Getting Fit After Giving Birth – one program at a time

Archive for June, 2014

Having the right equipment

If you don’t have the right equipment, your work-out could be torturous, and even worse, result in no gain.  You have to have the right equipment.  By right, it needs to fit your specific body, it needs to offer the right kind of support for the activity, and it has to look super chic right?  😛

  1. For running: Shoes.  I started off running with my cheap worn out tenis shoes, and it was murderous on my knees.  They couldn’t handle the stress.  And on the few occasions that my knees could handle it, I walked off the pavement with shin splints that continued to plague me for MONTHS afterwards.  Not a very efficient way to keep up a decent excerpting regiment.
  2. Women need proper undergarments.  ESPECIALLY if you are rather busty (or breastfeeding, or in my case, both).  Seriously, there is nothing more uncomfortable and awkward than having your ladies doing more moving than you are.  Some women prefer to bind those beauties with tight fitting sports-brands.  If your breastfeeding, that may lead to other issues, so just make sure that you get something that will keep those ladies in check.
  3. Men may need proper undergarments as well, but I’m obviously not a man and can therefore not speak from personal experience…
  4. Proper attire.  Rock climbers don’t need baggy clothing…In fact, most exercising programs don’t benefit from baggy clothing.  You can get chaffing and irritation that just makes the working out tedious and loathsome.  However, you also need something that is comfortable for you.  Some people enjoy the skin tight apparel (Personally, I find them a bit immodest, but I realize that’s a personal opinion, and am not judging you at all!).  There are so many options out there these days for program specific work-out clothes, and many of them come in several different colors and styles! Do you want blue biking shorts, or maybe you are looking for a pink running shirt?  Functionality does NOT replace aesthetics in today’s world!
  5. Water.  I strongly believe that God gave us water for the primary purpose to hydrate us (and everything else), and nothing that man makes can ever be better for our bodies than water.  My husband on the other hand, likes to argue that Gatorade is better because it replaces electrolytes that water doesn’t have.  In any case, I include water as equipment because sometimes you might carry it along with you during your work0out.
  6. Yes, the dog needs proper equipment as well!  This may include leash/harness, some more aggressive dogs may need a muzzle (at least while they are training), and if you are running hardcore with your dog (think marathon or more), shoes may be a good investment.
  7. Childcare.  When I started working out, I already had all three of my kids and working out WITH them wasn’t an option for me.  I took advantage of timing (leaving kids home with my husband), or the childcare services that my gym provided.  However, for lots of little Mamma’s out there, exercising without their little ones isn’t an option.  In this case, it is important to have a stroller, or other carrying device, that you can work with.  I will admit that I tried running with our stroller once.  It was a cheap yardsale find, I squeezed the two younger kids in it, and attempted to deal with the wobbly wheels and glitchy lock levers for a whole mile before I came home frustrated and fed up!

Especially if you are just getting started, there are lots of little roadblocks and speed bumps that you will encounter, why would you want to add improper work-out equipment to the list?  With this being such a simple roadblock to fix, it shouldn’t ever be an issue in the first place!



Hitting roadblocks to the program

I don’t know how many of you are aware of the C25K running program.  BUT, it is an app (that’s for free, btw), that has you working in segments slowly building your endurance until you can run straight through a 5K.  I was told through the grapevine that week three of this program was the hardest.  And I admit, that I did go into week three feeling a bit…what’s the word I’m looking for…apprehensive.  Running for three minutes straight sounded a bit daunting and scary to me.  However, as I rounded out day three of week three, I wasn’t too winded or feeling limited by the end of it.

Day 1 of Week 4 on the other hand…whipped my little tail and pounded me to the pavement.  Me and the pooch didn’t make it through even that first running segment, and I ended up completely ignoring the little beeps that my app was giving me.  However, I kept on with the progrAm, and day 2 was almost a breeze for me and the dog both.

So, this got me to thinking: Why was the first day so much harder to me than the second day was?  What makes some days of working out so much more difficult than other days?

  • Digested nutrients.  Yes, the food that you eat very definitely makes a difference in your exersizing!  Just like lack of food can cause you to be sluggish, greasy foods also weighs you down.  What did you eat the day before?  Right before your work-out?
  • Amount of sleep. I noticed when I was pregnant especially that being horizontal for just 10 minutes could refresh my body. Your body rejuvenated and regenerates while you are sleeping. If you don’t get enough rest and sleep, you’ll see several areas of your life affected.
  • Emotional well-being.  I’ve heard it said that people who run for exercise purposes are always trying to ineffectively run away from something. Being emotionally stressed out can leave you unfocused, distracted, and result in a more difficult work-out.
  • Previous work-outs.  If your muscles are tired and sore from a previous situation, then you might have to take things a bit easier.  I participated in some extreme water sports over the weekend, left my muscles tired, weak, sore, and way full of lactic acid.
  • Physical health.  Getting sick can really drain the energies out of you. So can weak hormones, or other numerous health issues.

Running is not just about getting into shape. It also alerts you to the other factors of your life that may be dragging you down. You have to get your nutrition right, hydrate, sleep better, and get your mentality in shape, too. Once you connect all the little pieces together, I bet you’ll find lots of interesting changes in your own life.

5 ways to make your run harder

I have just finished up the third week of the C25K running program.  First of all, I highly recommend it to any beginning runner: if you are already fit through other methods (in my case, aerobics and some weight lifting), or if you are truly a couch potato (or sit and work at a computer all day), it definitely works!  Secondly, I have already discovered a few things that you can do to make your running even harder than it already is, so pay close attention, and try to avoid these things 😉

  1. Bad music.  It isn’t very motivating to be half-way through a jogging segment of your run when Enya starts up.  Due to some technology changes, I had to do a run without any music, and while that was 5X harder than with music, I do believe that bad music would make the run even harder than that.  Don’t do it.  If you need help finding some good music, check out pinterest (just search for “running music playlist”), or I bet google would have some good ones as well.
  2. Improper equipment.  Time and time again I have attempted to run with poor shoes.  Oh man, do my knees hate that!  I’m only 25 years old, and in pretty good health, but if I run with worn-out shoes on my feet, my body is going to be screaming at me in ways that continue to affect me for months after.
  3. Lack of proper nutrition.  Always, always, always, eat SOMETHING 15-30 minutes before you go on your run.  Definitely not a huge meal (you might puke it up), but I have noticed that even with Pixie Dust the dog, if she doesn’t eat a few bites before we go running, she is sluggish and unfocused.  Multiply that for a human.  Also: Always, always, always eat SOMETHING as soon as you can after your run.  Don’t think about it like eating all of the calories that you just lost, think of it as replenishing the nutrition that you expended.
  4. Don’t hydrate.  Or even worse, drink carbonated beverages and sugared sports drinks.  I strongly believe that God created water and there is nothing man-made that can trump that for doing good to our bodies.  I respect that others will disagree with me here (my darling husband being among them).  However you roll the dice, you have to keep yourself hydrated before AND after AND in-between your runs.  Lately, I’ve taken to drinking an entire gallon of water throughout the day, but I’ve also found that ingesting at least one bottle-full before my run is beneficial.  It keeps the side stitches away, and the shin splints at bay.
  5. Forget to stretch.  I don’t believe that stretching before your run is necessary or beneficial in any way (feel free to disagree with me, though, I’d love to hear your arguments for this one!).  However, stretching *after* your run is definitely recommended in my book.  1: It limits your soreness because it gently works out the lactic acid, YAY! 2: Your muscles are already warmed and limber from the run so they are able to stretch a little bit further and this is where you are going to be able to slowly reset their functions for over-all flexibility.  and 3: It adds a little extra in the cool-down section of your work-out without really adding in extra work.

And as a bonus, here are a few things that may make your running even better/easier, and who doesn’t want that out of an already difficult work-out?

  • Cute work-out gear.  It isn’t a necessity, but it certainly helps when you feel like you look great while you are out there sweating.  PLUS, having well-fitted clothing will keep you from getting chapped where the over-sized t-shirts and worn-out shorts just weren’t up to the par.
  • Keep hair and cords secured and out of the way.  I run outside, in the early morning, where/when my music isn’t going to be bothering anyone, so I don’t use any earbuds.  In the past, however, when I have used earbuds, they always fall out of my ears, the cord bounces around, and it becomes more obnoxious and a hassle than I really want to deal with while I am huffing and puffing.  Same concept applies to your hair.  Pull it up (there are a myriad of cute ways to do this, whether you have short hair, longer hair, fluffy bangs…just search on pinterest), pin it back, get it out of your face and off your neck!
  • Add in some variety.  If you normally run at the park, try running on pavement, or if you normally run on one particular treadmill, try a different treadmill.  Sometimes we get bored, so change things up every once in a while.  If you normally run in the morning, try running in the evening (light is different, traffic will be different, weather will be different), if you go in a loop, try changing your direction.

Running is hard.  Don’t ever let anyone (or your own brain) try to fool you into thinking differently.  You have to condition your brain, your heart, your lungs, your muscles, and your mentality to be able to accomplish it.  Ok, ok, one can easily argue that running itself is not hard, after all, my 2, 3, and 4 year old children run constantly!  I am always telling them to stop running, so it can’t be *that* hard.  But, in our older ages, we get lazy.  I don’t know when it clicks, but we forget how to play with nothing, and we lose our flexibility, and we lose our ability to run.  So, it becomes hard.  Hopefully, with these little tidbits, you can work to make your running less difficult, even easier, and maybe more enjoyable.  Keep at it, little people!  You are doing amazing things for the body that God has given for your soul!!!!

Dieting does NOT work!

Fads, fads, fads.  Every bit of them.  Going on a diet simply will not accomplish what you want it to accomplish!  Sure, there are several gimmicks out there that can help you lose weight and get fit, but by definition, these diets are TEMPORARY.  If you really want to keep that weight off, well, you can continue spending the tons of money for whatever program you are using until the day you die, or you can change your entire lifestyle and throw all of the diet books away!

For example, yes, I can count points for weight-watchers, but is that going to work if I get pregnant again, if my husband dies suddenly (which I pray AGAINST on a regular basis), if I contract some chronic health problem?  Uh…of course not!  But, if I choose healthy foods, if I get into the habit of grabbing an apple for my lunch instead of a chocolate chip cookie…well…THAT will turn into me WANTING the apple instead of the cookie, and when these life changes occur, it wont be a conscious choice to choose the apple, I’ll just do it.

Another example, even joining the highest ranking gym can’t last forever.  My husband may lose his job and we are poor, or we might move away, or I might break a leg (wouldn’t that be super ironic right now in my life: My three small children would run amok for sure!) But if I choose to live a more active lifestyle, even loss of the gym won’t keep me down.

I can actually use a personal example for this one.  Just recently me and the children have traveled across country to spend the summer with my family.  My family eats TONS of carbs and breads, and obviously, I couldn’t bring my aerobics instructors with me.  I have found myself eating hamburgers with no buns, choosing grapes for breakfast instead of cereal, and I picked up running where previously I had used the gym.  I don’t have to make the choice, it just comes natural for me to *want* the healthier options.  In this way, I can keep living healthy, without having to worry about specific or strict *diets*

Have you ever tried a diet that just didn’t work out for you?

The use of MyFitnessPal

Wanna lose weight and get healthy? One way to do this is by counting calories. As someone who makes a whole lot of meals, dishes, and treats by scratch this was a constant struggle for me. Then I came across the wonderful app for my iphone: MyFitnessPal (you can follow me with OneHotMess_YMamma) and, wow did that make things easy! Not only could I plug in the exact recipe that I created and let the phone do the calculations for me, I can also scan things like granola bars, and apples, and the app inputs all of the information, AND I can even search for restaurant foods and get the caloric count straight from the internet! Calorie counting made easy right here!

BUT, is there a right and a wrong way to count calories? And is it *really* effective?

I strongly believe that when it concerns being healthy and losing weight, WHAT you eat is far more important than HOW MUCH you eat. I have watched the scale go up when I eat one slice of pizza, and down if I eat an entire bunch of grapes. Plus I feel significantly different after eating those different foods. The grapes give me energy and a full, satisfied feeling, the pizza makes me sluggish and hungry, wanting more pizza. PLUS, that entire bunch of grapes is going to be at least half of the calories of that single slice of pizza. When it comes to counting calories, yes, a calorie is a calorie, but to get the full effect of counting calories in order to lose weight, try considering the following points:

  • Eat the largest caloric meal first thing in the morning
  • Pick the healthier foods, it really will make a difference
  • Try not to drink your calories. Water is a neutral calorie
  • Eat more than three times a day, try 5-6 times, spread those calories out
  • Negative calories DO exist! Foods that burn more calories to digest than they give to your body (try celery!)
  • You simply CANNOT out-exercise a bad diet, so don’t even try to burn off the extra calories that you consumed. It doesn’t work like that.
  • Hit your calorie limit every day. Eating too few calories is not going to benefit your health. If you don’t eat enough, then your body is going to start eating itself, and your running into anorexic territory. I have been there and done that, and it isn’t as great as you might be lead to believe.
  • Enjoy feeling proud of the healthy choices, and watching that scale go down!

Do you use MyFitnessPal? Feel free to follow me at OneHotMess_YMamma, and comment below with why YOU love MyFitnessPal!!

Proper Running Etiquette

Do you know the polite manners for running on pavement?  I don’t.  I couldn’t even remember which side of the road I was suppose to be running on, or which side of me the dog should be running on, or if I needed to signal to passing vehicles, or what?  So, I looked it up.  I sure do love the internet, don’t you?

Did you also know that not only is there basic running etiquette, but there are rules for running in a race, or running on roads, or running on side-walks, running at gyms, running on forrest trails, running on park trails, and even some unspoken rules?!  WOW, I was a little overwhelmed.  Anyways, for the type of running that I am doing (on roads, not sidewalks, with a dog), this is what I came up with:

  • Run towards oncoming traffic so that we can both see each other.
  • Keep a leash on Pixie Dust and clean up her messes
  • Pixie’s leash should be short enough to keep her close, but loose so that she can still run freely beside me.
  • Run on sidewalks where applicable
  • Always use cross-walks (don’t jay-walk!)
  • Be aware of the traffic

Then, for running with a dog, these are just some good things to keep in mind:

  • Keep a close eye on Pixie and watch for any injuries, especially to her paw pads (which are still fairly soft from pampered indoor living)
  • Don’t let Pixie drink from any puddles: could contain antifreeze, salts, harsh chemicals, unknown products
  • Train her to walk on one side of me, instead of the way that she often switches sides
  • Bring treats to reward good behavior

I’m sure that I’ve still got lots to learn about having a polite and well-trained pooch, but Pixie and I are already off to a great start!  She comes quickly when I call her, she’s mostly house-trained, she doesn’t pull on the leash, she is learning the basic “tricks” of sit, stay, roll over, shake, and lay down (obviously not in that order).  She  still chews on everything in sight, which is a slight problem with kids stuffed animals, but only a slight problem, because usually just telling her to quit is enough to get her to stop.  She also is GREAT with the kids, and lets them hug on her as much as they want.  Yeah, we got a good dog!

Is running with a dog something that you would like to do?  How do you run with your canine friend?


Running with a pooch

Ever since I first heard about labradoodles I wanted one.  Hypo-allergenic like poodles, but the amazing disposition of Labradors.  My perfect pet dog, right there!  So, when I saw that some friend of ours was going to be having golden doodle puppies I jumped at the opportunity.  Yes, I’ve lost my mind!  Wanting a *puppy* while I’m in the middle of potty training, terrible two’s, preparing for another year of homeschool preschool, managing a very energetic 3-yr-old and the super silly 4-yr-old, while I’m struggling with keeping up with the housework, and maintaining some sense of a social life.  Can’t you just imagine the chaos that runs in our house on a daily basis?  But, we got her anyways.

We finally settled on the name Pixie Dust, and she settled right into the dynamic of our family.  My youngest, who has always been a bit puppy-obsessed, immediately fell in love with this super sweet little dog, and I’ve got TONS of A.dor.a.ble pictures of the two of them.  Anyways, when we traveled across the country to spend the summer with my family (and to help prep for my sisters wedding!), I knew that I was going to have to do something to keep this little pooch, and myself moving.  See, back in the western part of TX, there is a much larger canine living in our backyard that had served as a wonderful energy expender for Ms. Pixie Dust, but this giant pooch simply could not make the trip with me and my children.  Also, for me, well, I just couldn’t justify spending the money on a guest membership to a gym for 6 weeks.  And so, me and the dog took up the c25k running program.

The first thing that we both needed was the proper equipment.

  • I splurged on some new work-out clothes (which were needed anyways)
  • Got some decent running shoes (my old ones were way too worn down)
  • Pixie got a new leash – a retractable one, which I know isn’t the best thing for running with, it’s bulky and heavy, but if I lock it in place, we manage just fine
  • I also did some research on if dogs need shoes as well.  And decided that while she doesn’t currently *need* any shoes, if I become a marathon runner, then it might be a good idea to get her some to protect those precious paws.

I downloaded the c25k running program on my phone, along with some new songs, found a great place, and perfect time, and we hit the pavement!

  • The first day I took things pretty slow because I didn’t know how well either one of us would do.  However I was pleasantly surprised by both of us.  I wasn’t dying at any point during the run, and she managed to keep up with minimal pulling, jerking, getting under foot, or other distractions.
  • The second day she did even better, and I knew that I had found a running partner.
  • By the third day (end of the first week), she was barking to wake me up, and jumping all around when I pulled out the leash, and I knew that she wouldn’t ever let me quit and I’d be making another purchase for some winter work-out clothes in another 4 months.

As far as fitting in my aerobics work-outs with the running…well…I may have to figure that one out when we travel back to dry west TX.  As for now, I am thoroughly enjoying running with my dog in rainy west TN.

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