Business Babies Series: 6 Tips for Fitness Photo Shoot Prep

IMG_3198We are thrilled to be featuring a “Business Babies Series” on our blog. Read these 6 Tips for Fitness Photo Shoot Prep from Kate Horney of BeyondFit Physiques (

Read more about the business inspiration behind Kate’s BeyondFit Physiques here:

I created BeyondFit because I wanted to be able to get the message of fun, sustainable fat loss out there to a larger audience. I am extremely passionate about effective and EFFICIENT fat loss techniques for women. As a new mom, I had zero time to exercise, prep food for hours and dedicate the whole day to healthy living, like I did as a young fitness pro. Yet, I wanted to look and feel healthy, lean & functional for my newborn and to be a great mom.


I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Health and Exercise Science and am also a Metabolic Effect certified Level III Hormonal Nutrition Consultant. I specialize in female specific fat loss, using proven techniques to offer body change and coaching services to women both online and locally. I started my “other baby” BeyondFit Physiques  in 2012, and since then, it’s grown by leaps and bounds with women who want more out of their fitness program.  (It’s a 30 minute workout, designed for fat loss. PERFECT for us moms and young women who are trying to fit it all in!)

Through BeyondFit Physiques, myself and the other BeyondFit trainers are able to offer training, nutrition, and educational services that are strategically designed to give women the tools they need to reach their goals, create lasting body change, and live the fat loss lifestyle.


In the beginning, when starting my business, one of the first things I needed were professional photos…. And if you’re a momprenuer who is starting her own business, one of the first thing you’ll need to consider is having some professional images taken for use on your website and social media. (Nope, I’m not talking about selifes with your iphone). ;)

If you’re getting ready for a fitness photos shoot,  here are some things to keep in mind.

6 Tips for Fitness Photo Shoot Prep

1.  Nutrition: 5 Days Out

Beginning 5 days before your shoot, keep your carbohydrates at aprox. 50g a day. This will likely involve no direct carb intake, as it is really easy to get 50g of “tag-a-long” carbs with your protein & veggies. 

This is going to cause your muscle to use up the carbs it has stored  locally, known as glycogen. Glycogen depletion will result in the muscle looking less full and round, which is fine for the days before hand. When you re introduce carbs, glycogen super compensation will bring it back in a big way.

2.  Nutrition: 1 Day Out

On the day before the photo shoot, ramp carbs up to about 300-350 grams spread evenly throughout the day. These should be dry, starchy carbs (e.g bagels, pasta, rice, etc) they should not have a bunch of refined sugar or too much water, you’ll have to start controlling fluid intake soon. The day of the event should consist of more of the same, roughly even (40% pro/40% carb/20% fat) meals. 

3.  What to Wear for Your Shoot

Photographers get  frustrated when a model doesn’t bring enough options. Plan to wear ONE outfit during your shoot, but bring at least two additional options as back up.  

Here are some basic tips for photoshoot wardrobe prep:

  • No stripes, plaid, or random patterns –solids photograph much better
  • Avoid large bold brand names
  • Bring various colored undershirts and undergarments
  • Plan outfits completely head to toe with all accessories
  • Have clothes on hangars and/or covered with a bag and grouped with accessories and shoes
  • Make sure your clothing flatters you. For example, a baby doll style almost never photographs well.
  • If you’re wondering whether an outfit is appropriate, bring it, but also bring other options to shoot if it doesn’t work out.
  • Black outfits look great in black and white images, if you want that dramatic look, make sure to bring that as an option.

4.  Peak Photo Shoot Condition

You want to make sure your body is in tip-top shape for your photoshoot- this is your time to show off all your hard work.  

Follow your regular workouts + targeted core training workouts 3 per week. Sprints are amazing for developing your abs, so make sure you get in one 10 minute sprint workout per week as well. 

Your nutrition regimen must be in check, especially around the time of a photoshoot.

Begin your Photo Shoot meal plan 2  weeks out.  Stay clean by tightening the reigns. Consume high protein meals and drink lots of water (1/2 your body weight in ounces). Stay away from sugar and alcohol as you approach your big day. 

Rest is also very important. Though you may be excited the day before your shoot, you will need to go to bed early and get a good night’s rest. Who wants bags beneath their eyes, so aim for seven to nine hours of sleep. This way, you will look fresh and be alert. 

5.Water Manipulation

You would think that manipulating water intake would affect the amount of water in your body pretty significantly right? As it turns out, not really. That’s because the amount of water you have around needs to be kept in a very tight range for everything to run smoothly in your body. So we’re really only going to be reducing water intake on the day before and the day of the event.  At one day out, at the meal before your last meal of the day, begin taking in small sips of water. You will no longer aim for 1/2 your body weight in ounces. Why?

Remember glycogen from earlier? Glycogen is sugar + water in muscle tissue. When you start introducing all these carbs, they have to take water with them into the muscle (about 3g water per 1g of carbohydrate), so if there is no water around, they’ll take the water floating around under your skin and in your fat. Water should be sipped only as needed through photo shoot day. 

6.  Waxing & Tanning

If you have unwanted hair that you don’t want showing in your pictures, you will need to get rid of it. Razor bumps will show in pictures, so you may want to skip shaving. Instead, use wax. If you’re not use to doing it yourself, you can have it done at your local salon. Call ahead of time to make your appointment. You may want to do this a few days ahead of your photoshoot as you don’t want to have any redness or irritation.

You also want to give your complexion a healthy glow, which also helps your muscles “pop” in photos. Therefore, self-tanning cream and moisturizer can be used to get that glow. If you have fair skin, you may want to begin a week ahead of time. Others may only need one application the night before the shoot. To get an even glow, you may want to exfoliate before self-tanning.

Pregnancy and CrossFit – My Journey

pregnancy and crossfit

Are you curious about pregnancy and CrossFit? Is it safe to try CrossFit during pregnancy? Read this great article from fit mom ambassador, Katie. 

I’m Katie, a 30-year-old wife, mom of a toddler with #2 on the way, CrossFitter, and full time marketing specialist (but soon to be stay-at-home-mom) from Richmond, Virginia.

After I had my first baby, with whom I had gained 55 pounds (a result of being practically sedentary for no reason other than wanting to be lazy, and eating anything I wanted), I was in a bad spot, physically, and therefore, emotionally. I loved what my body had created and nourished for over 9 months, but I did not love what I saw in the mirror.

Three months after having my daughter, in September 2013, I decided enough was enough. I could either wake up every day avoiding the mirror, or I could do something about it. My sister-in-law had been doing CrossFit for nearly a year and not only was she looking amazing, but I could tell she loved what she was doing, and she kept telling me how much I would love it. I signed up on September 19, 2013.

Fast-forward to May 2014, I am CrossFitting no less than four days a week and absolutely loving it. I’m down 70 pounds (so all of the weight gained during pregnancy with my first and then some) and I’m on my way to living a fit and healthy life.

And then, on a hunch, I took a pregnancy test. It was positive. I was scared. I was so afraid I would have to quit CrossFit and I would turn back into what I had worked away from for the past eight months. My husband assured me that I had built such great habits, that he knew I wouldn’t blow it just because I was pregnant again.

The Monday following my positive test, I tried out a new CrossFit gym that is closer to my house. And who do I see there? None other than my OBGYN. I couldn’t have been more relieved! My doctor, who cared for me the whole time during my first pregnancy, and who would do the same for this one, did CrossFit too!

At our first appointment at eight weeks, I chatted with my doctor about CrossFit. I explained to him my concerns and to find out what I should or shouldn’t do. I wanted to continue to do CrossFit and stay as active as I was, but did not want to put the baby at risk or increase the chances of hurting myself or the baby.

He told me that the best thing I could do was to keep doing what I was doing. He assured me that as long as I felt good, that I could keep working out at my normal pace. I asked him all the questions about heart rate, squatting, jumping, running, burpees, lying on my back, etc. He was very reassuring that all of those movements, especially early on in a pregnancy, are totally fine as long as the mom feels fine doing them.

First Trimester:

During the first trimester, I kept pretty going pretty much at the same rate as I had been before the positive test. My doctor advised me to not try to hit any PR’s with weights, but otherwise, I was clear to continue to do the movements as normal. The only advice was that if something felt uncomfortable, don’t do that thing.

Second Trimester:

The beginning of the second trimester was much like the first, not a whole lot changed until my belly started to make an appearance. Until about 27 or 28 weeks, I was doing pretty much everything as normal, except doing box step ups instead of jumps. Running became increasingly difficult towards the end of the second trimester so I switched to rowing. I also had to scale some of exercises, including strict burpees (drop down into a push up position, jump back up…no flopping on the floor), ring rows instead of pull ups, and I try to avoid exercises that have me on my back for longer than a minute or two.

Third Trimester:

Including the changes from the second trimester, I’m still pulling weights from the floor, but can see that doing that is coming to a close, as my range of motion due to the belly is impeding the path of the bar from the floor, so I’ll start pulling from the hang position soon. Double unders are also increasingly difficult, so I typically do singles unless I’m feeling really good. Rowing is also proving more difficult because of the range of motion and babies feet in my rib cage. I just do the best I can. I know the farther I get into the third trimester, the more I will have to modify, but for me, as long as I can continue to work out, the better.

My best advice is to talk to your doctor. Explain to them what your goals are and have an open, honest discussion about what you should or shouldn’t do. Every pregnancy is different, so don’t compare your journey to someone else’s (or even a previous pregnancy). Trust your doctor. If you don’t trust your doctor, find a new doctor. It’s my belief that your doctor is not only there to monitor the health of your baby, but your health as well, so it is important to find a doctor who respects your health and fitness goals.


Pregnancy and Sciatica

Pregnancy and SciaticaWe are thrilled to hear from our fit mom ambassador, Kristen Ross, regarding this common pregnancy symptom — sciatica. Read her pregnancy and sciatica article below. 

I’m a first-time, mom-to-be to a daughter, expected to arrive in February 2015.  I am the clinic manager, licensed physical therapist and lymphedema specialist at a orthopedic outpatient clinic in the Greater Boston area.  I treat a variety of post-op patients, sport and work-related injuries, and overuse sprains and strains using modalities, therapeutic exercise, manual techniques and aquatic therapy.  Outside of the clinic, I’m a Spinning instructor, yogi, runner, weight-lifter and up until my second trimester a soccer player.  I love to cook healthy food for my friends and family, particularly anything Mexican!  I live with my husband, (and best friend!), of seven years, where we met at college and live outside the Greater Boston area caring for our eight year-old King Charles Spaniel, Ellie.  We love to travel and have taken exotic trips including a European back-packing adventure, a rustic Costa Rican zip-lining tour, a camping and safari trip to East Africa and a snorkeling and diving escapade in the Great Barrier Reef.

Pregnancy and Sciatica

  • Causes, Treatment and Prevention

Sciatica is a condition that can cause shooting pain, numbness and tingling in your back, buttocks and/or legs. It is commonly triggered by the compression of the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body, that runs from the lumbar spine (lower back), down the back of each leg. Some women can experience this painful, yet temporary, syndrome in their second or third trimester of pregnancy due to numerous reasons including:

  • A rapid increase in weight gain and fluid retention putting excess pressure on the sciatic nerve.
  • A forward shift of your center of gravity as a result of your growing breasts and abdomen that can exaggerate the curve in the lumbar spine called a lordosis. This increase in lordosis can tighten the muscles of the low back and gluteals, compressing the sciatic nerve.
  • A significant change of position and growth of your uterus pressing down on the lumbar spine and also the sciatic nerve.
  • Finally, as your baby moves deeper into the birth canal, the baby’s head may put an increase strain on the pelvis and sciatic nerve.
  • Prevention
    • Eat healthy! Cravings and temptation to eat in excess (particularly those late night helpings of Ben and Jerry’s), unfortunately pack on excess weight and increase pressure on the pelvic girdle and lumbar spine. Women should try to gain weight slowly over the course of the pregnancy. If you were at a normal body-mass-index pre-pregnancy, you should try to gain two pounds in the first trimester, eight more pounds in the second trimester, for a total of approximately thirty pounds by the end of your pregnancy.
    • Exercise! Regular, moderate aerobic exercise can help maintain a healthy pregnancy weight. Try one of the following: (1) Prenatal yoga can help stretch the tight muscles of the lumbar spine and gluteals, improve posture and assist with balancing and strengthening the core to accommodate your change in center of gravity. (2) The buoyancy of water aerobics or swimming can decompress the lumbar spine and sciatic nerve. (3) Taking Fido or inviting a friend to join you for daily walks can relax strain on the sciatic nerve.
    • Wear proper, supportive footwear! Wearing comfortable, flat shoes (particularly sneakers) can decrease the impact of ground reaction force to the pelvis and lumbar spine.
  • Treatment
    • Prenatal massage/acupuncture/physical therapy: a professional licensed practitioner can improve the flexibility and restrictions of the tight muscles in the low back and gluteals and provide helpful tips for proper stretching techniques
    • Sleeping position: the use of a body pillow, especially between your knees in a side-lying position, can keep the lumbar spine and pelvis in a more neutral position alleviating excess pressure on the sciatic nerve.
    • Pelvic Tilts: Try lying down with your knees bent, tighten your abdominals and flattening your back against the floor or try Kegel exercises throughout the day.
    • If the pain is severe, contact your OB GYN for the proper dosage of acetaminophen to keep you and your baby safe.

Even though sciatica can be a pain in the butt (literally!), these techniques mentioned above can assist with your symptoms. The pain is often temporary and will most likely resolve following the birth of your adorable bundle of joy (once you shed the excess weight and fluid that is putting the pressure on the nerve).

Business Babies: Fitness Business Mentorship Program

Over the next few weeks, we are excited to feature a “Business Babies” series on our blog. We have a wonderful group of Fit Mom Ambassadors who are making a difference in the lives of others, as well as making healthy and happy homes for their families. Since so many of our customers and community have businesses of their own, or hope to one day, we are curating some of the best advice from moms who have been there.  We hope you will find these feature blog posts helpful and inspiring in your own professional endeavors.
Meet Amanda Tress, CEO of Fit Pregnancy and Parenting, Fitness Business Mentor, and mom of two. 
If money and time were no object, what career field would you choose? If you could spend all day with one type of person, who would that be? If you could influence everyone you know to be the very best version of themselves, would that fulfill you? These are questions I have been asking myself for several years.
I am a believer in the value of written goals. I write a listing of goals every year on my birthday, and I reference the list often. Most all of the goals I created for myself center around my main priorities — faith, family, and fitness.
Two and a half years ago, I realized that my full-time marketing job was not fulfilling my passions and centered around my main priorities. I was also overworked and underpaid which was causing stress to both me and my family. I decided to step down from my job to become 100% self-employed. I wanted to follow my dream of being a work-at-home mom and helping other women do the same. 

After stepping down from my full-time job, I began to focus on my Fitness Business Mentorship Program to help fellow moms get certified via the National Council of Certified Personal Trainers, and ramp up successful fitness businesses using strong marketing and branding strategies. With this program, I am able to marry my career background in marketing and branding, in addition to my fitness industry experience to help women be extremely successful in a career field that they are passionate about. 

My marketing specialty is digital marketing. I work extensively with my mentorees on establishing strong social media channels and loyal tribes via a sound content marketing strategy. 

I want to offer you an exclusive look at my Top Tips for Instagram. Are you using Instagram to build your small business client base? Have you considered it as a way to expand your blog audience? 

Visit my site and read my Top Tips for Instagram. Use password “fitparenting” to access these valuable tips. 

Read my Top Tips for Instagram now. 

What’s the best business advice you have to share with others?  Leave us a comment below.

Exercising Post C-Section

Exercising Post C-Section
We are thrilled to hear from our fit mom ambassador, Becky, regarding exercising post c-section. Read her great tips below. 
Hi! I’m Becky. 30 year old wife to my hubby of 10 years. Stay at home Momma to our 20 month old son. Christ Follower. Beachbody Coach. Creator and Founder of Shape Her. I hope to help women find their worth in things other than the mirror. I love reading, sweets, traveling, and mentoring students. I’m a Body Pump junkie who also loves yoga, running, swimming, and kickboxing. You can follow me on Instagram at @shape_her and online at
I’m a C-section Momma, so I wanted to talk to you today about some of my favorite abdominal exercises post C-section. 
Once you’re cleared by your doctor for exercise (usually at your 6-8 week post op checkup), here are 3 exercises that I found very helpful – and doable – after my C-section.
A basic straight arm plank is a GREAT way to strengthen your midsection again.  While my son was having tummy time I would practice my planks.  :)  I would hold it for a few breaths, rest, then do it again – for 3-4 times.  If it’s too tough on your toes, then put your knees on the ground.  Just keep your toes down on the floor (not up in the air) so you’re not putting extra pressure on your knee cap.
Plank with Toe Tap or Raise
This is a step above the basic plank. Get in a straight arm plank and move your right leg out to the side and tap your toe to the ground.  Then bring it back center and do the same thing with the left leg.  You don’t have to take your leg out very far at first.  Work your way up!  Once you have the tap down, you can move up to a leg raise.  Instead of taking your leg out, you’ll take it up.  Hold it for a breath and then lower to the ground and do the same with the other leg.  If you want an added challenge, you can do these in a bent arm plank with your elbows on the ground, under your shoulders.
Plank with knee raise
This is a great move to target that dreaded lower belly.  After any pregnancy and labor your core is weak.  After a C-section, your core is weak AND you have a surgery incision/scar that’s healing.  This move is an efficient and safe way to build that lower stomach back up.  Get in a plank and bring your right knee up to your chest as high as you can.  Hold it for a breath and then take back.  Repeat with the other leg.  Don’t over do it.  If you can only handle bringing your knee up a tiny bit, that’s great.  Do that and work your way up.
Listen to your body as you’re recovering and healing.  It’s normal for things to feel weird as you start exercising again, especially ab exercises.  Just don’t push yourself too hard.  It takes time to build up your strength and endurance.  If you can only do one of each, that’s ok.  Move at your own speed.  You know your body the best!  It can be challenging to recover, heal and exercise post c-section. But focus on the wins, stay positive, and remember with determination and consistency, you’ll get back to normal. Kiss that baby’s sweet cheeks and remember it was all worth it! :)
I’ve created a “Tummy Time” workout specifically for you, below, that incorporates these three moves.  It’s meant for someone who is fresh off their C-section, so if you’re a little more advanced, then simply increase the time and reps.  Now, next time your little one is doing tummy time, you can join them on the floor with this easy workout!
I’d love to talk to you more, head over to my Instagram @shape_her to contact me!
Happy Sweating!


National Stroller Running Day

National stroller running day

Our fit mom ambassadors are so amazing!  One of our own, Katie McFarland, created from scratch this fantastic collaboration and the National Stroller Running Day event. Read the details below and be sure to participate. 

Before I had kids, I could take off on a whim and run, it was easy. Then E and MiniE came along and I love them dearly but I will say they cramped my spontaneous running style that is until I was introduced to the jog stroller and more specifically the BOB Stroller. It rocked my world in the best way possible. My running strollers provided flexibility to stay fit while spending time with the babies and it’s been that way for the past four years. I always joke that my running stroller has more miles on it than my car. I use it that much. It was out of this respect for the stroller that I teamed up BOB Gear, Fit4Mom (the creator of Stroller Strides), New Balance and Run Stroller Run to create a day dedicated to all those that go the extra mile (pun intended) to live a healthy lifestyle.

On November 8th, people all over the country (and Canada) are invited to celebrate National Stroller Running Day.  There are so many ways to get involved:

  • Head over to RunStrollerRun and find a stroller friendly race in your area!  Sign up and enjoy with your little running buddies.
  • Find a Stroller Strides Class in your area by heading over to and participate!
  • Set out on your own, push, pull, walk or run with your little buddies. 
  • Organize a local run and get together with your local community of runners.  Encourage everyone to bring a pack of diapers to donate to your charity of choice.
  • I’ll be hosting a meet up in St. Louis.  I hope to see tons of moms there!  I’ll have both a single and a double BOB for people to test drive!

Snap some pictures and share your celebration on social media using the hashtag: #StrollerRun14. 

Want even more reasons to celebrate? I’m hosting a MAJOR giveaway over at Mom’s Little Running Buddy. I’m giving away BOB Strollers, BOB accessories, New Balance Shoes, Stroller Stride classes and a Linkoutoure bracelet. Seriously some amazing stuff. So be sure to head over and register for your chance to win one of these amazing prizes. I’m also hosting a link up for everyone that shares National Stroller Running Day on their blog.

Want even more chances to win?  Save the date for November 4th at 8 pm EST.  Come join me and others in a twitter chat hosted by Pregnancy Awareness where we will be giving away more strollers and prizes!!  Get involved today! See the details here.


Health Concerns You Should Be Aware Of During Pregnancy

 Health Concerns You Should Be Aware Of During Pregnancy (1)We are thrilled to feature this guest blog post by Anita regarding health concerns during pregnancy. Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO and often writes about home, family and health. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn’t writing. 

Pregnancy is a time of great joy and expectation for your new arrival. However, certain foods you eat and even tasks that you perform may pose some health concerns that can affect you and your unborn baby during your pregnancy.  Here are some health concerns that shouldn’t worry you, but that you should know about when you are pregnant:

  • Listeriosis

This bacterial infection can lead to meningitis, blood infection, organ lesions, miscarriage, premature birth, or stillbirth. Listeriosis is transmitted through water, soil, and certain foods, including deli meats, cold cuts, uncooked or under-cooked meats, unwashed fruits and vegetables, raw milk, and products that are made with unpasteurized milk, such as certain soft cheeses. Talk with your doctor about foods you can eat and what to look out for when pregnant. 

  • Toxoplasmosis

This is parasitic infection can cross the placenta and result in stillbirth, premature birth, low birth weight, and neurological and other problems in the newborn. This parasite is passed from infected animals through eating raw or uncooked meat from an infected animal, fruits, vegetables, and water that come in contact with manure, or through contact with feces, such as when changing the cat’s litter box. Toxoplasmosis during pregnancy isn’t all that common, but should be treated promptly if you suspect you may have it.

  • Mercury Risks 

Some fish contain high levels of mercury, called methylmercury, that can affect a developing baby’s nervous system. The FDA recommends limiting your intake of fish that contain low levels of methylmercury both before and during pregnancy, and avoid those that are high in methylmercury, especially shark, king mackerel, swordfish, and tilefish.

  • Gestational Diabetes 

This form of diabetes occurs only during pregnancy and affects almost 10% of pregnant women, according to the American Diabetes Association. Hormonal changes during pregnancy affect the body’s ability to use insulin, resulting in high blood sugar levels, increasing the risk of macrosomia, problems during delivery, preeclampsia, blood sugar problems in the baby, and stillbirth. If you already have diabetes, it’s important to get specialized diabetes care to prevent any problems.

  • Preeclampsia 

Preeclampsia is characterized by high blood pressure and fluid retention that is more likely during the second half of pregnancy. Reduced blood flow to organs and the uterus can result in complications that are serious and potentially life-threatening to both mother and baby. 

  • Depression

According to Harvard Health Publications, depression during pregnancy can lead to poor maternal care that affects the developing fetus, resulting in learning, emotional, and behavior problems, as well as risk for postpartum depression. Talk with a counselor or your doctor to get the correct treatment.

Knowing the potential risks can help you to make a few changes to reduce the chance of harm to yourself or your baby. In addition, contact your health care provider with any symptoms and follow recommendations provided during each stage of pregnancy.


Stay Active Through the First Trimester

We love these great tips from fit mom Laura regarding how to stay active through the first trimester of pregnancy. 
Hi I’m Laura, mama to my sweet 2 year old boy, and #2 on the way!  I blog all about my family and our adventures at tiny toes, little nose.  I am just reaching the end of my first trimester, so I thought this would be the perfect time to share some tips on how I have been able to stay active in my pregnancy.
I had a very fit pregnancy with my first, so I knew that was something I wanted to continue when I became pregnant with baby #2.  This time around I have been terribly nauseous, which makes any sort of physical activity seem impossible.  And the exhaustion…at times that is even worse!  However, not only is it possible, it can make such a difference in the way you feel each day and set a good precedence for the rest of your pregnancy!
-Eat Healthy-
This may seems like such an obvious choice, but when you have nausea all day sometimes comfort foods seems to be the only thing you are able to choke down.  However, a lot of those rich and dense comfort foods will only leave you feeling heavy and tired, making it far less likely to really get moving that day.  Frequent light & healthy meals/snacks set the tone for a good workout.  I have an incredibly hard time eating during the first trimester, so I make sure to add some whey protein to my smoothies and always keep healthy and nutrient packed snacks close by so that I am nourished enough to get through the day!
-Keep Weekly Totals-
I like to see the numbers, so tracking my workouts & stats in my planner is a huge motivator.  I never like to see too many days without some miles ran, hiked, or swam.  I especially love adding up those numbers at the end of each week and comparing them with weeks past.  I am naturally a competitive person, and there is no better competitor than myself!
-Surround Yourself with Motivators-
Too often, people tell pregnant women to “take it easy” and remind them that they are “eating for two.”  This is just terrible advice and you don’t want to surround yourself with demotivating advice.  You want those close to you to help keep you on track!  My mom & husband are both wonderful at asking about my workouts and encouraging me to make it into the gym.  Some days I’m so exhausted that I’m not quite sure I’ll make it through the day, so the thought of going to the gym sounds impossible, but once I’m there I’m so happy I made it and feel so rewarded to get that physical high during a workout to just put that spark back into my day!  Many times, I only need that little push to get me there.  I need the reminder that, as crazy as it sounds, I will have more energy after a run!
I hope this encourages some of you to get (or stay) active early in your pregnancy, and set yourself on the right track to a fit & healthy pregnancy right from the start!  It is not easy to stay committed, but the payout is all worth it in how you feel, look, and recover through and after pregnancy!  I even have found that the one time of day that I’m not nauseous during this stage of my pregnancy is when I’m in the gym getting through my run; which is just what I need to recharge my batteries to get through the day!  
Happy fit pregnancy to all those great moms-to-be!

Top 5 Tips to Maintaining an Active Pregnancy


Read fit mom, Jess Perry’s, top 5 tips to maintaining an active pregnancy.

I am Married and have 3 little ones, Brynlee (7), TJ (6) and Mackay (6 months). I love to do anything and everything and will always try something once. I spend my summers playing with kids, running and training for some marathon or Ironman, and water skiing and wake boarding in beautiful Lake Powell. I love to ski…water and snow. I love the early mornings which is when I get most of my training in because my #1 priority is being a wife and mom! Plus, I really love a good sunrise with the beautiful mountains of Utah!

I studied Business & Marketing at Utah Valley University and in the past several years I have expanded my education in Health and Nutrition. I also have received my Personal Training Certification & Run Coaching Certification. I was involved with Rocky Mountain Running & Triathlon Magazine for almost 3 years writing product reviews, articles and helping out with their marketing. I am also one of the founders of The Pink Series, an all women running series in Utah. One of the biggest accomplishments to date is completing the 2014 Coeur d’ Alene Ironman when my baby was 5 months old.I have completed 4 Full Ironmans, 10 Marathons (2 being Boston) and many half ironmans, half marathons, etc. I currently spread my love for health, nutrition and running at (soon to be where we train, teach and help others accomplish their goals too!!!

Running and working out in general has to be one of the most controversial subjects to talk about. Everyone has an opinion on what works, what doesn’t, what you should or shouldn’t be doing, etc. Those of us who are big into fitness take a lot of flack from outsiders. We hear comments like, “How do you do that with being a mom?” or “Don’t you think it is a little much?” Sometimes you can just sense the disapproval in someone’s voice. Well take those comments and combine it with being pregnant…you can only imagine the things people would say.  For the most part I believe it was coming from a place of concern but there were some along my path that I completely wrote off and paid zero attention to because their intention was to hurt and hinder any form of healthy thing I wanted to attempt during my pregnancy. At one point I even had someone send me an article about miscarriage and running. WTH!?!

Iphone4 492I am here to tell you that you don’t need to run a marathon or do an ironman like I did while you were pregnant but there is something to be said about staying active. So many women these days use pregnancy as an excuse to eat more food, sleep more and move less. It seems contradicting to me. What a great time it is to celebrate health. Our bodies are capable of creating another human…we create life so love and take care of the amazing tool that you have been given to do this…your body. Part of loving your body is being active.

I wanted to share with you some things or tips that I think helped me to stay motivated and fit during my pregnancy. To be honest, it wasn’t easy on a lot of days, especially in the early stages of pregnancy. I was more tired, I felt nauseous or I wanted to puke mid run. Sometimes I wanted to cry but I was so grumpy that I felt all confused and perplexed. But as crazy as it sounds I knew all these things were normal! Staying active actually helped me conquer most of these things and stay happy and positive…until the last few weeks and nothing helps then! ☺

Tip #1: Exercise in general is safe and healthy for most women during Pregnancy.  It is important to know this! You don’t need to be afraid of hurting your baby if you exercise, unless otherwise told from a doctor! The American College of OBGYN stated several benefits of prenatal exercise which include reduction of backaches, constipation and swelling. Sign me up for that!! I am a runner so I already knew about the mood-enhancing benefits – those endorphins did wonders! Running also provides benefits in endurance and strength which you will draw on during labor…I know I did!!

Tip #2 : Light at the end of the Tunnel.  The first trimester is tough with exhaustion and nausea but generally those symptoms will go away. It does get better!!  And for most runs in the first trimester I felt sick and puky during the first few miles but it went away. As the day went on I had more energy and actually felt better. I also had the mindset that I would have felt the same way laying in bed, wishing I was running. Actually on the days I chose to do just that I actually felt more sick and had less energy. Go figure!  Don’t let a bad day or morning get you down!

Tip #3: Go for Duration and not Mileage. I honestly didn’t start doing this until the end of my pregnancy. I went into my pregnancy almost fully trained for the Full Ironman Distance which is Swimming 2.4 miles, Biking 112 miles and then Running 26.2 miles. During my pregnancy I successfully completed one full Ironman, one half Ironman, two marathons (including the NY marathon at 7  months pregnant) and a handful of half marathons. But even with how much I did, I did get slower throughout my pregnancy. My body changed and things shifted and so did my focus. Remember it is about you & your babies health and not winning a race. Racing for me changed during this time and not one of those races was a Personal Best. I was out there for the pure enjoyment of celebrating my health and that I was able to do this with my sweet baby boy right inside my belly.

Tip #4: Stick with what your body is used to. I am a runner and triathlete…that is what I do. I do lift weights twice a week but that is it.  A friend was having a birthday celebration and we were all going to go to a kick boxing class…I was about 30 weeks pregnant at the time and let me tell you…no Bueno. It hurt so bad to do those kicks and jump and everything. My body was not used to that form of exercise and I paid for it. Pregnancy is not a time to begin a training program. You will be find throughout your pregnancy if you just continue to do what you are already doing you will be fine! And a good rule of thumb here is not to exceed your pre-pregnancy intensity and always check in with your doctor regarding your workout habits.

Tip #5: Listen to your body. Fitness includes both your physical ability and mental strength. Endurance racing is easily 50% mental. Pregnancy is a great time to refine your mind-body connection and really learn to listen to your body – knowing how hard you can push and when you need to stop. I ran a strong marathon at St. George when I was 6 months pregnant. I finished with a time of 3:17. I kept my heart rate in check and felt great the whole time. During the race and the training up to it, I noticed that whenever I started pushing 6 min/mi paces that I would start getting Braxton Hicks. So that was my bodies way of telling me to back off. So pay attention to those signs! For the most part, I thoroughly enjoyed doing tempo & long runs during my pregnancy. I got really good at picking the right pace for me and I could feel when I needed to back off. Your body will have signs and will show them to you! It got slower and slower throughout the 9 months but I kept moving!!! It is also so important to recognize when you need a rest day, pregnant or not!

All in all, pregnancy is a time of celebration! Continue to set goals, continue to love your body, stay off the scale and learn to feel great with the changes that are happening. Learn to adjust to what your body is telling you and enjoy the miles you can put in with you and your baby. Don’t try to break any records and definitely do not give in to the negativity that will surround you as you try to continue your health and workout routine while pregnant.

And just to note, my third pregnancy, which was my most recent, I was the most active. I had the healthiest of any of my pregnancies, I carried my baby the longest, had no bed rest (as I had in my first 2 pregnancies), had my biggest and healthiest baby (by 1 ½ pounds), it was my best labor (no stiches required at all!!) and my easiest recovery by far (I started running 2 weeks after my baby.  I started REALLY slow and it was 2 miles). I am still about 5 pounds heavier than when I got pregnant but I believe as you continue to stay active during your pregnancy your body will change. You build muscles different and for me it is a good change and I am embracing it. I love motherhood. I love running. I love that I was able to combine the two of them during my pregnancy and celebrate life!!



How One Mom Had an Easy Labor and Quick Recovery by Exercising During Pregnancy

exercising during pregnancy

Are you aware of the benefits of exercising during pregnancy? Read these tips from fit mom ambassador, Charlotte. 

My name is Charlotte and I work full time as a Finance Manager but in my ‘spare time’ I work as Les Mills Body Pump and RPM instructor and Personal Trainer based in London, UK. I have a huge passion for fitness and helping others to achieve their goals. I have been cardio and strength training for about 12 years now and I recently gave birth to my first child so would like to share my experience of pregnancy and fitness, what I did and how is that helping me now. 

Before I became pregnant, I never really thought about pregnancy and fitness but the more I researched and gained ‘advice’ from varying sources, the more I realised how little knowledge is out there and more worryingly, how different it can be depending on who you talk to.

I hope that by banging the drum for fitness in pregnancy and putting my money where my mouth is, I will encourage and inspire other ladies to do the same. 

So lets get to the nitty gritty…. my experience. I lost count how many people asked me if I needed to stop, if my husband allows me to continue (are you kidding me?!), don’t I need to take it easy? For some reason in this country, pregnant women are treated as if they are sick and must be wrapped in cotton wool.

When I first went to the doctors to confirm my pregnancy, I was told that I should not be lifting more than 10kg, now I would not mind if I have never lifted weights before but that is pump warm up weight for me and there was no way I would be stood in front of a class of people, hoping to inspire and be a role model, squatting with 10kg! I would have rather not taught than teach with that. However the real key issue here is that this is actually incorrect advice but coming from a GP, most women being told that would follow the advice and then here lies the problem.

So what can you do in pregnancy?

Pretty much what you have been doing before pregnancy!

Basically the key here is to be as fit and strong as you can before you get pregnant as this will dictate what level you can continue at in pregnancy.  As long as you have an uncomplicated pregnancy and no contraindications you should be able to continue at the same level for at least the first trimester.  You may then need to reduce weights and/or intensity in the second and third trimesters but only by a small amount at a time. In terms of reducing weights, each trimester, current guidelines suggest only a 5-10% decrease per trimester. So taking Body Pump, if you are squatting 20kg, 5% of that is just 1kg, not a massive difference really but the tendency is to back off way too early.

Another factor to consider is not to overheat in the first trimester meaning raising your core temperature, however again, if your body is used to it and fitter women have a greater efficiency to dissipate heat (and you are in a studio with aircon!) you should be fine.

That’s not to say though that even if are not a huge exerciser before pregnancy, you can still begin to exercise whilst pregnant but you will need guidance and supervision.

Why exercise in pregnancy?

Well the question should be, why wouldn’t you?

Key benefits include

  • 30% shorted active labour (trust me, when you get there you will want that!!)
  • Better self esteem and confidence with a changing body shape.
  • Able to sleep better
  • Can help with postural problems that pregnancy can bring with a growing abdomen.
  • Quicker recovery time post birth.
  • Reduced chance of interventions in birth such as being induced and forceps delivery
  • Reduce excessive weight gain.
  • Reduce the risk of pregnancy induced hypertension
  • Can reduce fatigue and nausea, particularly in the first trimester
  • Can help reduce anxiety and depression
  • Can help women cope with the demands of being a new mum post birth
  • Improves circulation and blood flow
  • Improves cardio vascular fitness and muscular strength and endurance

One of my favourite comments was ‘relax, just enjoy it’! Implying that by exercising through pregnancy I was not enjoying it and that I had to be lazy? Umm yes….not sure you get me…

So what did I do? I carried on training 4-5 times a week, mainly strength and cardio but also teaching RPM and Body pump once a week. I did stop running around 16 weeks as I found it pulled the ligaments in my pelvis and also when you need the loo every two minutes, running with an orange on your bladder is not what you want so I swapped the run for the cross trainer.

I stopped lunging as again I found they pulled my pelvis but swapped these for squats and kept my feet slightly wider.

So how did all this affect my pregnancy?

  • I gained the recommended amount of weight (between 10kg and 12kg) by the end of my pregnancy.
  • Every time I went for a check up my heart rate, blood pressure and Ethan’s heart rate were in the correct ranges.
  • I went into labour on my own at 39 weeks
  • My active labour (the push bit) was 3.5 hours
  • I had gas and air as pain relief and no intervention
  • I was up and about after a day
  • 2.5 weeks after giving birth, I weigh just 2kg heavier than I did pre pregnancy and have not yet resumed full training.
  • And yes, my waters did break in the gym (no joke!)
2.5 weeks postpartum

2.5 weeks postpartum

There is always so much negative press about celeb mothers pinging back into shape quickly with comments such as not ’real’ women and they should be home looking after the baby rather than in the gym.  It’s got nothing to do with being a real woman (whatever that means), it’s about looking after your body and being the best you can be for your new addition and for yourself.

Would you tell me I’m not real? Looking after a new born is hard work and you are on call 24/7 so I don’t think there is anything wrong with a woman taking an hour out of her day to look after herself.

Pregnant ladies exercising should be encouraged by their friends and family and by society not criticised or made to feel uncomfortable.

When it comes to it, you will want to be as fit as you can. After all they don’t call it labour for nothing and that’s just the beginning…. :)