#fitpregnancy // Strength is more than physical

IMG_0611 2I am so thrilled to feature my friend Fances for this guest blog post. Frances Sacripanti is a personal wellness coach who specializes in health and fitness education, motivation and empowerment. A former health and physical education teacher, Frances has a passion for movement and it’s ability to affect all areas of health. She shares her vast knowledge base through her website http://www.mindbodybespoke.com and her active Instagram page @mindbodybespoke.

Hi Ladies! Hopefully, you are reading this post with one exiting goal in mind, having a fit and health focused pregnancy!

First off, I want to give you an “A plus” for your decision to make fit pregnancy a priority. Way to go star student! As a former physical education teacher, my life has always been about physical activity and when I became pregnant I wanted to find ways to continue to exercise and stay healthy. What I didn’t realize was that building strength and working out during my pregnancy would translate to another and perhaps more important type of strength, inner strength.

At first, there was a deep connection happening without me even realizing it. I was going to spin classes regularly, attending prenatal yoga (which I believe is the BEST thing I did for myself during pregnancy), and strength training often. In addition to my healthy diet, I was really doing what I had always done – workout – but with a bit more caution, especially as my belly started to grow. I took selfies every few weeks to measure my belly growth, and as the weeks passed I noticed that my training was working. Yes, my belly was growing and I was gaining the weight appropriately but I was also seeing continued tone in my arms, back, legs, and glutes. By no means was I a body builder but I was certainly a fit pregnant chick! My work was paying off, keeping me fit and healthy, and my mental state was incredibly positive. I felt strong both inside and out.

As my belly really started to grow towards the end of the second trimester, I recognized how much my training was helping me prepare for what was ahead mentally. I felt proud of my fitness level during my pregnancy, in fact, I felt like an invincible pregnant woman! Sure I had some of the normal pregnancy symptoms and issues but I believe I handled them better because of my physical and inner strength. I felt strong to handle physical challenges, such as stairs and lifting boxes (we were moving during that summer) and mentally strong to handle the emotional and hormonal waves that often occur during pregnancy.

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We can’t ignore the connection that happens (pregnant or not) between physical health and mental health. In the case of pregnancy, I believe that keeping fit and healthy better equips you to handle the mental and emotional challenges of being pregnant.  Whether you are in your first trimester or the third trimester, I strongly encourage you to experience this incredible connection. Here are a few tips and suggestions for you to try during your pregnancy that build both physical and mental strength (of course, please get your doctor’s approval before starting any new exercise program):

1) Power Walk – I walked like it was going out of business! Create a few routes to do each week and get some good hill work in there for those buns. With your sneakers laced up tight and your sunglasses on, hit the road with your ipod, and totally zen out. Some days I would break a full sweat listening to hard core rap, other days I would listen to Bob Marley and get my beachy vibes on. Either way I made sure to get at least one hour (or two on a good day) of quality walking. Another great idea here is to use your headset and catch up with old friends or another pregnant friend where you can commiserate on finally having to let go of your favorite jeans. Don’t worry, you’ll be back in those jeans again!

2) Lift Weights – Don’t be afraid to pump a little iron. Keep a pair of 8 to 10 lbs weights in your living room so there is never an excuse not to knock out a few bicep curls during your favorite TV show. If you do belong to a gym, make use of the workout machines (because you can sit down which feels amazing during that those last few weeks!).  If you lifted weights before, continue with caution as you get bigger and modify as needed. If your budget permits, you can hire a personal trainer who is certified to work with prenatal clients.

3) Prenatal Yoga – I indicated this earlier but prenatal yoga was the absolute BEST part of my prenatal exercise routine. Surrounded by other women, there is an incredible sense of community that makes bending and stretching that much better. In prenatal yoga, you’ll work on strength, breathing, and relaxation. Many classes teach a lot of great stretches for those common pregnancy aches and pains which will come in handy! Try Cat/Cow and squat pose. They feel amazing for back pain often caused from carrying the extra weight.

I hope you’ll try out these suggestions and feel the incredible connection between your physical strength and your inner strength. Good luck on your pregnancy adventure and remember, you are strong and able to do whatever you put your mind to!

Spread the Love With Huggies #UltraHug

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This summer, we’ve been enjoying fun activities in the morning before nap time. Our favorite activity (besides swimming) is to visit Magee Park across the street from our neighborhood. We’ve been visiting this park since before we moved into our new house. It’s a quiet and peaceful park and when the kids aren’t enjoying the swings or slides, they are eating a snack at the picnic tables or playing in the brook. Spending the morning at the park is one of our favorite activities.

This month, I have partnered with Huggies, our favorite diaper brand for Cole, for the #UltraHug campaign.  You, my wonderful friends and followers, will also have the chance to win a $2,000 grant from Huggies to benefit a local community project that youenominate in an #UltraHug selfie. Click here to learn how to win a $2,000 grant. This can be your favorite local park, the playground where you take your kids, or any local community project that needs some love! When I was considering which park to nominate, the choice was very clear – Magee park where we play regularly.

From April 20th until June 25th, Huggies will be accepting all selfies with the hashtag #UltraHug, and featuring them in a collage on the campaign landing page. Click here for more details. On July 6th, voting will begin to narrow down the 20 finalists to 10 winners who will win a $2,000 grant from Huggies for their nominated community initiative.

So, why did I nominate Magee park? While I’ve been super impressed with the cleanliness of Magee park, there are some items that need love. For example, there is a broken swing in the toddler area, and the picnic tables are getting a little run down. $2,000 would go a long way for this beautiful park. It’s such a gorgeous, safe, and peaceful place to bring the kiddos, and I would love to help them continue improving the area via the #UltraHug grant.

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Getting ready to walk to Magee Park across the street from our neighborhood.

We already have some amazing memories from this park. It’s the first place Cole enjoyed a swing, or met some new friends. The first place he got completely muddy from the brook, or learned how to go down a slide. I’ve also enjoyed some spontaneous workout moves at this park (I’m sure you’re not surprised). Magee park is the perfect location for me to bring the kiddos during the day when we get cabin fever at the house.

What places in your community do you look back on with nostalgia? Or, what places do you and your family currently enjoy hanging out just appreciating each other’s company?

As they say, “the best things in life are free”, and this applies to many of our local parks, playgrounds, beaches, and rec-centers. These places bring us so much joy, and now it’s time to give back with Huggies!

Nominate your community project by uploading a selfie of you and your baby to Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #UltraHug. In your story make sure to share why the local community project you selected is important to you, and how it will impact those in your community.

Third Trimester Pregnancy Training

Amanda Perry Bio PicAre you currently pregnant and curious about working out during the third trimester of pregnancy. I am thrilled to feature my friend, Amanda Perry, via this guest post. Amanda is currently pregnant with her second baby and in her third trimester of pregnancy. I asked Amanda a series of questions and her responses are below. 

Amanda Perry is the co-owner of Skill of Strength. She spends the majority of her time managing marketing and operations for Skill of Strength, but also trains clients, teaches adult group training classes and facilitates online nutrition groups.

Additionally, Amanda runs a blog and website called Sistas of Strength, dedicated to providing high-quality information about women’s health and fitness. Her goal is to help women discover their full potential by adopting a positive mindset, training smart (not more) and eating awesome food (instead of constant dieting).

Back Squat Pregnancy

Amanda loves working with women who are interested in getting and staying fit prior to becoming pregnant, during pregnancy and once they become mothers. She also loves helping clients lose body fat through a combination of appropriate workouts and nutrition. 

What Amanda loves most in life is spending time with her family and friends. She loves training as a way to relieve stress and simply to be strong. Her other favorite things include pull-ups, red wine, dark chocolate, coffee, sunshine and Lake Winnipesaukee.

Here are her thoughts regarding third trimester pregnancy training.

  1. What does your typical third-trimester prenatal workout look like?

Most of my workouts during the third trimester consist mainly of lifting weights and walking. Once or twice a week I’ll mix things up and do a more conditioning-based training session, either with kettlebell complexes and/or completing of a bunch of different exercises in a circuit-style.

Strength workouts are usually anywhere from 30-45 minutes, conditioning workouts are about 40 minutes and leisure walks are anywhere from 10-60 minutes depending on weather and how much time I have!

Kettlebell Swing

Here’s what a week of training during my third trimester typically looks like:

Monday

  • Strength: Squats, military press, pull-ups
  • Leisure walk

Tuesday

  • Off or walk

Wednesday

  • Strength: Lunges, band walks, single arm chest press, chin-ups, farmers walks
  • Leisure Walk

Thursday

  • Conditioning: Usually includes picking a whole bunch of exercises like kettlebell swings, medball slams, sled pushes, bike, battle ropes, etc. and completing them at random.

Friday

  • Strength: Deadlifts, pull-ups, inverted rows, overhead carry
  • Leisure walk

Saturday

  • Leisure walk

Sunday

  • Kettlebell complex: Usually includes goblet squats, military presses, lunges and kettlebell swings with lighter weights and more reps.
  1. Have you needed to make any modifications to your workouts through the third trimester?

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I have been fortunate enough to train through both of my pregnancies. I absolutely made some modifications to my training during different trimesters of pregnancy and even week-to-week at times, depending on how I was feeling.

Prior to getting pregnant this time I was training pretty hard and feeling quite strong. I was training 5 days a week, similar to the schedule above, but with heavier weights and higher intensity. On my strength training days I almost always finished with 10-20 minutes of metabolic conditioning, often times quite intense. I’ve replaced a lot of that high intensity conditioning work with lighter leisure walking, especially during first trimester and in late third trimester.

A few exercises I’ve avoided during second and third trimesters:

  • Anything that has me lying on my back for a long period of time. I still do Turkish Get Ups from this position, but I avoid things like deadbugs or chest press. For chest press I simply use an incline bench.
  • Barbell bridges for (hopefully) obvious reasons. I have been doing single leg hip thrusts instead.
  • Running and jumping. Ouch.
  • Super duper heavy lifting. I still lift heavy-ish, but nothing like a one-rep max number. For example, I deadlift 145lb at the most right now when my max is just over 200lb.

The biggest thing I emphasize in training during pregnancy is to listen to what your body is telling you. During pregnancy is not the time to set any crazy PR’s or push through pain. You should aim to leave each workout feeling better than when you started.

  1. What are the benefits of working out during your third trimester?

The benefits of working out during your third trimester include many of the same benefits of working out when you’re not pregnant! Exercise promotes improved cardiovascular health, lower risk of disease, improved immune function, better sleep, better sex drive, higher energy levels and more!

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A few benefits more specific to training during pregnancy include:

  • You’re likely to gain less weight during pregnancy
  • You decrease your risk of gestational diabetes
  • Labor and delivery may be easier
  • You’ll likely have more energy, sleep better and keep some anxiety (commonly associated with pregnancy) at bay
  • You may experience less back pain
  • You’ll likely bounce back more quickly after baby is born
  • Your child may even be healthier as some studies have shown that babies who were exposed to exercise in utero have healthier hearts, less chance of obesity and greater athletic potential!

As you can see from the list above, which only scratches the surface, there are many benefits of working out during all trimesters of your pregnancy, barring any complications or doctors orders or course!

Not only will you feel better physically, but training during pregnancy can keep you a bit more sane during a stressful time and can help keep your self-confidence up during a time when it may be hard to accept some of the changes your body is going through.

  1. What are the challenges you’ve had working out during pregnancy? 

Between exhaustion, raging hormones and anxiety it can be difficult to stay motivated to train during pregnancy!

First trimester was the WORST. There were days I just wanted to crawl back into bed, but as a gym owner and mom to a 3-year-old that was usually not an option.

My first trimester workouts were generally pretty short, 30 minutes or less. I stuck to strength OR conditioning on any given day and I wasn’t lifting much weight, at least not for me. I was tired. I stayed as active as possible, but my nutrition was far from spot on and to be honest, a lot of days I just wasn’t feeling it.

Workouts during the beginning of my pregnancy were shorter and much less intense than normal. Second trimester was the best time to train. I had so much energy and almost everything felt good! I added in more conditioning again and found myself lifting heavier weights.

During early third trimester I felt great and there weren’t too many additional modifications that I had to make besides decreasing the amount of pull-ups I did (weighted pull-ups are no joke!) and decreasing weight on some exercises, like deadlifts and squats. I’ve eliminated anything that is super high intensity or anything that is really heavy (think close to 1 rep max).

  1. Are you still doing core work during your third trimester?

Yes! It’s important to note that you can still train your core during pregnancy by using exercises that are safe and effective and steering clear of anything that doesn’t feel right to you (yup, there I go again…listen to your body), and anything that puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on your abdominals.

My favorite core exercise? Pull-ups! Yes, they are a core exercise…they are an “almost everything” exercise. ☺ I also love farmers walks, overhead walks, suitcase carries, side planks, military presses (yup, they are a core exercise too!), and pallof presses.

Core exercises I avoid during pregnancy include sit-ups, front-loaded exercises, such as front planks, pushups and mountain climbers, and supine exercises where you have to lie on your back for a long time. As mentioned above, I still do things like Turkish Get Ups, which require me to be on my back, but only for a short time. I’ve had clients who have to completely avoid supine exercises because they feel immediately nauseas when they’re on their backs.

Please note: I am not a doctor. You should get clearance from your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Additionally, what feels “light” or like an “easy workout” for me may be one of the toughest ones you’ve done in a long time so please use caution and use your head. What I am doing isn’t necessarily right for you.

Connect with Amanda on social media:

Her credentials include:

  • Bachelor’s Degree from Loyola College
  • Certified Personal Trainer through National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA-CPT)
  • Functional Movement Screen Certified Specialist (FMS)
  • Precision Nutrition Level 1 Nutrition Expert
  • #FitFluential Ambassador

Female Entrepreneurs | Tips for Success | Earning 6 Figures Working From Home

This post and video is specifically for female entrepreneurs who want to earn a 6 figure income working from home, or for women who would like to be millionaires with a career scenario that is flexible and fulfilling.

You can earn 6 figures by fulfilling your passion and working from home while maintaing career and family life balance. How do I know this? I’ve had the privilege of ramping up two 6 figure businesses in the past two years in two different industries.

This is an incredible time for female entrepreneurs. We can combine our ambition with our values of family and flexibility. You no longer need to decide between corporate America or your family. You can start a business from home and still have the opportunity to raise your children with excellence.

82 percent of women who earn 6 figures work from home. Female business owners are the fastest growing sector of entrepreneurs in America.

If you are a female entrepreneur who would like to earn 6 figures working from home, here are my tips for success:

  1. Surround yourself with those who lift you up. Are you familiar with “the crab mentality.” I recently read about this concept in The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster. Fishermen place a small amount of bait in a cage. Several crabs come and eat it, but then the rest of the crabs follow even long after the bait is eaten. The top of the cage is open, but if a crab tries to crawl out, the rest of the crabs pull him down. If the crab continues trying to crawl up, the crowd pulls his legs off and eats him. Through the years, I have experienced “crabs” in my life. And often, these “crabs” come from my inner circle, even my family. People who are supposed to love and support me, are often the ones who are trying to pull me down with negative comments or lack of support. My intentional decision to surround myself with women who will lift me up has been a game changer this year. I am no-longer paying attention to the crabs who are trying to bring me down, but rather consistently interacting with the ladies in my life who are rooting for me. It’s very easy to spot a crab – be sure that you make a decision to focus on spending time with those who encourage you to succeed.
  2. Invest in mentorship. As you may know, I have a mentorship program for women who want to ramp up successful businesses. I train women with tried and true marketing strategies. I would be happy to give you information. Feel free to reach out via Instagram (@fitparenting).
  3. Pursue streams of residual income. If you are serious about becoming wealthy … Even specifically a millionaire, it is important to consider prudent streams of residual income. Brandon and I have at least 7 streams of income. In our early 20’s we educated ourselves regarding investments, real estate, brokerage accounts, and other ways to create passive income.
  4. Prioritize professional development every day. Professional development has been the single biggest door opener in my life. When I prioritize daily professional development, I think of great revenue producing ideas. When I grow as a person, I grow as a leader and as a business owner, and therefore attract smarter people to my brand. My favorite book at the moment is Entrepreneur Roller Coaster. I also LOVE the Entreleadership Podcast and have been listening to Michael Hyatt’s “This is Your Life” Podcast.

Watch my video (above) for these and more tips for success. What tips would you add?

If you would like information about my Business Mentorship Program or upcoming online Fitness Business Accelerator, please fill out the form below. It would be my pleasure to help you grow a successful business.

Practicing Presence as a Work-From-Home Mom

11392942_10100166586163204_6951697952204182419_nMamas, do you practice presence with your families? As a work-from-home mom, this is something I’ve been working on a lot this year. It can be hard to put work aside – especially when you’re passionate about your career, enjoy working, and have a home office. However, it’s so important to practice presence with your families and live with intention from day-to-day.

Here are a few tips that have helped me immensely in my pursuit of a family/career balance.

1. Remove all social media notifications from your phone. Once I removed all FB, IG, and Twitter notifications from my phone, I was able to practice more presence with the kiddos at home.

2. Check your text messages only 3 times per day. This has been really helpful for me and I simply set the expectation with my clients that I am not able to “instant message.”

3. Schedule family time. I don’t feel guilty when my kiddos see me working during the day, but I do schedule family time for late afternoon/evening.

4. Turn your phone off or on “do not disturb” during working hours to increase productivity and in turn, increase focused time with the kiddos.

5. Remove email from your phone and only check it twice per day. If you schedule two times to check email, you will spend less time overall responding to messages because some clients will answer their own questions before they hear back from you.

Are there any other tips you would add?
Best wishes as you work to practice presence with your families.

STRONG is the new Healthy! Bikini Boot Camp: Register Now!

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Ladies, do you believe that STRONG is the new healthy? Do you have 5-10 pounds to lose? Or do you have one or two problem areas that simply will not tone-up no matter what you try? Perhaps your butt, thighs, midsection, or triceps? I promise you can see a change in these areas! Once I made a shift from counting calories to consuming proper nutrient-dense fuel, and from excessive cardio to weight training, I finally saw the results I was hoping for. My Bikini Boot Campers are thriving with my brand new online training program and modified Paleo lifestyle. If you’re interested in joining my next Bikini Boot Camp round on June 8, keep reading.

Are you a motivated woman who needs to lose excess weight and wants a specific weight training workout and meal plan to follow? Not only can you be fit and strong this spring – you can be in the BEST shape of your life. Results guaranteed.

For the Bikini Boot Camp Workout Plan and modified Paleo lifestyle, you will be following my intense personal Bikini Boot Camp workout plan and a modified Paleo lifestyle. No weigh-ins, no restrictive diets, no gimmicks. You will receive a detailed grocery list with foods to focus on to fuel your workouts and a copy of my DVD in addition to my Bikini Boot Camp 6 week workout plan.

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For this very exclusive boot camp, I am looking to work with 10 busy, motivated, fit women, who have 5-10 pounds to lose and want to lean out their midsection, butt, thighs, or triceps. I can only accept 10 into the program due to my limited consultation time slots.

The Bikini Boot Camp will start on July 6.

What can you expect?

  • Convenient multi-week, online program that fits your busy schedule
  • Accountability and a supportive approach that keeps you on track to accomplish your goal
  • Specific meal plan to take the guess-work out of cooking
  • Affordable package option that is among the lowest cost option you’ll find
  • The focus, quality, intensity, and commitment you’d expect from me, a trainer with 10+ years of success!
  • FREE one-time consult

Here’s how it works:

  • Six week program starting on June 8.
  • Participants may choose from a two tier pricing structure that includes a 6 week workout plan, and meal plan.
  • Ladies will be given a grocery list and meal plan with foods to focus on to fuel their families
  • All participants will be added to a group online with supportive, like-minded women.
  • Boot Campers will be expected to follow a 5 day per week workout plan that includes written workouts and hyperlinked videos or DVDs.
  • Exercises will be appropriate for all levels with modified options for beginners. The workout will include plyometrics, running drills, strength training, and pilates.
  • Participants will be required to pay in advance and fill out all health forms, waivers, and liability forms before the Boot Camp begins
  • Participants will be required to log their food and do daily checkin’s with me via text or email.

Please register to join below. I am only accepting the first 10 ladies who register.

After you register, you may pay for the Bikini Boot Camp via the “Buy Now” button below.

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

I will send you the health forms, waiver and liability forms. Payment (in full) and all forms are due prior to the start of Bikini Boot Camp. Please let me know if you have any questions at all!

Register below. I will be accepting the first 10 registrants. 

Vacation Workouts and Treats: Tips for Success

20030_10100163665795644_7144382735316022758_nThe Tress family is mid-vacation at the beach in FL. When the hubs and I first got married, vacations included long runs on the beach, peaceful meals out at our favorite restaurants, lots of time at the pool and beach relaxing, and ice cream and a movie almost every evening. Vacations with a toddler and preschooler look far different than they used to. We no longer have the freedom to do long cardio and our restaurant choices are ones that accommodate noisy kiddos.

Here’s a few ways my vacation workouts and meals have changed – but the truth is, I look better and feel healthier now than ever.

  • Since we no longer have time for long runs on the beach or long cardio at the park, we try to incorporate movement into our vacation activities. This morning we went to the beach and ran/played in the water with the kiddos. When we went to the pool I incorporated a few laps to get my HR up.
  • We try to enjoy a late lunch/early dinner so we aren’t at restaurants when they have a wait. Since I’m in the midst of my Intermittent Fasting experiment, I’ve been breaking my fast early-to-mid afternoon. It’s been working out perfectly for vacation.
  • Years ago, we would eat ice cream and watch a movie every single evening. Cole does not sit still long enough for a movie, so we go to the park and play. We also went to the beach and got some ice cream and took a walk/jog last night.

I used to insist on getting in long cardio every day on vacation. On this trip, I haven’t done a single day of long cardio. Rather, we try to incorporate movement during vacation activities and I’m really enjoying the intermittent fasting lifestyle on vacation. It’s giving me the opportunity to enjoy some delicious foods guilt-free. Not only that, I actually think I look stronger and leaner than EVER before … even after enjoying ice cream, burgers, fries, french toast, pie, and some other very yummy treats in moderation.

Here are my tips for success on vacation with your kiddos:

  • Incorporate movement in your vacation activities.
  • Bring a laptop and use the Beachbody on Demand workouts. I’ve been completing the INSANE Abs workout, and I love it. Only 30 minutes, and a KILLER workout (Shaun T).
  • Consider intermittent fasting. You can log your food on My Fitness Pal to ensure that you’re on target with macros (fats, carbs, protein). This lifestyle is not for everyone, however I’ve really enjoyed it especially while on vacation.
  • Bring Shakeology on your trip. I’ve been eating at least one shake per day to be sure I’m getting enough of the right nutrients.
  • Realize that even if you miss intense workouts for a few days, you’ll be absolutely fine if you’ve been working hard to develop lean calorie-burning muscle leading up to your trip.

Do you workout on vacation, or do you use the trip to completely rest?