Testosterone– Why women need it too!

Some Surprising facts about testosterone and why it’s important for women too.

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Testosterone – Why women need it too! Mike Mahoney Photography

 

There are a lot of mixed feelings out there about testosterone, many women hear the word and instantly think this hormone is something that only matters for men. Yes testosterone is a male hormone but women also produce it, and it plays an important role in puberty, sexual function and body system regulation. In women, the hormone is produced in the ovaries, adrenal glands and in fatty tissues. As women age, our bodies produce less of the hormone, which can lead to physical and behavioral changes. In fact, at menopause, women produce up to 50 percent less testosterone than they did at their peak production during their teens and early 20s.

After my figure competition in March 2013, I felt tired, worn down and very unmotivated to get back in the gym. I would literally be in the gym working out yawning feeling like I could fall asleep. I knew my hormones were out of whack because my skin was breaking out and my menstrual cycle was very irregular and frequent. My doctor suggested taking birth control pills to help “regulate” my cycles. Although I am not against birth control pills my body doesn’t agree with them. I always gain a lot of weight and seem to get every side effect listed on the package. So I decided to research different products that may help regulate my hormones without actually getting on hormone replacements or use of birth control. I found one called Halotropin made by ProSupps.

This product helps your body produce more testosterone while simultaneously unbinding and utilizing your existing free flowing testosterone, and it keeps estrogen in check at the same time. The end result is an explosion in libido, strength, energy, and muscle mass. Unleash your full potential in the gym (and in the bedroom)!

At first I was a little bit skeptical about the results it would give me, but I also knew things couldn’t get worse. I approached ProSupps athlete Diana Diaz about Halotropin, and asked her if it was right for women. This is what she said about it:

“Yes, women most definitely can use and benefit from a testosterone boosting product like Halotropin. There are lots of misleading and confusing information regarding testosterone boosters for women and it’s common for these products to be associated with men only. Truth is both men and women have estrogen and testosterone. We just have different levels of them. Our hormones change with age, levels of physical activities, stress, pregnancy, nutrition/diets, etc. It seems like everything can effect a change in our hormones!

The benefits for us, women, using a testosterone booster may and will be an increase in stamina, strength, energy, vitality, sex drive and libido. These products also decreases water retention/bloating and help balance our moods. Obviously every woman is built different and may experience different results but for the most part, my female clients that I have added testosterone boosters into their nutritional routine have definitely seen positive results. Results vary but you should see a difference in strength, muscle tightness, energy and less water retention/bloating within 10-12 days.”

After contacting Diana I decided to give this testosterone booster a try and saw amazing results in my first month! Here are the changes I saw:

1. Sleep, I was actually getting into a deep sleep and dreaming. As a sleep tech I learned how much of an impact getting enough or no sleep can have on your body. In a nutshell sleep is like a reset button for your body!

2. My skin cleared up, no more breakouts or cystic acne.

3. My menstrual cycle went from 8 days to 3 days and became regular not sporadic. Cramps and bloating were also greatly reduced.

4. I’d wake up energized and ready to take on the day instead of wanting to sleep all day.

5. Because my body has been able to recover due to better sleep, I am seeing a higher level of strength. Definite gains in the gym.

6. Bruising, I do not bruise as easily anymore.

Dietary zinc is a strong ingredient in testosterone boosting products like Halotropin. This ingredient is known as the most important mineral for naturally boosting your testosterone levels. You can also find zinc in red meats, chicken, salmon, peanuts, dried pumpkin seeds, cocoa, and sesame butter. Garlic also helps boost testosterone levels because it contains allicin, which promotes testosterone production.

*Testosterone boosters like Halotropin may not be for everyone, and individual results may vary. It took me a few weeks to the notice the full effects of it. Always consult your doctor or physician before you try anything new.

How to finally achieve Fitness Success

Tired of starting over? Tired of quiting and feeling like you’ve failed? We’ve all been there and sometimes it takes several attempts to get it right.

I have been around the fitness block a few times and through trial and error figured out what works for me. I’ve accomplished fitness success and I have also failed miserable at it. I’m going to share some tips with you so you can be successful too!

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1. BE REALISTIC!

2. BE REALISTIC!

3. BE REALISTIC!

If I wasn’t clear let me break it down for you. We all want to shed dozens of pounds and get the body of our dreams overnight… right?

Wrong!

I wish it were that easy, however here are some tips to help you succeed.

1. Be real with yourself.

If you didn’t put the weight on in a week you won’t lose it all in a week. As one of my clients said “I didn’t get this luscious overnight, I know it’ll take time”. Don’t expect a quick fix, it may take months. But it’ll be worth it!

2. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

If you are new to the gym or even home workouts don’t commit to 7 days of working out. Most people get burnt out and quit after the first week. Schedule it! Just like any appointment plan it. Start with 3 days tops and work your way up. With as busy as I am I even I have to schedule my workouts!

3. A workout buddy can help.

If you lack motivation get a workout partner that is committed. If you have someone relying on you, especially to
hit the gym, you won’t want to be the slacker that cancels. But remember it is YOU that will get you results no one else.

4. Literally, don’t bite off more than you can (or can’t) chew!

Diet… the dreaded 4 letter word. Again BE REAL with yourself. Do not start something you cannot maintain more than a few weeks. Example: eating fish and green beans 6 meals a day. Yes you will lose weight fast BUT depriving your body physically and mentally will lead to binge eating and you’ll gain all the weight you lost back (plus more)!

5. Visualize your success.

Create a vision board with motivational quotes and pictures to keep you focused. I personally print out calendars and pencil in important dates. I am constantly uploading positive quotes and sayings. I know several people that print out fit bodies they wish to look like. I’m not against that but I personally don’t like to compare myself to others. Even though they inspire me I like to use my own pictures. To help me push myself to better MY best.

6. Have a trainer teach you proper use of the equipment and machines.

If you have the drive and motivation but are completely lost in the gym. Hire a trainer. It doesn’t have to be forever. It can be a few sessions so they can show you workouts and how to use the equipment. Knowledge is the key to success. You can also make a list of all your gyms equipment and look them up online. There are several sites that show animated movements.

Here’s a site I personally like. It has a great app you can download on your phone too.

http://www.jefit.com/

7. A coach keeps you accountable.

Last but not least if you tried every other approach and are still struggling you can always hire a coach. A coach is different than a trainer. Typically trainers put you through your workouts and that’s it. You have to check in with coach via progress pictures, update on weight loss or gain. They give you nutrition guidance and workouts along with moral support to keep you going and motivated.

Happy Training!!

The Protein Princess
Cody Lawyer 💕

Postpartum Diastasis Recti – How it affects working out

Among the many changes our bodies go through while pregnant, many of us moms experience Ab Seperation. Also know as Diastasis Recti.  It’s very common,  two out of three pregnant women experience this.

So what exactly is Diastasis Recti?
Basically that fancy word means your belly sticks out because the space between your left and right abdominal muscles has widened. You might call it a “pooch.” When the ab muscles move aside like this, the uterus, bowels, and other organs have only a thin band of connective tissue in front to hold them in place.

I was lucky enough to be one of the 2 women that get it. (Insert sarcasm) 😉 Here is a collage picture of what abdominal muscles look like prior to pregnancy.  And what they look like when Diastasis Recti has occurred. The bottom part of the picture is my abdomen 9 months postpartum after baby #4. First picture I’m leaning back and you can see the bulge in the middle.  Second picture I’m flexing holding that bulge in.

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Many women have emailed me regarding this. I am not a doctor, but have spoke with several regarding Diastasis Recti. I have also had four pregnancies where I’ve experienced seperation each time. Every situation is different so I will share what worked best for me. Below I will go over a few questions women have asked.

“Can I still train my abs?”

I personally feel it depends on how serious the seperation is. Postpartum I would wait at least 6-9 weeks to allow your uterus to shrink back down.  At your postpartum check up talk about it with your doctor.
I never train abs. I focus on keeping my core tight with every exercise I do. But never do anything with direct pressure on my abdomen. I also have a few minor hernias so direct pressure causes pain.
I have known women that actually cause more damage by doing abdominal exercises.  Especially when adding weight. If you have a large gap any pressure is going to cause it to grow wider, essentially causing more of a “pooch”.

“Will the seperation ever go away?”

Chances are, it won’t completely close without surgery to repair it. (*note: there are a few techniques available too. They are nonsurgical. The Tubler Technique and Mutu, I’m not familiar with either and have read mixed reviews so you may look into them yourself.) However it will narrow and sometimes become unnoticeable.  Depending on how lean your body is you may not see it at all.  Below is a picture of me at my leanest,  you can see the gap down the middle.  It’s not terribly bad, but with time it has grown closer together.

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Tips on dealing with Diastasis Recti-

⚫ Focus on practicing good posture.  Good posture will strengthen your back and core muscles. Allowing you to hold everything in better. Not to mention good posture makes you look like you lost 5-10lbs instantly!  (Try it!)

⚫ When starting to exercise remember less is more. 1 myth is that working abs will give you an amazing 6-pack. This is untrue.  Weight loss and loosing body fat is what make abs show.

⚫ Start slow, test the waters so to speak. Start with movements like seated movements (pictured below) and planking that don’t put direct pressure on your abdominals. You may feel fine during your workout but feel pain later. Remember there is a difference between soreness and pain caused from your muscles seperating more.

Here are a few core exercises to try.
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⚫ Protect your core and back. During workouts while lifting heavy I always wear a belt. It helps hold everything in while giving support.  Don’t just rely on the belt though keep that core tight!

Happy Training!

The Protein Princess
Cody Lawyer ❤

24 hour food log

Well here it is! Many people have asked what I typically eat during the day. To be honest I don’t follow a cookie cutter diet or meal plan. I track my macros and try to keep my food intake 80% whole “healthy” foods and 20% whatever I want.

Below is what I ate/drank within a 24 hour period.  Along with Bostin’s eating and my pumping schedule. 

June 17th 2014

1:30am up with baby…
• Fed Bostin
• Pumped 19 oz (yes this was painful lol my boobs were about to burst!)
• Drank 32 oz water
• 1 tbs nuts n more cinnamon raisin almond butter
• 1 caramel corn rice cake

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8:00am Rise n’ Shine
• fed Bostin
• Pumped 14 oz
• Drank 8 oz water

9:00am
• 1 scoop ProSupps Chocolate Fudge Cake Whey Protein
• 1 packet High Fiber Oatmeal
• 2 Eggo Smores waffles
• 1/2 serving syrup
• 8 oz water

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11:30 am
16 oz water

1:00pm
• Fed Bostin
• pumped 14 oz
• Drank 8 oz

2:00pm
• Half BLT sandwich
• Sweet Potato Fries
• 22 oz water

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4:00pm
• 1 tbsp nuts n more cinnamon raisin almond butter
• 1 caramel corn rice cake
• 16 oz water

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5:00pm
• Fed Bostin
• pump 12 oz
• Drank 8 oz water

6:00pm
• 8 oz red potatoes
• 8 oz lean ground turkey
• salad
• 2 cups salad
• Drank 8 oz

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7:00pm
• Drank 8 oz

9:00pm
• Fed Bostin
• pump 18  oz
• Drank 16 oz
• 3 peanut butter cup Oreos
• Carnation Instant French Vanilla packet

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9:30am
Bed Time 🙂

My Overall Macros (Fats, Carbs, Protein, Calories)

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I’m not dieting in anyway shape or form. I am tracking my food intake (macros) and my calories are currently over 2500 with my fats at 80-90g, Carbs 260-300g, Protein 120g. As you can see I was on the lower end for my carbs this day.

Thank you for reading!
Cody ♡ The Protein Princess

http://www.theproteinprincess.com

25 Days Postpartum

Well I’m 25 days postpartum and we’re all adjusting wonderfully to baby Bostin. It took Gatlin a little while to decide if he liked the new baby in the house but after 3 weeks everyday gets better and better. This was my main priority after delivery, it wasn’t to lose weight or start working out immediately postpartum. It was to make sure my babies (all 4) are happy. Oh and to establish a good milk supply… I’m pumping about 72 oz a day!!

SO that being said… IT’S TIME! 

My starting weight: 118lbs
Day of Delivery: 142lbs
25 days postpartum: 125lbs

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I’m ready! It’s been a long 26 weeks without working out. Many of you know I had to stop working out at 17 weeks pregnant because it was causing me to contract.  No matter how much water I drank or changed up my routines I still got contractions. This was somewhat devastating to me because I so badly wanted to continue working out throughout my pregnancy. But ultimately sometimes working out isn’t what is best for your body and baby. 

It’s exciting and kinda scary jumping back in. I’m like “what do I want to workout first?”…”Should I do one body part or hit everything?”… either way I’m going to be SO Sore!!! Lol! I’ve lost a lot of muscle so once I get into a routine I’m going to focus on building it back up.

After a lot of thought… my first workout will be at home. No pressure,  on my time, and definitely nothing to crazy. I know myself and if I go to my gym I’ll over do it.  I won’t be doing any direct ab movements.  My abs are trashed, I have horrible ab separation and they are sore and tender. I also have a hernia. So anything directly putting pressure on my abs could cause more damage than good.

HERE is my 1st Postpartum Workout:

★ Stretch… Stretch… Stretch!
● 5 min warm up on treadmill, fast speed walk to warm up my muscles.

● 25 body weight squats
● 10 jumping jacks
● 20 bicep curls (using dumbbells or resistance bands)
● 10 Standing Shoulder Press
● 20 alternating lunges (each leg)
● 10 push ups
● 10 body weight tricep dips (using chair)
● 10 Burpees

★ Repeat 2-3 times

My preworkout/Intraworkout mix is…
1 scoop ProSupps Karbolic strawberry popsicle
1 serving ProSupps Liquid Aminos PSXXIII Berry Flavor

Why you should SQUAT instead of Kegels!

Why you should be doing Squats instead of Kegels during pregnancy.

Whether you’re pregnant or not one of the most important muscles to strengthen is your pelvic muscles. In a nutshell this is because your pelvic floor is under all your organs, and during pregnancy the extra weight of your baby. Having a strong pelvic floor during delivery helps tremendously with labor and delivery as well as recovery.

One of the main side effects (not just from childbirth) of a weak pelvic floor is urinary incontinence. About one in four women suffer from urinary incontinence, the involuntary loss of urine when sneezing, coughing, or laughing. And even more have what’s called “urgency incontinence” when the urge to urinate is so strong that you fear you won’t get to the bathroom in time. In order to prevent this kind of urinary problem, you have to develop strong buttocks (glute) muscles and get in touch with your pelvic floor. We always hear how we should practice our kegels especially while pregnant.

I know this goes against everything we as women have been taught. When in fact kegels can actually make pelvic floor disorder worse in some cases. The Kegels strengthen the PC (pubococcygeous) muscle, which closes the sphincters of the pelvic floor and stops the flow of urine. Kegels are a step in the right direction. But they don’t address the function of the entire pelvic floor, they strengthen only one muscle. A strong, rigid muscle isn’t necessarily a functional, strong, flexible muscle. Remember TIGHT isn’t necessarily STRONG! You want strong, that’s where the squats come in.

Why squats? Well squats are the main exercise that builds good strong glutes. The muscles that balance out the anterior pull on the sacrum are the glutes. A lack of glutes, or having no butt, is what makes this group so much more susceptible to pelvic floor disorder (PFD). Zero lumbar curvature, missing the little curve at the small of the back, is the most telling sign that the pelvic floor is beginning to weaken.

I’m not saying you have to go load a bar with weight on your back to squat. Bodyweight Squats are perfect. Your main goal is to squat low. Some women may have a hard time with this. It takes practice and getting your range of motion down. When I first started I couldn’t even get parallel. My hips were so tight it was difficult. Now I can literally touch my butt to my heels no problem. Think of squatting to pee while camping or an emergency pit stop on the side of the road while traveling. That is how low you need to get. Squatting this low or deep is to create the posterior pull on the sacrum and balance the work of the pelvic floor.

I can’t express how important it is to get your range of motion down to perform a perfect squat. It takes lots of practice and stretching. Below are some pictures and suggestions I recommend to start practicing.

STRETCHES
These stretches really help loosen up your hips, glutes and lower back.

A. Sitting Hamstring Stretch
This stretches your inner thigh, hips, glutes and lower back muscles. Sit on the floor with one leg out to the side and the other leg bent to the inside. Gently reach for your toes on the outstretched leg. Repeat on the other side.

B. Butterfly Stretch
The butterfly stretch exercise stretches your inner thighs, groin, hips, and lower back. If you are prone to lower-back discomfort, take extra care to lean forward from your hips rather than rounding your lower back. This exercise may also cause some knee discomfort. This procedure demonstrates the butterfly stretch that most fitness experts recommend. Sit up tall with the soles of your feet pressed together and your knees dropped to the sides as far as they will comfortably go. Pull your abdominals gently inward and lean forward from your hips. Grasp your feet with your hands and carefully pull yourself a small way farther forward. You should feel the stretch spread throughout your inner thighs, the outermost part of your hips, and lower back.

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C. Hip, Glute and Sciatica Stretch
During pregnancy many women (including myself) experience tightness through your hips and glutes. During your 2nd and 3rd trimester laying on your back to stretch isn’t an option. This movement is very mild but trust me you’ll feel it…. even if you’re not pregnant!

C1. Sit upright on edge of a sturdy chair. Cross leg placing upper ankle on your quad.

C2. Slowly lean forward till you cannot go any further. You will feel the stretch through your glutes and hip.

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Body Weight Exercises to Practice

D. Bodyweight Squats
Be sure to do the stretches above before you start.

D1. To perform a body weight squat, clasp your hands together and hold at your chest (you can also extend your arms straight out in front of you with your palms down). Keep your feet flat on the floor a little wider than your shoulders. Slowly bend your legs to start the exercise and make sure to keep your back as straight as possible. You should also keep your head up and try to look straight ahead during the exercise.

D2. Keep your feet flat on the floor as you squat down. When your thighs are parallel to the floor, stand back up to finish the first repetition. Try to do at least 10 repetitions and then take a short break. Really focus on your depth. Once you get use to them work on holding your squat at the bottom.

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E. Plie or Sumo Squats
Plie squats are slightly different than regular squats. The main difference between the two exercises is the placement of your feet. During a regular squat, the feet are placed shoulder width distance or slightly wider apart, and the toes face forward. When doing a sumo squat, the feet are in a wide stance with the toes turned out at an angle. The plie and regular squat both work the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors and calves. However, the plie squat places more emphasis on the inner thighs and glutes.

E1. Stand with your feet in a wide stance, with toes turned outward. Place hands on your hips for support.

E2. Lower yourself down by bending your knees. Once your thighs are parallel to the floor, rise back up, squeeze your glutes and steadily and repeat.

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F.  Wall Sits
Wall sits is an example of an isometric exercise. In this type of exercise, the contracting muscles produce little or no movement. One drawback of isometric exercises is that they only strengthen the muscles in the angle in which you hold the position. You can overcome this drawback by repeating the exercise at different angles. For example, drop only a couple of inches down the wall the first time you do the wall sit. When you repeat it, lower yourself a couple inches more. Breathe regularly while you hold the wall sit. To protect your knees, keep them pointing straight in front of you and don’t let them pass in front of your toes.

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Preventing Swelling and Varicose Veins in Legs

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Compression stockings are often recommended during pregnancy to help energize tired, achy legs, help prevent and reduce swelling and promote better circulation. Great for those who are standing or sitting for long periods of time, gradient compression products help keep legs healthy.

Gradient compression hosiery during pregnancy helps keep your legs looking and feeling their best! Often recommended for those with tired, achy, fatigued legs and feet, swollen feet or ankles or mild to moderate swelling, gradient compression helps keeps your legs going strong! What busy momma couldn’t use a little extra energy?

By applying the tightest “squeeze” to the ankle and then gradually decreasing the pressure up the leg, gradient compression hosiery help promote better circulation and more leg energy.

If you are experiencing any of the following, you may benefit from wearing gradient compression:

• Tired, aching, fatigued legs

• Swollen feet, ankles, and legs

• Mild to moderate swelling

• Stand or sit for long periods

• Traveling

• Overweight

Even if you do not have any of the above conditions, you may still appreciate the benefits of wearing compression because of how great they make your legs look and feel! I do tend to swell during pregnancy and wearing compression stockings help tremendously!

• About 40% of all pregnant women suffer from varicose veins.

• Pregnancy increases the body blood volume.

• The increase level of the hormone progesterone cause blood vessel to relax. Therefore valves separate slightly and they don’t work properly, letting the back-flow of blood in the veins.

• The uterus presses against the major veins in the pelvic region and increases the pressure in the leg veins are then subject to becoming varicose.

• The weight increase enhances the risk of venous insufficiency affecting the legs.

Although I have not had to deal with varicose veins I know many women who have especially during pregnancy. I have always taken precautions to prevent them and so far so good. Below are some things I personally do.

But first… what are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are swollen veins that may bulge near the surface of the skin. These blue or purple, sometimes squiggly veins are most likely to show up in your legs, though you may also get them in your vulva or elsewhere. (In fact, hemorrhoids are really just varicose veins of the rectal area.)

You may have little or no discomfort from them, or they may make your legs feel heavy and achy. The skin around a varicose vein may also itch, throb, or feel like it’s burning. The symptoms tend to be worse at the end of the day, especially if you’ve been on your feet a lot.

Many women first develop varicose veins – or find that they get worse – during pregnancy. As your uterus grows, it puts pressure on the large vein on the right side of your body (the inferior vena cava), which in turn increases pressure in the leg veins.

Veins are the blood vessels that return blood from your extremities to your heart, so the blood in your leg veins is already working against gravity. When you’re pregnant, the amount of blood in your body increases, adding to the burden on your veins. And your progesterone levels rise, causing the walls of your blood vessels to relax.

They’re more common in women than men, and if you have them, they tend to get worse with each successive pregnancy and as you get older. Being overweight, carrying twins or higher multiples, and standing for long periods can also make you more susceptible.

The good news is that varicose veins tend to improve after you give birth, particularly if you didn’t have any before you got pregnant. And if they don’t get better, there are a variety of ways to treat them.

You may have also noticed tiny blood vessels near the surface of the skin, especially on your ankles, legs, or face. These are called spider veins. These don’t cause discomfort, and they typically disappear after delivery.

You may be able to prevent them or at least minimize them. Here are some tips:

• Exercise daily. Even just a brisk walk around the block can help your circulation. Swimming is also wonderful.

• Strive to keep within the recommended weight range for your stage of pregnancy.

• Elevate your feet and legs whenever possible. Use a stool or box to rest your legs on when you’re sitting, and keep your feet elevated on a pillow when you’re lying down.

• Don’t cross your legs or ankles when sitting.

• Don’t sit or stand for long periods without taking breaks to move around.

• Sleep on your left side. Wedge a pillow behind your back to keep yourself tilted to the left and elevate your feet with a pillow. Since the inferior vena cava is on the right side, lying on your left side relieves the vein of the weight of the uterus, thus decreasing pressure on the veins in your legs and feet.

• Wear special support hose. Graduated-compression stockings, which are twice as thick as normal pantyhose, work best. These stockings are available from medical supply stores and pharmacies. They’re tight at the ankle and get looser as they go up the leg, making it easier for blood to flow back up toward your heart. As a result, they help prevent swelling and may keep your varicose veins from getting worse.

To prevent blood from pooling in your legs, put the stockings on before getting out of bed in the morning, while you’re still lying down, and keep them on all day. Heavy-duty support hose may be bothersome, especially in hot weather, but bad varicose veins can be more uncomfortable.

They may not be the sexiest stockings, but I promise they keep your legs super sexy!

** On a side note, not just pregnant women benefit from wearing compression stockings. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above. If you a work night shift. Also my dad is a marathon runner and suffered from swelling post runs, compression stockings helped him greatly.

Cody Lawyer/ The Protein Princess
Mother of 3 and 29 weeks pregnant
Ironworks Gym Owner
ISSA CPT