Guest Blogger: Finding a Passion and a Purpose for Pilates in my Life

Tristan-PilatesblogTristan is one of our PowerFull Fitness instructors!  Find more about her here!


Finding a Passion and a Purpose for Pilates in my Life

I am a runner. I’m not speedy. I can’t randomly go out and run several miles, but I am a runner. I have to work at it and follow a training plan. I have learned many hard lessons and have been injured too many times, but running is my form of therapy and I refuse to give it up. As a former elementary teacher and now stay at home mom to two small boys, sometimes I just need to run off the crazy! You might be asking yourself, what does running have to do with Pilates? Stick with me.

Before my first son was a twinkle in our eye, I ran 10 milers and half marathons. I tried to run a little here and there throughout my pregnancy, but soon developed an extreme pain in my pelvis. My OB chalked it up to “growing pains”, but I knew better. Once my son was born, and I was cleared for working out, the pain was still there. Forget running! I would go for long walks and be in tears. I was x-rayed and diagnosed with Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction. This means that the hormone called relaxin, which is produced to help with labor and delivery, was doing a really good job. So much so, that my ligaments were extremely loose and my pelvis was unstable and wouldn’t stay in alignment. Because I was nursing, the physician told me that I could be one of the “lucky few” that had this relaxin stick around for a while.

I went to physical therapy for a few weeks, but that required a lot of schedule reorganization and co-pays. A good friend of mine suggested that I find a pilates class instead. Before this, my experience with pilates was a few random group fitness classes in college. I was willing to try anything though, and came across a class locally. I wish I could say I fell in love with this workout right away. That would be wrong. It was hard. Since I was a few months postpartum, I couldn’t do a roll up. I couldn’t do a plank. I didn’t understand what “finding my neutral pelvis” meant. I was determined, however, to be rid of my pain and get back to running. I stuck with it and succeeded with regaining my ability to run pain free. Due to the same pelvic issues in my second pregnancy, I took it easy with running, but I immediately started back up with Pilates at 8 weeks postpartum in order to not go through the same pains as before. I cried that first class back. I couldn’t do one roll up. Clearly, my core was weak from growing an 8 ½ lb baby!

I am still learning about my body, even after practicing Pilates for almost 5 years. I am learning how Pilates can translate into my daily activities. I now lift with my core. I carry my kids in positions that are safer for my body, I move more thoughtfully and purposefully. Pilates taught me a mind-body connection that helps me to utilize my powerhouse (core, lower back, glutes and hips), has improved my posture immensely, and for the first time in my life, I have abs! I am also seeing the benefits, as I am now 2 weeks out from my first half marathon as a mom. All of those tricep push ups prepared my arms to help keep my gait stronger. I use deep breathing to engage my abdominals, which is something that I learned from the Pilates “hundred” exercise.

Adding Pilates to my fitness routine has not only improved myself as a runner, but also as a mom and wife. Instead of the “no pain, no gain” approach, it focuses on quality, controlled, movements with less reps. It allows me to take an hour each week and focus on my own breath, body and how they move together. It doesn’t allow for “zoning out”, so for the entire hour, my mind cannot wander to whatever stresses are happening in my daily life. There is also something very fulfilling about accomplishing something physically that you couldn’t do a few short weeks before (I am proud to say that I can now do Pilates roll ups with ease!). Pilates, for me, is a very personal workout that has translated to several areas of my life. Running will always hold the number one spot in my heart when it comes to my workouts, but you’d better believe on race day, I’ll be talking to myself about bracing my core, utilizing my powerhouse, and reminding myself why I did all of those tricep push ups!

HYDRATE!

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The most important thing you can do (ok at least one of them) while pregnant and exercising is HYDRATE. This is stressed over and over again in my class.  Whether we are pregnant or not, hydration is so important.  I thought I would share a quick formula for our pre/post natal workouts (but really this would work for anyone!)

  • 8-12 oz before the workout
  • 3-4 oz every 15 minutes of vigorous activity

So you would drink 8 oz before class.

In a 60 minute class you would drink at least another 16 oz.  

That means just around your workout time you’ve had 24 oz minimum of water!

Why Workout When you are Pregnant?

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I have been taking a pre and post natal fitness class and I wanted to start a blog series to share with you some of the quick tips I am learning.  I am not pre and post natal fitness certified, this is a continuing education course I am taking. I am learning some great little tidbits that may help you now or in the future.


Let’s start with the most important question – why workout when you are pregnant?  Here are just  FEW reasons why working out when you are expecting is so important.

  1. BETTER sleep! Studies show women who workout throughout their pregnancy have an easier time sleeping (and we know that once you hit that third trimester -sleep becomes quite difficult!)
  2. Better circulation during pregnancy
  3. Less interventions during labor. STudies show those women who consistently workout throughout pregnancy have an easier labor with less interventions.
  4. Increased energy during pregnancy
  5. Increased endurance during labor

 

Now let’s add on a bit. Why should you take a group exercise class while pregnant?

  1. Social connection with other moms and moms to be.  This for me was huge. After having a baby I felt a bit lost and lonely. I didn’t know who to be friends with and needed to really work on my own community. I needed other moms that could relate to what I was going through (sleepless nights, an adjustment in marriage, TOTAL shift of perspective and priorities, no time for make-up, hair, or clothes concerns).  That is exactly WHY I started the Mommy and Me Boot Camps. I wanted to give other women a chance to connect and build community – a safe place where they could be honest and there was no judgement!  A place where we could come together, share our “war” stories, and support and encourage each other all the way through.
  2. Increased positive body image. Being a part of a group class can help as we encourage each other through the changing body each month.  

Eating for Two: 5 Nutrition Tips for Expecting Moms – Guest Blogger!

PrintI am so excited about this pre and post-natal series from guest contributor Corry Matthews.  Check out more about Corry and her local business, Max Muscle, here!

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So, you’re going to have a baby? Time to bring out the cookies, brownies and French fries! NOT SO FAST! Those lovely hormones are responsible for crazy cravings. What you eat during pregnancy is important for several reasons, including keeping your body in shape during and after pregnancy and for your baby’s development. Here are a few simple rules to follow:

1. Don’t Forget Protein. The RDA (recommended daily allowance) for carbohydrates during pregnancy is 175 grams per day, which accounts for both maternal and fetal glucose needs. This is usually pretty easy to attain. The harder quest is the total needed protein grams, which is a minimum of 71 grams. Can’t or don’t want to choose an animal protein? Try a protein shake. One great choice is MaxPro, available at Max Muscle.

(Click the picture below to download the full article.)

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Eating for Two … and Beyond! Pre + PostNatal Nutrition: Guest Blogger!

PrintI am so excited about this pre and post-natal series from guest contributor Corry Matthews.  Check out more about Corry and her local business, Max Muscle, here!

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You’ve always considered yourself a healthy eater.  You take special precaution to make sure you have enough protein, the right amount and types of carbs, you’ve included the 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies and the good fats…but now you’re about to have a baby or just had one…now what?  The same principles of healthy eating and supplementation apply to pregnancy and postpartum but the difference is – what you eat, your baby also eats.  Many moms find that they actually eat healthier knowing their baby is eating what they are eating.  However (yep, me included) many moms also like to indulge in their yummy, not so healthy friends – the fast food, desserts and oh so necessary salt – THAT IS OK TOO!

Lets talk specifics:

Prenatal Nutrition:

With a growing baby in the uterus, mom will go through many different phases of what she is craving and what she wants to eat.  Here are the basics:

  • Protein – provides the basic building blocks for growing tissue (aka BABY).  The National Academy of Science recommends 74-100 grams of protein per day during pregnancy.  Try to get protein in small amounts throughout the day – not into eating meat, try protein shakes, and dairy.
  • Carbohydrates – ah, this number is elevated during pregnancy to give the mom and baby energy.  The RDA (recommended daily allowance) is 175 grams per day.  My rule of thumb, 80% of the time choose healthy carbohydrates and the other 20% choose what your body is really craving – sweets, salt, etc.
  • Fats – have a variety of fat daily.  Great choices include nuts, avocado, olive oils and fatty fish.  Pay careful attention to fish with high mercury levels and eat them no more than once per week (albacore tuna).
  • Remember, you only need an additional 200-300 calories in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.  Most women only need to gain 25-35 pounds of weight during pregnancy; anything above this is weight you will be working extra hard in the gym post baby to take off, while you are overly tired and adjusting to a new schedule.  So, indulge, but not too much!

Postnatal Nutrition:

Wow…9, really 10 months is over and now you really want to get your body back in shape.  Well, hold on, it took 10 months to put on the additional weight, and it may take the same amount of time, some less some more, to lose it!  Here are the basics for eating to lose baby weight:

  • If you are breastfeeding, do not begin dieting until after your milk supply has been established – this usually takes 2-4 weeks.  Also if breastfeeding ensure you are drinking ample amounts of water to maintain milk supply.  A good way to ensure this is happening, drink 8-10oz. of water every time you nurse your baby.
  • Do not lose more than 1-2 pounds per week and do not drop your calories below 1000.  Losing weight too quickly may lead to fatigue, loss of muscle, decreased milk supply, depression and sagging skin.   
  • Follow the same guidelines as during pregnancy when it comes to the foods you should be consuming until baby is at least 3 months old.  After 3 months postpartum your body is well on its way to recovery.

Supplements for Moms (Pre/Postnatal)

This is a question I am often asked – what supplements are safe during pregnancy.  Max Muscle Sports Nutrition carries several that I highly recommend to pregnant and nursing moms (if you aren’t nursing, you aren’t sharing the supplements post-partum with your baby so you can choose any range of supplements).

Protein Powder – these are easy portable ways to get nutrition in on the go, especially when you either don’t feel like eating or don’t have the time to cook protein.  Max Muscle offers a variety that are safe for both mother and baby.  MaxPro and Triple Whey are milk based proteins and generally safe for for pregnant moms.  Test babies tolerance if nursing by having one shake a day, if baby shows no signs of increased irritation 1-2 hours post shake than you can assume it was ok.  If you desire is to add more shakes do so, every 2-3 days, similar to how you introduce new foods to your baby.

Omega 3-6-9 – opt for a high quality nutraceutical.  This is good for both mom and baby – reducing inflammation, enhancing brain function and provides essential fats.  Another option is the Omega 3 plus.

Multi-Vitamin – choose a high quality prenatal multi-vitamin and take it during your entire pregnancy and post partum as long as you nurse your baby.  The additional iron, folic acid and b-vitamins are good for developing red blood cells, reducing neural tube defects in babies, and preventing anemia.  I highly recommend the MN Prenatal.

Post-Partum Depression (Foods/Supplements that work)

An excerpt taken from my book 9 Months In 9 Months Out:

Continuing to eat a healthy diet -build around fruits and vegetables, limit unhealthy fat and sugars.  Add flaxseeds, nuts and dark green vegetables.

Supplementation -B-12 & omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to ease mood changes and depression symptoms.

Healthy carbohydrates -eaten alone without protein raise the levels of serotonin –good options are baked sweet potatoes, whole wheat pasta and healthy crackers.  This is different that traditionally recommended for losing weight – but it works!

Be careful with coffee -caffeine can make you jittery and anxious all by itself so it might be a good time to limit intake, plus it creates a cycle of needing more.

If symptoms continue seek medical advice.  Healthcare providers can help you weigh the risks of taking supplements like 5htp and sAME as well as traditional prescribed anti-depressants.

Nutritional Guidelines for Mommies to Be – Guest Blogger!

(Click the image to download the complete article.)

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I am so excited about this pre and post-natal series from guest contributor Corry Matthews.  Check out more about Corry and her local business, Max Muscle, here!

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