Thursday, October 31, 2013

Basics of exercising while pregnant!

When life throws you curves…go for a run! 

Janae Richardson is a homemaker, runner, coach, and co-founder of She graduated from Weber State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in History Teaching and PE/Coaching. Janae is a Level 1 Certified USA Track and Field Coach and recently completed a Master’s degree in Exercise Science at Utah State University and a Sports Nutrition Certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition. She previously coached cross country at Davis High School (Kaysville, UT), but currently offers private coaching to runners of all levels.

Benefits of Exercising During Pregnancy
  • Improved cardiovascular function; head start getting back in shape after baby is born
  • Limited weight gain
  • Decreased musculoskeletal discomfort
  • Reduced incidence of muscle cramps and lower limb oedema (swelling in feet/ankles)
  • Lowers the risk of developing gestational diabetes and gestational hypertension (high blood pressure)

  • Decreased fat mass
  • Improved stress tolerance
  • Advanced neurobehavioural maturation (status of the body’s nervous system observed through behavior)

  • *Information from “Physical Activity and Pregnancy” (Melzer, Schutz, Boulvain, & Kayser, 2010) and Planning Your Pregnancy and Birth (ACOG, 2000)
    The curves of life that require us to change our course can come in all shapes and forms.  It could be a career change, a death of a family member or friend, a move to a new state/community, or an illness or injury.  For women, one of the biggest curves (literally) they’ll ever face is the baby bump of pregnancy.  Although pregnancy can drastically change our daily life and running routine, we should be grateful we aren’t living in the 1950s.  Back then the tradition and culture of the time encouraged a pregnant woman to continue performing her household chores (of course), but to avoid walking more than a total of 1 mile per day!  Even in the mid-1980s, the recommendations were to keep your heart rate below 140 beats/min and to avoid strenuous exercise that lasted more than 15 minutes.  We runners would have gone crazy!  Fortunately for us, the latest research is showing that continuing a running regime (even a vigorous one) during pregnancy is not only beneficial for the mother, but has added benefits for the fetus as well.  Keep in mind that continuing to run during pregnancy is safe only if there are no medical complications for mother or child and, as always, it is best to ask your doctor to make sure you have the green light to lace up those running shoes.  
    So the questions I believe many expecting mothers (who are addicted to running) ask, are: how intense and how long can my workouts be, how much mileage can I still put in, is core work still okay, and how can I mentally handle the weight gain, slower paces, and discomfort as the pregnancy progresses? 
    Warning Signs to Terminate Exercise While Pregnant
    • Vaginal bleeding
    • Dyspnea (shortness of breath) prior to exertion
    • Dizziness
    • Chest pain
    • Muscle weakness
    • Calf pain or swelling
    • Pre-term labor
    • Decreased fetal movement
    • Amniotic fluid leakage
    *Adopted from “The Pregnant Athlete” (Zaslow & Hame, 2011)
    I recently re-read an interview conducted by Runner’s World with world-class marathoners, Kara Goucher and Paula Radcliffe, when they were both expecting babies in 2010. They answered questions about their training, paces, and the changes they were experiencing during pregnancy.  They talked about how their intensity and mileage had decreased from their pre-pregnancy levels, but that they were still working out twice a day (second workout was sometimes cross-training), doing some short intervals (150-300 meters) on the track once a week, and a second harder workout during the week on the AlterG (antigravity treadmill that reduces the body weight of the runner).  They were still running 50-60 miles a week and their paces still sounded insanely fast, but what I gained most from reading this interview was that for them, the previously described training regime was scaled back from their pre-pregnancy workouts.  Their mileage was at about 50% of what it was before the baby bump.  This is definitely important for expecting mothers to recognize—the intensity and amount of mileage should decrease and it shouldn’t compare to pre-pregnancy workouts.  Just because it isn’t the same, doesn’t mean we should give up on running entirely, right?
    So we know what some of the elite runners are doing during pregnancy, but how intense should it be for us mere running mortals?  The answer to this question and many of the others addressed in this article can be very individual and really depend on what your training regime looked like prior to pregnancy.  Here are a few general guidelines for pregnancy intensity.        
    1) Moderate to hard intensity. Never to exhaustion.  Keep Breathing under control.
    A study out of Johns Hopkins University looked at the effects of moderate to vigorous exercise on highly active pregnant women, where most were runners who ran 4+ days/wk and were at about 30 weeks gestation. The study found that umbilical blood flow and fetal heart rate, measured immediately after moderate and vigorous exercise, stayed within a normal range.  
    2) Heart rate 60-90% of maximal heart rate.
    The American College of Sports Medicine recommends exercising at intensities of 60-90% of maximal heart rate for those who are regular exercisers and who want to continue to maintain fitness through pregnancy. However, there is a lot of variability in maternal heart rate responses to exercise, so target heart rates aren’t always the best determinant of appropriate intensity.  
    3) Use Ratings of Perceived Exertion (RPE)  
    RPE is a 6-20 scale that is a way of measuring physical activity intensity level.  You ask the question, “How hard does it feel like my body is working?”  Studies have shown that using RPE as an alternative to heart rate monitoring may be more useful in determining workout intensity.  RPE of 12-14 (somewhat hard) on the 6-20 scale would be considered moderate exercise.  
    Although there have been many advances in scientific evidence over the years on what is safe and appropriate exercise intensity for expecting mothers, an upper level of safe intensity hasn’t necessarily been established because there aren’t too many mothers out there who want to risk their baby’s health to find out (I don’t blame them).    
    I don’t think there is a definite answer when it comes to the upper level limits of workout duration.  Some experts say ≤45 minutes of exercise per day is recommended, but I really think it comes back again to what you’ve been doing before your pregnancy.  For some runners, longer workouts may be fine, but for others, 45 minutes may be too much.  The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise most, if not all, days of the week for expecting mothers.  The main concerns with the duration (and intensity) of a workout is being able to safely regulate core body temperature and maintain an energy balance (consuming enough calories each day to meet the demands of mother, baby, and exercise fuel).  Heat is a bi-product of the metabolic demands during exercise and increases in body temperature during exercise are directly related to the intensity and duration of the exercise being performed.  If heat production exceeds the ability of the body to dissipate heat then the core temperature will continue to rise and could potentially cause problems for the fetus.  The main point here is to make sure you listen to your body and stay hydrated.  Playing it safe and leaning more toward the conservative side when it comes to the duration/intensity of a workout is always a good idea.  Keep in mind too that the duration/intensity and even the mode of exercise may change as pregnancy progresses.  Some people can run up to the day they give birth, while others become too uncomfortable and they switch to cross training (aqua-jogging, stationary biking, elliptical, walking, etc.) early on in their pregnancy.  Everyone will be different, so overall just do your best to stay active.  I usually adopt the motto “some is better than none” when it comes to the end of my pregnancies.      
    Core Work 
    If core work is something you’ve been doing before pregnancy then more power to you.  If core work has not made it on to your list of “Things to Do” then begin to add in a routine gradually.  Although modifications will need to be made to accommodate the growing bulge of your belly, continuing or adopting a core workout routine has many benefits.  It improves posture and decreases the chance of low back pain, it helps the body prepare for the hard work required for labor and delivery, maintains flexibility and muscle tone, and helps mothers return to activity sooner after giving birth.  Make sure toning pelvic floor muscles becomes part of your daily routine too.  These are the muscles that attach to the front, back, and sides of your pelvic bone and help control urination.  Pregnancy and childbirth can put these muscles under great strain and cause incontinence postpartum, so it is important to strengthen them.  Kegels are odd, but excellent exercises for strengthening pelvic muscles.  Here is the best description I found for how to perform Kegels:
    • close up your anus as if you're trying to prevent a bowel movement
    • at the same time, draw in your vagina as if you're gripping a tampon, and your urethra as if to stop the flow of urine
    • at first, do this exercise quickly, tightening and releasing the muscles immediately
    • then do it slowly, holding the contractions for as long as you can before you relax: try to count to 10
    • try to do three sets of eight squeezes every day: to help you remember, you could do a set at each meal
    Some words of caution to apply to your core workouts…avoid aggressive abdominal exercises at 12 or more weeks and avoid laying on your back after the 1st trimester because the weight of the uterus can press on the main blood vessel that brings blood back to your heart. 
    Here is a video with simple core exercises to do while pregnant:
     Video - Short and Effective Pregnancy Core Workout
    As mentioned before it is important to make sure a mother-to-be is consuming enough daily calories to meet the demands of her body, the baby’s body, and the additional demands of exercise.  It is recommended that pregnant women consume at least an additional 300 calories to meet the demands of pregnancy and exercise.  An overall healthy diet is important with a variety of vitamins and minerals included.  To help ensure your baby is getting what he/she needs, a daily prenatal vitamin is also recommended.  One resource that may help give you an idea of what and how much you should be eating, is the Daily Food Plan for Moms at  Although it is far from perfect, it does attempt to personalize some eating guidelines by having you enter in your age, gender, height, weight, physical activity level, and stage of pregnancy.  Staying hydrated before, during, and after a workout is essential during pregnancy.  Drink plenty of water to avoid getting dehydrated.
    The great thing about being pregnant is it truly does motivate you to focus on eating a healthy diet.  Something about knowing you are responsible for the health of another human being seems to do the trick.    
    Being a pregnant runner definitely requires a shift in mental focus.  As runners, we are used to pushing our bodies to its limits in order to chase down a PR or another running goal.  During pregnancy, our mind set must change to a focus on maintaining fitness rather than trying to reach a peak fitness level.  It can be a great time to enjoy running without the added mental pressures of performing.  At times it will seem pointless as you put in the running time only to continue to get slower and slower and bigger and bigger. But constantly reminding yourself that it is good for you and the baby and that it will pay off on the other side of childbirth, will hopefully get you out the door each day.  It is a good idea to mentally prepare for the possibility that at some point along the way, running may become impossible and another form of exercise may need to be adopted to get your exercise fix and to reap the benefits.  Some of my “favorites” (read with sarcasm) are hiking, power walking (I’ve gained a new appreciation for race walkers during my two pregnancies), aqua jogging, biking – stationary is safest, and using the elliptical. 
    Good luck in the adventure of pregnancy and enjoy the miracle that this life curve will bring!   


    Artal, R., & O’Toole, M. (2003). Guidelines of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 37, 6-12.
    Melzer, K., Schultz, Y., Boulvain, M., & Kayser, B. (2010). Physical Activity and Pregnancy. Sports Medicine, 40 (6), 493-507.
    Neitz, K.M. (2010). Great Expectations: Interview with Paula Radcliffe and Kara Goucher. Runner’s World.
    Szymanski, L.M., & Satin, A.J. (2012). Exercise During Pregnancy: Fetal Responses to Current Public Health Guidelines. Obstet Gynecol, 119(3), 603-610.
    Zaslow, T., & Hame, S.L. (2011). The Pregnant Athlete. American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.
    (2011). Exercise During Pregnancy. FAQ. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
    Exercise in Pregnancy.
    Neitz, K.M. (2010). Great Expectations: Interview with Paula Radcliffe and Kara Goucher. Runner’s World.
    Image: Pregnant Woman

    Monday, October 28, 2013

    How to have a good body image!

    If I had to take a guess, I would say most women have struggled with body image at some point in their lives.  In my younger years as a dancer, I came across and experienced these issues frequently.  As college hit, it seemed to be less of an issue (in my group of friends).  Lately in my life, I have been noticing unhappiness in body images throughout everyone I know.  So, I had to write an article on it.

    It is important to understand that no one is perfect.  The media has photo shop to make their models look extremely perfect.  If you have not seen any Dove beauty experiment commercials, click on this link and watch some of their videos.

    There was a study done with eating disorder patients where they had to pick the silhouette that looked like them. All picked fatter than in reality.  Their view was completely warped.  This happens to many people with poor body images.

    Body image is an opinion and for women often negative , wrong, and destructive.  I believe to be happy in life we need to be happy with ourselves.  This takes work, here are some suggestions that help me be happy with who I am!

    1. One thing I believe can help if done correctly is eating healthy.  Eating healthy does not mean starving yourself.  It means eating correct portions and good food options (like fruit, veggies, whole grains, etc.).

    2. Exercising improves self-efficacy which improves your self-esteem.  Therefore your body image can be improved from exercising.  Make a goal to workout 5-6 days a week.  The more regular, the better you will feel.

    3. Try to get ready everyday.  I love lounge days, and not getting ready.  But I know if I actually make an effort to look good everyday I feel better.  You can still wear your sweats, just do a "cute" sweat/lounge day.

    4. Talk positively.  When you look in the mirror every morning.  Make sure to say at least two things you love about yourself (you can write good things down about yourself everyday as well).  It might be awkward at first, but overtime it will help you love yourself for who you are. Get those negative thoughts out! My advice: If you would not say it to a friend, do not say it to yourself.

    5. Accept compliments.  I cannot accentuate this one enough!!! When someone gives you a compliment, just say THANKS.  First of all, it is RUDE to the person who gave  the compliment to just tell them in a round a bout way that they are wrong.  Second of all, it will help you to believe the compliment yourself.

    6. Do not compare.  Everyone is different.  Do not compare yourself to what others are doing, what others look like.  YOU are YOU, be yourself.  Love yourself and what you are and have.

    Spend a little more time every day improving how you feel about you!  You will not regret it.

    Wednesday, October 23, 2013

    Spotlight #5: 100lbs gone!!! Michelle is my hero!

    This is my first time hearing Michelle's story.  I always used to see her out and about on her runs.. never got the chance to get more details on how she got into it.  I have goosebumps all over, no more words needed.  I ABSOLUTELY LOVE her story.  Thank you Michelle for inspiring me and I am sure many others!   

    Tell us a little about yourself

    -My name is Michelle.  I'm 48 years old, and married with 3 grown children.  I have not always been physically active or health conscious.  I was heavy for most of my life and most of my family members are overweight.  I always believed that I was just large-framed or it was in my physical/genetic makeup to be heavy and there wasn't much I could do about it.  As my weight crept up higher and higher over the years I deluded myself into thinking I was fat, but I was healthy.  But I didn't have any energy.  I had depression and anxiety issues.  Over time I started to have problems with my blood pressure and cholesterol levels and hated having to be on BP medications.   About 6 years ago, I finally got it through my thick skull that I was unhealthy and I needed to do something about it and got serious about losing weight and getting healthy.  I didn't make any big, drastic diet or exercise changes all at once--I wanted to do it in a way that I knew I could sustain over the long term.  So I took baby steps, making small changes in my diet and exercise routines over time, mastering one small step then adding another until they became part of my normal routine.  Eventually I lost over 100 lbs and got all of my health numbers into normal range.  I still struggle with keeping that last 5-10 lbs of vanity weight off, but I am happy with my life and my health.

    How did you get into trail running?

    -When I began exercising, walking was as much as I could do.  I walked around my neighborhood and slowly increased distances until I was walking 3-4 miles a day. When that was no longer challenging me physically, I decided I needed to add a bit of incline to my workout.  I am fortunate to live in a beautiful area with 3 canyons within walking distance of my home, so  I started walking these canyon roads.  I noticed lots of different trails in the area and my curiosity led me to start exploring different routes.  I enjoyed being surrounded by the beauties of nature as I exercised.  It was not only good for me physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.  As my fitness levels increased, I started adding in some running intervals to my walks/ hikes and eventually built up to running the routes on a regular basis.

    How do you stay motivated?

    -My main motivation is how I feel after a good run.  Those feel-good hormones that are released during exercise are addictive!  I have learned that I feel so much better when I exercise. I am a better wife and mother.  I have fewer problems with depression, anxiety and stress. I used to think that exercise would drain my energy, but I have learned that it gives me more energy.   I am also somewhat  motivated by fear--I know I don't want to backtrack and go back to the unhealthy life I had before. 

    What are your favorite runs?

    -I prefer to run distances between 5-7 miles.  I've tried extending my runs and I tend to have issues with my feet, hips and knees when I go too far past that.  (I am paranoid about getting an injury, not being able to exercise, and gaining a bunch of weight back.)   I haven't entered any races-- I figure 5K and 10k wouldn't be much of a challenge since I do that distance almost daily, and marathons and half marathons would probably kill/injure me.  

    -My favorite runs are those I can do  near my house.  I don't want to have to drive to a starting point--I just want to walk out the door and run.  I also prefer out-and-back runs to loop runs.  I know the distances to different landmarks and can easily estimate how long it will take me and fit it into the allotted time I have that day.    I have a couple of go-to runs that I usually alternate between.  From my house to the end of the dirt road in Dry Canyon is 5 miles.  It has enough of an incline (6.7% average) to get me breathing hard and my legs feeling it.  I also do quite a bit of running in Birch Canyon. It has a slightly lower average grade (5.8%--a bit easier to run) and longer distance routes, ranging from a couple of miles to about 9 miles.  Both canyons have access to many hill climbing trails as well as trails suitable for running.

    What is your weekly workout schedule like?

    -During the summer I do mostly trail runs and hikes.  I run an average of 5-7 miles a day on weekdays, and usually do a hike/climb with my husband on the weekends.  I really should add a couple of days of strength/resistance training in there, but I hate to give up any time in the sunshine and fresh air outdoors in the summer.

    -I stay outdoors for as long as possible in the winter, but once things ice over, temperatures drop too low to breathe, and air quality gets bad, I workout indoors.  I alternate between the treadmill, elliptical and stationary bike for cardio, and add in some strength training a couple of times a week.  Time stands still when I'm stuck exercising indoors, so I try to change things up all the time to keep from getting  too bored.  

    What are your favorite healthy eating tips?  

    -I don't really have any great tips.  I try to avoid enriched grains (white flours/white rice/white bread) and trans fats, and try to choose carbs that have protein and fiber to keep you feeling full longer rather than processed or sugary stuff that spikes blood sugar and drops quickly.  I try to keep fruits and veggies prepped and ready for an easy grab snack.   I try to have some sort of lean protein with every snack or meal.  I don't believe in completely eliminating foods or food groups (unless there is a specific medical reason for it), but just try to keep an 80/20 balance in what I do.  80%  healthy natural, unprocessed foods and 20%  less healthy, processed, or snack foods.  It gives me some wiggle room to eat in real-life situations without being too rigid about my diet or feeling too deprived.  

    Please share any other tips or fun info that will help others to want to get up and moving.

    -If you love being outdoors, go exploring!  I use to identify local trail routes and calculate distances for my runs and hikes.  It uses satellite imaging to view an area and you can see where a trail goes and estimate how long it will take you before you ever leave the house.  There are lots of other programs and applications to help.  

    -I also use the My Fitness Pal application to track calorie input and expenditures.  It has a great database of foods and their nutritional values and helps you log your food intake and exercise calories burned for the day.  This also tracks macronutrients (carbs/protein/fat) so you can keep a good balance throughout the day.  

    -Believe in yourself! You are capable of more than you think you are.  Love yourself enough to take care of yourself.  It is not selfish to take time to take care of yourself--it will make you a better, happier person and a better wife and mother. 

    Sunday, October 20, 2013

    Spotlight #4: How to be exercising at age 67! Seriously this lady is inspiration to all!

    Yes, I am lucky enough to call this lady my grandma.  She is the one who probably inspired running into my life in 6th grade.  I owe her much for that, running changes you as a person.  She brightens any room with her presence.  You can call yourself lucky if you ever get to race with her, or even go on a run with her.  I know every run opportunity I have had with her has been amazing.  I have even gone down for school breaks and stayed with her and had a running weekend.  A lot of people I talk to say how they want to be moving as a grandma.  Well, this lady is accomplishing that.  She is the grandma starting water fights, and chasing the basketball down the court.  Not to mention getting those marathons in as well.  BE INSPIRED BY HER STORY!

    Tell us a little about yourself?  

    -I am a 67 year old married female.  I love to run and play all the time.  I love children and love interacting with them.  I particularly love my grandchildren and Ruby Gene my great-granddaughter (that is my daughter :) :)).  I am retired from the Park City School District, but work part-time in the school Kinder Connection and Camp Hawk after school program.  I love my job and can't wait to get to work each day. 

    How long have you been running?   

    -I have been running for 17 years.  However, I have always been physically active. I enjoy all sports.  I particularly love to shoot hoops,  play flies up, soccer and a myriad of other activities that are enjoyed by children and adults alike

    What are your favorite runs?  

    -I love running with my husband and my children and grandchildren.  I love to run all over the Park City trails.  I don't do mountain trails, because I am nervous about tripping and falling on tree roots and rocks.  I do love to walk up the mountain trails.  

    -I think my favorite runs have been the Boston Marathon, Seattle Marathon and of course the St. George Marathon.  

    -However, my very favorite distance  are  half marathons.   Half marathons are much easier to train for and can be much less stressful, if you are very competitive.  I also think half marathons are much kinder to the over-all wellness of of my body.but  I think training for a marathon builds you up, but the actual marathon can be hard on the body, great for the ego. My favorite half marathons were the Tel Aviv half and Logan Canyon Half.  I also used to love the Moab half and Provo half, but haven't done these two run for many years.
    What keeps you motivated? 

    -Signing up and paying  for the  races makes me more motivated to train and run on a regular basis.  Although, I love to run and probably would run anyway.  Also, my husband, Gene, keeps me going and sets goals for us which makes it really fun and keeps motivated.  I feel so blessed to have him and. of course, my granddaughters' dog, Molly, to run with on a regular basis.  They and the great out doors make me very happy.

    How have you been able to run this long?  

    -To begin with, I think I was very blessed with physically active family and friends and Molly, the dog and family have made it fun to run.  Also, the need to keep my cholesterol at a manageable level and to maintain a healthy life style, has made it necessary for me to exercise regularly.

    What is your biggest tip for marathon racing?  

    -Set a goal to  finish and then go out and have fun. 

    What are your favorite healthy foods to eat? 

    -Chocolate, fruits, vegetables and chicken and fish.  I don't eat much beef.
    What else can you share about running and exercising and staying fit?  

    -Find an activity that best suits your body type, figure out a reasonable  program and "Just Do It".  More importantly, enjoy what you do to stay fit. There are so many great physical activities to participate in, so do a exercise sampler and determine what you love to do. 
    Any other fun facts and tips to help others get moving and stay motivated?   

    -Enjoy the activities you do and do it with someone that motivates you.  Usually a family, member, pet or friend is a great choice to keep you motivated.  Choose someone that wants to succeed in getting and staying fit, and is invested in you and your level of fitness.  Family support is very important. 
    What are your favorite races?  

    -I love marathons, and half marathons.  However, I have to say that I love 5 and 10 k's just for fun.  As I get older, I think more and more that I should lower my race mileage, but then I sign up for another marathon.  Go figure.  Signing up and paying for a race tends to make a runner a little more motivated.  It doesn't have to be a marathon, just sign up and find an appropriate training schedule for the distance you intend to race.  There are a many books with great advise  to run a marathon and other races.  Also, you can go on line and get a training schedule.  Well, if you can afford it, a trainer would be awesome.
    Tips for getting started into running?  

    -Set a reasonable goal at the beginning of each training run and and try to accomplish that goal.  Even if it takes several outings to make your goal, just stick with it until you reach your desired distance.  Then the next run, increase a the distance just a little farther and then stick with that distance until you conquer it then on and on and on to your desired distance.  Don't start to fast or to far.   More importantly go out and just have fun and think how fun and healthy it will to be fit.  You don't have to be a racer to run and to be a good runner and enjoy the accomplish of working up a good sweat.  Enjoy your surrounds and be thankful for the opportunity you have to live in a world as beautiful as ours.

    Tuesday, October 15, 2013

    Spotlight #3: Angela, Personal trainers OWN workout!

    MEET ANGELA (be prepared to be WOWED by her) !!! 

    -My name is Angela Helm. I am a recent master's graduate in Corporate Wellness from Utah State Universty (Go Aggies!!). I have been married to my best friend and sweetheart, Bryan Helm, for almost three years (wow time flies!). I have always enjoyed fitness and wellness. I grew up in a home where my mother took time each day to exercise and take care of herself. She also taught me how to plan and cook healthy, balanced meals. I thank her all the time for the example she set and for the skills she taught. I love what Melissa is doing with Baby Bump to Kids because that is where it all starts! As mothers it is our responsibility to set the example to our kids, the next generation, of how to live healthy balanced lives (that is me on my soap box for a minute!) :) I have played soccer since I could kick a ball and still love to play whenever I can. I enjoy everything outdoors; camping, hiking, fishing, snowboarding, and most sports (Even if I am not very coordinated at a lot of them). I think life is about trying new things and facing things that scare or intimidate us! On top of being physically active, I love music. I play the piano and can't wait for the day that my piano will fit into my house again! :) I have taught piano since I was in highschool. I have been a personal trainer for about five years now. I love working with new personalities and helping people realize that fitness and wellness can in fact be fun!! 

    What are your favorite workouts?

    -I am definitely a girl that prefers to hit the weights. I love to get into the gym, lift heavy, feel the burn, and leave knowing I won't be able to lift my arms to wash my hair or walk up the stairs to my house. I also know that cardio is so important. I haven't learned to love running yet (which is one of my goals right now!) so I usually choose to do high intensity interval training. This style of cardio takes much less time, which is a major plus! I get on a treadmill and spike my heart rate using an incline or increasing my speed for an intense burst of time, then bring it back down to a recovery phase. I repeat that for the full 25-30 minutes. I am a sweaty mess when I am done but I don't have to spend hours on the treadmill to get the results I want. I really enjoy bootcamp style workouts as well where no equipment is required but the intensity is high. 

    What is your weekly workout schedule?

    I am hitting the weights at least 4-5 times each week. I break apart the muscle groups so Monday I am focusing on legs, Tuesday is back/biceps/shoulders, Wednesday is Chest/Triceps/Abs,Thursday is another leg day, and Friday is whatever I feel like doing by the time the afternoon rolls around!! Sometimes it is a full upper body day and sometimes I am hitting a good bootcamp workout! Saturdays are usually just recreational activity days. Everyone needs some recovery time both physically and mentally! I squeeze my cardio in at least 2-3 times per week at the end of one of my lifting days when I know I have a little extra time. :)

    What keeps you motivated?

    -I know how it feels to be out of shape. I was one of those that gained the freshman 15 before I learned how to exercise efficiently and effectively! I have felt both ends of the spectrum and know that I love how I feel when I work hard and do my best to feel my best. A good motivator as well is the fact that I get a little moody when i don't get my workouts in. A little nudge from my husband saying "I can tell by your mood that you haven't worked out in a while" can go a long ways in getting me to put the work in :) 

    What makes it fun for you?

    -The fun comes from watching myself and my workout improve. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing you lifted more than you did a few weeks ago! It is a great natural high! I think it is fun to push my body to the max and realize that I can accomplish more than I think I can! 

    What benefits do you see from exercising?

    -Like I mentioned before I am a much more pleasant person to be around when I am exercising regularly. I feel more confident as I start seeing more muscle tone and my clothes fit better. I know it gives me more energy! Exercise puts me in a better mind frame as far as other healthy choices. I tend to make better food choices for dinner if I have just come from the gym. I usually don't get sick very often (I say this as I am coming off of a nasty cold!). There are more than just physical benefits to exercising. My love of exercise has also keeps me continually learning since it is such an evolving field.

    What benefits have you seen in others?

    -I have seen others grow to love themselves more because they start to see what their bodies are truly capable of! I have seen and helped many individuals get off blood pressure medications, cholesterol medications, and several other medications as they get into an effective exercise program. The confidence boost is incredible to see as they hold their heads a little higher. 

    How do you fit it in your busy schedule?

    -Life gets busy for sure. However, I try to make exercising a priority. I plan my afternoons or evenings around my workout times. Somedays I have to live by the motto that "something is better than nothing". There may be days when my workouts are only 30 minutes. But I work hard in those 30 minutes so I can get the benefits and feel good! And that 30 minutes is better than doing 0 minutes!

    What nutrition tips do you do?

    -Nutrition is the harder part of wellness for a lot of people and I am certainly one of those people! I do my best to keep the fridge and pantry stocked with healthy options. Doing a little prep work as soon as you get home from the grocery store can go a long ways. For example, cutting up vegetables and putting them in baggies makes that just as convenient of an option as grabbing a cookie. I don't buy a lot of junk food. The fact that it is usually expensive is a good motivator for that, but also if I don't buy it I won't eat it. My biggest philosophy is that you need to enjoy life. You don't have to be perfect 100% of the time on diet. I live by the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time I am making healthy choices and eating healthy foods. But I give myself that 20% to enjoy a cookie or a good hamburger! The key is not to totally deprive yourself of the things you love. Deprivation sets us up for failure and binging which will never get us to the goals we want to achieve!

    What are your favorite workout songs?

    -I am a wannabe gangsta when I workout :) The hip hop songs really get me pumped!! A few of my favorites: Shake Your Pom Pom (Missy Elliot), Church (T-Pain), Ching-A-Ling (Missy Elliot)...Okay so pretty much the whole Step Up and Step Up 2 soundtracks :)

    What do you think is most important in a workout routine?

    -Variety! It is important that you don't let your body just settle into the same routine day in and day out for a long amount of time! Switch up the exercises, the rotation of the exercises, or the style of exercises! Keep your body guessing! 

    What is your favorite exercise?

    -That is a touch questions. I have a lot of favorites...and I have a lot of favorites of my "non-favorites" (you know what I'm talking about...that love/hate list!). I love leg up lunges squats! They give me serious anxiety before I do heavy weight with those. But I feel them EVERY TIME! I have really seen great results since I started doing more of them! I was recently taught a new way of doing leg presses that have become a serious love hate relationship! Start with feet in a wide stance for 10 reps, move feet close for 10 reps, wide for 10 reps, close 10 reps, wide 10 reps, close 10 reps! yes...60 reps for one set! I can't hardly get out of the machine when I have finished one set! I want to cry it pushes me so hard! And it feels so great when I'm done!!!!! :)

    Any other info you think will help and be interesting!!! 

    -Women should not be afraid to lift heavy! Take time to learn correct form for the exercises you are going to be doing! Then hit it hard and make each workout count! Love yourself where you! But never stop setting goals for yourself! Your body is amazing and can accomplish great things with consistency and hard work! :) 

    Tuesday, October 8, 2013

    SPOTLIGHT #1: Kiersten, mom of 3 girls, happy wife, full-time worker, and full time exerciser! cute are they?!?!

    I am VERY privileged to not only know this amazing working out mom, but to be related to her as well! Kiersten is a amazing mother to three girls (twins and one) who are adorable.  PLUS 2 great danes and some other animals :).   Her house is the "fun" house in our family.  Everyone is excited to be able to spend time with them.  Kiersten has her hands full with a full-time job, full-time mom, full-time wife, AND works out regularly.  

    She has accomplished many hard goals by exercising regularly! I am very impressed with Kiersten as a person and LOVE the stories she has to share with us.  I know that her story will help you find some extra fun workouts, motivation, and strategies to keep on movin!  

    1. How do you fit in workouts into your busy life schedule?

    -- I have made working out part of my day. No questions asked. I'm completely addicted to my workouts now. I used to workout at 6:00 AM, but when my work schedule changed to mornings, I talked my neighbor and trainer into doing a class at 6:30 PM. I didn't want all my hard work and progress to go out the window just because my schedule changed.

    2. How do you keep your family involved in it?

    -- I started working out again about a year and a half ago. I would tell my 15-year-old daughters, Bailley and Olivia, how awesome and fun/hard the workouts were. Bay and Liv decided to come with me to the workouts and now they love them too. The workouts are very challenging; it's fun to see how confident my girls feel about themselves when they finish a workout. Bay and Liv are strong young ladies; we have bonded working out together. My youngest daughter even comes with just to watch everyone workout.

    3. What are the best tips you have for staying motivated and to the workout schedule?

    -- My best tip is to find someone to workout with. It was a huge motivator for me to know that there is a group of women waiting for me. Sure, I could skip the workout if I wanted to, but then I would get jealous the next day when they all tell me about how sore they are (the good sore) and how awesome the workout was.

    4. What are your favorite workouts?

    -- My favorite workout is Tabata! We have a list of 5 different movements, like squats, burpees, jumping jack press, sit-ups, and kettle bell swings (it changes every week). We do as many squats as you can in 20 seconds then rest for 10 seconds and you do 8 rounds. The goal is to get the same number of reps in each round. By the 6th round of squats your legs and butt are on fire but you just keep trying to hit your goal number of reps. After you have finished all 8 rounds of squats, you would move on to burpees and do the same thing. I love it!

    5. What is your weekly workout schedule like?

    -- I workout Monday-Thursday at 6:30 pm and sometimes I workout Friday mornings if I don’t work. Luckily, my neighbor Christine is a certified personal trainer and started a workout group called Focus to be FIT. She creates workouts that are fun and kick your butt. The workouts are High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), they are only 20-30 minutes and they are rarely the same. I seriously get excited to see what crazy workout Christine has made up for the day.

    6. What do you do for eating healthy?

    -- I have a protein shake within 30 minutes after finishing my workouts. I need to get better at drinking water again, but there was a time that I would drink 160 ounces of water a day. I take my vitamins and I just try to be more aware of my portions. I have noticed that since I have been working out I’m less likely to snack at night.

    7. How different is your life when you are exercising regularly?

    -- I feel good and I have more energy. I feel like I’m happier when I exercise regularly. I am grateful for my body and all the hard work it does for me. I have a more positive outlook on life. I have learned a lot from Christine on how to treat your body well and how to talk kindly about yourself. At first it was hard to do; it’s natural to be critical about your body. Words and thoughts are very powerful and thinking positive and thanking my body for working hard during the workouts really helps with recognizing the little and big accomplishments I have made with my fitness.

    8. What benefits do you see?

    -- I have lost 35 lbs. and went from a size 13 to a size 4. I have muscle definition in my arms, legs, back, and shoulders. I even have a little definition in my abs! I am stronger than I ever thought I could be and my endurance has increased.
    I used to take medication for depression I have been able to get off my medication. (Obviously, talk to your doctor before getting off any meds ). Exercising releases natural anti depressants and stress relievers in your body. I already said this, but I am so much happier and confident with myself!

    9. How has family life changed?

    -- I feel like my daughters are more aware about the importance of fitness and exercise in their life. It’s not about being skinny. It’s about feeling good about yourself and treating your body well.

    10. The thing that gets you to go workout when you lose motivation?

    -- The ladies I workout with are a huge motivator. AIso, I don’t want to lose the progress I have made with my fitness. If I miss a week, I am hurting when I come back; it’s less painful if I don’t miss.

    11. Anything else you want to share or think would be fun for people to know or get them out the door movin? :)

    -- What I have learned over the last year and a half is that you really don’t need a lot of fancy equipment or need to spend hours in the gym to get a good workout. The equipment I use is 25-30 lb. kettle bell, 10-15 lbs. hand weights, and a jump rope. Some of the best workouts I have done I did not use any weights at all!

    The best advice I can give you is when you start working out, start out slow and listen to your body. Don’t push yourself so hard that you’re going to pass out. You will be sore but make sure you go the next day; moving around will help with your soreness ad going every day will help you get used to the routine.


    Spotlight #2: mama of 5 including a 7 month old and still gets her workouts in!!!

    Holly impressed me from day one of meeting her!  She is a genuinely nice and fun person to be around.  She  is an amazing mom of 5 beautiful kids plus a wife!  She is addicted to working out!  I can testify that she not only is in awesome shape, but also makes the most delicious treats ever!  Read on to hear her tips on how to work out with newborns and all those kiddos!  PLUS how to actually LOVE exercising! Thanks Holly!

    What is your weekly workout schedule like?

    --Right now I just run and crossfit. Before Macy was born, I would run, bike and swim. I go to crossfit usually 3-4 times a week. I run long on Mondays and the other days I either just run, or run to crossfit and home afterwards. Its 3 miles from my house. I do track workouts on Thursdays.

    What is your favorite workout? 

    I love to do track workout! One of my favorites is repeat 800's

    What do you do when you need a quick workout? 

    --Tempo run. I run however far I can in the time I have.

    What benefits do you see from working out?

    --I have more energy, I get to spend time with my buddies, I get to eat what I want for the most part, racing is a bonus if I have time.

    How does it affect your family life? 

    --I am a better, happier Mom when I workout! I workout early. Usually out the door between 5-5:30 and home before kids get up.

    What healthy eating habits do you follow?

    --I try to eat lots of fruits and veggies and protein. I have celiac disease, so I don't eat anything with gluten which makes it hard sometimes. I don't eat any junk food during the week.

    What do you do to stay motivated? 

    --I don't really have a problem staying motivated. I love to get up and get out the door! Its my ME time.

    What do you do on recovery days? 

    --I just run. Nothing fast or hard. No crossfit.

    What exercise do you see the most benefits from? 

    --If I just want to lose weight, I run. If I want to tone up, I lift and run. I think weight lifting is key to getting in great shape.

    Tips on how to keep movin :) ?

    --Just get in a routine and remember how good it feels after the workout is over. For me, I hate not working out. I would rather be tired from working out, than sluggish from doing nothing.

    What is one of your fitness/exercise goals? 

    --I want to complete a full ironman someday. I feel like the biggest thing holding me back now is I don't want to miss out on my kiddos at home. I think when they are all in school, I will do an ironman.

    What do you do for winter workouts? 

    --I will go outside almost no matter what to run. I know what to wear depending on the temperature. I hate treadmills!!! Luckily I have crazy friends who will be outside waiting for me!

    --I have a 7 month old baby who is still breastfed. I notice that I have to eat a lot to keep up with the demands from nursing a  baby and working out. I love that though! :-)