How I healed…Part II

by Crystal Kupper,
Crystal’s Cliffnotes
Salem Writer

For Part I, go here.
I’ve long loved being active. If you are a Riddle, it was and is kind of a requirement. So, often alongside my large family, I did gymnastics, ice-skating, t-ball/coach pitch/softball, tennis, volleyball, bowling, running, basketball, dancing, cheerleading and other various physical activities over the years. We’re a movement-loving family.


Though I was never even close to a star athlete, I was always in great shape. I loved the feeling of telling my body to do something and its quick response. I was fit, strong and happy with my body (mostly).


Then, pregnancy and birth happened. Sound familiar?Though my story of traumatic birth and recovery is different than most, I know I’m not alone in the struggle to control something that used to come as easily as breathing.

The bladder control (or lack of!).

The “mom pooch” occupying the space where your flat stomach used to be.

The weak core and accompanying back.

The “accidents” that happened every time I sneezed, laughed, jumped or sprinted


When I told my OB on base about my newly-betraying body, she just laughed. “Welcome to motherhood!” she said. “It will get better.” But it didn’t. Meanwhile, every women’s magazine cover, workout DVD, Biggest Loser episode and internet article

Well, guess what, Hollywood celebrity mamas with personal trainers and personal chefs and nannies, I was soon running 25+ miles a week and back down to my trim 125 pounds but I still didn’t look like you. It was all rather disheartening for someone like me who was used to her body obeying her (except for my constant demands — or pleas — for my thighs to pleeeeease shrink). I purchased a passel of black shorts and gave up the idea of ever running a few miles without returning home looking like I’d hit a lower-body rainstorm.

Until I discovered the miracle that is physical therapy and Fit to Be Studio.



PT was a lot of pool work and at-home exercise assignments. Fit to Be, because of its online presence, was entirely stay-at-home, which turned out to be perfect for me.This is Fit to Be’s philosophy in a nutshell: fitness doesn’t have to be impossible. It doesn’t have to hurt, or be embarrassing. It doesn’t have to involve staring at barely-dressed non-mamas trying to outdo each other with their crazy moves in spacious, toy-free workout studios with gigantic mirrors. In fact, the mainstream fitness industry as a whole has lied to women by telling them that crunches are the answer, and if our tummies pooch out then it’s our fault for not working out hard enough.

See, here’s the thing: a lot of mothers have damaged their rectus abdominus muscles and now have what’s called diastasis. I’ll let Bethany Learn, the founder of Fit to Be, explain the rest.

The good news: diastasis can be healed! And it doesn’t even involve surgery.

What it does involve: dozens and dozens of workout videos ranging from a few minutes to around half an hour, all with the intention of helping your knit your transverse back together — no crunches needed!



So here’s my top 4 reasons for loving (and using) Fit to Be:

  • It works. This is my favorite reason. I know several women from my MOPS group who had HUGE splits in their abs (one had even been told she would need surgery to be sewn back together). After a few months of using Fit to Be, voila! I have thinner, no-surgery friends whose cores are stronger than they have ever been.One friend, a mother of 9 (including twins!), said she felt noticeably stronger after using the program for just a few weeks. Another joined with her mother and both lost inches off her hips.And as for me? I can run a 10k while 9 months pregnant with my 3rd baby without leaking a drop and fit back into my jeans 6 days postnatal. I’d say that’s pretty good results! (Although I’m sure my healthy lifestyle and diet play a large part in that, too.).
  • It’s real. Bethany is no Jillian Michaels, and I think that’s a good thing. The workouts are filmed in her home. There’s real furniture and life happening in the background. During her outdoor workouts, you can hear crickets and frogs. She knows you don’t have all day to devote to exercise, and she treats you accordingly. Her knuckles and toes crack. She has a real body and a real story. And it makes me feel so much better about my own!
  • It’s family-friendly. There’s not a lot of flesh-flashing and no swearing going on here, so I don’t have to shield the boys’ eyes or ears. Speaking of the little angels, 
    Fit2B also has an impressive selection of workout with your kids videos! I love exercising with my boys, not just around them. It sets a great example of lifelong fitness, and we all have a blast doing it! Even Avinly can get it on the act; there are several mommy-baby workouts as well.
  •  It varies. You’d think as a runner I would like doing the same things over and over, but I don’t (well, except run). And that’s another thing I dig about Fit to Be. You can do it while pregnant. You can do it if you only have 10 minutes or even if you’re stuck in an office chair. You can choose by time, style or level of intensity. There seriously is something for everyone.


It’s not a magic diet pill; you have to put in the work. And given my level of cardio fitness, I do wish there were some more higher-intensity workouts offered. (What can I say, I just love to sweat).

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