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Client Spotlight!

Welcome to the WellMom Client Spotlight, Jenn Chandler!  Jenn became a WellMom distance training client about halfway through her second pregnancy.  She feels her workouts helped her mentally and physically during her pregnancy and expedited her recovery after delivery.  She continues to train with me today, and she’s getting stronger all the time!  Way to go, Jenn!

Jenn Chandler

Mom to Jack (4) and Max (6 months)

What motivated you to work with WellMom?  What goals did you have?

When Jack (baby #1) was a born, I remember thinking, “wow, I never realized how physically demanding having a newborn is.” My back, neck and arms were so Jenn Chandler and kidssore from nursing, lifting him and carrying him (and his gear). For Max, (baby #2), I was nervous about being physically strong enough to keep up with a very active toddler AND carry around a newborn.  Plus, I worked out regularly during my first pregnancy with Jack; with Max, I did little beyond chasing a toddler and walking the dog.  I just felt sort of “blah” from not having a good exercise routine. I happened to see Chris’ interview on ARLNow and, on a whim, emailed her.

What are your accomplishments since working with WellMom?

Compared to my first pregnancy with Jack, I was not nearly as sore right after Max’s birth or the first few months after he was born.  Even towards the end of my pregnancy, I always felt strong and energized after my workouts. They were a great mental and physical boost.  I can now do 20 real push ups on my toes, and I’ve moved from 8 lb weights to 15 lb weights for some exercises!  Overall, I feel stronger and just more fit.

To what do you attribute those accomplishments?

I really attribute those to having a good relationship with Chris and staying consistent. I do distance training with her where she emails me a full workout, with links to video clips for new moves, every Friday morning. As I’ve told her, I always get a little excited AND a little terrified to open that email every week and see what she’s cooked up for me. I can do the workout whenever is convenient for me and then report back to her. Chris knows how to push me without overdoing it and has always been great about offering modifications, especially towards the end of my pregnancy.

What goals do you have moving forward?

(1) Be able to consistently do 25 push ups on my toes; (2) Be able to crow pose in yoga (a move I’ve never been able to get); and (3) Get back into running shorter races and eventually run another marathon before I turn 40.

What health and wellness advice do you have for other moms based on your personal journey?

Figure out an exercise routine that works for you. And then stick with it, even when it’s hard or not super convenient. I look forward to my hour workout from Chris every week. And even when I’ve had to start and stop the workout because of a fussy baby, I’ve always felt great after powering through.

 

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45-min Workout – on the fly!

Yesterday I had 45-minutes from the time I stepped foot into the gym until the time I needed to leave to make it to a client.  I typically plan my workouts ahead of time, but I came unprepared on this occasion.  On the spot I created an efficient workout (check!) that first elevated my heart rate (check!) and then hit all the muscle groups I wanted to work, focusing on the posterior chain (check!).

The next time you find yourself with just 45-minutes and zero ideas, give this a go.  If you are unfamiliar with any of the exercises, just ask google.  If that fails, email me and I’ll tell ya 🙂

Warm up (~5 minutes):

  1. diaphragmatic breathing in quadruped.  30 seconds. (what?  breathing as part of the warm up?  Yup. And here’s WHY I start all my classes and personal training sessions with diaphragmatic breathing)
  2. cat cows x 10
  3. rocking psoas stretch x 10 each side
  4. body weight glute bridges with overhead reach x 15
  5. body weight squats x 15
  6. walking knee hugs x 10 each leg
  7. standing hip abduction x 15 each side

HIIT Training (10 minutes).  Pace: 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest, 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest.  Then move on to the next exercise:

  1. Burpees
  2. Lateral high knees
  3. Double butt kickers
  4. Medicine ball slams
  5. Speed skaters

Resistance Training (~25 minutes). 2 supersets, each three times:

  1. Single leg rotational deadlifts x 10 each leg
  2. Dumbbell Lat Pullovers x 15
  1. Dumbbell glute bridges x 10+10 pulses at the top
  2. Decline push ups x 15

You might notice I failed to cool down.  When I have time, I do.  But if I ONLY have time to warm up OR cool down, I always opt for the warm up.  Personally I feel it’s more important, especially for injury prevention.  But if you’ve got 55-60 minutes, stretch it out, people!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Client Spotlight!

Megan steps into WellMom’s client spotlight this week!  Since she started training at the end of last November, she’s increased her self-esteem, energy, and strength.  Oh and I did mention she also shed 25 pounds?

Congratulations on your wonderful accomplishments, Megan!  I look forward to seeing you continue to reach your goals in the months ahead!

Megan  

Mom to Ellie (7) and Jake (4)Megan Kerbs

What motivated you to work with WellMom?  What goals did you have?

I started working with WellMom because I wanted to get back to being the person I used to be. I wanted more energy and to be able to play with my kids without feeling winded or injuring myself.  Some recent medical issues scared me and made me think about my long term health.  I want to live a full and vibrant life but knew that I would need to feel more comfortable in my own skin in order to do this.

Two realizations marked a turning point and caused me to reach out to WellMom.

  1. I discovered just how bad my self image had gotten when my daughter asked if I knew how to swim. She had never seen me in the pool or ocean even though I actually love swimming.
  2. I realized that I avoid being photographed and that this might affect my kids someday. Would they wish they had more photos of me with them when they were young?

What are your accomplishments since working with WellMom?

Since working with WellMom, I have more energy, have lost weight and can run around with my kids more easily. My health has improved and I feel strong and proud of myself.

To what do you attribute those accomplishments?

I attribute my accomplishments to how hard I have worked and how committed I have been to training. Chris made me feel comfortable when I couldn’t do any of the exercises. She listens to me complain the entire workout but never gives up on me.  She has been my non-judgmental cheerleader and has gotten me to a place where I look forward to exercise.

What goals do you have moving forward?

Moving forward, I would like to get even stronger and master some of the more difficult moves Chris has introduced. I would like to lose more weight and would also like to be able to do more push-ups.

What health and wellness advice do you have for other moms based on your personal journey?

I understand just how hard it can be to set aside time for oneself and commit to self-care. I can always think of something else I need to do instead of exercising. I have had to actively ignore that nagging voice and remind myself that this inner chatter is moving me away from my goals. Once I started to see and feel the benefits, the voice has quieted down a bit and I find that I don’t dread exercise as much.

I have tried to set realistic and tangible goals related to something other than the numbers on the scale.  If I only focused on my weight, I would have stopped a long time ago. But seeing my strength increase from week to week has kept me going when the weight loss was uninspiring.

 


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When You Just Don’t Want to Workout

We’ve all been there.  We know we SHOULD be making our way to the gym to exercise, but we just can’t muster the motivation.  Scrubbing the dishes sounds like a more attractive option. Though, of course, parking ourselves on the sofa sounds like the best choice of all.

As a mom or mom-to-be, you probably feel this way more often than you did during your child-free days, when pregnancy and the demands of motherhood weren’t further sapping your energy.

Here are five strategies to get you moving when exercising is the last thing you want to do. 

1. Lace up your kicks and see what happens.

Inertia is a powerful thing.  The longer we sit around, the harder it can be to get up.  Can’t talk yourself into a CrossFit workout?  Put on your shoes and take a walk outside.  Keep your goal modest – maybe just once around the block. If you’re someone who needs a destination, plan to walk to get the mail or grab a few groceries at the store. You may find that your energy levels pick up the moment the fresh air hits you.  And now that you’re out there, maybe that one trip around the block turns into four.  Maybe you get really motivated and power walk or find your way into neighborhoods with a few challenging hills (can you say, “interval workout”?).  Maybe I ride by on my bike and see you doing push ups next to your stroller.  🙂

2. Get a workout buddy.

Often finding the time for exercise comes down to accountability.  If you know your girlfriend is waiting for ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????you at the gym, you’re much more likely to show up than you would be if you were going on your own – especially on those low energy days.  Plus, it can be hard to find time to spend with friends, so working out together provides an opportunity for much needed time for yourself and away from family.

3. Remember you don’t have to “kill it.”  

If you get to the gym and you still don’t have energy for that 60-minute spin class, don’t sweat it.  Make today a light day.  If a yoga class is available, take that.  Or create your own workout: go low intensity on a piece of cardio equipment for 20 minutes; follow that with 20 minutes of low resistance weight training; complete your workout with 15 minutes of core work to strengthen your TVA and your pelvic floor (e.g. kegels).  Our bodies actually do BETTER if we combine intense exercise sessions with light ones.

4. Carve out time when you know your energy levels are highest.

People in general, and expectant moms in particular, have natural highs and lows during the day.  If you’re expecting a baby and are experiencing stereotypical morning sickness, plan to work out later in the day when you’re feeling better.  Are you more of a morning person?  Set an alarm and get that workout in before the kids get up.

5. Reward yourself.

And no, I don’t mean with Oreos (sorry!).  Treat yourself to a pedicure or a new article of clothing if you fit in at least 10 exercise sessions during the course of the month.  Need a more immediate reward?  How about a nice hot bath after your trip to the gym?  Or enlist the help of your spouse or partner, and ask for a foot massage to reward your hard work!

And if you just can’t do, be kind to yourself.  Obviously you shouldn’t ALWAYS give into inertia, but sometimes rest is truly what you need as a busy mom or mom-to-be.  Rest up today, and give it your best shot tomorrow.


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Client Spotlight!

These are my favorite posts to do.  🙂  WellMom’s newest client spotlight is Kara M.  We started working together at the end of June.  In less than 5 months, she dropped 25 pounds and drastically increased her energy levels, and she did it in one of the best ways possible: incremental improvements that over time built to sustained lifestyle change.  Her story is nothing less than inspiring.

Kara MMacek headshot

~Mom of Simon (4) and Alden (1)

What motivated you to work with WellMom?  What goals did you have?

I saw a photo of myself at a work event in May while waiting to board a plane home and couldn’t believe how heavy and unhealthy I looked.  I was also feeling really tired and sluggish, but the photo is what really prompted action.  I sent Chris an email from the airport to see if she was accepting new clients.

My original goals were to simply gain strength and energy and to be a better example for my sons.  I wasn’t necessarily looking for huge weight loss or diet changes.  I honestly didn’t realize how much nutrition and healthy eating choices played into Chris’s one-on-one services.  But I am so glad that they do!

What are your accomplishments since working with WellMom?

I have dropped about 25 pounds and gained strength, cardiovascular fitness, and energy.

To what do you attribute those accomplishments?

Macek side - 2017-11-19

…25 pounds less!

Macek side - 2017-07-15

Before…

I largely attribute my accomplishments to having someone to hold me accountable.  I also think that making some realistic, small dietary changes at the beginning and then gradually adding other changes was very helpful.

What goals do you have moving forward?

I would like to carve out time in my schedule to work out at least twice a week (once with Chris and once on my own). On the nutrition front, I want to have a plan for healthy weeknight dinners ahead of time every night to avoid scrambling for something quick (and likely less healthy) when crunched for time.

What health and wellness advice do you have for other moms based on your personal journey?

Take it one step at a time and don’t beat yourself up if you slip every so often.  Old habits diet hard, and it can take time to make lasting changes.  Be mindful about whatever you eat and notice your mental state when you eat it.  Stop and listen to what your body is telling you.  Are you actually hungry or just snacking because food is there?  It’s hard to be mindful when we are constantly juggling the competing demands of work and family life, but it really helps.


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Feed Your Kids Well: 7 Time-Saving Tips

It can be hard to find the time to feed our kids (and ourselves!) wholesome foods.  With so many competing priorities, it’s easy to succumb to the lure of processed foods and less-than-ideal choices.

Try these 7 time-saving tips to increase the amount of whole foods in your family’s diet.

1. Go Raw
Many vegetables make wonderful snacks in raw form.  Think “crudite,” and serve sliced cucumbers, carrot sticks, snow or snap peas, bell pepper strips, sliced mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and broccoli florets along with lunch or dinner.  No time for chopping?  Splurge on the pre-cutbell peppers and pre-washed versions in the produce department of your grocery store.

2. Make in Bulk
For foods that require more prep than simply washing and chopping, make in bulk to save time.  Open my fridge right now, and you’ll find cooked oatmeal that will last me three or four days, cooked french lentils, edamame, and roasted sweet potatoes and okra (finger foods for my kids; salad toppings for me).  Like eggs?  Hard boil a bunch and have them at the ready for any meal or a snack.  My kids also don’t mind eating omelettes from the fridge or reheated in the microwave.  And each time I make dinner, I try to make at least enough for two meals.

3. Freeze It
Some things you can REALLY stock up on and freeze for later consumption.  About a month ago I made a large batch of mini banana muffins (keep reading for the recipe!) for my daughters, stashing a handful in the fridge while putting the majority in the freezer.  They each eat one almost daily, but only now is the supply dwindling.  I do the same thing with pancakes, making them silver-dollar sized for the kids.

4. Buy Frozen Veggies
Frozen veggies can be a huge time saver because they are often pre-washed and pre-cut.  They’re also great during the winter months when most veggies are out of season.  Go-to’s around my house include frozen broccoli, french green beans, peas, cauliflower, and corn.  Keep it really simple by opening the bag, dumping a serving in a bowl, and microwaving.  If you have a fussy eater, melt a little cheese on top.  Kids seem to learn at a very young age that just about everything tastes better with cheese!

5. Behold the Avocado
Remember those lentils I have hanging out in my fridge?  They can be a pain to feed my 20-month old – she likes to feed herself, but she’s kind of a slob.  I circumvent this avocadoproblem by mashing some avocado in a bowl and mixing in the lentils, so it all sticks together.  I use the same strategy with other grains, such as rice, barley, and farro.  This is a total win-win in my book – I make my life easier AND give my daughter a heart-healthy fat.  Avocado also belongs in the “Go Raw” category – just slice and serve!

6. Say “No” to Special Meals
Kids can be picky eaters, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of making them special meals.  Seriously, who has time for that?  To the extent possible, try to make healthy meals for the whole family. You’ll save time, and everyone will eat better.  It’s best to start this from day 1, when your babies are just starting on solid foods.

7. Go Nuts
Assuming you don’t have nut allergies in your house, toss nuts in your bag rather than goldfish crackers when packing your on-the-go snack.  Nut butters are also healthy and versatile.  Blend them into yogurt or oatmeal, or use them as a dip for apples.

Oh and remember those banana muffins?  In my world they are super health foods that masquerade as a treat (yes, I sort of brainwash my kids).  I modify this recipe, cutting out the honey and substituting coconut oil for palm shortening.   If you use a mini muffin pan as I do, they bake in 10-15 minutes.

 


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Client Spotlight!

Today’s client spotlight lost 47 pounds.  That’s the weight of your average first or second grader.

Rashawn is actually my “client” spotlight because she’s not a client at all – she’s my nanny.  Beyond modeling healthy behavior and allowing her to pick my brain from time to time, I played no role in her success.  She did it all on her own.

Client or not, Rashawn deserves some time in the spotlight.  Over the past 16 months, I’ve witnessed her completely transform herself through dedication, determination, and patience.  She succeeded above all because she recognized that a diet is a way of life – not something we go “on” and “off.”  I am so proud of Rashawn and grateful for the opportunity to share her story with you.


 Rashawn B

~Nanny Extraordinaire

What motivated you to make an improvement to your lifestyle? What goals did you have?

My motivation came from one day stepping on the scale and seeing it read 225 pounds.  I was 28 at the time and told myself, “you have carried this weight around since high school; getting weight off after 30 is much harder.”  With those thoughts, I made a goal to lose 30 lbs (minimum) and fit into a size 10 before my 30th birthday (Aug 28, 2017).

What are your accomplishments since pursuing those goals?

Since May 2016, I have lost 47 pounds (from 225 pounds to 178 pounds) and achieved better control of my exercise and eating habits.

To what do you attribute those accomplishments?

In the beginning, I did not enjoy the thought of exercise, and I lacked the motivation to get it done.  I decided, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it on my terms.  I love to dance, so I purchased dance DVDs and made a goal to exercise 3-4 times per week. I also made a goal to eliminate 1 bad habit a month.  The first habit I eliminated was drinking juice and soda.  I swapped these beverages for flat and sparkling flavored water (without aspartame). Then I eliminated red meats and fast foods and tried new low carb recipes (thanks to Chris and Pinterest).   After a month of the dance tapes, I found that I lost 10 pounds and had energy that was once lost.  Following the DVDs, I purchased a Fitbit watch, began walking a lot more, and joined a gym.  I focused on cardio and core workouts and using elliptical and ab machines. As I continued to familiarize myself in the routine of working out, I also began to make monthly challenges, such as no artificial sugars and no caffeine.  Months later, I began juicing and adding them into my regular diet. Each challenge started out hard, but as I continued the process, I began to feel mentally stronger, physically happy in my results, and more and more confident in myself as I gladly swapped my size 16 for a size 10!

What goals do you have moving forward? 

Going forward, I will continue to build my strength by working out and making more challenges for myself.  I have committed to a lifestyle change of healthy eating and exercise.  Overall, I desire to be confident, happy and live a long fulfilling life.

What health and wellness advice do you have for other women based on your personal journey?

It’s never too late and anything is possible.   Diving into lifestyle changes takes time.  Start slow, eliminate one bad habit at a time and replace it with a healthy one.  If exercise seems intimidating, start with your diet.  Good food choices will provide so much more energy – you’re going to want to get up and move!  Next, find time to get outdoors.  A nice walk and fresh air does wonders!! Lastly, do something you love and challenge yourself. You’re capable of more than you think. There will be bad days, but that is never a reason to quit.  Tomorrow is always a perfect day to start over.  Just make sure you start!

Rashawn before and after.jpg

Rashawn lost 9 inches from her waist, 5 inches from her hips, and dropped 6 dress sizes!