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T25 Week 2: There’s Progress!

I was “cleared” to return to exercise on Thursday, after my doctor said I was good to go, he then asked “how long have you been working out already?” because he knows me oh so well.

Second week down, and while there wasn’t any movement on the scale (let’s be honest I had two pretty significant cheat meals in there) my cardio endurance has certainly improved. At this point the only reason I am stopping in the middle is because Little Miss needs some attention. IMG_0328

Lower Body continues to make me want to throw in the towel; Ab Intervals feel like a “rest day”; and those agility with jack feet in Speed 1.0 make me want to cry. It’s possible that I am wearing the wrong shoes (currently in Reebok CrossFit shoes) and that I am on carpet but my ankles often kill me when we do lateral moves.

We checked my ab separation at the appointment and it was very minimal (HUGE sigh of relief). Since having weak ab muscles is a new sensation for me, I added in a 12 minute postnatal ab routine from Body Fit By Amy daily. I didn’t feel a lot of the exercises which is normal, but I could feel myself getting stronger — leg lifts aren’t impossible anymore.

This coming week, I am hoping to try a short run and see how I feel. Considering we will have double Total Body for the next three weeks, I am hoping that some of the extra weight will start to come off. I know that my body needs weight training to really see a difference, but I am trying really hard to follow the schedule, especially since I don’t really have all the time in the world.

6 weeks PP, 4 weeks PP 40 weeks Preggo
6 weeks PP, 4 weeks PP 40 weeks Preggo

Just ignore how tired and unhappy I look in these photos, just you know going off of limited sleep here.

It is hard not to get obsessed with the number on the scale at this point, but I continue to focus on the small wins…like the fact that I was able to zip up a dress this past Saturday that I couldn’t the Saturday before. That I have more energy and continue to feel more like myself.

 

T25 Week One

Ok, so after a full week of barre workouts, I decided what is the harm in doing the first day of T25? If I can’t do it, even the modifications, I stop and just go back to barre workouts and walking.

So I jumped into T25 because I am impatient. I survived though. On the first day (cardio) I made it through the first 10 minutes without having to stop and gasp for air immediately. I’ve been mostly able to complete all the exercises without modification, or at least start them and just do a few seconds of the modifier toward the end.

a double day (back to back) required modification. Dylan was focused.
a double day (back to back) required modification. Dylan was focused.

The hardest part has been getting used to needing to wear two sports bras because these post-pregnancy boobs are a pain in the butt.

I know it is to come, but I do miss lifting weights. I am going to keep on the path because I have seen results. I am 3 lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight (though I feel like that is an arbitrary number because I was mostly muscle and I don’t think I am mostly muscle right now) but more importantly I was able to zip up a pair of shorts that I wasn’t able to about a week ago. This was really the ah ha goal since it is May in Florida and I can’t live in leggings forever.

Now I know the rest of the next four weeks will be a combination of the different workouts. cycling through on different days, etc. but I am really happy that I don’t have to do lower body AND cardio on the same day again. There are very similar moves in both and I can only take so many lunges and and jump squats.

Total Body was probably my favorite of all the workouts since it had push-ups and it was more of the style of my preferred kind of workout.

keeping Dylan entertained during the workout if she is awake is also a challenge
keeping Dylan entertained during the workout if she is awake is also a challenge

We set goals for July (when I go back to work) and I have Girls’ Weekend scheduled for August 12th, which will require a bathing suit. So I am hoping by then I will be feeling a bit more comfortable in my skin.

we're sweaty but energized
we’re sweaty but energized

This week is my doctor’s appointment and while I have been working out regularly for two weeks now I am hoping I will get the go ahead to return to running and pilates. I think adding in a short run will help me shave off a few more pounds and the pilates trim my waist where needed.

The Postpartum Fitness Game Plan

If you know me, you know that I am incredibly impatient and like to immediately jump into things. So the fact that I haven’t been able to exercise the way I want to is killing me. I had these grand ideas of how I was going to jump right back into my fitness routine like so many others, but having a c-section makes that a little harder.

Right now, I am walking as much as Dylan allows, she doesn’t like the stroller and prefers to be carried…which is hot, sweaty and sticky, because we live in Florida. Again, because I am insane, walking isn’t cutting it…and I am itching to get back into an exercise routine that helps me feel more like myself. This isn’t about losing the weight so much as being more “Laney-like.” Though my current lack of muscle tone is scary.

The game plan as I have currently devised is the following:

Week 4: Begin integrating low impact such as barre DVDs and upper and lower body weight training where appropriate in addition to my walking

Week 5: test the waters with a light jog, continue with barre DVDs/upper/lower body weight training

Week 6: begin modified 21-day fix to help me build my strength back up (likely skipping the abs portions) I have my doctor’s appointment this week and will pray for full clearance and a better idea of what my ab situation is

Week 7/8: continue with modified 21-day fix with a return to pilates

Then pending how I am feeling I am looking to pick up either T25 or start from the beginning with Kayla Itsines’ program. Either one gives me the opportunity to do a quick workout while she is sleeping and at least for the beginning, the Kayla program I can do at home or at our community gym.

I’d also like to eventually go back to spin class and reintegrate yoga (maybe even the ultimate yogi) but I have to be realistic about time. Maybe on the weekends when Josh is home I can do one or two hour workouts, but right now we are focused on building back the habit.

It’s going to be a long road back but for me it is more about getting back into the routine of working out and being strong for her.

 

August Goals

Believe it or not, I feel like I did a really good job on my July goals. I didn’t really eat any processed foods, and somehow didn’t find myself constantly reaching for a bag of gummies despite all that was going on with work, it might have something to do with the fact that when I got stressed I did yoga or abs for 10 minutes rather than give in to my sugar cravings.

1. Give in to sleep. I’ve always been a terrible sleeper. At three, I cried hysterically in my bed about  how I couldn’t go to sleep because I had to do my homework. I was also that child that could not take a nap…just couldn’t. Lately though, I have found myself craving sleep more. So I would like to go ahead and say in bed by 10:00pm most nights (probably excluding weekends).

2. Get back to meal prep. We haven’t been meal prepping like we used to…i.e., taking 2 hours on Sunday to do most of the cooking for the week. I think it is time we get back at it (though I feel like I am setting myself up for failure here, because I am literally traveling every weekend except one this month).

3. Swimming. I’d like to get back in the habit of swimming at least once a week. Also the July/August 2015 issue of SHAPE has this ridiculous 30 minute pool workout. It includes laps, burpees, wall kicks, push ups, and more. I haven’t figured out how its safe to do burpees on the pool deck without shoes…but I’ll let you know.

not me...
not me…

June Goals

It is very rare that you get a new month on the first day of the week. It seems right that you should wake up feeling refreshed and excited about what could be possible this month. For whatever reason, that made me feel like it might be a good idea to make some goals for the month. I mean why not?

1. Practice yoga at least 10 minutes daily. I’ve been doing yoga challenges, but not really focusing on my yoga practice. I need to get back into that.image (10)

2. Get up early every morning. It’s summer! This means I have more daylight in the evenings, which means if I get up earlier and get more things done sooner I can take advantage of it.image_4

3. Try a new funtivity every week. I love funtivities, and right now is the perfect time to integrate them into our plans. They can be an active activity, or just a new adventure (e.g., a new restaurant).

4. Cut back on sugar. I’ve been really bad about the extra dose of sugar. I am going to try my darndest to limit my “sugary” snack intake to twice a week…I am talking candy and ice cream here. Maybe next month I’ll cut my fruit (but let’s be honest).SourPatchKids

Healthy Eating: Stuffed Peppers

I’ve been eating stuffed peppers for as long as I can remember. My mom used to make them when we were younger. I am pretty sure I used to take them for lunch sometimes. They are just such a good Sunday meal prep option, that are also good for lunch leftovers.

I’ve stuffed them with pretty much everything at this point….they’ve been vegetarian (with Morningstar Crumbles), they’ve had rice or quinoa, and then of course other ground meat…turkey, chicken, buffalo. You can really stuff them with almost anything.

I used to have to get creative in how I positioned the peppers to bake. Then I got a fantastic pan for our wedding, literally designed for peppers. It’s awesome.

 

Below is a recipe I’ve been using recently, it’s clean, simple and tasty.

Italian-Style Stuffed Bell Peppers

What you need:

4 bell peppers

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1/2 large onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced or grated

1/2 cup diced tomatoes, fresh or canned

1 pound ground beef, bison, turkey, or chicken

Go ahead and preheat the oven to 375 F. While that is preheating, let’s get to chopping.

Peppers 002

 

In a large skillet heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until they are translucent and slightly brown. You can lightly season the onions with salt and pepper. I also like to add a little more pepper and saute those.

Peppers 004

Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic and tomatoes, and cook for about two minutes.

Peppers 005

 

Now we add the meat and cook until fully done. I usually add a little heat here with some red pepper.

Peppers 006

 

Fill the peppers and pop them into the oven for about 20 minutes. This will leave the peppers soft, but still a little crunchy.

Peppers 008

 

Peppers 007

High Intensity Training at Its Finest: The FHITTING Room

High intensity training is a staple in my weekly workouts. Essentially, any routine that gets me in and out in 30 minutes or less (thinking Kayla, Plyos from P90X and 21DayFix, and more) are done at least twice a week. Friends who live in the NYC-area have told me, more than once, that I “have to try FHITTING Room.” That it was in my fitness wheel house.

So we rallied a few troops from work and went during my last week long trip. I didn’t really know what to expect but I was ready to sweat.

The room holds 24 participants and class is run by two instructors. I loved the added instructor. It means you can’t get caught slacking at all, and the energy remains high throughout the workout. Ben and Farouk taught our class, and they were just really fun to be around. I don’t remember looking at the timer once because they were keeping our spirits up.

The workout itself was challenging in the sense that it got my heart rate up and I was sweating VERY quickly. It was broken up into a “warm up” (term used loosely), strength, circuit, and then finally a partner workout.

The Warm Up: we did 30 seconds of jumping jacks, jump rope, air squats, hip openers, mountain climbers and then more jumping jacks. I was certainly warm up the jump rope and sweating buckets by the second set of jumping jacks.20150413_181908

Strength: I didn’t go extremely heavy here, probably used just about a 12-15lbs depending on exercise, but really started to feel it when we were doing the bent over rows with kettlebells. Each move was a minute long, and we did it with the entire group. This was done twice through.

Circuit: Then they broke us into four groups and we went through four different exercises twice. Each station lasting a minute. This included rowing, KB presses, KB step ups and KB swings.

Partner: Finally, if my arms weren’t tired enough at this point we did 4 rounds for each person and you had one minute to finish nine dumbell thrusters to a medicine ball and nine burpees. And at the FHITTING room, you go all the way to the floor for the burpees. 20150413_192745

This workout was no joke. I was honestly sore for two days following, and couldn’t believe it. The workouts change daily, so you can be sure you never fall into a rut.

News That Makes You Think: Obesity Risk, Lunch Shaming, Double Chin

The last two days has been filled with some interesting news items that has led me to shake my head, and go hmmmm.

A test that can gauge your obesity risk?

I come from a family that has often struggled with weight — we have one of those really unhealthy relationships where we eat our feelings. It’s a learned response….and while that has a significant impact on our waistlines it is a habit that in theory can be broken.

On the other hand, researchers have now said they can successfully link certain byproducts of digestion to the risk of excess body fat. Something we can’t change…yet. It’s possible that these findings might lead to more personalized interventions for people who are identified as “at-risk” for obesity, including diet, exercise or supplements.

In a study published in the journal, Science Translational Medicine, researchers note that obesity risk is driven by many factors. They include, “amino acids and muscle metabolism, energy metabolism, and [the] involvement of gut metabolism.”

In a not so shocking finding, the researchers say that obesity is complex and one magic bullet isn’t going to fix the situation. Read more here. Do you think having this information would make a difference?

Lunch Shaming

On my ride back from pilates this morning, I heard the story of the teacher’s letter to a parent regarding her child’s lunch. Then I got home and saw that it was on GMA. Is this really a thing? I know and appreciate the hard work that has gone into revamping school lunches, but being uber judgey about what is packed from home is ridiculous. Also, since when is peanut butter NOT a healthy snack? I’m pretty sure it is one of those “in moderation” snacks that is good for you. And another thing, how are you suppose to keep milk cool for lunch?

I'm pretty sure this lunch wouldn't make the cut
I’m pretty sure this lunch wouldn’t make the cut

Double Chin Remedy

Forget contouring like a Kardashian, and don’t you fret about bad angles anymore. The FDA approved a new treatment for adults with “moderate-to-severe fat” below the chin. The treatment, Kybella, apparently naturally absorbs fat, and has the potential to be a big seller. That is IF, patients are ok with the potential side effects including trouble swallowing or nerve damage to the jaw that an result in an uneven smile or muscle weakness in the face.

I can't tell if I qualify for "moderate-to-severe" here
I can’t tell if I qualify for “moderate-to-severe” here

Yoga At The Brewery

I’ve done yoga in the middle of Times Square, in a blocked off alley way across from a Whole Foods, on a hilltop, and inside a Lululemon with all the pretty clothes tempting me while I was in down dog. Two weeks ago, we practiced yoga in a new unconventional spot….Saltwater Brewery.

Knowing that we were at a brewery, it shouldn’t surprise you that this was the first time Josh joined me for vinyasa flow class. Apparently being surrounded  by beer taps is the best way to get your husband into the yoga mood.

Bend at the Brewery is led by Alexis King. She runs the TRX Yoga class at Slash Fitness and also does private practices for clients. This was my first class with her, and her energy made me want to take more — especially that TRX class.10982713_10153127380966757_465222353687387447_n

The Sunday that we went was a much smaller class than some of her previous classes (know this because of the pictures). It was just us, and four other people, which means more attention (yay!). The flow itself was challenging with some added twists that my incredibly tight sore body needed. Alexis was great about coming over to help you move deeper into the poses. She also helped me get into flying pigeon on one side.

The only down side is when you go into a headstand you realize you are on a concrete floor and should you lose your balance you may hurt yourself. I was a little tentative to do anything beyond tripod because of that.

Should you choose to stay after class, you can get a flight of beer for a little cheaper than the usual price. We didn’t stay since I was headed to NYC that afternoon and had to get some packing done…but the next time we go, we are absolutely staying to take advantage of that.

Review: Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

If you follow healthy lifestyle and fitness experts on Instagram, you may have found the fantastic abs of Kayla Itsines on your phone.  Kayla is a 23-year-old personal trainer from Adelaide, Australia. At first I was hesitant, since a 23 yr old’s body is WAY different than a 30 year old’s. But, Kayla also shares #fitspirations from her many, many members of #thekaylamovement and some are new moms, moms of three, and others who are living incredibly busy lives. We are talking abs for days, people.

Those abs!
Those abs!

 

So I went ahead and purchased her Bikini Body Guide 1.0. Her workouts follow a great interval format, in total it is 28 minutes of resistance training — two 7 minute circuits that you run through twice. You tend to do these Monday, Wednesday and Friday with Monday being a cardio/leg day, Wednesday arm/abs and Friday total body. The remaining days are either low impact cardio or recovery days. The full program is 12 weeks long.

Circuit Example
Circuit Example

I am a month in, and really love the challenge these circuits bring. In truth, I haven’t changed my diet so my progress isn’t necessarily the same as some of her other participants. Also, I haven’t taken my progress photo yet…because I am scared of photos.

Of course, my “low impact cardio” days are my Orange Theory Days, which isn’t low impact and just cardio, so my body is incredibly tired. I have a hard time resting, and was recently counseled that “yoga isn’t resting.” Maybe I can change that up for the next four weeks.

In all honesty, I just love the fact that Kayla didn’t see her nearly 2M Instagram followers coming. She was just a humble trainer posting progress photos of her clients, then she started answering questions, and THEN she launched her eBooks.