My fellow Ktowners,
I’d like to tell you about my 2-year journey that will hopefully be bringing another option to you and yours within the Knoxville CrossFitting community by year’s end.
Thank you in advance for accepting my humble plea for support and sharing. Now, without further ado:
June 4, 2016: Following a local trail race, I sought out one of those poor souls who stretch sweaty runners in hopes of gaining a client. Dr. Patrick Zitt was that day’s ill-fated chiropractor. I shared with Dr. Z that I had tried chiropractic care for chronic migraines with no results and bad experiences. Code for: “just stretch my legs, man, I ain’t buyin’.” Jokes on me, because Dr. Z had a similar story — one of long time, debilitating migraines that he eventually got under control with a multitude of lifestyle changes. Desperate for relief, I made an appointment to see him the next week.
November 2016: Treatment was helping. My body felt great and my headaches were lessening with the help of chiropractic, physical + massage therapy, nutrition changes and a mindfulness practice; however, I was still having roughly 20 migraines a month. Yes, 20. Long story short, Dr. Z and I began to take my life apart to pinpoint when my migraines increased. We discovered two things:
1) Beginning a full time job.
2) Beginning hormonal birth control.
One of these two things could be changed. One could not. I began exploring options for coming off of hormonal contraceptives, which was terrifying (and I’ll stop there), because this isn’t a post about that process, but about where the process led me, which is a program and organization called Birthfit.
*Note, I could write a book about coming off of birth control, how terrifying it was, the discussions that occurred with my husband, the lack of information/education available, the crazy looks I got from friends. I’d love to talk about all of that if you find yourself in a similar situation.*
March 2017: Queued up for my morning drive was Girls Gone Wod Podcast Episode 194, an interview with Dr. Lindsey Mathews, Founder and CEO of Birthfit. Between the terrifying life choice above and this episode, I had been on a knowledge quest regarding all things women’s health including, but not limited to: how to avoid pregnancy without taking hormonal birth control (which I did successfully until my husband and I decided we wanted to stop preventing children from entering our lives), the effects of synthetic hormones on male and female bodies, healing a woman’s cycle, how many female athletes struggle to conceive and stay pregnant despite being healthy, the role of doulas and midwives, how to actively help a woman pursue the birth she wants, keeping female athletes moving during and after pregnancy, and the (often kind of messed up) way that women are treated like ‘little men’ in Western medicine.
Birthfit spoke to all of this.
“Sign me up!” I thought. “I want to be a part of how my Crossfit community at Ktown can come alongside our moms and keep them fit, healthy, and supported in pregnancy. What an incredible program!”
[Insert sad trombone here] because a quick web search revealed that there was no Birthfit in Knoxville or its surrounding areas. But I kept learning and the more I learned, the more I loved what Birthfit was doing for the Crossfitting community around the world.
And so the inner voice began. “Should I start Birthfit in Knoxville? No. That’s silly. I’m a full time pastor. I’m training for races. I like my social life. I have no time for that. I don’t know how to start a business. No.” Repeat daily.
Fall 2017: The outer voice replies, “forget it” to the inner voice. “I’m going to bring Birthfit to Knoxville,” I said out loud to myself (*except it didn’t say “forget”, but that is less offensive just in case this thing works and people begin searching the internet for “Birthfit Knoxville, Tennessee”*)
I began explaining my vision to people, but couldn’t hit a vein of equal passion to get the program going. Insert more sad trombones and wondering how the [heck] to start this thing. I kept saying it out loud and stayed after talking options within the Knoxville area to anyone who would listen. I did this because I kept sensing a need for something like Birthfit in Knoxville — for women like me, for the women and their partners in my gym having miscarriages, for mommas wanting to stay strong and engaged while they grew a human through the sheer wild and ferocious power within their own body. And, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention.
January 2018: I caught wind of a certified Birthfit coach named Megh Martinez who had moved to Knoxville and wanted to start a Birthfit Region. I sent her an email that said this,
“Long story short, I am a United Methodist clergy person serving a small South/East congregation called Asbury. I’ve always had interest in maternity, empowering women, building community and health/fitness. Over the last year, I discovered the Fertility Awareness Method and began engaging more natural practices regarding women’s health and my own body. That, I have found, is just the tip of the iceberg in this journey for me. I’ve recently considered becoming a certified doula this year and wrote down a scary goal for 2018 of starting BirthfitKnoxville as a Birthfit Region.
I have been honest about not knowing how the [heck] any of that is going to happen over the last month of saying my hopes out loud.
Maybe you’re a piece of the puzzle.”
Today: I sat down to write this blog post for CrossFit Ktown announcing that Megh Martinez and I are in the application process to begin BirthfitKnox. We hope to be accepted, up and running in January 2019. We are beginning events and programs with the help of Birthfit Nashville between now and then. It is my hope to be able to offer Birthfit onsite at Ktown (duh! y’all are my home gym and win my heart) as we move into 2019 and beyond.
Below is more about Birthfit, our upcoming workshop and other opportunities to get involved. To say the least, I need your help to get this vision off the ground. I’d be ever grateful for your support via attending what we’ve got going on, sharing by word of mouth and social media what we’re doing and referring people our way. I’m excited to see what the future of BirthfitKnox holds and hope it can become another great part of both the CrossFit community in Knoxville and at Ktown!
I’d love to talk more if any of this strikes a cord with you. It is still my belief that women and partners like you and like me need this in Knoxville.
Here’s the quick down and dirty on Birthfit for those still reading:
What is Birthfit?
- BIRTHFIT is…
- …a movement.It’s about expecting and postpartum moms taking charge of their bodies and their decisions, and supporting one another’s journeys—together and apart.
- …an approach to birth.We challenge the status quo and ask the questions no one else asks. We read, research, experiment & consolidate all the common sense, time-honored wisdom & recent studies we can find and present that information to you through various education models. Our pillars are fitness, nutrition, chiropractic & mindset. We unconditionally support YOU—the birth mom & birth partner—to make the best decision for you and Baby.
- …a state of readiness.Childbirth is perhaps the most physical, mental & spiritual experience of a woman’s life. We want you to be ready in body, mind & spirit for the experience of birth and the lifelong journey that follows.
- …your support team.We are a team of practitioners, educators, chiropractors, coaches, nutritionists, fellow mamas, men & women who are involved in our local communities and we are all rooting for YOU.
Why should I do Birthfit prenatal or postpartum?
- A mantra you’ll hear from Birthfit is, “just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” Birthfit prenatal and postpartum programming and coaching helps to prepare you for and rehab you from the birth experience. Think about an Olympic track and field team, which contains long distance runners, sprinters, jumpers, etc.. You don’t see your mile runners practicing how to do a long jump or your sprinters working on a high jump. Olympic track and field athletes get super sports specific the entire year leading up to the Olympic trails and even more dialed in between trials and the Olympics. Pregnancy is like that. You have 40 weeks to train for the hardest MetCon of your life (as a woman) and Birthfit is a way to get sports specific with training elements such as strengthening the posterior chain, building proper breathing and lifting patterns and making workouts mimic contractions to get you ready for labor, delivery and postpartum recovery.
How do I get involved?
- Attend the July 14 Workshop *see details below. I know the price is high for something you might just want to investigate. However, I can give you my word that it will be worth your time and money if any of this blog post has sparked some passion in you.
- Keep an eye out on the gym’s social media and bulletin boards for our first postpartum class beginning in Knoxville in August/September. Exact dates, times and location TBA.
- Reach out and pick my brain! I’d love to share more so you can tell people in your life about Birthfit or begin utilizing it for yourself in your motherhood transition. I’ve been following Birthfit’s 40 week prenatal programming and would be happy to explain the ins and outs of what I’m learning so far. My email is SullyHelton@gmail.com. Megh Martinez is also excited to share the vision with anyone interested in becoming a part of BirthfitKnox. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org
- Are you a practitioner or coach? BirthfitKnox will be a cooperative hub of chiropractors, coaches, yoga instructors, doctors, nurses, physical therapist, massage therapist, and more to help connect Birthfit mommas and partners to supportive practitioners in our area. We want to build a team of people in Knoxville who are passionate providing services to women pre-conception, prenatal and postpartum that holistically support them in their motherhood transition.
BirthFit Nashville is coming to Knoxville!
Who should attend the BirthFit Workshop?
- Coaches, professionals, and practitioners who work with women in the motherhood transition and would like better tools to serve their clients.
- Pregnant and Postpartum Women
- Partners and loved ones who wish to support the women in their lives through the motherhood journey.
- Anybody interested in learning more about the BirthFit Movement.
Come join us at South Landing CrossFit this summer to learn more about the four pillars of BirthFit and what the movement is all about. Brittany Anderson of BirthFit Nashville will be leading us in lectures and practical application through movement. This is a great opportunity to learn all about Birthfit and the vision for getting it started in Knoxville.
Spots are limited, so sign up soon! Hope to see you there!
Sign up at birthfitnashville.com