5 Tips to Smart (and Fit) Parenting

Click this photo to visit diapers.com and receive $12 off your order by using discount code: WOWHUGGIES

Click this photo to visit diapers.com and receive $12 off your order by using discount code: WOWHUGGIES

Do you ever wonder how smart moms juggle it all or how to effectively maximize your time?

I am thrilled to be partnering with Huggies and diapers.com on a marketing campaign sharing tips for smart parenting. The campaign is one of several I am working on right now through my digital marketing company. I also recently accepted a role as a general manager for a new business accelerator out of Crossroads Church in Cincinnati.  As you can imagine — I am juggling quite a few items at the moment. All very wonderful opportunities, but on top of my digital marketing clients, personal training, and being a mom/wife, it calls for the need to be highly productive.

A couple months back, I shared my tips for being a highly productive mama. Today, I want to share 5 tips to smart (and fit) parenting that I have discovered through trial and error, or by watching other super moms around me. Us moms are busy 24/7. We get no down time – no vacations. All of us need ways to maximize our time so we have MORE time to relax, a chance to pamper ourselves, and the opportunity to spend quality time with our family.

  1. Set the alarm for the crack of early. Most smart, successful, and highly productive moms I interface with have one thing in common – they wake up early. As hard as it can be (and tempting to hit snooze multiple times), it’s always worth getting up, showered, and organized before the kiddos wake up. I typically wake up to my alarm, get showered and ready, and then drink my coffee outside by the pool while I check and respond to emails. It’s so great to get some work accomplished in the quiet of the morning before waking up the babies.
  2. Keep the TV off and steer clear of distractions. I often go for weeks or months without even turning on the TV news in the morning. I am easily sucked into watching mindless TV, so it’s just best for me to keep it off. I also try to check social media only a few times per day. I need to get MUCH better at this because recently I have been slipping and getting a bit distracted. Yesterday, I did not put any IG posts up (my favorite social media) or spend much time checking my feed because I needed to focus hard on some hot deadlines.

    Meal Prep and grilling up some chicken on the weekend ensures that I am able to eat a quick and healthy lunch.

    Meal Prep and grilling up some chicken on the weekend ensures that I am able to eat a quick and healthy lunch.

  3. Meal Prep on Sunday. If you follow me on FB and IG, you know I am literally the worst cook on this side of the Mississippi. However, I learned from several of the fit moms I follow on Instagram, about the importance of meal prep. I am still able to eat healthy and ensure that my family has healthy foods to eat each day because of some weekend prep. This past weekend we marinated and grilled chicken breasts for lunches. We also make our egg casserole for easy/quick breakfasts through the week. Many of my clients cut up veggies and bag almonds or trail mix in snack baggies for work.
  4. Workout at home. One of my very best time saving tips is to workout at home. I do love a good lift at the gym, but it’s so easy to lace up my Under Armour running shoes and jog outside or do my Fit Pregnancy or Body After Baby DVD. My online personal training clients are extremely successful because they are able to maximize their time by working out quickly and effectively at home with my online circuits and DVDs.

    Save time by working out at home using one (or both) of my DVDs!

    Save time by working out at home using one (or both) of my DVDs! Maximize your time with effective workouts.

  5. Shop online! Wow — what a wonderful convenience of our modern culture. I rarely spend time shopping in stores (I also do 100% of my banking online) and this saves me SO much time. One of our biggest shopping list items currently is diapers for Baby Cole. I am thrilled to be able to offer all of you a discount code to purchase Huggies diapers from diapers.com. You have access to an exclusive (and time saving!) promotion for $12 off your first time purchase of a Huggies diaper case using the code WOWHUGGIES at checkout.  Click here to visit the diapers.com site and use the discount code for your purchase.

We love Huggies diapers for Baby Cole. He is a busy boy, and Huggies helps to keep him clean, comfortable, and dry at every stage with trusted leak lock protection.

Here’s a little more about why we choose Huggies for Baby Cole and some features for a NEW & Improved Fit that Lasts Over Time:

  • The NEW Huggies design includes Double Grip Strips that fasten at four points, for a better fit that provides your baby with a hug that lasts.
  • The stretchy SnugFit Waistband helps HUGGIES® Little Movers Diapers stay in place.
  • The Huggies absorbent LEAK LOCK® Technology gives your baby up to 12 hours of leak protection.
  • Adorable © Disney designs feature Mickey and Minnie

Remember, you have access to exclusive savings of $12 off your first diapers.com purchase of a Huggies diaper case using the code WOWHUGGIES at checkout. In addition, you will get free shipping on an order of $49 or more (offer only available to new diapers.com members).

Diapers.com Diapering products include more than 1,411 items. You’ll get great prices on all products. No lines. No heavy bags. No driving. Just the products that keep your life in balance, conveniently shipped to your door faster and easier than any errand you’ve done before.

I hope you are able to enjoy this great promotion and time saving tip. What other tips would you add to my list for smart (and fit) parenting?

We are gearing up for Baby Cole’s 1st birthday this coming weekend. Ah, how did the year possibly fly by so quickly? Stay tuned for party photos on my IG and FB page. Enjoy your week!

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Vega Sport Energy Bars Review

Pic on the left is 6 years ago, and photos on the right are this past weekend.

Pic on the left is 6 years ago, and photos on the right are this past weekend.

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend with your families and are enjoying a fabulous start to the week. We were in the pool for most of the weekend, and it was wonderful!

This past week, I started an in-person boot camp in town. I led one last summer starting two weeks after Baby Cole was born, and it was a TON of fun. I have already really enjoyed getting to know the ladies in the boot camp, and I can’t wait to see their results. Like my online boot camp program, we are combining effective HIIT workouts with some running, and proper nutrition. I am following the eat clean challenge that I created with my online and in-person boot campers, and I feel SO good. Honestly, even after delivering two babies, I believe that I am the healthiest I have ever been.  Here is a photo (left) from 6 years ago before I had any babies or the stresses of my own company and a house to manage, and two photos (right) from this past weekend. It IS possible to be fitter and more healthy AFTER having babies.

A huge part of my personal wellness plan includes a clean, whole foods, balanced approach to my food intake. 6 years ago, I was careful to “count calories,” but not necessarily eat the nutrient dense foods that my body needed to fuel my workouts. Now, I don’t count calories at all or measure portion sizes, macros, etc. I eat clean, whole foods to satisfaction.

The chocolate coconut almond bars were SO delish.

The chocolate coconut almond bars were SO delish.

My current food intake is a high veggies, high protein, high [good] fats plan. Recently, I had the opportunity to taste-test the Vega Sport Energy Bars as part of a SweatPink and Vega Sport Fuel Your Better campaign. The box I received was chocolate coconut almond. Oh my goodness … SOOOOO delish. I am a sucker for anything chocolate and almond, and adding in the coconut gave the bars a perfect taste.

The Vega Sport website says the following about these amazing bars:

“Moist and delicious, plant-based Vega Sport Energy Bar is easy to eat mid-workout to help you go the distance. Each function-focused bar features:

  • 27 g carbs from whole food ingredients
  • High and low glycemic carbohydrates for immediate and sustained energy
  • 1 g Omega-3

Formulated by Brendan Brazier, professional Ironman triathlete and bestselling author on performance nutrition, Vega Sport Energy Bar is part of the three-stage Vega Sport Nutrition System.

Non-GMO, gluten-free, and made without artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners, enjoy Vega Sport Energy Bars in Chocolate Coconut Almond and Apple Cherry flavors.”

Visit the Vega Sport Fuel Your Better to learn more about how to properly fuel your body for workouts. The site is fabulous and very informative. It covers the topics of motivation, overtraining, stamina, muscle burn, and the importance of proper fueling.

I am so thrilled that I had the opportunity to taste-test the Vega Sport Energy Bars, and I definitely recommend that you try them as well! Enjoy.

Mother’s Day Giveaway!

We are installing a pool and cannot wait to swim!

We are installing a pool and cannot wait to swim!

It’s amazing to realize that Mother’s Day is coming up and we are almost in summer mode! Our weather in Ohio was absolutely horrendous this winter, so I am eager for consistent Spring weather and the start of summer. And guess what?!? We are installing an in-ground pool in the backyard! I am so pumped, and the kids can’t wait to swim every day this summer. We are hoping the pool is finished by next Friday.

In honor of Mother’s Day, I am holding a giveaway for YOU — fellow fit mamas and friends. I’ve had the opportunity to review a great stroller hook and yummy protein powder just for mommies. And, of course, I will add your choice of my Fit Pregnancy or Body After Baby DVD for the winner.

photo (20)

This makes trips to the shopping mall and grocery store much easier!

Have you ever been walking around the mall, park, or grocery store and struggling to carry you purse, plus diaper bag, plus gym bag, plus groceries, plus — and the list goes on. I know I have! Well, the Baby Bubz stroller hook is perfect for adding an extra hand. The stroller hook rotates and secures to your stroller or shopping cart with strong velcro straps. I can now leave room in my grocery cart for groceries versus my diaper bag, and purse!

Happy Mother’s Day — I want to extend a 40% discount to anyone who wants to purchase this stroller hook on Amazon. Please use the following coupon code: PQ6MUHDW. The package comes with two hooks for only $9.99. 

I also had the opportunity to enjoy some Mommi 3-in-1 protein powder in my shake this morning! I am still nursing Cole, so this is a great way to get some much-needed protein, essential vitamins, and nutrients I need to fuel my day.

Mommi_3-in-1_Launch Photo

Here is some info below from the Mommi company’s official press release.

“Most women who are pregnant or nursing aren’t aware that they need an additional 25 grams of protein daily, or between 70-95 grams in all,” said Dr. Yvonne Bohn. “It can be a challenge for women to manage weight while ensuring they are getting the extra protein, essential vitamins and nutrients they need – like DHA for the baby’s nerve and brain cell development. Mommi 3-in-1 is an easy way to get everything nutritionally women need during pregnancy in one place. It is essential for giving women and their babies a strong, healthy and wonderful start.”

Miss Emma enjoyed the protein shake too!

Miss Emma enjoyed the protein shake too!

You can purchase Mommi 3-in-1, order a sample, and get delicious recipes, weekly pregnancy tips and more, by visiting mommi.com. You can also connect with Mommi on Facebook at facebook.com/MommiLife, on Twitter at twitter.com/mommihealth, on Pinterest at pinterest.com/mommihealth and on Google+ at plus.google.com/+MommiLife.”

The package instructions said to add the powder to milk. However, I crushed up some ice, threw in a bit of water, a scoop of peanut butter, the protein powder, and had a delicious shake. Miss Emma and Baby Cole loved it to and referred to it as ice cream.

So, here’s how YOU can win the protein powder, and a copy of either my Fit Pregnancy or Body After Baby DVD!

Leave a comment on my blog for each of the actions you complete below:

 

Eat Clean Challenge Update

Week 1 (left) versus Week 3 (right). Can you see some progress?

Week 1 (left) versus Week 3 (right). Can you see some progress?

It’s been nearly four weeks since the hubs and I started our eat clean challenge. If you remember, I created an “approved” and “unapproved” foods list for us to follow. The intention was to do a “sugar detox” of sorts to get sugary treats and junk food cravings out of our system, and focus on a high protein, high fat, low carb meal plan. The approved list was very close to Paleo, but had a few “extra” items.

So, here’s a little update for you. Days 1-3 were hard … but doable. When I set my mind to something, it’s fairly easy to stick with it the first few days. In fact, I was barely even craving sugary treats since I had made up my mind not to eat them.

Then day 4-6 happened.

Wow — super rough.

On day 4 I started craving carbs like crazy. I also hit a low-carb wall and began feeling a lot of muscle fatigue while I worked out. Carbs turn into glucose and are stored as glycogen in the muscles. And the worst part was — my mood turned sour. See — carbs increase happy hormone levels in the brain.

When I hit the low-carb wall, I started to think that maybe the eat clean challenge was a stupid idea. And then I did an ab check on Thursday evening. WOW — I was already starting to see some definition. In fact, my progress after just four days was pretty significant. Also, because I cut the processed junk food out of my food intake, I wasn’t feeling gassy or bloated in the least. Seeing and feeling some good progress on day 4 got me through day 5 and 6.

We built in a cheat day on vacation!

We built-in a cheat day on vacation!

On days 5 and 6, man I was feeling the need for some treats. We made a sugar-free peanut butter cookie on Saturday evening — not very tasty. Then we made some sugar-free peanut butter cookie dough no-bake bites on Sunday with ingredients from my “approved foods” list. Holy goodness — super delish!

Since the first week, it has been far easier to eat clean! I haven’t really been craving sweets or whole grains much at all. Prior to our challenge, we had been eating pop corn and ice cream every single night. Now, I barely even think about it — success! I think my body is getting more used to my new eating routine, and I find that I’m not hungry in between meals either. I’m only drinking one cup of coffee per day, and making it a point to drink lots more water. I am finding that I am craving water versus coffee even in the morning.

One of the most significant improvements that I’ve seen is a little more subtle. Baby Cole caught a cold at church the weekend we started the challenge. He’s been dealing with a nasty cold ever since (poor guy). This entire winter, I was getting sick immediately after the kiddos got sick — there was literally no hope for me and it seemed like my immune system was totally shot. Now that I’ve completely taken out sugar and processed foods in my diet, I’ve been able to avoid catching Cole’s sickness. Coincidence? Not a chance. It’s because I’m not in taking immune-killing sugary treats on a regular basis.

The hubs and I are both feeling GREAT!

The hubs and I are both feeling GREAT!

I truly believe that the hubs and I are already looking and feeling better as a result of our eat-clean challenge.

Also, this Saturday I plan to build in a cheat-day, and we’ve built-in a few throughout the challenge (especially on vacation).  I am a huge proponent of balance and moderation, so now that we’ve re-set our systems a bit and gotten rid of select cravings, we will add some items back into the “approved foods” list. Here’s the list for the next couple weeks with new items bolded:

Approved foods:

  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Steak
  • Chicken
  • Tuna
  • Spinach
  • Green beans
  • Green pepper
  • Cucumber
  • Onion
  • Lettuce
  • Oats
  • Sweet potato
  • Almonds
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sugar free hard candy and popsicles
  • All-natural peanut butter
  • Fruit (one serving per day)
  • Dessert item (one serving per week)

Unapproved foods:

  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Butter
  • Sugar and treats
  • Carbs (except complex carbs from approved foods list)
  • And anything NOT on the approved foods list

I have not lost any weight on the challenge. My goal was to redistribute weight a bit, and get some definition in my midsection. I don’t own a scale, but happened to weigh myself on vacation last week, and I am exactly the same weight as before I had Cole (5 or 6 healthy lbs heavier than before I got pregnant with Emma).

Overall, I feel GREAT, and plan to continue this lifestyle long after the challenge is over!

eat clean challenge

Eat Clean Challenge: Approved and Unapproved Foods

eat clean challenge

Brandon and I decided to start an eat clean challenge.

The hubs and I decided to start an “eat clean” challenge this week. I am running it in combination with my online boot camp program which runs for another 5 weeks. The goal is not to lose weight, but to tighten up our eating and become less dependent on sugar. I am also hoping to redistribute my weight a bit  — basically, I want to be able to see my abs for bikini season.

On Sunday, we created a list of “approved” and “unapproved” food items. We also went grocery shopping and did some food prep including my favorite egg casserole. You can find the recipe on this post from my pregnancy with Cole.

Here is my list of food items for the week. I will also include a sample meal plan at the end. Please note — this is not a diet plan for you to follow. It is simply a listing of what foods I am focusing on this week. I do not count calories. I eat when I am hungry and to satisfaction. I am not working to drop pounds, (I don’t even own a scale) but rather removing nutrient void foods from my diet.

Approved foods:

  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Steak
  • Chicken
  • Tuna
  • Spinach
  • Green beans
  • Green pepper
  • Cucumber
  • Onion
  • Lettuce
  • Oats
  • Sweet potato
  • Almonds
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sugar free hard candy and popsicles
  • All-natural peanut butter

Unapproved foods:

  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Butter
  • Sugar and treats
  • Carbs (except complex carbs from approved foods list)
  • Fruit
  • And anything NOT on the approved foods list
eat clean challenge

Sunday food prep with Baby Cole.

Here is an example of what my food log looked like yesterday:

Tuesday Food Log: 

Breakfast:

  • Egg casserole
  • Black coffee
  • Water

* I did have half an avocado as well 

Mid­-morning snack:

  • 10 almonds
  • Water
eat clean challenge

Yum! I am loving the egg casserole for breakfast.

Lunch:

  • Chicken breast
  • Sweet potato
  • Water

Mid-­afternoon snack:

  • 10 almonds
  • Peanut Butter with celery
  • 2 sugar-free popsicles
  • Water

Dinner:

  • Steak
  • Broccoli
  • Water

Evening snack:

  • Smoothie: 1 cup spinach, 1.5 cups of mixed berries, ½ water, 1/2 banana
  • Water

* I added the smoothie because I am finishing off my berries (even though fruit is on the “unapproved” list for the week. Here is a great article referencing the importance of not eating too much fruit. Eat high carb fruits in moderation (ie: bananas). 

eat clean challenge

Thule Chariot Chinook: Multifunctional Child Carrier and Double Jogging Stroller

Thule Chariot Chinook 2 Double Jogging Stroller

Baby Cole is absolutely loving the Thule Chariot Chinook.

Are you looking for a phenomenal jogging stroller? Or perhaps you’re expecting baby number two and hoping to purchase a multifunctional double child carrier. Well — look no further. I’ve had the privilege of working with Thule to test and review the Thule Chariot Chinook 2. WOW — what an amazing product.

The Thule Chariot Chinook 2 is unlike any multifunctional child carrier or jogging stroller I have used. The stroller is extremely smooth, safe, attractive, lightweight, and adaptable.

Prior to owning the Thule Chariot Chinook 2, we were unable to go on a fit walk or jog as a family of 4. What a treat to be able to workout together now that the weather is nice in Ohio.

Thule Chariot Chinook 2 Double Jogging Stroller

Miss Emma held Cole’s hand on our first trip with the double jogger so he would feel safe. Too cute.

Emma and Baby Cole are thoroughly enjoying their rides in the Thule jogging stroller. Cole was a little hesitant the first time we went out for a run, but Emma held his hand to be sure he felt confident traveling at high speeds with me behind the wheel. Too cute.

Thule Chariot Chinook 2 Double Jogging Stroller

The kiddos are very safe in the carrier.

One of my favorite aspects of the carrier is the safety of the seat features and adjustments.  We keep the neck support in the carrier on Baby Cole’s seat, and Emma is strapped in securely on her side as well. I certainly feel confident taking the kiddos out on a variety of grades and terrains. We have traveled to the park and even done a little off-roading with the Chariot. Even on grass and sand, the stroller is smooth and easy to maneuver.

Let’s talk about adaptability. The Chariot Chinook 2 is not only a double jogging stroller. It is a carrier to use behind a bike or even skis. How cool! Thule sent me the bike attachment to test out, and it’s very easy to attach and utilize for a transition to bike rides.

Thule Chariot Chinook 2 Double Jogging Stroller

We’ve even done a little off-roading with the multifunctional carrier.

One other huge advantage to the Thule Chariot Chinook 2 is its all-weather versatility. The carrier comes with two covers — a screen and a rain guard. If you have any experience with Ohio, you know our weather can change at any moment. It’s great to have the covers available in the storage areas of the stroller just in case we come upon a rain storm.

We are headed out for a run!

We are headed out for a run!

Miss Emma informed me the other day that she was “going out for a run.” I went outside with her and she immediately wheeled the stroller out of the garage and climbed inside for me to push her along on a run. Too funny. The carrier is so comfortable for the kiddos. There is a seat recline option, and adjustable suspension as well.

If you are looking for the very best multifunctional carrier and double jogging stroller option for your active family — I highly recommend the Thule Chariot Chinook 2. Visit their site and let me know if you have any questions about features. I look forward to utilizing our Thule jogger for years to come.

Have a wonderful day — we are headed out for a run 🙂

Postpartum Workouts

This week was quite a whirl-wind, but fabulous overall. I love going on vacation (as you can tell from my frequent trips), but it’s always a bit hard to catch up upon return. However, I had a great work-week, and am feeling quite excited about several items in the works.

What are the best postpartum workouts? I have been asking myself this question ever since I had Emma. You see, my workouts have changed quite a bit now that I’m a mom. I no-longer have hours of freedom to go on long runs, listen to my music and enjoy a long stint on cardio machines before dinking around in the free weight room. My postpartum workouts are much faster, intense, and more efficient than my pre-baby workouts.

To stay fit and toned, my postpartum workouts now focus on HIIT (high intensity interval training), and sprint workouts or lifting. For those who have my Body After Baby DVD, you know I like to maximize and hour (or less) for my postpartum workouts. And here’s the honest truth — I am MORE fit, and STRONGER now, than I was pre-baby.

It is absolutely not necessary to be in the gym for hours upon end to be fit and healthy. Recently, I’ve received several “before and after” progress pics from moms who have purchased and tried my Body After Baby Boot Camp DVD consistently.  Wow, it is SO AMAZING to rejoice with these women who are feeling fit and healthy just a few short weeks after beginning my DVD (even after years of spinning their wheels [literally] with cardio in the gym).

Ashley

Ashley A says, “The picture on the right was … [last year]… The pic on the left was this morning! I wanted to show you the difference! It feels great! … I feel amazing and I love your DVD! Thanks again!”

I’ve gotten so many great emails and social media messages from ladies who are getting fit and healthy, and who are much happier moms as a result. Woot, woot! I LOVE it.

Order my Body After Baby DVD this week, and receive a FREE workout plan to use with the DVD. The postpartum workout plan is a combination of my DVD workout, other HIIT circuits hyperlinked from my private YouTube channel, and written instructions on an outdoor workout. I would love to correspond with you via email should you have any questions as well.

Body After Baby Boot Camp DVD Workout

Are you hoping to get your pre-baby body back? Do you want to feel fit, healthy, sexy, and confident? Are you unsure of how to develop a 6 pack after baby? Purchase my “Body After Baby Boot Camp Workout” DVD today. Please contact me for details on international shipping.

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Fit Mom Guest Post: Postpartum depression and how to heal

Michele 3I hope you enjoy this amazing guest post from Michelle about postpartum depression. Michelle Tucker is a stay at home mom to an amazing 5-year-old son. She has been married to her best friend for nearly 7 years. She can often be found outdoors running! Since starting on her journey to a healthy lifestyle she has lost 70 pounds and ran many races including half marathons and her first marathon this past November. You can find her at www.babybluestorunningshoes.blogspot.com as well as @michelle_tucker79 on Instagram and @s_michelle_t on twitter.

I had postpartum depression. I didn’t have the baby blues. I had a very dark period of my life and it was very hard to find my way out. When my son was born I remember being overwhelmed with a sense of needing everything to be perfect. I struggled to breast feed him in the beginning and I think that triggered a lot of my stress. I was determined to be a perfect mother and for me breast-feeding was a big factor in that. So after that didn’t work out I became very focused on making sure I made the right choices and did the right things. So obviously that made things a little stressed! I talked to my OB and was prescribed some medicine.

I took my medicine and felt better. By the time Colton was around two months old I figured that the “postpartum” time should be over and I shouldn’t continue to need medication. It was not my smartest move! That was when my depression really took hold. For the next year I didn’t care about anything except Colton. I didn’t care about my husband or myself.

Michele 2I got really good at pretending. I would pretend to care that I was very overweight and I would pretend to try to follow Weight Watchers. Then every week I would pretend to be upset that I just wasn’t losing any weight and I would have every excuse for why I was steadily gaining. I would pretend to care when my husband would say something was wrong with me and please talk to him. The bottom line is I just didn’t care. If it didn’t concern Colton then I just didn’t care.

My husband knew I was miserable but he couldn’t help or fix it for me. So when one day he suggested I try running to help me lose weight I said sure. I figured I could pretend to try it and then in a month or so have an excuse for why it wasn’t working and I could quit. But something happened on that first run. I didn’t hate it. Sure I felt awful and I couldn’t run more than 50 feet but when I was done I felt in control for the first time in many months. Between the tears and frustration of not being able to run I was able to see what I had been missing. I was missing out on life. My postpartum depression had made me willing to quit participating in my own life. I was just sitting on the sidelines and not caring what happened to myself.

So I got back out the next day and tried running again. In my head very few things mattered to me anymore but while I was running I was able to see more and more the life I desperately wanted to regain. With every run I felt like I was literally chasing the depression away. Maybe it was the exercise endorphins or maybe it was me finally taking a step to better myself but something changed inside me. So I kept going. I started losing weight but more importantly I found myself again. I cared about me and if I was happy.

MIchele 1

Postpartum depression looks different for each person that goes through it. For me it took away my desire to care about myself. I am so thankful each time I get to run that I was able to find something that gave me back myself. It sounds crazy to some people but I know for me running saved me. I don’t know if I would have ever been able to get out of that dark place if I hadn’t taken that first run. Through my journey I learned some very valuable lessons:

1. As moms we need to give ourselves some grace. We can be so hard on ourselves and feel the need to be that “perfect” mom. For me this triggered a lot of stress and created a very hard image to maintain. At the end of the day if you are happy, your baby is happy, and you have a happy family, then you are doing an amazing job.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If I had been willing to talk to someone or admit that I was struggling I could have saved myself so much heartache. There are people in our lives who are more than willing to help. We just have to ask.

3. The power of exercise is an amazing thing. I truly believe that running saved me. Just the act of getting out each day and doing something for myself, no matter how small or how short, felt empowering.

4 Tips on How to Incorporate Kids into Your Workout

Read this awesome post from Michelle about how to incorporate kids into your workout. I’ve gotten to know Michelle via my mentorship program, and can’t wait to help her take her personal training business to the next level. 

Michlle

My name is Michelle and I am a NETA certified personal trainer and group exercise instructor. I love training and teaching aerobics as it gives me the flexibility to be at home with my 3 daughters who are 5, 3, and 4 months. I write about fitness, health, faith, and my family at livefitwomensfitness.com. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter: @livefitfitness and Instagram: @livefitfitness.

I remember after the birth of my first child I panicked. When will I ever have time to workout? What happens when my daughter dosen’t nap as much? At the time I didn’t have a gym membership. I had some free weights, a jogging stroller and a treadmill. At first I utilized nap time and as she began to be awake more during the day I had to become more creative. Health and fitness is such an important part of my husbands and I’s lives we wanted to teach our children that it’s part of our everyday routine and incorporate the kids into our workouts.

It hasn’t always been easy, I have had days in which I wanted to run to the gym while working out at home, winter is always rough and as they have become older we have adjusted into a nice routine.

It usually starts after I feed my four-month old daughter. I prep my five-year old to hit up her workout gear. I tell her it’s almost time to workout. I have it laid out and ready. She has her own little workout tee and pair of shoes. She also has a pair of pink 1 pound weights that she uses all the time while I’m lifting. We have a few old iPods with kid friendly music. She grabs it, I get on my treadmill and she hits play and our workout begins. She listens to her music and I listen to my headphones on my treadmill while she runs around our basement. Usually while she is running I cheer her on, count on your mark get set go and pretend she is in a real life race. She absolutely loves it and so does my three-year old. After the cardio comes the weights. My daughter often asks mom can you be our workout teacher (I teach aerobics) and we practice counting a lot during this time. I explain little things about why we lift, run and eat healthy. We even have a little workout handshake. It seems as over time this has become such a habit and part of our everyday routine. My children believe it or not actually help me on days when I’m feeling unmotivated. They say mom are we gonna workout? Great little accountability partners! Here are my favorite four tips and tricks to incorporating kids into your workout:

1.Pick up some gear for your kids. I love my workout clothes and if you checked my closet I probably have more than normal clothing! My daughter was always trying to wear my tank tops and running shoes. She would change constantly during my workout and interrupt it. That’s when I got her a little running tank, shoes and a headband. While she gets changed I prepare for my workout and it gives me a chance to get my thoughts together about what I am going to do for my cardio and weight routine. I have some toy bins in the basement that are an assortment of different toys then upstairs and that’s usually were the kids head after they lose interest.

2. Use it as a learning experience. I was a runner in college and would love for my girls to become runners. I would never push a sport on them and want them to choose freely and have an idea of different ways to engage in sports and working out. Find a local park or running trail. We often go for run in the jogging stroller and the girls get to watch soccer practices, softball, cross-country, track and various other sports practicing and we talk about how each sport is different and someday they can pick what they like the best. I often take them to the local track in town and we look at the shapes on the track, count the numbers on both the track and football field. They bring a little ball and kick it around and run the track while I run sprint repeats, perform plyometric drills, and stretch.

3. Have fun with them. I always tell them first we will go for our stroller ride and get mommy’s workout done and then we will play on the playground. I remind myself it’s not gonna look picture perfect and the least I can do on some days if they aren’t feeling the workout is just let them get out and play. If we are at home I will end up do a quick HITT routine or three 10 minute segments of jumping jacks,push-ups, planks, and sit-ups in my living room while they crawl all over me.

4. Find a local gym. I have my days were I workout at home with my children, days were we go to the park or track to run and days when I teach and attend classes at a local gym. This has been so much fun for my children because they have met friends(while they stay in the child watch) and we often have play dates after we are all done working out. I call these ladies my fitness friends and we swap recipes, workout ideas and these women are great accountability and support in my life!

I hope this has left you feeling encouraged in moments were you feel discouraged from the interruptions from diapers, bottles, and preparing lunch for kids in the middle of your workout. Give it a few weeks and you will find a routine that will work out for you and your children.

Balanced & Healthy Life Tips

I love this fit mom guest blogger post from Daniella. She is a great gal and I look forward to getting to know her more.  

Fit mom guest blogger, Daniella.

Fit mom guest blogger, Daniella.

Hi Fit Pregnancy & Parenting Readers!

I’m so excited Amanda invited me to share some of my Fit Mama tips with you. My name is Daniella and I blog over at The Merfett about life as a Mama, and working in the film/tv business. I live in Burbank, CA with my hubby – Merfman, and we have a pretty awesome tiny human, Merfbaby.

I’m still a new Mama, and I’ve only been at this parenting thing since July 2013 – but I’m learning how to keep my life balanced and healthy. I played NCAA water polo, so as an athlete I know that being active is a big part of my mental health too.

As parents we learn how to plan and anticipate the needs of our kiddos, right? It’s so important that we do the same for us! Here are some easy ways I keep my life balanced and healthy: 

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Merfbaby 🙂

  1. Meal Plan and Prep – It’s not a totally new idea, but it’s a life (and time) changer! Since my husband also works in the film/tv business I’m often eating dinner solo 4 -5 times a week. Cooking for one is never fun, and if I don’t plan and prep I often end up having Peanut Butter toast for dinner. Oops. Spend a few moments a week planning out meals – make a list of your weekly basics and build your menu from there. Mine include: ground turkey, organic chicken breasts, free range eggs, season veggies and fruit. I also make sure to keep some pasta and brown rice on hand. After I get home from shopping I do my prep – wash and chop fruits/veggies and bake my chicken.
  2. Hands Free Cooking – Having kids means you don’t always get to do things with two hands. Especially when a certain tiny human is having a fussy day. So I make my kitchen do the work for me! I love my rice cooker and I’ll use it at lease once a week to make a batch of brown rice. Crock pots are a parent’s BFF. I’m a huge fan of using them on the weekend so I can spend more time with my family. And my biggest hands free cooking tip – roasting! Grilled chicken is my go-to protein, but I don’t often have time to babysit a pan of chicken on the stove. So –  I season them with some olive oil, salt and pepper and cook at 350 for 20 – 30 min checking to make sure they are cooked through. You can also roast veggies: broccoli, carrots, brussel sprouts – you name it!
  3. Move Daily – I try to get in at least 20 min of activity a day. I was a regular at the gym before having a baby – but since childcare wouldn’t take an infant, and I rarely have someone to babysit I found other ways to exercise. Sometimes it’s a few laps through the neighborhood with the jogging stroller, or a quick session on my spin bike at home during naptime. I have a yoga mat, exercise ball and some dumbbells that I can use for a strength workout too.
  4. Take Care of You – I know that I’m a better wife and Mama when I try to take a little time for myself. Often, exercise is my “me” time to think and clear my head. Sometimes it’s reading or taking a bath. Whatever helps recharge you – try to make time for that.