“With the right help, you can do it!”

Caitlyn has been such a joy to have in the group! She has fully participated, showed up for herself and others, posted videos, taken detours when needed, and embraced all the different exercises. She always puts in the work when things become challenging. With any setback (which are expected and part of the process!) Caitlyn is able to apply her learned knowledge, being an active and reflective participant in her own journey. Never wavering in her trust that she can accomplish her goals has been an asset to her, and has proven to be true!

Tell us about your family – how many kids, their ages, what you do for a living, or anything like that you are willing to share with the world.

My husband and I have been married for 9 years. We live in the Pacific Northwest and have two sons, ages 4 and 3. I am a part-time program manager for a biomedical research grant at Portland State University. I’m also slowly starting to homeschool my kids, which is fun and terrifying all at the same time. We attend a local church and love being outside as much as possible.

When and how did you find Core Exercise Solutions and the team? Why did you look for it, and had you tried anything previously?

I found CES in July of 2017, after the birth of my oldest son, through a Facebook ad. I was struggling with my body after giving birth and wanted to rebuild it the right way. I knew YouTube workouts wouldn’t work for me, I needed step-by-step help.

How were you feeling physically and emotionally when you started versus now?

I felt really down about my body and like I had no clue what to do to “get my body back.” Before getting pregnant I had been in the “best” shape of my life, and I was extremely discouraged at the state of my body after having my son. Birth was really rough, my son was colicky, I “failed” at breastfeeding, and I felt completely inadequate. I knew my recovery after birth would be hard, but the road ahead felt impossible. So I started looking for a program to help, and I found CES.

The difference between 2017 and 2021 is astronomical. In 2017 I felt weak, broken, and hopeless. I was stuck in a deep, dark hole of PPD and PPA, and was also shocked with a surprise pregnancy that knocked me off my feet even more.

Today, I feel strong, capable, and confident that the strength I’m building now will carry me forward for a long time. When I was in counseling in 2019 and 2020, my counselor helped me come up with this mantra: With the right help, I can do it. I am 100% confident that the support, feedback, and camaraderie of this group has been the right help for me.

What programs have you been working on?

I’m working now on MomFit 5 and the Advanced APT workout.

What did you expect when you started?

I expected it to take a long time and a lot of work to build a stronger body. I was right on both accounts. 🙂

What were you surprised about?

I was surprised by how much I didn’t know about my body. I was also surprised that my symptoms were often not the root of the issue. I have a weak left knee from an injury a number of years ago, but I was surprised to learn that the root causes were hip and foot issues, not my knee. The way our bodies are connected from head to toe is incredible!

I was relieved to know there were so many women out there working hard on their postpartum recovery, that I wasn’t alone.

What has helped you most in your journey?

The encouragement of the moderators and other ladies in the group, and the extensive library of rehab programs. Comments and feedback on my form have been crucial. Knowing I was not alone in my journey to rebuild my body has been one of the other best parts of this group.

What were your goals when you started? Goals now? What did you actually experience?

My goals were pretty basic – lose the baby weight and feel stronger. I knew that being a mom of two boys would mean a very active, busy lifestyle that I was not able to handle in my post-baby reality. I wanted to be able to keep up with my kids. Four years later, I have achieved both of those goals. I recently lost most of the baby weight and have 10 pounds to go, and I am significantly stronger now than I was four years ago.

The thing about the baby weight goal – I tried to lose the weight three years ago, after the birth of my youngest son. My body was under so much stress that even with learning about nutrition and my busy lifestyle, my weight was not budging. I learned how much stress plays a role in overall health and healing, and gradually as stress has abated I have made progress toward my goals.

My goals now are to continue slowly losing weight and to keep building strength. I want to be able to do 3 unassisted pull ups. With the right help, I know I can do it.

Anything else that you feel would help women who are dealing with the same things? Anything that would have helped you along your journey?

Early on, I was really frustrated with my body. I hated needing to do so much rehab work, and when Anna or Sarah would suggest a detour away from whatever program I was in, I would begrudgingly comply, feeling frustrated that my body wasn’t working the way I wanted it to. What I’ve learned is this: The detours are vital to real progress. The moderators say it all the time, but making progress in one area often reveals weaknesses, bad habits, and cheating muscles. Detours to focus on those things are essential to long-term strength building. As a dyed-in-the-wool type A personality, I want to achieve, check things off my list, and accomplish all day. Detours seemingly slow progress down, but if you really focus on the purpose for the detour, it will make all the difference in your journey. As author and counselor David Thomas says, practice makes progress. I’m a recovering perfectionist and need to constantly remind myself that the goal is progress, not perfection.

This program has helped me correct years of bad habits! I’m a classic glute clencher, ab gripper, and forward head posture/APT kind of girl. Through CES, I’ve learned how to let go of my glutes, stop gripping my abs, and stand confident and tall. This program revealed things I didn’t know were wrong, and has helped me slowly learn to trust my body and let the right muscles do their jobs.

And lastly – know that with the right help, you can do it!

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