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I have always known I wanted to teach people how to live a healthier and more fulfilled life through physical activity. Early on, I realized that in order to be successful in the health and fitness industry, I would need to find my niche. Well, finding your niche does not happen overnight. Several experiences have brought me to where I am now, a certified Pre+Postnatal Exercise Specialist. Becoming certified through Knocked-Up Fitness® has changed my life in many ways and would like to share my journey with all of you!

During my second semester of college, I decided I was going to accomplish one of my lifelong goals and compete in a bikini body building competition. At first, I was going to write my own exercise plan and do it all by myself. But after 12 weeks of my own training, I decided to hire a body building bikini coach. Suddenly, I was part of a team with an amazing group of women who all wanted to do the same thing. One of my teammates was our very own Knocked-Up Fitness® trainer, Annie Tinker!

One of my earliest memories of Annie was when I overheard her talking to our coach about not wearing a waist trainer since that can be very damaging to the deep core and pelvic floor muscles. I was so relieved to overhear another teammate disagreeing with waist trainers because, at the time, I was debating whether to use one or not. After getting to know Annie, she told me about the Pre+Postnatal certification through Knocked-Up Fitness®.

Fast forward a couple years to when I was working on my Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. During this time, my mom was struggling with diastasis recti and what she thought was pelvic organ prolapse. Being an Exercise Science student, I realized the overwhelming lack of information provided by healthcare professionals regarding exercise before, during and after pregnancy. The most ever written in our textbook about exercise for pregnancy was only two paragraphs!

I started listening to the mothers around me. I heard things such as, “Every time I laugh, cough, sneeze, etc., I leak pee” or “People ask me if I am pregnant and it has been over a year since delivery.” Don’t even get me started on the amount of mothers that were unaware of the benefits of exercise during pregnancy. I reached out to Annie to help get me started in the Knocked-Up Fitness® Pre+Postnatal Exercise Specialist Course. I signed up at the perfect time (right after spring semester) which gave me the entire summer to complete the course.

Immediately after starting the course, I began applying the information I learned into my own life as well as helping my mother with her struggles. I started practicing my own deep core and pelvic floor connection and changed my mindset to think about training my fascia (a super fantastic part of the body Erica and the whole Knocked-Up Fitness® team have a passion for), and I started to see changes in my body. I was more mindful about my posture, breathing and core connection than ever before! I started telling my mom about what I was learning and demonstrated to her how to do the squat + rotation movement (my favorite exercise that I learned from Knocked-Up Fitness®) to help connect her core and fascia since she just learned that it was her connective tissue that needed strengthening.  Fast forward a year later, my mother knows how to properly activate and connect her core and been able to fully heal her diastasis recti!      

             

After completing the course, I reached out to Annie and was able to observe, participate and help coach a pregnancy+postpartum class that Annie had started locally. During this time, I was able to get hands-on experience, which helped personally validate that I made the right decision to go down this path.

During my fall semester, I had to present a research project. I ended up doing my project on “How Physical Activity can Decrease Risk of Gestational Diabetes.” I was able to use a good bit of the knowledge I had learned from the Pre+Postnatal Exercise Specialist Course throughout my presentation.

Towards the end of the year, I was looking for a job as a fitness coach. One night I came across a local business that was a fitness studio for women only. I got super excited because I was ready to start working with pre+postpartum women! I applied and quickly got hired. What I love so much about the all-women’s studio is they shared a lot of the same views as Knocked-Up Fitness®, especially when it came to mindful movement, slow + control and lengthening the body.

After settling into my new job, I saw an opportunity to teach these women how to safely + effectively activate their deep core. I set up a seminar and it was wildly successful. It changed so many women’s lives because they were struggling with the urinary incontinence, possible prolapse and even diastasis recti. Without having gone through the Knocked-Up Fitness® Exercise Specialist Course, I would never have been able to teach these women this life-changing strategy to help them revive and rebuild their core.

Not only have I been applying my knowledge that I have learned from the Exercise Specialist Course, I have also started my own online business to help new moms reduce the risk of complications while promoting a safe, smooth and healthy delivery.

I owe it all to the knowledge I learned from Erica Ziel’s Pre+Postnatal Exercise Specialist Course. If you are a fitness professional or simply someone striving to gain more knowledge on exercise before, during or after pregnancy, then this is the right course for you! To this day, I still refer back to my course book and videos supplied to me during the course. I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to become a Pre- and Postnatal Exercise Specialist through Knocked-Up Fitness® and cannot wait for what else the future holds!

~Madi Austad

 

The post Madi’s Story: Why I Became A Pre+Postnatal Instructor appeared first on Knocked-Up Fitness.

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As a momma to twin toddlers working full time outside the home, there is nothing I feel I’m better at than having a good routine. I’ll admit it, the first 6 months of motherhood weren’t easy finding a rhythm, but once I found what worked for us…things began to flow.

The biggest advice I always give new mommas is to find your priorities. For me, putting my health first is a priority; because a healthy mindset makes those sleepless nights with newborns so much more bearable when you’re taking good care of yourself. Carrying 11lbs of baby, I developed diastasis recti. From the very beginning of my postpartum journey, I told myself that I would make it a priority to put in the work to heal correctly. We forget the toll pregnancy takes on our bodies, and it is not selfish to give yourself time throughout your day to work on yourselves to slowly heal & repair!

I have not always been a morning person, but I realized quickly upon having kids that my day will always be unpredictable. The one thing I can (mostly) predict was that they typically slept until at LEAST 6:30 am. There is nothing harder than spending your entire day working and/or catering to sick/teething kiddos and then having to find the motivation to fit time in for yourself. I made my time non-negotiable. And then things finally clicked.

A non-negotiable list. I write it down every week, and it includes everything I feel is a non-negotiable part of my day. Caring for myself, which for my first year postpartum meant 20-30 minutes of Core Rehab workouts first thing in the morning. Now I mix things up with 3 rides on my peloton bike a week, 3 days of Core Rehab work, and 1-2 days of light weight training or toning. This is the first thing I do when I wake, followed by a breakfast & coffee while I scroll through my to-do list and emails. The kids are still sleeping, the sun has yet to rise, and it’s such a peaceful way to start my day. From that point on, my day is focused on caring for my boys, knowing that I had already cared for myself first.

Other ways I prioritize myself & my health is my meal prepping. This is done on Sundays, and it’s a great way for daddy to enjoy some time with them for 2 hours while I get to work in the kitchen. We prioritize this time as a family because we both know how easier our weeks are coming home at 5:30 pm to our dinners already prepped. Some might meal prep on Saturday, others might break it up and do it two times throughout the week. The important thing is to plan ahead and put it on your non-negotiable list.

It doesn’t matter if you’re two months postpartum or two years postpartum… If you have yet to put yourself on your non-negotiable list, there’s no better time to start. I know I’m a better mother & wife because of the time I dedicate to myself, & they are deserving of my best.

~Amanda

We want to hear from YOU! If you are currently a member of the Prenatal + Core Rehab Membership, reach out to Coach Annie to share your story!

The post From Mama to Mama: Amanda’s Core Rehab Journey! appeared first on Knocked-Up Fitness.

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There are many changes you are told to expect during pregnancy that include morning sickness and swollen feet.  BUT…there are a few changes that might catch you off guard.

Being a first-time mom myself and spending years as a birth doula, I know these sudden and unusual changes can cause stress and anxiety.  To help better prepare you for what’s to come, here are a few changes that you might experience during your first trimester.

SWELLING

While most women are told swelling doesn’t occur until the later stages of pregnancy, full-body or partial swelling in the first few weeks can happen.  It is usually an early indication of pregnancy and occur prior to a positive pregnancy test.  I was swollen from my face to my feet, feeling stiff and confused because I didn’t know what was happening to my body.  After I found out I was pregnant, I finally understood what I was experiencing.  The early swelling indicates your body increasing its amount of blood (you will have 50% more blood by week 35) and softening the tissue for the big stretch! Take some lukewarm baths with Epsom salt, lower your sodium levels and invest in some compression socks to help get you through this stage.

SPOTTING

Spotting is another first trimester change that I wasn’t ready for. I knew to expect a little here and there, but to have some larger amounts really made me nervous. After calling my Midwife in a panic, I learned that many women can have spotting (described as some light bleeding, not as much as during your period) in their first trimester.  Early on it’s most likely implantation bleeding from the fertilized egg implanting into the uterine lining. Because light bleeding can continue throughout your entire pregnancy, I recommend touching base with your health care provide for reassurance.

DIGESTION

Digestive issues can also plague your first trimester. Even though your baby is tiny, the slightest shift of your internal organs can cause heartburn, constipation, gas cramps and more. In your first trimester, this is usually caused by relaxin which is a hormone that is released during pregnancy to help your body soften and stretch. If your body is quick to produce hormones, you can see early digestive changes. Incorporating the relaxed belly breathing exercises from your Prenatal + Core Rehab Membership can help keep your insides happy. Also, drinking tons of water and eating iron rich foods such as spinach, grass-fed beef and legumes can make a huge difference!

MOOD SWINGS

We all know that mood swings are part of pregnancy, right? BUT…. knowing it and feeling it are two different things. I was not prepared for the early pregnancy mood swings.  I thought for sure I would have a few months before I started crying over spilled milk.  Nope.  While I didn’t get super weepy until my third trimester, I did start noticing that things would easily set me off and calming down was much harder than it was pre-pregnancy. I would also get worn out quickly and then frustrated at how tired I was. All of this were my good ‘ol hormones at work! Give yourself a break and communicate with your partner and family.  Teach them about pregnancy hormones and tell them what they can do to help you.

A few other changes many women experience in their first trimester are:

  • Your breasts will grow before your belly does
  • Your vagina can become sensitive
  • You can experience fatigue and drowsiness
  • Your skin can breakout or start developing melasma

All of this may seem overwhelming because pregnancy is not a cake walk.  But the good thing is that most of this can disappear postpartum and once you hold your new bundle of joy, you will see that it is all worth it!

Have any unusual changes to share? We would love to hear about them, post them in our comment section.

The post First Trimester Changes That Might Surprise You! appeared first on Knocked-Up Fitness.

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Did you know that back pain affects sixty to eighty percent of Americans at some point in their life! Life as a mom has back pain written all over it – pregnancy, breastfeeding, carrying wiggly kids and lots of stuff, picking up toys, limited time to workout, etc.

It can be lessened by strengthening your deep core muscles, improving posture and staying active throughout your day! Here are 5 tips that could help you prevent and aid in getting rid of that annoying lower back pain:

1. Move!  Overall strengthening can promote improvements in functional movements. If work requires you to be seated for the majority of the day, plan small breaks to go for a brief walk. Stretch out those stiff muscles and keep moving! Try this back extension exercise to strengthen your low back muscles.

 Back Extension Exercise:

{this is NOT a pregnancy exercise, if you are currently pregnant try this exercise instead}

Step One: Lay on your stomach on a stability ball with your elbows bent and hands placed gently behind your ears.

Step Two: While drawing your abdominals in and upward, engaging your core muscles, contract your low back muscles and glutes to extend your spine, lifting your torso off the ball.

Step Three: Hold for 3 seconds and gently return to start. Repeat 12-20 repetitions.

2. Foam Rolling – Try this wiggle stretch {a favorite among my clients pregnant and not} to help release tension around your sacrum and low back. If you don’t have a foam roller handy be sure to read tip #3!

3. Gluteal Release with Tennis Ball  – Grab a tennis ball and place it in your upper glute area and slowly roll around on the ball. This is a form of self-myofascial release that you can do on your own to target specific trigger points that are holding tension in the muscle. When released can help relieve back pain.{as long as this feels good for you, you can do this release exercise during pregnancy}

 

4. Epsom Salt Bath  {I recommend to AVOID warm/hot baths during pregnancy} However when you aren’t preggers enjoy an epsom salt bath at the end of the day. They help the body feel calm, allow the muscles to relax and will get you ready to go straight to bed! {Add about 1 cup of epsom salts to a warm bath}

5. Improve Posture! Improving your posture is a tiny tweak that can lead to big changes – say bye-bye low back pain. Correct posture is very important in order to have a healthy spine and an absolute MUST during pregnancy too! Remind yourself throughout the day to stand up tall lifting through the top of your head with your core engaged, relax your shoulders, and breathe deeply- remember to “show your heart”!

Thanks Kim for her wonderful testimonial:

“BIG thank you to Erica for all of her tips and tricks on back pain relief. I pinched a nerve in my back and while my own home remedy’s were making my situation worse, I finally turned to her Healthy Lifestyle for the Busy Mom Program and her foam rolling videos and INSTANTLY started to feel relief from all of her recommendations. I could even stand up straight without pain the very next morning! Thanks Erica!”

~Kim F. {busy working mom}

Give these powerful tips a try if you are experiencing that annoying low back pain. Be sure to discuss with your physician prior to beginning any exercise program or new exercises. And always listen to your body!

The post 5 Tips for Back Pain Relief appeared first on Knocked-Up Fitness.

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Can you repair diastasis recti during pregnancy? I get asked this question A LOT so it’s time to talk about it…While I’d love to say “yes” – actually repairing diastasis recti during pregnancy is not something to strive for. However, there are several awesome things you can do during pregnancy to help in minimizing abdominal separation and setting your body up to be strong, improve posture, decrease aches and pains and more! Watch my video below for the full discussion and see my 11 tips below that.

  1. Strengthening your deep core muscles properly during pregnancy could help in minimizing diastasis recti during pregnancy, plus help in healing after baby!
  2. Learning to relax your core {and belly} more throughout pregnancy can help allow for your muscles to stretch with your growing baby. I talk more about this in my Book “The Knocked-Up Fitness Guide to Pregnancy”
  3. Improving the fascial connection {connective tissue} in your abdomen can help in creating a stronger core. Did you know you have 3 fascial layers in your abdomen?
  4. Learn to properly activate your deep core muscles {pelvic floor, transverse abdominals, multifidous, intercostals and diaphragm} all play a key roll in functioning together to help improve core function and fascial connection.
  5. Focus on lengthening through your body – posture plays a key role.
  6. Improving deep core connection not only can help in minimizing diastasis recti but can help improve back pain and other body aches and pains.
  7. Finding your deep core muscles during pregnancy is one of the easiest times in life to find your deep core muscle connection – incredible!
  8. To kegel or not to kegel? great question, I talk more about Kegels here.
  9. Strengthening your deep core during pregnancy can greatly impact your recovery after baby in a very positive way.
  10. Muscle memory plays a key role in improving recovery after baby when you’ve spent time learning how to properly engage your deep core during pregnancy.
  11. Taking a little time for yourself now can positively impact your life as a busy mama!

The post Can You Repair Diastasis Recti During Pregnancy? {Video} appeared first on Knocked-Up Fitness.

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Congratulations on your new little bundle of joy! Now comes the challenging part of losing the baby weight – but wait it doesn’t have to be that challenging! Let me share with you some of my expert and personal mama suggestions for postpartum weight loss tips the healthy way – the way weight loss should be.

  1. Give your body time to heal and bond with your baby – don’t rush to lose the weight right away, it’ll happen in time.
  2. Be kind and patient with your body when working to lose the baby weight.
  3. Breastfeeding is a great way to help naturally lose the baby weight AND amazing bonding time for you and baby – note that you may actually hang onto those last 5 to 10 pounds until you stop nursing. Why? Because your body needs the extra fat stores to produce milk.
  4. Eat healthy including a lot of good quality fats  {yes I said FAT!} and proteins, plus lots of veggies, some fruit and the occasional treat can be perfectly ok, especially when nursing as your body may need the extra carbohydrates to for milk production. Find over 50 family-friendly recipes here plus additional recorded coaching calls and 21-days of creating a healthier lifestyle for you and your family.
  5. Drink plenty of water! Hydration is key for adequate milk production but it can also help you determine if you are actually hungry or just thirsty. Once you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated and that for many can be confused with feeling hungry, so drink up! {water that is}.
  6. Move your body as often as you can! If you already have an older child or two then you are already rocking this one. If this is your first little one then strap your baby too you and get moving mama!
  7. Aim for even just 10 minutes of strength exercise every day! My Prenatal + Postnatal Membership includes lots of workouts that are 10 to 30 minutes because as a busy mama myself I know how crazy life can get.
  8. Once you stop breastfeeding it’s a good idea to keep a food log to see how much food you are actually eating. I find many mamas need to be very conscious of the amount of food you eat once you quit nursing and are no longer burning those extra calories, so pay close attention to your healthy eating.
  9. Cut the sugar after you strop nursing, while nursing it’s a good idea to keep your sugar intake to a minimum but like I mentioned above you may find you actually need more carbs too keep your milk supply up. However, once you stop nursing I highly recommend cutting out the extra sugar and getting your carbohydrates from veggies and fruit. I talk much more about this in my Prenatal + Postnatal Membership plus includes lots of family-friendly recipes that are gluten-free and full of nutrition!
  10. Keep healthy snacks out at your house and with you on-the-go.
  11. Sleep! Easier said then done with a newborn {I know, none of mine are great sleepers and it’s hard} but do your best to add naps in and grab sleep when you can, as there is a direct connection with having a hard time losing weight and lack of sleep.
  12. Continue taking your prenatal multi-vitamin to help fill in the gaps of nutrition.
  13. Continue to or add in a DHA {Omega-3} supplement, which could help with weight loss and more importantly brain function. There have been studies that show a decrease in postpartum depression among mom’s who take a DHA supplement.

The post Postpartum Weight Loss Tips appeared first on Knocked-Up Fitness.

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I get asked this question all the time, are planks safe during pregnancy? Can I do planks with diastasis recti? So to plank or not to plank, is a very big question especially if we are discussing diastasis recti.

First, I LOVE planks!

Second, you must know when your body is ready to do planks, during pregnancy, postpartum or anytime really…

Here are some easy guidelines to follow:

  1. Do you have diastasis recti? (if you aren’t sure read this) Having diastasis recti isn’t an automatic “no” (unless you’re pregnant and have diastasis), it’s a “maybe”.  It really depends on your answers to the next 3 questions and be sure to read this entire post too.
  2. Can you connect your deep core muscles? (not sure what they are check out this post) You must be able to have at least a light deep core connection.
  3. Do you see any “coning” of your belly? You must avoid this or you may be causing more damage to your abdominals and even low back. I talk much more about coning of your belly and specifically ‘how to’ strengthen your deep core in my Knocked-Up Fitness Membership.
  4. Can you feel your abdominals connect near your ribcage and your lower abdominal area? If all you feel is pain in your low back then you need to do other simpler exercises for now and give your body more time.

Yes you can feel confident and sexy during pregnancy and again postpartum!

Absolutely, don’t let anyone {or yourself} tell you otherwise! Mama you got this and I’m here to accompany you on your amazing incredible journey through pregnancy! Join me today in my Knocked-Up Fitness Membership!

PLANK SLIDES

Here is my favorite plank exercise “Plank Slides”. I do love these and teach these to a lot of clients, even my clients with diastasis recti (you just gasped – I know!) but let me tell you why. For starters I would never recommend doing these plank slides in those first sessions postpartum (diastasis or not), you really do need to allow your body time to heal and regain some pelvic floor and deep core strength. However I love, love, love these for strengthening those deep core muscles once your body is ready.

That is the KEY to planks, your body must be ready… and I recommend starting with plank slides over holding a static plank. I find moving in the plank position to be a very effective deep core exercise and great for getting those abs back, but you must be ready. There are so many great exercises you can be doing until then…

*Always be sure your physician has cleared you to exercise before beginning any exercise programs*

  1. Begin in a full plank position on forearms and toes. Press legs together to help engage your pelvic floor (do a kegel), transverse abdominals (think lower belly) and intercostals (think “ribs) while also pulling up on the quads (your thighs).
  2. Exhale while moving your body forward staying in a plank position.
  3. Inhale while moving your body back. (Focus on stretching the calves in the backward movement).
  4. Modify: Switch out any plank exercises for a modified plank on forearms and knees or stick with those easier exercises mentioned above until your body is ready.

Watch for any bulging of your abdominals while in a plank position, note the difference in extra lose skin hanging vs. a good flat fascial/muscle connection across your lower belly. The extra skin is inevitable and will decrease will time, just be sure that if you notice any of your abdominal area hanging towards that ground that it is in deed skin and not your abdominals bulging towards the ground.

Ready to learn more? Begin your Prenatal and Postnatal Exercise Specialist Course + Certification.

Be sure to follow those guidelines above to determine if planks are right for you right now. And if your body isn’t ready today it’s not a forever “no” it’s just a “not ready yet” but “someday”. So hang in there and keep strengthening those deep core muscles with more appropriate pregnancy and after baby and busy mom exercises, workouts and programs.

One lasting thing: Please share this article with your girlfriends. I’ve talked with so many mom’s after pregnancy who had been doing exercises they later learned they should have skipped. While some women can safely do planks their entire pregnancy some should skip those and do easier core exercises as listed above. Exercise during pregnancy has so many wonderful benefits but being educated on what exercises are best, specifically core exercises can make a big impact on women during their years of having babies and beyond.

The post To Plank or Not To Plank? appeared first on Knocked-Up Fitness.

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Diastasis recti – what it is, why you should care and your questions answered {a couple anyways}. I get LOTs of questions related around diastasis recti, both from pregnant mama’s, postpartum mama’s and that’s right even moms that had their babies over 20 years ago! Most women I’m finding don’t even know, let alone understand what diastasis recti is – IF they’ve even heard of it!

With your help I know we can help spread the word because you can do something about it – no matter how long it’s been. Watch my live video below where I address the mentioned above:

Diastasis recti is the separation of your abdominals, specifically when there is separation between your rectus abdominals down your midline. There are varying degrees of separation.

Click here for how to test if you have diastasis recti {be sure you are 10 weeks postpartum or beyond}.

How To Check For Diastasis Recti + Tips For Getting Your Abs Back - YouTube

Why you should care? Like I mention in the live broadcast above, I’ve talked with different doctors about this and they flat out tell me it’s all for vanity sake – I beg to differ!!! If you have abdominal separation, then most likely you have poor pelvic floor and transverse abdominal connection and probably suffer from back pain! That’s right! I find a big correlation between back pain {among other body aches and pains} that for many greatly improve as their diastasis recti improves.

Because when your diastasis recti improves, that means your pelvic floor and transverse abdominal connection and the fascial connection through your abdominals had become much stronger! And when that happens your back now has more support and that means your back feels better!

Mamas, when you are pregnant back pain does NOT have to be a part of pregnancy. For many, it can be greatly minimized. That’s why I stress the importance of understanding and learning how to properly strengthen your deep core. A big reason why I’ve created everything I have. If you are pregnant I highly recommend my Prenatal + Postnatal Membership which also includes a nutrition section because nutrition plays a big role in how your body feels!

Then there’s the topic of hernia’s in the abdominal area. When you have weakened connective tissue and have diastasis recti that could greatly increase the risk for hernias in your abdominal area. In order to truly repair a hernia you do need surgery and I’m finding a lot of mamas being led to do surgery to repair their abdominal separation {regardless of hernia{s} or not} but don’t understand that there is a lot of repairing they could be doing instead. More to come on the hernia topic…

It is never too late to heal!! And I’m extremely serious when I say 20-30+ years beyond babies! The sooner you begin to rehab your core after baby the easier it can be to heal, but that doesn’t mean it’s ever too late to start! That is why I have created my Prenatal + Postnatal Membership. It’s designed to be a one-stop shop for women who are thinking about getting pregnant, are currently pregnant or are postpartum and beyond.

And when you are able to start creating a good foundation of strengthening your deep core during pregnancy that could help you tremendously after baby when it comes to diastasis recti and core rehab! My eBook “The Knocked Up Fitness Guide to Pregnancy” is a must read as I break down how to properly strengthen your deep core along with tons more info!

Things you can do to help to minimize diastasis recti and helping to repair:

  1. Avoid crunches
  2. Watch for and avoid “coning of your belly”
  3. Do appropriate exercises that don’t stress your core but actually help in strengthening
  4. If you experience “leaking down there” I suggest avoiding those exercise for now and refocus your attention on your deep core connection.
  5. Be mindful of your exercise, focus on the connections you are making through your body and what you are actually feeling working.
  6. Give your body time to heal, very very important after baby and I know it’s hard but it really can make a huge and positive effect in the long run.
  7. Focus on good fascial connection through your body {more to come on this because I do realize most don’t even know what fascia is…}
  8. Posture! Stand tall, sit tall, walk tall, carry babies and children with good posture.

Use your core to hold your body upright – a crazy idea I know! It’s amazing what just improving your posture can do. 

Click here for 3 exercises that I LOVE for helping to strengthen your deep core and help in repairing postpartum and beyond.

The post Diastasis Recti – Why You Should Care {Live Video} appeared first on Knocked-Up Fitness.

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Nausea. Heightened sense of smell. A missed period. There are dozens of early pregnancy symptoms we are familiar with. Many of the traditional pregnancy indicators are not unique to pregnancy, and often present the week of a missed period or in the weeks following.

For many women, the time spent waiting for delayed menstruation (weeks after trying to conceive or when you think you may have become pregnant) can seem like a lifetime. Start your Knocked-Up Fitness membership today to stay confident and feeling sexy as those pregnancy hormones set in!

Women who are in tune with their bodies might be in luck! Earlier than any pregnancy test on the market, your body could be showing several signs and symptoms of pregnancy. Here are 6 often over-looked pregnancy symptoms that could appear before a positive.

1) Spotting

Was that my period? If it was a little light and a little early, you could be confusing early menstruation with implantation bleeding. Usually occurring between 6-12 days post conception, the embryo implants itself and can cause light spotting.

2) Fatigue and Tiredness

If you’re almost falling asleep at the dinner table, or sneaking to your car at work for ten minutes of shut eye, your body could be telling you baby is on board. In the 1st week after conception, progesterone levels rise, blood sugar can lower, and blood pressure can drop to provide greater blood flow to baby. That afternoon energy drop might be telling you something.

3) Dizziness

Along with feeling fatigued, you may experience dizziness or light-headedness, which can also begin to occur in the first week after conception. As blood vessels dilate and blood pressure drops you can be at risk for dizziness and even fainting, so be sure to take a seat and a drink of water if you’re not feeling yourself.

4) Shortness of Breath

When did the stairs to my office triple in height? Baby needs oxygen and blood to develop and grow, so even though a pregnancy test won’t tell you for sure, in the first few weeks after conception sharing your oxygen and blood with baby can cause shortness of breath. While not usually dangerous, this uncomfortable and sometimes exhausting pregnancy symptom can be reduced by maintaining an exercise routine and listening to your body (aim to get to work a few minutes early to slow down on the stairs and take a short break before beginning your day).

5) Swollen/Tender Breasts

Your hormones begin to shift as soon as conception occurs, and within 1-2 weeks of pregnancy, many symptoms can present. Some breast changes, including darkening or leaking, are more often associated with later pregnancy, but swollen and tender breasts can begin 1-2 weeks after conception. Often confused with tenderness associated with PMS, many women note that breast swelling as a pregnancy symptom is much more intense than PMS tenderness.

6) Food Aversions

If you find yourself nauseated by the thought of a meal you used to love, it might not be the flu or changing tastes. Although cravings get the bulk of the pregnancy cliche attention, food aversions can have a stronger effect on women. Food aversions can present within two weeks of conception, and are attributed to hormonal changes. Many experts agree that aversions to some foods are a biological response to pregnancy so women avoid foods that are dangerous to baby, including alcohol, and processed or spoiled foods. Strong food aversions, coupled with a heightened sense of smell can be a strong contributor to pregnancy-related nausea.

So if you’re staring at your calendar, waiting for the day you can successfully take a pregnancy test, ease your mind by paying close attention to the signs your body might be giving you. Find peace of mind with Erica Ziel to give you guidance, workouts, recipes and more for feeling sexy and confident throughout your pregnancy!

The post 6 Overlooked Early Pregnancy Signs & Symptoms appeared first on Knocked-Up Fitness.

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Meditation can be an enlightening and extremely effective addition to your health plan, and can have profound effects on your pregnancy, labor, and life beyond birth!

Meditation often conjures a picture of sitting cross-legged in Lotus pose (Sukhasana or Padmasana, often called ‘Easy Pose’)– which evidently isn’t as easy for many moms-to-be!  In reality, meditation can look infinitely different for each individual person, and those differences help illustrate why practicing meditation has been instrumental to so many people for generations.

If Lotus pose isn’t your thing, or if you are experiencing joint pain or other physical limitations during your pregnancy and after baby, don’t fret! Pregnancy is responsible for an increase in the hormones that loosen your joints to help open your hips to prepare for birth, but this process can also cause discomfort, which may make you feel a little intimidated by certain poses. This is why so many moms find great success in meditation– you control the intensity of your experience.  There are no expectations, and the only real goal in mindfulness meditation is to finish your session feeling better than when you started.

Pregnancy brings both physical and emotional strains, and there are many channels by which moms try to balance their regular lives, plus the additional excitement and challenges faced during pregnancy and motherhood.  We know that there are countless physical and emotional benefits to exercise and eating healthfully, which provide immense immediate and long-term benefits, but often moms ignore the need for reflection and relaxation within their health plans, that’s why Erica includes it in her 21-day program which is part of her Digital Programs {available for pregnancy and after baby}.  Moms forget that they are first and foremost people, and therefore must care for themselves in order to set the right example and to feel fantastic while doing so.

Moms have found additional benefits of mindfulness meditation in labor, noting that the frame of mind, peace, and relaxation practiced in meditation throughout pregnancy empowered them to labor with intention. Many yogis include meditation in their classes, styles such as Vinassana meditation, mantra meditation, and deep breath awareness meditation provide different benefits and focuses. To get the most from your meditation, talk to your yoga instructor about your goals for your practice.

Meditation can be done in almost any position, if you’re cleared for exercise, you can work your way up to some poses that provide a gentle stretch. If you aren’t cleared for exercise, you can still reap the benefits but taking a quiet moment for yourself.


To get yourself started:

  1. Sit or stand with good, straight posture
  2. Slowly and quietly count a deep breath in for 5 seconds
  3. Then slowly and quietly count an exhale for 8 seconds
  4. Repeat for 1-5 minutes, relaxing your mind and clearing your thoughts.

This most simple form of mindfulness meditation for relaxation can provide a great sense of calmness and strength.

Regardless of your level of fitness– from beginner to advanced, you can benefit from taking even just five minutes in a comfortable position to reflect on your feelings, your personal goals, and your intentions in your daily activities.  Being mindful and acting with intention gives purpose to everything you do, keeps you accountable, and keeps you on track with your goals. When we experience the importance of reflection, we become aware of who we are– and this has an especially profoundly calming effect for moms who spend such a great deal of time trying to keep so many other people on track, that their own needs and purpose can get lost in the mix.

Parents often say, “The most important thing in the world to me, is my children.” We hear this so often that we forget, that the most important thing to our children, is their parents!  Being emotionally and physically healthy go hand-in-hand, and by taking a few minutes out of your day to reflect on your feelings can help you become a well-rounded, happier, healthier mama!

*This post contains affiliate links, we may be compensated for a purchase made.

The post Mindfulness Meditation appeared first on Knocked-Up Fitness.

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