Fitness

Staying Fit in the Summer While Pregnant

Back when we announced we were expecting a baby boy this September, the first thing most moms said to me (after congratulations, of course) was “Oh no, you’re going to be so uncomfortable in the summer”.

I mean, you’re going to be uncomfortable by your third trimester anyway — but since your basal body temperature is running higher and your heart is beating faster as your body works hard to grow a tiny human, you’re much warmer than normal. And also sweatier. Which when combined with the necessary extra maternal fat you gain when pregnant, means uncomfortable chafing pretty much everywhere.

Ugh.

32 weeks!

Knowing I wanted to try to continue exercising for as long as possible, I started to read up on pregnancy exercise tips and the best products to try to help make sweating it out in the summer a little more tolerable. Here’s what I discovered — let me know if any of you pregnant or new moms have anything to add!

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My Prenatal Workout Routine

Since we returned from our New Zealand honeymoon in February, I’ve been trying to do at least two full-body workouts per week, plus some form of prenatal yoga at least once a week. My body definitely feels less achy when I maintain this routine, so even though sometimes I feel so exhausted I’d rather just crash on the couch, I try to do at least 15 minutes of something a few times a week.

It’s well known there are so many benefits to exercising throughout pregnancy, and if you were quite active before getting pregnant you can still continue your workout regime with some modifications to keep your body and baby safe. Since I cut out all exercise aside from yoga and walking before getting pregnant, my prenatal workout routine (shared below) is rather light compared to what it used to be, and that’s okay.

I’ve noticed as my belly gets bigger I need to modify things a bit more (lunges aren’t feeling so great now and I’m being careful with how I engage my core as I’m noticing some ab separation already), but otherwise I’m hoping to keep this up right until delivery.

Prenatal Full Body Workout

A few tips/things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you are cleared by your doctor before doing any prenatal exercise.
  • Use a wider stance (feet hip-width or slightly farther apart, toes slightly pointed outward) than before you were pregnant during standing exercises to help you stay balanced.
  • Use a chair or other prop for balance if needed.
  • Ensure you maintain proper form (knees not tracking over toes when bending, keep your core engaged for a nice straight back) – if you can’t, don’t do they exercise.
  • Watch for ab coning.
  • Obviously avoid any exercises on your stomach, crunches, and extreme twists.
prenatal workout

I can usually do this routine in 15-20 minutes, as I kind of power through without breaks and only use 5-8 lb dumbbells so it acts as my cardio routine as well. I also usually do an extend yoga stretch at the end, making sure to hold long side-stretch poses now that baby’s feet are constantly up in my ribs (ouch).

Let me know if you try the above workout or if you have any other favourite prenatal workouts to suggest!

New stuff coming to the blog!

Hi friends! Long time no chat!

I kind of disappeared (again) after new years, but for a good reason. My hubby and I took of to New Zealand for three weeks for honeymoon number two and had the most amazing time. We stayed with my family in the North Island for most of our trip, and rented a camper van to drive almost 2,500 kms around the South Island for a week. We saw so much of the country that it was almost exhausting, but we have a hard time just lying around doing nothing on vacation anyway so we wouldn’t have done it any other way!

Now that we’re back to real life, I figured I should either get back to writing regularly, start teaching yoga or maybe take on training clients again. Even though I’m fully recovered from hypothalamic amennorhea now and have started to ease back into exercise after almost three months off, I’m not ready to jump back into that world completely… BUT, luckily, my bestie Janine had a great idea for me to work on in the meantime — make all the hundreds of training plans I’ve created over the past four years available for download!

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Why I’m still diligent about tracking exercise and nutrition

One of the best things about logging and tracking your progress – be it keeping a personal diary, bullet journaling, logging workouts or tracking nutrition – is looking back at certain points in time when you remember feeling at your best (or at your worst) to see what was going on so you can either disrupt or adopt certain habits and behaviours.

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Gear Review: Running and lifting in Swiftwick Socks

A few months ago, the nice people at Swiftwick sent me three pairs of their running socks to test out and review. Because you can only get a good feel for workout clothes — and socks in particular — by wearing them during all kinds of workouts in all kinds of weather and conditions, I took my time putting each pair through their paces. Also, I’ve only been running once or twice a week, so I wanted to make sure I got a good feel for each pair as they are all a bit different in terms of material, cushioning and compression.

Yes, socks can be as custom as running shoes are these days! (more…)

A strength coach tries to get InstaFit: Which popular exercise program is more effective – Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide or the Tone It Up Challenge?

This year, I decided to spice up my regular strength training and running routine by trying a few exercise programs that seem to be popular with the Instagram crowd due to their impressive #transformationtuesday progress pictures and heavy focus on their respective social media communities: the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide (#BBG) and the Tone It Up Bikini Challenge (#TIUChallenge).

Besides trying something new for fitness last year, I was curious to see if these Insta-popular exercise programs are actually safe and effective from a strength training, functional movement and body composition point of view, instead of just another way to burn extra calories.

**Warning! This post contains #Fitspo images (bikini bods, abs, butts, etc.), so maybe don’t read it on your work computer OR if you’re trying to avoid images like that.*** (more…)

Could akrasia be getting in the way of your health goals? Here’s how to overcome it

akrasiaFirst off, you might be thinking, akrasia? Is this some new sensitivity associated with gluten? Is it slowing down my metabolism so I can’t lose weight? Is it causing leaky gut syndrome so I’m retaining water and feel bloated all the time? Is it altering my thyroid and messing with my hormones?

Here’s the definition of akrasia from the Oxford Dictionary:

a·kra·sia
əˈkrāZH(ē)ə/
noun: Philosophy
noun: akrasia; noun: acrasia

  1. The state of mind in which someone acts against their better judgment through weakness of will.

So, in other words, this state of mind:

I think I’ll sleep in rather than get up and go for that run I planned to do because my bed is cozy and warm and it’s cold and gross outside, even though I know running will make me fitter and boost my mood.

Or

Might as well eat this whole bar of chocolate/extra piece of pizza/bag of chips because it’s delicious and I’m feeling stressed, and this helps make me feel better right now… even though I’m trying to cut back on sugar/salt/fat to try to lose weight so I can be healthier and have more energy to play with my kids. (more…)

8 tips to help you have a happier, healthier holiday season

8-tips-to-help-you-have-a-happier-healthierWith American Thanksgiving/Black Friday this week and Christmas too not far behind, you’re no doubt starting to experience that familiar holiday feeling: Stress.

Standing in line at Wal-Mart to get that Lego Star Wars kit for your 10-year-old; spending hours on hold with UPS trying to track down that package you ordered from Amazon early (because you were trying to beat the rush) that’s been shipped to the wrong address; hitting up grocery store after grocery store trying to find baking supplies for those thoughtful homemade gifts you’re planning to make (apparently everyone had the same gift idea); and trying to find the time to whip up a different appetizer to bring to each of the seven holiday parties you’re invited to over the next several weeks… it’s exhausting.

And let’s not forget about the guilt you’ll feel after mindlessly inhaling all the delicious holiday baking available at said seven Christmas parties (and the leftovers coworkers bring into the office after the weekend) and not being able to get to the gym because you have baking to do, decorations to put up, and Christmas parades to attend. (more…)

Hustle smushustle: Why it’s okay not to always have goals

havegoalsThis past week — save for one day when I made it in to work and one day where I worked from home — I struggled simultaneously with recovering from a marathon, a head cold and the worst fever blisters I’ve ever had all at once, and being productive with my downtime. Normally I would have had several freelance articles on to go I could have worked on, a few blog posts to write and some strength training plans that I could have completed in my time at home and felt satisfied that I used my sick time wisely and productively.

But I didn’t have anything I “needed” to do. I wrote two blog posts and one strength plan in half a day, then started to stress out. I have time at home and can’t workout, which is rare — I need to be working on something!

Instead of relaxing with a book or a bowl of popcorn and Netflix like any normal person would on a sick day, I started researching all sorts of things I should be doing. Writing more blog posts. Brainstorming a book proposal. Looking into more ad networks. Planning my next training cycle. Reading other fitness blogs. Figuring out what I want to do with Koru Personal Training next (marketing? A downloadable guide? Online groups?).

In my frantic search for something I should be doing to better myself or my side businesses, I came across this article on Brainpickings.org and let out a deep breath after reading the following quote: (more…)

My post-marathon recovery plan and why runners need a post-season

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In the pain cave at the 2016 VIctoria Marathon

So far I’m having a fairly typical post-marathon recovery.

My legs are incredibly sore and I’m walking like a zombie. The head cold I got just before my race is still kicking around (because I ran a marathon instead of resting like a normal person). My underarms are still sore and chafed, so I’m applying lotion liberally and not wearing scratchy sweaters. My marathon hanger has subsided, and I’m ensuring I take in lots of protein to aid in muscle repair and recovery. And as usual, I totally compromised my immune system by running hard and have the worst fever blister ever covering 75% of my nose and a bit of my chin. It’s so bad I actually had to work from home today — I look like quasimodo with my poor nose and shuffle-limp. I’m currently locked away in the bell tower hunched over my computer, only lumbering downstairs occasionally for tea and snacks. (more…)

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