Family Circle has given us yet another, amazing opportunity to share a few of our fitness secrets with the world and we are SO excited!
Chris and I have designed a week’s worth of 4-minute workouts, making getting healthy and feeling great a realistic goal for even the busiest schedule. Check out the solution to your workout woes *here*.
We are brilliant excuse makers! But here’s what I know: Most excuses are rooted in fear—the fear of failure, of what others will think of us, of change, of hard work, of the unknown, of discomfort, and so on.
But you know what? There are really very few legitimate excuses. Injuries or health issues? Nope! Chris and I have never encountered an injury or health issue we can’t work around. And some of our Extreme Weight Loss peeps have dealt with some of the most horrible things imaginable—abuse, loss of a child or parent, eating disorders, loss of a limb, lack of feeling loved, and many others—and they were able to rise above these and reach their goals!
And what about those rationalizations—an excuse’s best friend? They can be just as damaging to reaching our goals! Here are some doozies:
I’ll start tomorrow—today’s not a good day because of … (and tomorrow never comes!).
I’ll start Monday—a new week will make all the difference this time!
I’ll eat this just this once.
It’s a holiday…my birthday…my anniversary…my vacation…(fill in the blank). I deserve it! (And then we often overindulge more than a little).
If I just finish this carton of ice cream, or this bag of chips…M&Ms…Oreos…etc., it will be all gone and I won’t be tempted to eat it anymore (that’s a classic!).
I exercised today so I can have “extra” calories.
And on, and on, and on…
So how do we eliminate excuses and rationalizations so we can reach our goals?
Make a list of every excuse and rationalization you think and speak. Besides being rather enlightening, you might even get a pretty good chuckle from how creative you are! Once you’re aware of what you’re doing, you’re better equipped to make changes.
Reevaluate how you spend your time. Let’s be honest—we make time for what’s important to us. Is your time filled with unimportant—but “fun”—time wasters that turn into excuses?
Get creative and think outside the box. Can’t workout because you have kids? Find ways to workout WITH the kids (see the video below for an idea!) Sometimes rethinking how we do something is all that is needed to overcome self imposed obstructions.
Likewise, remember this important thought:The person who really wants to do something finds a way; the other person finds an excuse (Unknown). ‘Nuff said.
While most of the country is in a cold spell, spring is not that far away! And nothing says spring like short sleeves and sleeveless tops . Whether you’re looking to minimize the appearance of that “waving” skin of your underarm, or tone and build some beautifully sculpted shoulders, this 5-minute workout can help. Your shoulders, back, and arms will be in sexy, spring shape in no time at all!
Set the clock for 5 minutes, and do as many rounds as possible of:
10 Bench Dips
10 Commander Push-ups
10 Mountain Climbers
Record the number of rounds completed to set the bar for the next time you do this workout! You can safely repeat this workout twice a week.
1. Hold a seated position, shifted a couple of inches off of a bench. Hands should be directly beneath shoulders with elbows extended and knees straight and locked.
2. Lower down, bending elbows to a 90-degree angle.
3. Press upward through palms until elbows are fully extended.
1. Begin lying facedown, hands underneath shoulders, with abs tight and body rigid.
2. Press upward, extending elbows while simultaneously driving right knee forward, touching it to your right elbow.
3. Lower body back to the ground, extending leg out and staying rigid from feet to shoulders.
4. Press upward again, extending elbows while simultaneously driving left knee forward, touching it to your left elbow.
1. Begin in a deep runner’s stance with both hands on the ground, shoulder-width apart.
2. Keeping abs tight, jump and switch feet as fast as you can.
3. Land gently with the opposite foot forward.
4. As soon as your feet touch down, jump quickly and switch feet again.
5. Land gently with the original foot forward.
So many people are asking me if I am working out yet, post-baby. The answer is yes with some fine print ☺. While I have done a couple structured bouts of movement that could be considered “working out”, I am not yet allowing myself to push at the intensity that I am wishing I could, just to be safe.
Most doctors and reputable sources recommend waiting 4-6 weeks post-delivery before Mom gets back into her regular workouts. However, the same reputable sources and doctors also say the most important thing is to listen to your body (we are all different!). They say if you worked out before pregnancy, and continued to workout through your pregnancy, there is a good chance your body may be ready for exercise much quicker than if you didn’t workout before and/or during pregnancy.
My own personal rules of thumb are these:
1. Get my doctor’s okay to begin.
2. If I am experiencing vaginal bleeding still, I am not ready to workout. If at anytime after I start working out, bleeding resumes, I will stop until it subsides and doc says it’s okay to begin again.
3. If I experience any physical pain (unrelated to regular muscular soreness that follows any good workout), I will stop working out or modify the movement to eliminate the pain. I believe that our bodies talk to us this way, and we should listen!
4. If my breast milk production slows down at any point after resuming exercise, I will slow down my workouts, or stop altogether, until milk production ramps back up. Side note: this may also be a sign my calorie consumption and water intake need to increase.
There you have it. As long as these 4 things are in check, I will begin my workouts.
With every baby, this time period has been different. With Matix and Marley, I waited nearly a full 6 weeks because I didn’t do much (if any) exercise during pregnancy. After Cash, I waited about 2-3 weeks, and after Ruby I gave my body 2 weeks before I started “working out”.
I use quotes because, once again, the workouts were so light compared to my usual, but I know just how important it is to start light. More than anything, this was my structured way to move functionally like all new moms (and humans, for that matter) do each and every day. Think:
squats – like sitting and standing from couch or toilet,
presses – like we do to help our bodies off of the floor or how we push the stroller, and
pulling – like we do to lift our babies and hold them to our chest
Nice and basic. Easy and functional.
Time to share the workout! It was one of my favorites and can be done at ANY level of fitness, from beginner to advanced. By choosing a workout that is scalable, I knew I would be able to throttle it up or down at anytime, ensuring I didn’t overwork my body the first time back.
Disclaimer: If you plan to attempt this workout, please make sure you have your doctors approval, as every body is different post baby. Some are ready sooner than others. Your doctor can help you decide if YOU are ready to begin workouts again.
And…a side note: Even if you are NOT pregnant or postpartum, this workout could be great for you – don’t be scared to rev up the intensity! Give it a try.
My 1st Post-Ruby Workout: 12 Minutes of Tabata
What is Tabata? Four minute rounds of exercise. You perform a move for 20 seconds, followed by 10 second rest, repeating 8 times, totaling 4 minutes. Go at your own pace. If you are only able to get ONE repetition of move in during the allotted 20 second time period, then only do one repetition.
Moves I Tabata’d (4 minutes each move. 3 moves, totaling 12 minutes):
Air Squats – My first round I got 20 in, but by round 5 I was slowing down to about 10 squats in 20 seconds.
*These can be modified to be done from a couch or chair. You basically sit down and stand up from the couch or chair to complete one rep.
Pushups – Oh…I struggled with these. Round 1, I did 12. By round 7 and 8, I was happy to get in 1 or 2 pushups. I slowed down once I realized my core needed some attention.
*Feel free to modify this to pushups from your knees or even pushups from your waist.
Bent Over Rows – I used a 45 lbs weight for both arms (not for each arm ☺). These felt good, but worked muscles I seem to have been neglecting for the last little while.
*These were great to end with. I felt like I got the harder moves out of the way first, and got to end with something a tad lighter.
Moral of the story – listen to your body and your doctor. Move when you are ready, and don’t be discouraged to see your fitness levels aren’t where they were pre-pregnancy. Day by day, with some patience, hard work, and perseverance, we can all become even stronger than we were pre-baby!
As of January 2011, 25.8 million children and adults in the United States—8.3% of the population—have diabetes.
18.8 million people are diagnosed.
7.0 million people are undiagnosed.
79 million people are pre-diabetic.
1.9 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in people aged 20 years and older in 2010.
No wonder questions about diabetes and diabetes management are so common!
Let me say this up front: I am not a doctor or registered dietician, so if you have diabetes, please discuss carb cycling and exercise—and how both fit into your individual situation—with your health care team. They might decide carb cycling is the answer for you, or that it is not, or that it could be with a few modifications. That being said, here is some general diabetes-related information I’ve found that will hopefully help you and your team create the best plan for you!
If you’d like some very basic and easy to understand information about diabetes (what it is, symptoms, an explanation of the three types, etc.), check out the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ website.
Diet and Diabetes:
You’ll probably notice that a lot of these ideas apply to carb cycling in general (for diabetics and non-diabetics), with a few adjustments for Gestational Diabetes.
Here are a couple of personal observations from my own experience of working with diabetics (again, please discuss these with your health care team to see if they’re right for you):
Many of our show “peeps” have Type 2 Diabetes and have totally reversed this by following our most conservative carb cycle, The Easy Cycle.
Diabetics have insulin resistant cells, and carb cycling—alternating between high and low-carb days—can make cells insulin sensitive, which is the goal of any diabetic!
No matter what type of diabetes you have, the actual amount of food (carbs, protein, and fats) to eat at each meal depends on the number of calories you need, which is based on your age, sex, weight, activity level, and whether or not you take insulin. Work with your health care team to design the program that is best for you. To find a registered dietician in your area, go to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ website.
Exercise and Diabetes:
The guidelines for exercise and diabetes can depend on which type of diabetes you have, but here are some general tips:
I know I’ve just touched the surface of the diabetes discussion, but the most important thing to remember is that you can have diabetes and reach your health and fitness goals. It might take some time, creativity, and a lot of communication with your healthcare team, but once you find the formula that works for you, the sky’s the limit! ☺
If there is one thing I wish I had from day one of Cash’s life, it would be an Ergobaby Performance Carrier. With all of the hiking, trekking, moving, and walking the Powell Pack does, this sure would have made our life easier.
I was introduced to the Ergobaby Carrier this last summer in Colorado. A friend and I were taking our combined 5 kids (6, if you include the baby on board ☺) for a hike in the beautiful mountains of Canon City, CO, and Cash – bless his heart – was being the usual Cashy Boy…super rambunctious! I didn’t have any desire to pull him up those mountains with the risk of him running over a ledge. Nor did I feel like carrying him on my hip the whole way. I was 6 months pregnant for crying out loud!
Ergobaby to the rescue! Much to my surprise, the Ergobaby Carrier my friend lent me not only carried Cash’s 2 year old body on my back, but carried him comfortably for both of us. And until this point, Cash had NEVER been a fan of carriers!! EVER.
After doing some research of my own, I realized Ergobaby has a line specifically designed for active parents like us! I thought the one I wore was comfortable for hiking…I can only imagine how comfortable the Performance Carrier is. I can’t wait to try it out!
You can win one of these $135 amazing carriers for yourself!
Ergobaby has been kind enough to offer up a carrier from their Performance Carrier line for Baby Powell’s 12-week Baby Shower Giveaway for one of my lucky readers. Thank you, Ergobaby
Here’s what you had to do to win:
1. Comment on this post – tell me about your favorite hike, or how you plan to use the Ergobaby Performance Carrier.
2. Like, Share, and/or rePin my #BabyPowell Giveaway posts on as many social media channels as you can: Facebook , Instagram, Twitter, and/or Pinterest.
3. Follow Ergobaby on Pinterest and/or on Twitter.
Random winner was announced on Wednesday, October 23, 2013. Thanks for participating!
I don’t know of a mom out there that hasn’t worried about losing that baby pooch after pregnancy…myself included! Here I am to save the day!!! My tips, tricks and advice on how to best let those ab muscles come back together after baby, AND how to make sure we are focusing on two of the important parts to losing the pooch: patience and overall fat loss! Listen through to then end for my favorite SUPER easy exercises to do.
Want more core-burning exercises? Check these out:
Alright busy ladies, here’s how we get rockin’ abs in just 5 minutes a day! Now, I wouldn’t advise you do this workout every day at first, but throw it in the mix – first one day a week, then maybe twice a week, on up to three or four days a week to fire up that core and help build and sculpt the abs muscles.
Here’s how you do it:
Set the clock for 5 minutes.
In the first 90 seconds, do as many Twisters as you can
In the next 90 seconds, do as many Knees-to-Elbows as you can.
For the remaining 2-minute period, hold a Plank. If you need a break, drop to your knees for 5 seconds and get right back into the plank position to complete.
Record the number of Twisters and Knees-to-Elbows you were able to complete in the 90-second periods, and how many seconds you were able to hold the Plank consecutively before your break, and try to beat it the next time you complete this workout.
Not sure what some of these moves are? Help is here!
Begin lying on the ground face-up, knees bent between 45 and 90 degrees, and arms extended to the sides.
Keeping your shoulders anchored to the ground and knees together, rotate your legs over to the left side. Touch your left knee to the ground to mark a complete repetition.
Rotate your legs over to the right side and touch your right knee to the ground to mark another repetition.
Twisters – Step 1
Twisters – Step 2
Twisters – Step 3
Begin lying on the ground face-up, legs extended, and arms extended overhead.
In one motion, draw your knees toward your chest and swing your arms forward, crunching upward with your torso. Touch your elbows to your knees.
Extend legs downward and arms back overhead. Touch heels and hands to the ground.
Knees to Elbows – Step 1
Knees to Elbows – Step 2
Knees to Elbows – Step 3
Begin lying face-down, propped up on your elbows. Elbows should be aligned directly underneath your shoulders, and your legs should be fully extended with ankles extended and toes on the ground.
Squeeze your buttocks, draw your belly button in toward your spine, and raise your body 1 foot off of the ground. Hold the position as long as you can.
Now that the pic is in front of your face, maybe you wish you hadn’t asked after all!!
This is what happens to me, ladies and gentlemen, when I do not exercise while pregnant. My lymphatic system takes a major hit and water pools in the oddest way throughout my body. As many of you know, this is called edema.
Notice, although both feel are quite swollen, only one is abnormally huge! This condition prevented me from not only wearing shorts and skirts throughout my pregnancy, but also from walking comfortably at all.
This was the case for both of my first two pregnancies, before I learned that working out while pregnant was safe. I used to sit there and count down the days until delivery when I would have my feet and ankles back, as well as my feeling of normalcy.
Incase you haven’t read my Huffington Post article and are suffering or have suffered from something similar, here are a couple simple tips to avoiding this.
MOVE while pregnant (as long as your doctor clears you too). Pregnancy is not a handicap nor a disease. It is more of a reason than anything to keep our bodies healthy! Continued daily exercise will help pregnant women avoid such extreme swelling.
Drink plenty of water. Living in AZ, I try to aim for 1.5 gallons a day. This is a lot, yet, but I sweat tons here! It seems odd to follow advice to add more water to your body when you are already holding water in your limbs! But by consuming more water, your body will flush more efficiently.
Be aware of your sodium intake. As a pregnant woman, I definitely crave both sweets and salty foods. It is recommended that you slightly increase your sodium intake while pregnant to 3000mg per day (from the normal 1500mg per day), but with the salty food cravings, many pregnant women can hit that limit in just a meal and some salty snacks. Be aware of the sodium content in your store bought and restaurant foods, and aim for the 3000mg number.
Here’s to wishing you a happy, healthy, and swollen-ankle-free pregnancy!
I was searching my tried and true CrossFit blog to get inspiration for my workout today, and ran across this article they had reposted from CrossFit Oakland. Genius. I couldn’t help but repost myself to help set the record straight on a few things, including women crossfitting, how to get the beach bod we’ve always dreamed of, and the effects of good old hard work!
Image credit: Bladium Sports & Fitness Club
Women, CrossFit, and Myths
As I was pondering what to write for today’s post I noticed an article posted to FaceBook by D-Pain (aka Dana). It is titled “LIES IN THE GYM”. It shows us that one does not have to go far in the average gym (obviously not a CrossFit Gym) to find someone willing to hand out bad information. This article outlines many of the myths that women are hearing about fitness and strength training.
Let me summarize several of the myths this article touches on.
Weight training will make you huge and masculine.
Men train. Women tone.
There is a difference between toning, sculpting and firming.
Women should stick to machines and stay away from free weights.
Women shouldn’t work on their leg and butt muscles, otherwise they’ll get to big.
Weight training turns fat into muscle.
Women should only lift light weights to not get “bulky”.
To quote a famous fitness author, “Women are not a special population. They are half the population. ”
In an article written by Mark Rippetoe he points out that women DO respond to heavy physical stress (i.e. lifting heavy shit) differently than men. However, women get the best results when they train for performance (the whole premise of CrossFit and what we do), because even though there are differences between men’s and women’s response to training, there is no difference in the quality of the exercise needed to produce the stress that causes our bodies to change. The different responses men and women see in training are not the ones that the industry, media and popular culture have presented as fact. This unfortunately has had a detrimental effect on women’s training.
The answer to our questions on how to get there are right in front of us. The results, in terms of both performance and aesthetics, admired by the vast majority of women, continue to be routinely produced by advanced athletic programs. Which then amazes me how “body-sculpting sessions or low intensity machine based circuit programs were the approach sold to the public. But then again, “easier” is easier to sell. The fact is that aesthetics are best obtained from training for performance.
It becomes very simple, if you want to look like a lean athlete (the standard most active women strive to emulate) you have to train like an athlete, and the unfortunate part is that most people lack the “sand” for that. Despite this unfortunate truth (most truths seem to fall into this category), the fitness industry continues to see appearances first, as though it is independent of performance. Appearance cannot be trained for. Think about it: I know how to make your squat stronger, but how do you program Bun Blaster sets and reps for a tight ass? I may be able to double your pull-ups in a month, but I don’t know how to give your back that V-Shape everyone craves without increasing your pull-ups. Every single aspect of programming for resistance training that works at all does so because it increases some aspect of performance, and appearance is a side effect of performance.
Image credit: Bladium Sports & Fitness Club
Appearance is a side effect of performance.
Appearance can’t change unless performance does, and the performance changes are what we quantify and what we program. Your appearance when fit is almost entirely a function of your genetics, which are expressed at their best only when your training is at it’s highest level, and this level is only obtainable from a program based on an improvement in your performance in the gym. To top it off the best improvements in the gym occur when participating in a program that looks more like performance athletics (i.e. CrossFit) that one that looks like waving your arms or legs around on a machine.
More Unfortunate Truths:
Your muscles cannot get longer without some rather radical orthopedic surgery.
Muscles don’t get leaner ….. you do!
There is no such thing as “firming & toning”. There is only stronger and weaker.
The vast majority of women cannot get large, masculine muscles from weight training. If it were that easy, I would have them!
Women who do look like men have taken some rather drastic steps in that direction that have little to do with their exercise program.
Women who claim to be afraid to train hard because they “always bulk up too much” are often already pretty bulky, or “skinny fat” (thin but weak and de-conditioned) and have found another excise to continue life sitting on their butts.
Only people willing to work to the point of discomfort on a regular basis using effective means to produce that discomfort will actually look like they have been other-than-comfortable most of the time.
You can thank the muscle magazines for these persistent misconceptions, along with the natural tendency of all normal humans to see reasons to avoid hard physical exertion.