$1000 Fit Mama Giveaway! Enter Now!

Happy New Year! We are so thankful to YOU — our community, customers, and friends. To express our thanks, we are hosting a huge giveaway this week in partnership with some amazing brands and our ambassadors. The Grand Prize is valued at $1000.  We have phenomenal prizes, including the newest offering from BOB – a Revolution FLEX  jogging stroller – plus prizes from ASICS, Ergo and Maison Drake baby boutique, and For Two Fitness – all facets of your healthy mom lifestyle are in this prize pack!BOBSpotlightMLRB

The grand prize winner will win everything you see listed here. Prizes have been furnished by our wonderful brand partners in connection with a sponsoring ambassador (Katie from Mom’s Little Running Buddy and Melody from Will Run For Margaritas). Here are more details about the amazing products that have been generously donated for you to win and enjoy:

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Grand Prize Giveaway items:

    • The New BOB Revolution FLEX single stroller
    • For Two Fitness maternity athletic outfit (top and bottom of winner’s choice)
    • Ergo 360 Baby Carrier furnished by Maison Drake baby boutique
    • Asics Running Shoes (1 pair of the winner’s choice) furnished by Millet Sports UK

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Wow!  We are thrilled to give away these amazing prizes.  This contest runs from Monday, January 12th through midnight on Friday, January 16th.  FIRST, follow @ForTwoFitness and our co-hosts @run4margaritas and @momslrb on Instagram in order for your entries to be valid. Then, ENTER below!  Good luck, and thanks for celebrating with us!

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Terms & Conditions: US Mailing addresses only.  Prizes that are furnished by third party brands are the sole responsibility of those brands, and For Two Fitness and our blog ambassador partners are not responsible for nondelivery of those items.  Winner must claim prize within 7  days or For Two Fitness reserves the right to assign a new winner or no winner.  Void where prohibited, may not be redeemed for cash.  This contest is not sponsored by or affiliated with any social media platform, including Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Happy New Year! $1000 Awesome Giveaway Information

Happy New Year mamas. We trust you had a wonderful holiday season with your families. We wanted to let you know that For Two Fitness will be running an exciting give away next week starting on January 12 via partnerships with our Fit Mom Ambassadors! (ENTER HERE)
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You will have the chance to win some amazing prizes including a BOB Stroller, For Two Fitness outfit, Ergo Baby carrier, and Asics running shoes. The official contest will run from January 12-16.
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Stay tuned for more details, the full blog post with entry links, and information about how you can win! Be sure to follow our Fit Mom Ambassador partners @run4margaritas and @momslrb on Instagram in order for the winning entry to be valid next week.
This will be a phenomenal give away with outstanding prizes, so be sure to check back for details.

Are You Allowed To Fly in the Third Trimester of Pregnancy? Tips for Pregnancy Travel

Have a babymoon on your mind but afraid to travel during your pregnancy? While moms-to-be may face a few more challenges when planning a trip, thorough planning can help you safely hit the road. Here are a few things to keep in mind when making your pre-baby vacation plans. 

Tips for traveling when you're pregnant Are you pondering a plane trip?

Your First Stop

Before you head out the door, you have a must-do stop to make first: your doctor’s office. It’s important to check in with your healthcare practitioner before making any travel plans. Depending on how far along you are and other factors, your doctor may or may not be comfortable with travel. Some doctors also have specific guidelines for when travel should stop during pregnancy. If your doctor does express concern, you may want to reevaluate whether your trip is truly necessary. 

It’s also smart to schedule an appointment with your healthcare practitioner in the days before your departure: this can help identify any issues that may have come up since your last checkup. 

Tips for traveling when you're pregnantThis could be you. Minus the balloons.

Organization Matters

While “pregnancy brain” is a common affliction for expectant moms, the more organized you are before you travel, the more you’ll be able to relax during your trip. Keep all of your prenatal records and other important documents with you at all times, as well as any necessary medications. You should also travel with your doctor’s contact information handy, and make note of the nearest hospital in case of an emergency. 

The average pregnancy is 40 weeks, but pre-term labor is a factor of life. Trip insurance can be a good investment if your baby decides to come early and/or another issue arises and you have to cancel your trip. 

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

According to the Mayo Clinic, air travel is generally considered to be safe during a routine pregnancy. Women with certain pregnancy related complications may not be advised to fly. So be sure to consult with your doctor if you are expecting multiples or suffer from another consideration such as placenta previa, preterm labor, or hypertensive disease. Also keep in mind that different health care providers have different guidelines: many restrict travel at 36 weeks. 

Even if your doctor does clear you to fly, the airline may not: most airlines have a rule restricting travel in the last month before your due date. In general domestic travel is more secure than traveling outside the country where access to safe food, water and medical care are unknown. 

Tips for traveling when you're pregnantHer carry-on should be stocked with plenty of water and healthy snacks.

It’s also important to drink plenty of fluids while traveling to prevent dehydration and Braxton-Hicks contractions. And don’t forget that many airlines no longer serve food so make sure to pack your own healthy, travel-friendly snacks to ward off nausea and hypoglycemia.

If a cruise is on your bucket list, know this: the trip will be anything but paradise if you suffer from seasickness. Pregnant women are not only more likely to experience nausea while on a cruise, they are also subject to more germs due to the close contact on the ship. Be sure to discuss your cruising plans with your physician. 

Keep Moving

Blood volume traffic increases by a whopping near-50 percent during pregnancy, according to Pregnancy & Newborn. While fostering circulation is important for anyone who is sitting on a plane or train for extended periods of time, it’s particularly critical for pregnant women to get up and move around: the more sedentary you are, the higher your risk factor is for developing a life-threatening blood clot. This also applies when you’re traveling by car: make sure to walk around frequently to keep blood flowing.

Tips for traveling while you're pregnantYou can complete simple workout routines and stretches in your hotel room.

With clearance from your doctor, it’s important to continue your healthy lifestyle behaviors while you’re traveling. Many hotels now have well-equipped fitness centers so you can take still take your daily stroll on the treadmill or spin on the recumbent bike so don’t forget to pack your maternity workout gear. Swimming is the perfect low-impact sport, so pack a suit and take a dip in the hotel pool. If you’re short on time, space or facilities, even a brief daily stretch in your room can help you stay nimble and fit.

Whether you’re flying the friendly skies or cruising the high seas, avoid starting a new fitness regimen on vacation: all exercises should be approved in advance by your doctor.

While traveling for two does involve some extra consideration, that doesn’t automatically mean you should skip the trip and stay home. In fact, with the right prep work and planning a relaxing pre-baby getaway may be just what the doctor ordered.  

Sign up to receive our newsletter containing more great info for moms-to-be or to check out our collection of great looks for beautifying your bump. Have a great story to share about your own babymoon? Share in the Comments section below!

 

Ambassador Spotlight: Sarah Ladwig

unnamedWe are thrilled to feature a guest blog from our fit mom ambassador, Sarah Ladwig. 

Hi there! My name is Sarah Ladwig. I am 26 years old and run a dog running and dog hiking business in Marin County, CA, Paws & Go. Every day I run and hike up to 10 dogs in small groups, spending the majority of my time on pristine trails with breathtaking views. Yes, it’s a really good gig. I never could have imagined that I would be running my own business as a young adult (let alone one that revolves around exercising dogs), but it has been the most positive, unique, and rewarding experience of my life.

I was a starting guard on our high school varsity basketball team for three years, but it wasn’t until my junior year of college that I felt inspired to get into tip-top shape again. I still can’t remember what sparked my motivation to use running as a means to get fit, but whatever it was, it worked. I decided from the get-go that I wasn’t going to let running be a miserable and painful experience – like it is for every kid in middle school and high school – the point was going to be finding enjoyment, not resentment.

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I opted to run at a comfortable pace, stop and walk when I felt winded, run harder and longer when I felt good, and never push myself to the point where I lost my lust for wanting to run the next day. I built my miles slowly, took tremendous pride in my efforts, and fell in love running within months. Almost six years later, I’ve put on more than 6,500 miles, and there’s nothing gives me more personal, physical, and mental pleasure than running.

Although Paws & Go has shifted over the years from being running-heavy to evenly split between running and hiking, most days I still combine to run and hike somewhere between 10 and 15 miles – even with a growing bun in the oven! Though there are always those mornings when I don’t know how I’ll make it through another day of exercise, once I’m with my first group of dogs, I feed off their energy and the hours and miles just melt away. 

63952_659521667502609_2511722540324188972_nI am lucky to have two amazing motivators at home, too: my loving and supportive husband, Adam, who pushed me to start Paws & Go three years ago, and our three-year old Smooth Collie rescue, Obi, who is the Paws & Go socialite and a exercise superstar. Between the two of them, determination, stamina, and have never been an issue.

When Adam and I found out I was pregnant in July, our joy and excitement was off the charts. It was something we’d both looked forward to our entire lives and carefully planned for, both professionally and personally. One of the main reasons I quit my desk job three years ago to start Paws & Go was for the freedom and flexibility we knew it would allow our family when we decided to have kids – not to mention how easy it would be to stay in shape during my pregnancy! Between baby carriers and high-tech running strollers (as well as Adam’s flexible summer schedule and loving grandparents nearby), we have no worries that I can continue my business postpartum, and as Adam puts it, “raise our baby on the trails.”

Though I’m still only 24 weeks pregnant, so far it has been smooth sailing, and I attribute nearly all of it to the amount of exercise, healthy eating habits, and positive energy I’m exposed to on a daily basis. Although I’ve lowered my (running) miles over the past few months, I’m still running 120-140 miles each month, hiking another 100, and hope to maintain that throughout the remainder of my pregnancy. No matter how tired I may feel, I always feel better after exercising, and never regret it. (A classic line for running motivation.)

As cliché as it may sound, I feel genuinely lucky in this extraordinary moment in my life. Good health, endless support from friends and family, and the greatest canine co-workers in the world have made staying fit during my pregnancy both a reality and a joy. There will certainly be challenges and new obstacles to navigate once our boy arrive, but that’s where the beauty of a daily run shines brightest; it’s time carved out each day to brainstorm, problem-solve, and be creative about life’s adventures and experiences yet-to-unfold.

Please enjoy the daily dog adventure pictures posted to Paws & Go’s Facebook page, as the photography side of my business is nurtured and grown over the next several months.

Sincerely,

Sarah

www.facebook.com/pawsandgomarin

www.pawsandgomarin.com

 

5 Tips for Being Happy, Healthy Mom

Tamara Newell Casual SmallYou love your new baby, but do you love your new body? Read this great guest blog post by fit mom ambassador, Tamara.

Tamara Newell is a Fitness & Pilates Trainer, Holistic Nutritional Consultant, Writer and Speaker.  Creator of ‘Tamara Newell The Method’ she helps women embrace their body and enhance their beauty through individual coaching and her online program Freedom with Fitness & Food.  She is a contributor to Pilates Style Magazine and has worked with clients at the top clubs in New York City.  As a ballet dancer she trained on scholarship at the Joffery Ballet, The Rock School and graduated from Marymount Manhattan College with a dual BA in Dance & Communications.  She holds certifications from Core Pilates NYC and the American Fitness Professionals and Associates.   Tamara lives in New York City with her husband and baby boy. Download free resources including recipes, workouts and her ebook “100 Small Health Tips that Create Big Results” at www.tamaranewell.com.

Babies bring so much change into our life, I doubt anyone is ever fully prepared for the depth & scope of change. 

I had an idea of what motherhood would be like. A few of those things have become reality.  

But I had no idea how challenging nursing would be or what the first year would feel like. I underestimated the level of exhaustion from months of fragmented sleep and constant caring for a baby. 

As a trainer and nutritional consultant, I value feeling healthy, energized and strong.   But with an itty bitty baby my previous gym routine and time for myself flew out the window overnight as I delivered my little boy.

After slowly getting my groove back, I found 5 things that are key to being healthy as a mom. These tips are just as true with a 7 week old as much as they are with my 17 month old.

1. Sleep.

Prior to mommyhood, I woke up at 5 am for early clients and put myself through early morning workouts choosing the gym over a full nights sleep.

Hitting the gym early can be great and sometimes necessary but not if you are burning the candle at both ends. A lack of sleep can cause hormonal imbalance causing weight gain and increased appetite.

If you’re getting up several times at night with your baby, choose sleep over the gym until you both start getting longer stretches of shut eye.

     2.         Choose to Love Your New Body

 Do you have an “ideal weight” in your mind?

Maybe it’s your high school weight. Or when you were your most fit, hitting the gym several times a week.We tend to carry that number or size as our gold standard and measure ourselves against it throughout life. But really this is crazy and often not sustainable.

Experiencing pregnancy and labor taught us that our bodies have been created to change and adapt through life.   Take time to reflect on the awesome power of your body to carry and bring life into this world. Your beautiful body has value beyond it’s appearance or what size pants it wears.

3.   Preparation & Planning

Becoming a mom changes your routine and schedule.   Old strategies to organizing your life may not work with a baby! Test new healthy eating strategies that set you up for success.   I wasn’t much of a food preparation person before my son but now it is my key to eating well.  

Here are a few tips:

1. Schedule a few hours each week to wash, clean and prep food for the week for easy snacks and quick meal preparation.

2. Sign up for grocery or meal delivery services. Having someone bring your food right into your kitchen really is magical and a huge stress reliever.

3. Learn how to use a crock pot. It’s one of the easiest multifaceted kitchen tools.

4. Cook double for easy leftovers. If you’re baking chicken cutlets for dinner, make double for lunches or freeze the extra for last minute dinners.

4. Exercise for Energy

After labor many moms are eager to start exercising and shed the baby weight.   Its a great goal that often helps improve mood, energy and sleep.

But how you exercise is important post-partum. Listen to how your body feels after your workout and the following day. If you feel drained and hungry, the exercise is probably too much, too soon.  

Prior to pregnancy, I was a cardio junkie. I’d grab my headphones, magazines and cell phone and plug away on the elliptical for an hour. Post-partum, long cardio workouts leave me tired and hungry.   Now I practice Pilates and strength training 3-4x week with an occasional interval cardio session. I feel energized and strong.

5. Meditate.

Making time to sit and be still has been the biggest change in my lifestyle. Some mornings I wake up a few moments before my son and sit quietly while he begins to talk in his crib. A few minutes to connect into my inner peace helps me stay present and calm througout my day.

These 5 tips help me stay healthy and in turn be a better mom and wife. These may work for you, or you may discover something different.   Experiment with a new recipe, workout or health plan. You’re a changed woman now as a mother, so your approach to health and fitness needs to change too. Explore and have fun in the discovery!

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 (www.beyondfitphysiques.com).

Read more about the business inspiration behind Kate’s BeyondFit Physiques here: http://beyondfitphysiques.com/about/

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.

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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.

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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. 
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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 www.shapeher.weebly.com.
 
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.
 
Plank
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!
Becky