Getting rid of the ‘pooch’… and I don’t mean your dog.

by Kathleen Pagnini

There is a gold mine within you just waiting to be tapped.  Take time to delve into the riches within you learn to live increasingly from your real center and uncover the emmense hidden treasure that is waiting for your discovery.

Mommy pushup

How do I begin? How do I tell women that all the things they have been told to do with their bodies for the last fifty years is incomplete and most the time pointless!  That there is a better, easier, faster and a more permanent way to a body that they want?

Things are getting worse and out of hand! I have to let them know the TRUTH about the pain, the pooch and the peeing! I want to help women streamline into their lives, to help them understand that how they are moving is making matters worse.

The pooch is getting bigger and the peeing is out of control. They try so hard with crunches, kegels and squeezing their butts that they are getting nowhere fast!

I want to teach them how to move and carry themselves effortlessly with style and grace. No more endless hours in the gym working out like a maniac. Sporting a heavy step, and poor posture jarring their unprotected joints. EffortFULL and Exhausting.

It pains me to even think about it.

I have been in fitness for over thirty years. Fifteen of those has been teaching pilates and the last five years I spent mentoring privately with Dr. Theresa Nesbitt, an OBGYN who loves to study the brain and the true connection to the core. This ‘ground breaking’ information has changed my life, my clients lives and about to change yours.

Ten years ago I taught my clients that in order to have a flatter tummy you must do the following:

“You must do one hundred to a thousand situps, crunches’ and planks whilst pulling your belly button in or navel to your spine AND you must squeeze your butt. This will help you stabilize your spine for optimal support and you will have great ABS!  Oh and by the way, when doing a sit up, please push your low back into the ground”.

I cringe just remembering.

“And to perk up your bum” pull your navel in first” and do three thousand squats.” (or so I thought).

The ‘better sex’ topic never quite came up, my clients just mentioned that they are doing their ‘kegels’ faithfully.

Then I read in a medical journal to intermitantly stop the flow of urine to help with ‘leaking’ or accidently peeing your pants.. and then do MORE kegels.  So there we were, a ‘pullin’ a suckin’ a holdin‘ a clenchin and a ‘stoppin’ until the cows came home. I don’t know where they go, but those cows NEVER do come home.

So, for the last 30 years in my fitness career, I have told my clients to suck the navel all the way to the spine. It will come up behind you, over your head, then shove it down your throat and pull it out of your ass”. Or something like that. It didnt’ really matter what I said, it was just as ‘inneffective’.

“NOW, squeeze your bum.. tilt and squeeze, tilt and squeeze, FEEL IT? isn’t that nice?  Squeeze, squeeze and squeeze your butt some more. Pull your navel up and in, and while your doing that, do some kegels and imagine an inside elevator going up up up..down a few floors.. then up some more… all the way up and out of your skull into the heavens never to be seen again. Oh, don’t forget to pretend to hold back wind that is urgently trying to exit your anus while you do the next exercise!”

Whew!.. now I know why I was so exhausted all the time.

I tried yoga a few times to help me get ‘in touch’ with my real core and restore my sexuality.

So there I was.. also stretching away..suckin and pulling in my navel adding some kegel/sphincter action.   It was all fine and dandy until the instructor mentioned that I had a ‘snake’ inside of my body that represented sexual energy and it was slithering up inside of me.

NO!    I HATE SNAKES!!!!!  GET THEM AWAY FROM ME!!!  I quickly changed my thoughts for the rest of the class.

Perhaps  I am exaggerating somewhat, but only to educate you why I don’t say these things anymore.

I am here to inform you that its time to look at our bodies differently than we have before.  ‘We now know that these actions done out of sequence with the rest of the core are  pointless and cause more of what you don’t want. The low belly pooch, the saggy butt, pain and sex that is troublesome and uninteresting.

I am here to impress upon you, the TRUTH.

The fact is, you have a whole other core inside of you. Its called the inner core. Or ‘inner corset’ with a top and a bottom. It includes the pulminary diaphram at the top, Thoracolumbar Fascia in the back and the sides, Transverse abdominis muscle in the front and three layers of the Pelvic Floor muscles at the bottom. It resembles a cannister and is the true stabilizer and tummy flattener.

The thing is, you cannot ‘train’ the inner core like you do a bicep or an abdominal exercise.

The inner core is better trained by activating your imagination. That’s how it developed when you were just a baby. As your brain started to develop, so did body control.

The brain sent signals via the nervous system on what muscles to use and how intense. This was unconcious and developmental. Nature knows the correct way to move.

When we started to walk, our inner core was just about complete as it pre-activated and stabilized our spine in anticipation of movemement. We threw away the diapers, ran, skipped, hopped and added a few cartwheels.

We were unconciously training our inner core. This HAD to happen so it would pre-activation and support our torso, internal organs, stabilize our spine and set the stage for optimal outer core reqruitment.

Since the brain is in charge of 100 percent of our movement and 95% of our movement is unconcious, it makes sense to explore this ‘unconcious’ and systematic preactivating process of the inner core.

It happens a millisecond before you move. It’s the SET, in Ready, Set, GO. Inner core, then outer core, in that order, You don’t have to think about it, it just happens.

We were born with a strong drive to get up and explore the world around us. Our intention and optical fixation on an object we wanted to aquire made a chemical change in our brains and we began to coordinate the movement of our arms and legs.

Now that we are adults, we can still access the inner core and strengthen it, but we do this by having a clear intention and imagination. That is how the brain and inner core work. How does it ‘stop firing’ or how does the timing get off? Perhaps, we were injured, had a baby, or surgery, some of us learned new movement patterns by watching older adults move innefficiently.

The brain then ‘turns’ off the inner core’s ability to preacivate properly. It’s natures way of keeping you from moving until you heal completely. Then we fail to ‘retrain’ the inner core correctly and we start using the outer core to do both jobs.To stabilize and mobilize.

We start training our compensations and we get really good at it. But we end up tight muscles, pain and a pooch.

The outer core becomes overworked and overburdoned leading to less than favorable movement and injury.

To do pilates well, you must initiate all movements from your inner core to outer core. In that order. If not, the inner corset will not ‘preacivate’.

So you might want to rethink how your using your body. If you have a pain, a pooch, or you have any ‘involuntary’ leaking, it means you have an ‘inner core’ problem and you might want to start over, go back to baby and correct the sequencing from inner to outer core activation.

Otherwise you will have a long road ahead of you, a pelethera of misdiagnosed symptoms including, spinal deviations, osteoporosis, arthritis, thick legs and ankles, bunions, groin pulls, prolapse, sexual disfunction, hernias hamstring, back knee and hip pain, depression and so much more!

So stop the clenching, sucking and holding.

There is a better way!

I am your tour guide and facilitator to optimal core function. It’s time to revolutionize workouts and work smarter NOT harder and keep up with ‘ground breaking‘ research.

After all, if we don’t take our overall health into our own hands and understand how the brain and body truly work together, we are exposed to many more health risks then just a pooch or two.

Note to Self: A toned Inner Core and Pelvic Floor alone will not give us a flatter tummy. We have to watch what we eat, be able to distinguish between a poochy low belly and just extra fat that we are putting on. We are not going to get a flat tummy if our diet is wrong and we have inflamation of the intestines.
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