I was a week late with my 3rd child. And I was HUGE. I won’t lie; it was kind of messing with my mind. My two previous births were picture perfect in my mind, so this must be the one that’s a train wreck, right?! These were the not-so-positive thoughts going through my mind. I’m happy to report the birth was not a nightmare, but he was 10 lbs with a head in the 95th percentile so I’ll let you just sit with that for a minute.
After a healthy period of recovery, I was ready to get back to my fitness routine. A Pilates instructor by trade and a lover of HARD exercise, I was excited to get back after it. But something was different this time around. After my other pregnancies, sure, there was some weakness and a time of building back up my stamina, but I got there. This time around I felt untethered, disconnected, like my parts weren’t all on the same team anymore. The harder I worked out, the WORSE my abs looked. Listen, I don’t ever expect to get my pre-pregnancy body back entirely, and it was not lost on me that my 3rd child was a whopper. But I did think it was realistic to start feeling stronger in my core, and that was not happening. Plus, higher impact activities were now causing a bit of urine leakage. So I did a quick self test for diastasis rectus abdominis or DRA.
Sidenote DRA: DRA is a fancy term for an abnormal separation between the left and right rectus abdominis (or 6 pack) muscles. It’s a result of excessive, repetitive, forward pressure on the connective tissue between the muscles. It’s not just an issue for pregnant people. I’ve seen women with a chronic cough develop this. I’ve seen guys who workout a ton (but have an imbalance in their abs) develop this. I’ve even seen this in kids–most of us are born with a separation and occasionally these muscles don’t come together. But yes, due to the forward pressure of a pregnancy combined with the pregnancy hormones that make this connective tissue more vulnerable, this is a common issue in many pregnant women. In fact, one study showed 100% of pregnant women had DRA by 35 weeks of pregnancy. But this statistic gives us no information about who may spontaneously recover after birth. And there ARE things you can do in the first 6-8 weeks postpartum to help your body heal. But sometimes even with our best efforts, we may need extra help.
I realize I am at an advantage as a physical therapist, and most people don’t know how to do this test. So I’ll include the self test video for you here: https://www.carriekoziol.com/testing-for-dra.
After testing myself, I discovered I had a 4cm separation at my umbilicus. There is always a separation between the two rectus abdominis muscle bellies, but a “normal” separation is about 0.5 cm (think about the distance between two knuckles on your hand when you make a fist). After giving birth, anything less than a 2 cm separation will most likely not interfere with the function of your core. But 4 cm like I had certainly explained the weakness and leakage I was experiencing. And I didn’t like the way my abdomen looked. I never had washboard abs, but now I had a permanent beer belly that looked manageable when I woke up in the morning but bloated out after each meal. I won’t lie; I didn’t like how weak my core felt but I didn’t like the way my stomach looked just as much. And that’s an acceptable motivator for getting this fixed as well. I would say 50% of my clients come to my programs because they don’t like the way their abdomen looks. But I explain that this issue goes way beyond the surface appearance. One study shows that 66% of women with an abdominal separation will also have some other support-related dysfunction such as urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse. And when things aren’t connected in the front, that means someone else in your body has to pick up the slack and that’s usually your back. A large majority of my clients with DRA also have lower back pain. It’s fine to be motivated to have your abs look better, but I’m going to teach you why a strong core makes everything better!
Now that I had a diagnosis for what I was observing with my midsection, it was time to get to work. The first place I went was my physical therapy school notes. In my 2.5 year program in which I earned a Master of Science degree, I had exactly one page of notes on DRA. It listed one exercise as the “cure.” This couldn’t be right. So I turned to the internet. One site said to never do a sit-up or plank again. The link right underneath it recommended a series of sit-ups and planks to fix it. This couldn’t be right. So I found a program online, the only one of its kind at the time, specifically designed to heal DRA. I bought the book and did the exercises. My gap closed a little bit, but my urinary leakage worsened. This couldn’t be right. So I attended a lecture on DRA from an expert in the field where I learned a few more interesting tips and my separation closed a little more. But I still didn’t feel quite right. Then I found it. The exact course I was looking for. It was led by a team of physiotherapists. It was evidence based and rooted in the research. They referenced every leading expert in the field and I just knew I needed to take this course. But it was in Canada and I had 3 kids under 5 including a 6 month old. This was not the best time to fly out of the country. I just couldn’t pass up this opportunity, though, so I bought a plane ticket and signed up for the course. And it changed my life. It wasn’t one of those courses where they shared a magical set of exercises that cured me, but rather I learned how to move my body better in small ways that added up to huge changes. My separation reduced to less than 2 cm, I could finally see definition in my abs, and most importantly I felt strong, centered, connected, and confident in my body once again.
I used everything I learned in my own healing journey to help my postpartum patients, and when the same formula worked for them, I knew more women deserved to know this information. Not everyone loves reading the research, going to continuing education classes, and getting a Master of Science degree in Physical Therapy, but I sure do! That’s why I developed my 6 week Core Restore program which is a combination of education and exercise to hold your hand through the entire process.
Valerie reached out to me feeling hopeless. She had been diagnosed with DRA but told the only thing she could do was surgery.
Sidenote: Abdominoplasty Surgery. This is a major surgery. An incision is made from one ASIS to the other (we are not talking the tiny bikini incision of a C-section). Once the abdominal skin is lifted, the separated muscles can be repaired. The upper abdominal skin is pulled down, excess skin is trimmed and remaining skin is sutured together. A new opening for the belly button is created and sutured into place. The incisions are closed and you are often sent home with temporary drains, may have to wear a thoracolumbar sacral orthosis or brace for 6 weeks, and will have trouble standing upright or laying flat for several days/weeks. It is recommended to wait until you are 1 year post delivery without plans for future pregnancies before doing this surgery. It is not covered by most insurance companies and can cost an average of $10,000. It can fix the anatomic issue of muscle separation but it does not always address the root cause which is often a faulty strategy in the management of intra-abdominal pressure so a rehab program is still necessary,
I am not opposed to surgery and in about 5% of the women I see, it is required to reach their goals. But for the vast majority of women, they achieve their goals within 6 weeks of doing my program. I never make claims to drastically change their appearance but rather to teach them how to wake up the deep muscles of their inner core and learn to move their bodies better while managing their intra-abdominal pressure. My program is a whole body solution to a midsection problem that more often than not will give them the appearance they are looking for as a wonderful side effect to gaining core strength and awareness. Surgery was not an option for Valerie so she had kind of given up when she had reached out to me. She was dedicated to the home exercise program and really internalized the lessons and was thrilled with the outcome.
"I just want to tell you that I truly value the time and effort you've spent in developing and delivering the class, and the information you've shared. I absolutely feel it's made a huge difference for me (seriously, I can really and truly feel that my stomach is getting better). I probably would have never done anything about it otherwise (just thinking it was something I'd have to live with), and it's really given me hope that I'll be able to get a tiny shred of my former physique back. For that, I can't thank you enough. You're an amazing lady Carrie! :)" -Valerie
Your core is made up of 4 parts, almost like a house inside your body. The roof of your core is the diaphragm, so the way you breathe totally matters. And your breathing strategy requires that your ribs know how to expand and retract appropriately. This can be accomplished with targeted exercises that focus on unilateral rib cage movement and special movements designed to stretch the intercostal muscles between the ribs in case there is a soft tissue restriction that is prohibiting full range of motion.
The front door is your transversus abdominis, the deepest abdominal muscle that acts like a corset to compress your viscera and stabilize your spine. This muscle originates in the thoracolumbar fascia near the small of your back and the lower ribs and pelvis before wrapping around and inserting into the connective tissue between the 2 six pack (rectus abdominis) muscles and the pubic bone. To engage this muscle, you want to gently draw your belly button about halfway back towards your spine while you picture bringing your two front pelvic bones (anterior superior iliac spines) closer together. You can palpate a gentle contraction for most people just medial and inferior to those ASIS bones. The problem with traditional abdominal exercises is that they often emphasize the “louder” and more superficial muscles such as the rectus abdominis and obliques while ignoring these invaluable deep muscles that are often left as a whisper in your core system. Why don’t we work the transversus more? It’s not sexy. And if you engage these muscles properly, it can feel like you’re barely doing anything. We’ve mistakenly been taught that the only exercises worth doing are the ones that make us sweaty, and release a lactic-acid burn while causing a toned appearance without being educated about the benefits of starting on the inside (rebuilding) and then working our way out.
The foundation of your core or “house” is your pelvic floor muscles. These muscles form a diamond-shaped sling from the pubic bone to the tailbone and in between the 2 sitting bones (or ischial tuberosities). There are 3 layers of the pelvic floor, 2 muscle fiber types, and over 10 different exercises to target this region. Women are misled to think that doing a generic Kegel is the answer, and while there is a time and place for pelvic floor contractions, it is step 1 of like 5 other steps.
The back door of your “house” is the multifidus muscles that span the length of your spine but are most developed in the lower back. These muscles kick on in preparation for movement and help stabilize the spine. Research shows that people with chronic lower back pain often have a slower reaction time in these muscles.
These 4 groups of muscles form your internal house. What lives in your house? Your organs!!! And they are depending on the firm support of a sturdy house. If your front door is wide open (aka if you have a significant abdominal separation) this can affect the way you digest food, the way your bladder and bowel functions, and of course the workload on the other muscular neighbors. So yes, it’s fine if what you noticed first is the way your midsection works, but there are much deeper health concerns at play here as well.
In the module for Week 1 you will learn the most important exercise you could ever learn, The Core Breath. I’ll teach you how to find each muscle separately and then pull it all together in one coordinated breath. This will become the mental checklist you will use for most of your activities of daily living and all of your exercises. But I like to take it one step further. This program is not just about checking off the exercises on the daily checklist. I want you to understand why this even matters. We get this when it comes to nutrition. We understand that you can’t have quinoa for breakfast and then fast food for lunch and dinner and look back on our day and say “That was a nutritious day because I had quinoa this morning.” Unfortunately, we do this for movement and exercise. Many of us wake up and “hit the gym” for an hour sweat session. Then we slump into our cars or bend over our computers or collapse over our children all day and then look back on the day and pat ourselves on the back for exercising that day. But what we need to understand is that our bodies are responding to what we do ALL DAY LONG, not just for that 60 minutes of exercise. As a fitness professional, I exercise most days but I don’t give movement an internal checkmark and then slouch around the rest of my day. I ask myself, “How else can I show up today in a way that is mindful and intentional and “nutritious” for my body?”
Your pelvic floor is the group of muscles between your pubic bone and tailbone and between both of your ischial tuberosities (the bones you feel when you’re sitting up straight). This diamond shaped area of muscles at the bottom of your pelvis is your pelvic floor, but there are three layers of muscles that include superficial muscles, muscles with ligamentous attachments to your urethra, and deeper muscles that go all the way up to the level of the Fallopian tubes. You also have different muscle fiber types in this region. Seventy percent of the muscles in the pelvic floor are Type I or slow twitch muscle fibers. The remaining thirty percent are Type II or fast twitch muscle fibers. It would be impossible to do one generic pelvic floor muscle contraction (or Kegel, named after gynecologist Arnold Kegel in 1948 for those of you keen on trivia) and attempt to cover all your bases. The pelvic floor has many functions, and I like to remember them by the S’s.
There’s a SPHINCTERIC function because when you contract these muscles you help close the urinary and anal sphincter. But we want these muscles to be able to lengthen and relax so you can pass urine without straining and have a bowel movement without bearing down.
There’s a SUPPORTIVE function because your bladder, uterus, and rectum are suspended by ligaments inside the pelvic cavity. Things like age and gravity (and of course pregnancy) may cause these ligaments to weaken and stretch out, so we want the muscles at the bottom of the pelvis to be strong and bouncy like a trampoline to help support these organs.
There’s a SEXUAL function because the crura (or legs) of the clitoris straddle the vaginal vault. During orgasm the muscles of the pelvic floor contract and relax and we want them to know how to fully contract (and allow the crura to gently lift the vagina closer to the “G” spot) but also to know how to fully relax so that sex is more enjoyable.
What women really need to learn is how to coordinate these muscles with the respiratory diaphragm and how to activate them throughout the day to counteract that downward pressure that comes with increased intra-abdominal forces. When you inhale, the diaphragm plunges downwards in your abdomen which means your pelvic floor muscles need to melt and relax on the inhale to accept the downward pressure of that compression. When you exhale the diaphragm lifts upward,s and that’s when your pelvic floor should also lift upwards. We’re trying to create a coordinated piston system to manage pressure. This means there is an opportunity to engage these muscles with almost any exercise and with most activities of daily living.
In order to address the different muscle fiber types, the different layers of the pelvic floor, the eccentric and concentric motions, you would have to do over 10 different “Kegels” to target all the right areas. So in my Week 2 module, you’ll learn 3 different pelvic floor contractions (and then you’ll learn even more in Week 4).
Your pelvic floor muscles are best friends with your transversus abdominals (the deepest abdominal muscles and the front door of the house we are building you). In Module 2 you will learn 2 separate exercises to target the deep abdominals. Eventually we want your pelvic floor and transversus abdominus to work together again, but this week I want to make sure that each muscle knows how to work on its own.
Sylvia attended a class I was teaching at a fitness center. She was somewhat skeptical at first, letting me know she had been in physical therapy for a month already and was noticing very little change. As a physical therapist myself, I have nothing but respect for other professionals. But I also worked in a clinic setting for over 10 years and saw an assembly line of patients that I got to spend very minimal time with. Even if I wanted to spend more time explaining the core breath or the importance of pelvic floor activation, I simply didn’t have the time. After week 2 Sylvia emailed me to say:
"Fabulous class yesterday. I learned more in an hour and a half than I did in 12 sessions of PT." –Sylvia
When I worked in a clinic setting, I never told my patients when I was analyzing their posture because of course they would be on their best behavior. Instead, I preferred to peek out when they first arrived and were interacting with the front office staff. Or better yet, I loved watching them take their clipboard over to the waiting room to fill out their intake forms. You can gather such great evidence about the way a person moves by watching them when they don’t know they are being watched. I hear it now…sounds creepy…you know what I mean!
There are 3 “typical” postures I see in most of my clients. First there is the counter leaner. You know you are this person if you have a constant wet spot on your clothes near your lower abdomen. Instead of using counters to support our work, we often end up using counters to support our body. The next time you brush your teeth, see if your pelvis just naturally gravitates to lean on the counter of the bathroom sink (wet spot). The next time you do dishes, notice if you lean over to rest against the kitchen sink (wet spot). THe problem with being a counter leaner is that you have outsourced the work of your body to an object around you. Taking one step away and allowing the counter to support your work and not your body IS EXERCISE. Chances are, if you are a counter leaner you are putting an unnecessary strain on the disks of your lumbar spine, are most likely demonstrating a rib thrust which can keep an abdominal separation from fully healing, and you are at a disadvantage for dispersing pressure evenly throughout your body.
The next posture I see is the sloucher. This person has a rounded spine and often sits on their sacrum. Your sacrum is that reverse triangular shaped area between your pelvic bones in the back (the point of the triangle is your tailbone). This bone was not anatomically designed to support the weight of your body in sitting. The other consequence of being a sloucher is that the abdominal muscles and pelvic floor muscles are put on slack in this position. They depend on a neutral (not slouched) alignment because these muscles slingshot between their bony attachments and are at their optimal length/tension relationship in neutral (not slouched). You could do 100 sit ups every morning, but if the remaining 23.5 hours you are slouched, you will never have strong, functional abdominals. Likewise, you could do 100 Kegels every morning, but if the other 23.5 hours you are in a slouch, you will never have a strong, functional pelvic floor. Your body responds to the forces you place on it 24 hours a day, not just when you are exercising. So maintaining a mindful neutral alignment for the bulk of your day IS EXERCISE.
The final posture I see is the “sucker inner.” On the surface, they look to be well-aligned. But deep down inside they are sucking in their abs (usually unconsciously). A constant and forceful drawing in of your belly button to your spine disrupts your intra-abdominal pressure. Imagine your stomach region like a balloon. If you suck your balloon in tightly, the air in the balloon will squeeze above and below the part you have pushed in. The increased pressure downwards can contribute to pelvic organ prolapse, and the increased pressure upwards can contribute to hiatal hernias. If you are naked on a beach and someone is taking a picture, feel free to suck in (we all would). But if you are driving in your car or standing in line to order a coffee and notice yourself sucking in, it’s time to break up with this bad habit for the sake of your core.
In addition to teaching you neutral sitting, standing, and lying down posture in Week 3, I also talk about body mechanics and even share a video of typical activities of daily living because making tiny tweaks to the way you move your body around the world IS EXERCISE. In this module, I introduce some powerful mat exercises that begin to allow your deep abdominals and pelvic floor to work together. And I teach you perhaps my favorite exercise of all time, the foam roll Super 6. It is my gift to you at the midpoint of this program. I remind my clients that it takes 4-6 weeks to really strengthen a muscle but you will feel a difference in your alignment in 4-6 minutes with this magical posture exercise.
Alicia reached out a year after completing my Core Restore program. Hearing from clients is one of the most rewarding parts of my career. It is not unusual for women to say, “I thought about you in the shower today” or “I heard your voice when I got out of bed the wrong way.” Some people might feel awkward knowing they are a regular fixture in someone’s brain, but I take it as the ultimate compliment.
It's been a year since I took your Core Restore class, and since we don't hear enough good news these days and this is long overdue, I wanted to send a note to say thanks!
I started with your class at the recommendation of fellow mamas in La Leche League. I learned SO much about body mechanics that I never knew before - and I considered myself a reasonably knowledgeable person when it came to health and fitness. While I've not been as active as I should be (#fulltimeworkingwithatoddler), I still think about your postural reminders/techniques every day, and I go back to the foam roll and week 5/6 videos when I need a little movement boost. I appreciate the work you do to help educate and encourage women in a way that SO many other providers lack. It's certainly made a difference for me." - Alicia
This is the week where sh!t starts getting real. Listen, Weeks 1 and 2 you do exercises sitting in a chair. Don’t get me wrong; they are NOT easy. It takes a level of mental concentration you need to dig deep for. After all, we’re building you a house on the inside and we want it to be a mansion. Week 3 starts to look and feel like exercise as we bring the core work to the mat. But this week you will FEEL the burn (in the best possible way). I became a Pelvic Floor Pilates (or Pfilates) instructor fairly early on in my career, and I fell in love with the concept. It was program designed by Dr Bruce Crawford, a urogynecologist, using biofeedback to measure the activation of the pelvic floor muscles during a Pilates class. The beauty of his program is that at the heart of the design, he understands that the pelvic floor does not work in isolation but rather in harmony with all the other muscles of the hips and pelvis. So, while Kegels are a part of the exercises, they are merely a chapter in a much bigger story. His exercises work the Type I (slow twitch) and Type II (fast twitch fibers), while also adding a quick stretch, all amidst functional positions like lunging and squatting. This week, I use 4 of his exercises to give you a comprehensive way to strengthen your deep abdominals and pelvic floor in a variety of positions. I believe it will revolutionize the way you look at your regular exercises and movements.
The topic for Module 4 is bladder and bowel health. If it seems unrelated to core strength, allow me to elaborate. Strengthening your core is an INSIDE job. And by building you a strong “house” you may start to notice changes in the way your body functions on the inside as much as the outside. For example, you may notice changes in the way you digest food and how your bladder and bowels are functioning (a change for the better I’m hoping!) In order to appreciate these changes, it’s important that you know what “normal” bladder and bowel habits are.
If I were to ask you how many times you urinated yesterday, would you know the answer? I wouldn’t, and about 99% of my clients wouldn’t either. The average adult bladder can hold about 2 cups of urine and the average range of voiding (peeing) is about 6-8 times in a 24 hour period. I like to have clients fill out a bladder diary for 3 days so we can do a proper analysis. I not only count up the number of times you are urinating, but I also check the intervals in between each void, the strength of the urge before you went to the bathroom, how long you urinated (5 seconds or 25 seconds) and whether there was any urinary leakage along with what you were doing during the leak (jumping jacks or just trying to get to the bathroom). This gives me invaluable information about your bladder habits and what tweaks we may need to make to keep you on track such as getting out of the dangerous habit of going “just in case.”
When it comes to bowel movements, some people go three times a day, and that’s their “normal.” Some people go three times a week, and that’s their “normal, and some people go like clockwork every single day. I’m less concerned with your “normal” and more concerned with how you feel. Are you bloated? Is it hard for you to evacuate stool? Do you end up with smudging in your underwear after a bowel movement? Once again, this gives me invaluable information about your bowel habits and what might need to be adjusted to keep you feeling your best. Building a strong core with a strong pelvic floor foundation is a great place to start taking care of your insides!
Claire expected to get a little stronger after taking my program but she didn’t expect to learn as much as she did, especially about normal bladder and bowel habits. Claire emailed me often to ask follow up questions (and I love it when clients internalize the lessons and want to learn more). She was always fascinated with how the body works (and amazed at how little we learn about our bodies). She is one of those clients that acts like an ambassador for women’s health and helps to shout the message from the rooftops!
"My life is completely changed after working with Carrie. That sounds dramatic, but it really is. Her approach is simple, but not easy, and it has given me a stronger, more capable body than I could ever imagine. Carrie breaks things down in manageable bites, so that everything is accessible and nothing is overwhelming.I learned so much from her and have grown in my body and mental strength over her 6 week class. She is an incredible resource, the kindest person, and someone everyone should want on their team. I cannot recommend her class highly enough." –Claire
It’s true; our nutritional profile plays a very big role in the overall health and physique of our body. But this is a sensitive topic for most of my clients because most of them are moms already carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. And feeding their families is a responsibility they don’t take lightly. Of course we would all love to feed our families 100% organic, home cooked meals, preferable from our gardens out back. But the reality is we are busy people and with the growing grocery prices, that isn’t always an option for everyone. Rather than make you feel guilty for what you are eating, I prefer to explain what foods might create inflammation that we should try to avoid and what foods are known to be anti-inflammatory. At this stage in the program, I am confident that you know how to move in ways that minimize the pressure on your core, but I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t spend a little time talking about the pressure you may be causing from the inside out with the food choices you are making.
Being that this is the final module of the program, I also introduce you to the maintenance exercise program and give you suggestions of where to go from here. The maintenance exercises are short and sweet and very effective. Perfect to encourage you to keep the momentum going!
"I'm so glad that I found Pilates by Carrie! I was disappointed that my core was in such a bad place after having five kids. I had a deep diastasis and had serious doubts that anything could fix it, but her methods helped me to drastically reduce it. Carrie taught me not only how to heal my diastasis, but also about how to maintain a healthy core. I really like the way she approaches healing the core holistically. Carrie is a great motivator and communicator, encouraging, and fun. I've never been one to love working out, but I'm actually excited to keep doing my maintenance exercises!" Thanks, Carrie!! --Heather (March 2023, reduced DRA from 6 to 2.5 cm)
"I would like to say I am so grateful my midwife referred me to Carrie after the birth of my first son in December of 2022. I had a history of pelvic floor dysfunction and years of pelvic floor PT under my belt, but I finally saw results when Carrie helped me strengthen my core through her easy and convenient guided sessions and program. I was able to do strengthening exercises without increased pain for the first time in years! Her expertise and program helped me see great improvements over just 6 weeks. I am blown away. I am now able to take care of my baby without back and pelvic pain. Carrie even helps plan for the future with maintenance workout plans and I can't wait to see what the future has in store." -Karen
After many years of teaching this program, there was one familiar comment that made me add something on to this already comprehensive offering. Women would say they felt there was a big space between completing my maintenance exercises and re-joining their favorite community based fitness programs. They wanted more advanced exercises to help them bridge the gap. While my goal is to teach you everything you need to know to progress safely on your own, I certainly understand the value of having someone hold your hand every step of the way. So I created an extended version of this program. It was another 6 weeks of more advanced exercises that included upper and lower body strengthening, some light cardio, and an upgraded version of the familiar deep abdominal and pelvic floor exercises my clients had come to love. I used to offer this as a separate program for purchase but decided to include it FOR FREE in my Core Restore class for everyone.
"I gave birth to my daughter, Rose, this fall. I found myself sneezing and coughing and peeing ever since. This had been a chronic issue that started with the birth of my son three years ago and I just thought it was normal and would get better over time. It didn’t. It got worse. When I found Carrie though my doula, she came highly recommended and her program did not disappoint. I started the core restore program. I had been doing kegels wrong my entire life. This was exactly what I was looking for. While it took a time commitment, I was in it for the long haul. It took about six weeks to see a significant improvement, and I’m so glad I did. I dedicated myself to this program because I wanted to build a solid base for my entire health. I am now doing the extended core restore program and am loving it, as I can see myself integrating everything I have learned into Pilates and my regular power yoga practice. I will never look at pelvic floor health the same again! Thank you again!" - Alison
I’m often reminded of my own core restore journey. It started over 12 years ago, staring at the computer screen and reading the conflicting information: do more sit-ups, never do sit-ups again, planks are the safest ab exercise, planks are wrecking your body. I felt confused and betrayed by the medical community and the internet. I wanted a program to teach me everything I needed to know about my core. I wanted a program that was research-based but easy to understand. I wanted exercises that made sense. My desires led me across the country learning from the best of the best, through hundreds of pages of research articles and books written by people much smarter than myself, and through years of trial and error to find the perfect combination of movement strategies. And it led me to creating the masterpiece that is my Core Restore program. This is the program I was searching for all those years ago, and I’m honored to share it with you.