How to Properly Prepare for a Baby

As women preparing to have a baby, there are plenty of sites that share what we need to buy, bring to the hospital, and make for our upcoming lives with a newborn. As a pregnancy and postpartum exercise specialist, I’m here to tell you there are a few things missing in our list that we should be doing to prepare for our newborn’s arrival. What those lists don’t share is how to properly prepare your body for life with a newborn.

IMG_1950.jpg

1) Gallon water carries. Simply carry around a gallon of water.

All. Day. Long.

A gallon of water equals roughly 8.5 pounds, the average size of a newborn baby. Chances are you are going to be doing a lot of carrying, baby-wearing, burping, and feeding with your newborn, so may as well start to prepare your core, arms, and shoulders now!

*Pay attention to your posture and hip alignment while carrying the water. Your body will be readjusting after labor and proper alignment is a crucial component to living pain-free as a new mom.

2) Google ways to alleviate your sore arms.

And why your baby won’t stop crying.

And how to know if your baby’s poop is normal.

Don’t feel bad. Google becomes your best friend as a mom. Embrace it and don’t feel embarrassed.

*Ice and heat with a few minutes of stretching can do wonders for sore arms and shoulders.

IMG_1958.jpg

3) Tub hurdles. A tub hurdle is a form of exercise I have, as a mom, become skilled at. Most likely you will have to choose between showering and keeping your baby happy, so new moms are often in and out of the shower multiple times to either check the monitor, crib, or take care of their baby sitting in a rocker right in the bathroom.

*Steam is great for colds and stuffy noses, so next time your kid is sick, enjoy a 10 minute shower and steam session.

4) Eat all the food all the time. A healthy mixture is crucial to helping your body repair postpartum as well as keeping up your supply if you decide to breastfeed.

5) And do so one handed, including prep work.

6) With your other hand holding your gallon of water.

7) Practice quarter squat pulses while slightly bouncing your gallon of water in your arms. Does this motion sound familiar? I got the most exercise immediately postpartum by trying to get my tiny humans to sleep!

*Make sure to brace your core and keep your shoulders back to fully support your body.

8) Throw a bunch of toys on the ground. Pick them up practicing your perfect squat form. Repeat.

*Perfect squat form includes using your legs rather than your back to move up and down.

9) Cry. Just cry. Try not to feel bad about it. Postpartum hormones are no joke.

10) Complete a set of the following every three hours:

*5 Deadlifts into a crib

*20 quarter squats

*20 speedy calf raises

*40 core body bounces

IMG_1955.jpg

11) Side twists with your gallon of water. This is also a great time to get your lullabies down.

*A side note about the twists:

You will have a diastasis recti of some degree by the end of your pregnancy. It is usually recommended to avoid significant twisting motions as to not make it any worse.

However, I recommend coupling the twist with a connection breath and core bracing (on the exhale and bracing of your core, complete the twist). This will not only teach muscle memory, but it will give you the stability necessary to do a normal motion (twists) in the postpartum period.

All jokes aside, if you are looking to prepare for labor and to recover with a strong body postpartum, we offer individualized programs that will help you prepare your body as much as humanly possible for your baby’s arrival. We work with a wide variety of women to prevent and minimize diastasis recti, pelvic pain, hip pain, and also back pain. You can check out all of our programs for moms and moms-to-be here: Pregnancy & Beyond.

A Review of the Online Trainer Academy: A Year in the Life of a Workout-At-Home Mom and Online Trainer

IMG_6104.JPG

Two years ago I became a certified personal trainer, and I was beyond excited (that's an understatement), to start my journey of helping women learn how to love their bodies in a way that didn't create shame or added stress.  I had a picture of what my ideal day as a personal trainer would look like, who I would help and the work I would do.  However, there was a minor hiccup in my plan: I was seven months pregnant at that time, and I had no idea who was going to hire me and then allow me to take my 6-12 weeks of maternity leave directly after being hired.  That's when I had a brilliant idea: to start training women on my own, and that's exactly what I started doing.  

As soon as my tiny human made her arrival, I was back to helping women and gaining a following.  My clients began to lose weight, decrease their back, hip, and knee pain, and started to see an increase in energy to do things that they enjoyed.  It brought me great joy to do the work that I was doing each day, but as people like to say, all great things must come to an end. Seven months into working my dream job, we decided to move more than an hour away from my clients and network I had begun to create.  I was at a loss of what to do.  I debated keeping my clients and making the 2-3 hour trip every day, or completely wiping the slate clean and starting fresh in my new location.  

Right about the time that we were packing and getting ready to move, I somehow stumbled onto Jon Goodman's Personal Trainer Development Center (probably because of one of his awesome articles he writes) and the Facebook group that introduced a new concept of training clients online.  It took a few days to wrap my head around the concept, but I realized it could give me the missing link to keep helping my clients progress without actually having to see them for each one of their sessions.  Suddenly, my concept of personal training just blew wide open, and I decided to start my business with this model as the primary mode of helping many women and moms, because I found it to be more cost effective and allowed busy moms and women the accountability they needed to push forward toward their goals.  

OTA 1.jpg

This introduction into online training led me to Jon's online training certification that had just came out.  For those of you who don't know what the Online Trainer Academy is, it's a comprehensive certification program designed to show fitness professionals how to build and grow an online training business for more income and freedom in a smart and strategic way.  I had a new business: Cr3ation Fitness.  I had a somewhat jumbled system of how to help my clients, but I was exhausted by having to keep track of all my clients, my leads, and my clients' progress manually.  A job that I had so looked forward to had become something that was draining the life from me and taking time away from my tiny human. What intrigued me about the information in the certification was the additional information about setting up legal systems, something I had no knowledge about as a personal trainer. 

What I found, though, was an entire book that helped me revolutionize how I helped my clients.  It helped me create even better systems that allowed me to do a better job as a personal trainer.  It helped me understand how to reach people that could truly use my expertise and guidance.  Best of all, though, Jon's methods allowed me to take his information and create a unique set of systems that benefited my personal style and goals that I had for my business and for my clients.  

The information found in the certification wasn't about getting rich quick or setting up marketing systems that had no personal touch or relationship building.  It was truly about building better relationships with not only my clients, but the people I was already in contact with, about being a better trainer and coach to my clients that I had, and about giving quality information that could be used in a variety of different ways. 

OTA 2.png

It's been a year since I've gone through the certification and I have been given the tools to focus on helping women and moms love their bodies well.  I was enabled to figure out where I needed to start and how to go about reaching these women and moms: moms who were experiencing back pain and pelvic pain during their pregnancy, new moms who wanted to feel amazing in their new bodies, and moms who needed someone to keep them accountable to self-care and learning how to realistically reach their goals.  In the past year, I have learned how to speak truth to women about who they are as a person, and I now do that confidently knowing that what I offer is something unique and worthwhile.  

Best of all, I rarely get stressed out or exhausted from working in my business now.  I get to focus on what I enjoy: helping my AMAZING moms and women reach their fitness goals and learn how to love their bodies in the process.  I get to enjoy pushing them to do new things and bettering themselves, and I get to focus on creating new workouts that would benefit each of my clients individually.  The stress of always having to find new clients or remembering if I have checked-in with a client is no longer there. My systems guide me, and remind me what I need to do and when I need to do it.  This is a large part in thanks to the Online Trainer Academy. 

For all of you personal trainers out there who want to help your clients become the best versions of themselves, I would strongly suggest joining the OTA and taking the certification.  This program is beneficial to helping your clients in-person, online, and a mix of both, in which I use all three variations depending on what my clients need.  You will learn how to be a better trainer to your clients, how to set up systems to help you excel, and gain the freedom to live the life that best suits you. 

To learn more about the Online Trainer Academy and sign up for the certification, click the link : https://pts.samcart.com/referral/kcDxjKMw/143055

6 Mom-Tips to Overcome Exercise Slumps And Get You Back on Track

When it's 10:30 pm and your child is still wide awake...

When it's 10:30 pm and your child is still wide awake...

Last week my husband was away at work camp with our high school youth group kids while I stayed home with my 19 month old daughter.  I knew I was looking at a marathon-week, but I felt pretty out of my league when my daughter came down with a nasty cold Monday night. Tuesday I was able to get us outside between rain showers to go on a relaxing 20 minute walk to enjoy the fresh air, but I had no extra energy for anything else.  After a nearly sleepless night Tuesday night, all I wanted to do Wednesday was have a movie marathon and not have to even think about the work that needed to be done; forget about working out!  The week wrapped itself up with one last punch to the gut as I, too, got the cold my daughter had (gotta love those kid germs), and my hopes of getting in my daily cardio were dashed. Needless to say, a lot of prayer went into last week.

As a work at home mom, most of my work is done during my daughter's nap time and in the evenings after she is asleep.  I only have a handful of clients that I meet with in their homes, so, when I’m not in season to coach volleyball,  I get to spend about 95% of my time at home.  Even as a personal trainer, and what I like to dub myself "supermom", I get so busy that it may be 9 pm before I realize that I haven't worked out yet or sometimes fall into slumps where I can't even muster enough energy to do basic chores around the house.

All this is to say that I understand the struggle.  

I understand being so done with the day that all I want to do is eat my favorite comfort food (usually chocolate) and enjoy a mindless t.v. show (Grey’s) before knocking out.  

I really, truly, deep-down get it, and that's why I want to give you a few tricks to keep you on track with living the healthy lifestyle that is right for you.

Now that you know where I'm coming from, I want to say this to you:  If you are a mom, and want to get in shape, but feel bad for missing the mark, being too busy or tired, or simply not motivated to get your workouts in, I offer this essential piece of advice:

stop being so hard on yourself!

We as moms and wives are natural caregivers and giving all that we have is completely expected and certainly nothing to be ashamed of! The world expects us to do things flawlessly - to be amazing moms and wives, lead successful careers, have a well-kept home and food on the table, and rock a “sexy” mom-bod. If you ask me, that’s a lot of pressure resting on our shoulders, and it’s understandable that your health often comes last on your seemingly endless checklist of responsibilities.

If you are ready to change that, to invest in yourself, and get through the slump that I like to call “life”, listed below are a few great strategies to get you moving forward.

 

How to Move Forward Toward your Goals

1. Love Your Body as it is.

Fellow moms, this is one of the hardest things you will ever be asked to do.  Growing a baby and watching my body change was hard to see, but I knew I was helping develop a life inside of me.  However, post-baby my thighs are a bit less elastic than before pregnancy, my stomach still balloons out like I’m 6 months pregnant when I’m bloated, and when my hormones go a bit crazy every month, my stretch marks reappear.  I don’t feel sexy when these things happen, and I want to be loved, desired, and wanted by my husband, so the easiest, and natural, thing to do is hate my body.  I can guarantee when asked, you can point out things about your body that you don’t like without hesitation as well.  

Now, I’m not as bad as I used to be when it comes to this, because God continuously speaks life into my beliefs about my body.  Some days it is a struggle that I have to constantly fight, but here’s the thing: God already loves you as you are, and if you take anything from me, know that the fight to create a body that is desirable will always be draining and unfulfilling. You are already radiating beauty.  Yes, even with dirty sweats and spit-up in your hair.  Even more so, you are already loved so very deeply by God.  Nothing you can do or change will ever stop God from loving you as he does.

2) Find an accountability partner (or a few).  

Community is key to helping you find a routine that works for you.  Friends or family who will support you with your exact goals or who have similar goals themselves will work best as accountability partners.  These are the people who will remind you to invest in yourself, speak truth about who you are, and keep you focused on the vision you have for your lifestyle and your body.  If you want someone who can give you direction, encouragement, and problem-solve your exact needs, feel free to sign up for one of my programs here: www.cr3ationfitness.com.

3) Get active with your kids!  

Whether you stay at home, work from home, or want to get the most out of spending your time with your kids, this is a perfect opportunity to have quality time and get in a workout! Go for a walk, do some interval training inside, or get outside and set up an obstacle course with your children.  Start with 10-15 minute sessions and increase the length of your session to fit your schedule and your goals.  

For those of you with babies or toddlers - I have found that they love learning new movements and also love when you become a jungle gym while doing floor exercises. And honestly, anything that lets them run around and chase you, be chased, and burn crazy energy is a win-win in my book as well.

Let the fun begin!

4) Make a schedule and stick to it.

One of the most helpful things you can do is create a schedule and mark exact times when you are going to workout.  Make them non-negotiable.  Give yourself a reward for completing all of your workouts, even if you have to make one up later because of a conflict. If you need accountability for this, you should have already selected a few people to help you or visited our website and signed up for a program.

Again, I get that life happens. If you can’t tell from above, I clearly didn’t stick to the schedule I made last week, but I did do my floor exercises every day, and I did squeeze in two other low-impact workouts to help me stay on track.  If you can’t seem find any energy, complete a few floor exercises for your core or try 10 minutes of yoga.  Anything is better than nothing when it comes to creating a healthy habit of working out.

5) Schedule 10-30 minutes of alone time.

This is time in your day where someone else has the kids and you get to be alone and focus on yourself. Do this at least 3 times a week and embrace the alone time while you do something you enjoy!  Don't feel like you have to exercise during this time.  Health is more than just moving your body. This is relaxing time to focus on deepening your relationship with God and taking a breath from the hectic life you live as a mom.

6) Get in the ZZZZZs.

Remember that no-sleep night I had last Tuesday night?  With children, sleep is never set in stone, but there are things you can do to put yourself in the position to add a few extra ZZZs around regressed sleep schedules and skipped naps. Getting enough sleep is the number one way to stay motivated and on track with your goals. Believe me, I know this is easier said than done, but try getting into bed a half hour early every night and giving yourself time to take a nap on your days off. The chores and work can wait an hour (or 3 if you're like me). Consider it an investment in yourself. You will be a better mom, give your body a reset, and have more energy to be more productive with the time you have left.

 

We here at Cr3ation Fitness help women and moms love the bodies they’ve been given, create a healthy routine that works for their specific schedule and goals, and speak words of truth and affirmation into each precious life.

Pregnancy & Beyond is series of 12 week programs designed to help women prepare for childbirth by strengthening the body, alleviating back and hip pain, and help moms recover from the stress of childbirth.  Included are strength workouts to be completed at home, stroller workouts to get out with your little ones, prenatal and postnatal yoga, and at-home cardio workouts.  All workouts are accessed and logged into an app that is designed to keep you accountable and provide feedback that motivates and encourages you.

All you have to do is let us know how far along you are in your pregnancy or how many weeks postpartum you are, and your 12 week program will include specific workouts to your exact needs.

If you are interested in this program you can sign up here: http://eepurl.com/cWon2r

If you would like more information you can check out our website: www.cr3ationfitness.com or email us at cr3ation.fitness@gmail.com.

The Necessary Recovery Workout and Why It's Important

As an athlete growing up I only knew one thing: I needed to train as hard as I could and as much as I could to get better, faster, and stronger.  Usually by the end of 2 months (or 3), I was in better shape, but I was also worn down and just plain tired.  I always thought I had to work hard all the time to reach my goals, which is true for the majority of the time, but there's also a small portion of your weekly routine where it's necessary to slow it down and take it easy.  Over the course of the past few years of finishing my college career, being pregnant, and now having a beautiful child, I have learned the art of active recovery and why it has made reaching my goals that much easier. Who knew that resting, and resting well was actually good for your body!?

What is the purpose of active recovery?

Active recovery is meant to get your body moving just enough for you to then stretch it out and get it prepared to work hard for the next workout.  It is more than simply taking a day off, which can actually be worse than going full speed ahead!  When you take a day off and do nothing but sit and lay around, your muscles get tight and this may further any imbalances you have in your body.  Doing a hard workout the day following your rest then furthers these imbalances and creates a vicious cycle that can lead to injury. This being said, active recovery lengths your muscles, helps to diminish your imbalances and weaknesses (think correcting bad posture), and puts your body in a great position to safely crush the next workout ahead.

My Favorite Active Recovery Workout

The first part of my workout includes walking or jogging with intervals for 10 minutes.  

I decided to walk for 1 minute and jog for 2 minutes.  I did this 3 times and then walked for the last minute.

  1. Walk 1 minute, Jog 3 minutes
  2. Walk 1 minute, Jog 3 minutes
  3. Walk 1 minute, Jog 3 minutes
  4. Walk 1 minute

Notice that I did not run.  I merely jogged.  I wanted to loosen up my muscles and increase my metabolism by jogging, but I didn't not put an excessive amount of stress on my body by doing so.  

For your own intervals, the first minute should be easy.  You should be able to talk through it with no problem. 

The more intense part of your interval should be fast enough that you can talk purposefully if you wanted to. If you can't talk while you go into your higher interval then you are going too fast. 

Yoga and Stretching

For the second half of my recovery workout, I chose to do yoga.  Yoga works my muscles and also stretches them at the same time.  I completed each exercise for 45 seconds and rested for 15 seconds. 

 

1) Warrior 1 Pose

Push through your back leg, bending your knee at 90 degrees.  Keep your back straight and arms reaching up toward the ceiling.  Tighten your core and focus on deep breathing.  Do this on both sides. 

IMG_6658.JPG

 

2) Warrior 2 Pose

Push through your back leg, turn one leg and keep your hips open.  Keep your arms stretched out parallel to your hips and allow your knee to bend to close to 90 degrees.  Do this on both sides.

 

 

3) Triangle Pose

While keeping both legs straight, bring your hand down your leg to your ankle. Hold your other arm straight in the air. Do this on both sides. 

 

 

IMG_6663.JPG

 

4) Lunge

Lunge forward with one knee bent at 90 degrees and your other leg straight out behind you.  Place one hand on the ground on each side of your knee.  Complete this on both sides. 

 

5) Half Pigeon

Bring one leg in front of you, bending your knee.  Bring your other leg straight out behind you, toe pointed away from you. Keep your core tight and back as straight as you can to feel a stretch. Complete this on both sides. 

 

6) Child's Pose

On your bent knees, extend your arms all the way out in front of you.  Go as close to the ground as your body will let you.  Allow your head to relax.  If this hurts your knees, try putting something soft underneath to help.  

 

7) Child's Pose Reachers

This is the same concept as Child's pose except you will be reaching one arm all the way under your body with your palm up.  You should feel the stretch on the outside portion of your upper arm and shoulder. Complete this on both sides. 

 

Putting it All Together

Your recovery workout doesn't have to look exactly like this.  For some of you it may look like jogging for 10 minutes and stretching it out.  For others it may look like a nice walk and yoga.  Find something that you enjoy doing as a recovery workout and make sure to get that in at least once a week.  

Need help coming up with a plan or ideas for your own recovery workout?  Email us at cr3ation.fitness@gmail.com and we will be happy to help.  Until then, workout hard and rest well!

5 Tips to Combat Sciatica Pain During Pregnancy

Before you begin a program or regimen to relieve your sciatica, it's necessary that you see your doctor first to understand the underlying cause of your pain.  Sciatica has multiple origins and the tips you will receive here is geared more toward helping you with Piriformis Syndrome and SI Joint Dysfunction, as these are two of the most common causes of pain during pregnancy. This list serves to inform you and guide you to relieving the pain and gaining back your daily function.  If your doctor gives you a list of exercises to alleviate your pain, make sure to follow those exercises fully and ask to incorporate these exercises with that list.

After you understand the root cause of your pain for sciatica, you can begin to address the problem with a mix of stretching and strengthening the surrounding muscles.  

1) The first and best thing you can do if your pain is caused by the piriformis is to stretch

      Stretch your glutes (picture on the left).

      Stretch your hamstrings (on the right).

You can do both of these exercises in         a chair once you reach the 2nd and             3rd trimester. 

IMG_6763.JPG

        Stretch your quads.  

       

        Stretch your hip-flexors. 

For variations in these stretches, send an email to cr3ation.fitness@gmail.com and you will be given stretches that will meet your specific needs. 

2) Fire-Hydrants and Bird-Dog

Fire Hydrants will strengthen your glutes, which will help to prevent sciatica pain. 

Lift one leg bent at 90 degrees while keeping your back straight.  Hold for 3 seconds.  Release slowly back to neutral.  Repeat 20 times. 

 

Bird-Dog is geared toward strengthening your core stability and lengthening your back muscles. 

Lift your opposite arm and leg straight out while keeping your core tight.  When you do this your back should be flat. Hold for 3 seconds and return to neutral.  Repeat 20 times. 

3) Triangle Pose and Child's Pose: Hold each for 45 seconds. Complete on both sides if possible.

Triangle Pose (on the left). 

This pose is great for release the psoas muscle that gets tight when you sit.  

Child's Pose (on the right).

This will help to lengthen your back and stretch out your shoulders. 

4) Glute Bridge

IMG_6775.JPG

This exercise strengthens your glutes, which will take pressure off of your lower back. 

Hold this exercise for 45 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

To modify, you can complete a glute bridge using a medicine ball if you are further along than 20 weeks. 

5) Avoid sit-ups and crunches, and any exercise that involves excessive twisting at your hips.

If you are feeling any type of pain in your hips, glutes, or back, there is a good chance that you also may have a diastasis recti, which is cause by your stomach muscles separating to make room for your growing baby.  Sit-ups, crunches, and any excessive twisting with sudden impacts or weights can cause your symptoms and pain to increase.  If you do have a diastasis recti, talk to your doctor about this and avoid these exercises throughout the remainder of your pregnancy as well. 

If you'd like to start an individualized program geared toward preparing you for childbirth, and safely stay healthy and strong during pregnancy, fill out the form below and a 15 minute consultation will be set up to go over your goals and exact needs before starting your program. 

https://goo.gl/forms/HyDitgtM1zdcZnbk1

If you have any questions regarding the best exercises for pregnancy you can join Cr3ation Fit Moms on Facebook for some awesome tips and you can email us at cr3ation.fitness@gmail.com for more help.

 

How to Start Your Exercise Routine

IMG_6571.JPG

If you ever Googled how to get started with an exercise routine, I can guarantee you will find pages upon pages of programs available to you.  Sadly, all the information available may not exactly help you find the best program for your specific needs.  Instead of trying to fit yourself into a specific program, why not create one that meets your goals and works with the time you have available to exercise?

The first step in starting an exercise routine is to identify what goals you have for yourself.  Do you want to: 

  • Have a healthier Lifestyle
  • Lose weight
  • Gain muscle
  • Tone your body
  • Feel more energized
  • Condition yourself for athletics
  • Recover from having a baby or surgery

The list is not limited to my examples above.  The first thing you must do is write down all of your goals and when you'd like to accomplish them by.  Once you've completed this, ask yourself: Is meeting my goal in this amount of time actually doable if I consistently follow my plan? If you may not be sure about how you can meet your goals, ask for help!  You can email me at cr3ation.fitness@gmail.com and I will be happy to help you flesh out your goals. 

IMG_6569.JPG

Once this is completed, you need to make time in your schedule.  I'm not asking you to wake up at 5a every morning to exercise.  That's one way your program may come to an end pretty fast! What I want you to do is to write out a schedule of your week.  You are going to write literally everything you have to do, including eating, sleeping, chores, and shopping.  I mean everything. You are then going to circle all of the times you have free to exercise (aka - all the blank spaces).  It doesn't have to be fancy or super neat. It just has to get the job done.  

Now, once you have circled all of your free time, I want you to choose 10 minutes to an hour every day exercise.  I opted to highlight the times I planned on exercising.  Depending on my day I sometimes got in more that one session of exercise as you can see in the picture.  

Some of you may need to start with 10 minutes a day and others of you who have been exercising may need up to an hour of work to reach your goals.  Regardless of what it is, write it down.  Take a picture of it with your phone.  Post this on your bathroom mirror and in the kitchen to help you remember.  Finally, send your schedule to 3-5 people who are going to keep you accountable to this.  

 

At this point you should have:

  1. Decided your goals
  2. Chosen when you plan to exercise each day for the week
  3. Sent this to 3-5 people to keep you accountable

All that you need to do now is to start exercising!  Part of what I do as a personal trainer and coach is help people find exercises they like (or love) to do.  If there is something that you love to do that counts as physical activity, go and do that for your first week!  If you need help and suggestions on what will work best for you, send me an email and I will be happy to send some suggestions your way. 

Just so you won't have to scroll through the article, here it is again: cr3ation.fitness@gmail.com.

I conduct in person sessions at your home as well as online training and coaching.  If you are at a loss for what to do and need help staying accountable to your exercise plan, an online coaching package may be for you.  With this type of package, I work with you to set up a plan that will meet your goals and time commitments. You will receive feedback on your exercise form (how to properly complete your exercises), an app to access your workout for the day, weekly check-ins, and daily accountability.  I do this so all you have to worry about is getting that exercise in to reach your goals!  Plus, currently it's 15-20% off!!  Definitely take advantage of this opportunity!

 

 

All About the Leg Lifts: 11 Variations that will Tighten Your Tummy.

I was introduced to leg lifts as an athlete in college, but I didn't truly understand the benefits of leg lifts until after I had my daughter. After a bit of research and the completion of my Prenatal/Postnatal Exercise Certification, I decided that leg lifts were going to be a part of my recovery routine.  Leg lifts target the internal hip flexors, the "6 pack" part of the abs, and the quads. I started doing them about a week after my daughter was born and I was able to easily modify and adjust them to meet my needs in the moment. 

I was consistent in doing leg lifts for the first two months postpartum and I saw tremendous benefits: decreased back pain, a diastasis recti that was closing, and a tighter, firmer core.  After two months I figured I was ready to move and went on to harder exercises. However, as women we know that throughout any given month we experience a myriad of different hormones, and if one hormone gets a little overbearing, our physique and function can drastically change.  Around my 9 month mark being postpartum, this started happening to me, and the back pain, pelvic pain, and gap in my stomach started to come back.  Since that point in time (we are now at 15 months), I have done leg lifts nearly every day, and I have not had any issues since.  Regardless of whether you are a mom or a woman simply looking to strengthen and tighten your stomach, these simple exercises make a huge difference!

While each version of the leg raises may be different, there are a few things you should keep in mind while you preform them.  

1. Always keep your core tight.  As you do these leg lifts, your opposite hip may start to come off the ground.  Your goal is to keep your hips even the entire time.  

2. Lift your leg about a foot off the ground very slowly.  You should reach about a foot by the time you count to 3.  Repeat the same method going back down to the ground. 

3. Complete sets of 20 reps.  Once you've mastered 20 reps and it becomes easy, either add weight (ankle weights are awesome) or complete another set of 20!

The Exercises

IMG_6209.JPG

Toe Up - Lay on your back with your toe pointed up to the ceiling.  Complete one leg at a time.  To make this exercise harder, leave your other leg straight out on the ground.

 

Toe out - Lay on your back with your toe turned to the outside of your body.  To make this exercise harder, leave your other leg straight out on the ground.

 

Toe In - Lay on your back with your toe turned to the inside of your body. To make this exercise harder, leave your other leg straight out on the ground.

 

Left Side-Toe Straight - Lay on your left side and keep your toe straight out in front of you.

Right Side-Toe Straight - Lay on your right side and keep your toe straight out in front of you.

 

Left Side-Toe Up - Lay on your left side and keep your toe pointed toward the ceiling. 

Right Side-Toe Up - Lay on your right side and keep your toe pointed toward the ceiling. 

 

Left Side-Bottom Leg - Bend your right knee and place your right foot on the ground in front of your body.  Lift your left leg with your toe pointed the same direction you are facing.

Right Side-Bottom Leg - Bend your left knee and place your left foot on the ground in front of your body.  Lift your right leg with your toe pointed the same direction you are facing.

On your stomach-Raises - Lay on your stomach and keep your toe pointed toward the ground. Lift one leg at a time.

 

Bent Knee Leg Raises - Bend your leg to 90 degrees. Lift your leg straight toward the ceiling and release back down. 

 

 

It takes me less than 10 minutes to do all of these exercises daily.  It's crazy what just 10 minutes of exercise a day can do for your body! If you struggle with finding time or staying disciplined with an exercise routine, a 12 week program may be a perfect fit for you.  Learn how to incorporate exercises like leg lifts into your everyday life by joining my 12 Week Program: Moving Forward!  Just fill out the following form: 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeh7rS1lbT557JiD4JbEa8Pz-v30xJh5CgYlyGs-St5maA5iQ/viewform?usp=sf_link

If you would like other great tips and advice, join my Facebook groups: Cr3ation Fit Moms and Cr3ation Fit Women.

 

The Time is Right: 7 Reasons to move Forward with A fitness Program.

There have been times when I've made a goal for myself, got off the beaten path, and have found myself trying to restart my goal at the beginning of the following month.  I felt like waiting was good, because then I would be more focused and disciplined with a fresh start.  The problem was that I kept waiting for the right time to start transforming my life, and suddenly four months had blown by and I had made no progress.  Some of you may want to wait until the school year has ended or until you have more free time in your life, but change won't happen until you actually work to make the change.  Life is going to get crazy and hectic, but this 12 week program is going to teach you how to adjust to the demands of your life and keep working toward your goals.  It's not an "and-or" situation.  I'm telling you that you can do both.  

1) Transformation is more than just exercising and eating healthy.

 I've been there.  I've been in a place where I was ready to throw in the towel and quit trying to reach the goals and aspirations that I've prayed about and set my heart on. What I realized at that point was that I didn't truly believe that I could reach my goals and I counted my failures as losses rather than using it to better myself and move forward.  What changed was my mentality and my thoughts.  Instead of continually focusing on what I didn't have or couldn't do, I began to wake up each morning and thank God for the love that he had for me as I was and for the abilities I had been given.  It's at this point that I began seeing the progress I had always wanted to see. 

 In order to transform habits and achieve the goals you've set out for yourself, a large part has to do with your thought process and motivation.  If these aspects aren't addressed, your progress is more likely to regress and you may find yourself frustrated and ready to give up with all the work you've put in.  This program is designed to bring awareness to these thought patterns and give you the tools to help you reach your fitness goals.  

2) You've been doing random workouts that you've found on the internet.  

I will be the first to tell you that I love trying new workouts.  When I was pregnant I found that I loved Zumba and Cardio Kickboxing, and even now I will join in on my hubby's training for Spartan Races.  There are plenty of excellent workout routines and information out on the internet for free, but most of the time those workouts may not be specifically geared to help you reach your goals.  This is where joining a 12 week program comes in handy for you.  

This program is geared toward educating you and giving you specific information about how to reach the goals that you've made.  Different goals and body types require different exercises and workout programs.  You no longer have to guess what will work best for you.  All the information will be readily available to you and you will have a designated space to ask questions and try new types of exercise to see what works best for you. 

3) You have a hard time staying motivated. 

One of the biggest issues I had when I first began to strive toward my fitness goals was staying motivated.  Life gets crazy and things are always changing, so it was sometimes hard for me to even want to keep working toward my goals when I was exhausted and pressed for time with my schedule.  However, I learned quite a while ago that I was best motivated when I had others to workout with, so I enlisted a few people to workout with me and help me stay accountable to the goals that I had.  This helped me keep going when I didn't want to exercise or eat healthy.   

Some of you may also be motivated in this way, but regardless, this program will help you figure out how you are motivated and give you the tips to help you consistently progress toward your goals.  Because the emphasis is on life transformation, the goal is to also help you figure out how eating healthy and exercising is going to fit into your life in every season you encounter.  Motivation plays a key factor in all of this. 

4) You've been following health fad diets and have figured out that most don't last. 

There are so many things on the market when it comes to your health and eating well.  With all the research and information available to you, it can sometimes be hard to figure out what is actually best for you.  There have been many fad diets: no carbs, liquid diets, weight loss pills, etc.  It can seem easier to partake in these types of diets, because they promise to get you the results you want to see very fast.  However, as you have probably already experienced, these diets don't last and can leave you frustrated and right back where you started. 

What this program focuses on is giving you information about much you should be eating, the types of food you should be eating, and a breakdown of your current diet with an emphasis on what needs to change.  This enables you to choose which part of your diet you want to change first, and then enables you to add other changes slowly as you adjust.  It's about helping you make a change that will not only give you results that you want to see, but also results that will last because of the habits you will be creating.     

5) You're fed up with expensive diet programs.  

There are a lot of great protein shakes and diet programs on the market as well.  However, if you're like me, you may not have the money to invest in something that does all the work for you.  This is why I'm almost completely finished my nutrition certification: to not only change the way that I eat and understand nutrition, but to give you all the information you need to change how you view nutrition in your life as well.  This program gives you access to my tips and techniques for eating healthy on a budget and helps you cook your food without spending hours in the kitchen every day.      

6) You feel like you will be better once you've hit your goals. 

A few years ago I was prepping for volleyball season and my thought was that I would love myself better when I was more muscular and in shape, so I worked hard toward my goals.  I did end up reaching those goals, but instead of feeling happy with my progress, I then realized that I had other things that I needed to change and fix.  This lead to a cycle of unhappiness with myself and my circumstances.  You see, there will always be something you need to work on, whether there are actual improvements you want to make or aspects you need to maintain.   What saved me and changed this view of myself, was the journey of understanding just how deeply God cares for me.   It became the basis for how I viewed and loved myself.  Any change that I want to make now is considered extra.  Know that in your own journey there is someone who already loves you where you are.  It doesn't matter what you look like or how you eat.  God cares for you and may ask you to change because he wants what is best for you - to have a healthier lifestyle.  

7) You need a place to be real about your journey.  

A beautiful part about my 12 week program is the Facebook group that was designed to create a safe place to dialog the journey.  The journey isn't always sunny and beautiful.  The roads get rough and it's in those moments that we need a safe space to be real and open about not wanting to exercise or about wanting to eat a fourth slice of pizza.  In the same token, it's also important to be able to celebrate the victories - resisting the temptation to eat a sweet snack, getting out of bed and doing a workout when you didn't want to, or hitting your goal for the week.  The point is, you don't have to go through this alone.  You will have people encouraging you, supporting you, and cheering for you on this journey.  

 

I am passionate about loving my body and have big-time goals that I am working toward, but I am also passionate about helping you make a lasting change with your life.  If you are ready to make a lasting change, to feel good about the body that you have, and to work hard to reach your goals,  my 12 week program is for you.  Don't wait.  Invest in yourself.  You're worth it.

This program only costs $45, but if you sign up by April 2nd you will receive $10 off the price!

A Review of the Online Trainer Academy - What Does Freedom Mean to You?

        More than a year ago I began my journey of helping people earn the lifethat they aspired to have.  At the time I had a 2 month old baby girl, and as much as I wanted to get out there and work in a "big gym" setting, I knew I wouldn't be able to keep up with the demands and crazy schedules that the big-box gym offered (not to mention being able to afford fleshing out an insane amount of money on childcare).  By the time the Academy rolled around this past Fall, I had already opened up my own personal training business focused mostly on in-home and online clients.  The only problem was that I didn't actually have any online clients, and traveling to and from my clients in their homes was even more time consuming than working in the big-box gym that I so cleverly avoided!

         Clearly money and time were both issues.  I knew how to help people find the best versions of themselves.  I knew what it was like to be an athlete breaking mental and physical barriers while striving for goals, to be a mom with a tiny human running amuck around the house and living life on "E", and to also be a woman balancing the demands of life while trying to find a way to stay fit.   What I didn't know was anything about running a business, structuring a business, or how to find clients to keep my business open.  It's no wonder why I had begun to second guess my decision to start my own business and wanted to throw in the towel!

        I needed to bring in clients to keep my business going, but as a mom with a tiny human at home, I couldn't afford to spend any more time away from my daughter than I already did.  Personal training was not and is not my only job.  I also coach both collegiate and club volleyball, and at that time the balance between my careers and my family life was non-existent.  I knew something needed to change, but I didn't what I could change to gain the freedoms I wanted to have in my life.  This is where the Academy so gloriously swoops in and saves the day (but really though).

What is the Online Trainer Academy?

        The Online Trainer Academy is a comprehensive certification program designed to show fitness professionals like you how to build and grow an online training business for more income and freedom in a smart and strategic way.

What Makes the Academy so Special?

        When news about the Academy first came out I was already part of the Online Trainers Unite group on Facebook.  During the first few weeks of seeing the promotional ads I didn't even think twice about joining it.  I already had my business and I honestly wasn't ready to fork up the money to do something I wasn't sure would actually better myself or my clients. 

        Here's the thing that got me though; Jon had given such valuable information for free, information that enabled me to get my business up and running, that I figured it was worth trying if I could actually bring in more clients and better provide for the clients I already had.  Because Jon shared a great wealth of information and also took the time to answer many questions about online training within the group, it showed me that he was trustworthy and it was worth investing in his materials.  The Academy is not about creating little clones in a set system like many other programs out there; it is about creating unique businesses and helping people find what works best for them.

        The Online Trainer Academy includes both a textbook and a digital portal, which covers how to gain clients, how to set up systems and structures to help your business run smoother, and how to take care of your clients.  One of the most helpful things for me were the worksheets, templates, and scripts that I could adjust to mybusiness as I saw fit.  Every piece of material you will find throughout this program is easily translatable to your life today and can also be adapted and molded into your business structure.

Why Should I Take the Leap?

     I debated a long time before deciding to join the Academy.  I had already started my business and I was unsure if the Academy would actually offer enough new material to make the leap worth it.  I was barely making enough money to minimally cover keeping my business running as it was.  I had to bank on retaining my clients without them suddenly getting ill or taking a random vacation, and I also had to find new ones.  But here's the thing: I knew that I needed to try, and that is exactly one of the biggest things I could ever take away from this program.  No one is going to know the good job that I'm doing if I don't actually get around to doing it and putting it out there for the world to see.  The Academy helped me put the pieces together, simplified how I now do my business, and allowed me to actually get my expertise and programs (which are pretty awesome by the way) out there for everyone to see.  

          Today I have 10 online clients (remember when I first started I had absolutely NONE), and it seems like every other day someone is inquiring about my services and wanting to sign on!  This is less than 3 months after graduating from the Academy!!  I am making enough to actually have an income and because of that I can now choose when to visit family, travel, coach, and spend time with my daughter and hubby.  I am already experiencing some of the freedoms I have worked so hard for and the best part about it is that this is just the beginning. 

What are the Next Steps?

       If this is you, if you are looking to gain more freedom to do the things that are important to you - travel, spend time with more family, or read those books you've always wanted to do, the Online Trainer Academy presents the perfect opportunity for you to get started and gain the freedoms you've always wanted for your life.  How to gain that freedom is sitting right in front of you, just a click away, so all you have left to do is ask yourself this: "What does freedom mean to me?"

Follow this link to go straight to the Academy and sign up:  https://pts.samcart.com/referral/kcDxjKMw/143055

Follow this link to get Jon's Free Ebook on The Lasting Laws: https://pts.samcart.com/referral/0uoZm9f0/143055

Source: https://cr3ationfitness.squarespace.com/ne...

A Guide to Pre/Post-Partum Fit Moms: Best Exercises By Trimester

I didn't know I was pregnant with my daughter until I was about 7 weeks along. I had been recovering from a concussion, prior to the revelation, which meant my workout regiment included:  not doing anything, resting, or very, very low-impact exercise.  Needless to say,  "fit" was not where I was. Discovering I was pregnant pushed me to change.  I wanted to get back in shape and I didn't want to stop there. I wanted to play volleyball through my entire pregnancy.

Let me preface this by saying I was in the best shape of my life leading up to the concussion. I had returned from tryouts to play professionally in Europe (which I participated in despite a sprained ankle,  story of my life). Even though 2 months had gone by and I was extremely limited, I was still in relatively good shape. I was very aware of what my limits were, when and how to push myself, and the warning signs that would come from my body to keep my growing baby safe. 

That being said, the key to working out during and after pregnancy is to listen to your body. If you are coming from a place where you don't run on a regular basis, I would not suggest beginning your exercise routine by trying to run more than 10+ miles a week while you are pregnant. Start slow and build up.  However, if you already have an exercise routine, simply check with your doctor to make sure it's safe for the duration of your pregnancy. 

Below is a list of abs that are safe to do for every trimester.  I also included a bonus "fourth trimester", what most doctors call your three month postpartum period, to help you recover and get back on your feet faster. 

First Trimester Abs: Choose Your Favorites

During the first trimester, any and all abs are allowed as long as your doctor also agrees. I had a friend who had such strong abs that it was going to crush the baby, so she was restricted from exercise after she reached about 6 weeks. I cannot stress enough how important it is to check with you doctor before doing any physical activity.

For the First Trimester I have included 3 ab exercises that will most benefit you in the long run and help prevent diastasis recti.  These are merely a guide for you. Chances are you may not be feeling too hot as you deal with all the new hormones, so make whatever workouts you do fun and enjoyable.  What are you favorite ab exercises?

1) Flutter Kicks

Laying on your back, lift both feet 6 inches off the ground. Alternate bringing one leg about a foot higher than the other. Continue for 30 seconds or for 40 kicks each side. This exercise will work your lower abs.

 

2) Plank

The Plank will work your entire core, including your back and hip muscles, which are going to experience a lot of strain as the pregnancy goes on.  Keep your hips level with the rest of your body as you do this and hold for 30 seconds.

 

3) Superman Hold

Laying on your stomach, lift both arms and feet off the ground. Hold for 30 seconds. This exercise will work your middle and lower back .

 

Second Trimester: Stay Off Your Back!

Doctors recommend that you stay off your back when you reach about 20 weeks, because the pressure from the baby can cut off the main blood supply to it. Up until 20 weeks you can do the exercises listed above, but after 20 weeks you should stay off your back and at this point your stomach as well (if it is uncomfortable). For the 2nd Trimester I have included 3 ab exercises that are safe and effective for you and your growing baby.

1) Cat-Camel

This exercise will loosen your hips and back from tight muscles. Start on your hands and knees with your back flat. Contract your abs and round your back toward the ceiling. Return to neutral.  Then tilt your hips toward the floor and return to neutral.  Repeat 20 times.

 

 

 

 

2) Standing Bicycle Crunch

This muscle will work your obliques, as well as your upper and lower abs.  Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, take your right knee and touch it to your left elbow. Alternate sides for 20 times on each side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) Glute Bridge

Your glutes are an important part of your core.  This will help keep your hips in line with your body and take some of the pressure off of them. Laying on your back, feet shoulder width apart, bring your hips up as far as you can. Hold for 30 seconds.  *After 20 weeks do this exercise by resting your upper back on a yoga ball or something to prop you up.  When you lift your hips, your head should still be above your hips and that's OKAY.

Third Trimester: Better to Stay on Your Feet!

By this point, if you haven't been put on bed rest, the majority of your exercises will be conducted sitting or standing. Any type of crunching or bearing down motion will be advised against since it puts more pressure on your stomach and could cause a greater gap. I would also advise against any exercises you do from your hands and knees that let your stomach hang, because it also puts more pressure on splitting your abs. Use discretion here: if your stomach isn't that big, then go for it with your doctor's permission. I had a smaller stomach until about 8 months, so I actually stopped doing anything on my hands and knees right about the 8 month mark. For the Third Trimester I have included 3 ab exercises that will keep you safe and help prepare you for childbirth.

052.JPG

1)Pelvic Tilts (You can do this inclined, sitting, or standing.  The motion is the same!

This exercise will loosen your hips and lower back while working your inner most abs - something that will come in handy for childbirth and recovery.  Sitting with your back against the back of the chair, turn your hips up toward your head, which will make your back flatten out against the chair. Return back to neutral, where you may have a small space between the small of your back and the chair (that's perfectly natural). Tilt your hips toward your feet, which creates a larger gap than in neutral. Repeat for 20 times of each.

2) Side Plank (Left and Right)

This exercise will work your obliques and help close the gap from diastasis recti.  Starting on your side, come up onto your elbow. Your feet should be staggered. Hold for 30 seconds on each side.

563.JPG

 

 

3) Standing Side Crunch

This exercise will also work your obliques.  Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, touch your right elbow to your right knee. Alternate sides for 20 on each side.

 

 

 

 

 

Fourth Trimester: After Birth and Recovery

My body frame was small and my stomach grew pretty large by the end of my pregnancy, so my diastasis recti ended up being about 2-3 inches all the way up and down my stomach. From this (and having to recover in awkward positions with a newborn), I had pelvic pain and lower back pain to go along with it. I knew my body well, so I began doing a few simple exercises before my 6 week appointment. I started about a week after birth when my body started feeling better. Talk to your doctor about what you are allowed to do immediately after birth. I would suggest waiting until you and your doctor have a plan before doing any type of physical activity. These 3 exercises will be good for whenever you do start getting back into the swing of things.

 

1) Reverse Toe Taps

This will work your lower abs and inner most abs and help repair diastasis recti, pelvic pain, and lower back pain.  Laying on your back with your feet on the ground and knees bent, bring one knee up to 90 degrees. While you do this, your back should stay firm against the ground. Alternate for 10 times on each side to start.

 

 

2) Core Braces

You can do this from any position you'd like. With your back firm, contract your abs to make them hard. Hold for 5 seconds. Release for 1 second. Repeat for 20 times.  This works your inner most abs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) Modified Bird-Dog

This works your entire core. Begin on your hands and knees. Lift one arm up to shoulder length while keeping your core tight and back flat. Alternate for 20 on each side.

 

These are just mere options of what you can do while you are pregnant and recovering! Having strong abs will help you have a speedy childbirth and recovery. Remember, always consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine, including abs. And try your best to have fun and enjoy yourself.  Your time is too precious to do anything but.

As always, if you have any questions or would like a more in-depth personalize exercise program, you can contact me at Cr3ation.Fitness@gmail.com