Fit Bump: A Preggo Guide

Hi! Hope you’re all having a lovely week!

I wanted to start off by thanking everyone for your messages, posts and well wishes following my little announcement last week! Chris and I are so excited, and I am pumped to share this journey with all of you!

With that said, let’s talk about fitness and pregnancy. There is a TON of misinformation out there and I’d like to clear the air a little. Until pretty recently, the idea of exercise during pregnancy was seriously frowned upon. It was believed, by doctors and civilians alike, that working out could cause harm to the fetus and mother. Now, most of those scary myths have been broken including the following:

  • Never let your heart rate raise about 140 bpm
  • Lifting causes miscarriage
  • Abdominal exercises should be avoided at all costs

Here’s the truth. The 140 bpm myth is arbitrary and basically made up. Women that lift weights and stay active throughout pregnancy are more likely to have an easier labor, control weight gain more easily, and bounce back from pregnancy quicker. Abdominal exercises that include being flat on your back during the end of the second to third trimester should be avoided (as with anything flat on your back) due to strain on the vena cava, HOWEVER increasing core strength (including abdominal, back and pelvic floor) increase posture during and after pregnancy, and can make labor and pushing easier. (Source, Source)

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OK, so…now what? The general consensus is that whatever you were doing before becoming pregnant is safe to do once you are pregnant. That includes running, walking, weight training, swimming, pilates, yoga, crossfit, hula hooping, jump roping, and sitting on your butt (with permission from your doctor first, of course!). Pretty much anything that feels good is safe and that’s the big part to remember. It’s probably not a good time to start a new routine or increase the intensity of an old routine, though. For me, I had been doing a lot of HIIT with plyometrics. Now that I’m pregnant, my stamina is definitely decreased and a lot of interval training and explosive movements don’t feel good anymore. Right now, at 16 weeks, long, brisk walks, weight training and my TRX are feeling awesome.

That being said, here’s a great upper body TRX/dumbbell workout I did this week. The huge benefit of the TRX is that core stablization required to execute exercises correctly. For more TRX info, read this post.

Upper Body TRX Super Sets

  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Complete super set 3x with 15/12/10 reps per exercise. Rest 1 minute between sets.

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That’s pretty much it for me! Hope you all have a fabulous week!

xoR

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Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, all posts are based on personal opinions and my own research. Please consult your own medical team before performing any exercises described here.

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Back to Reality: a Monday back workout

Wahoo! It’s Monday! How was your weekend? Super amazing? I bet.

Chris and I were so happy to have a weekend at home. Well…at weekend at my parents home, since we’re homeless vagabonds for 2 more weeks. We took care of lots of grown up homeowner stuff, which is awesome and makes the idea of moving into our new home much more real! We are also in the progress of refinishing our bedroom furniture with my dad…which is SO fun and messy and rewarding. I’ll post a little DIY blog later this week when they are all done, but I will have you all know that while I am possibly the least creative and handy person in all of Massachusetts, I am LOVING my dressers and it was ALL MY IDEA! (disclaimer: not my idea).

Anyway, on Saturday I went to the gym with my dad like old times and did the following back, bicep and core workout. Be forewarned: if you belong to a YMCA (specifically the YMCA that I currently belong to), someone may yell at you while doing twisting slamballs against the wall because you are scaring children on the other side of said wall. She will also make you feel stupid and will not respond to your glares. You also may need to find a new gym. #whoops. Complete each set 3 times excluding the jog, 8-15 reps per exercise, followed by the 5 min jog between sets.

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Slam Balls

Twisting Slam Ball: Stand with feet shoulder distance apart and parallel to the wall. Rotate torso and throw medicine ball with power toward the wall. Do not move your hips.

I’m super into back workouts, in case you haven’t noticed. I LOVE the look of a strong back on a woman (and a man, obvi), but in addition to looking hot, back muscles are way important. Back muscles, like the traps, deltoids and serratus, attach to your hips, abdominals, chest, shoulders, and neck. Therefore, strengthening these muscles can give you better posture, stronger core, more power for explosive exercises, and stabilization throughout your day. According to the NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, back pain impacts approximately 8/10 adults in the US, which is pretty crazy. Strengthening those muscles may help keep pain at bay, so give it a try and let me know how it goes!

In other news, I received pretty much the world’s best blogger perk last week: homemade ice cream delivery. If you haven’t heard of Scoopsies, then I am giving you permission to leave my blog and go check out their website right now. Seriously…could there be anything better? Homemade ice cream. Delivery. Adorable local owner. If you live in Cambridge, Somerville, Allston, Brighton, Newton, Brookline, and/or Watertown, then PUHLEEEEEESE go check out Scoopsies!

That’s it for me! Have a fab week!

xoR

Fitting It All In: can you have it all?

Life has been really busy lately. Like…crazy busy. I’m still settling at my new job, we moved last weekend, I see clients after work and still volunteer at MEDA. Oh and sometimes I like to see my friends and (god forbid) husband. I’m freaking exhausted! So, how do I still have time to workout, keep up with celebrity gossip and blog?? It’s not easy, but here’s the deal: I make time.

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my priorities have shifted a bit in the past few weeks. Last spring I was writing new workouts to do every morning at 5, take pictures and post across social media. I was super unhappy in my professional life, so I focused my time on building my blog and following. Now, my new job is going really great and I find myself wanting to get there early and not minding staying late. That means waking up even earlier to get my workouts in. It also means I have less time at the gym, so I really have to have a plan of attack when I’m there! I’ve been utilizing outside sources like http://www.bodybuilding.com and the Fitness Games to help me organize workouts.

Another way to fit things in: do fewer things. If I had it my way, I’d work all day, train clients all night, blog every morning,  run support groups every week and drink wine with friends every weekend. Sounds nice…but I’d also last about 1 week before hating my life. I’m the kind of person that wants to do it all, but also the kind of person that gets overwhelmed VERY easily. So instead, I made the very conscious decision to work all day, train a few clients, blog when I have something important to say, and see my friends as much as I can. What’s the point of life if you can’t enjoy yourself?? The. Ore I get involved in, the less important each part becomes. I am much happier and fulfilled when I dedicate myself to a few special things.

Anyway, speaking of making time, I’m WAY into interval and circuit training. I have an interim gym membership while we camp out at my parents house at the YMCA, which is actually the worlds tiniest gym. Therefore I need to be pretty creative with my workouts as to avoid equipment that’s being monopolized by high schoolers or the elderly (I’m the only one in between I think). I did the following workout the other day, and I have to say that I successfully did not wait for a machine or walk into any meatheads!

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Do each set 3x, then do a tabata interval before moving to the next set. Tabata intervals are 20s of work followed by 10s of rest for 8 rounds or 4 minutes total. Finish the workout with 3 rounds of the shoulder circuit with no rest.

And in case I don’t have enough to do, Chris and I are participating in the Light the Night fundraiser through Chris’ company, Agios. Funds support leukemia and lymphoma research and treatment. Please consider donating to our team goal!

you can learn more about Agios and the cool stuff they’re doing in this New Yorker Article!

So, how do you fit it all in? 

xoR

#SweatPink and Frozen Fenway: My week thus far.

Hey Hey!

I’m cold and gloomy…must be the last day of April in Massachusetts. WTF??

I got some exciting news the other day! I was accepted as a Sweat Pink Ambassador on the FitApproach.com! Fit Approach is a super cool community of fitness driven women that are chosen based on their ability to inspire fitness, balance and health!

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This is their mission statement:

We believe that kicking ass is best done in pretty shoes. We’ve learned that real women sweat, and sweat hard. We know that assertiveness, strength, and ambition are the ultimate feminine qualities. We concede that sometimes it takes hours to get ready, but we’re also no strangers to just rolling out of bed and going. We’re convinced that we run faster in pink shoelaces. We believe in pushing ourselves, and we believe in giving ourselves a break, too. We’re all about the rush of endorphins and the thrill of the challenge. We’re all for looking great and feeling even better. We’re committed to finding our best fit, and making it stick.

Sound familiar?? They even sent me hot pink shoelaces 🙂 I’m pretty excited to get rolling with this group of kickass ladies!

Anyway, yesterday Chris and I got back to the gym for the following back and bicep workout. I went back to giant sets with this one, so each set includes a back exercise, a bicep exercise and a body weight cardio interval. Complete each giant set back to back to back 3 times with 30s-1m rest between sets. I aimed for 10-12 reps per exercise, 30s per cardio interval.

Back and Bicep Giant Sets

Giant set #1:

  • Reverse pull up
  • Barbell Curls
  • Supermans

Giant set #2:

  • Pull-ups
  • Alternating DB curls
  • In-in-out-out with ladder

Giant set #3:

  • Bent over row
  • Twist DB curls
  • Shoulder taps

Giant set #4:

  • Good mornings
  • Drag curls
  • Battle Rope slams

This workout also featured my Big Buck Hunter Championship shirt. I know, you’re jealous. I would be too.

Last night I met some of my favorite chicks at Fenway for a FREEEEEEEZING cold Red Sox game. Luckily there were approximately 7 people there and we were able to sit pretty much wherever we wanted, instead of our bleacher seats. We left in the 6th inning due to frozen fingers, but it was a fun excuse to hang out with some awesome ladies!

Ugh. Down coats in April. #sadface. That’s it for me today…make it a great day!

xoR

Curls for the Girls: drop sets, super sets, and fish tacos.

Morning! It’s Wednesday, which means we’re halfway to the weekend!

This weekend is particularly special because it is the NEDA Walk, Boston, hosted by MEDA! I’ve decided to volunteer with a few other group leaders this year, so it should be a good time! The walk is happening at Newton North High School and the goal is to raise $90k. It should be pretty incredible, so come on down if you’re in the area! (I still think it’s really weird that NEDA hosts walks to raise ED awareness…like what a great opportunity for compulsive exercisers to shine! Oy. Oh well).

So far this week HAS been pretty quiet, which is a change for me. I’m loving that the weather seems to be improving and I have some free time to enjoy it. Yesterday, I did the following back and bicep superset workout. This workout features super sets and drop sets. Super sets are two exercises (of opposing muscle groups) performed back to back with no rest. Drop sets are performed after the last heavy super set, where the weight is dropped to about 50% of your max and performed until failure. Drop sets cause muscle fatigue by engaging slow and fast twitch muscle fibers and are thought to increase muscle mass (aka strength and definition!)

Sorry, but my photographer was unavailable again. Just know that I was wearing my favorite wedgie shorts.

Back and Bicep Drop Set Burner

Perform each super set 3 times, with 8-12 reps per exercise (12 on the first round, 10 on the second, 8 on the third, with increasing weight). Follow the third super set with an immediate drop set. Rest 1 minute between sets.

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You probably know most of these exercises by now. The only newer one is the “reverse curl”. I didn’t actually do a reverse curl, but I’m not sure what I did is called. Start by doing a standard dumbbell bicep curl, then when you reach the top, flip your hands toward the ground and descend slowly. This targets the brachioradialis, which is located in the forearm. I’ve never done this exercise before, and I was amazed by the weakness in this area! Hello forearms!

This workout was deceptively hard! My arms were dead at the end due to all those drop sets! I texted Chris halfway through saying I was ready to quit and he sent me this picture:

IMG_5172He knows me so well.

After my workout, I was starving and threw together some fish tacos. YUM! And so easy!

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Recipe:

Serves 3-4

  • 4 Tilapia filets
  • 2 cups broccoli slaw
  • 1 medium avocado, chopped
  • .5 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 tbsp Mrs. Dash no-salt seasoning
  • 4 whole wheat tortillas (I used Trader Joe’s low carb version)
  • hot sauce to taste

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. To prepare fish, pat dry with paper towels (otherwise they get mushy!) and season with Mrs. Dash (or what ever kind of seasoning you like!). Bake for 10-12 minutes, until fish is flaky. Then go to town with toppings! I like to eat mine warm with a handful of raw broccoli slaw, avocado, and goat cheese, and top with a ton of Cholula hot sauce. I ate 2 tacos and served them with a combo of black and garbanzo beans that I warmed in a pan. A note about toppings: Tilapia is a very lean protein. This meal requires some fat to make sure your body absorbs the nutrients of the fish and veggies. So while avocado and goat cheese are on the more fattening side, they are really important in order to make this a balanced meal. Plus, they taste damn good.

Also, notice the glass of wine. Chris and I had decided that this week we were going to detox from booze…then he came home with this bottle claiming that wine doesn’t count. I mean, he’s a scientist…so he’s probably right 😉

That’s it for me! Have a spectacular day!

xoR

Back, Biceps, and Beer: a tribute

Happy Saturday! HOORAY! Lately, I’m living for the weekend…so let’s rock and roll.

Yesterday, I did a back and bicep workout (as promised!). I have to say, I’m able to lift much heavier weight with both chest and back when training each group separately. As we all know: heavy weight = stronger muscles = happy girl. Heavy weight ≠ Big, bulky, hulk-like girl. I will continue to hammer that into your heads forever, so get used to it.

Back and Biceps

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Here are some videos to get you movin’:

reverse grip lat pull down

drag curls

cross body curls <–except use some weight

After this workout, I went over to Forever 21 (because I refuse to grow up) and tried on some tops and made an observation. Biceps and shirts made for children do not mix:

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Ok, I get it. The shirt is ugly AND cutting off circulation to my arms.

 On another note, this weekend is St. Patrick’s Day! In Boston, we take this holiday VERY seriously. In fact, Suffolk County (where Boston is located) refers to the day as “Evacuation Day” and gives employees of the city the day off from work! Bostonians LOVE a good drinking holiday (like Marathon Monday, because nothing supports runners more than beer). Chicks struggling with eating disorders may not feel the same way. I have a long-standing, awkward relationship with Boston-based all day drinking extravaganzas.

Don’t get me wrong: I definitely enjoy a few cocktails, but in the past definitely used alcohol as an escape. It was always easy to drink away the stress and anxiety of life…and being a state school alum, I am very familiar with binge drinking Thursday-Sunday every week. There are literally hundreds of pictures of me looking real drunk, confused, and hungry. Many people relate eating disorders to addiction, and I absolutely agree. In fact, many individuals suffering from eating disorders, also struggle with alcohol and drug addiction, among other mental health conditions.

A very big part of my recovery included taking a look at avoidance strategies that I was using, including binge drinking. This also included taking a look at my circle of friends and determining who was unhealthy for me to be around. It’s unpleasant and painful, but sometimes you have to take care of you.

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So now, years later, I am able to look forward to a weekend of booze of friends and know that I am able to control myself around former triggers. If you’re not ready, it’s totally alright to say “no thanks”. As for me, I’m totes gonna drink some green beers and rock out in Southie.

That’s all the knowledge I can drop today. Have a fab weekend! Stay safe out there, Boston!

xoR

Chest, Back and a Whole Lotta Rest

Oh Heyyyy! Just ANOTHER snow day here…Jamaica is just looking better and better lately.

This morning Chris and I got out of the house before the snow and did a chest and back workout. Check it out!

All the circuits are 3 sets of 10. Complete 20 total mountain climbers and plank jacks per set and 10 medicine ball tosses (with a partner or against the wall). As always, rest 1 minute between sets.

Chest and Back

  • Difficulty: intermediate
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I wanted to talk a bit about the importance of rest days. I typically work out 4-6 times a week for about an hour because that’s what works for me. Something I’ve struggled with in the past is finding balance between too much exercise and the guilt associated with my perception of too little exercise. My eating disorder really manifested itself in the way of compulsive exercise (once the other forms of purging had subsided), and I generated my own self worth based on how much I could exercise in a given week. In my mind, exercise=good, lots of exercise=better, way too much exercise=best. If I skipped a workout, my life really came to a screeching halt. My day to day was centered around my gym time, and if I couldn’t fit something in (like a hair cut, a doctor’s appointment, dinner with an old friend), then those activities would be cut first. The gym always won. In my mind: I was a good person because I was working out every day.

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A very hard and important lesson I have learned through my recovery is that quality far surpasses quantity. I know it sounds cliche, but it’s the truth. You’d be amazed how much better your body works when you treat it well. I was tired, grumpy, and weak for years because I was under fueling and over taxing my body. I thought I was just a tired person and that was the way it was going to be. Turns out, there’s more to life than elliptical machines and yawning. Missing a workout isn’t the end of the world. Changing a workout that doesn’t feel good doesn’t make you a bad person. Grabbing dinner and drinks with your besties won’t turn you into a monster. Laying on the couch all day watching Downton Abbey for 8 hours straight doesn’t make you a failure. In fact, I recommend all of those things! Often! Listen to your body. Need an extra hour of sleep today? The gym will still be there tomorrow. Rest is just as important as activity because your body  needs time to recharge and heal. Muscles need fuel and rest to grow. So far this week I slept through my alarm on Monday and Wednesday. Know what? I’m still awesome.

I really can’t stress it enough: my life is infinitely better without my eating disorder. It was a hard breakup. We were together for nearly two decades! But just like any other unhealthy relationship, I’m better off without him.

How often do you work out? Let me know in the comments!

xo R