Thursday

How Martha Got Her Life Back

This is a true story about Martha, an attorney and mother of 2. Martha suffered from debilitating postpartum depression, 50+ pound weight gain during and after her pregnancy, and many injuries to go with it. 

Martha came to me 8 weeks after giving birth to her 2nd baby.  She could  hardly get back up from an assisted Squat or do a push-up against a wall. Fast forward today, she is  squatting with 80+ pounds for reps and can knock out over 15 reps of hard core real MAN pushups.  She can perform a Get Up with a 44lb bell, Double Press the 35lb bells and Double Deadlift 88lb's in each hand. This didn't come easy for her. 

Please take the time to read her incredible story. I have now renamed Martha "Martha the Machine". You will see Martha in the Power, Strength & Burn Series in the online class community - Lauren's Playground. She has earned her stripes and has made one of the most incredible transformations I've ever witnessed both inside and out!





How Martha Got Her Life Back 
The COMPLETE Transformation of Martha the Machine 




In 2009, I became pregnant with my first child. I stuck to a strict diet of milkshakes and cookies. I was eating for 2, right?! I ended up gaining 70 pounds, which is 40 more pounds than recommended. 

In April 2010, I gave birth to a 9 pound 3 ounce baby. I really wasn’t worried about the extra weight because everyone told me that it would just “melt away” if I chose to breastfeed. What no one tells you is that breastfeeding makes you incredibly hungry – hungrier than during pregnancy because you are STILL feeding two people: yourself and your growing baby.  

Instead of the pounds “melting away,” as I was promised, I packed on an additional 40 pounds. I was back up and over my pre-pregnancy weight! In addition, I had some post pregnancy complications and it was painful to even walk. My inability to exercise coupled with my additional weight gain was the perfect recipe for post-partum depression. 

I am an attorney and went back to work after 4 months. After my maternity leave, I transitioned in a job where I was doing mostly appellate work, so my supervisor allowed me to work from home. It sounds like a great set up, but it led to a feeling of isolation and kept the post-partum depression fires burning bright

After about 2 months back at work, we moved across the country from Atlanta to San Diego. We knew only one person here, and the thought of really getting out there and meeting new friends terrified me. I wasn’t feeling or looking my best – what would I wear? Nothing fit! It was a taste of social anxiety that I had never experienced in the past.


I had exercised on and off throughout my life. I suffered a knee injury from a skiing accident in 2002, which required surgery, and in 2004, I fractured my tibia. Because of those injuries, I was apprehensive about exercising. I didn’t want to get injured again! I decided that I absolutely had to start exercising, so I went to a strip mall pilates studio. I ended up losing around 70 pounds. I wasn’t yet back to my pre-pregnancy weight, and I was eager to lose the weight. 

My progress came to a dead halt when I tore my hip flexor. I left the studio limping and the instructor told me to stretch my hip flexor that evening and before class the next day (I was going 5-6 days/week on average). I wasn’t sure what was wrong but I trusted that the instructor knew what he was talking about, so I followed his advice and went back to class. The next time I went, however, I could barely walk. After I went to the doctor and heard the diagnosis, I suspected that the pilates instructor didn’t have the training that I thought he did. In an effort to avoid surgery, I went to several months of physical therapy and my physical therapist recommended that I give acupuncture a try. 

I became pregnant with my second child and was still trying to heal my hip flexor with acupuncture. I knew that this time around, I couldn’t be on the milkshake and cookie diet and couldn’t gain so much weight.  As my belly grew, it became difficult to walk – my hip kept dislocating because of the way the baby was positioned. It also became painful for me to even sit. I ended up taking leave from work. I had a high-risk pregnancy, and I was really unable to complete an 8 hour workday. Despite my best efforts, I gained 50 pounds. In March 2014, I gave birth to a 9 pound 15 ounce baby.


I wanted to do everything I could to prevent post-partum depression this time, and I knew that I needed a plan. I was terrified of yet another injury, and I knew that I needed to find someone that wasn’t just a pretty face! I needed someone who knew her stuff and could prevent me from getting an injury. 

Left to my own devices, I would be completely lost when exercising. Gyms are intimidating when you can’t tell the machines apart and have no idea what they do anyway. I knew that I didn’t want to be limited to the elliptical machine or the treadmill (the only two machines I knew how to use) or a spinning class. I needed direction and accountability. 


I contacted Lauren and started training with her 8 weeks after giving birth, which was as soon as my doctor cleared me for exercise. I planned to train 2-3 days a week, after my husband was home from work and could be home to watch the kids. To be home in time for me to leave, my husband had to change his schedule around and work from home after the kids were in bed. Because I knew that he was making such an effort for me to do this, there was no way I could back out! 




When I first started training with Lauren, a wall push up was challenging. Similarly, it was a challenge to swing an 8 kg bell. I was afraid that when I was doing squats, I wouldn’t be able to get back up, so I did squats with the assistance of the TRX. Lauren made all sorts of modifications for me to allow me to really ease into things so that I wouldn’t get injured. I would see other people doing pull ups, push ups, presses, squats holding kettlebells, and performing other feats of strength, and I thought that I would never be able to do those things. Honestly, I didn’t care to do those things at the time, either; my goal was simple: I wanted to be less fat.


Although I was making strength gains, while I was breastfeeding, I saw minimal weight loss. Each time I would cut my calories, my milk supply would dramatically decrease, so I decided to wait until I was finished breastfeeding before really examining my diet. Eventually, and with Lauren’s guidance, I made significant changes to my diet. 


Lauren has such a gentle and non-judgmental manner towards her students. She is so knowledgeable about what she does and doesn’t have a “one-size-fits-all” approach. She will push you and motivate you to push yourself. She has created a supportive environment (both online and in person) where your accomplishments are celebrated. 

I have lost all of the pregnancy weight and MORE. I have more energy, and I am stronger than I have ever been. I am not out of breath when I am running around with the kids, my joints don’t hurt, and I can actually enjoy being active. I love hiking and riding my bike now. I have my own collection of kettlebells at home, a suspension trainer, and a pull up bar. In short, my lifestyle has completely changed. I have new goals now, and none of it would have been possible without Lauren. I will forever be thankful that I found her!






1 comment:

Trixieandme said...

Martha....
What an amazing come back you have made!! So proud of you and all of your accomplishments! You look amazing! I hope other women can find inspiration in your story!

Hugs and Kisses to you my friend...
~Kimberly