Ep 82 – Training during Pregnancy and Healing Diastasis Recti with Lisa Ryan

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“I think the biggest message that I’m trying to get out there is, ‘Take the time when you’re pregnant.  Don’t look at it as a, ‘okay, what can I still do?’ because we all have that feeling of ‘ok, I gotta keep doing this for as long as I can because coming back is going to be so hard… but don’t look at is as what can you still do, but ‘what should I be doing?’… You might still be able to be kipping pull-ups, and it might feel fine, or you might still be able to be… I don’t know, lots of things.  But, reining it in during that chapter, I think, is so important.  It doesn’t mean you can’t CrossFit.  I mean, there’s millions of things to do.” – Lisa Kozian Ryan

As a long-time CrossFitter and member of Valley CrossFit’s Regionals team, Lisa Ryan entered pregnancy in fantastic health.  When she became pregnant with her first child shortly following Regionals, she continued to exercise with modifications as she “listened to her body” and followed the advice of her doctor and her coaches.  Following her son’s birth, she slowly resumed working out, taking care to keep weights lighter at first and slowly rebuild her core.

At 8 months post-partum, she found that she had lost all her baby weight and yet still had a hard, protruding stomach.  After consulting with several doctors and getting no answers, with the help of a friend, she discovered she had diastasis recti, a separation of the abdominal wall.  She began modifying her workouts and seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist, and with time, her separation decreased.  During her second pregnancy, Lisa worked with a team of coaches and therapists to improve her breathing techniques and alignment, and to set up her pelvic floor and abdominals to work together and to be strong to support her pregnancy and recovery.

Today, Lisa is still working to heal her diastasis recti, and she is on a mission to share her message with other moms and moms-to-be that pregnancy and postpartum recovery require specific training and rehabilitative protocols, and that the type of training you do during this time can have lasting effects.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How Julie and Lisa met years ago at HyperFit USA
  • How Lisa got into CrossFit
  • Lisa’s pregnancy story and how she approached combining CrossFit and pregnancy
  • How Lisa’s two pregnancies differed
  • Lisa’s decision to give birth by C-section, and the recovery process
  • Lisa’s experience with identifying her diastasis recti 8 months after pregnancy, and the challenge of finding a practitioner to diagnose it
  • The frustration Lisa felt in dealing with diastasis recti after she had approached fitness during her pregnancy with care and caution, heeding the advice “listening to your body”
  • How certain exercises didn’t feel right for her, even after physical therapy
  • How CrossFit Games athlete Lindsey Valenzuela’s sister, Ashley, connected Lisa with pregnancy and post-partum athleticism coach Brianna Battles, and how that connection set her on a path to recovery
  • Lisa’s concerns surrounding her second pregnancy and how she approached exercise differently
  • How Julie Wiebe’s Piston Breathing Course helped Lisa care for her pelvic floor while still CrossFitting, and how she used this information to change the way she exercised during her second pregnancy
  • Lisa’s realization after her second pregnancy that she needed more assistance than her original physical therapist was able to provide
  • The process of finding additional help, and what her rehab and exercise plan looks like right now
  • Strategies that Lisa uses to train hard but smart, and how she keeps her focus on pulling back when she needs to in order to foster faster healing
  • What Lisa hopes to pass along to other women about pregnancy based off of her experiences
  • How one of the biggest challenges of training while pregnant is that there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, but avoiding certain things can set your body up to heal better after
  • Applying risk vs. reward to training
  • Lisa’s mission to share information so that all athletic women can be informed about training during and after their pregnancies
  • Three things Lisa does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on her health
  • One thing she struggles to implement that could have a big impact on her health
  • What a healthy life looks like to Lisa

You can follow Lisa on Facebook and her on her blogs, Teacher by Day, CrossFitter by Night, and Helping is Healing.


Related Episodes:

Ep 23 – Lindsey Valenzuela on Pregnancy, Affiliate Ownership, and Competition
Ep 41 – Graham and Savanna Holmberg: From Fittest Man, to Faith and Family
Ep 81 – Postpartum Training and the Road Back to the CrossFit Games with Lindsey Valenzuela

If you like this episode, please subscribe to Pursuing Health on iTunes and give it a rating. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below and on social media using the hashtag #PursuingHealth. I look forward to bringing you future episodes with inspiring individuals and ideas about health every other Tuesday.

This episode is brought to you by MobilityWOD. Do you struggle to get into good positions in your training and workouts? Are your movement compensations causing you undue pain and grief?  M|Wod’s belief is that every human being should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves. Join hundreds of Olympic and World Class athletes, College and Professional Teams in the NFL, MLB, Basketball, Hockey, Rugby and Soccer by using MobilityWOD to train and compete at your best.  Visit www.mobilitywod.com to receive 20% off your annual membership with code JULIEFOUCHER.

This episode is also brought to you by Siete Foods. When Veronica Garza was facing a series of major health challenges as a teenager, her entire family of seven jumped on board to help. Together, they adopted a low-inflammation, grain free diet. As a Mexican-American family living in south Texas, they couldn’t imagine life without tortillas and it wasn’t long before Veronica came up with a delicious solution and Siete Foods was born. Visit www.sietefoods.com to try some of their delicious grain free and paleo-friendly tortillas or tortilla chips yourself and use code Julie for 10% off your order.

Disclaimer: This podcast is meant to share the experiences of various individuals. It does not provide medical advice, and it is not a substitute for advice from your physician or health care professional.

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