Being a Mom and Being Fit

Fit mom featured blogger, Kate, and her adorable son.

Fit mom featured blogger, Kate, and her adorable son.

I am honored to feature fit mom and guest blogger, Kate. I met Kate via social media a few weeks ago, and I am certain you will appreciate her perspective and level of fit mamma motivation. 

My name is Kate, I’m a work-at-home mom with a crazy little guy (8 months old already!) and a business helping women lose their baby weight. I feel like I’ve had a pretty crazy last year with my son being born and the start of my business, though in truth I’m sure my experiences have been the same as many of yours.

Sadly, when we hear the terms “mom” in our society, we don’t quickly associate it with “fit”. It’s too bad really, since I do feel that being fit makes us better moms! It helps me a lot with my little one and is so much more to me than just my business. Here are some ways I think fitness and motherhood are two peas in a pod.

Fitness means you have the energy to keep up with your little one.

I have an 8 month old child that is crawling EVERYWHERE. He isn’t even walking yet and I feel worn out some days trying to keep up with him! Being fit gives you the energy to be involved in your child’s play as well as their lives! I can remember being a child and my mom always playing with me and I want to give that to my son too as he grows up.

Fitness means you can be less stressed.

How much stress is added to our lives when we add a family? A TON! It can seem overwhelming at times. One of the best ways to reduce stress is to be in shape. There are two parts, exercise its self reduces stress. The other is that if you are fit, the effects of stress are actually lessened. Exercise is a fantastic way to fight back against stress. Stress is a contributor to just about every disease we know about. But you can do something about it!

Fitness means you can be there.

I haven’t outgrown my mom. No matter how old I get, I still need her and appreciate her wisdom and advice. I want to be that for my little guy. But that means I need to be there. And let’s face it, people who are healthy and in shape live longer! On average, individuals who worked out for at least 15 minutes a day lived 3-8 years longer. We all want to see those special moments in our kids’ lives like college graduations, weddings and grandkids.

Fitness means you see yourself better.

Body image is a huge thing for moms like us. It is rough going through a pregnancy and seeing all of the changes in your body and then feeling like a human snot rag to your little tyke. I’ll admit it, I don’t always feel the way that I used to before I had Jackson. I think staying in shape helps with this a TON! If you can feel yourself improving, and feel like you are the best version of you, it helps to combat those negative feelings we all have. Motherhood is hard enough as it is, if you can see yourself better as a person, it will have a positive effect on the ones that your raise.

Fitness allows you to teach.

There’s an old saying, ‘if you want to train up a child in the way they should go, you must first go that way yourself’. It is true. We want the best for our children, and we hope that they learn from us and are better because of it. But they learn so much more from our example than from our words. I think living a fit lifestyle is a very good and powerful gift to give to my children.

So there you have it, this is what I think of when I think of “mom” and “fitness”. How has being fit helped you out in your motherhood journey? Comment below or come join the discussion at

In fitness,



New Mom Weight Loss Tips: Get Your Before Baby Body Back

I am thrilled to feature this fit mom guest blog from April Plank, mother of two and VP of Marketing for Medi Weight Loss Clinic. April has her Master’s in Exercise Science, and shares her insight on how to “Get Your Before Baby Body Back.”

Losing weight is hard. Compound that with sleepless nights, colic, and the multitude of demands that new moms face, and losing weight seems downright impossible. A recent study of over 1,600 overweight women showed that three in four of them gained excess weight, and, on average, still carried 40% of that weight a year after giving birth. So how do you go about losing the baby weight and doing it before said baby goes to college? Following are some of our favorite tips that just may help you succeed.

  • Sleep. Easier said than done — we know. But sleeping is important for regulating metabolism. According to a recent study, insufficient sleep increases the risk for insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. If sleeping long stretches at night is out of the question, try to get one or two short naps during the day or sleep longer on the weekends when you may have more help around the house.
  • Stock kitchen with healthy foods. With a little one (and all the demands that come along with a baby), having healthy, easy-to prepare foods readily available will help keep you from binging on salty, unhealthy snacks. Consider Greek or low-fat yogurt, string cheese, prepackaged apple slices, steamer veggie bags, and ready-made green salads.
  • Keep a journal. If you write down everything you eat and drink, you are going to be more aware of what’s going in your mouth. In fact, one recent study says that people keeping a food diary six days a week lost about twice as much weight as those who kept food records one day a week or less. Tracking your food intake can help reveal patterns. Maybe you don’t eat all day and then overeat once the kids are asleep. Or you may find you eat well one week only to ruin your hard work with a weekend of “cheats.” Writing down what you eat will help you be more mindful of what you eat.
  • Small changes lead to big results. The key to sustainable weight loss is small changes. Did you know that cutting just 250 calories a day and increasing your daily calorie burn through exercise by 250 calories a day can result in 1 pound of weight loss per week? That 250 calories is less than one 20-oz can of soda. A 160-pound woman can burn 250 calories with just 35 minutes of hiking. One small change a day can add up to 52 pounds lost in a year.
  • Get out the measuring cup. Most of us are suffering from portion distortion and years of eyeballing portions are adding up to unwanted calories. Instead of a heaping tablespoon of peanut butter and jelly on your sandwich, level out the tablespoon. Check out the serving size and measure everything before you eat it. You might be surprised at how many servings you’ve really been eating.
  • Make a vision board. If you don’t know where you’re going, chances are you will never get there. Make a board with your “after” weight loss desires — from the clothes you will buy to the places you will travel to the activities you will start or restart. Hang your board in a visible place and take 2 to 3 minutes to visualize your success every day.
  • Wear your baby. Using a sling or carrier to keep baby close during the day will make your baby happier. As a plus, it also will give you a little extra weight resistance as you do household chores and activities. It may not seem like much, but, as your baby grows, carrying around that extra weight will result in weight loss for you. Depending on how often you wear your baby (and her weight), you can easily burn an extra 100-200 calories a day.
  • Don’t finish your kids’ plates. Moms hate to waste those last bites of food, but waste not want not doesn’t apply to your waistline. Over time, those extra bites translate into extra pounds. Kids get hungry often and full fast. So those few bites that you don’t need could be just enough for snack time. Put the leftovers away for the kids to enjoy later.

Losing that stubborn belly fat…the final frontier of post baby weight loss.

I hope you enjoy this Fit Mom Featured Guest Blog by Lisa Barwise, Expert Family Health Coach and creator of Mummy Shape School.

Do you know if you type the letters ‘L’ and ‘O’ into Google the first search comes up with ‘Lose belly fat’? Belly fat is a big problem for new mummies and well, women, in general around the world.

The spare tyre, that muffin top, whatever you want to call it is often the final stage of losing your baby weight after pregnancy. Interestingly, abdominal fat bears the blame for many health problems because it resides within striking distance of your heart, liver, and other organs–pressing on them, feeding them poisons, and messing with their daily function. 

A study of more than 8,000 people found that over 13 years, the people with the weakest abdominal muscles had a death rate more than twice as high as those with the strongest midsections. Such research upholds the notion that flat stomachs do more than turn heads at the beach. In fact, your abdominal muscles control more of your body than you may even realize–and have just as much substance as show.

A defined midsection, in many ways, says defined fitness. But it also defines something else: A flat stomach is the hallmark of people in control of their bodies and, as such, in control of their health. And losing the baby weight is all about getting our bodies back, being in control of our bodies once again.

Although we know it is healthier to have a flat and defined stomach, most of us just want it to look good in our skinny jeans, slinky dress or in a bikini. And that is OK too. So how do we get there.

Did you know that belly fat loss is 70% diet and 30% exercise?

This was a shock to me. Firstly, I thought it was more exercise, namely crunches or running or both. I have worked out for 4 days a week, I have trained for and run a marathon and I have done hundreds of crunches. All the while, I still kept hold of my muffin top, my spare tyre, that stubborn belly fat. I have always been envious of those mummies who easily returned back into their pre-baby shape with taught, flat stomachs. How did they do it?

Now, in the past 3 years I have been studying health and nutrition and it was only in the last 6 months that I finally figured out why I was never able to obtain the elusive flat stomach. Firstly, our body shapes play an important part in where we store fat and also what types of eaters we are and lastly, what we eat is more important that how much we eat.

In fact, we can eat as much as we like of the right food so we need never follow a ‘diet’.

Apple shape women (those that carry weight around their middles) find it harder to lose the last of their weight and stubborn belly fa and also women who are sugar cravers- snackers who choose sweets, chocolate, jellies, ice cream as their nibble of choice.

There are foods you need to avoid if you are an ‘apple sugar lover’. Avoiding sugary things is an obvious thing to say but I also recommend to my clients in this category to avoid wheat, fruit and some dairy products. In fact, replacing these items with naturally lower sugar wholefood nutritional items will result in long-term health and maintaining that weight. Apples who are salt cravers (i.e. they prefer savoury things when they snack such as crisps, chips or takeaways) it is usually about replacing bad fats with good fats. Fat is not bad, it is essential to your diet and eating good fats and proteins will not only improve your health (as well as your skin, nails, hair and energy) but it will mean you lose fat in the right places and get the shape you want.

At Mummy Shape School, we realize that each person is different and needs a personalized plan and we can give you that individual attention so that you can lose that stubborn belly fat, the fast, safe and healthy way!

Counting Down and Slowing Down

First, and most important — like many of you, I am heartbroken by the tragedy at the Boston Marathon earlier this week. There are a lot of emotions and responses that come as a result of a hate crime like that, but I am so honored to be part of several fitness networks that have committed to helping the victims in this time of tragedy. I am giving a portion of the consult fee from my nutrition and fitness consultations and the proceeds from my DVD sales to a charity set up by the emergency responders in Boston. My assistant has checked this charity out, and ALL of the money is going to the victims. Read more about this fund set up by the Boston first responders.

Request a fitness and/or nutrition consultation or purchase my Fit Pregnancy Total Body Workout now.

Second, shout-out to my assistant, Tasha, for finding this charity and for working super hard to send out all of my DVDs last week. She mailed all of the pre-orders out before I even got home from vacation, AND she left me a bouquet of flowers and Bolthouse smoothie as a congrats on selling out. She is the sweetest!

My assistant left me a bouquet of flowers as a congrats on selling out of the Fit Pregnancy DVD. She is the sweetest!

My assistant left me a bouquet of flowers as a congrats on selling out of the Fit Pregnancy DVD. She is the sweetest!

I am in the final countdown! And as much as I absolutely hate to admit it … in the “final slow-down” as well. Here is what I am counting down:

  • 9 more business days until I am officially 100% self-employed. Mental note for next time that I quit my full-time job … give in a 2 week notice versus a 6 week notice. This final 9 days is going to be incredibly grueling. I have about 3 months of work to do in 9 days. I am simply going to do what I can physically accomplish and then pass the baton. And this craziness at work is making me even more eager to be self-employed and have more time at home with Miss Emma!
  • 17 more days until the Cincinnati half-marathon. I have a sore ankle that has been bothering me for about a week. I am praying that it feels back to 100% soon so I can start running again.
  • 6-10 more weeks until Baby Boy comes. I delivered 21 days “early” with Miss Emma, and my doctor has asked me to make it to at last 36 weeks. I am seriously ready to meet this baby, and am already getting very impatient, but I know it’s extremely important to keep cooking him for several more weeks.
  • 4 more weeks until my big fitness and nutrition exams for continuing education. I am renewing some certs and have been studying for a nutrition exam as well. YIKES! Prayers appreciated.

I am also in the final slow-down. I do NOT like to admit to having to slow down, but at 30 weeks pregnant, it’s very clear that my energy level is now what it used to be! I have been going to bed earlier, and even after several hours of sleep, feeling exhausted throughout the day. Part of my issue is that Baby Boy is SUPER active at night, and it makes it hard to sleep. The other night I was up for 2 hours while he was doing cartwheels inside my uterus. HA. Needless to say, I needed a nap at lunch-time to get through my 13 hour work day.

In addition to getting more sleep at night and taking the occasional nap, I have also had to slow down my workouts. I mentioned earlier that my ankle is sore … I am also finding that it is harder to keep up with my plyo workouts. I actually did my Fit Pregnancy DVD on my lunch break today, and I had to use all of the modified moves. When I filmed the workout, I was definitely capable of working out through the entire DVD without the modifications, and I could have likely even done it twice or three times in a row. Today I was struggling after just one round. Ha … talk about kicking my own butt — kinda humbling.

Did you have to slow down quite a bit at the end of your pregnancy? How did you improve your energy level (especially if/when you had a toddler to chase around)?

Running Back to Myself

Fit mom and featured blogger, Danielle Knapp

Fit mom and featured blogger, Danielle.

Read about fit mom featured blogger, Danielle Knapp, and her journey to wellness after delivering her son. I encourage you to connect with Danielle from Lean Green Mama and visit her blog for more updates.

Hi! I’m Danielle from Lean Green Mama and I’m very happy to be writing a post here! I am a runner and a mom. I am the mom that I am because I run and I started running because I was a mom (gotta love that post baby body).

After I had my son, everything was different. Not only was there this tiny, loud, new person to care for, but I felt different too. I had no idea who I was or what I was doing. All of this on top of the changes in my body left me feeling lost.

Although breastfeeding worked wonders on helping me lose a good chunk of the 65lbs (yikes!) I gained during pregnancy, I knew I needed to start exercising. At almost 9 months postpartum, I decided to start running. I began with couch to 5k. It had been far too long since I had done any sort of real physical activity, so I knew I needed to start slow. At first, I felt lame. “Running” for 60 seconds at a time left me feeling like I was getting no where fast (literally and figuratively), but then I was able to run for 5 minutes, 8 minutes, 20 minutes, and eventually a full 30 minutes!

I felt like a rock star the first time I ran for 30 minutes – there was some full on fist pumping and jumping around when I finished. People probably looked at me as they were driving by like I was some sort of weirdo. I didn’t care because I had just ran the furthest in my life and nothing was chasing me. In that moment, I decided to go big or go home: I signed up for a half marathon. I knew the long runs would be hard, but I wanted the challenge.

With each long run, I started to feel better about myself and about my body again. Did I look how I wanted to? No (heck no), but I could finally start to focus on some of the great things about my body. My legs were strong and carrying me distances I never thought possible. My lungs, although burning at times, were providing me with the oxygen I needed to keep going. Even my brain, which normally never shuts up, gave me mental mantras to keep me moving.

Once I started to appreciate different parts of my body, I started to appreciate and find myself again. I went from pre-baby, working a fast paced job in a suit to wearing yoga pants and caring for a baby. There was no warning how hard it would be to find a balance and to find myself in the transition to parenthood. Exercise, and running in particular, helped me get that.

With the half marathon looming, I felt like I had something all on my own to work towards. Before running all I focused on was my family and my baby, nothing about myself. At first it was hard to take this time out for me. I felt guilty, but I did it anyway because it made me feel good. Eventually, I realized it was making me a better mom and wife. Carving out those little bits of time for myself to clear my mind and let me legs do the work was exactly what I needed. I became happier. Things like my son missing naps, refusing to eat, and teething became easier for me to deal with mentally because I had my outlet in running.

Running helped me to find myself and help to define the new me as a mom. It was hard at times to make the time, but it’s been so worth it.

Daydreams and Excuses

Fit mom featured blogger, Kate.

Fit mom featured blogger, Kate.

I am thrilled to introduce you to fit mom blogger, Kate, from chroniclesofkatedotcom! She has a fabulous perspective and great writing style. Enjoy getting to know Kate and what she thinks about excuses!

  • ‘It’s too cold outside’
  • ‘I’m tired’
  • ‘I have homework to do’
  • ‘There is no time’
  • ‘I don’t feel well’
  • ‘My son is sick’

Excuses. Excuses. Excuses!

This is how I have been treating myself lately. It’s sad, and I know I am just feeding myself a line of made up nonsense every time I know I should be running. I turned into the gal who I told myself I would never become. In the past 5 months, I have become lazy, unmotivated and upset with myself because my clothes don’t fit me right. Well guess what? I will not do this to myself anymore!

I am a very enthusiastic, adventuresome, spontaneous, excitable girl. I also have duties which mold my life into what it is. I spend all day of my life as Mom. I spend part of my life as Student, and part of my life as Waitress. Always though in my life and usually intertwined into all three of those roles is, Runner. I have been known to squeeze in runs between soccer practice and dinner time, before the family wakes up on Sunday morning, and even on my way to school. Squeezing in time to run in this fashion is not uncommon for a runner, but being a runner who doesn’t run is.

I enjoy reading and learning about others’ running experiences almost as much as I enjoy my own. I also love running races. I can (and do) sit for hours looking up my next big race, and daydreaming of how It’s going to be awesome while I run in an out of the hills of -insert race town here-. I’m a dreamer, and there is nothing wrong with it, but as I’m planning out my next 50k race, I can’t even run 2 miles without wanting to turn around and go home. This is the problem. And as big-headed or overly confident as it sounds, I have never had this problem before.

Five months ago I completed my last race. It was a 50k that I trained months for. I went on a vegan diet for the race, and I had a run scheduled into almost every day of my weeks leading up to it. I felt good, and I felt like a runner.

Now I feel bad, and I don’t feel like a runner at all.

So here is the beginning of a new start for me. In the last few days I came up with a mantra, if you will, for me in the attempt to make myself better, for myself.

“Be the enforcer of the change you desire within yourself.”

No one can do this for you, you must do it yourself.

I have things to do and races to run in my immediate future, and I cannot and will not allow the horrible excuses to take over me again. Watch out for me world! I’m (on my way) back!

Is Crossfit Safe During Pregnancy?

I am thrilled to featured Becky Murray from! She shares about the experiences of her fit pregnancy and her intense workout schedule until D-Day!

Becky Murray, fit mom and featured blogger.

Becky Murray, fit mom and featured blogger.

Hi everyone! I’m Becky and I blog at The Bex Factor about my adventures in crossfit, obstacle races, music and motherhood.

Finding out I was pregnant was a huge surprise, I wasn’t ready to give up the life I had made for myself to grow a baby yet. But sometimes life has other plans for you and I was determined not to let pregnancy stop me from staying focused and reaching my goals. I didn’t want to turn lazy and lose my fitness routine. My doctor assured me that it was fine to continue doing what I do as long as I was comfortable and not causing myself any pain so that’s what I planned to do.

I maintained my regular crossfit and running routine until my due date.

Once people noticed I was pregnant they started treating me like I was sick and that I should basically sit on my couch doing nothing so as to not put myself and my growing baby in danger. No way!

In July I ran the Mud Hero, a 6km race with 16 obstacles. I was 7 months pregnant. People thought I was nuts for doing it, but I wasn’t going in blind. I ran an obstacle race last year and knew what to expect out of it. Leading up to the race I heard a lot of people doubt my ability to do it, that I would be too uncomfortable. Or they would express their concern of me injuring myself or the peanut. Well, I hadn’t been too uncomfortable with my workouts so far, so I didn’t see this as being any different. I knew I wouldn’t push myself to get a good time or complete every obstacle if I was unable. All I wanted to do was cross the finish line to show people that it was possible. The more people told me I couldn’t do it, the more motivated I was to show them they were wrong.

Crossing the finish line was emotional. I was all smiles but fighting back tears at the same time. To most, this race would be a walk in a park, but to me it meant a lot more than the medal around my neck. It meant I had proven the naysayers wrong, that fitness is still ok while you’re pregnant, that no one should have an excuse to give up their fitness routine (unless the doctor advises otherwise.) I was proud of myself for achieving my goal.

For weeks after, all I heard was how amazing I was, how I’ve inspired people and how people hope they can be like me when they get pregnant. I can’t even describe how amazing it was to hear these things. Of course people still told me I was crazy, but I took it as a compliment, it’s a good kind of crazy.

Everyone had expected me to slow down after the Mud Hero. What they didn’t know was that I was still registered for the Spartan Sprint, a similar obstacle race, in August. That put me at 8 months pregnant.

Becky maintained a fit pregnancy.

Becky maintained a fit pregnancy.

When Spartan Race day came I wasn’t out to prove anything like I was with the Mud Hero. I was just there to have fun and hopefully cross the finish line.

People’s reactions when they saw me on course were pretty funny. All of the obstacle attendees were just in awe when they saw me waddle walk up. I heard some even used me as motivation for people in the heats following, saying “a pregnant girl just did this, so you can too!” When I reached the finish line I was awarded two medals, one for me and one for baby. And boy, was I happy to have reached the end!

I still got a lot of praise for completing something most people would never attempt under normal circumstances, but I did it while being 8 months pregnant. I still heard that I was an inspiration and that people really admire me for being so fit and active throughout my pregnancy. I am still proud that I completed the Spartan Race, no matter how tough it was, or how much of a wuss I felt for not being able to give it my all.

I hope my experiences will show others that pregnancy is a life giving experience and not some medical condition that requires women to be treated (or treat themselves) as delicate little wallflowers that can’t do anything. Certainly there are complications which can confine a woman to complete rest to protect the pregnancy, but for the majority of us, it’s life as usual unless we’re told otherwise. I also hope I’ve showed people that they can achieve their goals if they set their minds to them, pregnant or not, and no matter how many people try to say they can’t.

Now not even six months post-baby, I’m participating in the Crossfit Open and am registered for four obstacles races. I’m still told I’m crazy and that’s just fine with me! You can keep updated with my progress on my blog, Facebook and Twitter.

Successes and Challenges with Heath and Fitness in Early Pregnancy

Marianna, fit mom and featured blogger, at 6 weeks pregnant.

Marianna, fit mom and featured blogger, at 6 weeks pregnant.

Read this great fit mom guest blog by Marianna, a mommy-to-be from Australia. She has a great perspective and I wish her well in her pregnancy!

Hi, I’m Marianna! I am a 31-year-old fitness/nutrition enthusiast and self-employed Massage Therapist living in beautiful Melbourne, Australia.

I started this blog to document my pregnancy and parenting journey, in order to inspire other woman who may be having similar feelings, questions, insecurities and wanting to shun conventional wives tales in favour of following their OWN instincts. Really, who knows you and your body better than YOU!!!

This blog post highlights my successes, challenges and experiences with my heath and fitness since learning 10 weeks ago about my first pregnancy.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was the most excited I have ever been, shaking all over, crying and I couldn’t sit down. After ringing my husband at work, ringing my mum at home and my sister while she was at work, I sat down to let it sink in. I had a little bubby in my belly, it may have been just a bunch of cells but it was a baby to me and like all new mums-to-be I scoured the internet for information about pregnancy. In particular, I was interested to know about any special dietary and exercise considerations. For the past 12 years, I have been doing some fairly intense physical training, I also did my Master Personal Training certificate as I was a keen learner on all things anatomical and physiological. Our bodies are the most advanced machines to ever have been built and I wanted to know everything I could on how and why. I have also been following the Paleo Diet to various degrees for almost 3 months before I found out I was pregnant and I must say I started looking fitter and leaner than ever. I am as fit, healthy and happy as one could ever ask to be, and I credit my current diet and exercise routine for helping me to have such a fantastic pregnancy so far — touch wood!!

Back to the internet, I was curious to see what the experts said I could and couldn’t do during my pregnancy — and I really didn’t like what I found as it made me very paranoid and feel quite insecure. Not only did I have my mum and husband badger me about still wanting to go to the gym, I had so many people treat me like cotton wool, like I would break. IM PREGNANT NOT DISADVANTAGED!!!

I must admit the day I found out I was pregnant I had just come home from a hard session of Les Mills, BodyPump- an hour weights class cocoordinated to music. Its intense and not as easy as some people think. Anyway the next day I had BodyStep- my favourite Les Mills class, but even though I was reassured by my instructor that I will be fine to still go as hard and as intense as I always do because I have been doing it for years, there was a little voice in my head that slowed me down and stopped me from going as hard and as intense. It was an automatic paranoia about this little bubba inside of me that I never had to worry about before and being my first, there is always going to be that feeling because, well. it is your first after all and god forbid I do anything to jeopardise it.

I have always looked at the gym as go hard or go home and I still have that mind-set 10 weeks into my pregnancy, however as much as I would love to go full ball at Body Step, I have actually stopped doing it, just until I reach 12 or 13 weeks. It is such a high intensity class using a step for the majority, that “falling” or “tripping” is always at the back of my mind. I think once ive reached my safety zone, I will go back and not use bricks under the step, just for a safety precaution. I have done a couple of BodyPump classes since and I must admit trying to keep my body temperature under 39 degrees celsius can be difficult but its all about listening to your body. If you’re panting and dizzy and breathless, stop!!! take a break, sit down, drink water. As with everything else in pregnancy, breathing right is also important in your workouts. Keep in mind that as you breathe, you are also taking in oxygen for your baby. The same oxygen that helps you with your workout, nourishes your little baby. As you exhale you are “detoxifying” your body by releasing carbon dioxide.

I don’t see any reason why a pregnant woman should use pregnancy as an excuse to STOP exercising. You are not doing yourself or your baby any justice at all. Actually you are doing both of you a HUGE injustice by adding unecessary weight to your body, which you will find harder to shift post pregnancy.

Just modify your workouts the bigger you get but I am a strong believer in keeping fit throughout your pregnancy. On most days I do a jog/walk combination on the treadmill. I vary between inclines and speeds which not only makes it more interesting but varies my heart rate. I also weight train on specific areas of the body on certain days of the week, this way, im not over using any muscles and give myself appropriate recovery.

The most important is rest. I know as I am self-employed it’s easy for me to say and do as I schedule my clients around my life which suits me and keeps me loving my job. I schedule my clients from 12pm-7pm as I definitely am a morning person and this is the best time for me to visit the gym or go outside for a lovely walk or jog. I need that time for me because as people keep telling me, take advantage of your time as it wont last long. How sad this makes me but I know it’s the truth. But I will take full advantage of this time to not only keep myself fit and healthy during this pregnancy but bond with my little bubba. What I feel, I hope it feels and that’s why I believe I’ve had such a great run so far. When I exercise the nausea disappears, i have energy most of the day and I feel on top of the world.

Sure I cant WAIT until the first trimester is over. Hopefully the hormones will calm down, i look like a teenager with my skin, and my boobies are killing me and i hear that settles down too. I have suffered from some bloating on random days but it only lasts that one day and disappears the next, so weird. I honestly cant wait to start showing and bonding more with bubs as I feel and see it grow bigger and look more like a human rather than a reptile haha. I love being pregnant and do not see it as a disadvantage or ugly or a strain or even a burden. I see it as one of the most beautiful miracles ever to happen to a woman. Shows how strong and beautiful we are. It shows just how amazing we are as human beings, to be able to create and grow and give birth to another human, I mean it’s just incredible that only WE can do it. I think it hits you even more so being pregnant how awesome we woman are!!! RESPECT TO ALL MUMS OUT THERE!!!

Big thanks for reading.

How Can I Prevent Stretch Marks?

I am thrilled to once again feature Laura Tarbell as a fit mom guest blogger. Laura is a lucky mom to two sets of twins. She owns Tarbell Pilates Studio in Hogansburg, NY, is a model and ‘Pilates expert’ for Oxygen Magazine. As a Pilates instructor, personal trainer, and nutrition and wellness counselor, Laura shares her story to influence others to become more healthy. You can read more about Laura at her blog. I am so excited that Laura wrote about the topic of stretch marks. It is a topic that I have not written about, but I have certainly worried about … especially since this is my second pregnancy, and I have heard that I could get larger than the first pregnancy. So, how can you and I prevent stretch marks? Read more.

Laura, the morning of delivery with her second set of twins, and no stretch marks!

Laura, the morning of delivery with her second set of twins, and no stretch marks!

Halfway through my second twin pregnancy, people started to comment on how much I was growing. This really struck a chord for me and soon the threat of stretch marks became an obsession. I talked to a lot of women who got stretch marks during their second pregnancy, not the first. I understood how much harder it was to eat healthy and find the time to exercise while caring for another child, or two!, during a second pregnancy, but I was determined not to let that be an excuse. I wasn’t really worried about weight gain, I knew I could lose the weight with some hard work and will power, but stretch marks don’t go away very easily, if at all, and that made me nervous. So I researched possible ways to prevent stretch marks, and I focused on those during these last 4 months of my pregnancy. Not all pregnant women get stretch marks, so there had to be something more to it than just being pregnant. Let’s start off by tackling some technical information so you have a better understanding of how stretch marks relate to pregnancy.

What are Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks, or striae, are a consequence of stretching skin, especially repeated stretching of the skin. Statistically, stretch marks effect between 70% and 90% of pregnant women. They are said to be the result of disrupted hormones and nutrient deficiencies. However, nature designed us well. So hopefully, as long as we follow nature’s prescription, stretch marks won’t leave their mark…Hopefully!

Stretch marks form on the dermis layer of the skin, located just underneath the outer layer called the epidermis. When the skin stretches, the connective tissues in the dermis layer can become compromised leading to blood vessel dilation (these are the early stage red or purplish lines). Later, as the body tries to heal itself from these breaks, cells begin to divide to fill in the gap. If the damage is deep enough, the cells produce a scar to heal the wound. In the case of stretch marks, melanin production ceases and the skin is left with white hypopigmented scars.

Causes of Stretch Marks

Stretch marks are caused by a degradation of the connective tissue of the dermal layer of the skin. Stretching, combined with other factors which weaken this layer, causes the scars we refer to as stretch marks.

Stretching alone, however, is not enough to cause stretch marks. The skin is designed to stretch. Men and women all over the world experience skin stretching but not all experience stretch marks. The current focus of prevention is on hormones and collagen.


Collagen is the most extensive structural protein in the body. Collagen and elastin make up about 90% of the skin’s thickness. These fibers form an elastic weave over our entire bodies allowing the skin to be stretched substantially without compromising its integrity.

Laura Tarbell and her Twin Girls

Laura and her twin girls.

Skin is like a rubber band. As long as the rubber is in good condition, the rubber band will not show any marks from stretching, even when stretched to its limit. However, when that rubber band gets old and /or its fibers become dry, even when you stretch it just a bit, it cracks and breaks appear. The same holds true for skin. When the skin is healthy, it will stretch with no signs of having been stretched.

The skin is a little more sophisticated however than a rubber band in that a rubber band’s elasticity has a limit. A rubber band will never be able to stretch further than it was designed to stretch. The skin on the other hand can make new collagen to strengthen its connective tissues, enabling it to stretch more and more over time. The skin can do this as long as it has the building blocks it needs to make new elastic fibers.

Under certain conditions such as a hormone imbalance from pregnancy and nutritional deficiencies, the body may not produce sufficient amounts of collagen and elastin. Like a rubber band, when these protein fibers are not reinforced to withstand the rapid and extensive stretching, the connective tissues break apart from the bottom up, tearing the skin and leaving a scar.


Hydration from the inside and outside.

Everyone knows it is important to keep the skin moisturized. Topically, recommends using Bio Oil on the skin twice a day. My fitness coaches recommend coconut oil (both applied topically and taken internally). I started rotating these two products three times a day. With twins, I wanted to be extra careful! I also read about the benefits of olive oil as it contains a substance called squalene, which is a chemical similar to sebum that acts as a softener and an antioxidant.

Another essential, and often underestimated, component of prevention is the power of hydration from the inside. Since stretch marks do not occur on the outer layer of skin but on the second, underlying layer, what we put into our bodies could be almost more important that what we put on our bodies. It is recommended that we drink six to eight eight-ounce glasses of water every day. I, however, drank at least 3 liters a day, and often tried for 4! By the way, coffee, tea, and caffeinated soda do not count! Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it makes you urinate, causing you to lose hydration. Again, this can make the skin less elastic and dry (think of that old rubber band!).



PROLINE AND LYSINE – Collagen fibers themselves are made from protein, particularly hydroxylysine and hydroxyproline. Hence, eating foods high in lysine and proline may be beneficial for collagen production, although there have not been studies to confirm this theory. These are primarily found in animal protein. Egg whites are particularly high in proline.

VITAMIN C – In order for the body to synthesize protein, it needs vitamin C. Vitamin C is mainly found in all citrus fruits and in red peppers, among many other fruits and vegetables.

PHYTONUTRIENTS– Other nutrients which promote healthy collagen are the phytonutrients catechins and anthocyanidins. Catechins help prevent the breakdown of collagen while anthocyanidins help the fibers link together. Green tea is high in catechins and deeply pigmented fruits such as cherries and blueberries are high in anthocyanidins.

ZINC – Zinc works with proteins in the body to regenerate tissue by increasing the synthesis of new collagen. It is essential for connective tissue health. The best food source of zinc is oysters but other sources include chicken, beans, nuts, and other lean meat.

GOOD FATS – Essential Fatty Acids, or EFA’s, reduce inflammation. As the skin stretches, it is stressed. Keeping the skin pliable and reducing inflammation both prevent stretch marks. Sources of EFA’s include tuna, salmon and sardines (wild only, not farmed), fish oils (cod liver oil), flax and chia seed (if you buy pre-ground it is often rancid- buy whole and grind yourself), wheat germ, nuts and nut oils (walnuts are the best), and leafy greens (plus spinach). Dietary fat plays a big role in the integrity of every cell. Fats carry the important skin nutrients vitamins A, D, and E. Saturated fats provide the building blocks for hormones. They are also important for mineral absorption. These fats are found in animal proteins.

VITAMIN A – The application of vitamin A to the skin has been found to increase collagen synthesis. Eating Vitamin A is essential for the repair of skin tissue. Foods high in vitamin A include carrots and sweet potatoes, among other orange veggies.

VITAMIN E – Vitamin E strengthens the skin’s elasticity. Foods rich in E are blueberries, avocados, mangoes, leafy green vegetables, nuts, and certain oils.

B VITAMINS – Biotin is a building block of skin cells. Eggs, bananas, and rice are such foods. Niacin is a B vitamin that enables the skin to keep moisture. Poultry, fish, beef, nuts and seeds are high in niacin.

COPPER – Copper helps produce elastin. Cashews, brazil nuts, poppy and sunflower seeds are excellent sources of copper. So are cereal, meats and fish.


There are many natural remedies to improve circulation. Some helpful herbs and habits include:

  • Exercise
  • Massage
  • Dry skin brushing
  • Herbs such as Ginko Biloba and calendula
  • Cayenne pepper, ginger, and garlic
  • Avoid cigarettes ad they impair blood flow



In the fight to maintain skin’s beauty, water and all the right nutrients are essential. The answer seems to be simple: internal moisturizing is just as important as any topical oil or cream. There are so many healthy foods to eat in the list above that there isn’t room for any junk!

Stretch marks form from the inside out. Remember, you are what you eat!! Hydrate and nourish the body with water and whole foods. Get rid of junk foods and dehydrating liquids. I know it’s easier said than done. It’s often hard to say no to little goodies and treats, especially when everyone says, “Common on, your pregnant!” But in the end, your beautiful skin is worth it.

I like to Move it, Move it: Involving Kids in Fitness

Jenny and one of her kids after a Color Run!

Jenny and one of her kids after a Color Run!

A big thanks to Jenny Hodges from for writing this fit mom featured guest blog. Jenny has an extremely inspiring story and has been featured on the NBC Today Show and Rachel Ray. Follow Jenny on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIN, and Instagram (@metamorfit).

I struggled with being an overweight teenager, young adult and adult. By the time I was 37 years old I weighed 369 pounds and I had three young children. Becoming a mother totally changes your perspective not only on your past, but on the life you want to live with and for your children. In reflecting upon my past, I realized that I was never physically active WITH my parents. Sure, there were short periods of time where my father jogged and I have memories of riding my big-wheel alongside him, but for the most part, we were more of a TV watching, video game playing family. That is how we bonded, how we connected as a family unit.

When I began my lifestyle change in 2007 I knew that I wanted something different for my kids than what I had grown up with. I wanted to be active WITH my kids, but they were young when I started exercising at only 2, 3, and 4 years of age so I had to be cautious and take baby-steps with them, which worked out really well because in all honesty, I was a newbie to the exercise life-style.

Generally I did my “me workout” in the morning hours at the gym, and then every evening we would do something together as a family; a walk around the neighborhood, a family swim at our clubhouse pool, or a walk to the playground. As the kids got older, and as I got fitter, our active lifestyle progressed and we worked together to make family fitness goals. By the time my kids were 4, 5, and 6, so only 2 years after we began this lifestyle, they could all ride their bikes without training wheels, and they were all capable of wogging (walk/jog) a 5K. But this didn’t happen overnight. Again, we worked our way up to this by incorporating daily fitness into our lives.

Jenny and her 3 kids in the pants she used to wear.

Jenny and her 3 kids in the pants she used to wear.

My kids are now 6, 7 and 8. We routinely engage in 15 mile bike rides, 5K runs. My kids are involved in gymnastics, swimming, and ride their bikes every single day.

I bring my kids to as many races as I can. They’ve seen me cross the finish line at ½ marathons, triathlons, and a variety of other race distances. We as parents need to model for our children how fitness can be fun, exciting, and by doing that we can set up a lifetime of good habits.

Jenny’s 5 Favorite Active Way to be with your child:

1. ZOMBIE! My kids are obsessed with the idea of Zombies, so we play Zombie. It’s a fun twist on tag where one of us is the Zombie and we chase after the others!

2. Scavenger Hunts! I make up lists and we go on walks throughout the neighborhood looking for the items on our check-lists!

3. DANCE!! We’ll have a dance party inside with the Wii Just Dance game series or I’ll put on the iPod and we’ll dance around the house! Either way it’s a good time!!

4. Swimming. Living in Florida we do have the luxury of swimming for a majority of the year. Last year we went swimming on Christmas! We have races in the pool and that really gets our heart rate up!

5. Running. Every year our family does a mandatory 5K TOGETHER! It’s usually a fun run of some sort, no pressure, just out having fun. This year it was supposed to be the Color Run (but we had two sick kids, so dad stayed with them and I did the race with my middle child), last year it was the Flapjack 5K (free pancakes after the race!!), previously it was the Gasparialla 5K complete with pirates and beads! I think our 2013 Family Race will come earlier in the year since 2/3 of our family missed it in 2012!

So there you have it! Have fun and be fit with your family. The 3 F words 😉