Written by: Holly Mosack, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise
I remember it vividly. It was my second year doing the CrossFit Open. I finished the first work-out and moved on to the second work-out, a clean & jerk ladder. My husband and 14-year-old son were both cheering me on and I felt strong that day (which “strong” for me isn’t really very strong). I was excited. I had hit a personal record (PR) on my fourth lift and was ready to keep going. But then, on that fifth attempt, it happened. I cleaned the barbell (one of those nasty looking cleans that shouldn’t really count) and as I was coming out of my squat, I felt it happen. I peed – not just a little dribble, but an actual small puddle on the floor.
I stood there holding the barbell and saw my son’s jaw drop and just have this very confused, somewhat disgusted look on his face as he tried to figure out what just happened. My husband, a CrossFit Level 2 Trainer, just encouraged me to keep going, but I was done. I knew at that point that I had no time to run to the bathroom and get in another lift, and my only alternative was to just keep peeing on the floor. So I dropped the barbell, shook my head and called it a day. I grabbed some bleach wipes and cleaned up the floor, frustrated with myself. I was embarrassed. I was mad that I was on my way to having a great lift day and had to stop. Pardon the pun, but I was pissed.
I started asking other women if this happens to them and if there is anything out there to help. I’m your typical CrossFit gal, so I’m wearing booty shorts or leggings – neither are really conducive to wearing a pad or panty liners because those suckers twist up in a heartbeat. Then I heard about these tampon-like inserts designed for leaks, so I checked them out.
You get a “starter pack” to see what size you should wear, and let me tell you that it’s a cruel game to play. Of course, you start with the smallest one, right? Then, when that one doesn’t do the trick, you move up in size, all the while wondering if you just have a big vagina! When it’s all said and done though, those are not designed for CrossFit – the core pressure we have to use for a heavy lift just forces the inserts out. (Yes, another lovely image…) After all this, I was left with my go-to – a wad of toilet paper.
I thought to myself, “there has GOT to be something better than this,” but I couldn’t find anything. There are leak-proof underwear, but I don’t want underwear lines showing or worrying about wedgies. So, I decided to design my own solution. It’s amazing how things work when you are determined to solve a problem. I met this person who introduced me to this person, and all of a sudden, I am working with an apparel expert, designing leak-proof booty shorts and leggings. I love this part – the factory making my product is a non-profit organization whose mission is to train and employ refugee women. It’s just awesome – making a product to empower women to be strong and also empowering the women who are actually making them.
I was really nervous when I received the first prototype. Would it actually work? I went to the gym, knocked out some double-unders (jumping rope) and sure enough, the shorts worked! It was actually a weird feeling – being able to jump rope, know I was leaking, but not having to stop jumping. I had been so used to jumping rope, running to the bathroom, and coming back to continue. It was a new sense of freedom, and Moxie Fitness Apparel was a reality.
This “leakage” is called stress-induced incontinence, and it happens to 1 in 3 women, but it’s hardly talked about openly outside of the CrossFit and powerlifting communities. I joined a small business accelerator program and talked to 100 CrossFit women, mainly strangers. I was pleasantly surprised at how open they were with me. I asked them how they feel when this happens to them and while they agreed that the CrossFit community is very supportive, they still said things like “I feel stupid,” “it makes me feel weak,” “I feel old,” “I hate it,” “it limits me.” We go to the gym to feel strong and to be empowered, not to have these negative head games.
I am a big proponent of pelvic floor therapy and would never say that my product is the ultimate answer. The ultimate solution is not to leak. But I’m a realist, and I have talked with OB/GYNs, Pelvic Floor Therapists and Urologists, along with all the women I interviewed. The vast majority of women don’t want to do therapy; they don’t want to have a medical procedure. They just want to be able to do a work-out and not worry about showing the entire gym that they just peed.
One time, a woman bought six pairs. I actually thought it was a mistake, so I reached out to her. She explained that she had recently been diagnosed with a bladder disorder called cystocele. She tried one pair of the capris and immediately bought five more pairs, explaining, “This has been the only thing that makes me feel confident enough to focus on the work-out.” My son’s junior high cross-country coach asked me for a pair for one of her 11-year-old runners.
To me, that’s what it’s all about—giving women and girls the confidence to hit those PRs, even if they are pee-ing.
Holly Mosack, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
When Holly ended her career in the United States Army, she struggled to find her purpose in the civilian world (outside of being a mom) until she and her husband started a CrossFit gym. She quickly found a new passion in helping women become stronger, both physically and emotionally. She wants to empower women to stay active by removing barriers, which is why she founded a line of leak-proof apparel, Moxie Fitness Apparel, to help the 1 in 3 women who experience stress incontinence. Holly is an executive-level communicator with 15 years of manufacturing experience in talent acquisition strategy, service quality and continuous improvement. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and is a CrossFit Level I Trainer.