You know those people that say that breastfeeding will melt the baby weight right off your body? I call bullshit! The fact is, you hurt about 20 calories for every ounce of milk that your body produces. So if you are feeding your newborn according to doctor recommendation, then you’re burning about 480-600 calories per day. So why is the fat not melting off MY body from nursing?! Who knows! The thing is, there is no way to tell what factors are going to help your body lose weight just simply nursing. Instead, I have gone old school with food and exercise, go figure! Haha! I have developed the right meal plan for me and for my baby boy. I have made sure I find five hours a week to focus on fitness to get my body to bounce back!
If you have been following my blog, you know I’ve been fighting to get this baby weight off my body while maintaining a healthy milk supply and desperately holding onto my sanity! As a business owner, personal trainer, nutrition coach AND full time mom and wife, my time is insanely limited. So I’ve got to make it happen! Today I have the pleasure of being featured as the fitness expert on our local news station, KATU. To help all the awesome freakin mommies out there that can relate to my pain, I have broken down a completely feasible plan of action for post-partum fitness.
As soon as this little guy entered the world, I made a plan. Call me crazy!
Step One: Get Real!
Make a realistic plan of action and be kind to yourself. Your body has gone through quite the ordeal and it needs time to recover. Have a conversation with your doctor before leaving the hospital about your limitations and activity in the incoming weeks. Most doctors will recommend light walking on most days to aid in your body bouncing back. So slow your roll and take this advice. If you know me at all, this is hard to do. So I came up with this step by step plan to help me see the finish line!
Step Two: Take baby steps, literally!
Go for walks! Follow your doctors advice and get moving. Now if you’ve had a baby you’ll know that walking days after a delivery is UNCOMFORTABLE! So take your time and listen to your body. When you can make your way outside to take a walk, go for it. Maybe you lengthen your walk a little bit every day to progress you through your weight loss!
Step Three: Workout at home with gentle resistance!
I started getting my muscles moving in my own home a couple weeks after delivery. I was sure to keep the movements easy and doable, focusing on my upper body (for obvious reasons). I love using light weights or resistance bands a few days a week.
Here was my fitness routine….
10 Push-ups from knees
10 Shoulder presses
10 Bicep curls
10 Low Rows
I repeated this circuit three times or until I was out of energy. Which let’s be real, energy is not a thing for new mamas!
Step Four: Test the waters at the gym!
When you are feeling confident to get back to the gym (usually around the six week mark), go test the waters! But testing the waters is exactly what you should be doing. Start on machines so you can take the tension away from your core and lower body, which may not be ready to work for you yet! Go for high rep counts and low weights to stay safe and remind your muscles how to get back to work.
Step Five: Go for it!
Every week you should feel better and better. So get out there and start moving again. Maintain open communication with your doctor and partner with them to get yourself approved to get back to it! Get back to what your body knows! So if you weren’t active before your baby was born, don’t go to 17 CrossFit workouts in one day. That’s what we call, dangerous!
I hope this post helps you out with your post Baby Baby journey! As always, comment below and I’ll be listening!
You know that game where you say… “If you really knew me, you would know…” Then you proceed to say something silly about yourself, or something emotional and deeply profound or completely random and shocking. While I don’t really have anything THAT exciting to add to this fun little game. I can say….
“If you really knew me, you would know that I am INTENSE when it come to my skincare routine.”
Yes, I have great skin! Yes, my skin looks like I’m in my 20’s instead of inching closer to 40! I am not going to apologize for this fact because I have earned my skin over the course of the last 23 years. I am diligent and consistent and work hard to keep my skin hydrated and healthy. Because of this, I am asked all the time…
What do you use on your skin?
What’s your favorite moisturizer?
Where you you get you skincare?
What brand do you use?
I know what products I love. I know I love my routine. A few of our HellaBella Athletics clients have asked about my routine. So I decided to unlock my skincare secrets!
Let’s first set the tone with WHY I became so obsessed with great skincare.
I had one of my favorite days when I was 13 years old. My mom and I went to the Northwest Womens Show at the Convention Center on a rainy Saturday afternoon to spend some time being “girly girls”. We roamed up and down the long aisle ways that featured a zillion vendors who were ready to show you the latest and greatest in beauty products. There were SO MANY women at this event! I stuck close to my mom as we dodged through obnoxiously loud female cackles, fragrance models who attacked with perfume as you strolled by and women who had zero sense of spacial awareness as they glided on the brightest new lip colors and powdered their noses in the middle of a sea of women. It was nuts!
We finally stopped at the end of the aisle way when my mom was greeted by a beautiful young woman with perfectly done hair and makeup. I remember thinking, “Wow, she looks like a TV newscaster.” Her hair was perfect. Her skin was perfect. Her makeup was perfect. She was positively flawless and I was in awe! She chatted quietly with my mom for a few moments before she turned to me and smiled. “Hi Kelsey,” she greeted me, “how would you like to get a facial and makeover?” I looked at my mom who smiled and nodded that it was ok for me to say yes. I simply smiled and she opened her hand to guide us to a pair of blue director chairs that were shielded from the crazy crowd of women. She introduced herself as Amanda and she quickly got to work. Now….I don’t remember much of what she said. I was enamored as I watched her delicately and gracefully open and close containers, jars and various tubes to extract products to apply to my face. Everything smelled amazing! My skin felt amazing! Every few minutes I would glance at my mom who was in the exact same boat I was in. She was being pampered as well and was loving every second of it. The two women took their time explaining WHY each product had a place on top of our counter at home. My mom apparently agreed because she bought very single item that was applied to our face! I was ecstatic! Amanda took the time to make me comfortable with my new skincare regime. She even spent a little time showing techniques to make my makeup look flawless. I was determined to adopt the regime every single day so I could one day look like her.
As we walked away, I will never forget the last thing Amanda said to me. She said, “Kelsey I want you to remember one thing. Start early and stay consistent. When you’re in your 20’s, you have the skin you are blessed with. When you are in your 30’s, you have the skin you have worked for. And when you are in your 40’s and older, you have the skin you have earned.”
I will never forget this experience. This was the first day that I decided to take care of my skin! Sure, I was overweight and “uncool” but I was at least going to have some bomb ass skin! So from that day forward, I adopted a very serious skincare routine. While the products have varied slightly over the years, I always stayed consistent with the following…
Step 1: Cleanser
Step 2: Make-up Remover
Step 3: Balancer/Toner
Step 4: Serum for specific need
Step 5: Moisturizer
Step 6: Eye Cream
Optional Extra Steps: Facial massage cream, various masks, various facial oils etc.
Seem like a lot? I love every single second of my skincare routine. It’s when I get to relax for just a few minutes and take time to take care of me. I do these steps every morning when I wake up and every evening before crawling into bed, without fail! I cannot tell you a single evening where I have left makeup on my face. I cannot tell you a single morning where I have not taken the time to go through each step of my routine. I love it and will continue to love it till the day I die.
So what do I use? Here is a list of some of my current and all time favorite products with the links on how to find them!
I am a stickler on this step! I LOVE this product and have been using it for 19 years. It’s a smart balancer/essence that reads how much moisture you need every day. It’s the “prep step” before your moisturizer. I will never stop using this product. Game changer!
When I need a lift and serious moisture!So this product is expensive but I can’t live without it. It has cutting edge technology for reversing the signs of aging. I use this one on the evenings when I feeling especially indulgent, need some extra moisture or have spotted a new wrinkle that I refuse to accept. I have a love affair with this product.
A good every day moisturizer! I am obsessed with the smell of the moisturizer! It smells like licorice and I love that! There is an unscented option too. Sometimes when I need a little more, I mix this with Future Solution LX Replenishing Treatment Oil to give me that extra boost of moisture and anti-aging properties.
This is another one I have been using for a zillion years! We have no oil glands around our eyes, so this is where we age first. Therefore, we need to use eye cream around then in order to combat lines and wrinkles. No, you can’t use any ol’ face cream! Trust me…
When I look in the mirror and notice my skin is looking a little dry and dull, I pull one of these out and make it happen. While they are designed to be used daily, I like to use them on occasion because I don’t “love” the idea of using a peel every day. However, on occasion they are AMAZING! My skin gets an instant lift and boost of hydration. Obsessed with these.
Phew! Those are some of my absolute favorites! I hope this post helped and you find some products that you add to your skincare routine. Good luck getting your glow on!
Every Monday morning I get up and do the same thing… I make my hubby super happy by making his favorite pre and post workout meal. Overnight oats! They are insanely easy and fast to make, not to mention you can eat these any time throughout your day! It’s the perfect grab and go snack! They take me five minutes or less every single Monday morning and require minimal ingredients. Winning!
I know there are a million overnight oats recipes online that you can follow and use. What makes this recipe different? Well, remember I’m a health and fitness expert! Sure, you can easily find overnight oats out there that look amazing and taste great! But this recipe is perfectly macro balanced, contains less sugar, less fat and is freakin’ delicious!
This recipe makes FIVE SERVINGS so you can be prepared all week long.
There are three steps to making overnight oats blow your mind…
STEP ONE: The Perfect MACRO BASE!
Every recipe starts the same and has the same base. In order to keep your body burning through fat and building muscle, you need to fuel it correctly all day and with the right macros and food choices. So let’s break it down…
4 cups non-fat plain greek yogurt (I like a container of Fage 0%)
1 1/4 cup plain rolled oats
2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (more or less depending on your texture preference)
2.5 tbsp whole chia seeds
1 tbsp vanilla
Macros per serving…
STEP TWO: Sugar and Spice and EVERYTHING NICE!
If you love the taste of regular plain ol’ yogurt, then great! You are good to go with adding nothing to the base. I on the other hand, have a severe sweet tooth and NEED to add something fancy to my oats base in order to get them down with a smile on my face. I don’t want to add additional calories into my base because I would rather save them for the toppings. So I add a one or more of the following in order to make my perfect macros base taste like heaven…
Sweet Base: Stevia or truvia
Warm Maple Base:Maple syrup (no/low sugar)
Warm Spice Base:Cinnamon and nutmeg
Chocolate Base:Unsweetened cocoa powder
STEP THREE: Flava Flav TOPPINGS!
This is when you get to have a little fun! Now with that being said, don’t have so much fun that you screw up your “Perfect Macro Base”. Meaning, moderation is key! Choose your favorite flavor combinations to finish off this fab meal. Here are a few of my favorites WITH measurements for ONE SERVING of your oats.
Almond Joy Oats: Sweet Base
1 tbsp dark mini chocolate chips
1 tbsp drizzle of chocolate syrup
2 tbsp toasted coconut
1 tbsp slivered almonds
Raspberry Cheesecake Oats: Maple Base
1 tbsp cream cheese mixed with 1 tsp stevia or truvia
1 tsp low sugar raspberry jam
1/4 cup fresh raspberries
Peanut Butter and Jelly Oats: Sweet Base
1 tbsp low sugar jam/jelly of choice
1 tsp peanut butter
1 tsp crushed peanuts
Chocolate Fudge Oats: Chocolate Base
1 tbsp cream cheese, 1 tsp cocoa powder mixed with 1 tsp stevia or truvia
1 tbsp dark mini chocolate chips
1/2 tbsp drizzle of chocolate syrup
Pumpkin Pie Oats: Warm Spice Base
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 tbsp maple syrup (no/low sugar)
1 tbsp chopped pecans
Dusting of pumpkin pie spice
Take one of these recipes (or all of them) and get to some prepping in your kitchen so you can have an awesome week full of great nutrition! I hope this helps you the way it helps our family stay on track and truly enjoy our food.
It’s 2018 and I feel like society is finally catching up on what diets work and what diets don’t work. There are always dieting trends in that come and go like the wind. Let’s talk about some of these…
The HCG Diet
The Cabbage Soup Diet
The Blood Type Diet
Intermittant Fasting Diet
Now, before you ask….YES! I definitely have some strong opinions regarding some of these diets. While I would prefer to stay politically correct, I WILL say that for a FEW of these diets, there is a time and place for them. Although, I want to stress that in order to execute them properly, you should always consult with a professional to make sure the diet is safe for you. You wouldn’t do research on open heart surgery then perform it on yourself right? YEAH NO!
I am a strong believer in LONG TERM HEALTH! With that being said, I believe in long term nutrition solutions. Trends come and go, right? That means, you results will come and go as well. These diets can give you immediate results and therefore get all kinds of rave reviews. But what happens after you come off the diet and you gain the weight back? Frustration! Maybe it doesn’t happen right away…but trust me, without getting off the diet with a solid plan, you will gain it back and MORE!
Sidenote: It’s pretty normal to gain all the weight back (and more) when doing one of these trendy diets. WHY? Because on many of these diets, your body loses muscle and the ability to burn calories and fat because you don’t have adequate sources of food entering your body to stay strong and healthy. Therefore, you gain weight quickly and in an abundant supply. Don’t do that! Read on…
So let me get to WHAT REALLY WORKS! The tried and true “diet” that works for reaching your health and fitness goals is eating the right macros for YOU! This is NOT a new trend, although many people are just now hearing about this because it’s finally being brought to the fore-front of conversation.
If you go all the way back to the days of Arnold Schwarzenegger lifting weights and being the hottest guy in town with an incredible body building presence, eating the right macros was HERE! Do you think he was doing Atkins? Hell no! Do you think he did the cabbage soup diet? Nope! Arnold had nutrition experts and coaches help him with his food intake to make sure he was performing at his best and building his best body. He consumed the right amount of protein, carbohydrates and fats in order to make it happen! Not only was he consuming the right amount of foods, he was consuming them at the RIGHT TIME! Do you want to look like Arnold? Probably not and that’s ok! But the same rule applies for you. Your body needs the right amount of protein to build and maintain muscle mass. Your body needs the right amount of carbs in order to have the energy to get through the day and burn excess body fat. Your body needs the right amount of fat to regulate your hormones and keep your body in homeostasis to BURN FAT! Great, right?
So how much does your body need of each macronutrient? It depends on your body composition and your activity level. Your body composition is what you are made of… muscles, fat, water, bones, organs, skin etc. Finding your “Optimal Macros” is not a simple math equation, it is a true calculus problem with several variables to consider.
So as I go through my Post Baby Body Challenge (now in week two), I have to consider my macros. Amy and I sat down and evaluated my body composition, activity level and lifestyle to come up with my “Optimal Macros”. While I have had to change them up a little bit as I am nursing and becoming more active, I finally have my macros set!
MY PROTEIN INTAKE
I will be consuming about 130 grams of protein every day! This may sound like a lot to you with, especially since most women only get about 60 grams! A common issue with individuals reaching their fitness goals is the consumption of a low amount of protein. If you don’t have enough protein entering your diet throughout the day, you will not be able to maintain or build lean body mass (muscle). In fact, you will lose muscle! Which in turn, means you will lower your BMR (calories you burn every day) and begin storing fat.
Long story short...NOT ENOUGH PROTEIN means you’ll burn less calories, store more fat and lose muscle. NO THANKS!
MY CARBOHYDRATE INTAKE
My carb count every day will be about 190 grams! As an active individual, I need the energy that carbohydrates provide in order to burn the body fat I am trying to get rid of! People give carbs a bad rep, which is fair because they are ABUSED heavily! If you consume too many carbs in one sitting, they can turn to sugar, and then into fat on your body. The trick is knowing how much to consume in each meal to get the results you need.
I also need carbs to get into my muscle and help restore them to build back stronger alongside the protein. Without carbs, your muscles will go “flat”. Think of a carbohydrate as an inflation device. I need those carbs to get into my muscle, pump them up to build stronger while the protein rebuilds them to stay that way.
Bottom line….CARBS provide energy and function to your entire body! They inflate your muscle in order to allow the protein to rebuild them with new growth!
MY DIETARY FAT INTAKE
Fat has A LOT more calories per gram than protein and carbs. I will be consuming about 61 grams of healthy fats everyday while avoiding dairy (for my little ones tummy health). Fats regulate your hormones! This is insanely important for the overall health of your body. Oftentimes, when people think about hormones, they think about awkward pimply high school kids or creepy dudes that just wanna get with all the ladies. While that’s PART of it, I’m talking about those hormones that are critical for keeping your body regulated. Cortisol, Insulin, leptin, ghrelin, testosterone and many more! Without enough fat, these hormones will wreak havoc on your body! FAT BURNS FAT! Yes, it’s a thing! Low fat diets are terrible.
Basically….without the right amount of fat, your brain can’t function well and your hormones will freak out! This leads to body fat gain and and very cranky individual.
Now that I know my “Optimal Macros”, I can hit the floor running in the direction I need to go. Without knowing what I need to consume every day, I’m running around blind, in circles, making no progress. I don’t want to GUESS what I need! I want to KNOW what I need so I can lose this baby weight safely, effectively and quickly.
I’ve got my Nutrition app up and ready to go so I can log my meals, weigh my foods and be diligent for the next 7 weeks of the Challenge. I’ve lost 2 POUNDS in the first week and have 10 pounds to go! #killinit
I’m sure you are wondering how YOU can get YOUR “Optimal Macros”. Don’t use mine! You won’t get the results you want when you use random numbers or someone else’s numbers. You need to know YOURS!
If you want to learn more about Nutrition in general, Amy and I are running a Nutrition 101 Two Week Course that starts Saturday, February 17th. We will be running you through guidelines on how to come up with your own macros, how to food prep effectively, portioning foods, going to the grocery store and choosing the right items, learning about supplements and how to use them and so much more. This is the kind of stuff that everyone needs to know and incorporate to be successful on their fitness journeys. Check it out on the Vimify app on your smart phone and sign up for the Course. You’ll also get a Fuel Plan every day so you know what to eat, how much to eat and when to eat it to reach your goals! Check it out HERE! Mastering the Basics with HellaBella
I could go on and on about this subject! However, writing a novel is not on my radar right now. I will continue to elaborate on this subject in future posts. In the meantime, please share and follow for more. If you have questions, just ask! I am here to help.
Do you hate working legs? This girl right here hates leg day passionately (pointing at myself)! Can I plan some dope leg workouts! YUP! Do I hate doing them? YUP! Do I do them anyway and give it my all? SURE DO! Do I secretly love it? Shhhhhh you caught me.
Leg day for me, is when I transform into a creepy psycho masochistic freak! Yep, it’s a thing. It is truly a love-hate relationship that I crave. Like that bad high school boyfriend who’s a complete A-hole but you stay with him anyway…Everyone has had one of those right? Or girlfriend! Girls are jerks too!
The last three months of pregnancy, I had to really dial back on my exercise intensity. While I was consistent with hitting the gym five days a week all the way up until the delivery of my sweet little handsome boy, I really needed to be aware of how my body and heart was responding to each workout. Some things felt great, while others had to be ditched because it wasn’t feeling right for me. And if it wasn’t feeling right for me, it wasn’t feeling right for baby. Long story short, I couldn’t get my heart rate very high and couldn’t lift weights at full capacity. Modification became my middle name. Basically, I was VERY pregnant but still trying to do it all.
So getting back to the gym for leg day yesterday was EPIC! I went in with a solid plan of what I wanted to tackle but also was realistic with what my body could accomplish two weeks after having a baby. Walking into a full gym of people in the evening is like watching nursing puppies fight and crawl over one another to get to mama to eat. Everyone wants a squat rack! Everyone wants the benches! And everyone is fighting for the leg machines! What’s a girl to do when Plan A doesn’t work out? IMPROVISE BABY! The beauty of being a personal trainer is the ability to improvise and throw a program together last minute and make it effective! Winning!
This workout will take you about 50-60 minutes from the start of your warm up to the end of your cardio. You will be performing Super Sets, so you can keep my heart rate up and exhaust the targeted muscle group with two different movements. All you need to do is choose a weight that challenges those last couple reps to the point of true muscle fatigue.
Need more info on Super Sets so you know what the heck I’m talking about? Check it out HERE for the full run-down!
Check it out HERE and add it to your leg day if you really want to start seeing a change in those lazy glutes! Yes, your glutes are lazy, no one is exempt, unfortunately.
SUPER SET 1: Full Leg Activation with heavy glute focus
Angled Wide Leg Press 15 reps
Dumbbell Lateral Lunges 20 total reps
SUPER SET 2: Posterior Activation in hamstrings, low back and heavy glute focus
Cable Kickbacks 12 per side
Barbell Deadlifts 20 reps
SUPER SET 3: Full Leg Activation with heavy glute focus
Dumbbell Plie Squat 15 reps
Step Down with Toe Tap SLOW (no relief of foot on floor) 10 per side
CARDIO BOOTY BURNER: Treadmill work at 3.0 – 3.5 mph
This cardio routine is heavy glute focused as well! After working on strengthening your legs and glutes, it’s so important to challenge them with cardio right after.
Hint: If you are looking for a better booty, start thinking hard about power walking those inclines on the treadmill. When climbing hills, your posterior kinetic chain is constantly working! Translation: You’ll develop a great ass with strong hamstrings to match!
2 minutes warm up walk at 9% incline
At 2 minutes, increase incline to the highest it can possibly go (mine has a max incline of 30%, which is ideal for this particular workout). Climb for 20 seconds before hitting 9% incline to return to your starting incline. Essentially, you are constantly working hard with a 9% incline but you are hitting some high hill intervals every couple minutes to really hit that booty work.
It breaks down like this….
0:00 – 2:00 Walk at 9% incline
2:00 – 2:20 Ascend highest incline (may not get to the top, that’s ok!)
2:20 – 2:40 Return back to 9% incline.
2:40 – 4:00 Active Recovery at 9% incline
4:00 – 4:20 Ascend highest incline
4:20 – 4:40 Return back to 9% incline.
4:40 – 6:00 Active Recovery at 9% incline
Continue this pattern until you get to 18:00!
18:00 – 20:00 Cool Down at 1% incline and 2.5 mph
It feels incredible to get back into the gym and really sweat! I am thrilled to share these workouts with you to challenge your fitness journey as well. While we may not be at the same place with our journeys, we can cheer each other on as we make strides every day. Please follow me and share this blog. My dream and passion is to help as many individuals as I can! Your support is greatly appreciated!
If you have topics you want to hear about, ask me! I would love to hear from you!
I’ve been lifting weights and super passionate about fitness for almost 12 years now. Over that course of time, I have learned SO MUCH about what needs to happen in create a healthy body. Now, I’m not talking about the crazy sexy lean hot body, ok? I’m talking about a body that moves well, has stability and balance, strong joints and so on! Now don’t get me wrong, I am all about looking good and wanting to feel awesome in my clothes (and out of my clothes, obviously). Although at the end of the day, if your body is not “functioning” the way it should in order to continue being healthy and fit as you get older….You need to ask yourself….What are you really chasing with your own fitness program? Maybe that’s another topic…
With that being said, let’s talk about the fantastic nine month journey my CORE embarked upon during pregnancy. It sucked! As my little one grew in my belly, the strain on my lower back intensified. While I didn’t feel it at the time, my body went into shock as soon as I delivered and the weight dramatically decreased in my mid-section. Having babies is hard!
Alright, let’s be real…I’m not just talking about having babies. If you have a heavier load on your body in general, you are going to lower back issues. Without a strong core, especially in your abdominals your spine cannot maintain it’s own stability. Think of Indiana Jones crossing that rickety old bridge over a that river filled with flesh devouring crocodiles. That’s a pretty bad scenario, right? YOUR SPINE…Is that bridge when it’s not trained efficiently and often. Are you really going to send your perfect little Fitness Fairies across that bridge (for the sake of argument, they don’t have wings for this analogy)? NO! No you aren’t!
So what are you going to do? I’m so glad you asked! You are going to send out your awesome Fabio workers (or an army of Ryan Reynolds, whatever) to fix that bridge so it’s solid, stable and made of steel! Only then, would you feel comfortable enough to send your perfect Fitness Fairies to frolic across the bridge without a care in the world.
So let me bring it back full circle. It’s the first week of my Post Baby Body Challenge and I’m at the gym hitting shoulders, core and cardio. I get through shoulders on a complete high that I’m able to work HARD at the gym again. When my sets are complete and it’s time to hit my core, I have to admit I’m a little nervous. I know my core has weakened and will be my biggest challenge throughout the next 8 weeks. My lower back has been bothering me and I can FEEL the difference in my strength and stability throughout my abdominals and back muscles. I’m done with shoulders and it’s time to hit a plank and I’m hating it! I have three sets of planks to do and the shortest is 30 seconds. It was HARD! Typically, I can hold planks for days! Today? WHOA! Eye opening moment for me. I have to make my core a focus. I get through the planks taking mental notes of how it feels and feeling the determination building within me to get that strength back as soon as possible.
So of course, I came up with a plan of action! Every day, I’m going to focus on my core for at least five minutes. Hitting this routine daily will strengthen my core and remind those muscles how to work, without complete exhaustion.
Did you know that your core is not just your abs? This is crazy important to know! For a full explanation on this topic, check out Amy’s post here!
AT HOME CORE BLASTER
Equipment Needed:Yoga Ball! This one is my favorite because it’s so much tougher than a normal stability ball. ANTI-BURST baby! Everyone needs a yoga ball at home! If you can add this short 5 minute routine to our day, you will LOVE your core and feel amazing!
Yoga Ball Slow Crunch: 10 reps
Lying on your yoga ball with the center of your back in the middle of the ball, reach arms above your head or support your neck with your thumbs and fingers interlaced. Maintaining space between your chin and your chest, elevate your upper body to the ceiling with in exhale. Inhale and slowly lower back to resting position on the ball. Repeat.
Yoga Ball Plank: 30-60 seconds
Standard plank position except with elbows on the ball. Be sure to keep your chest off the ball and maintain one line from head to heels. Squeeze your glutes and quads to support your body. Feeling frisky? Make circles with your elbow on the ball one direction, then the other direction. This movement makes your core work even harder.
Yoga Ball Glute Bridges: 10 reps
Sit on the stability ball with your feet flat on the floor. Walk your feet forward and roll your back onto the ball so your shoulders and upper back are supported by the ball Squeeze and lift your glutes off the floor. Your shoulders and back should still be resting on the ball while you hold for two seconds with hips as high as you can get them. Drop your hips to the floor, then squeeze and lift your glutes again.
Yoga Ball Plank Knee Tucks: 10 reps
In high plank position with tops of feet on the yoga ball and hands flat on the floor. Squeeze your core and elevate your glutes slightly as you bring your knees towards your chest. Stop knees at a 90 degree angle and pause for 2 seconds. Then return to plank position and repeat.
Complete THREE ROUNDS of CORE work
Viola! Add this to your morning routine and you’ll build strength incredibly quickly. Your body will have less aches and pains and your back with thank you for it!
Want a SHOULDER WORKOUT? Here it is!
3 Straight Sets with 12-15 reps of each…
Dumbbell Lateral Raises
Dumbbell Front Raises
Dumbbell Rear Delt Flys
Super Set with 12-15 reps of each…
Cable Reverse Fly
Complete Core Work as listed above! 3 Sets
Finish with Cardio Intervals for 20 minutes…
2 minute warm up
2 minutes vigorous effort
1 minute medium effort
Repeat until minute 20:00
Cool Down for 2 minutes
If you aren’t sure what the difference is from Super Sets to Straight Sets, check this out! Until next time! Add this to your own 8 Week Challenge and let’s get after it!
At some point in your fitness life you are going got have to overcome an obstacle in the form of injuries, surgeries, illnesses or some other kind of setback. It’s frustrating when you want to continue in your fitness routine but your body and/or doctor is saying, “Oh, Hell NO!”
Read on to hear about my post-baby journey back into my workouts and make a plan of your own if you are suffering from an exercise set back! Save this information for future reference if you ever need to gradually transition back into fitness after a set back.
My perfect little munchkin entered the world 10 days ago. He’s great and I am recovering well, starting to feel myself again. However, I have a battle in my mind! I have done extensive research into the healthy recovery of a woman’s body after having a baby. I am well-versed in this area, with two other little ones in our family.
Let’s talk about the bad news first….The research hasn’t really changed. Women still need to take it as easy as possible for about six weeks to truly let their body recover properly. The good news? There are a lot of great options for putting together recovery workouts that will still challenge you!
The ugly truth: It takes about the same amount of time for you to return back to your true fitness level that you took away from fitness during recovery. For example, if you had surgery and you have an 8 week recovery where you do NOTHING for maintaining your fitness level, it will take you at least 8 weeks to get back to where you were prior to surgery once you head back to the gym.
For this reason, I am anxious to get back to it! I really don’t want to take a ton of time away from the gym because I don’t want to have to start back at ground zero. That’s exactly why I came up with my own recovery plan! The name of the game is “slow progression”. Every day and/or week, I will “test the waters” in the gym. Whether it is with duration of workout, rep counts, intensity, rest periods, weight load and many more.
MY FITNESS RECOVERY PROGRAM
Day 1: Testing the Waters!
It’s my first day back in the gym. While I’m feeling pretty good, I’m cautious about overdoing it. Oftentimes we can feel great during a workout, but later regret it with some setbacks and pain. So being sensitive to this fact (and knowing my doctor would kick my ass if he saw me there), I decided to “test the waters” with VERY light weight and high reps. My only goal for this workout was to get my muscles to fire and activate. They haven’t worked hard in 10 days, so getting the blood flowing through them and reminding them to WORK for me, was my only priority.
I chose to work major muscle groups to get as many muscles working as possible in one workout. Being sensitive to my core, I chose to work machine based exercises as much as possible. My body isn’t ready to engage my core muscles in their entirety yet. So again, I’m testing the waters with SOME light core activation. Otherwise, machine based movements needs to be my jam for a couple weeks.
My “Testing the Waters” Workout Routine: Remember, light weight!
Straight Sets: 3-4 Rounds of each exercise before moving on to the next.
15 Angled Leg Press
20 Leg Extensions
20 Seated Leg Curls
15 Lat Pull Down
15 Standing Face Pull
Chest Super Set
15 Lying Dumbbell Chest Press
5 Tempo Incline Bench Pushups (5 second down, 2 seconds up)
Cardio: Steady State (same thing the entire time)
15 minutes: Incline walk 3.0 mph at 9% incline
Now please remember, you are NOT trying to destroy your workout! You are trying to move your body and be very aware of how it feels while you are working every single rep. You are coming off injury/illness/surgery/baby etc. So being sure you are tuned in to your body is CRITICAL. If you feel something that isn’t quite right….STOP! It’s better to take your time, listen to your body and celebrate the fact that you are able to MOVE at all!
You are certainly welcome to take this workout and put it in your own fitness arsenal should you ever need a recovery workout. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions or make comments. I am here to help! I will be sharing my entire 8 Week Post-Baby Body Challenge with you! Hopefully it inspires you to start your own journey and work alongside me!
Tomorrow is my TRUE DAY 1! My bestie and business partner Amy will be taking over my life with my nutrition and exercise. Do I know how to do it? DUH! However, it’s so much better to have someone by my side pushing me harder and holding me accountable. She will be tracking my progress, making adjustments as needed and overall KICK MY ASS! I have 12 pounds to go and I’m ready to get back to my pre-baby body!
Follow me and Amy to to follow the journey! She will give you her perspective on me as a client. Ha! Should be interesting! And of course, you’ll get my perspective of being her client. She’s cray cray! HAHA!
Alright! Here we go! After writing and announcing my OWN weight loss Challenge on Monday, I am pumped! If you missed it, check it out HERE!
It’s been almost a week since my third child was born and we are slowly starting to get into a groove at home. He’s sleeping better and his bodily functions are working themselves out, thank God! Moms, you know what I’m talkin’ about! Poor little things keep themselves awake because they can’t freakin’ fart and burp. How unfair is that?!
Sidenote: Isn’t it funny how we celebrate our babies poops, farts and burps when they first enter this world? They can crap anywhere as loudly as they want and we all think it’s “adorable”. Where is that point as they get older, when we start scolding our kids for being so open? Then you become an adult, where heaven forbid, you pass gas in public! A 40 year old woman, farting and burping in the check-out line at the grocery store is definitely frowned upon! Replace with newborn baby and, Viola! Repulsion is replaced with, “Awww, it’s that sweet?”.
ANYWAY! Here it is…My Ultimate Plan of Action!
I am a MEGA nerd, btw! So obviously, I had to break this up with a detailed outline. I’m already excited thinking about it. YUP, MEGA NERD!
The NUMBERS: I am currently 14 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight. I gained 25 pounds over the course of my pregnancy and felt great about it! I stayed super active and my nutrition was nearly perfect (despite the jello and shrimp cocktail cravings, yes it happened). When we got home from the hospital, I was completely thrown from my health and fitness routine. As exhaustion, pain and fatigue set in, it became very apparent that I would have to fight hard to stay on track. Especially since I couldn’t be active with exercise! My objective the first week was to establish a healthy milk supply so I could nurse my baby with ease. I increased my calories and tried to rest as much as possible. I was determined to not have a heart attack when I looked in the mirror and realized that I still looked 6 months pregnant. My thriving little munchkin is so much more important than my vanity.
The TIMELINE:Without question, I am going to tackle my goal in 8 weeks! None of this….”take your time” or “it took 9 months to put it on, it takes 9 months to take it off”. NO! I’m a Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach, I’ve got this! A healthy amount of weight loss per week is 1-2 pounds. This gradual loss ensures that an individual is losing body fat and not muscle, as long as their calorie and macronutrient intake is appropriate (not too much, not too little). I happen to be an expert on this but in case you are not, check us out HERE, it’s what we do!
The NUTRITION PLAN: Because I don’t want to interfere with my milk supply for my perfect little guy, I am going to keep my calorie and macro intake on the higher end of my range. It’s important to note, that you do not burn a million calories breast feeding. You burn about 20 calories per ounce of milk you produce as a nursing mother. My newborn son needs to consume about 16 ounces of milk per day to thrive in his weight gain. Therefore, I am only burning about 320 extra calories per day right now.
WEEK ONE and TWO: Starts Monday!
Activity level: Lightly active.
Workout Frequency:5 days per week of low intensity exercise with 4 of those days involving light strength training.
Workout Duration:20-40 minutes each depending on how my body feels each day.
Objective:Very light movement to remind my muscles to work and stay strong. After about two weeks of no exercise, your body starts to “lose fitness”. This means your muscle starts to decrease in mass and fiber counts, while your cardio fitness starts to fall flat. So the sooner you move, the less catch-up you have to do!
Workouts: Focus on light cardio by walking every day. Use my yoga ball to strengthen core, do seated upper body exercises with resistance bands and use my Favorite Hip Circles to fire lower body muscles. I’m thinking I will hit a modified version of my My Glute Activation Routine. Yes, you should be intrigued! Check it out and add it to your workout program if you really want to work those glutes!
Calorie/Macro Ranges: For Lightly Active ME!
My calorie range: 1800-2050
Protein Range: 128-140 grams
Carbohydrate Range: 163-189 grams
Fat Range: 60-69 grams
Nutrition Frequency: Consume a protein, carbohydrate and healthy fat every 3 hours throughout the day to keep my energy up and metabolism firing!
Bonus Fat Burning Strategies:Be consistent with my favorite fat blasting supplements. I have to admit, I have not been super consistent with some of these. Prenatal vitamins and milk boosting miracles have been on the forefront of my mind lately! #momissues
Shakeology: This is a new obsession for me! I’m cutting caffeine completely for fear it would decrease milk production. I do like having that occasional cup of coffee, so I’m all about the Vegan Cafe Latte flavor! YUM! It’s the perfect meal replacement when I have to down something quite because pumpkin pie is yelling at me and needs to eat more than I do! Love how I can drink one every day and get rid of 4 other supplements because Shakeology has a zillion benefits.
Amazing Grass Green Superfoods:Okay, I don’t exactly need this because Shakeology has super greens already! However, I am not a veggies person and I know this extra boost will help my body stay on track and burn fat! Check it out on Amazon for the best price! Amazing Grass Green Superfoods
Wake Up Call:Throw down a detox “tea”. Combine mug of hot water, splash of lemon and 2 ounces of unsweetened cranberry juice. Yep, every morning first thing!
Bedtime Snack: I’m all about eating a healthy fat and protein before bed. This is a slow digesting fuel that triggers your metabolism to continue working through the night. Otherwise, it shuts down! No thanks! Keep burning please! It can be as simple as 3 scrambled eggs OR string cheese and salami OR a protein shake and tbsp of nut butter! I should write a blog post on this subject because most people would say, “Wait, you EAT before you go to bed?!” HELL YES I DO! I prefer to burn fat, thank you very much.
Phew! I feels good to get this all down on “paper”. I have a plan! Time to execute! Are you in? FOLLOW and SHARE now to walk with me and hit your goals as well. Let’s do this together
Ready to join me for my POST BABY BODY CHALLENGE? Read on for…
Thoughts on POST BABY and what that means.
My personal CHALLENGES as a Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach.
The ugly truth of a POST BABY BODY.
My THREE GOALS! Losing the baby weight while maintaining aa harmonious family and healthy mindset.
Your formal invitation to JOIN ME!
Looking forward to the NEXT STEP.
My perfect little miracle entered the world just FIVE DAYS ago! The time has already flown by, even as the sleepless nights seem to crawl. He is perfect. My heart has somehow found even more space for this incredible little person. Our family of five, six including our happy family dog, is complete and we are looking forward to new adventures!
Now, let me open up about what runs through my brain when I am forced to put my feet up, relax and recover…it’s HARD and I kinda hate it! I am not the type of person who sits still. I am not the type of person who rejoices at even the CHANCE to sit still. Should I be looking forward to these weeks of allowing my body to recover from the miracle of pregnancy, followed by the physical trauma of delivery? Yes, yes I know I should! I am determined to chill the hell out and take this time to focus on me, my little man and my incredible family.
Now with that being said, no good story would be complete without conflict. My conflict? I am a Personal Trainer who is used to feeling strong, lean and active. I am a Sports Nutrition Coach, who is used to being very aware of my macros, calories and eating the same things every day. I am a Health Coach, who is used to encouraging individuals who need to find balance, harmony and practicing self-love and forgiveness. These are all great, right? Right! Enter baby and BAM!
If you have had a baby, you know what I’m talking about! If you haven’t, let’s all be on the same page with the ugly truth of post-baby bodies.
You head home from the hospital with your perfect little family feeling all kinds of emotions, for all kinds of reasons. The positive and euphoric emotions and reasons are a given! Let’s address the yucky ones and why they try to plague this amazing time in your life.
Your uterus is finally unoccupied but you still look 6 months pregnant with saggy tummy skin. Not sexy.
Your “downstairs” has been ripped to shreds, so walking is a whole new adventure.
Every inch of you is sore from the hardest and longest workout of your life.
The only pants you can rock are harem pants since they drape 2 feet below your who-ha! And let’s be real, the only person that can get away with those is J-Lo.
All the glam has been stolen from your routine…Hell, you are lucky if you have taken a shower! So forget hair products, makeup and cute outfits. We are talkin, greasy messy buns, hubby’s zip-up hoodies, gauze panties lined with huge pads and massive pants!
I’m basically telling you that I have never felt more amazing and beautiful (sense the tone and imagine a huge eye roll). So while this is an incredible time for our family, it’s also a very trying time for me, personally. I need a plan…
Now because I am a planner and love checking things off my list, I am launching into a full blown plan of attack and inviting you to join me!
For the next 8 weeks, I will be focusing on a just THREE THINGS…
Balancing my needs, recovery, rest and well-being.
Focus on our sweet little addition, stay in harmony with all family members, while maintaining a successful work life.
GET MY BODY BACK so I can feel like myself again! Both 1 and 2 are extremely important, don’t get me wrong. However, this 8 week journey will be more focused on the health of my body and how to lose that baby weight. I have read several articles and blogs detailing small snapshots of what women go through during postpartum. I want to be different. I want to share every step of the way, so I can help those individuals who may be needing the same encouragement, with or without a baby.. Whatever your reason, join me.
Ready to join me? Consider this your formal invitation!
If you are needing a partner in crime to help you stay accountable in your own goals, join me!
If you have recently (or are still fighting) the postpartum battle, join me!
If you know someone who is fighting the postpartum battle, TELL THEM to join me!
If you are interested in reading about how I’m going to make these things happen, join me!
If you appreciate the honest and ugly truth about how to hurdle over the challenging times and stay motivated to smash some goals, join me!
FOLLOW ME now and SHARE THIS POST because I’m starting TODAY with my first task. I already completed it and challenge you to do the same. Write down THREE goals you will focusing on through the next 8 weeks. Post them somewhere so you can see them every day! I’m going to be sharing my nutrition and fitness plan, my self-love and acceptance plan and the details of balancing a big family with my fitness career.
Next step to look forward to? I will be writing out my nutrition and fitness plans on Wednesday in my blog post! This is a critical step and needs to be thorough so I can stick with it and stay healthy as I take care of baby and myself. Stay tuned!
Alright, let’s talk about this obsession everyone seems to be having about getting that “Big Ol’ Booty!” I’ve got to be honest and say, I’m not devastated that our society has seemed to move away from the “huge breasts” obsession that has ruled since…who knows how long now. Now, I’m not encouraging an obsession about any particular body part, however I don’t necessarily mind the encouragement of building some fabulous glutes.
Let me explain…
Glutes are insanely important for a healthy and biomechanically sound body. They are the strongest and largest hip extensor you have. So having your glutes in proper working order is HUGE for your overall health.
Here are just a few benefits to having strong and healthy glutes…
Hip joints are properly stabilized
Improved hip mobility
Strong hip extension and retraction
Reduction in back stress, especially lumbar related
Proper knee traction for decreased injury and healthy long term movement
Proper movement through your knees into your feet
Decreased hamstring injury risk
Hopefully this long list is enough to paint the picture that glutes are not only aesthetically pleasing, they are crucial to the overall health of your body! A massive population of Americans have joint related injuries and conditions. While there are many reasons that could cause this, having weak glutes doesn’t help the cause. In fact, over time your joints become even more broken down because they don’t have what they need from your surrounding muscle tissue to support them.
I’m sure you get the picture by now! However, I want to switch focus and blast some myths that may be swirling around in your head right now.
YOUR GLUTES ARE NATURALLY LAZY!
They don’t want to work hard for you! Your body will recruit every other muscle to complete an exercise! This is especially true for women, unfortunately. Glutes are typically the last muscle to join the party when working out. You have to be tricky to get these guys rocking and rolling for you.
Just because you SQUAT, does not mean you are working you glutes! The unfortunate reality of people in general, is that most do not know how to squat with proper form or get lazy with their reps and rely more on their hamstrings and quads to get through the movement. Even if you squat with proper form, your glutes may not be carrying the load for your body! Isn’t that frustrating!?
Many individuals do not even have the capability of squatting correctly because they have improper biomechanics and/or alignment. If you feel this is you, I HIGHLY recommend corrective exercises in order to fix that issue. Without correcting those movements, you will be continuing to train your body improperly, leading to injury and incorrect alignment throughout your joints.
Many of my readers know me well enough to have heard this phrase exit my mouth on several occasions… “Weight on your heels and hit 90 degrees with your knees.” If your knees come past your toes or your heels do not bear the weight of your squat, you are training your QUADS! Your glutes are still tucked into bed, lazy as heck and dreaming about who knows what. Why do people do this? Because glutes are lazy and without focusing on every single rep, you may as well give up on squats and hit quads with a leg extension. Sad but true.
Just because you “lift heavy” doesn’t mean you are getting maximum gluteal engagement. Sucks right? I know. Without properly waking up those “sleepy glutes”, your body will once again rely on other muscle groups to get through the movement. Glutes are functional! This means that you need them to perform at their best so you can move correctly in every day life. So until you know how to properly activate and wake those guys up, focus on form and lighten the load so you can get it right!
I hope you are saying to yourself something like…. “Kelsey, what the heck am I supposed to do then?” Don’t worry! I wouldn’t present you with a problem without having the answer for you! TWO WORDS!
This is one of my very favorite things in the world of fitness! Again, without proper “muscle firing” or “activation”, you could be wasting your time on leg/glute day. That’s bad news! I hate wasting time! I am going to share with you my glute activation routine, aka WAKE UP LAZY GLUTES! This is a quick 10-15 minute warm up to get your glutes screaming at you and ready to lift any load you throw at them when moving through your weight training program. They will have no choice but to stay engaged throughout your workout. You WILL feel and see the difference, I promise!
You need just one piece of equipment for this! HIP CIRCLES!Hip circles are basically highly durable resistance bands that create a lot of tension when used properly. Let me tell you right now, not all hip circles are created equal, trust me. So of course, I set out to find the right ones that I could stand behind and talk about happily!
First of all, I like the idea of different levels of resistance when it comes to my legs and glutes, so one band was not going to work for me. My current favorites, I got on Amazon! (If you know me at all, you would know I have an Amazon problem. I don’t have time to shop in REAL stores, not a thing.) These Hip Circles are created by Victorem and come in a package of THREE for $34.99! I was pumped! Anyway, I opened them up and put them to the test! You will have one band that is a heavy resistance, one medium resistance and one light resistance. Check them out here…Victorem Hip Circles – Set of 3
Here we go! Do this at home or bring them with you to the gym! EASY!
MY GLUTE WAKE UP ROUTINE!
HIGH Resistance Band: Hip Circle Forward Walk
With band just above your knees, keep legs fairly straight as you walk forward taking slow and big steps with each leg. Be sure you are creating enough resistance to make this difficult. Take 20 total steps forward, then 20 total steps backward.
HIGH Resistance Band: Hip Circle Side Shuffle
With band just above your knees, face to the side and take small yet slow steps in one direction. Make sure you are maintaining solid resistance with the band. Take 20 total steps to the right, then 20 total steps to the left.
MEDIUM Resistance Band: Hip Circle Hip Thrusts/Bridges
With band just above your knees, lay down on your back with your feet close to your heels and knees to the ceiling, hands by your hips with palms facing down. Spread your knees just enough to feel some good resistance with the bands. Concentrate on keeping your knees out and the resistance high as you elevate your hips off the ground slowly, pause at the height of the movement, squeeze your glutes before returning back to the floor. Complete 15 reps.
MEDIUM Resistance Band: Hip Circle Clam Shells
With band just above your knees, lay on your side and bring your knees to a 90 degree angle closer to your chest, heels towards your glutes. Keep one leg firmly planted on the floor as you open the other leg to the ceiling. Be slow and controlled in your movement to maintain solid resistance as you release leg back to find the other. Complete 15 reps on one side before flipping to the other side to finish.
LOW Resistance Band: Hip Circle Body Weight Squats
With band just above your knees and feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, push knees out as you squat down to 90 degrees, maintaining solid resistance with the bands (don’t let your knees break to the middle). Stand up and repeat for 15 reps.
REPEAT for complete 2-3 rounds! Your glutes should be on fire and fully activated!
Congratulations! They are ready to rock of the remainder of your workout!
To be honest, I do this glute activation routine at home three days per week. Reason? My medial glutes are weaker than they should be and I want to prevent hip injury and joint issues. It’s a quick 15 minutes and I’m done! Sometimes, I follow it up with a trip to the gym. Other times, it’s part of an active recovery day. Either way, I know I am doing something good for myself and I encourage you to do the same!