A few months ago a client asked me what my fitness goals were for this year – what training programs or fitness challenges was I taking on in 2017.

And, for a moment, I didn’t know what to say.

Why?

Well, because I am currently on a journey of healing, nourishing and being compassionate towards my body and my mind.

I am on a journey of accepting that ‘good is good enough” and living by the mantra “progress not perfection” (which, let me say, is a huge challenge for a perfectionist!)

When my client asked me this question I really was floored for a moment, and almost a bit embarrassed. I couldn’t answer with “I’m focused on running my first City to Surf marathon” or “I’m training for Tough Mudder”, because those are the last things I will be doing in the foreseeable future. That is not to say they are challenges I don’t want to take on. However, this year is not the year.

So, what is my focus in 2017?

Well, the focus for me personally this year is to ‘Honour Myself’.

But, I hear you saying, what on earth does that mean?

To me, to ‘honour myself’ means:

  • To schedule “me-time” every week, and a little every day
  • To listen to my body more and by tuning into what it needs on a daily basis
  • To nourish my body with food and movement, rather than punishment and annihilation
  • To continue with self-love practices, such as daily movement, meditation and personal affirmations
  • To well and truly deal with my inner critic!
  • To spend time quality time with my beautiful family
  • To continue to embrace, nourish and develop my passion so I never have to work another day in my life

As a fitness professional I have always believed that I should be able to do everything I ask my clients to do, and then so much more physically. To be so much stronger mentally, and have this nutrition thing down pact!

However, let’s face it – I am human! And I am far from perfect!

And, I have come to appreciate that I also have a responsibility to lead by example, and be honest and genuine with those that I work with about who I am, my journey as a women and mother and what I have learnt along the way.

Ok, so that all sounds good, I hear you say. But how do I ‘honour myself’ when I’ve got little ones to look after, a house to keep under control, a relationship to nurture and a job that I have to go to?

Schedule it!

Are you really great at scheduling all of your children’s appointments, and are always considering your partners work schedules and commitments?

And, possibly, are you always making sure you have put into your calendar all the times that you are helping a family member?

Or are you one of those wonderful friends that will happily change your schedule to help someone out but never to spend some time on you?

Well, it’s time to also schedule some time for the most important person in your life – YOU!

So, look at your schedule, and put time in for you!

K.I.S.S!

Yes, keep it simple! This morning all I managed was 10 minutes of meditation before I started my day. But, it was 10 minutes of time for me, and, in my book, that’s a win!

Time for you really doesn’t have to be much time at all. Like I did this morning, wake up 10 minutes earlier to do some meditation or simply start making ‘me time’ a habit by taking a few deep breathes before the chaos begins.

When your little one goes for a nap, take 15 minutes for a cup of tea. Or, after putting the kids to bed, take 10 minutes to have a stretch.

It doesn’t have to be complicated or take a lot of time. It just needs to be something that makes you feel more alive, more energized and it’s yours!

Don’t listen to that inner critic!

You know, the one that sits on your shoulder, or whispers in your ear, just when you’ve finally taken a moment for yourself, or you’re making plans to nourish your body well and not just that of your kids.

It’s the one that tells you you’re not a good mum because you weren’t there for every single moment of your child’s life, or, that says to you ‘why bother starting to look after yourself now because you won’t stick to it’!

He’s pretty powerful that inner critic! But he needs to be smacked in the face and told to shut the f*%k up!

Wrap yourself in compassion, and remember to tell yourself, and that inner critic, that you are awesome and you do deserve to be healthy and happy!

And that doing something for you is OK! Actually, it’s more than ok – it’s absolutely essential!

Ask yourself what truly makes you happy, relaxed or energized

The time you take for yourself should be enjoyable and make you feel alive and light.

It should be all about you and what makes you happy!

If you love to exercise, then find a type of movement that you enjoy. There are so many options out there.

And, that’s how MumaTime evolved here at MumaBubs. I realised that the beautiful ladies that were coming to my sessions absolutely loved the ability to bring their children.

But, for the ones that started coming Saturday mornings without their children, they remembered just how energizing and uplifting just 1-hour per week to do a workout without their little one’s around was for them.

So, if you’re looking for some time to yourself, while using movement to energise, uplift and strengthen, come and join us at our MumaTime session on Saturday morning at 8.00am.

But, whatever it is, it should be just for you, and it should be a priority!

And, speaking from experience over the past 3 months, taking just that little bit of time to honour yourself will have a positive effect on all aspects of your life.

Go on beautiful lady, take a little time to honour yourself –

 you need it and you deserve it…

“Setting time aside to take care of yourself is not being selfish.

It is honouring  yourself”

Nyambura Mwangi

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Jody is a pregnancy and post-natal specialist, with tertiary qualifications in exercise science and registered as a Level 3 Exercise Professional with Fitness Australia.
Jody is also a mum of two young children, and therefore understands the demands and challenges of being a mum.
Jody is passionate about educating, energising and empowering pregnant and post-natal women through the provision of safe but effective exercise programs and fitness sessions.
Contact me today to see how I can help you with your fitness and health!