MIKE: Welcome to MoveU Unfiltered, transforming the way you connect with your body and reigniting that winning mindset that guides you back to the active life you love.
Guys, how are you doing? I’m your host, Dr. Mike Wasilisin here with my co-host, Andrew.
ANDREW: That’s me.
MIKE: We have a very special guest today. Her name is Natalie Dent.
NATALIE: Hey, guys.
MIKE: Oh, Natalie. This is a special episode. This is a women’s episode today. We have recently, it has been brought to our attention about a lot of female issues and as online, as our Instagram, we have 75% guys and 25% women.
MIKE: I know, but we just launched MoveU Women. So MoveU Women, the whole purpose of it is to bring awareness and also a game plan to help women with problems that they encounter that we would know about as a guy. This episode, we’re going to specifically be talking about the pelvic floor in women because that is an issue that you brought to our attention. We’ve had a couple of other people bring and not many people are really talking about it. It’s kind of embarrassing, I think, for women.
NATALIE: Yeah, for sure. Women don’t like to talk about it.
MIKE: They don’t like to talk about it and I notice when there are videos…
NATALIE: Especially to a guy.
MIKE: Especially to a guy, right. I could see that. We’ve never heard that out of thousands of patients in here, maybe millions of patients we’ve had. I think we’re in millions.
ANDREW: For the last two day, I’ve worked with it on every woman and trying to find like the right word to talk about it. It has been fun for me.
MIKE: You have been?
ANDREW: Yeah and I have worked with some men with it and they are fine. They laugh and everything, but the women are kind of like embarrassed at first and then we get all into it and they seem to become very, very trusting within like 10, 20 seconds of talking about it. So it’s cool.
MIKE: That’s cool. That’s awesome. I’m excited about this. Natalie, she has gone through – as everybody has – life in a way that has brought it to her. It has forced you to deal with these issues and understand what works and what hasn’t. We’re here to really help the viewers, the listeners engage with this and make them aware, and also give them some sound advice and a plan about what to do going forward. Why don’t we start with you just telling us a little bit about – first of all, guys, we’re talking about specifically the pelvic floor on women and how it relates to, what are we talking about?
NATALIE: Core strength.
MIKE: Core strength.
NATALIE: Back pain.
MIKE: Back pain and leaking.
NATALIE: Leaking, yeah.
MIKE: How do women describe that?
NATALIE: Well, I know a lot of women who, when they work out, they leak and sometimes it’s a little leak and sometimes it’s a gush.
MIKE: It’s a gush.
NATALIE: Yeah. I encounter a lot in CrossFit Gyms because it’s more of a community and the women will talk to each other about it, not so much the guys, so I hear a lot of it and double-unders, box jumps, running, it’s a big problem.
MIKE: What activities outside of CrossFit do you hear about this and you said running is one?
NATALIE: Yeah. Coughing, sneezing.
MIKE: Coughing, oh right.
MIKE: Is it something sitting, standing, it doesn’t it matter or…?
NATALIE: It doesn’t matter.
MIKE: Okay. I’ve heard of this problem being associated as well with like early signs possibly of even having your organs…
NATALIE: Drop out.
MIKE: Female organs drop down. What is it?
MIKE: Prolapse. That’s when the uterus, right, the uterus comes down through. Everyone listening, there’s the pelvic floor muscles which is like if you hold both your hands like you’re holding a big bird or like a bowling ball, well, that’s your pelvic floor muscles and they are supposed to hold the contents in. If they get a little weak then stuff starts coming out, and I think there’s, urine is the first one, right, because your urethra goes through that.
NATALIE: Yeah, it’s the first sign.
MIKE: It’s the first sign, right. Have you heard bad cases with that often with the…?
NATALIE: Yeah. Usually, it doesn’t happen until you’re a little bit older like 40s, 50s, 60s, but ultimately, it will lead to surgery. If you don’t take care of it, you’ll end up having to have the surgery, really place it in there to pull everything up.
MIKE: I wonder would that really…
NATALIE: It’s not 100%.
NATALIE: I talked to a good friend of mine who was given the option surgery or PT and she chose PT because surgery is not 100%.
MIKE: I see.
MIKE: I see. So some common routes that people go, women that at least- I’m sure there’s million of women out there that have this because, what you said, there are two types of women out there?
NATALIE: Yeah, there are two types of women. There are women who are told to ignore everything, ignore pain, ignore symptoms. It’s just part of being a woman and then there are women who are princesses and treated like delicate little flowers. In both groups, neither one of them take care of their body. Let’s say the princess is having issues, their solution is to do nothing and then you have the other person who is having pain, leaking. They are just going to power through and keep going. It really comes down to women not listening to their bodies.
MIKE: Okay. We addressed the problem here, right? Really with women, there are some signs like leaking and also one we talked about because this one, we’re talking about pelvic floor and core, is it diastasis recti?
NATALIE: Yeah. Common after pregnancy, really common, and sometimes, those go hand in hand. Women will come in who are like, “I can’t do a sit up because my stomach split.” Doctors will just tell them like, “Oh yeah, don’t do a sit up. It could make it worse.”
NATALIE: So then what do you do? You have to learn how to fix that and connect it, and move your body still.
MIKE: Sure. So let’s move then. I think what they get with the diastasis recti, back pain, maybe some pelvic pain, and also there are some other signs. You were just talking about painful during sex.
NATALIE: Yeah. I’ve heard of a woman having a lot of pain during sex with pelvic floor issues either way and that’s another thing that gets ignored. Doctors just tell you, “Sorry, part of being a woman. It sucks to be you.”
MIKE: Okay, got it. Alright. So let’s get into you.
NATALIE: Yeah, okay.
MIKE: Everyone out here wants to know about your story.
MIKE: They do.
MIKE: They sure do. Do you used to worry about maybe your back and then kids, and then the recti and how you got to where you are right now?
MIKE: You’re athletic and everything in there too.
MIKE: Yeah. Why don’t you give us the good version of that?
NATALIE: Oh, the good version, not the bad version.
MIKE: I take that. I don’t even know why I’m working my mouth. I said, “What the hell are you talking about, Mike?”
MIKE: I’m like, maybe I’ll just delete it or just ramble it on.
NATALIE: Do we start with back pain or do we start with pregnancy because….
MIKE: Why don’t we start with your back? That’s first.
NATALIE: Okay. When I was 13, I started having some back pain. I was an athlete. I was a softball pitcher. I was really active and they couldn’t figure out what was going on. They looked at my back and they are like, “Oh, we don’t know what it is.” They sent me to all sorts of doctors, ran some tests and thought, “Maybe she has some tumor.” I did a CT scan and a myriad of other things, ruled out the tumor which was a really great thought for a 13-year-old to have. I went to a spine specialist. He looked at my back. In about 2 seconds, he said, “You have scoliosis. Why didn’t anyone see this?” Here’s some stretches to do and sent me on my way. That’s when my back pain started. I just kind of pushed that aside.
MIKE: What are the stretches? Did he give a piece of paper with stick figures on them?
MIKE: Is that them?
NATALIE: Yes, stretch your hamstrings. They are tight, got it. Stretch my hamstrings.
MIKE: It will correct your scoliosis.
NATALIE: Yeah. I was just happy I didn’t have to wear a back brace because I was a little past the point where they made people do that.
MIKE: Well, a lot of people think, here’s the thing. I notice at medicals, they will go to me, “My back. I have to do this.” I’m like, “You have to or you chose to because a doctor can just recommend something.” A lot of people out there, they feel like when a doctor says something, that’s what they have to do, like they don’t have a choice on the matter.
NATALIE: No, I learned early on that I had to figure things out for myself.
NATALIE: That was probably my first sign that I needed to do that.
NATALIE: So I went back to sports as usual and went along my merry way. I got pregnant very young with twins. I was 15 and so you imagine how small my waist was at that point and I carried two babies. I had a serious split in my stomach and I don’t know why as a 15-year-old I was doing this, but I did all my research because I wanted to know what I needed to do to get that split to go back together. Afterwards, I did exercises.
MIKE: At 15 you’re looking into this? Really.
MIKE: Were you an athlete growing up?
NATALIE: Yeah, I was.
MIKE: Ah, okay.
NATALIE: It just freaked me out. I mean, I was already having these babies and I was imagining my stomach to be like hanging out everywhere and I didn’t want that. I want to figure out how I can do sit ups again. Maybe it was shot well but in the end, it helped my back.
MIKE: Okay. The problem was a split but you really wanted to do sit ups again.
NATALIE: Yeah. I wanted to be active and be as normal as possible for a 15-year-old with twins, right? So I was able to get the split to go pretty close to being back together, like you can barely tell that there is a split.
MIKE: How did you do it?
NATALIE: There are exercises you can do, a lot of like what you guys do in here and I do it with people in Pilates. You lay on you back, go to neutral, connect your core, and make sure that you’re not doing any movements where the split was opening. You don’t want to throw yourself into a sit up because a split would get worse. Yeah, it would open up.
MIKE: You were taught to actually learn to how to do some bracing and stuff like that.
NATALIE: Yeah, I was doing bracing. I used a towel. You can take a towel and like wrap it around your stomach and pull together, and do bracing with the towel so the muscles are together essentially.
NATALIE: I mean, this was like 17 years ago. They didn’t make anything for the split at that point. Now, there are all these like contraptions that they give you.
MIKE: Did they work?
NATALIE: I’ve heard mixed reviews.
MIKE: Every device out there to fix your posture, I’m like, they all suck. I’m sorry. I’m not sorry.
NATALIE: You can buy something to hold it together, but if you’re not doing the proper movements with it then it’s just, it’s like a brace.
MIKE: It’s like a posture brace. I don’t want to say they all suck because I guess, you can say there’s a purpose to them. If you had it for like a reminder only, but when you start relying on it, it’s over. It’s over.
MIKE: There’s one guy, he bought like 15 alignment shirts. I’m like, “Are you just going to wear these?” This obviously tells what you plan to do with these things. You won’t do laundry. Okay, I understand that. I’m a bachelor. The first thing that runs out, I’m out of socks, I have to replenish the socks because I’m trying to push laundry as far back as possible.
ANDREW: Buy more socks.
MIKE: I just buy more. If my boxers run out, I got to buy. I’m trying to push back.
NATALIE: Yeah, I’m not surprised. I have all boys.
MIKE: Oh, right. So where were we? You’re working on this.
NATALIE: So I worked on my split. I got that to a place where it wasn’t terrible. I mean, I see women who have like 4 inches gap in their stomach between the split, like you’re reaching in and feeling organs with a split like that.
NATALIE: Yeah and mine could have gotten that bad, but I started working on it like on day two or three.
MIKE: Okay. So it does get worse.
NATALIE: It can get worse.
MIKE: It makes sense it gets worse. It’s like a tear on a piece of paper.
MIKE: Right? The tear doesn’t just get better.
NATALIE: The thing about it, you’re lifting kids up, you’re doing all of your normal…
MIKE: Yeah, that’s right. You have the split and you got kids now.
NATALIE: Oh yeah. Oh yeah.
MIKE: And you’re weeks from having the kids anyway.
MIKE: Guys, by the way, I think we fixed our podcast problem. I’m really happy about this, but go ahead. Okay.
NATALIE: Okay, so fast forward, I have some more kids. I had twin boys and then I had two more boys. My back still hurt. My core was decently strong, but there was still something missing and obviously, still a little curvature and what have you. My back was hurting after I had my fourth son and it would go out probably once a month where I could barely walk.
MIKE: When did you get your fourth son?
NATALIE: He’s almost 10.
MIKE: Okay, okay. He’s almost 10. So now, you’re about 22.
NATALIE: Yeah. No, 23.
MIKE: Okay, 23 years old.
NATALIE: But I would like to be younger so you just kind of, it’s the first time for me.
MIKE: If you haven’t seen her, she’s beautiful. You would think she has zero kids, just so you know.
NATALIE: I have four.
MIKE: She looks like she’s 25 years old with no kids.
ANDREW: She’s ripped and she’s stronger than me.
MIKE: Strong as can be but so feminine too.0
NATALIE: I’m not really sure why they are sucking up to me right now, but I’ll go with it.
MIKE: We said that when you left day one.
NATALIE: Let’s see. Let’s really see.
MIKE: We’ll upload a picture of you.
NATALIE: Okay. So where was I?
MIKE: You’re like 23.
NATALIE: Okay. I’m 23 and my back hurts. I’m laid up on the couch. I go see the doctor and they are like, “Oh geez, yeah. That’s spasming. Here are some pain pills and some muscle relaxers.”
MIKE: Still the #1 treatment for back pain to date.
NATALIE: Number one, yeah, and “Oh hey, maybe work on your core.”
MIKE: Whatever that means.
NATALIE: Whatever that means, like, okay, maybe do a sit up. I don’t know. At that point, I’ve got four sons and doctors are handing me medication. I’m like, “Why am I supposed to take this medication that’s going to knock me out with four boys under 7?” That was our only help. I started working out on my own and just trying to get stronger in general. I noticed some improvement there quite a bit. About nine years ago, I started doing CrossFit on my own again and just getting stronger overall helped a ton. I noticed my back pain got way better.
MIKE: Did you feel like, if you look at CrossFit athletes, right, some of them have that previous athleticism. They are connected with their body and others have no connection.
MIKE: Even some athletes that are going there, they have no connection with movement. How do you feel on a 1-10 scale knowing what you do now, how did you walk into CrossFit, 10 being like you’re connected with your body? Let’s say you’re 10 now, which maybe you’re not. I’ll just call you a 9 now.
NATALIE: Connected? I honestly think everything I went through so early helped me be more connected and I didn’t go into a gym. I learned on my own. I was in my basement watching videos after videos.
MIKE: Here’s what I don’t want people to here. I don’t want people throwing you impression and go, “Oh, so just getting stronger helps her a lot.”
NATALIE: No, no, no. I was not doing weights. I started everything with body weight and just trying to learn the movement and making sure I was doing them correctly before I added any weight because I’m a girl and I’m like, “I don’t want to hurt myself.” I’m not like most guys who will just let go and lift as much weight as they can. I’m still a female and think about those things. I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone.
MIKE: Even the time you won?
NATALIE: No. I mean, I was by myself in the garage. I’m not trying to look good basically.
MIKE: Oh, when you’re learning on your own?
MIKE: Okay. We’re pre-CrossFit still, building up to it.
MIKE: Okay, got it.
NATALIE: So I started CrossFit on my own and the back pain got way better, way better.
MIKE: You attributed that being weak, just being weak in general.
NATALIE: Yes, just in general. My core was decently strong but I just had four babies and then overall, I got stronger in all the body way movements, anything that was really helpful. I didn’t have another episode with my back for probably two years. Yeah, about two years. I had just gone horseback riding and I went to the gym to lift weights. It was like, I was with another trainer that I didn’t really know. Afterwards, my back just went to spasms. I was like, “Oh great, this is back.” I got that to go away.
MIKE: So this is like, you’re like 25 at that time now?
NATALIE: Yeah, about 25.
NATALIE: I’m a little bit better and fast forward, I started going to triathlons. So I was on a bike a lot. I was still doing CrossFit and I started competing in CrossFit.
MIKE: Ah, okay.
NATALIE: At that point then, I noticed my back was just always hurting, always. I was like, “Crap. What do I do now?”
NATALIE: At that point, the most important thing to me was like how do I keep competing? How do I keep racing?
MIKE: Sure, that’s the mindset of the athlete, right? They will tend to push through.
NATALIE: Yeah. One of my best friends and my neighbor is a Pilates instructor and she’s like, “Girl, I got to fix you.” I was always hobbling over to her house and she was adjusting me and then teaching me how to connect and use my core. I was like, “I don’t know why this makes me feel better but it is.” I would leave her house after a few minutes of core work and I’m like, “Gosh, that’s amazing.” So she talked me into going through her training program, which was Pilates based mat apparatus, all of it. I’m like, “I don’t know what Pilates is, but sure, whatever. You seem to know what you’re talking about,” and really all Pilates is the blueprint of how we should move. It’s correct posture. It’s connecting your core.
MIKE: Because Pilates was designed by, as far as I know, physical therapists started it.
NATALIE: It was a guy who started Pilates who was, I think, in the circus. He was a gymnast. He was an athlete and yeah, he ended up PTing or using SPT to help people during the war.
MIKE: Oh, he used it as PT. It wasn’t started by a PT.
MIKE: He used this method to help people injured in the war?
MIKE: Ah, interesting.
NATALIE: Yeah, it’s a pretty cool story.
MIKE: Okay. Give me a little bit more of it.
NATALIE: About just the Pilates?
MIKE: How much you know.
NATALIE: Okay. He was in England. He’s a German but he wasn’t fighting for the Germans. He was traveling with the circus. He got captured and….
MIKE: He’s like, “I’m like in the freaking circus, people. Look at me juggle. I’m not your army, not worth anything.”
NATALIE: Right. So he got thrown into prison in England somewhere, I believe, and he was helping the guys on his cell block who were injured and he started like taking apart the bed springs and making different things for them. The guys are like really injured to help them get stronger and he started like working them all out, and all of the guys on his cell block ended up being the healthiest ones there because a lot of people were still dying from different sicknesses and illnesses going on during that time.
MIKE: Wait, who is in the cell block with him? What are these captured people?
NATALIE: Other prisoners.
MIKE: Prisoners of war?
NATALIE: Yeah, prisoners of war.
MIKE: Are they ex-soldiers?
MIKE: Oh, interesting.
NATALIE: Like guys who were injured and like really hurt.
MIKE: Right, this is interesting. What war was this?
NATALIE: I think, don’t quote me here, I think it was World War I.
MIKE: What, like that early 1900s Pilates?
MIKE: No way.
NATALIE: I hope I’m not wrong and I hope it’s not World War II, but you can Google it right now.
MIKE: Okay, Andrew, look it up. Andrew is still here, by the way.
ANDREW: Yeah, you’re just having a conversation.
NATALIE: It was like initially used for dudes, right? It was made by a dude, Joseph Pilates, and then he ended up moving to New York. Women, because we’re so smart, right, we caught on to it and he started using it with dancers and the men are kind of like, “I don’t know what this guy is doing,” but it got really popular with ballerinas.
MIKE: What equipment were they using back in the day? Because now, guys, for the listeners, they use a Reformer, which is like…
NATALIE: It was still the Reformer. It was like this flat bed and had springs attached so you could do different movements and really, you can do a lot of stuff on the mat. Sometimes, it’s just the mat. You just use your body and if you already have really good body awareness, the mat is awesome.
MIKE: Ah. So the Reformer helps you.
NATALIE: If you don’t have that, like if you’re not…
MIKE: Okay. We’re going to set up a Reformer session, you and I?
MIKE: Can you get me on one?
NATALIE: Sure, yeah.
MIKE: Okay, good.
NATALIE: It’s awesome.
MIKE: Let’s do it. I’m excited. I’m embarrassed. I’ve been recommending Pilates to people for years and I’ve never done it, but I watch it. I put it in the same category as yoga in a way too.
NATALIE: But it’s not the same as yoga.
MIKE: Category, like, okay, gentle, like things that are least likely to injure somebody.
NATALIE: I wouldn’t say that, but okay.
MIKE: Okay, less likely to injure somebody than other forms of exercise.
NATALIE: Okay, yes. Okay, I’m not going to argue that, not right now anyways.
MIKE: You clarify. No, we’re just talking.
NATALIE: People can overstretch themselves and that can lead to injury. I’ve seen that a lot. I’ve had people come to me for Pilates because they were like, “Oh, I overstretched myself and I injured myself in yoga.” They are so overstretched.
MIKE: So yoga does get people.
NATALIE: They don’t know how to connect anymore.
MIKE: They can’t connect with yoga because they just go to the movements.
MIKE: They don’t know like where does pelvic neutral is, what bracing really is. They are going to planks with all the wrong muscles. They look like the people in the room, but they are not using the right muscles.
NATALIE: They don’t really know where the strength comes from, which is your core.
MIKE: They don’t. They don’t. It’s like the piece yoga, I see it because I’ve done a lot of yoga.
NATALIE: A lot. I’d like to see that.
MIKE: Oh my God. Let me tell you what happened last week. I’m done with yoga now. I go in yoga. It’s like an hour and a half class. I’m like, I’m doing an hour because hour and a half is too much. I did like an hour and 15 minutes, right, and they were doing Shavasana. It’s like a15-minute Shavasana.
NATALIE: I cannot see you doing Shavasana.
MIKE: I fall asleep almost every time because I don’t sleep at night. So everyone is doing Shavasana, right. I slowly rolled the mat and I’m like leaving. I rolled the mat slowly and I got the metal water bottle with like a screw on top. It’s full of water. I haven’t drank anything yet. This is a packed class. What I do is I put my finger in like the little loophole in the metal water bottle and I lift it up to waist high, but I only screwed it on about 1/8. The thing free falls. I’m still finger in the lid. Slow motion, this thing free falls 2 ft down, hits directly on the bottom, shoots a geyser up, soaks everybody within an 8-foot radius nuclear explosion in Shavasana. I think it’s like it startles everybody. I destroyed the whole class. What do I do at this point? I go, “Oh, fuck!” Solicited no reaction whatsoever, not a laugh. There was like a dust ball rolling across the room and a cricket in the corner I heard.
NATALIE: That’s the worst part.
MIKE: I did. I just threw the mat over my head and just got out of there. I go, “That’s it.” Yoga is tough for me.
NATALIE: It was people, like I see you having a hard time with yoga.
MIKE: It’s tough.
NATALIE: You shouldn’t be around that many people at one time.
MIKE: Andrew liked that.
NATALIE: He agrees, right?
ANDREW: I completely agree.
MIKE: It’s just, it’s a long time to go silent, okay. That’s what it really is.
NATALIE: For you, yeah.
MIKE: For me it is.
NATALIE: It’s so long.
MIKE: But what I find with yoga, I’m sure- did you do yoga, Andrew?
ANDREW: I used to do it for like two years.
MIKE: Okay, but yoga, here’s my opinion with yoga. I think if you knew the movements, if you knew the core bracing breathing, if you knew the scapula motion, if you knew glut, if you knew pelvic neutral, if you knew chin retraction, if you understood how to use your core, you’re going to yoga and you can now use that to build a core, right?
NATALIE: Yeah, that’s awesome.
MIKE: Because it’s such a group setting of 15 people, they don’t teach you that stuff in there.
MIKE: So if you have back pain, let’s say you have posterior tilt, you have back pain, they are throwing an anterior which is like, “Okay, this is better,” but they will also throw you a posterior. It sends you around the spectrum, like, the pieces are there in yoga, the puzzle pieces, but you can’t unless you know the body, you can’t see the whole puzzle.
MIKE: What do you think about that analogy?
NATALIE: I think it’s awesome and I think for an instructor to work with that, with 15-20 people, I mean, that’s almost impossible.
MIKE: Right and you can’t expect it out of them. It’s like with CrossFit instructors too. They think the instructors who will teach them which movements.
NATALIE: Yeah. You really have to know them going in.
MIKE: You have to know them going in. Now, where were we before I embarrass myself storming out of the room?
NATALIE: So I told you about Pilates. I got into Pilates ultimately to help my back pain and help me be a better athlete and to help with, really the longevity. I’m, at that point, 25-26 and I’ve got four kids. I want to be able to be active for as long as possible.
MIKE: So you continue CrossFit and become a triathlete while doing Pilates?
NATALIE: At that point, I had stopped training for tris because I was really like deep into CrossFit competitions.
MIKE: Got it. Where did you go with CrossFit because there are some CrossFit athletes listening right now to this? What level did you compete at?
NATALIE: I competed for four years, the Regionals.
MIKE: The Regionals.
NATALIE: Yeah, on a team.
MIKE: On a team, okay.
NATALIE: Which people say on a team it’s easy, but it wasn’t easy.
MIKE: No way. We were just computing to have a team qualify. There is not many. I mean, I don’t even know the statistics about the chances of a- I know that you are 760, right?
MIKE: Okay. CrossFit 760 is a local bunch but they are very competitive. They are very well known. They do a very good job.
MIKE: They have a very good name.
NATALIE: A very good name.
MIKE: Yes, they do.
NATALIE: So yeah. Essentially, I needed Pilates. I needed to learn that connection and I had no idea what I would learn in it, but it blew me away, to be honest. Learning what I did and then seeing the athletes I was around in CrossFit, I’m like, “Oh my gosh. Everybody needs this.”
MIKE: What did you discover after, let’s say, completing the course, applying it to your life? What did you see in others after you had the knowledge?
NATALIE: I analyzed everyone’s postures.
NATALIE: Which my instructor taught me to do. She’s an expert at postures and I just found myself like looking at everyone’s posture. I’m like, “Oh my gosh. I can’t believe they are lifting weight.”
MIKE: Like, “You’re going to wrap muscle around that posture?”
NATALIE: Yeah. It just drives me crazy now, but that’s just because I had the training that I have and you guys are the same way when you look at people. You’re like, “Oh my gosh.”
MIKE: Sure. I empower others to also that level of awareness to feel within themselves. When they start seeing other people’s posture, I’m like, “Oh, they are getting it.”
MIKE: When they see it in others.
NATALIE: Yeah, for sure.
NATALIE: Yeah, so I just saw that and I’m like, “Oh gosh, this could help athletes. This could help people that are in pain. This could help moms who are dealing with stuff.” I learned a lot about the pelvic floor going through Pilates training and I had no idea that connected into the core so much.
MIKE: You want to get into that one? Why don’t you get into the pelvic floor a little bit?
NATALIE: The part that shocked me is I would be in whatever movement my instructor put me in. Let’s say I was doing a half rollback. You’re sitting up and then you roll back a little bit. You have to engage your core staying in that position. She would say, “Okay. Now, pull up the tampon.” For those of you listening, that basically just means do a key hole or stop the flow of pee, like connect those muscles. When you connect those muscles in that position, it just connects everything deeply into your core. That was pretty awesome. I was like, “Oh my gosh.”
MIKE: Are there other cues out there that you’ve heard that may have worked, pulling up a tampon, stopping pee?
NATALIE: Pulling up a tampon, stopping pee, do a Kegel. For guys…
MIKE: Didn’t you just say lift my balls?
NATALIE: I didn’t say lift your balls.
MIKE: Yeah. You said, “Lift the balls.”
NATALIE: Pull your balls.
MIKE: I want them to know. You weren’t telling me, “Mike, pull your balls up.” You were saying….
NATALIE: Kind of.
MIKE: Kind of. “Lift the balls up.” I haven’t tried.
NATALIE: Yeah or I just say like, okay, pretend like you have to pee so bad and right now, you have to stop it. You’re going to sneeze, you got to stop it.
MIKE: Guys know that.
NATALIE: Yeah. They have to, right?
ANDREW: It’s fun.
NATALIE: It’s fun, yeah.
NATALIE: I don’t really know where Andrew is going.
ANDREW: Stop go, stop go.
MIKE: Oh. You would do that?
ANDREW: Just binary, Morse code.
MIKE: You do that? You do Morse code with pee?
ANDREW: Yeah, you know, you’re having fun.
NATALIE: Everybody has something to practice tonight, your music.
MIKE: Shall I practice that?
ANDREW: While peeing, yeah.
MIKE: Do you ever?
NATALIE: You should have done it when you’re outside just a minute ago.
MIKE: I like to pee outside for the listeners. I do. I’m sorry. I own a cabin in Wisconsin. When I go out there, I prefer to go outside and pee. I go behind a tinted door. I’m exposed now.
NATALIE: But we could hear you.
MIKE: You could? The music wasn’t on?
ANDREW: Dude, you could hear it from the front of the building.
ANDREW: It’s like a fire hose, people.
MIKE: I’m not peeing on like plastic bags or grocery bags.
NATALIE: You weren’t?
MIKE: No. I will put it out there to soften it up a little bit. Maybe I’ll put those little urinal distributor things, the caps, layer them. Now they all know I pee outside. Okay, that’s a new thing you guys can’t unknow about me.
NATALIE: I can’t unknow it either.
MIKE: There you go. Good. That’s just who I am.
MIKE: So lifting the balls, stopping the pee, moving onward.
NATALIE: That’s a really, really good way to engage your core and not all people do that. In fact, I’ve never met anyone outside of my instructor, Kristin Stevenson. Give her a little shoutout.
NATALIE: Kristin Stevenson, yeah.
MIKE: Does she have a website?
NATALIE: She and her sister run a studio out in Steamboat, Colorado and they do it. It’s Steamboat Pilates and Fitness.
MIKE: Steamboat Pilates and Fitness.
NATALIE: She runs her own training program.
MIKE: Very cool. I want to make sure to put some clarity on the listeners where if we look at the core, it’s like four walls around the core, pelvic floor being the lower wall, diaphragm being the upper, rectus abdominis being the front, oblique side, and then you got the QL muscle and maybe some lat in the back, right? When you said really a deeper way to engage your core, I think you meant to say a deeper way to engage the lower portion of the core.
MIKE: Now, you’ve got to know how to do the other ones too.
NATALIE: You do and sometimes, that helps you engage the other ones.
MIKE: Ahh. It’s like a good cue to get everything engaged.
NATALIE: It does. So those muscles you have between like your pubic bone and your belly button, like women are like, “How do I get rid of this?” I’m not telling you it’s not going to rid of your belly there, but that’s going to engage those muscles there that you can’t normally engage otherwise. Women are always like, “Ah, it never works right here. I only feel it in my upper core.”
MIKE: Interesting. So you found women have a better definition by activating this. They become more defined and…
NATALIE: It just kind of cinches your waist in general. That’s not the goal for me, but for some women, maybe.
MIKE: Right. What’s nice if you can do a win-win, right? You get a static component. You can have a longevity component. Why not? Those are wins across the board.
MIKE: Yeah sure, okay. Alright, so now you go through, Andrew standing is making me nervous. What are you doing?
ANDREW: I’m standing.
MIKE: He is standing with his arms crossed over me. He threw me off. Do you plan of staying like that?
ANDREW: I’ve been sitting for four hours writing content, webinars. It’s time to stand.
MIKE: Alright, it’s time to stand.
NATALIE: It’s time to stand.
MIKE: So now, you go to this Pilates. You’ve got a better understanding of things, but now you’re helping other women with this.
MIKE: How long have you been doing that and like what are some things you generally find that women, I guess, maybe we talked about it but just, you have been coaching it. What have you found over the years that you’re passionate about with that core region diaphragm?
NATALIE: I am passionate about back pain. That’s the huge one. I mean, everyone has back pain, right? Not everyone but a lot of us have back pain or have dealt with it at some point.
MIKE: Sure, it’s 70% of people that have dealt with this at some point.
NATALIE: And most people have no idea how to get out of it.
MIKE: Sure. They think it just comes and goes out of nowhere.
NATALIE: Oh yeah. So then you have moms who have back pain plus they are hauling babies around. It’s a scary thing to be so debilitated by your pain and then, “Oh my gosh. How am I going to pick up my kid or how am I going to pick up my baby?” My passion is really in empowering women to learn how to connect with their body and get out of pain.
MIKE: Can you elaborate on what you mean by connect?
NATALIE: Connect, so I’m not just connecting their pelvic floor but yeah, in a sense, connecting their pelvic floor, connecting their core, learning how to use those muscles.
MIKE: For women, they like to do core exercises. That’s what this is.
NATALIE: But they are not, really.
MIKE: Oh, they are not. They say, “I do planks and I do sit ups and I do bridges.”
NATALIE: And I usually say, “I’m going to show you how to do them a different way.”
NATALIE: Or, “I’m just going to help you out a little bit.”
MIKE: You’re nicer than me.
NATALIE: Yeah, for sure. Andrew is like, “Guy, your core is…”
ANDREW: You don’t do shit.
NATALIE: And that’s why I’m here, guys.
MIKE: Right. That’s the female touch as well. Alright, so connecting them with core…
NATALIE: It’s through this. What I found, so it was kind of a light bulb moment for me. At a CrossFit gym, I have all the women around me and I’m hearing that they are peeing themselves, like in movements, in double unders, what not. They cannot hold their bladder and to me, that signals a problem. Now, at the same time, I’m trained in Pilates and I’m trained that connecting your pelvic floor is part of the big picture, right? So it’s kind of like, “Oh, this is what they are missing” and a lot of these women probably also have back pain.
MIKE: So it’s like if you’re peeing, it’s leaking oil a little bit.
NATALIE: Oh yeah.
MIKE: If you’re leaking oil, there’s probably something else going on as well.
NATALIE: But we’re told that’s normal.
MIKE: Leaking oil, that’s good.
NATALIE: Yeah, leaking oil, urine oil is the same thing.
MIKE: So you’re told that’s normal. Sorry to interrupt.
NATALIE: Yeah. We’re told that’s normal and the other piece is nobody wants to talk about it. Nobody is going to go up until their male code, it’s like, “Oh, I can’t do that right now because I’m going to pee everywhere” or they don’t go to that day because they don’t want to have to worry about their bladder.
MIKE: Oh, they may skip a day because of that?
NATALIE: Oh yeah.
MIKE: Really? Wow. Oh, the workouts.
NATALIE: Yeah. As a guy, can you imagine how it feels to have to judge your workout depending on whether or not you’re going to pee yourself in front of other people or “Let’s see, do I need to wear a pad today?” Which, I’m sorry, is not comfortable either. That’s just something that not a lot of people realize.
MIKE: Got it. So now you work with these people. You have clients.
NATALIE: Clients, friends, family.
MIKE: Do you have a studio?
NATALIE: I had a studio. I’m kind of working on my own now.
MIKE: Do you have the stuff at your place?
MIKE: Oh, you do.
MIKE: Okay. So what’s that order you generally teach? So you find a woman, right? Let’s say she has back pain. She’s leaking oil a little bit.
NATALIE: They are usually leaking oil especially if they have kids.
MIKE: Especially if they have kids. They probably are. What’s the order of progression? You’ll find them. They are probably an athlete or some sort because that’s where we work with, people who are very active, right?
NATALIE: Right. Sometimes, yeah.
MIKE: What have you found to be effective in terms of an order, like is there a step one? How do you start with that person?
NATALIE: I would start by talking to them and finding out what they are experiencing, what their daily life is like, and people will only tell you so much. You get them moving a little bit and then more comes out.
NATALIE: Yeah, well. More can come out and you kind of connect the dots as you see their movement and you hear about their complaints and their symptoms.
MIKE: So step one, you talk to them.
NATALIE: Yeah. You talk to them.
MIKE: You get to know them, what their problems are. You get to know them.
MIKE: What do you do? What’s the first actionable step that you do to help them take control?
NATALIE: I have them lie down on their back, bring their knees up to a tabletop position. Their back is in neutral so their spine is straight. They are not pressing it down into the mat, but they are also not letting it pop up so their vertebrates are sinking down nicely and their core is engaged.
MIKE: So their back is flat against the ground.
NATALIE: They are not bearing down. I definitely want it to be a true neutral.
NATALIE: And then I teach them about their pelvic floor. It depends on the person, like whether I want to say, “Pull your tampon up.” If it’s a younger person, I’ll say that.
MIKE: Is that how you start if I’m on the ground?
NATALIE: I won’t say, “Pull your tampon.”
MIKE: Okay, I’m going to go on the ground. I’m going to go to the table. Andrew, you don’t use your computer.
ANDREW: Just lie on the ground.
MIKE: But they can’t hear me then.
ANDREW: Got it. Oh, I guarantee they will hear you.
MIKE: They will?
ANDREW: You’re in the room.
NATALIE: You guys are both really loud.
MIKE: I know. Alright, here we go.
MIKE: I’m laying now. Women driving, don’t do this when you drive. Here I am.
MIKE: I’m laying on the ground. My feet are flat and my back is free flat against the ground.
NATALIE: Free flat, okay. What I’m going to do though is I’m going to have you bring your right knee up the table top.
MIKE: Table top, here?
NATALIE: Up right there.
MIKE: Okay. My right leg now is, I’m on my back. Head is flat. My head is actually elevated. My head is elevated slightly off. My knees are over my hips. Feet are off the ground.
MIKE: My back is pretty flat on the ground.
NATALIE: Yeah. I don’t want any big space between your back. It’s just you’re down. Your ribs are down.
MIKE: Ribs are down. Oh, there goes that core. Pull my ribs down to engage the core.
NATALIE: Pull your ribs down. I just want you to neutral position here, safe position. Relax your face, your neck, your chest. Now, you’re going to pull the balls up or pull the tampon up, whatever you have.
NATALIE: Okay. Keep that connected. Now, take your right foot and tap it on the mat and up, and left foot.
MIKE: I can feel that I lose connection.
NATALIE: Yeah, yeah.
MIKE: I can feel the tampon like halfway down. I can’t feel it. I lost it right there or it went somewhere.
NATALIE: You’re a terrible woman.
MIKE: It went up somewhere. Okay.
NATALIE: But that’s not something I have people hold for a long time.
MIKE: Oh, you came off pulse. The purpose of this is like, you get someone in a neutral position so they know what it feels like and then just the basic feeling of actually pulling the pelvic floor and then you start creeping them upwards into actually using that movement in their life. It starts as simple as like a little spider tap from the heel on the ground right there. Okay. What else can I do from this position here?
NATALIE: From here, you could reach your right leg straight out.
MIKE: So what I’m doing, guys, is I pull my ribs downwards. You hear it guys? That’s abs. That’s the six-pack just in case you’re wondering. Now, what are you going to do here is then I pull my tampon up and I straighten my leg.
NATALIE: There you go.
MIKE: Ooh, I had it halfway.
NATALIE: So reach your left leg out now.
MIKE: And I want to do is course on still, tampon up or balls up, straighten my left leg.
NATALIE: You hold that.
MIKE: It’s like a bicycle. You know a bicycle, you think…
NATALIE: There you go. Now switch. I want you get linked out of that hip socket. It’s a link in your leg.
MIKE: Ah okay.
NATALIE: And pull it at the same time. Awesome. There you go.
MIKE: Ooh, I feel that. It’s a pull.
NATALIE: Yeah. Relax. There’s a difference than just reaching your leg. You link in the leg out.
MIKE: That made a difference. I could feel like a connection wanting to happen right there.
MIKE: Okay. I like that one.
NATALIE: Yeah. What I love about this, I always start people in this position, but after my classes, after sometimes just one or two classes, people are like, “Oh my gosh. I noticed I was driving and I was sitting up a little bit taller. My core was on. I was connected” or “I was doing my dishes and my core is connected and I think about my core now, like, throughout the day. I realized that I’m connected.” To me, that’s like, “Yes!”
MIKE: That’s the win that you feel. You know when they can connect there.
MIKE: Because it takes that ‘aha’ moment for them and that’s why a lot of people that message us on Instagram and all over email is they go, “What exercise do I do? What do I do? What should I be doing?” The truth is they must discover. They must dive inward and discover it for themselves. When they feel the connection then they know. That’s what you teach, with the discovery then they have that for a lifetime.
NATALIE: Yes and that’s what I want to give people. I want them to have that forever and you can. Once you find that connection, it’s going to carry out in your everyday life.
MIKE: So then are you still consciously aware whenever you move that you give it a little pulse or do you find that it naturally engages?
NATALIE: It naturally engages and I don’t usually have to think about it.
MIKE: You don’t. That’s great.
NATALIE: I will think about it if I’m doing like movements, like weighted movements. I’ll try to like beforehand make sure I’m aligned and everything’s good.
MIKE: Got it. For the listeners out there, what Natalie is teaching me right now, I want you to think of it this way, this is step one. Step two would be maybe hands and knees using the same motions and then maybe step three would be, what do you think the third step would be after maybe hands and knees? What would you go to just a general movement after that?
NATALIE: I’ll have people sit up.
MIKE: Oh, sit up.
NATALIE: Not a sit up but like…
MIKE: Sit up.
NATALIE: Yeah, sit up. so you’re sitting tall with your legs straight in front of you and then you’re going to come back a little bit so your core has to turn on like…
MIKE: Oh okay, I’ll do it.
MIKE: I’m sitting upright on the ground. My legs are in front of me.
NATALIE: Your legs are in front of you. Relax your legs. Arms in front of you.
MIKE: Okay, now what I’m doing is I’m sitting up like Frankenstein.
NATALIE: Open your palms towards each other. There you go. Open up your shoulders. Relax your shoulders. So I want to see length from your pubic bone up through to the top of your head. So you’re sitting up really tall.
MIKE: Oh, I see. So now I’m pulling up my balls, engaging my core.
NATALIE: And I want you to come back towards the mat a little bit, so you’re going to lean back a little. Now hold it right there, engage your belly. There you go.
NATALIE: Do you feel that?
MIKE: Oh yeah.
NATALIE: Relax the shoulders. This is not your shoulders doing the work, it’s your belly, and relax your chest. No, that’s not what I said. He’s like doing shimmy at me.
MIKE: So now, what Natalie is teaching me really is the next step, right, because you’re on your back and then we go to a seated. These are all introductory movements that you will that you will learn after you go to the proper steps. You must complete the steps. You can’t shortcut things. For example, if you want to be a brain surgeon, you can’t make your own pack. You can’t just go and get a Bachelor’s Degree and go be a surgeon. That’s like you trying to shortcut and go, “Oh okay, that’s it,” and then you go into your movements. There are steps to take and there’s a reason why those are in place. The steps to a surgeon, you get a bachelor, you get a doctor, you go to residency, you go to more school then you’re an associate and then you cut into a brain. What happens, the purpose of this is these steps that she’s teaching, we’re learning ground base right here. It doesn’t mean you do this and go jump into your sport. These are skills that you apply every day until you become a master of those. When you’re a master then you can make your own shortcuts, but there’s no shortcuts to great movements. Natalie is helping Andrew. He’s helping out. We don’t have time for you. We have a webinar.
ANDREW: You keep talking.
MIKE: Natalie, leave him alone.
MIKE: He’s fine on his own.
NATALIE: Well now, he’s doing something else.
ANDREW: Finding different positions.
MIKE: Cool. Alright. Okay, that was awesome.
NATALIE: Good job. I’m proud of you.
MIKE: Thank you. That was cool.
NATALIE: Those aren’t easy movements. I mean, to someone looking at you doing that, it doesn’t look like you’re doing anything, but until you’re in that position and you’re like shaking and you’re feeling it, it’s a tough movement.
MIKE: It’s like Andrew. We have guys in here. We have one dude in here. He flips logs. What does he do, Andrew?
ANDREW: He throws boulders and flips trees. Scottish games.
NATALIE: Scottish games.
MIKE: You know what, the most weight that we even have in this office is we have a barbell with maybe…
ANDREW: We’ve got a match 135.
NATALIE: We have 135 and he’s sweating profusely from, I don’t know. Andrew, what do you even do to get him like that?
ANDREW: Stand on one leg usually.
MIKE: But the purpose is of course, nothing against him, but it’s that whenever you use your mindset, the mind power and you connect with all the muscles and movements in your body at once, it takes an extraordinary amount of effort and muscle control to do that, but that’s what it takes to live that healthy, long term life, not that quick fix mindset. These are all skills to be developed long term but there is no other way.
MIKE: There is no other way. There is no magical panacea. There’s a process to get to the top of the mountain. The way I describe it is, whether you’re going to be a professional athlete, an amazing entrepreneur, an author, whatever it is, professional athlete, it’s the same path and it’s that path of persistence, taking one step after another, falling down, moving up the mountain. We just learned a couple of steps up the mountain from Natalie and a segment and little piece that went over her story to get here. Anything else you want to add in this? We went over you. We went over problems you’ve had. We went over what you discovered with going through CrossFit athlete, your Pilates instructor, why you did those things, and then now how you’re giving back and helping people connect with their bodies and what is rewarding to you, which is when they feel that transformation. It feels amazing, doesn’t it?
NATALIE: That’s amazing. Just having been in extreme pain before, if I can give people a way to get out of pain, that’s awesome.
MIKE: Right. It’s like we give them the tools. If we do our job right, we guide them to a process that gives them the tools that they can use for the rest of their life, which are more powerful than drugs, surgeries, anything all that stuff combined.
MIKE: You want to add anything else?
NATALIE: That’s it, dude. You covered it.
MIKE: Alright. How can they be able to find you?
NATALIE: I’m really bad at marketing myself.
MIKE: You have a cool blog with your own story on there.
NATALIE: Yeah. I did start a blog although I haven’t posted for a month. There will be more recipes and stories on there. Nattlekat.com is my blog and you can find me on Instagram @nattlekat and see me and my four boys.
MIKE: Cool, awesome. Thank you so much. This means a lot that you’re here and this is all designed to help women on awareness with a little bit of action. Hopefully, they find you for some help and also we’re here. We’ll be putting that stuff in the MoveU Method online where we will be putting some pelvic floor stuff in there as well and MoveU for Women is also going to address these issues too. Hopefully, you’re part of that too.
NATALIE: Awesome. Thanks, Mike.
ANDREW: Thanks, guys. I’m glad I could contribute.
MIKE: He didn’t do anything.
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