Flex Friday: The Kettlebell Killer

I’d say my personal training clients are about 50/50 on kettlebells.  

Half of them LOVE them, claiming that they feel like they get a better workout when we integrate the KB rather than dumbbells alone.  The other half LOATHE them, reminding me that KBs can spike a heart rate faster than an all-out sprint and that swinging them requires both a strong core and a decent cardiovascular endurance level.

That said, before you pick up a kettlebell yourself, consider the following:

  • can you lift it over your head – but with resistance?  If you can’t pick it up and press it, it’s too heavy.  If you can flip it over your head like it ain’t no thang, it’s too light.  I recommend female clients starting at 15# and males at 20-25, moving up to 35# for fit females (CrossFit RX) and 55# for fit males.
  • is your lower back ok?  Rule number one of putting stuff over your head is having a strong enough “base” to support said stuff.  If your lower back strains on shoulder presses, bench presses, or lat raises, you probably don’t want to mess with a KB.

    The proper hip hinge.

  • can you maintain momentum?  Even if you can pick up the kettlebell, if you can’t maintain a consistent and steady swing (momentum movement) using only a “hip hinge” (i.e. not throwing your entire body out), you should stick to dumbbells to build strength before moving forward to a KB.
  • do you have access to the full range of shoulder motion?  Particularly crucial in the overhead (American) swing, you must be able to flex the thoracic spine and retract the shoulder girdle in a way that allows you to get your arms straight overhead without an overpronounced lumbar curve.  This is what I mean by that.

If you’ve gone through the above info and still think kettlebells are for you – fantastic!  I absolutely adore them and use them often in my own workouts to add intensity, rhythm, and strength in between dumbbell and/or other cardio intervals.

In honor of #flexfriday, I’ve put together a ThisFitBlonde exclusive kettlebell workout that will leave you sweating and out of breath after only 10 (!) minutes.  If you want the full “killer” program, rest 2 minutes after the first set and repeat all exercises.

kbellsmemeL

Let me know if you try it and what you think – and tell me about your experience with kettlebells!  Take ’em or leave ’em?

Living Organically: My Top Five Tips

A while back a reader asked me point blank:

Organic food.  Is it worth it?

My answer?  It’s a long story.

Look for this seal.

When I was living in D.C. in 2010, I was obsessed with organics.  I had recently moved there from Orange County, where I had to drive 3 miles just to find a lousy Ralph’s, to a place where I could walk to a Whole Foods and two Farmers’ Markets within a mile.

I was in heaven.  I felt so European, shopping for groceries on a near-daily basis, picking up freshly-baked bread and organic persimmons and sustainably raised salmon.  It was bliss.

But it was also expensive as all get-out.  I was only cooking for one and my grocery bills neared $100 a week; one month I actually exceeded $500 (hey, I was Paleo at the time, and I ate a lot of bison).  I remember bringing three Granny Smith apples to the register once and realizing I had been rung up for $4.59.  FOR THREE APPLES.

When I got back to L.A. and moved in with Nick, I realized I was going to have to change my ways and find strategies to be more frugal, especially when cooking for two.  I turned to cutting coupons (which led to buying more crappy, processed food) and shopping the Manager’s Special shelves (which I still do – and am a damn ninja at doing) at the grocery store, and only venturing out to the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market as an absolute special occasion, feeling guilty about my $7/dozen local eggs the whole way home.

I had to find some balance.

Nowadays, I do my best to shop for organic, sustainably raised and grown food – but don’t stress too much if I can’t afford a $24/pound filet of wild halibut.  Here are some of the ways I make it happen in my household:

It’s not an alien – it’s romanesco!

1) Register for a CSA box.  Before I had Amazon Fresh (see below), I used FarmFreshToYou – but all the services are wonderful – they deliver beautiful, seasonal, all-organic produce from local farmers direct to your doorstep or office.  It’s easy, forces you out of your comfort zone (it was the first time I’d ever seen/eaten romanesco!) and is reasonably priced to boot.  It’s like the lazy man’s Farmers Market.

2) Hit the Farmers’ Market, but take cash – and set a budget.  I used to go to the CFMs all willy-nilly, buying crazy things like handmade empanadas or goat’s milk soap.  And while these things are great, I’d get home after spending $75+ and realize I didn’t have greens for the week.  Before you go, make a rough list of what you need (i.e. “green veggies” or “portable fruit”) and take out cash in the exact amount you are able to spend.  No impulse buying, all focus, all organic.  Well done you.

3) Check out Amazon Fresh.  We actually don’t get a CSA box anymore because Amazon Fresh is so amazing with its organic produce delivery.  You can actually select organic vs. non-organic produce, see the cost difference, and make your own choice from item to item.  This is great for us since we really only stick to organic on the Dirty Dozen (the 12 foods known to be most riddled with pesticides) and buy “normal” on the Clean 15.

This is what’s cooking in my house tonight.

4) Try Blue Apron.  Per my previous post on recipe delivery services, Blue Apron provides fresh, often local and organic (though not exclusively) ingredients to make clean, healthy, and restaurant-quality meals at a fraction of the price.  While I know not every single item is certified organic, I know that Blue Apron is committed to sourcing the finest quality ingredients from top local producers, and honestly, that’s enough for me right now.

5) Engage in organically-focused grocery shopping.  With the recipe and food deliveries we receive on a weekly basis, you must think I never go to the grocery store – but you’d be wrong!  The high cost of sustainably raised and grown meat and fish means that I am often up in my local Sprouts and/or Whole Foods trying to find what’s on sale – and creating meals around those products.  A website called Eat Wild (available now for a few states, including California) helps you find where to buy exclusively grass-fed products.

In short, I try to buy organic and I encourage my clients to do the same.  It’s worth it, for your body, your peace of mind, and the future of our food economy.

Do you try to buy organic?  Why or why not?

The Five Stages of Soreness & How to Break Free

I feel like there are two types of people who get sore after workouts:

It burns

1) People who are formerly sedentary and whose bodies are “waking up” to the shock of actually doing meaningful exercise

2) People who are overactive and have such an intense program of exercise that their bodies always kind of ache

Those who are never sore also fall into two categories:

1) People who don’t do sh*t anyway

2) People who stretch and foam roll so well that they eliminate all soreness before it even has a chance to settle in

Oh, Dickie Simmons, I love you.

I have this fanciful nostalgic memory of being one of the “never-sores,” where I could run miles and miles, lift heavy weights, and then spring out of bed with the vim and vigor of a young Richard Simmons (or heck, even an old Richard Simmons).

I am pretty sure those days were due to a medical condition I used to have called “being in your twenties.”  Now that I’m 30, sh*t is getting real.  I have a general level of hip pain.  My knees are hit or miss.  My mid-back feels like it gets punched while I sleep.  And my whole body crackles.

Now while that might sound alarming, I assure you that for me (and for my fitness level, job status, and age) this is perfectly normal.  For folks that are newer to exercise, just getting into weight lifting, or simply trying a new activity, consider the five levels of soreness – and assess where you fall on the scale:

1) In-Motion Soreness.  This is the kind that sets in during your workout, while you are still actively exercising.  It may come in the form of lactic acid buildup, muscle fatigue, or just “feeling the burn,” but it’s usually fleeting and stops as soon as you stop moving, put down the weights, or catch your breath.

2) Day-Of Soreness.  So you worked out this morning.  Good for you!  But then most likely you went and sat down in a car or office, and suddenly when you got up to go to the bathroom your legs felt like they were going to collapse under you.  Soreness at this point is basically stiffness; your body is beginning to feel the effects of your exertion.

3) Next-Day Soreness.  Ah, the pain of trying something new.  Hamstrings that felt so free and loose in yoga yesterday feel like they’re going to snap in half today.  Hips that shimmied and shook their way through Zumba can barely propel your feet forward today.  Areas that feel sore the next day can give you a clue to muscle imbalances and form problems, too, so pay attention to unilateral (one-sided) pain and/or neck strain.

4) Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).  Yep, this is a thing – a medically documented reality.  You might feel superb the day after a workout and think the soreness has passed you by – only to be blindsided by pain 48 hours after.  DOMS strikes even the strongest among us, especially when trying to “up your game” (run faster, lift heavier, go further).  Find comfort in the fact that it’s only temporary, and usually gone by 72 hours.

5) Chronic Soreness.  Also known as injury, this is the type of burn you don’t want.  Chronic soreness and/or the fatigue associated with it is a sign of chronic inflammation, which is related to a whole host of undesirable health problems.  Chronic soreness accompanies certain sports injuries like stress fractures, muscle strains, and tendinitis.  Any persistent soreness that lasts beyond 72 hours is worth a trip to the sports doc or physical therapist just to make sure everything is OK.

All this being said – I do have some tried-and-true methods for eliminating (or at least managing) soreness.  For example:

  • epsom salts baths.  I swear by ’em.  I buy good old Dr. Teal’s and I soak for a legit 20 minutes, at least twice a week.  This is basic maintenance for me.
  • ice baths.  Also sworn by, but horrifically uncomfortable and really only necessary in the face of massive effort (for example: a 16-mile marathon training run).  15 minutes max for me, and usually with a hot cup of tea in hand to ward off the chills.
  • sports massage.  Whether you prefer Chinese (best spot in L.A.) or Thai massage (like me) or more traditional Western massage, make sure your therapist knows where you’re hurting, what types of activities made you hurt, and how firm you need the pressure to be.  I like to get one at least every two weeks; one a month is crucial.
  • foam rolling.  This is your daily fix – the way you can relieve muscle soreness in a jiffy (caveat: it hurts like hell).  I recommend going through these stretches/exercises to release the conventional spots of soreness, plus going double on any areas that bother you regularly.
  • yoga.  I always tell clients I’ve never gotten injured while doing yoga regularly (for me, just one a week does it) – and it’s true.  When I let the yoga lapse, the inflammation takes over – and that’s no bueno.  You can check out a YouTube at home or hit the studio – it doesn’t take much to reap the stretchy benefits.

What stage of soreness do you feel most often?  What remedies do you use to relieve it?

Would Amanda Eat It?

Trainers get lots of questions.  LOTS.  And if you guys are on my Facebook page, you know that I’ve started a forum to take these questions every Wednesday (called #AskAmanda) so folks can get honest, informed answers about pressing (and let’s be honest, not-so-pressing) health issues.

That said, a lot of the questions I get are about specific foods and diets – what are the “best” fruits to eat on a low-carb diet? How much protein should I be eating?  Should I eliminate gluten or dairy?  But a friend recently sent me a picture of a snack and asked me point blank:

Would you eat it?

Ah, that tricky question.  Would I eat it  – as in, ever?  If I was starving on a desert island?  If I had just run a marathon?  Or mostly in my day-to-day life?  I took it as the latter, and a new feature was born:

Would Amanda Eat It?

That’s right, readers – every Tuesday I’ll be featuring a picture of a product/food item YOU send in (submit via Facebook page or tag me in an Instagram) and giving you the honest word on whether I, as a trainer, nutritionist, but also regular person, would eat it.

Today’s focus?  Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Powerberries.  So let’s take a look:

photo 1 (1)photo 2 (2)The good:

  • they are covered in dark chocolate, which is lower in sugar and higher in antioxidants than other forms of chocolate
  • they are low in cholesterol
  • they do contain some Vitamin C (but see below for the real talk)

The bad:

  • note that these are not a FRUIT product – no no, my friends, these are a “fruit juice” product, which basically means they extracted all the sugar from the fruit, discarded all the nutrients and fiber, and wrapped it in more sugar.  No bueno.
  • speaking of sugar, did you notice that 1/4 cup (which is a SMALL handful!) has 24 grams of it?  Yep, that’s more than HALF of the 40 grams you would want to have IN THE ENTIRE DAY.  For a handful.
  • the whole Vitamin C thing…yeah.  A serving has 30% of your daily needs, but consider this: a single orange (which is actually a whole food, and not just juice, and is filling and delicious) has 85%.  EIGHTY FIVE.  Suddenly the “powerberries” look a lot less powerful.
  • check the ingredient list – it’s a mile long, starts with sugar (a major red flag), and has things like “tapioca dextrin” and “soy lecithin,” which are at best nutritional voids and at worst harmful additives.  Again, not worth it for a tiny handful.

The verdict:

  • No way, Jose.  If I am going to get my dark chocolate and fruit fix, it’s going to be from an organic bar of at least 70% cacao drizzled over some fresh berries.

Just because I wouldn’t eat this product doesn’t mean I don’t eat any junk food ever (remember my tagline: healthy living with a side of indulgence!) – it simply means that if I am going to go down the sugar road, it’s going to be for something worthwhile (a scoop of freshly churned ice cream, for example) – not some juiced-up berries in a bag.

Would you eat it?  Tell me why or why not in the comments!

Workout Review: RockSweat

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An L.A. icon

When a friend of mine invited me to RockSweat, I was immediately on board.  The idea is this: you go to an iconic L.A. concert venue (The Roxy) at 9am (not that early, all things considered) and hit a high-intensity interval workout set to high-energy rock music.  So I grabbed my friend Carrie from Steps2Nutrition and headed out to the Sunset Strip on a sunny Saturday morning.

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Post-sweat glow

What I didn’t expect was how truly music-focused the entire workout was.  When we got there, the tunes were already pumping over the amazing Roxy sound system, and a screen onstage was playing images to match the music.  As soon as you walked in, it felt like a night club – but without the alcohol stink and sticky floors (they clean it up really well for this event!).

The workout kicked off with Guerrilla Radio and I was already hooked – the 1-minute HIIT intervals were killer (think burpees, mountain climbers, push-ups, and squat-kicks, all back to back), but it was all balanced out by a (still tough) core segment (during which we learned about music history at The Roxy, which was cool) and a relaxing yoga segment to end it all.

Even cooler?  During one of the cardio segments I was able to get up on stage and actually “demo” the workout with the instructors, which I of course loved – and will be doing again soon!  After talking to the (awesome!) co-founders, Evan and Diane, and finding out about their concept, I wondered if what I do (group fitness instruction) would help them out – and they said YES!

So guys, if this workout sounds like something you can’t miss – and if you live in L.A. or are visiting – come ROCK on Saturday, November 22nd at 9am.  I’ll be teaching a segment, the music will be pumping, and we will SWEAT it up in style.

photo 4

Just two girls in a bar…working out

The gang's all here!

The gang’s all here!

How important is music to your workouts?  What’s your favorite fitness class?

Weekend Roundup

I feel like every day I discover a new amazing blog – but I never have time to commit to reading everything I want to read in a remotely timely fashion.  Do you guys feel the same way?  Hopefully I’m doing you guys a service with this week’s links-around-the-world:

I am constantly on the hunt for glowy skin – but I hate BS tips on how to get it.  Here’s some real talk.

No more getting nude in public!  I mean, unless you want to.

I love when I have time to get all dolled up and put my face on, but that’s about once a month for me.  Here are some shortcuts for every other day.

As much as I consider myself ultimately gangsta, I could never pull off using rap lyrics in real life with a straight face.

You put bacon in a salad and I assure you I am going to want to eat that salad.

If you guys know me, you know that shelter dogs have about 97% of my heart – and here are some of the wonderful reasons why.

Don’t act like you don’t want this, and furthermore, don’t act surprised when you get one from me for Christmas.

This is a perfectly legitimate workout presented in a completely illegitimate fashion.  And I support that.

Did you see that video about catcalling in NYC?  And then did you see Tosh.0’s version set in L.A.?  Oh, the hilarity – and also, the bitter truth.

I am 5000% obsessed with trying out this fitness trend – who wants to bounce with me?

What are you guys checking out this week?  Which blogs do you think I should read?

Another Round of Lessons From the Organizing Pro

Remember when the organizer first came to my house and fixed my kitchen?  And then do you guys recall when she came back and we tackled the hell out of my bookcases?

Well, we just stepped it up a notch, Teresa (the organizer) and I.  We took it to the big leagues: my bedroom closet.

Sure, pretty much every closet in my home is jam-packed – we only have so much space, and we house two people with lots of stuff.  But I don’t have to see every closet in my home every day of my life.  I do, however, have to dress myself daily.  And so having an organized, well-structured and separated closet was a huge priority for me.

Upon looking at my disaster, Teresa noted the following issues:

  • Nick and I had TWO separate and distinct Master-bedroom closets, and yet we each had stuff in both of them – meaning neither of us had our own space
  • There was a ton of stuff in the closets unrelated to dressing (memorabilia, wrapping paper, and sporting goods, to name a few)
  • There was an utter lack of organizational tools, such as bins, buckets, boxes, or anything to separate what had become piles of stuff loaded up on the shelves
photo 2

Jammed-in clothes and Nick’s shirts – why??

We attacked in similar fashion to my other conquests – by first unloading everything, making trash and donation piles, separating Nick’s and my stuff, and then replacing (only) my items in systematic ways that made actual sense.

photo 3

My closet runneth over

After clearing out five full trash bags of clothes, shoes, and purses, we transitioned everything over from crappy Old Navy plastic hangers to amazing, velvet nonslip ones (definitely worth the relatively minor investment, and they make you feel so glam).  Just seeing my clothes, organized by type, material, and color, hung on those beauties makes me feel like Cher Horowitz.

Rather than stuffing my workout clothes (by far the “most worn” items in my closet) onto a far-too-high shelf, we bought some cheapy sliding-drawer bins and separated my tops into tanks and shirts, then put them cleanly away.  Same went for my scarves (in canvas pull drawers).  Same for bathing suits (which were previously threatening to take over an entire shelf like creeping ivy).  Same for hats.  They were all given a neatly contained, accessible but not visible permanent home.  And I love it.

photo 5

Proper velvet hangers. Shelf separators. Heaven.

Teresa also noticed that my dresses, which are more or less my weekend uniform, were exiled to the front hall closet (mostly because they are long!) – but if we simply moved one shelf a bit higher, we could hang the longer ones where the sweaters were currently hogging the real estate (BTW, sweater solution: folded and shelf-separated) and squeeze the short ones in with my tops.  Result?  My most-worn items were finally in front of my face when I walked in the closet.  Ideal.

Finally, we realized that because the ceilings (and therefore shelves) were so high, there was a lot of unused – but totally viable – space in the higher echelons of the closet.  I bemoaned having to bring a dining room chair in there every time I wanted to get something down, to which she simply replied, “Get a stool.”  Sheer genius.  I got a foldable stool that slides behind my clothes so it takes up no space, and now my luggage, additional storage bins, and “special occasion” hats (yep, I have those) are top-shelf but not forgotten.

Processed with Moldiv

Processed with Moldiv

What became of Nick’s stuff, you ask?  Well, with the amount of “shared” spaces in both of our closets, we were able to evacuate some items of mine into my “new” closet and “refill” his with his own stuff – a bit more crowded on his side now, sure, but that’s a project for another day.

All in all, we were able to transition my closet space from a messy, spilling-over stressfest to a neat, spacious walk-in – which is exactly what I wanted.

Next up?  Bathrooms (yep, those crazy messy under-sink and medicine cabinet zones) and “other” closets (front, guest, Nick’s).  The battle may be won, but the war rages on…

Which spaces in your home need some TLC?  What items help you feel organized?

Breaking Down Macros & Making Them Your B*tch

If you’re an avid health blog reader like myself, you’ve undoubtedly come across the hashtag #iifym and thought, #wtf?  Even if that hashtag looks unfamiliar, I bet you’ve at least heard of some health blogger/trainer/coach talking about their “macros” and/or a dietician referring to a focus on macronutrients.

Macronutrients are simple: they are protein, carbohydrates, and fat.  Counting them is potentially simpler (add up the numbers from your MyFitnessPal log or similar).  Creating a diet around them is decidedly a bit harder – but that’s where I’ll help.

#iifym, per the above, is an acronym that means “if it fits your macros.”  The way you structure your meal plans and determine what to eat at a given meal (or order at a given restaurant) is a direct result of your ideal macronutrient balance, which you can figure out using this handy dandy online calculator (I like this one because you can set it for IIFYM but also ketogenic, low carb, or low fat, depending on your dietary and wellness needs).

Yeah…that’s not quite it.

Let’s take me as an example.  I’m looking to lose roughly 3% body fat (but not necessarily any body weight, since I like my pretty muscles) before my wedding, so I chose an “aggressive” IIFYM goal program for my age, gender, activity level, and current weight, which gives me the following macros:

1640 calories daily (about 400 per meal; 200 per snack)

209.2 grams of carbohydrates daily (about 70 per meal)

94.5 grams of protein daily (about 30 per meal)

47.3 grams of fat daily (about 15 per meal)

This way, when I am looking at what I want to eat in a given day, all I need to do is make sure it “fits” my macros – does this breakfast have enough protein?  Have I eaten all my carbs before I even get to dinner?  Is there a good amount of healthy fat in my lunch?

Should this not be clear enough for you and you like the old “Zone diet” thinking of percentages, for me, my diet looks like this: 50% carbs, 25% protein, 25% fat – and I was able to calculate that number with the following per-gram calorie counts and dividing them by my total calorie count:

Multiply calories by grams in your IIFYM and divide by your total daily calories to calculate your percentages.

This way, no matter if your brain works in numbers, percentages, counts, or any other mathematical variation – as long as you can commit to tracking your food, you can commit to maintaining your ideal macro balance.  

And as long as you commit to your determined macro balance (which, guys, shifts throughout your life depending on your goals – fat loss, muscle building, injury recovery, etc. – all of these require DIFFERENT macros), you can reach your body weight and composition goals.

Yep, that’s what this is all about.

Do you live and die by the macros?  Do you log/track your food, and what service/program/app do you prefer?

The Five Rules of Perinatal Fitness

Almost two years ago now I became a certified perinatal trainer, meaning I can now work safely and effectively with women who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, and are postpartum.

This is not my first such “specialty” certification.  A while back I got Silver Sneakers certified, which helps me work with seniors and the elderly population, and before that I took a special course in working with the obese and morbidly obese (even bed-ridden).

Working with mommies; however, is truly a passion for me.

lilly1

My amazing client at nearly 9 months!

As a woman who has never had kids (but assuredly wants to when the time is right!), it is an absolute privilege to watch my clients transition from their former bodies into new, powerful, transformative ones – bodies that are giving life.  And if I can offer some sort of strength, comfort, and guidance during that time, I am honored to do so.

So what have I learned over the past two years, working with nine different prenatal and two recently postpartum clients?

5)  Never underestimate the reparative power of a body that has given (or is giving!) life.  A lot of my first-time postpartum moms are scared to come back to exercise because of the enormity of the task their bodies have just performed.  That said, it is exactly that task (birth) that has prepared you for the relatively simple challenge of rediscovering fitness.  What’s a daily walk with your baby after you’ve spent 32 hours in labor?  How hard is picking up a 5-pound dumbbell when you haul around a 10-pound baby 20 hours out of the day?  My new moms are strong, unrelenting, and adaptable – and I try to remind them that as much as possible.

4) Do the best you can with the time, body, and sanity that you have.  Before you got pregnant, maybe you were the type that hit 3 Spin classes per week in addition to running 20 miles and taking yoga on the weekends.  Now you are pregnant, or have an infant, or God help you have twins, and you’re noticing that you just can’t maintain that level of exercise.  That’s okay.  It’s more than okay.  Because we are all trying to do the best we can with the time, ability, and mental clarity that we have, and if that “best” is simply 10 minutes of push-ups and planks, or a walk down the street to get groceries, or just a nap – that’s ok.  Fitness comes back in pieces, not all at once.

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Rock that core, girl!

3) Your abs may or may not “come back,” but there’s more to core than abs.  Speaking of coming back, there’s this odd perception that in order to have really achieved an “ideal” birth, you will have somehow morphed your postpartum body back into its former shape, including tight, six-pack abs.  And for some moms that is possible.  But for many moms, maintaing a strong “deep core” (transverse abdominus and lower back) is more important, because it is these muscles that actually help you carry your baby, pick your baby up, stand up for hours without back pain, and support overall healing.  I advise my mommies to forget about the visibility of their abs for the first 6-12 months and focus on building the actual muscles that will help them stay strong and pain-free as they recover.

2) Having a baby is not a free pass.  OK, now for a moment of tough love.  You have had a baby (or two!  or many!).  You’ve done serious work.  You’ve been pregnant, then birthed, then recovered.  But all of this being said (and a hearty congrats to you!), it does not entitle you to forget about exercise and nutrition.  In fact, there is no time more crucial to pay attention to your health than during the early throes of motherhood, when you need to be healthy, awake, alert, and present for your child.  Exercise keeps you sane.  Eating healthfully keeps you energized and enhances the quality of breast milk (if you are nursing).  Establishing a pattern of proper diet and exercise now means you are modeling those behaviors for your kids as they grow – and isn’t that something you’d want for any child?

mommies1

Teaching postpartum fitness in Culver City

1) You don’t have to do it alone.  Finally, my favorite point as a trainer – in short, it takes a village!  Ask your partner (or a family member) to watch the baby for 30 minutes so you can get your run in.  Organize a healthy food exchange with mommies in your area so you can cook once but swap meals all week.  Join a mommy group or FIT4MOM program that encourages fitness and allows you to work out with your little one.  Find a certified perinatal trainer that can come to your home and work with you privately on your pre-and-postpartum health.  Even if fitness is already a priority for you, finding a support group of like-minded folks can make it feel like you’re not alone out there – and that’s crucial.

My fit mommies out there – what are your favorite pre-or-postpartum fitness tips?