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I was excited to see this article from NPR posted on the page of my Friends over at GroupExPro titled “Stand up, Walk Around, Even for 20 minutes”
 

It builds on a few conversations I have been having both around the blogosphere and IRL (I had to throw in the “in real life” slang there, since I am soo geeky) about the difference between ‘Health’ and ‘Fitness’.
 

A fitness friend posed the question. “Are 15 minute workouts worth it?”
 

She received a slew of responses from “yes, as a busy mom, sometimes its all I can do” to “No, people are fooling themselves if they think 15 minutes do anything”
 

I freely admit that the former avid exerciser in me often will skip a workout if I can’t make it a long enough one. But the problem with that mentality, is that over the last 4 years, I have skipped more workouts than I have done…
 

I have had to change my attitude about what it means to be healthy and now fall firmly in the any-exercise-is-good-for-you camp.
 

I strongly suggest you go and read the NPR article, but here are my favorite points.

     

  • Research shows that people who stand up for every 20 minutes of sitting have a lower rate of diabetes than people who sit for the full workday.
  • Walking may be the single best exercise on the planet
  • Warm up prior to exercise, but don’t stretch, it sends a signal to your brain your muscles is about to be damaged. But warming up the tissue with a warm up IS important.
  • You can become healthy with much lower time and intensity of exercise than it takes to become fit
  • Chocolate milk is a great recovery drink!

 
 

Lets change our attitudes about what it means to be fit and lets focus on getting healthy!  Now, if you’ll excuse me…I am going for a walk!

My view for the majority of my vacation…yes please!

I just returned from a lovely kid-free weekend with my husband. We had an amazing time. We pretty much ate, slept and lounged our way through two and a half delightful Southern California days. But we have also been on a major health kick for the past two months and we didn’t want to blow all our hard work. Here are a few things that help us enjoy ourselves and stay on task.

1. Have an eating/splurging plan– My husband and I would try to think ahead each day about how we wanted to enjoy our meals. We knew we want to have a nice dinner with wine to celebrate our anniversary one night, so we had hard boiled eggs and fruit for breakfast that morning. Then the day we did the buffet brunch, we had salads for dinner.

2. Pick Your Poison- Decide what is important to you, then eat that. While my husband was looking forward to poolside cocktail service, I was looking forward to being a little looser with my food. I stuck with water at breakfast and thoroughly enjoyed 3 pieces of bacon, where as he ordered a Bloody Mary, but skipped the breakfast meats.

3. Drink More Water- If you are on vacation chance are you; flew in an airplane, drove a long distance, you are eating richer, saltier food, drinking more alcohol and/or are in a different climate than you are used to. All of these are reasons to increase your water intake. (Plus, water helps you feel full and sated and may help you from over-eating)

4. Wear More Sunblock Than You (think you) Need– I was wearing 45, but it was my first time in the sun since last summer and I still got fried!

5. Pack Healthy Snacks– An apple, a healthy bar or some nuts pack easily and can take the edge off until you make that later-than-usual dinner reservation. Then you don’t inhale the whole bread basket when you sit down.

6. Fit In Fitness– We were on a (delightfully) kid-free vacation, so we were able to make it to the gym both mornings. But even if you have the little ones in toe, try to take the whole family for a walk, or trade off gym time with your spouse, or a few laps in the pool. Or make your fitness FUN, my husband must have climbed the stairs to the resort’s waterslide 25 times in a row…that’s better than the stair master any day!

Way more fun than the stair master!!

7. Don’t fall for peer pressure– If you don’t want another drink, don’t have one, even if other’s in your party are. Or if the waiter asks if you want a second basket of chips, you can say no.

8. ENJOY YOURSELF– Vacation is all about having fun, relaxing with the one’s you love and enjoying a change of pace. I came home feeling like I enjoyed the food, the drinks and the lounging around immensely and was still proud of the steps we took to stay on our healthy track. But remember, your vacation will end and you will get back to your routine. So if you order a Bloody Mary AND the bacon, you’ll be fine…just be sure to enjoy every vacation-y bite!

ENJOYING date night!

Help me celebrate my dad’s birthday by donating to his fundraising efforts!

My dad is a pretty dedicated guy.  He is a dedicated father, husband and an amazing grandfather.   He seems to always have the best advice, that one line that puts everything into perspective.

For the last 8 years, he has also been dedicated to raising funds and completeing the almost 600 mile bike ride to Los Angels to participate in the AIDs/Lifecycle .   ALC is a 7 day ride from San Francisco to Los Angles to raise money and awareness in the fight against AIDS/HIV.

My dad spends countless hours logging countless miles on his bike to prepare for this ride (not to mention stay in great shape and enjoy his retirement).

He has also become very active in his local bike community and has become an advocate for bicycle safty.  He writes articles for his local paper, speaks at bike club meetings and has even had sit down meetings with others in the community on how to better share the road between bicylists and drivers.

I cannot think if a better birthday gift than to help him reach his fundrasing goal.

It’s easy to think that HIV/AIDS is no longer a problem. Medications have come a long way, and people are living longer, healthier lives. This is why the work of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center is so vital. These agencies continue to provide the critical services and education needed to meet the growing needs of our community. We ride to raise awareness and knowledge about HIV/AIDS among participants, their donors, and the general public. We ride because—in the current economy—our agencies need these funds more than ever. Ultimately, we ride so that someday, we won’t have to.

So please, considered donating to my dad and his ride this year. Remember, even $5 will help him reach his goals and help 2 great organizations reach their goals! You are supporting a great cause and a great man.

Go to his personal donation page here 

Happy Birthday Dad!

ALC is an amazing, fun and ‘different’ kind of fundraising event!

We are busy getting ready for my daughter’s FIRST birthday here in the BUMP Life household.  But not to leave you hanging for a FRIDAY FIT TIP, you are in for a treat!

 

My friend, Caroline Jordan , has put together an AMAZING ab workout video.  Its only about 7 minutes long, and I guarantee you are going to feel it!  So give it a try today and check out her site and her other videos, she’s got some great suggestions!

 

And I’ll post party pictures later this week!!

 

Caroline Jordan Fitness: Medicine Ball Abs

Last week’s Friday Fit Tip was all about multitasking.  I told you about my client who was finding time for fitness by doing her abdominal exercises sitting on her son’s bedroom floor while he falls asleep at night.  Brilliant!

So we thought we’d show you the four exercises that she does at night.


Seated Abdominal Series

Exercise #1: Heel Lifts

Starting position for all of the exercises in the series

Sit reclining back just until you feel some tension on your abs, but no back strain.  Pull your belly button into your spine, don’t let your abs push out.  Balance on heels.  Hold arms out straight in front of you (keep shoulders down).

Lift one leg up at a time. Maintain stability in your core though out the exercise.

Lift one heel at a time while maintaining core stability

Exercise #2: Seated twists

Start from the same reclined position, rotate to the side

Start in the same position as above.  Twist upper body moving hands(like you’re holding a ball) from hip to hip.

Maintain the recline and rotate to the other side

Exercise #3:  Arms Over Head

Draw your abs in!

Begin again from the reclined position.  Abs engaged.  Start with arms straight out in front of you and slowly raise them over your head and return to the starting position.  Your body does not move.

Bring arms over head slowly.

Exercise #4:  Triceps Dips

Still maintain abdominal engagement, even during arm exercises

Sit in same reclined position, abs still engaged.  Put hands on floor behind you, fingers pointing towards your body.  Bend your elbows and lower your upper body down.  Pull your abs in and push back to start position with your hands.

Lower your body down, keep belly button drawn in to spine

Do as many repetition of the above exercises as you can while maintaining good form and keeping peace in your house.  If you do 10 of each, or 30 of each, you’ll be fitting in fitness into your busy life!  You can do these exercises anywhere, any time.  As part of your kids bedtime routines, while you watch TV, on vacation or first thing in the morning.  The most important part is that you do them!

*special thanks to my lovely client, Amanda,  for being my model (and my inspiration for this post!)

Its a little late in the day for our Friday Fit Tip….but its still Friday!!  And if I have learned one thing while being a parent, sometimes you just have to fit things in where you can!

 

Which is perfect for todays fit tip.

 

Today’s tip actually comes from one of my personal training clients.  She is trying to teach her 3.5 year old to fall asleep more independently, as he had gotten used to her lying down with him at night until he falls asleep.

 

She made a deal with him that she would sit on the floor next to his bed while he falls asleep and guess what she does while she is sitting there????

 

AB EXERCISES!!!!

 

She goes through a seated ab series that we do in our workout*, it takes about 5-10 minutes.  If he is not asleep, she does a few stretches.

 

He now says at night, “mommy, stay and do your exercises until I fall asleep”

 

She told me that in just a week of doing these exercises every night, she feels stronger and can do more repetitions.

 

I was so proud…

 

So fitness really is where you find it.  Where can you find 5 minutes for yourself and your health?  I know I’ll be re-examining my daily routine too!

 

(**Stay tuned and I’ll post the ab routine that she does at night!)

Take your kids out for a bike ride today and you'll both get a little extra activity

I find the days I am busy are the days I make the unhealthiest choices.  I tend to make “convenient” food choices and skip activity.

 

But as I often advise my clients, small choices add up (both positively and negatively).  And you don’t have to have a perfect day every day to be healthy.

 

So my FIT TIP FRIDAY suggestion is make ONE extra healthy choice today.

 

Here are some ideas:

  1. Run around with your kids at the park instead of watching from a bench
  2. Have some carrots with hummus as an afternoon snack instead of pirate’s booty
  3. Have 1 glass of wine with dinner instead of two
  4. Skip dessert
  5. Do 10 squats and 10 push-ups while watching TV tonight
  6. Ask them not to bring chips to the table
  7. Have an apple sliced with peanut butter
  8. Eat a larger portion of veggies and a smaller portion of the rest of your meal
  9. Commit to drinking 8 glasses of water today
  10.  Hard boil some eggs to have on hand this week…when you are busy again

 

It might be that large vanilla latte, not the baby, causing the extra weight

Ok, Ok, I know it is Saturday, not Friday, but cut a busy mom some slack!

I received this question from a fitness friend of mine who has a few clients who told her they want to lose the “baby weight”.  She wanted to know if;

“…there such a thing as “baby weight” vs. just “weight” to get off?
Weight, regardless is hard to lose, but does “baby weight” have more issues? “

GREAT question.  I think “baby weight” is all in the definition.  Are we talking about weight that was gained during pregnancy or weight that was gained from the demanding first few months of motherhood when mom is sleep deprived, stressed out, not exercising and doing a lot of ‘convenience’ eating?  Sometimes these two overlap and get confusing.

Here is my answer back to her:

Baby Age:

How old are the babies (that caused this baby weight)?  If they are under a year (or more so under 6 months) and especially if the moms are still breastfeeding, then I would consider that ‘pregnancy weight.’ The average mom gains around 30 lbs during pregnancy and it  is made up of the weight of the baby, placenta, increased cellular fluid, increase breast tissue, increased blood column, and some increase fat.  In fact, increase in blood volume alone accounts for about 4 pounds and increase breast tissue is 2 pounds!

Breast Feeding:

Also, breast feeding is a big contributor to weight loss.  Although very calorically expensive (some say breast feeding is the best weight loss system…never the case for me), your body tends to store between 5-10 lbs of weight (read: fat) while you are feeding a baby to make sure that if there is a famine or your tribe is not able to kill a buffalo, you will still be able to feed your child. No one has told our bodies about Whole Foods, and that, really, its ok to ditch that security weight.

Hormones:

Also, weight around pregnancy is very hormonally driven, just like gaining weight at puberty and menopause is common. When hormones start to regulate, the weight some times does too.  Experts say hormones after pregnancy can stay out of balance for 6-18months.  *If you are doing EVERYTHING right and still not able to lose weight, you should have your hormone levels checked.

Too Much Take-out:

Now if your clients are, like me, a year or more out, no longer breastfeeding and survived on too much take-out, and vanilla lattes in those early months, the extra weight is probably just that, extra weight.

For most of your group, its probably the latter.  What tends to happen is in the few weeks following birth, the ‘extra’ weight IS pregnancy weight, extra fluid, blood volume etc.  But as those factors start to regulate (and come down), mom’s habits are taking over.  She is probably sleep deprived and eating extra carbs, sugar and caffeine  for that energy boost.  She is also probably eating that creamy noodle casserole the neighbor brought over, or asks her husband to pick up something on his way home, since the baby cries from 4pm to 10pm straight and there is no way to make a healthy dinner during the witching hours (that wasn’t just me, right??)

Bone Structure: 

One more thing. Remember that bone structure can actually change during pregnancy. And sometimes the expanded hips or rib cage don’t go all they way back to pre-pregnancy size. So if you have ladies that are back or close to back to pre pregnancy weight *number* but not fitting in their old clothes, this could be the culprit. They may need to adjust what size clothes they wear or what style jeans they buy to accommodate their new “mommy” bodies.

A year after my first son was born, I was totally confused why my old jeans were too tight, but the size up were too big.  A lovely sales lady brought me some different styles to try and low and behold…they fit!  Shocker, that I no longer wore the style jeans I had worn since college, right??

Be Realistic:

The best suggestion for either group is common sense eating and realistic, appropriate  exercise.

I think the biggest thing for moms is helping them make realistic choices that fit with their new, crazy, lifestyle. And for those under a year (or heck for all moms) cutting themselves some slack.  Being healthy and taking care of that new little life is the most important thing and the weight will follow.  But maybe I should get that latte habit in check?

So if you find you are still struggling with “baby weight”, take these things in to consideration.  And I’d love to hear what YOUR struggles are, fitness or otherwise, and I’ll feature my answers in an upcoming post.

Take a few minutes to make someone smile!

I CAN SEE!!!!!

No literally, I can see.  Last night, my husband and I changed light bulb in the overhead light in our bedroom that has been burned out for at least a month. It’s a 3 bulb light, so we weren’t in total darkness, but still…

Why had we waited weeks to do that?!?!

It took less than 5 minutes. I actually had the lightbulb we needed in our lightbulb ‘box’, no trip to the store.  My husband could reach by standing on the bed, no ladder needed.  I wiped out the glass cover while he changed the bulb and with a flip of the switch we were back in business.

It really got me thinking about how we put off things that we think are going to be harder than they are or take more time or money than they do.  And how, as we leave those annoying tasks on our to-do lists, they also take up space in our brain and affect our psyche.  For weeks, every time I walked into our room and turned on the too-dim light, I was annoyed.  When I walked into our room later last night, I genuinely felt happiness, I actually smiled at the light!

Making one small change makes a difference!!

Can I apply this to some other items on my to do list?  How about my own health and fitness?

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about taking 10 minutes to change your life.  It turned out to be one of my most viewed posts of all time. I think the idea of changing our life 10 minutes at a time is appealing to a lot of us.

Little things add up to big changes

SO, Here is part 2 in our 10 minute challenge.  Do this with me and let me know how it goes

Minute 1:  Seated ab pulses

Sit tall and draw your belly button into your spine without holding your breath (i.e. use your ab muscles not your diaphragm) and release.  Repeat that pulse 30 times.  Its harder than you think!

Minute 2 and 3: Write a Secret Note

Tell your partner you love them on a scrap of paper and put it in his or her jacket pocket. Or draw a smily face on a sticky note and stick in to your kids’ bathroom mirror.  Or write “have a nice day” on a scrap of paper and leave it on a stranger’s windshield.

This activity does two things.  It makes you take 2 minutes to stop and think about someone who is important to you and it tells that person you took the time to let them know they are important to you.  Both of you will be smiling, I guarantee it!

Minute 4-10: Go change that lightbulb

Or what ever that nagging task is on your list that you just need to DO.  Put away the serving dish still out from the holidays because it goes on a high shelf.  Clean out the old leftovers from the fridge.  Call to make that appointment you have been meaning too.  Write that last thank you card to your great aunt.

Ahhhh…..doesn’t that feel good??

Fitness is where you find it.  And I find myself pushing my son on the swing….alot.  I figure pushing him on the swing is a pretty good upper body exercise, so why not add a few squats and make it a full body workout!

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About Bump Life

Bump Life is a place to support moms and families across all aspects of our lives. A place for tips, expert advice, parenting resources and entertainment. A great place to come for information, support or just a break from our crazy lives. From fitness to finance, from diaper bags to diaper duty, for everything bump, babies and beyond, you'll find it all here at BUMP Life!