Getting it done and a vacation workout

by Kim on July 25, 2014

Yesterday, I had one of those “this is motherhood” days.

For whatever reason (probably none at all), Mason woke up at 4:30 AM (!) and decided he was up for the day. He’s usually an awesome night sleeper, so this was completely out of the blue—not sick, not uncomfortable, not hungry/thirsty, clean diaper…

And it might have been ok if it didn’t mean that he was then desperately in need of a nap by 8:30, right as we were heading out the door to daycare. Ughh…

Here’s the other part that baffles me: some days, after a poor night of sleep, I’m somehow totally fine. Other days, I’m a moping pile of exhaustion and can’t recover all day long.

Guess what kind yesterday was! Winking smile

On top of that, it was also a Thursday, which meant I had my prenatal class in the evening. Luckily, I’ve already learned that being a group exercise instructor is just like having any other job: you show up and get it done, regardless of how you feel. And turns out it’s even easier to shake off a funk when you’re in a high-energy workout environment!

It also didn’t hurt that we had perfect weather and a beautiful spot to work out in.

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There’s a fabulous view of the city skyline behind those trees—which I tried hard to distract everyone with when we were a minute deep into some brutal arm circles. (I use the “go to your happy place” trick ALL the time with myself, and it totally works!)

Confession time: I included some burpees in last night’s workout and kind of regretted it. I could tell that the girls were struggling, and when I asked for feedback post-class, they all agreed that it’s just too cumbersome to get from a squat position to a push-up position with a big old belly in the way. Most of us are in our last month of pregnancy (and one girl is due next week!) so we’re definitely at the height of our preggo limitations, and feeling it!

Can’t wait to get this baby out and get back to my normal routine!

Kim-1019 edit

(I’m at the stage where I don’t even remember my stomach looking like that. Smile)

I still think burpees are awesome, but there are definitely plenty of alternatives to choose from for prenatal exercise. We can all still do inchworms pretty comfortably, for example.

This weekend, I have another baby shower to go to, and Brent will be going to the “man shower” equivalent for the dad-to-be. I like this trend of guys getting baby showers (Brent’s friends threw him one for Mason and everyone had to bring diapers—we honestly didn’t buy a single diaper for months!) but it’s also totally unfair. In our experience, girl showers = low key games, snacks, gift openings. Guy showers = partying, drinking, “last hurrah” kind of stuff. The man shower Brent’s going to this weekend involves a day at the horse races, grilling out, and a night on the town.

Ladies, how can we step up our baby shower game?!

Is anyone else traveling this weekend? I know a lot of people are planning their last end-of-summer trips. If that’s you, here’s something to take with you!

Vacation Workout


(Tip: if you don’t have a clock/timer available, just hum Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 3 times at  a moderate pace. That’ll put you at around a minute—plus, it’s a nice distraction!)

I actually sent a variation of this workout to my prenatal girls over the 4th of July, since we skipped our weekly class for the holiday. I was so proud when most of them came back saying they’d tried it!

I’d love to know if you give it a shot!

Notes:

  • A double-under is when you’re jumping rope and you swing the rope over twice in one jump. Faking it just involves doing bigger jumps than you would for regular jump roping.
  • 20 push-ups is a lot! But you can do it. Smile You can always modify to minis: on your knees and/or only going up and down 1-2 inches.

Have a great weekend!

xoxo

Kim

{ 8 comments }

Why kegels are OUT (and what’s in)

by Kim on July 24, 2014

Quick preggo update: 36 weeks!

I’ll give you the full scoop next week, but here’s a sneak peek at the belly progress:

36 weeks

(It counts as a sneak peek because my head is cut off. Clearly.)

When you talk about pregnancy—and especially, pregnancy + fitness—at some point, kegels are bound to come up.

I used to not care about kegels at all (besides squeezing a few in—pun totally intended—anytime I saw the word “kegel”), and I barely gave them the time of day during my first pregnancy. But then I had a near-9 lb. baby…and then this happened (quick summary: a 10K + severely compromised bladder control)…and then I got serious about figuring out this pelvic floor muscle business.

And that’s when I learned that maybe kegels didn’t deserve all the hoopla they got after all.

Here’s the deal: kegels are designed to tighten the pelvic floor muscles, right? So they can, erm, hold things in?

Well, it’s a common misconception in fitness that a tight muscle is strong and a loose muscle is weak. (If that were true, why would we ever foam roll a tight muscle?)

The perfect muscles are balanced, with just the right length and tension. Katy Bowman (body alignment expert/one of my girl crushes) recommends thinking of the perfect PF muscle not like the hammock we often hear about, but like a trampoline: taut, but supple.

trampoline

(Also, how did I not know that in-ground trampolines existed?? Genius! I mean…if you don’t care about having a flat lawn…)

Here are 2 key things to know about kegels:

  • Kegels can actually create pelvic floor problems. Weak glutes + too many Kegels = pelvic floor disorder.
  • What really matters for pelvic floor health = the GLUTES!!

Technically, the real goal is to balance the glute and pelvic floor muscles. (You know how the body loves balance!) So it’s not necessarily about ditching kegels entirely, but incorporating more glute work alongside the kegels (and doing way less kegeling than you might think you have to).

Welcome, SQUATS!

I’ve been incorporating tons of squats into the workouts for my prenatal exercise class, in part for this specific reason.

Here’s the other thing about kegels: it’s not just the “clenching” part of the movement that matters. The releasing part is just as important! We need to be training our PF muscles to relaaaax—meaning: not a neutral state, like you’re just not kegeling anymore, but like you’re THIS CLOSE to peeing yourself.

That relaxation part is especially critical during pregnancy, since we want our PF muscles to be ready to let go of the baby when the time comes. (Tight muscles and a stressed mama = bad news for childbirth! In my research AND experience.)

If all we ever do is train our PF muscles to “hold things in,” how do we expect them to know how to let a gigantic baby OUT?

What to do instead (per Katy):

  • Do regular, daily squats—preferably, all-the-way-down “eastern” squats. When you get to the bottom, gently squeeze and FULLY release the PF muscles 10 times. (Katy’s also an advocate for squat-peeing in the shower, if you’re into that!)
  • Stretch the backs of the legs to free up the pelvis. (I like the forward fold stretch in yoga.)
  • Avoid crunches and other exercises that force you to bear down on the PF. Go for stabilizing exercises like planks instead.

Happy squat-kegeling!!

xoxo

Kim

{ 7 comments }

Hot fitness deals

July 23, 2014

Last year at this time, I was ridiculously excited to pick up my first pair of Zella’s Live-In leggings (aka lulu knock-offs) on mega discount during Nordstrom’s annual Anniversary Sale. They served me well (until I got pregnant) and I have a feeling I’ll be living in them again as a stay-at-home mom this winter. […]

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Why every expecting couple needs a babymoon

July 22, 2014

I’m having a vacation hangover. Brent and I just got back from our long weekend in Door County, and all I want to do is reverse time and do the whole thing over again. The whole trip was perfect—great weather (sunny and 72!), great company (of course), and the perfect mix of activity and relaxation. […]

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A fun-boring vacation and what you should know about TVA muscles

July 18, 2014

I’m officially a free woman! Yesterday was my last day at my marketing job. It ended up being a really fun day—we had a company kickball game and potluck over lunch!—and I surprised myself by almost crying when my boss hugged me goodbye. (Hormones??) The change doesn’t feel real yet, and it probably won’t until […]

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15 must-pin workouts (and when to use them)

July 15, 2014

The most horrible thing happened this morning. I was up early to work out (that was the good part). I ran through one of my favorite arm circuits (and even upped my weights! I was on FIYAH!). But then… I got stuck. I hadn’t planned anything specific beyond the arm circuit, and I had 20 […]

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Ready enough

July 14, 2014

Heyyy check it out! The first piece of baby gear for #2 is officially set up in our room. I’ve heard great things about these Rock n’ Plays, so I’m excited to try one out with the new guy. Supposedly they’re magical for newborn sleep! I snagged this off Craigslist over the weekend, and we also got […]

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Barre class blues

July 11, 2014

Happy Friday! I’m super bummed—I had a rocking prenatal barre workout ready to go for last night, but I had to postpone the class when most of the ladies ended up being unable to make it. So disappointed! I still took an awkward solo pic to prove to you that I was there. (And to […]

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Expecting more + dark chocolate sea salt bark

July 9, 2014

For the past two days, I’ve been struuuuggling to get up in the mornings. At the start of the week, I was already exhausted from our weekend trip (Mason was up for about two hours in the middle of the night one of those nights—thaaanks buddy), and then I stayed up a little later than […]

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My favorite health and fitness podcasts

July 8, 2014

As places to eat lunch in the summer go, this spot isn’t half bad: I stopped by these insanely pretty local gardens over lunch to scout out a location for my next prenatal fitness class. I’m planning a barre-style class, and none of the girls have tried barre, so I’m pumped to introduce them to […]

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