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Month: July 2017

Setting S.M.A.R.T Goals | from A Certified Personal Trainer

It’s New Year’s eve. You are excited about the bright shiny year ahead of you. “This is my year!” you say to yourself. The year you will finally, lose that extra weight, write your book, finish school, go on that trip, etc. etc. Even posting about it on Facebook, holding yourself accountable with all your friends and family (and that weird co-worker you never really liked that still likes all of your¬†updates 5 years later.)

And then March rolls around.

The excuses start piling on and your motivation gets lost in the chaos that is known as life. Sound familiar? Or is it just me? ūüėČ
You are probably left wondering what went wrong when you started out so strong! Well I’m here to tell you that it’s not you. It’s your goals. It’s time to up your goal setting game.

The key is to create goals that are SMART!
Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Relevant
Time-bound

Specific. The more specific the better! When we set goals that are too vague, it’s easy to push them aside because you aren’t being clear and defined enough to dictate what you really need to make things happen! If you say you want to start eating a more nutritionally based diet, it’s easy enough to justify eating unhealthily because you don’t have your goal clearly outlined. If you say you are going to cut out your nightly slice of cake except for Cake Fridays at work, and eat your daily servings of fruits and vegetables, it’s easier to know what you should be doing.

Measurable. For myself personally, this helps me stay motivated. While I was in the process of healing my Diastasis Recti, I had taken my waist measurements at the beginning of my journey, and at the end of the 8 week program. I was feeling particularly discouraged until I saw I had lost 7 inches on my waist line! I was instantly encouraged and it was all because I saw the numbers. You can say you want to lose weight. Or you can say you want to lose 5lbs in two and a half weeks.

Attainable. Although I am one who loves to dream big, you also have to set goals for yourself you are capable of achieving. You will lose interest and feel discouraged if your goals are unrealistic, and when speaking on health and fitness, goals can be downright unhealthy. Keeping your goals attainable and realistic will help you build confidence in this area, which can help create even more motivation.

Relevant. Goals need to be relevant to you as a person. My husband would be so miserable in a yoga or Zumba class. That’s just not who he is. But he would thrive in a kick boxing, crossfit setting. He is significantly more likely to keep up with a kick boxing class than he would yoga. Everyone is an individual, and needs to keep in mind what is relevant to their own personal needs and wants out of life.

Time-bound. This one hits home for me! If I don’t have a time line, it won’t happen! I tend to put everything off to the last minute. If there’s no countdown, it gets put to the bottom of my priority list. Setting how long you have to accomplish your goals, and the duration of time you set aside to accomplish them, will hold you accountable to your commitment to yourself.

And there you have it! The formula for setting a successful goal. Another tip I’d like to add is make sure you set process goals and product goals. For example. I’d like to lose 5 lbs in two and a half weeks. So I will do cardio at my gym for 45 minutes 3x a week and go for a half hour walk every day after dinner. Outlining what your process and product goals are can help eliminate any potential road blocks before you even reach them!

Good luck in achieving all you set out for. I hope you have a wonderful day.

~Ashley

Diastasis Recti – Finding True Inner Strength | Final Review

Before starting, if you haven’t read my post on what Diastasis Recti is all about click here. To read my first post reviewing The Tummy Team’s core foundations program click here! And for my second review click here.

Week 5

I have to admit this week I was started to feel a little discouraged with my body. I had made so much progress, that I had gotten used to significant changes almost daily. And while I can still feel progress, it was at a much slower pace than I had become accustomed to. Luckily it was actually mentioned in the description for the week, making me feel much better knowing it was a normal part at this stage of the program! This week we learned some valuable information on our alignment and some fantastic stretches. Like this amazing stretch from the gorgeous Kelly Dean herself. You’re welcome ūüėČ

And as usual some great visualizations that improved the quality¬†of my exercises even more. We were taught to wean from our splint to a 50/50 ratio, and I’m feeling less concerned about life splint -free now.

Week 6

I’m starting to slowly move past my “plateau” of last week. Feeling a little bit stronger (although I’ve had gradual strength increases since week 1!). We learned some really neat tips on how to keep our core “activated” during everyday life, and they have been really easy to incorporate into my day. We received additional info on how to care for a baby with proper alignment, and that has been incredible at my current stage of life! We also learned additional stretches. The stretches have been¬†wonderful for my journey. If you have any muscles that are too tight (especially the chest in breastfeeding moms!) it can throw your whole alignment off and cause all kinds of problems, like for myself, back pain. Which¬†I didn’t even know I had until I started fixing it!

Week 7

I’m feeling pretty strong this week. I actually almost feel like my “old self”. The pre-kids self that had endless energy and hadn’t experienced the feelings of ‘falling apart’ yet. In our videos this week we discussed gaining functional strength that improves our daily functions. This was pretty insightful to me as I had always thought of fitness as a body builder’s game. It makes a lot of sense learning you can workout to essentially have a better quality of life.

On a personal note my grandmother is 93, and after doing some rehab on her shoulder has seen an improvement. I thought to myself, if that can help her in her age, the effectiveness of rehabilitation is something that is under discussed! And very empowering.

We also did a couple videos from Fit2b. Fit2b is an online fitness program that is tummy safe. I haven’t personally done any of their videos other than the ones shown in this program, but I did enjoy doing them!

The following videos of the week discussed essentially returning to fitness and remaining tummy safe. And thank goodness they addressed this! I’ve been a bit nervous on how in the world I was supposed to workout once crunches were off the table! Luckily they covered this topic pretty well and I’m feeling more confident about it. And then we did two more fit2b videos, both of which I really liked.

Week 8

My final week! I thought that I would be SO excited to be done with the “homework” and this program, but I was actually really sad! It’s like when high school ends and you are excited for your bright future, but also really sad you won’t be seeing your friends every day ūüėČ

This week had a lot of advice on what we should keep doing into our lives after the program has ended, and practical ways to keep up with those practices without getting overwhelmed. We had a video on what options we had after finishing the program, depending on how we felt. They have a Core Integration Online Program, that I’m considering doing. It’s a “next step” option upon finishing the Core Foundations. It looks like they go deeper into transitioning back into exercising and running, which I’d be really interested in seeing what all that entails!

We were also asked to do our final Diastasis check and compare how we are feeling from our first check and assessment, to now. I am SO happy to write that I went from a wide 3 finger gap, to a loose 1 and a half finger gap!!! And I went from a 44 inch waist measurement to a 37!

*A side note on this ‘before and after’ pic. For one I’m sorry the first one is so blurry. That was before I had my camera and was taken on a phone. Second I didn’t purposely try to look worse for my before. I was going for an effortless celebrity running errands look. I can see now that was not the case. And third, as a health blogger I had a hard time posting this. But I also knew in my heart there needed to be more realistic postpartum pictures online. So here you go ūüíö

Overall Wrap Up and Review

I cannot tell you enough how much these short 8 weeks have benefitted me. After looking at my first journal entry, I’m so glad I wrote everything down and took pictures. Because I don’t feel like that person any more. In my first entry I was feeling weak, scared to move, and honestly depressed that I couldn’t function like my normal unbroken self.¬†Today, on my last day of the Core Foundations program I actually ran for a couple minutes, chased my babies around, vacuumed the house and experienced zero pain while doing so. I’m feeling really positive about the future, and I’m confident with these new tools I’ve been given, I’ll just continue to get stronger. The beautiful part is that everything you learn is something you can truly apply to your day. When I first heard that my initial thought was “there is no way I’m adding something else into our schedule!”. But everything is actually second nature at this point. I would definitely recommend this program. I truly, truly feel it can benefit just about anyone from any walk of life. The information we have been given on how to strengthen our cores is out dated and completely incorrect.¬†This program has been so informative, and has knowledge everyone deserves to know.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my¬†journey, and that I hopefully helped you in your own quest for true inner strength! I know I’m sounding like a broken record here, but this program was amazing. And I would 100% recommend it to my readers, and my future clients as well. Please don’t hesitate to message or comment with any questions!

Thank you again for reading and as always I hope you have a wonderful day.

~Ashley

 

 

 

8 Things I did Differently for a Better Postpartum Recovery

I recently had my 3rd baby boy, a little over 3 months ago to be exact! And I have to say the difference between this postpartum recovery and my first two has been night and day. And while every women’s body and¬†delivery experience is different, these tips should still apply to you!

1. Rest!

With my first I can remember wandering the aisles of babies-r-us with a 1 week old, praying to find some contraption what would make my newborn sleep. I also remember feeling like I might be dying. With my 3rd I made a vow to myself to only get out of bed to use the restroom. Once my husband went back to work after his two week mark I felt amazing. I know that was because I focused on my self care just as much as I did my sweet little guy.

2. Prepare!

While I was pregnant I got extremely ill, so hopefully you will be able to accomplish more than I did! But I managed to get a few freezer meals put together, a couple of baskets with toys to pull out to distract the older two, and some grocery shopping done. And all of this prep work helped soooo much. I put together a nursing basket with nipple cream, snacks (walnuts, almonds and think thin bars) nursing pads and bottles of water. This helped tremendously. Especially with not wanting to get out of bed! I put together a changing basket so all of his diapers, wipes ,cream and changing pad were always in reach. And I also made a postpartum basket for the bathroom with pads and all the other fun recovery items we mom’s get to use ūüėČ

3. Accept help!

I know, I know we all get told this all the time. But hear me out. I actually accepted help this time around. Before I would have graciously declined, because I didn’t want people thinking I was too lazy to clean my house. By the 3rd I realized just how insane that was. And it honestly benefited my family as well. Not to mention just knowing we were supported was help in itself. I know some of you may not have your support group near by, and I encourage you to seek any form of help you can. Even an online group of other mom’s can be the uplifting spirit you need at those 3am feedings.

4. Love Thyself

We often get this unrealistic idea of what we are supposed to look like postpartum and feel this pressure to “bounce back” days after delivery. This is extremely unhealthy.¬† I put a ton of effort this time around into not¬†criticizing myself. And admittedly, it was actually pretty difficult. I remember one day I had to stop looking in the mirror because I couldn’t stop the negative self- talk. Just being mindful about my inner voice helped tremendously. I beg you to try and do the same. Your are strong beautiful and amazing. Don’t let yourself think otherwise.

5. I ate Healthier

I know from experience now all the wonderful people who bring you food, usually bring comforting lasagna and cheese rolls. And praise the Lord for these people because man does that help when you haven’t slept in 72 hours! I also knew however, that if I didn’t find ways to proactively add veggies, I wouldn’t be feeling my best. So during all those grocery shopping trips and meal freezing, I made a point to keep everything vegetable center. And begged my husband in advance to cook healthier meals when people weren’t bringing us food. I think this played a huge part in my recovery. I had read somewhere that if you are nursing, your breastmilk gets all the nutrients. So even if your diet isn’t perfect, your milk will be close to it. Which is wonderful our bodies are designed to take care of our babies so well! But if your diet is lacking proper nutrition for too long, it’s you who suffers. By no means am I saying this is a time to obsess over you diet. But if you can try to go for healthier options for you when they are available, I vote go for it <3

6. Water for Days

I drank all the water. And I was fortunate enough to have a supportive husband who would just instantly refill my water bottle if he saw it empty. If your support person isn’t able to be around much, it would be really beneficial to keep several filled water bottles next to you at all times. Your body is trying to recover and repair itself. Water is an important part of that. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try adding some mint leaves, or squeezed lemon.

7. Check for Postpartum Depression

I know I suffered from postpartum depression with my second. We weren’t able to nurse, he was losing weight, and I just went into this dark fog. But at the time I didn’t want to ‘bother’ anyone by bringing it up, I felt like I was enough of a burden as it was. I knew this time around though, I wouldn’t be able to take care of myself and three boys, so I talked to my provider while pregnant. They were wonderful and brilliantly proactive about the possibility, and I didn’t face any of the judgment I was expecting in my head. And I honestly was able to avoid going through that this time. I really credit my wonderful nurse practitioner for taking me seriously and having a ‘game plan’ already set out. If you think you might have postpartum depression please talk to your provider. And a friend if you have someone in your life who you know will be simply encouraging. But your provider is able to help more than you, at least I, even realize.

8. Talk to Friends

And on that note, I also made a point to talk to people. I didn’t force myself to be social when I wasn’t feeling up for it, but I did make a point to arrange to see people when I was. It can be very uplifting to have someone who genuinely cares about you to talk with. Having a baby is one of the biggest life altering events a person can go through. You definitely don’t want to go it alone. If you are having a hard time finding people who “get it” try a church moms group. I actually met a lot of really great friends from a playdate off of meetup.com. And you can always ask your friend’s if they attend any ‘mom’ events as well.

So this is just what worked for me. As I said, what your needs are will look different. I just hope I can offer some support, encouragement, and hopefully inspiration on making your postpartum recovery the best it can be.

As always I hope you have a wonderful day.

~Ashley