WHAT NEW BELIEF, BEHAVIOURS, OR HABITS, ADOPTED WITHIN THE LAST 5 YEARS, HAVE MOST POSITIVELY IMPACTED YOUR LIFE?
I was as guilty as the next person for only being half-there in conversations I was having. Now, I put the phone down and work to engage fully with the person(s) in front of me.
This has allowed me to have some of the best conversations that I may have otherwise missed out upon.
PURCHASES OF LESS THAN $100 THAT HAVE MOST IMPROVED YOUR LIFE?
YogaToes - I wear these daily for 45 minutes after a long day of being squeezed into shoes.
WHAT WOULD YOU PUT ON A BILLBOARD?
A slogan at ANCHOR. Far too often we sell ourselves short, I truly believe that if you want to do something, you can do it so long as you show up for yourself.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FAILURE?
Enrolling in a sport business management program graduate degree after I graduated from university and subsequently quitting the associated internship 2 months early. This program led me to realize I did not want to be in the corporate world, and it was during this time I discovered chiropractic and knew that was my calling. Although I pride myself in my follow-through, this job was leading me away from what my heart desired, so I quit. When disappointed at myself for my 'failure' my dad pointed out to me that it's as important to discover what you don't want as much as what you do want.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU FEEL UNFOCUSED OR OVERWHELMED?
I rarely feel unfocused, but I can get easily overwhelmed. When this happens, I make time in my day to write or journal. I do a huge brain dump and I find clarity in this.
WHAT BOOKS HAVE YOU GIFTED THE MOST TO OTHER PEOPLE?
How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie. I re-read this book yearly and regularly reference or refer people to read.
HOW DO YOU ASK BETTER QUESTIONS?
I try to understand the type of learner or thinker of whom I am asking the question of. I regularly try putting yourself in the shoes of the other person. What would elicit the best response?
WHAT HAVE YOU BECOME BETTER AT SAYING “NO” TO, AND WHAT APPROACHES HAVE WORKED FOR YOU?
I say no to things that don't support my health, happiness or definition of success.
Know your core values.
Visualize how you would feel if you said yes.
Trust your gut.
WHAT IS ONE OF THE MOST WORTHWHILE INVESTMENTS YOU’VE EVER MADE?
My chiropractic education. While at the time, the 4-year and $150k (more than that if you consider 4 years of lost income) was very overwhelming-- I now have complete control over how I spend my time, complete control over my financial future and I have the opportunity to be active and work with people. I also have the opportunity to go into any subset of chiropractic I feel compelled to-- athletics, family care, pregnancy, prenatal, coaching -- even the business side. Having freedom of choice is the greatest gift I gave myself when I began chiropractic in 2011.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU SHOULD WRITE A BOOK?
If you feel compelled to do so, you should write it! I wrote my first e-book last year -- mindshift macros because I felt like I had something important and useful to share with the world, and that would impact the health of others.
WHAT ARE SOME UNUSUAL HABITS YOU HAVE?
I wait until my gas tank is on E until I fill up.
I've made the same "wish" at 11:11 since I was 14.
As a medical professional with a profound interest in nutrition and a baby on the way, I was excited to receive this book for Christmas from my mother-in-law. I dove into it right away!
Right from the start, I knew this book was going to be a great resource for me, and become a recommendation to patients and friends who are expecting and/or have young children.
Babies don’t do much besides eat, sleep & poop. So, in order to know as much as possible about how baby is feeling we need to look at how they perform these 3 things. Digestion is a complicated process, and one of the leading causes of pediatrician visits. Looking out for number two is an extremely well-written book taking an evidence based approach to how to set your baby's gut up for success - all in a non-shaming, guilt-free way. The author, paediatric gastroenterologist Dr. Bryan Vartabedian tackles hot button items such as the microbiome, breastfeeding, formula, allergy development, immune system and more in a way that makes you feel informed to make the best decision for you + your baby + how your birth and the early months and years unfold.
Here is an excerpt from the book about some things to keep in mind about just how important the intestinal tract of your baby is:
1. It’s the ultimate source of nutrition. That is . . . after the placenta. Before birth the placenta gives your baby all the nutrients she needs. After delivery, the gut takes center stage to replace what your placenta was doing.
2. It’s part of the immune system. The gut plays a key role in the development of a healthy immune system. In fact, most of a baby’s immune cells are in her intestines.
3. It’s a hormone factory. It may sound surprising, but the process of digestion is under heavy hormonal control. Depending on what your baby eats, the tummy hormones released will vary. Gut hormones shape things like hunger, fullness, and how hard the gallbladder squeezes.
4. It holds on to fluids and minerals. The intestines are key to holding on to liquid to meet a baby’s basic fluid needs.
5. It’s home to the microbiome. As we’ll learn, the bugs found within the intestinal tract play a key role in helping a baby adapt to a world full of foreign things.
6. It has its own brain. There may be some truth to the accusation of having your brains in your arse. The intestines are home to a vast network of nerves rivaling those found in even the spinal cord. This enteric brain, as it’s called, is critical to digestion and the elimination of the stuff we don’t need.
7. It’s a work in progress. Your baby’s gut goes through several months of growth and development as it adjusts to the new outside world and all its nutrients.
[source: Dr. Bryan Vartabedian's looking out for number two: a slightly irreverent guide to poo, gas and other things that come out of your baby]
This book enables all parents to be equipped with the science + tools you need to make important decisions for your baby.
I recommend this book to all expecting parents or parents of young children.
- Dr. Alli Cain
There is no standard of care for post-partum women.
Birth is trauma to the body. Whether you feel birth is a positive or a negative experience, it is still an injury. Recently, I was listening to an activeRX podcast with BIRTHFIT founder Lindsey Matthews and she said "if an NFL player sustained a birth injury, they would be out for the season!"
Chiros, PTs, midwives & OBgyns have undergone a ton of education pertaining to embryology, prenatal care, and identifying red flags but when it comes to the post partum period -- there is simply no standard rehabilitative program.
There is a significant gap in the training of health professionals in the post-partum period for women. A few weeks ago, I found a 4-finger diastasis recti in a patient 3 years post partum. The patient has returned to full exercise (CrossFit) 6 weeks after giving birth, but had persistent low back pain ever since. Upon discovery of the diastasis, she said to me "why didn't my doctor check for this before clearing me?" to which I responded "well, it's not your drs fault.... they didn't learn this stuff in school."
But while we can blame a lack of education, as health professionals we are taught to think critically — and does it make sense to give better rehabilitation to a sprained ankle than it does to a women after she has given birth?
Of course not.
When I see a patient with an ankle sprain, I typically give an 8-12 week prognosis for healing. We look at this healing process in phases.
When the injury occurs -- there is an initial rupture of the ligament, as well as torn blood vessels which release inflammatory cells and hormones that cause pain. The injured party typically limps their way into my clinic and reveals a swollen ankle with localized bruising and tenderness everywhere.
In the acute phase - the body is working to protect from further damage -- this is typically 2-4 days post injury, but the time varies dependent on how you treat your injury.
As an acute injury transitions from protecting the injured site to repairing the injury tissues, you enter the sub-acute phase of healing. This phase commonly lasts up to six weeks post-injury and features the body doing what it does best - healing itself! At the cellular level, fibroblasts are synthesizing proteins to restore the injured fascial connective tissue framework, and new capillaries grow to re-vascularize the injured area. The new tissue is weak, but responds to stress + load from the body in order to increase tensile strength.
After the sub-acute phase, we move into the chronic remodelling phase - tissue healing does not stop at that magic 6 week post injury mark - it can last for over a year! Healing is a continuum, and the new tissue laid down by the body continues to mature and respond to you as you strengthen and stress it. The body is amazing at healing itself, but when it first lays down the new tissue post-injury, it lays it down in haphazard fashion and it does not have a lot of strength. The injured ligament gains strength as it is loaded and stressed in a proper, controlled way (through a proper rehabilitation program!). Again, this remodelling phase can last up to a year, and if you're following a proper program you are given timeline goals, and are regularly reassessed to ensure your proper progression.
So, if this is the timeline to heal an ankle -- don't you think a woman deserves more time to rehabilitate after she gives birth?
Let's shift our mindset away from the magic 6 weeks of healing, and change our expectation that a women should snap back to mental + physical normalcy by this mark.
The post-partum period deserves more respect.
- Dr. Alli Cain
Dr. Alli Cain is a doctor of chiropractic, and owns a clinic + fitness + yoga studio in Keswick, ON. She is currently expecting her first child due Feb 2018, and is aiming to lead a shift in how women approach their body & fitness post partum. Her first post partum fitness series will launch in spring 2018 at ANCHOR / crossfit. yoga. lifestyle.
Are you expecting in 2018? Be sure to subscribe to the newsletter to be the first to know about program dates and registration.
photo: 6 weeks to 28weeks
online diary of my pregnancy originally written from the end of september to november
Things are starting to get real as the baby makes it way from the size of a carrot to the size of a coconut!
Throughout these 9 weeks, I flew to chicago for a chiropractic seminar, had my (surprise!) 30th birthday party, celebrated my husband's 28th birthday.
I feel a certain "settling in" to being pregnant. One of the neatest things, were the first feelings of movement from the baby! I don't think any words can explain what these sensations feel like the first few times you feel them.
At this point, I have monthly midwife appointments. These appointments are 30 minutes in length, and we discuss common questions and concerns, things to expect, next steps and they check the fetal heartbeat.
At the beginning of this period of my pregnancy, I had gained just 8lbs, but throughout these months I put on another 10lbs - actually the 10lbs came on in just under 2 weeks!
While daily movement and sound nutrition is key - I believe that the pregnany body is going to do whatever it wants to do in terms of weight.
How I'm feeling //
I've gotten that second trimester boost of energy I looked so forward too. No longer do I feel the need to sleep in, or take multiple naps a day. I am feeling the effects of a growing body in my clinical practise, and certain techniques I utilized for patient treatments are beginning to be modified so I can be most effective.
Advice I've received//
I reached out to Dr. Crossley, colleague of mine at Align Health Centre who has 3 children and treated all the way through about how I could be most effective with my changing proportions. She offered sound guidance in how I should be moving my own body to be most effective in my treatments, while still keeping baby and my body safe.
Changes I've made//
I've reduced my workouts to 2-3x/week and only upping the intensity intermittently. Chiropractic is physically demanding, and I am finding that I have a limited supply of energy.
In a few instances, I felt I worked out too hard, and towards the end of my day of seeing patients I was really fading. I shifted my more demanding workouts to non-chiro days, and keeping the chiro-day workouts light and it's made a huge impact on my energy levels throughout the day.
How I'm eating//
Finally! I'm able to consume a vegetable! While my dietary preferences are definitely skewed towards carbs, my diet has mostly returned to my pre-pregnancy normal which consists of eggs + egg whites, protein shakes, salads and vegetable stirfy.
- Dr. Cain
Instagram would have you believe that #fitness means abs, bikinis and sexy poses - and that you get a trophy for looking like your pre-pregnancy self as fast as possible.
True fitness is the quality of being suitable to fulfill a particular role or task. True fitness is building a body that can handle anything, ward off acute + chronic conditions and keep you strong, healthy + happy for life.
Before you set out in any post partum fitness program, it's important to evaluate where you are right now.
Your body is different than it was one year ago, or five years ago, and it looks & feels much different than the body you'll have in three years time.
This is all fine.
The body you have today is yours - move it & love it.
Why not just any fitness program?
You are different from everyone else in that group class.
That trainer you hired may not truly understand what diastasis rectus means.
Cardio without strength will not do the things for your body that you truly need.
You've spent the last 10 months transforming your body.
Things have shifted, and look and feel different than they once did.
Establishing a solid foundation rooted in exercise science in which to layer fitness upon is vital to your longevity.
A post partum fitness program should not solely be focused on aesthetics, on how you look, on the body "bounce-back." While it is ok to be training for aesthetics, this should not be the sole focus.
I'll admit, in the final weeks of my pregnancy, at 190lbs from 150lbs, I have been reminiscing on old workout videos, PRs and what my body looked like last year. I've whispered "I'll be back soon" to my closet full of my beautiful, untouched clothes. It's taken intentional thought to stop myself from body negativity, or want to speed life up to be back in my "old body."
The fact is - you and I need specialized fitness training before we get back to our old training ways. We need to build a solid foundation upon which we can layer additional fitness. We need to ensure we get more than a quick checkmark from an MD that were "cleared for exercise."
Before getting started with the ANCHOR post partum fitness program, you will have a consultation with Dr. Alli.
Things that will be covered in your initial consult
- type + time of birth
- pain medication used at the time of birth
- activity level prior to birth
- complication during pregnancy or birth
- current injuries
...this is all to ensure you are starting into fitness at an appropriate time for you.
I believe in movement.
I believe in self care.
I believe in bringing baby to life with you!
I believe in being patient with yourself.
Most of all, I believe in physical, mental and emotional wellness to achieve top quality of life.
- Dr. Alli Cain
I've gotten this question so many times over the 10 year course of my chiropractic & fitness professional career...
First - Yay! Congrats - you're pregnant!
Second - What are you doing for fitness now?
For the most part - you get to keep doing what you're doing!
What can I do during pregnancy?
Strength training is one of the most important things you can do during pregnancy. There is SO much a pregnant woman can do, and it's important to focus on all of the can do's rather than the few movements you cannot do.
Contrary to popular opinion, even if you're not currently training, you can start incorporating intentional movement. Be sure to seek out a supportive environment and a knowledgable coach.
Do: quality functional movement
What can I not do during pregnancy?
To the last point - just the other day I posted a video of myself doing a rope climb. I received a ton of commentary from people ranging from "you are a total badass" to "oh my god, should you be doing that in your condition."
At 32 weeks pregnant able to manage 1-3 higher intensity workouts per week, and in that workout I was feeling particularly strong + empowered. What I didn't show in that 30 second instagram clip, was me scaling the work every other round, and taking long breaks before attempting some of the harder skills.
Third - set your intention for fitness during pregnancy.
Your training goals have now changed: you are training for birth.
Your goals should still revolve around strength, stamina, balance, endurance, flexibility etc. but the outcome is not centred on setting PRs, or weight loss - it's now on building a strong body for pregnancy, birth and post-partum.
I'm launching my post partum fitness series in spring 2018.
Be the first to know when registration is live and subscribe to my newsletter below!
- Dr. Alli Cain
online diary of my pregnancy, originally written October 2017
Just like any woman, and especially when it's her first time being pregnant, I am, of course concerned with the process of being pregnant. One of my biggest moments of concern was the day I learned I was pregnant and I had just done the hero workout "murph" RX the day before... and PR'd my time!
However, while it's important to be mindful of the stress you are putting your body under when pregnant, pregnancy should not be viewed as a handicap. There's a lot of fear associated with pregnancy - a terrifying list of do's and don'ts. I'm not suggesting there are no justifiable fears - I just think that people could drive themselves crazy trying to be perfect during their pregnancy and adhere to every single contradictory "rule."
That's why I decided to document my pregnancy. Maybe mine looks a lot like yours, maybe there are no similarities at all. There's no need to compare... this is just my experience.
There have been several noticeable changes throughout these weeks!
Week 8 - we told our family + friends using the 'bun in the oven' method ;)
Week 12 - Jordan and I decided to make our "Instagram official announcement"
Week 16 - I had to stop running due to back pain - I've subbed in other modalities to replace running. Given that I am on my feet all day for work, it just isn't worth aggravating any areas of my body. I was a bit disappointed, as I've witnessed so many others run well into their pregnancy... but it just wasn't in the cards for me.
(more on pregnancy and back pain later)
Week 19 - we found out the gender, and revealed to our friends + family + the world....
see gender reveal
Week 20 - I had set a (foolish) goal that I was going to try to go the duration of my pregnancy without buying maternity clothing. I thought for sure my lululemons would stand the test of my belly growth!
However, this week, despite my refusal, it was time to give up my regular clothes and switch into some maternity clothing. I am not a good shopper on the best of days, and it took all of my strength not to have a toddler-sized temper tantrum as my husband and mother-in-law took me to Kohl's in Port Huron to do some maternity clothing shopping.....
(got some good deals, though)
Weeks 12-20 - give me all the carbs, let me sleep and please do not touch my stomach without asking first.
I found myself searching instragram with the hashtags of "19weekspregnant" or whatever the week is, and comparing other woman's size to my own. I don't know why I am doing this - I guess reassurance that I'm growing normally - not too fast, not too slow?
I'm also feeling odd in my own body + clothes. I'm not ready to commit to maternity clothes yet, but I'm just barely squeezing into my regular clothes. From week 12-20 I gained about 6lbs, but it's more the change in body composition that I've noticed.
I've started getting pregnancy advice, and having moms share their birth stories with me. I actually love this! Everyone's story is so unique - which just leads me to believe that our bodies are going to do whatever they want to do.
In week 12 I made some major decisions regarding my health care. When I had presented to my MD in week 5, I felt thoroughly dismissed in my appointment. There had been nothing more than an exchange of my telling her "I'm pregnant!" and her doing a quick calculation to determine my due date. I had expressed a legitimate concern I had with genetics and my family history and it was completely ignored. I would have liked to have an overview of what to expect to come - timeline of anticipated ultrasounds among other pregnancy milestones.
No, the only advice I got from my doctor was "don't lift anything heavy or do anything that causes more than a light sweat" ..... really? REALLY!
I decided to leave my MD and switch to a nurse practitioner, and also go under the care of a midwife.
Having a nurse practitioner and a midwife meant more support, more education and more opportunity to feel like I had control over my own body. An opportunity to ask questions and to feel like I am still me, while I rent out my uterus for 39 weeks. I left both of these appointments with information on what to expect over the next several weeks, and plenty of support material.
Being empowered during pregnancy is critical.
Being active is not the same thing as being careless
Living in a pregnancy bubble is not the same thing as being careful and mindful of your health
There is a difference between sensible caution and fear mongering
Dr. Alli Cain
Online diary of my pregnancy: originally written August 2017
In late June, I woke up at 5am, like usual, to coach the 6am CrossFit class at ANCHOR.
I've been feeling a little bit more tired than usual, and instead of springing out of bed, I am giving myself an extra 15 minutes of rest. No biggie, I live 5 minutes from work and since I am no longer drinking coffee in the morning, the 15 minutes is better spend with my eyes shut!
Today, I felt a little off, though. I woke up having full knowledge that I had a dream I had had a miscarriage. I've been having crazy vivid dreams over the past 3 weeks. I actually asked myself when I was coaching "what is my body trying to tell me" and "do I feel empty?"
As the morning progressed I perked up, and even convinced myself to do a 20 minute WOD including box jumps (I stepped), wall balls and rowing. I felt amazing after I was done and left to get to work at Align Health Centre.
I had a fully booked day, starting off with a new patient. Just as I was getting started with this patient, I felt a nauseous dizzy and odd sensation that caused me to step out of the room.
I was bleeding profusely.
I let out a silent scream, but in my slight disorientation I quickly pulled myself together and went back to attend to my patient.
About 5 minutes later, I knew that I was so worried about myself, that I would not be able to take effective care of this person if I was not OK. Although difficult, I stepped out of the room, and asked another practitioner to take over for me and decided to go to the hospital.
My team at Align and ANCHOR stepped up and covered my day which I was so thankful for. Sometimes, admitting you are unwell and need help is a hard thing to do - especially when you're the doctor.
The hospital was great with me. The nurses were comforting as I was visibly upset, and they got me in for an ultrasound within 30 minutes, but for those 30 minutes I was waiting, I was sure I was going to find out I had miscarried. I was mentally preparing myself to accept this, as it is a common occurrence under 12 weeks, and if this were the case it simply meant the fetus was not viable and my body was doing the right thing.
As I lay getting the ultrasound, the technician turned the screen towards me and showed me that everything seemed to be ok with the fetus!
I went back to the room, still waiting for the results of the cause of the bleed. It was a large subchorionic hematoma* in the gestational sac, but that the fetus was OK.
*more information on this here: https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/pregnancy-health/complications/subchorionic-bleeding.aspx
The recommendations for healing in my case was simply resting, and to let the body heal itself. This meant no workouts until I was cleared.
So, weeks 8-12 were spent doing very gentle yoga and lots of walks.
When I had my follow up ultrasound a few weeks later, it showed healing of the tear, and that the baby was healthy. Still feeling the effects of being vulnerable in these early stages of pregnancy, I slowly added back in movement at the gym - mostly consisting of body weight movements.
How I'm feeling //
Relieved that the baby is fine.
A little restless that I can't workout, but not upset.
Anxious to ensure that I heal properly.
I'm coaching the 6am and 8:30am classes at ANCHOR, and while getting up at 5am is not problem, towards the end of coaching the 6am class I feel ready to go back to bed. I am sneaking a nap in between classes, all the while doing some positive self talk "you will not throw up, you will not throw up" sometimes this works, other times - not so good. My coach cheering yell has turned into a coach cheering normal indoor speaking voice as anytime I get my heart rate up I feel like I will vomit.
Advice I've received //
I did not do anything to cause the subchorionic hematoma - it wasn't the workout that I did, or that my job is physical. While hematomas are not normal in pregnancy, they are common and most women who experience them go on to have healthy pregnancies.
Changes I've made //
No formal workouts until I am cleared.
How I'm eating //
The smell of eggs, vegetables and meat disgusts me. I can smell it 2 floors away!
I go through hours of not being able to eat, and then moments of rolling through the kitchen consuming every carb in sight (see picture above - a sign I made for a co-worker who left her bagel sitting unattended in the staff room!)
- Dr. Alli
Photo: workout at 6 weeks pregnant at ANCHOR / crossfit. yoga. lifestyle.
Online diary of my pregnancy: originally written June 17, 2017
I decided to keep an online diary of my pregnancy around week 8.
Jordan and I knew that we wanted to start trying for a baby soon after our wedding on NYE december 31, 2016. I found out on June 2nd that I was pregnant. I immediately download the baby centre app that tracks your pregnancy and gives you a food comparison. I am currently carrying a lentil!
The reality of what's to come in ~8 months hasn't sunk in yet. I'm hosting a big party on Saturday and somehow have to avoid people noticing I'm not drinking. Jordan's on it with some pre-made non-alcoholic mimosas, though :)
First steps after finding out I was pregnant --
The first appointment I made after my positive pregnancy test was with my naturopath.
I then applied online for a midwife.
I also booked in for a chiropractic adjustment and let my Chiro know I would be seeing her monthly (or maybe more thoughout my pregnancy).
How I'm feeling --
Slightly more hungry, very tired and thirsty all the time. Also trying to be extremely in tune with my body as I navigate my day to day life which typically includes coaching the 6am and 8:30am crossfit class, seeing patients from 9:30-11, a noon workout and then seeing patients 3-7pm (as well as managing my online business).
I'm starting to think about what the future looks like with a child, and how our life will adapt. I'm hoping that Jordan will cover my maternity leave at Align, and that I can find someone for my patients at ANCHOR.
Advice I received --
- keep things to a light sweat (medical doctor)
- start supplementing (naturopathic doctor)
- stop resting your laptop on your stomach! (sister)
- stop the caffeine (on to decaf!)
Changes I've made --
- listen to my body, kept doing things I normally do, didn't push into any PRs or new skills
- took more breaks in my workouts
- was way more conscious of my hydration level
- took the following supplements each day
- prenatal, coQ10, fish oil, nacetyl, vitamin C, vitamin D
- got a lot more sleep
- stopped resting my laptop on my stomach
How I'm eating //
I already had myself at maintenance level macros, and I tacked on an extra 150. I'm tracking because I want to make sure this is the absolutely best my nutrition has ever been.
I'm super bloated, gassy and constipated. Feeling some odd pinch sensations bilaterally for the first time, just inside of where my hip flexors would be.
Still feeling pretty much normal though and not too many people know!
- Dr. Alli
the basics of nutrition --
macronutrients • carbs/fat/protein —
these are the nutrients that your body requires in large amounts everyday. Alcohol is technically the fourth macro.
protein • necessary to build + repair tissue. Important for bones, muscle, cartilage, skin & blood. Look to lean animal protein (know your source) and non-animal protein such as tofu, quinoa, broccoli etc.
carbs • provide the body with the majority of the energy needed for the demands you place on it. A carbohydrate can be either 'simple' or 'complex.' Simple carbs are a single sugar molecule called a monosaccharide or two simple sugars linked called a disaccharide. Complex carbs are multiple sugar molecules linked together and are called polysaccharides. Get the majority of your carbohydrates from vegetables, nuts & seeds, fruit and legumes.
fat • dietary fat is necessary in your diet for hormone function among other physiological processes. Look to extra virgin olive oil, butter, nuts + seeds, whole eggs etc., for your source of fat.
To learn more about tracking your macros pick up my macros e-book MINDSHIFT MACROS