10 Minute Total Body Workout

I love being able to workout at home. With kids, sometimes it’s the only way to get it done. We don’t have the space for a treadmill unless we put it in the garage, and who wants to run in their spider covered garage? Not me! So I have to get creative.

In lieu of a treadmill post this week, I filmed a quick 10 minute total body workout that you can do anywhere. Literally, I do this in my messy basement while my kids play around me (as you can see from the video). All you need is a set of medium to heavy dumbbells. I stick with either 8 lbs or 10 lbs depending on how I’m feeling that day. For this video, I was using 8 lbs. I try to get in two rounds for a nice little workout.

I also created a YouTube page where you will be able to view all of my workouts. My goal is to film a new workout each week so I hope you will subscribe and follow along!

***I am aware I need to work on my videography skills.

I hope you’ll try it out and enjoy! I’d love to hear your comments.

Shedding the Baby Weight

Being pregnant with my son completely destroyed my body. By the time I actually gave birth, I think I weighed close to 150 lbs. That was almost a 40 lb weight gain for me. Wah Woo Wee. That’s a lot of weight on my 5’1″ frame.

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I really have no idea why it happened though. I was eating well, still exercising a few times/week, working full time, and chasing a busy toddler. Ryan was also a relatively small baby. Water weight?? Needless to say, it happened. And after 6 weeks postpartum, I was weighing in at 131 lbs, and feeling pretty bad about myself. I had never weighed so much in my life (without a baby in my belly), none of my clothes fit, and I was unhappy looking at myself in a mirror. I felt sloppy and squishy. I knew I needed a change but didn’t really know where to start.

With Chloe, my body bounced back pretty quickly. With Ryan, it wasn’t as easy.

(Please be kind)

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That’s when a friend of mine, who had also recently given birth, convinced me to do the 21 Day Fix and Shakeology with her. I had been reluctant to try it for many reasons. The first one being – it sounds like a scam. It’s also not cheap. And I’d never had success working out with videos before – why would they work now? Well, I ultimately gave in and purchased a 21 Day Fix Challenge Pack. It couldn’t hurt, right?

What is the 21 Day Fix? It’s a portion controlled clean eating plan that includes 30 minutes of exercise each day that you can do from the comfort of your own home. I also chose to get a Challenge Pack which includes Shakeology. Shakeology is the most nutrient dense protein shake on the market. Best part is, they have a 30 day money back guarantee. You can even return a full bag! So why not give it a try? Shakeology has really helped curb my cravings for the junk I had been eating. I do love my sweets but when I drink Shakeology, I don’t think about them (as much ūüėČ ). Shakeology can be used as a meal replacement but since I am a nursing mom, I use it more as a snack or a recovery drink.

The Fix also includes 8 different workouts: Total Body Cardio, Upper, Lower, Pilates, Cardio, Dirty 30 (my favorite), Yoga, and 10 Minute Abs. Having always been an avid exerciser ¬†– I love running, pilates, and HIIT, I was worried that the videos would be too easy for me. THEY ARE NOT! I also love that if I have time, I can do 2 videos instead of just 1. I started The Fix using 3 lbs dumbbells, now I’m using 6 lbs. I’ve found that increasing the weight, increases the results.

By following the Fix and drinking Shakeology, I had lost 11 lbs and 10 inches by 11 weeks postpartum. That was only 5 weeks of doing The Fix! I had a great support system – a group of postpartum moms all in the same situation. We were all doing the Fix together. I modified a little to take into account that I am breastfeeding exclusively. I don’t limit my heathy fats. On any day, I’ll eat hummus, peanuts, cheese and avocado, etc. If I feel my supply is a little weak, I’ll eat a scoop of ice cream. I was sick a few weeks ago and couldn’t eat. My supply went way down. When I started to feel better, I ate ice cream for a few nights, and my supply was back to normal in 2 days.

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By 15 weeks, I had lost 5 more lbs, bringing me within sight of my pre-baby weight.

(Check out my shoulder definition ūüėČ )

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By 16 weeks, I was able to button ALL of my pre-baby pants.

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The 21 Day Fix and Shakeology has completely changed my life. It has helped me to subconsciously make healthier choices. Even my husband has started losing weight from me making healthier choices. I do still have cheat days. But if I know I’m going to have pizza for dinner, I’ll make a big salad to go along with it so I fill up more on greens and less on cheese.

I also workout EVERYDAY. I’m up before the sun because that’s what I need to do to fit it in, and I feel better all day for it. I’ve never been a morning person but my health is a huge priority in my life right now. I want to set a good example for my children, and be around for a good long while.

Granted, my body is different than it used to be. Birthing a human will do that. But I am slowly getting back into better shape than I was before I got pregnant with Ryan. I can’t wait to see where I am in another 3 months.

Want to try a meal plan that allows you wine and chocolate, where you can exercise form the comfort of your own home? Comment below or email me through my Beachbody site, and I can help you find the program that is right for you!

Our First Walk

Bring sun, and temperatures in the 40’s to the Arctic and the coats come off, the shorts come out. That was the situation yesterday. I, for one, was not hardcore enough for shorts but it definitely felt spring-like. It was time to take Ryan for his first walk.

I have not been given the green light from my doctor to start working out yet but she did tell me I could start walking and doing light abdominal work. I have 10 lbs to lose to get back to my pre-baby weight. Ideally, I’d like to lose 15 but I’d be happy with 10. To ease back into it, I’m going to start by walking 2 miles/day. I’m also doing planks and light ab work to strengthen my pelvic floor (more on that later). I’m still dealing with some postpartum back/hip pain, and just started seeing a chiropractor. Fingers crossed that I am back to normal in a few weeks and ready to start running again.

I gained more weight with Ryan than I would have liked. With Chloe I gained 23 lbs. With Ryan, I stopped looking at the scale once I passed the 30 lb mark at around 38 weeks. I’m not exactly sure why I gained more. It was definitely more difficult to workout with the 2nd pregnancy (exhaustion,¬†pelvic pressure), and I felt a lot sicker for more of it (think: bread, bread, and more bread).¬†

For our walk, I bundled Ryan in this Gap quilted one-piece (old, similar here). I absolutely love my Bob stroller, and use it all the time for walking and jogging. The wheels are rubber and air which makes for a super smooth ride. The front wheel swivels nicely, and really helps makes turns easier when jogging. It’s really easy to pop the car seat in and out of it when the baby is tiny with the car seat attachment. I also kept Ryan warm and snug with the JJ Cole car seat cover.

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We recently purchased a Phil and Ted’s double stroller¬†but have not used it yet. I love that it was voted “Safest Double Stroller” and that it is compact. It seriously folds up so small! It also has a smooth ride (although I don’t think anything can beat the Bob). I’ve heard that people jog with it because of the air and rubber tires but you are not supposed to…

My happy boy slept our entire walk. I enjoyed the sun and fresh air on my path through the woods. I did not enjoy pushing a stroller through snowmelt – mud, mud, and more mud. But it felt great to get up and out and moving again! I had so much more energy for the rest of the day – I cleaned, did some laundry, organized Chloe’s room…much more productive than sitting on the couch waking reruns of Keeping Up With The Kardashians and writing this blog ūüėČ

I’m also excited to start the 21 Day Fix with some new moms in a few weeks. Need some motivation to lose the baby weight? Join us here!

Banana Egg Pancakes

I fly like paper, get high like planes…

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And on Saturday, I decided to be 22 again.

At least until midnight when I turned back into an old married woman.

Needless to say, I woke up with a pounding headache (oh the joys of getting older). I was in dire need of a run, and some wholesome comfort food.

Enter Banana Egg Pancakes. So simple. So clean. So satisfying.

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All you need are a few ingredients: 2 whole eggs, Flax Meal, Chia Seeds, Cinnamon, Vanilla (not pictured), and 1 RIPE banana

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Mix everything together.

I¬†whisked the eggs first, then added the banana and mixed together. Then I added the Flax Meal, Chia Seeds, Cinnamon and Vanilla. I don’t like to measure, so I just dumped in a good heaping of Flax and Chia Seeds, and just a dash of Vanilla and Cinnamon.

Pour mixture into an ungreased pan at medium heat. Watch for bubbles to form on the surface, and then flip!

They cook quickly. Mine were done in about 4 minutes.

ENJOY!

I’m freezing the leftovers for breakfast this week.

How are you? How was your weekend? What are you up to this week? I have been busy, busy, busy. I’ll be heading to North Carolina next weekend to visit my brother and meet my new nephew. ūüôā

Traveling stresses me out. I’m such a homebody. I hate flying. I’m a hot mess on airplanes.

Any tips on easing flight anxiety???

The Incredible, Oh So Edible, Egg

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The poor egg. My trusty, go-to nourishment has gotten such a bad rap lately. Yes, we all know that the yolk of an egg is loaded with cholesterol, 185 mg to be exact. ¬†And yes, your egg yolk consumption should be limited to no more than 2/week. But what about those tasty whites? Whenever I am trying to lose a few pounds, I’ll incorporate 3 egg whites into my daily diet. It’s a sure fire way to slim down. Had you come to me during my Nutritionist days and asked me for weight loss tips, my number 1 would be to eat more egg whites.

A professor in college told me, that egg whites are one of the only foods that when eaten, your body “uses” all of it’s nutrients. Nothing is stored, nothing is excreted. It goes to work immediately in the body. So lets take a more¬†in-depth¬†look at the breakdown of an egg white.

Egg whites are primarily made up of protein and water. They are made from the clear liquid inside the chicken egg (albumen). Egg whites contain calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, 9 essential amino acids and virtually zero calories. What is an essential amino acid? Glad you asked. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Your body needs both essential and non-essential amino acids for protein synthesis. An essential amino acid cannot be made in the body, it must be consumed through the diet. According to Livestrong.com, ‘Insufficient dietary intake of the essential amino acids can affect protein synthesis, a process necessary for proper metabolism.’

So how can you eat more egg whites? It’s easy.

  • Hard boil them. Place as many eggs as you want in a pot of COLD water. Bring eggs to a boil. Turn off stove and let eggs sit in the hot water for 20 minutes. Drain. Run eggs under cold water for 3 minutes, and store in the fridge.
  • Scramble them in the microwave. All you need is a big coffee mug. Place 3 egg whites and a dash of skim milk in a coffee mug. Stir together. Microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring each time until cooked. Wah lah. Scrambled eggs a la microwave.
  • Add them to oatmeal, quinoa, rice, etc. Scramble them, chop them up really fine, add to dish and stir. Delicious.
  • Got some time? Make a Quiche.

If you’re worried about all the wasted egg yolks you are going have, try Egg Beaters.¬†Although,¬† I personally do not like the chemically taste that lingers in my mouth after eating Egg Beaters. I would much rather eat real eggs and give the yolks to the dog¬†– it’s good for their coat.

Happy eating!

Pilates for Pregnancy

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I’m not pregnant, but my best friend is. I get¬†teary-eyed when I think of my workout partner leaving me for Mommydom,¬†¬†so I’m reading pregnancy blogs to stay involved and educated in all things bambino. All soon-to-be Mamas, and eventually-will-be Mamas need to check out Pregnant Chicken. Seriously, her blog is hilarious. Show her some love. I promise, you’ll be laughing out loud. My Mom and I had some good laughs over wine and her¬†awkward¬†pregnancy photos.

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Here is my BFF, Lake. She is 24 weeks pregnant, and looks amazing, right?! I, on the other hand, will not be so lucky. I have no idea where my¬†five-foot (future) self is going to store a baby. Lake has been¬†lucky enough to be blessed with an amazing long and lean body. She also eats very clean, and continues to workout daily. But good genes and a healthy lifestyle can’t take all the credit. She also attends twice, sometimes thrice, weekly¬†Pilates¬†classes. I am thoroughly convinced that Pilates is keeping her in model worthy pregnancy shape.

Pilates tightens your pelvic floor, and strengthens your¬†abdominals. This can allow for a more “comfortable” pregnancy, and, fingers crossed, prepare you for labor. Pilates will help you build a strong spine, protecting your back as your belly grows. Pilates during pregnancy can help you from becoming, how shall I say, “a sloppy mess?”. Come on, everyone knows someone who gained half their body weight during pregnancy. Don’t let this be you! After your first trimester, you only need about 200 extra calories each day. And stay active! Active Mamas will reduce their risk of gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia, they will sleep better, and are less prone to¬†postpartum¬†depression.

As your belly gets larger, you will need to take caution with back lying exercises. The weight of your belly when lying down on your back can put pressure on your Superior Vena Cava, a major vein that is supplying blood to both Mama and fetus. Around 20-22 weeks, it is recommended that you avoid lying on your back. You can use the Pilates Chair instead of the Reformer for back lying exercises.

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Although they won’t hurt the baby, stomach lying exercises can become uncomfortable even in the first weeks of pregnancy. Your instructor will give you alternate exercise to do that won’t involve you lying on your stomach. That’s another reason why Pilates is so great – every exercise can be modified to fit your body’s individual needs.

Since I’m trying to soak up as much time with Lake as possible, we hit an evening Pilates equipment class at SixPax. A special thanks to Fayth, for setting this class up for us! If you live in Chicago, and have not checked them out yet, you are missing out! Fayth, Joanna, and Molly will change your life.

Trying to decide if Pilates is for you? Check out a mat class and find out. I would not recommend starting a new fitness¬†regimen while pregnant, wait until after the baby is born to start something new. If you’ve been doing Pilates for years, keep it up throughout your pregnancy (as long as you have a doctor’s okay). I know a woman who did Pilates up until the day she gave birth. She looked phemoninal, and only needed two weeks off before she was able to get back into her fitness routine.

How was your day? I realized during Pilates that I was wearing the recalled Lululemon pants. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Ignore me. I’ve been drinking wine.

Staying Motivated

I was recently asked by another teacher at my school, how I find the time to workout each day. It is tricky. I can honestly say, I’m probably not the most attentive wife or friend. I would much rather attend a Friday night Pilates class than an after work happy hour. I never cook dinner. Sometimes I forget to feed the cat. I should probably vaccum more. I plan my weekend activities around my workouts. My husband thinks I’m nuts.

To help my social life, I try to get my friends involved in my workouts as much as possible. Since I’d much rather attend a pilates class than an after work happy hour, when people ask me to grab a drink after work, I say, “Sure, but let’s hit a Pilates class first.” Or I tell them to bring their gym shoes, and we can jog to the bar. I am constantly trying to convince my friends to join me for a Saturday morning workout with the lure of having brunch afterwards. Yup, maybe I am nuts.

I make working out a priority. That’s what you need to do to get it done. It’s part of my day just like getting my morning coffee from Robust Coffee Lounge or going to work. It’s a nonnegotiable. I make a point to try to leave work by 5. I mean, I’ve been there since 7:30. That’s not too much to ask right? I save work that I can do from my couch for when I get home, and only work on things at school that need to get done there.

I also try to sign up for 2-3 classes each week. It breaks up the monotony of the gym, and if you’re going to spend your hard earned money on a $30 Pilates class, you are going to show up whether you feel like it or not! And now that the weather is getting nicer, there is no excuse not to throw on your running shoes and go for an easy 3 miler…or even a walk. Just get yourself moving, that’s most important! I love MapMyRun for finding new paths around Chicago. One of my favorite runs takes me through Soldier Field and around the Planetarium down the lake. I avoid this path at dusk though because spiders like it as much as I do.

And it doesn’t hurt to have some cute clothes to do it in. I would live in Zella and Lululemon if I could. I just purchased this, this, this and these thanks to my generous Mother-in-law and husband. If you’re a runner, replace your running shoes every 6 months to avoid shin splints, and foot, knee and ankle pain. I have bad knees and ankles already from years of beating up my joints in Gymnastics. My favorite running shoes are the Asics GEL-Kayano. To me, no other shoe compares.

Make yourself a workout schedule that changes each day. And don’t work so much! If you’ve been at work 10 hours, it’s time to leave. I don’t care what anyone says, I don’t make nearly enough money for the amount of hours I work.

Here’s how I mix up my workout week. Give it a try. It will not¬†disappoint.

Sunday: 4 mile run, preferably outside. 9 minute mile pace.
Monday: 60 minute sculpt class. Check out local studios for this. My favorites are SixPax and Posture Perfect Pilates.
Tuesday: Treadmill Tuesday interval run. STRETCH!
Wednesday: Easy 4 mile run, preferably outside. 9 minute mile pace. Three, 3 min. planks, 40 pushups, 40 squats. Or, a 60 minute Pilates equipment class. I like to switch up these two depending on my energy levels.
Thursday: Treadmill interval run. STRETCH!
Friday: Pilates mat class. RELAX.
Saturday: Kettlebells studio class and an easy 3 mile run.

Don’t forget to fill your IPad with some upbeat tunes. Here are some recent additions to my playlist. Love me some throwbacks.

  • Dark Side by Kelly Clarkson
  • Boyfriend by Ashlee Simpson
  • Bringin’ Da Noise by ‘NSync
  • Flowers in Your Hair by The Lumineers
  • Hangover by Taio Cruz featuring Flo Rida
  • I Want It That Way by Backstreet Boys
  • Titanium by David Guetta & Sia
  • Two Black Cadillacs by Carrie Underwood

How was your Monday?

My car got towed at work today. At least it wasn’t stolen. That was definitely my first thought. Gotta love Chicago.

Hypoglycemic? Manage Your Workout

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In high school and my first semester of college, I hated doing anything physical. When I say physical, I mean performing a motion that would cause me to break a sweat. I had no idea why I wanted to pass out every time I broke into a run; why I would suddenly be starving to the point of cold sweats at 10:00 in the morning, just a few hours after eating breakfast.
I finally decided to see a doctor (was forced by my parents) my first semester of college. Long story short, it was determined that I have Hypoglycemia. In laymans terms, it means that too much insulin is released in my body when sugar is being digested. Just a few hours after eating, I was feeling faint, would break into cold sweats, and get dizzy. Basically, I would feel like I was going to pass out. I would crave sugar and carbohydrates to fill the void so I would stuff my face full of bread, crackers, candy, anything to make myself feel better. After eating, it would still take a good 30 minutes before my body felt back to normal, and I would feel the effects of a Hypoglycemic episode all day long. Needless to say, it was not fun, and it made working out nearly impossible.
There is no cure for Hypoglycemia, but there are lots of ways to manage it. While in school for my Nutrition degree – figuring out my own health was one of the driving forces that led me on that path, I discovered ways to manage my diet and the Hypoglycemic episodes lessened but they did not go away. I can honestly say that it has taken me 10 years to find a diet that works for me, allows me to workout all while eliminating the dizziness and cold sweats brought on by low blood sugar.
For the most part (I am still human), I follow a high protein, low starch diet. I eat lots of fruits and veggies, and TONS of fiber. Although fruits are loaded with fructose, I would never deprive myself of the nutritional benefits of them. If I am going to eat fruit, I make sure to do it alongside a protein – think apple slices and natural peanut butter. What “Hypoglycemics” like myself need to avoid are starchy grains like breads and cereal. Starch fills you up quickly, has almost no nutritional benefit, and is also digested very quickly which is what causes blood sugar to take a nose dive. High protein, high fiber foods are digested slower in the body, and help your body’s insulin to be released at a more constant rate – keeping your blood sugar levels from dropping too quickly.
I have a very strict eating schedule – five small meals each day, around 200-300 calories, spread out about every 3 hours. I never skip breakfast, and I eat at least 20 grams of protein at each small meal. Each meal I eat includes a fruit or veggie, the more nutrient dense the better – berries, bananas, apples, spinach leaves, tomatoes, snap peas. Thirty minutes before a workout, I eat 1/2 of an apple along with 1-2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter. As I’m walking into the gym or out the door for a run, I eat 6 ounces of raspberries or blackberries. If I’m only hitting a Pilates class, I save the berries for my walk home. I am keeping the Driscolls farm in business.
I always keep mints in my pocket during a workout just in case I feel my blood sugar dropping unexpectedly. Usually, my snack before the gym is the perfect amount to help me power through an hour long workout. There are those days though, where it’s not. Sometimes popping a mint is enough to stabilize my blood sugar so that I can finish my workout. Other days, I have to leave the gym altogether for fear of passing out in front of lots of people. Luckily, this has not happened to me in almost six months.
Everyone’s body is different, and finding a diet that manages your Hypoglycemia will be unique to you. Play around with different foods. High protein, high fiber, low sugar foods like Egg whites, Greek yogurt, Chia seeds, berries, Quinoa, edamame, nuts, and hummus are just a few foods that I incorporate into my diet.

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Think you might be Hypoglycemic? See your doctor and make an appointment to meet with a Dietitian. There are also lots of great resources for those with Hypoglycemia. William Dufty’s book Sugar Blues¬†is a great resource for cutting sugar from your diet. Don’t let Hypoglycemia get the best of you.

“I’ve been motivated by overcoming challenge and overcoming the hurdles and obstacles that face me. There still is plenty out there to get motivated by.” – Andre Agassi

Happy Sunday!

Sick – Workout or Avoid?

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As I posted in SixPax Saturdays, I wasn’t feeling quite myself this weekend. By Sunday, I was running a 101 degree fever which broke sometime Monday afternoon while I was at work. Needless to say, I wasn’t working out. As a general rule of thumb, if you are feeling under the weather and wondering whether or not you should hit the gym, follow the “Neck Rule”. If the symptoms leaving you feeling uncomfortable are contained above the neck – i.e headache and runny nose, then you are good to go. If your symptoms are in your chest, muscles, basically anywhere below the neck, then avoid exercising and rest until you feel better! For me that meant¬†Monday night in bed watching Fashion Police and other quality E! programming.

Tuesday, I dragged myself in the blizzard to a Ballet Barre class at SixPax Chicago with Fayth. It was the perfect class after taking a few days off.

Wednesday, I was ready to run again but I still wanted to take it easy. I planned a run that would keep my heart rate up and burn fat but would also incorporate short bursts of energy and periods of rest to bring down my heart rate. During a run, if you can have a conversation comfortably, your body is working at a pace where you are burning fat. During a sprint, your body burns stored glucose (glycogen) but continues to burn fat and calories after the workout is over. While running for long periods of time can cause muscle atrophy, sprinting actually helps develop muscle in your legs and abs.

Today my run looked like this:

0:00 Р3:00   3.9 MPH

3:00 Р8:00   6.0 MPH

8:00 Р9:00   8.0 MPH

9:00 Р10:00   3.9 MPH

10:00 Р15:00   6.2 MPH

15:00 Р16:00   8.1 MPH

16:00 Р17:00   3.9 MPH

17:00 Р22:00   6.4 MPH

22:00 Р23:00   8.2 MPH

23:00 Р24:00   3.9 MPH

24:00 Р29:00   6.6 MPH

29:00 Р30:00   8.3 MPH

30:00 Р31:00   3.9 MPH

31:00 Р35:00   6.8 MPH

35:00 Р36:00   8.4 MPH

36:00 Р45:00   3.9 MPH @ 3% incline

Then I grabbed some Whole Food’s California Quinoa with a Cara Cara orange on the side…and a few¬†Girl Scout¬†Cookies. My favorite are Tagalongs. How about you?

Happy Hump Day ūüôā