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** You can read my newest article form the Vinazine right here and now!

What is a Vina?

Vina: bold, intelligent, badass. She’s the life of the party. She can mix a drink.

To help bring out that life-of-the-party vina that’s inside of you, I’ve compiled a tried-and-true list of cocktail-making tips so you can be that girl wherever you’ll be celebrating next.

Before I started following these five simple steps, not even my most beautiful glasses, stainless steel shakers, or a phone full of Pinterest recipes could save my drinks from coming out too strong, too sour, too much like juice, or too much like toxic waste. These tricks have helped me become more creative behind the bar and have given me a better understanding of how much alcohol each drink needs, all while keeping things simple, sweet, and cheap.


1. LESS IS MORE WHEN IT COMES TO INGREDIENTS

A good cocktail doesn’t need to be complicated. Many of the best cocktails have three or fewer ingredients. The important thing to know is what mixes well with what. Here are two of my favorite simple drinks that have less than three ingredients:

The Paloma: 1/4 cup of tequila, 1/4 cup grapefruit soda (like Fresca or Jarritos), served on the rocks with a lime wedge. Add a salted rim to feel like a real pro.

The Bellini: 2 ounces chilled fruit purée (traditionally peach), 3 ounces prosecco. Usually served in a champagne flute, start with the fruit puree on the bottom, then pour the prosecco over the top. Feel free to add a fragrant garnish to up your bar cred.

These and other gorgeous two-ingredient cocktails can be found at http://www.mydomaine.com/two-ingredient-cocktails


WHEN IN DOUBT, STICK TO THE CLASSICS

Who’s ever turned down a whiskey and Coke or vodka and soda? These drinks are well known for a reason and are simple to make. The best part about their simplicity is that it makes them easy to customize and dress up. Put your own original spin on any of the classics with fresh herbs, splashes of fruit juice, or even a simple lime or lemon to impress your vinas.

GET CREATIVE WITH FRESH FRUIT AND KOMBUCHA

When you’re drinking, you ’re probably not drinking for the health benefits (unless you’re one of those red-wine-with-dinner people). Still, it’s nice to mix up a fun drink that ’s light on guilt sometimes. Fresh fruit, kombucha, and even Perrier can make awesome additions to classic drinks. (HINT: The Real Food Dietitians suggest replacing the ginger beer in the classic Moscow Mule with kombucha and adding fresh ginger, mint, and cucumbers.)

CHEAT SHEETS ARE A VINA’S BEST FRIEND

Now that you have the inspiration, it ’s time to get technical. You don’t want to make your drinks too strong or watered down. To ensure that you pour just right every time, check out this amazing cheat sheet that explains the use of “parts” in drink recipes. You can always print it out and keep in your kitchen so you ’re ready for your next soirée.

How to Measure a Cocktail, The Spruce Eats

USE THE TOOLS AVAILABLE 

There are so many amazing resources where you can find easy drink recipes. Use them! There’s no shame in borrowing a few tips and tools from the pros. Here are two personal favorites:

The Healthy Bartender

BBC Good Food, Easy Cocktail Recipes

Now that you know the tricks of the trade, I fully expect to see you giving back to the Vina community by hosting a meet and greet cocktail party with your new matches!

Find some new vinas to invite to your next cocktail party by downloading Hey! VINA on the App Store today! You’re new best friend could be just a swipe away! 👯📱

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Photo credit: Pexels

Guest Post By: Jennifer McGregor

The healthy life is full of advantages: higher quality of life, fewer health care costs, and overall happiness. How you eat, sleep and move can affect how you think about yourself and how you cope with life. Gaining long-term health benefits comes only from consistency and active decisions to do better. While nobody’s perfect and we all slip up from time to time, it’s important to keep moving forward and try your best to be healthy. Here are some strategies you can implement to stay healthy and happy.

1. Eat more vegetables

Have you ever tried to go on a diet only to find your cravings increase? That’s because completely eliminating certain foods from your diet can only make it harder to avoid them. Instead of cutting out all “bad” food, try upping your intake of healthy food instead. There are loads of benefits to eating a diet high in fruits and veggies. For example, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health suggests that fruits and vegetables offer a low glycemic load, which can help manage blood sugar and prevent spikes that cause hunger.

2. Keep it clean

Your home plays a huge role in your overall health. Mess causes stress, and it harbors germs that can make you ill. If the thought of a deep-cleaning and clutter-purging session feels like too much to bear, hire some help. The cost of maid service in Montgomery averages only $210, and while your pro does the cleaning, you can work on sorting through the items you no longer need. As a bonus, you can sell any unwanted belongings online or in a yard sale, the profits of which will likely cover the cost of hiring a maid and give you a little extra to spend on something that actually excites you.

3. Do some cardio

Cardiovascular exercise or aerobic exercise is an excellent way to keep your heart healthy. It’s also been known to improve mental and emotional health. You don’t have to do cardio every day, but you should do it at least twice a week, preferably for at least 30 minutes. You can do all sorts of exercises that count as cardio, such as attending a local Spin class (which generally costs between $15 and $25), taking a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) class, or going running. Whatever you do, don’t worry about getting it perfect the first time around. Cardio comes in all shapes and forms.

4. Manage stress in a healthy way

When you’re stressed out, it’s easy to give into temptation. It’s important to choose healthy outlets for stress, rather than turning to alcohol or drugs to cope. Major scientific studies have pointed to the association between alcohol consumption and cancer. For instance, women who consume at least one drink a day are at a much higher risk of breast cancer. Find some healthy coping mechanisms for stress, whether that’s through reading, watching your favorite TV show, or taking up a new hobby (picking up a paintbrush, learning to cook, or discovering the mental and physical benefits of gardening). You can also see a therapist if you need some extra help.

5. Get enough sleep

A lack of quality sleep typically results in a vicious cycle of being more stressed out and then being too stressed to sleep. A good night’s rest will help you be happier and more productive, and also can help you with weight loss. If you struggle with getting enough sleep, establish a bedtime routine that will help you wind down for bed. Don’t read or watch anything in bed, and try to reserve your bedroom as a place for sleep only.

6. Exercise with friends

Exercise is good for you, but sometimes, it can be hard to do it on your own. This is what friends are for. A solid support group can keep you accountable and will help you stay focused on your goals. Try taking group exercise classes, or ask a friend to go on hikes with you.

7. Keep a gratitude journal

Gratitude can help you recognize the wonderful opportunities in your life. While a gratitude journal won’t solve your problems, it can help you realize how many good things you have. Try to write down at least three things daily that you’re grateful for. Writing them down will help you internalize your gratitude. This also will help you focus on what you enjoy about life and focus less on what’s stressing you out.

8. Eat tasty fruit to replace sugar

You don’t have to give up sugar completely, but you can have less of it in your life by eating more fruit instead. No matter your tastes, there are many delicious options, including berries, raspberries, bananas, grapes, apples, oranges, and tangerines.

9. Walk more

Even when you’re at work, taking just five minutes each hour to get up and walk can help increase focus, decrease lethargy, and improve mood. Walking is an excellent way to improve your productivity and help you start an exercise routine. Try to establish routes that help you think. You’ll be able to mull over some of your problems and come up with solutions as you walk, which is a huge boon.

Of course, it’s not feasible to try to adopt all of these healthy habits all at once. Pick one or two to start, and then gradually add more in. The effort will be worth it.

Refrences/Sources:

Pexels - https://www.pexels.com/photo/bowl-of-vegetable-salad-and-fruits-936611/

benefits - https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/vegetables-and-fruits/

Mess causes stress - https://parentingisnteasy.co/messy-home-anxiety/

averages only $210 - https://www.homeadvisor.com/tloc/Montgomery-AL/Maid-Service/

sorting through - https://bornagainminimalist.com/2015/06/16/purge-by-room/

yard sale - https://www.familyhandyman.com/diy-advice/14-tips-for-a-successful-garage-sale/

excellent way - https://www.verywellfit.com/why-you-need-cardio-exercise-1230812

between $15 and $25 - https://fitness.costhelper.com/spinning-classes.html

studies - https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170523084758.htm

benefits of gardening - http://www.schultesgreenhouse.com/Benefits.html

bedtime routine - https://vancouverwellnessstudio.com/blog/2016/10/26/maintaining-sleep-sanity-my-absolute-favorite-self-care-routine

friends are for - https://www.nifs.org/blog/five-reasons-to-find-a-workout-buddy-motivation-accountability-and-more

go on hikes - https://www.hillwalktours.com/walking-hiking-blog/benefits-of-hiking-mental-health/

internalize your gratitude - https://www.happierhuman.com/benefits-of-gratitude/

five minutes - https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/28/well/move/work-walk-5-minutes-work.html


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Have you heard of Circuit Training yet?

If not, then scroll on back to my previous post about Circuit Training 101 for Moms and grab my 30-Minute Full Body Routine. This will help you get familiar with the concept, and give you a taste of inspiration to start getting creative with your own Circuit Training class designs

But… just in case you aren’t in the scrolling mood...

Circuit training is a form of body conditioning or endurance training or resistance training using high-intensity. It targets strength building or muscular endurance. An exercise "circuit" is one completion of all prescribed exercises in the program. When one circuit is complete, one begins the first exercise again for the next circuit. Traditionally, the time between exercises in circuit training is short, often with rapid movement to the next exercise.

I set up my Circuit training classes in sections dedicated to a certain part of the body. As far as equipment goes, you can use your body weight, resistance bands, dumbbells, glider discs, and any piece of gym equipment that is at your disposal.

This week's Circuit Training Routine is meant to be performed in the great outdoors. You will need a yoga mat, small outdoor traffic cones (I use my son's cone set from one of his car sets), and a resistance band (medium strength- heavy strength is recommended).

Here is a copy of a full body 30-minute outdoor circuit training class that I teach locally. Please feel free to use this workout template or just borrow the format and create your own fun and fast exercise routines.

The circuit is timed and needs to be completed 5 times to get a full 30-minute workout.

I also listed modifications, and pro tips so that you can tailor this workout to your personal needs.

If there is a modification that you need or would love to see included in the future, let me know at simplyfitwithashley@gmail.com

Now get out there and have some fun!

Xoxo

Ashley



** Please consult your physician before engaging in new forms of physical exercise. Your safety is my priority.

Circuit Class

Stations: 6

Style: Total Body

Duration: 30 min

Rest: Between 3 & 4 (45s)

Equipment: Yoga Mat, Resistance Bands, Traffic Cones (small)

Kid Friendly: Yes

Station One: Warm Up - 1m (fast & controlled)

30s Butt Kicks

30s Skaters

Station 2: Legs - 1m

Plie Squats (on toes) with resistance bands, pulse 2x, Explode Jump

Modification: Sumo Squat Planks (Resistance Bands, Jump optional)

Station 3: Butt- 1m

Cone Run: Set up cones in a square shape.

On each side of the square perform an exercise 1-4.

1.Run (sprint)

2.Curtsey Lunge

3.Low Shuffle

4.Grapevine

Rest- 1m

Station 4: Core- 1m

Bicycles:Lay on back with abs zipped up, lift legs into a tabletop, extend one leg out while hands are behind head twisting to the opposite side. Switch sides, quick movements.

Diastasis Recti Mod:

Side Plank. Place forearm on mat under shoulder perpendicular to the the the body. Place upper leg directly on top of lower leg and straighten knees and hips. Raise body upward by straightening waist so the body is ridged. Hold position.

Station 5: Arms-1m.
Pro tip: Be sure to push through your full range of motion

Resistance Band Bent Over Rows. Begin the movement by stepping on to a resistance band with your feet at shoulder-width, toes pointed slightly out. Bend slightly at the knees and forward at the hips. Maintain a zipped up core and flat back throughout.

Station 6: Group Pick- 30s + 30s

  1. Spicy Ab & Butt Combo- 1.Bridge Single Leg Lift: start by laying on your back. Raise into a bridge position, zipping up your abs tight, and squeezing your glutes together. Lift one leg up in the air, and push up off of the other foot. 2. Clam Kick: Lay In side position with your head resting on your fist and forearm on the ground (mermaid position). Place knees together, then kick out one leg (repeat)

OR

  1. Plank Hip Taps- Start In plank position and lower one hip to the ground, return to plank position, and lower the other hip to the ground.

OR

     C. Mountain Climbers- Start in high plank and draw your right knee under your torso, keeping the toes off the ground. Return your right foot to starting position.
Switch legs and bring your left knee under your chest. Keep switching legs as if you're running in place.

Diastasis Recti Mod: Wall Sit Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart about 1.5 feet in front of a wall. Bend your knees and hips to squat down so your back is flat against the wall. Hold this position (a). From here, perform one core compression and then, while holding the first contraction, perform a second, feeling your stomach draw in closer to your spine (b). Pause, then relax the compressions (c). Perform one-two- to three-minute set 2-3 times per week.

Cool Down: Stretches (you pick)


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Have you heard of Circuit Training yet?

If not, then you are missing out on a whole new way of exercising that optimizes your time, abilities, and packs a punch, which leaves you feeling like a million bucks after completing this style of workout.

Circuit training is a form of body conditioning or endurance training or resistance training using high-intensity. It targets strength building or muscular endurance. An exercise "circuit" is one completion of all prescribed exercises in the program. When one circuit is complete, one begins the first exercise again for the next circuit. Traditionally, the time between exercises in circuit training is short, often with rapid movement to the next exercise.

I believe that Circuit Training is the perfect style of workout for busy moms who need to get big results in a little amount of time. This style of training also allows you to get creative with the types of exercise that you are doing on a regular basis.

I set up my Circuit training classes in sections dedicated to a certain part of the body. As far as equipment goes, you can use your body weight, resistance bands, dumbbells, glider discs, and any piece of gym equipment that is at your disposal. This type of exercise can be done in a large or small class setting, or solo. As far where you can workout, the options are limitless. Create a class for your living room, gym, or outdoors.

Here is a copy of a full body 30 minute circuit training class that I teach locally. Please feel free to use this workout template or just borrow the format and create your own fun and fast exercise routines. The circuit is timed, and needs to be completed 5 times to get a full 30 minute workout.

I also listed modifications, and pro tips so that you can tailor this workout to your personal needs.

If there is a modification that you need or would love to see included in the future, let me know at simplyfitwithashley@gmail.com

Now get out there and have some fun!

** Please consult your physician before engaging in new forms of physical exercise. Your safety is my priority.

Circuit Class

Stations: 6

Style: Total Body

Duration: 30 min

Rest: Between 3 & 4 (45s)

Equipment: Resistance Bands & Dumbells 3-5lbs (heavier if preferred)

Station One: Warm Up - 1m (fast & controlled)

30s High Knees

30s Windmills

Station 2: Legs - 1m

Start standing, with resistance band at your shins/ankles, move into full plank position lift up right leg, then lift up left leg while in plank pushing into the resistance band a total of 4 times. Crawl forward, stand up and do 2 sumo squat with explosion jumps

Modification: Sumo Squats with resistance bands, no jump

Carpal Tunnel Modification: Take Planks on forearms, and crawl forward using fists

Station 3: Butt- (30s + 30s)

Curtsy Lunges, How to do it: Stand with your feet hips-width apart and your hands pressed together at chest level. Keeping your hips square, step your left leg diagonally behind you and bend both knees at a 90-degree angle, keeping the knees behind the toes. Pause, then press into your right heel to return to standing position as you extend your left leg into a side kick. That's one rep.

Rest- 45s-1m

Station 4: Core- 1m

Rock the Boat.

Start in boat pose, balancing on tailbone with feet in the air, knees bent and shins parallel to the floor. Hold a single dumbbell horizontally with both hands in front of chest.

Engage core to twist torso to the right, lowering dumbbell toward the right hip. Repeat on the left side.

Only moving the upper body, and tucked in tight

Resist the urge to tilt hips side to side. Only the upper body should move.

Modification: Lower feed to the ground, if having feet up becomes to intense

Diastasis Recti Modification :

Single-Leg Lift
How to: Lying on your back on the floor, plant your left foot on the ground, knee bent and right leg straight out in front of you. Place your hands slightly behind you (a). Inhale, then, with your right foot turned slightly outward, exhale and lift your leg up toward the ceiling, keeping your knee straight. Think about pulling your belly button in and up toward your spine for that core compression (b). Repeat for 20 reps, then switch sides. Perform two sets.

Station 5: Arms - 1m

OVERHEAD DOUBLE PUNCH
Start with feet wider than hip-width apart, holding a 3-pound dumbbell in each hand, elbows bent out to sides (A). Extend arms straight overhead, punching with power (B). Return to start and repeat. Do 30 reps.

Pro tip: Be sure to push through your full range of motion.

Station 6: Group Pick- 1m

  1. Mountain Climbers- Start in high plank and draw your right knee under your torso, keeping the toes off the ground.
    Return your right foot to starting position.
    Switch legs and bring your left knee under your chest. Keep switching legs as if you're running in place.

OR

  1. Butt Kicks- Stand with feet hip-distance apart.
    Kick your left heel to your left glute.
    Set your foot back down and repeat with your right foot. Continue alternating quickly for 45 seconds.

OR

       C. Group Wall Sit with Resistance Bands

Diastasis Recti Modification:

Wall Sit

Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart about 1.5 feet in front of a wall. Bend your knees and hips to squat down so your back is flat against the wall. Hold this position (a). From here, perform one core compression and then, while holding the first contraction, perform a second, feeling your stomach draw in closer to your spine (b). Pause, then relax the compressions (c). Perform one two- to three-minute set 2-3 times per week.

Cool Down: Stretches (your choice)

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It's a new year, and you're ready to get your butt in gear on all things health and wellness, but working out 3-5 times per week has you busy and extra hungry, your kids are gearing back up for heading back to school and their menu requests for lunch are a tad out of control, and although your spouse may love the fact that you are taking this ” healthy lifestyle stuff” by storm, they aren't totally on board about cutting out the extra carbs and sweets. Well, Mama, I'm here to simply this stuff for you!

You have bigger fish to fry, and the last thing you need to be worrying about is what you and the fam are going to eat that week. I'm here to give you my 5 favorite ways to plan healthy and affordable meals on a strict budget, and with time restrictions.

  1. Map It out. Before I step foot in a grocery store I have a written plan of attack. The plan takes 20 minutes of my time, which in the grand scheme of things is nothing. My plan includes full breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner meals for each day of the week. Having a plan leaves little room for junk food, impulse buys, and for tantrums at the store. Everyone has the understanding that you came to the store with a solid mission, and you plan on leaving the store with that mission completed (you little Mama spy).

  2. Diversify Your Protein Sources. When the majority of people think of protein they think of meat. Meat can be hella expensive, especially if you buy grass-fed or organic meat. Instead of making meat your centerpiece opt for having it play a smaller part in the dinner rotation. Opt-in for using beans or legumes or nuts/seeds/grains as your powerpoint. For example, you could have 1 small salmon fillet, on a bed of brown rice, and 3 bean salad. You save money by not having large quantities of meat in the meal, and you get a well-rounded source of protein.

  3. Buy Fruits and Veggies that are in season. First of all buying in-season fruits and veggies guarantee that you are going to have some tasty and ripe foods, but you are also likely to find those seasonal items on sale. Squash in the fall, cherries in the summer… you get my point.

  4. Cook everything on 1-2 days of the week. When my family finally decided to pick Sunday as our cooking day and prepared everything from breakfast to snacks, we stopped having those ”oh crap, what are we gonna eat...let's get takeout moments”. We knew what we had, what was available, controlled the ingredients that we put in, and even the clean environment in which the meal was prepared. By planning out healthy meals in advance filled with foods that my family likes, no one is tempted to break out the wallet for extras.

  5. Teach the Fam the Importance of Hydration. Many times people aren't truly hungry when they feel like they are. They are usually either dehydrated or bored. So we end up up spending way more on food that eventually will go bad, or we overeat because we aren't hydrating properly and we are eating from habit. Make sure that you stock up in plenty of water. Get creative and infuse the water with fruits and herbs, or even have the family choose their favorite smoothies. That gives you an excuse to use the fruit that you bought, gives everyone energy, and may delay boredom eating.

Tell me how you save money when you shop! I'd love to feature your ideas in a future blog post. For more information about topics like this, get free access to our Resource Library when you join opt-in at www.simplyfitwithashley.com

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3 Amazing Reasons to Try a Pound Class Right Now!

This is not a sponsored post.

So, last week I proposed the questions on Instagram (@simplyfitwithashley) “What is the one type of workout that makes you excited to get out of bed in the morning?” “What makes you tick, and throw all those damn excuses and caution to the wind?” Since I am a certified fitness specialist, trainer, and coach I usually love creating my own workouts. I feel like they are effective and that I am pretty damn good at it, if I can toot my own horn, but even experienced trainers  need inspiration. I consider myself a forever a student. I draw my inspiration from nature, my life experiences, and other fitness professionals that I admire.

While looking for some inspiration to push me through these cold and dark nights, I decided it was time to attend a group fitness class. I was pointed into the direction of Pound (cardio drumming). At first I was skeptical, but I can now say that I am hooked. From the moment I stepped foot into the class the music was poppin, the instructor was easy to follow, and it was one hell of a workout! I do believe that you do need to make Pound a supplement in addition to your regular strength training. In my opinion nothing still can beat the one on one attention that you receive from a personal trainer for a fitness coach.

Here are the Top 3 Reasons Why I Adore Pound:

  1. The music is amazing. I manage Pilates studios, and I can honestly tell you that one person can only listen to the same damn playlist so many freaking times. Pound classes are packed with current music and fun mixes. No matter what genre of music you prefer you are able to get in the zone, which helps you focus on getting results.

  2. Drumsticks are involved. Brain power is needed! This workout forced me to use not only my physical muscles, but also my brain! You have to be able to follow patterns, and follow along to ques, which makes for a REAL full body and mind workout, but it is easy enough to pick up on your first class… so need need to be a dance expert.

  3. It didn’t feel like torture. A lot of classes talk about busting your but, lifting things and putting them down, etc., but if you’re like me, you love your workouts to be somewhat enjoyable. By the middle of class I was having so much fun that I didn’t even care that I was sweating or that my heart rate had reached 168! I felt free and efficient, the same way I feel when I write my own workouts.

I plan on returning back to class this week, and looking into training options. One time and I’m hooked y’all!

For more information about Pound head to www.poundfit.com to find a class or training session near you!

Sign up for the Free Resource Library today! Get honest reviews, quick workouts, group coaching programs, and 1:1 coaching opportunities, kick that FOMO to the curb.

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So, I am a firm believer that their are 1,001 reasons why Moms skip working out. Exhaustion, weather, work schedules, lack of time, and not finding working out enjoyable are just a few reasons. Today, I want to discuss one of the most popular reasons that I hear on a daily basis from Moms on why they don’t work out... “What am I supposed to do with my baby/toddler?”

After I had my son I found it very difficult to do small tasks due to my Postpartum Depression. Dragging my tired butt to the gym, scheduling group classes, or taking the time to choreograph complicated workouts were seriously not on my damn to do list. So, I needed to get creative on how I could include my 9 month old so into my workouts and keep him entertained long enough to make it through a 25-30 minute workout.

I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I also knew that the need to make my health a priority was more important than the fear of my screaming baby. If you have a kiddo like me who is super active, sneaks dog food and stores it in his cheeks, and gives you a run for your money then it may seem like you have a uphill battle, but no worries, I tested a ton of different techniques, and through trial and error and a few tears I was able to create a list of “5 Ways to Keep Your Kids Entertained While You Workout.”

Make Your Baby a Part of Your Workout.

Who says that your baby can’t be your new workout partner? I found that the more I tried to keep my baby out of my workout routine, the more that he wanted to be a part of what I was doing! So, I searched the internet for Mama and Me workouts and found some pretty great material. A lot of the Mama and Me workouts don’t require much equipment, include exercises where you are holding your baby, laughing at your baby, counting out loud, and singing silly songs, all while getting a kick ass workout. Squatting with a 20lb baby is hard work, but babies love the motion and the insane faces that we make while holding a plank are sure to make them giggle.

Create a Gym Oasis for Your Baby.

I have a spot in my living room called the “Baby Oasis” in my house. In the Baby Oasis I keep my babies favorite toys, his books, shiny objects, and snacks. This is a place where he can climb, watch me exercise, hear the music that I am listening to, and have his own time to play independently. Get creative with this space. Add mirrors, balls, and shiny objects to keep yor baby entertained. Using this baby oasis will give you the space you need to complete a short workout, while teaching your baby the skill of independent playtime.

Use the “Pick One” Method.

This method is used in a lot of child therapy learning techniques. First, you will need to grab three toys that your child enjoys. Line up the toys in a row, and with little to no expression on your face ask your child to “pick one.” The toy that your child picks is the toy that will keep them interested for a period of time. I use this technique with  my 9 month old son, and it even works on younger babies and toddlers (they have preferences too). After they choose the toy, allow them to play independently, and then half way through your workout repeat this exercise so that you can gauge your babies interest in that specific toy and make adjustments.

Get Your Groove On, Mama and Baby Dance Breaks.

Dancing is a super fun and non stressful way of getting in your daily activity. When myself or my baby is not in the mood for a structured workout we throw on our favorite Spotify playlist and we let loose. We wiggle, I lift him up, we squat, and we even crawl around the house together. Exercise does not need to always be choreographed. Have fun with this!

Call for Backup.

I have a joke with my husband where I call our son “Boss Baby”. He knows what he likes, has a certain way of doing things, and is pretty vocal when his needs aren’t getting met. When he’s not in the mood to be a part of my workouts or participate in an impromptu dance party I bring out the big guns, his Dad. Don’t be afraid to ask for help so that you can workout. My husband loves the fact that I am staying active so he never declines. If your partner isn’t home, Facetime with an Aunt, Uncle, or Grandparent that your baby is familiar with. They can help brighten your babies mood and hold their attention while you get one set of push ups in.

Did you find any of this helpful? If so, sign up for access to the Simply Fit Free Resource Library ! Enjoy simple, fun, and baby friendly workouts.

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I got into my very first Facebook debate. I'm not sure what caused me to type my feelings in the comment section since I've never felt inclined to before in my 29 years of life, but I typed my rebuttal and hit the post button. I am sure you are wondering what this debate was about? Well, it showcased the lack of support for other women's opinions and experiences. I joined this Facebook group to get motivation from other like-minded women, and to make deep connections, but once an unpopular opinion was posted by another ”sister” in the group a lot of the women decided to rebuke her, their sense of support, and her feelings. This woman's opinions did not cross the line, hurt others, or wreak havoc on the board rules, and yet the once supportive group had ”thrown her under the bus”. I was sitting holding my son while watching my weekly trash TLC show and I was heated. I wondered how could women who call themselves your ”tribe” just disregard your feelings, call you a ”hater”, and pull out their love and support in the tap of a keyboard stroke. 

In my personal and professional life, I believe that every situation that we experience teaches us a lesson. So, after doing a couple of ”woosah” breaths I started to ponder ”How could I apply this situation to my Mama clients?”, and after much thought, I found that a common theme that so many Mom's and women in general, are missing is the lack of genuine support in regards to their health choices pre and post-baby. 

From the moment we leave the hospital Mom's have this immense pressure on us to snapback, fit into our old clothes, and while in our sleepy Mama fog create a magical fitness routine. I then asked myself where does all of this pressure come from? Why do we feel this way? In my personal experience, I found that it is usually other women pushing these standards! That's right our other Mamas friends, celebrity Mamas, heck even our own Mamas. 

Then I imagined what if we lived in a society where women, embraced their current situations and made health a marathon and not a sprint? We could empathize with our other Mama friends, encourage them to work at their own pace, and cheer each other on no matter how fast or slow the process is, and if some of us take different routes we wouldn't shun them. I'm gonna just say that version of the world would get Mamas moving, it would take away the scary stigmas about exercising and prenatal and postnatal health, and it would make Mama's get serious when taking their own health goals into account.

So, since we live in an imperfect world, I've put together 5 ways that Mamas can ditch the judgment (yuck), and show our support for each other in positive ways. Check them out below:

Be a cheerleader. If a Mama likes Cross Fit as her method of exercise, great! If she prefers Prenatal Yoga, great, or if she does squats in her living room while watching Maury, right on Mama! As cheerleaders, we cheer for each other's efforts, no matter how small or how big. Progress is progress, no matter how you obtain it. As long as you are following proper health guidelines, and stretching properly, you cheer, it's as simple as that.

Always be a student. Even though I am a certified health & wellness coach and prenatal and postnatal specialist, I learn something new every day from the women I coach, teach, and network with. I never claim to know everything, and if someone claims that they do, run. We as Mamas can constantly learn from each other about different health choices, conditions, exercises that worked, and recovery tools. Never be so closed off that you can receive knowledge, and once you receive it, share it.

Ask Questions, for the purpose of positivity. Ditch the underhanded nice nasty questions and comments. You don't understand why a Mama makes a certain choice about her health? Ask! Ask with the intention of learning and not teaching. You will be surprised at the amount of Mamas that you can relate to, and when you ask out of a place of positivity you will gain new insight and even a new friend.

Get out of your comfort zone. Just because you have always done 6 squats and then for pull-ups doesn't mean the Mama next to you has or ever will. If you are struggling to improve your health join that group fitness class! Become a member of that Mommy group that runs every morning. Nothing amazing every happens in your comfort zone, don't be afraid to venture out because once you have experienced something you are more likely to support it.

Show Empathy. This is #5 on the list, but #1 in my heart. Not every Mama is where you are in her health journey. She may still be sitting on the couch in the same sweatpants from yesterday. It is our jobs as supportive Mamas to not judge her, but to uplift her. Being a Mom is hard damn it! She could have only slept 2 hours, have Postpartum Depression, or a kiddo who has an unseen condition. Don't be so quick to judge her. Motivate her. Tell her how focusing on your health has changed your life. Invite her to outings, send her a motivational quote. Above all, just meet her where she is in her health journey. I can bet you $100 she will be touched that someone is out there in this big crazy beautiful world truly ”get” her.

 

So, if you take away anything from this article, or if you just read the bold parts, please remember that we are all Mamas just trying to figure out how Motherhood, Health, Fitness, and Family works, choose to make someone's day brighter, the favor will be returned back to you.

Mamas! If you have any other ideas or stories of how we can support each other let me know! I will feature them in an upcoming project. Sign up below for more updates, and ways that support can be offered to you!

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