Treat Yo’Self: A Massage Envy Giveaway

Whew. What a whirlwind of a weekend we had around these parts!

It started off on Friday when I finally took my Health Coach exam… and passed! Yes, I’m now a Certified Health Coach through the American Counsel on Exercise (ACE). I’m so excited to have finally completed this goal, as it’s something I’ve been thinking about for quite some time and have been working hard on all summer. More will be coming on this soon, but I will very soon be offering health coaching services right here, so stay tuned for more details if you’re curious what that entails!

Following the exam, I had my baby shower on Saturday, and then on Sunday it was my birthday. What a crazy weekend! The shower was amazing, and I can’t thank my friends enough for putting together such a special day. Being able to see so many people that are special to me in one place, enjoying awesome food and laughs, and celebrating Baby R, it was just the perfect day! It really is incredible to feel so much love for this baby girl already, and to have had people come from near and far to be at the shower for us, I was truly overwhelmed. One good friend even flew in to surprise us all the way from Utah, which completely blew my mind. Baby R is one lucky lady already to have so much love in her life, I can’t wait until she can meet everyone!

I don’t have pictures yet from the shower because I wanted to soak in every moment and not be a slave to my iPhone all day, so I literally got one poorly lit picture of the (delicious) cake, and that’s it!  A couple of friends were taking pictures so I know there are a lot out there, so I’ll probably share some here in the near future.

And to top off the weekend, Sunday was truly a “treat yo’self” day for my birthday, as Will and I spent it lounging on the beach and then having dinner at our favorite place for burgers in Boston. It was exactly how I wanted to spend my day and it was perfect!

Beach

Lineage .JPG

The combination of these two made for a perfect indulgent day! 

And yes, all of this does tie in to the theme of today’s post: a massage. Because that’s what you’re all here for, isn’t it?

Since most of my summer has been spent studying my health coaching materials and prepping for baby, it has left very little time for relaxation and mama pampering time. I haven’t quite taken the time to recharge like I usually do in the summers, and the stress of all of this plus an impending move has had me wound a little bit tightly. So when Massage Envy contacted me about getting a massage, and offering a free one to one of my wonderful readers, I couldn’t pass it up!

Add on pregnancy aches and pains to my daily stresses, and my body has certainly been feeling a little bit out of whack. It took some finagling to be able to schedule a pre-natal massage, but in the end the wait was worth it.

Massage Envy

I showed up on the day of my massage, so ready to be relaxed! Upon arrival, while filling out some newcomer paperwork, I was offered a warm neck wrap while I waited. It was a very hot day and I’ve been running a little warm with this pregnancy, so I declined. However, there was a woman sitting across from me with one and it looked like a glorious way to decompress before the massage even began.

When my massage therapist called me in, she was immediately a welcoming and calming presence — I’m not lying when I say that I felt better already. She explained the entire procedure to me, as a prenatal massage is slightly different than a traditional massage, in terms of positioning, pressure, etc. Once we got started, I was was in heaven. My low back and hips have been pretty achey lately, so that was where she spent most of her time, although this was a full body 60 minute massage.

And let me tell you — those 60 minutes were absolutely what the doctor ordered. I was not just relaxed, I was practically in a coma. (I kid, I kid). Although when the massage was over, I realized that while I felt like I had been awake, the second half of it seemed to fly by, which could only mean one thing. Yep, I fell asleep. I didn’t bother to ask if I talked in my sleep or anything, but who knows what embarrassing things could have been said in that room!

Anyway, asleep, awake, or somewhere in between, I left there extremely relaxed and rejuvenated to continue on with my day (and continue studying, as this was pretty close to my exam!). The entire staff was lovely to work with, extremely courteous, and I will most certainly be going back for another massage, hopefully for at least one more before this babe makes her appearance.

But the best part about this post is that you too could have a chance at total blissed out relaxation — all of you in the Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire area have a chance to win a free 60 minute massage from Massage Envy for yourself! [<<Click the link to head over to the Massage Envy site for locations and services near you]

Unfortunately, I do have to keep this to a regional giveaway, but hopefully there are plenty of you New Englanders out there who could use this little treat. And for those outside of this region, while you won’t be eligible for this giveaway, Massage Envy does have spas available nationally so please check them out in your area for your next massage!

So how do you win? All you need to do is comment below with why YOU need a massage the most. Studying too much? Recently moved? Planning a wedding? Mama to be? Any reason is a good reason for a little pampering, if you ask me! 

The winner will be selected at random at the end of the day on Friday, July 29th, and will be announced via my Facebook page and Twitter, so please make sure to follow both… you wouldn’t want to miss out on a free massage, would you?:)

Good luck!!

 

 

Workout Wednesday: Rethink Your RDL

My oh my, it’s been a little while since a Workout Wednesday post appeared here on I Train Therefore I Eat!

(Side note, I just realized that I could call this ITTIE… and while it’s kind of cute, it kind of reminds me of another word that I’d rather not have my blog called. So… yeah.)

Get ready, because we’ve got this one and then another one all lined up for next week already. I know, I know: Steph planning ahead? What is this about? Turning over a new leaf my friends.

At least momentarily.

Anyway, today I have a new lift for you. I’m certainly not saying that I made it up, but I haven’t seen/done it before so it’s new to me! I popped this into my workout a couple of weeks ago on a whim, when I wanted a little bit of extra glute/posterior chain work but my SI joints were a little too angry for heavy RDLs, deadlifts, good mornings, or any of the usual posterior chain lifts.

And for some reason, I hate doing SL RDLs with dumbbells. There is no explanation for this, I just would much rather do them holding on to a barbell than the DBs, so this was a perfect substitute for me while keeping them relatively light.

Introducing the Cable Single Leg RDL (with optional row). 

This is an accessory lift to your lower body or posterior chain days, primarily targeting the glutes and hamstrings, and also challenging components of your adductors/abductors and hip stabilizers.

The Setup

Stand facing the cable machine with the rope handle attachment set down low. Grasp the ropes with your palms facing each other. Step back so that you’re in a hip hinge position with your arms extended out in front of you, weight stack still resting so that there is no external load yet.

The Action

Brace your core, ensure your back is nice and flat, and raise one leg straight behind you. Hinge up to top, bringing top leg down towards ground leg, as in a traditional RDL. At top, add in optional horizontal row, bending elbows and bringing hands to sides, palms still facing in. Reverse the motion. Complete all reps one one side before switching to the opposite side.

Keeping those SI joints happy at 29 weeks pregnant is a bit of a challenge! 

Special Notes

It is extremely important in this lift to be conscious of your back position throughout the movement. Because the weight stack will be pulling your center of gravity further out in front of you than you would normally have with an RDL, it is not recommended to go extremely heavy with these. Form is key to keeping this a healthy movement, and it’s a great lift to help groove your hip hinge movement pattern, particularly with single leg variations.

As mentioned above, this is simply another accessory lift for your lower body. This is not better or worse than dumbbell RDLs, but rather provides your body with a slightly different line of pull, thus challenging the muscles in a slightly different way. You could certainly do this as a traditional RDL as well, which would essentially be the reverse of a glute pull through (another of my favorites).

To program these, as I mentioned above I would keep them relatively light, especially if it’s a new movement for you. I would recommend adding these in to one or two lift days per week, starting with an 8-12 rep range. Increase weight as tolerated, and utilize them in addition to other accessory lower body lifts.

Readers: Give it a try and let me know how you like it! I’ve done these a few times now, and they’re pretty quickly turning into one of my favorite posterior chain accessory lifts, so hopefully you feel the same! Has anyone done this variation of an RDL before? 

 

 

Monday Musings 7.11.16

I haven’t done one of these in a while, so how about some randomness on this Monday morning?

Monday

Sorry Not Sorry –  First things first, a bit of an apology and an explanation on why I haven’t been around lately! Remember a while ago when I told you all that I had begun studying for my Health Coach certification? Well, I didn’t actually get studying too much at that time. First one thing came up, then another, and then before I knew it it was June and I had hardly done anything related to the certification. Well, I’ve hunkered down since then and am hoping to take my exam next Friday, which is why in the past week or so I’ve been pretty quiet here!

Even though I’m not working, I’ve been spending what is the equivalent of a full time job studying, running bootcamp, and program writing for some new distance clients. The blog is important but it’s had to take a bit of a back seat for a little while! I do hope to get up at least one or two new posts over the next couple of weeks, but just know that the reason I’m not here regularly is a good one. Oh, also, I’m growing a baby. That makes my next point valid…

Pregnancy Brain is definitely a thing. Yes, I know scientists debate about whether or not pregnancy brain is actually something that happens, but I’m here to tell you with 100% certainty that it is real! For those of you that don’t know, pregnancy brain is something that happens to expecting women where inexplicably, growing this little bean inside of you causes about 25% (give or take) of your brain to spontaneously go missing. You may forget words, you may just forget things in general, you may forget certain articles of clothing when you leave the house, and you may just forget how to be a fully functioning human being. It’s real, it happens, and it’s an epidemic. Next time you see a pregnant lady who’s fishing for her purse for her definitely forgotten keys, or spinning around in circles mumbling about the sun glasses that are most certainly already on her head, just smile and move on. She’s ok, she’s just missing her brain, that’s all.

2 Years and counting! Will and I will be celebrating our 2 year anniversary on Tuesday. My how time flies! We went out for an amazing 5 course dinner at Bondir in Cambridge on Sunday night to celebrate, so Tuesday will be spent with dinner at home, some sort of amazing dessert that I’ll try to coordinate to the flavors of our wedding cake, and reading the “anniversary notes” from a few of our wedding guests. At our wedding, we had the guests at each table write us a little note and put it in an envelope with their table number on it, for us to read on each corresponding anniversary. So this year, we’re reading the notes from the guests at Table 2, and no, we really have not peeked at any of them ahead of time! It’s one of my favorite things that we did, and it’s so fun to go back and read what people wrote at the time. I can’t imagine how amazing it’ll be in years 10, 11 and 12 when the wedding will seem like a lifetime ago!

RondeauTrashtheDress_RDP-131

[Photo Credit: Rachel Darley]

Let Go and Move On: Speaking of that photo above, Will and I are in the process of going through all of our stuff and purging to make room for baby and just to declutter in general. It’s a tough process but a necessary one, and luckily we just got rid of a lot of stuff last summer when we moved. One piece that’s really holding me up is my wedding dress. My goal is to donate it, because I know that there are a lot of women who can’t afford to buy their own, but dang that thing is ridiculously hard to part with. Part of me says “it’s just an article of clothing, I have all of my pictures of it, why do I need to keep it?” and then the irrational side of me says that it’s part of me and part of us and I can’t ever let it go. I think the rational side will win, but it’s taken 2 years to do so and it’s not getting any easier. I think I just need to rip the proverbial band aide off and be done with it. I love you, beautiful dress!!  Everything else in here? Let it go. Baby is coming, and we need lots of room for activities!

Join in: When was the last time you did a “purge” of your belongings and what was the most difficult thing to get rid of? Who else has had a much busier summer than they anticipated? Any funny pregnancy brain stories out there? 

3 Exercises I Won’t Program For Online Clients

While today is not exactly a Workout Wednesday post, it is something important that I think is worth going over.

These days, there are tons of fitness professionals offering online training (myself included!), or distance coaching programs. These can be excellent if you can’t afford personal training, or if you want to work with someone who is outside of your geographical area. The internet has allowed us to be able to reach clients just about anywhere, no longer being limited to those who live in our general vicinity.

But with this, comes some pretty serious responsibility. If you are doing a program that has been created by someone and has been sent to you without an in-person assessment (as is the case with most online programs), there are certain things to know ahead of time in order to keep yourself safe.

How should you properly warm up? How do you know when to back off or take a rest day? How do you know when to push yourself harder? But most importantly — how do you know that you’re doing the exercises correctly?

Some coaches will send you a program and you’re on your own. Some coaches will send you descriptions and/or videos of exercises so that you can make sure your form is correct. And some will even go so far as to schedule video/skype sessions to monitor your form on specific movements, noting ways in which you can improve to make your workout safer and more effective. I offer the last two of these options (both PDF descriptions and skype check-ins, as either of these can be beneficial depending on the client). Click [HERE] for more info.

When it comes to exercise form, however, there are some lifts, particularly if you are involved in a heavy lifting type of program, that you should really have checked out in person by a qualified professional before attempting them on your own. Certain lifts can be extremely technical, and without proper form and real-time cues can lead to injury and/or inefficient training. And while obviously none of us want to get hurt, inefficiency in training is also a huge no-no. Why waste time on a program if you’re not going to get the results you want to see?

While most lifts and exercises can be “taught” via descriptions, videos, and video chat sessions, there are a few that I strongly believe should be taught in person. Does this mean you have to spend hundreds of dollars training with someone just to learn a lift? Not necessarily. Many gyms offer introductory PT sessions, and most personal trainers can be hired on an hourly basis. Find someone who is local and qualified, and have them help you with these crucial lifts before beginning a program on your own. Your body will thank you later!

Exercises that should be done WITH a trainer:

Deadlift

The deadlift is a highly technical lift that utilizes just about your entire body. From head to heels, there are important movement and stabilization cues that a trainer can give to you in real time that you just can’t get through video or descriptions. When this lift moves into the heavy weight ranges, improper form can be dangerous (although proper form makes this one of the most beneficial lifts you can do, period).

Without proper cues and corrections, an improper deadlift can lead to muscle strains (best case) or spinal injury (worst case). I’m not saying this to scare you, but I am saying this to let you know that if you have a trainer who has prescribed you traditional or sumo deadlifts and you have never performed them before, it’s essential to work with someone in person before performing this lift with any significant weight. Heck, even light weight deadlifts can pose a problem with horrific form.

Steph Deadlift

The deadlift incorporates different phases and essential movements, all of which are important to master before ever weighting the barbell (or picking up the barbell at all). Find someone who can train you on proper hip hinging, grip, core stabilization and lock out mechanics, and you’ll be good to go.

The exception to this would be dumbbell or lighter weight Romanian Dead Lifts or Trap Bar Deadlifts. Both of these can be performed safely with good instruction, but I would still recommend a video session with your trainer to ensure that your hip hinge is sufficient to be performing these types of lifts.

Kettlebell Swing

Kettlebell swings, just like deadlifts, are extremely technical in terms of proper form. From your set up before even touching the KB, to the way in which the KB is placed on the ground at the end of a set (and every important aspect in between), there is a lot of room for error here. The swing is something that should be learned incrementally, with a trained professional before attempting it on your own. With the combination of the all-important hip hinge, plus the highly dynamic momentum of the movement, there is too much potential for injury if done incorrectly. Not only is this a technical lift, but it is also pretty advanced.

KBswing

If you are someone who has little experience with weight lifting and proper movement patterns, I would suggest staying away from this one until you A)have gained a little bit more experience in the weight room building your base strength movements and B)have perfected the hip hinge with a qualified professional.

Olympic Lifting – Clean/Snatch/Clean and Jerk

Olympic lifts are far and away some of the most technical lifts that you can do or be asked to do. Yes, your neighbor Susie does these all the time at Crossfit (at insanely high reps, usually with questionable form), and she’s never lifted before joining this gym! But that doesn’t that you should be doing them too. I am a firm believer in mastering the major lifting motions (push and pull for both upper body and lower body movements) as well as proper core bracing before attempting anything as advanced as a clean and jerk. Hoisting a heavy barbell over your head without first properly addressing strength and mobility concerns is just asking for disaster — whether that means injury or sheer embarrassment in the gym. Do yourself a favor, and stay away from these unless you have considerable time to work with a coach one on one. And this shouldn’t be just any coach — you should see someone who is experienced and trained in olympic lifting. Otherwise, it’s not much better than doing it on your own, to be honest.

These are lifts that I won’t program for my own clients if I’m not seeing them in person (and I don’t program olympic lifts in general). Please be wary of trainers who will throw highly advanced exercises at you without any sort of movement assessment or in-person session ahead of time. If something feels too advanced for you, check in with your trainer before charging ahead. Keep yourself safe, and worry about impressing others later. You won’t be impressing anyone when you’re sidelined from injury, so always remember: form comes first! 

Note: If you’re interested in in-person (Boston area only) personal training or online/distance coaching, please check out my page at Rondeau Heath and Wellness. I have several packages/offerings to fit any level and/or budget. Happy training! 

Fitness Myth Busting Part II: Long and Lean Muscles

About a week ago I posted Part I of this series, talking about the myth behind lactic acid. If you didn’t check it out then, go now! And then come back here of course.

Today we’re tackling another myth, and it’s one that seriously blows my mind every time I hear it. It’s something that you hear come from the mouths of many people in the fitness world, and I’ve never understood why.

Check out any women’s magazine, a million articles online about how to build/maintain the “perfect” physique, and in the press of many, many celebrity trainers and you’ll see 3 words that make me cringe like no other:

Long, Lean Muscles.

What does that even mean? If you’ve seen that before and wondered weather you too could turn your short, stumpy, unattractive* muscles into long, lean and lovely ones…

….well…

I hate to break it to you, but it ain’t gonna happen. And you’re in the right place to set that thinking go, let it be free to fly away and never come back again.

If you have long a long, lean muscular frame, then congrats! You win at life.** But if you’re one of us who wasn’t born that way, I can tell you with 100% certainty that you’ll never, ever reach that goal.

No, I’m not here to trample all over your dreams like a mad woman, I’m just telling you the simple truth. Muscle length comes down to one thing: genetics, and if you don’t have it, you can’t create it with any workout plan. No matter how flashy the marketing or how charismatic the spokesperson, you cannot create long, lean muscles. It’s impossible.

Not with yoga, not with barre, not with pilates or yogalates or whatever you choose to do.. and certainly not with 2 lb pink dumbbells.

pilates

#nope 

Let’s break it down to the science for a second.

Your muscles are attached to bones through tendons at each end. Some muscles have just one tendon at each end (origin and insertion), and others have multiple attachment points, such as your bicep which splits into a long head and short head, which attach within the same vicinity of your shoulder, but separate from each other to provide a more complex movement pattern for that particular muscle.

Each and every muscle has a muscle belly (the main part of the muscle), the musculotendinous junction (where the muscle fuses with tendon) and the tendon which then inserts into bone. These attachments form levers in your body, which is the reason we can move, jump, dance, wiggle, and any other type of movement your body desires. Without these insertions, our muscles would have no way to move our bones, thus, we would be left lying around like a bag of rocks.

Now let’s think about what people are implying by talking about forming “longer, leaner muscles”. They are, in essence, implying that through training, you can detach the tendon from one part of your bone, and re-attach it somewhere farther away. This is the only way you could form longer muscles (and I’m not sure where the leaner portion comes into this equation).

piyo lies

“The PiYo workout can in no way make your muscles longer, but through proper nutrition and exercise you could potentially become leaner!” There, fixed that for ya. 

Sound ridiculous? Of course it does! Because it’s pure nonsense. Without changing the positioning of your muscles and tendons, it’s impossible to make them longer than they already are. I hate to break it to you, but the length of your quad muscle is determined by the length of your femur, not the way you train it. Want longer thigh muscles? Get new parents. Before you were even born, your DNA determined how long your bones would be, thus how long your muscles would be. There is no way to change this through training, no matter how much Tracie Anderson tries to get you to believe otherwise.

But what about stretching? Doesn’t that make my muscles longer?

Nope, sorry. We’re not changing muscle length here. We can change elasticity to some extent through manual therapy, proper warm ups, and possibly stretching, but these things will not alter the physiological length of your muscles. You can get all of the soft tissue work in the world, stretch for 30 minutes every morning, and your muscle will still originate and insert on exactly the same points of your bones, and unless you suffer a tendon rupture (trust me, this is NOT something you want to happen!), these attachment points will never change. You will never, ever create a longer, leaner physique.

Let me say that again: Never, ever, ever will you create longer muscles through training.

If you look at your legs in the mirror and see some short, stumpy muscles, I hate to break it to you but that won’t change. Embrace the shape that you have developed, and embrace the shape that you can someday reach through training. But the present you needs to understand the realistic boundaries of the future you. If you’re not Giselle and have legs for days, you’re never going to have legs for days. But so what? Giselle is Giselle and you are you. And unless your life’s dream is to join the Radio City Rockettes, those legs don’t mean a thing. Seriously!

But what about becoming leaner? I can do that, right?

Of course! Through the process of decreasing body fat, which will come from a combination of proper training and proper nutrition (mostly nutrition here), you can absolutely become leaner. The problem here is when this is combined with “longer” in the original phrase, and then it becomes unrealistic. Training (and eating) for leanness is a commitment and a challenge, but it has nothing to do with the length of your muscles. In addition, training with certain weight or rep schemes to make your muscles appear leaner, as some fitness pros would like you to believe, is also not possible. You can become leaner through one means, and that is decreasing body fat. You can not change the shape of your muscles to make them appear leaner, and you can not train in certain movement patterns to alter their shape or form. 

Muscles are fairly unique from person to person, yes, but they are all built up of the same building blocks. We can not mold them into new shapes, we can only help them to become stronger, larger, smaller, or more defined, depending on your training and nutrition.

Next time a trainer or fitness personality tells you that they can help you change the shape and look of your muscles, stop and ask yourself if what they are proposing sounds like it is even remotely based in reality. And then ask yourself why you should be bothering with someone who wants to change who you are genetically, to change what it is that makes you really you? And then, last but not least, run away. Run far far away (whether that’s through internet clicks or through your gym door), and find someone who will train you for you. Someone who will train your strengths and help you reach your goals, not try to push some magical fairy dust on you just for a few bucks. You can do better, your body can do better.

Embrace your body for what it is, and train to reach your best potential every day. Forget the length of your muscles, and focus on the strength, the power, the ability to help you perform every day tasks with ease. That is what trainers should be pushing on you, because that, my friends, is real life. 

*that’s what they want you to believe. Trust me, even if your muscles are short and stumpy, they are beautiful because they are yours! 

**Also what they want you to believe. However, lovely as they are, it’s just the luck of the draw, folks. No winning here! 

Workout Wednesday: Build That Booty

Today we’re talking about, what else?  The booty.

Because who doesn’t want a good looking bum?

A while back I wrote a a post about the number one exercise you should be doing to build a bigger and stronger back side — you can check that out here. While that is absolutely the #1 exercise for glutes in my opinion, there are several others that deserve mention as well.

First of all, why is this muscle group so important to train? No, it’s not just about sculpting a J-Lo-esque backside, although who doesn’t want that? It’s about the health and comfort of everything from your low back on down to your toes. Yes, your glutes play a huge part in the health of just about every joint from the low back down, including your hips, knees, and ankles. Don’t believe me? That’s another post for another time (and one that is coming soon, don’t worry!)  But know this: just about all of the athletes that I treat for injuries end up doing significant amounts of gluteal work no matter what their lower body woe. Ankle sprain? Glutes. Hip muscle strain? Glutes. Chronic low back pain? Glutes. And do you know what? They get better.

There’s a reason that one of my athletes wrote me a card at the end of this year which said that the #1 thing that she learned from me this year was that “glutes save lives”. It’s probably my most beloved muscle group, as well as a muscle group that ends up severely untrained and underutilized in much of the population (yes, even the very active population that I see in collegiate sports).

And although they are a hugely powerful muscle group, in many people they become inhibited and underutilized, mainly due to hours spent sitting…and sitting and sitting every single day. What that means is that sometimes just doing squats and lunges isn’t enough, because if your gluteus muscles aren’t “awake”, other muscle groups such as your hip flexors and hamstrings will take over for them. Thus beginning/continuing a feedback loop of never ever using those muscles for much of anything. And that’s not good for anyone.

So what can you do? There are certain exercises out there that are just about guaranteed to activate and strengthen your gluteal group, as long as they are performed correctly. One of the best is the hip thruster, which was mentioned above. However, a glute exercise worth honorable mention is the Cable Pull Through.

This is a lift that yes, looks quite awkward, and may make you a bit uncomfortable at first. But once you get over that, it’s a hell of a booty builder! You can thank me later. And hey — if you’re already on the hip thrusters bandwagon, there’s almost nothing more awkward than thrusting your hips up in the air while making eye contact with a perfect stranger. So you can do this, I promise!

The Set Up

You’re going to set up a cable machine with the rope handle attachment at the lowest level, and a light to moderate weight on the weight stack. Stand with your back to the machine, feet about hip width apart, hinge your hips, and reach through your legs to grab the rope handle.

The Action

Keeping your back in that nice healthy flat position, with your hips pushed back and knees slightly bent, pull the handle until you feel tension on the cable. You may have to step forward a few steps. Keeping your back flat the entire time, squeeze your glutes and thrust your hips forward, bringing your torso to an upright position. You are essentially performing a very similar movement to the Romanian Dead Lift, just with a cable between your legs instead of a bar in front of your legs.

Cable Pull Through

If you’ve been following along, you’ll realize that this is where it makes most people uncomfortable.

At the top of the position, give your glutes a good squeeze to “lock out” the movement, taking care to not hyperextend or arch your low back at the top. Your hands, and the rope, will end up right between your legs.

Yes, right in your danger zone.😉

Cable Pull Through 2

Here I am doing these last week. Not only are they a great glute accessory exercise, but they are a great alternative to super heavy dead lifts during pregnancy! 

Slowly hinge your hips back, and return so that your hands are between your legs, down at about between your knees.

Special Notes

As in all deadlifting and hip hinge type exercises, your back position is extremely important here. During the hinge phase, you must take extra care to make sure that your back doesn’t arch or round too much, and at the top position, you must again take care to not arch your lower back (which you might do if the weight is too much and you’re using your back to compensate for lack of glute strength). Don’t be the hero just to lift more weight — you’re not impressing anyone and you’re opening yourself up for serious injury!

If you are away from the gym or if your gym does not have a cable machine set up, these can also be done with a resistance band attached to something low and solid on the ground, such as a fence post or a post of a power rack.

glute pull through band

One of my awesome bootcamp ladies doing these last week with the band attached to a fence. Take your workout anywhere! 

Start with the weight quite low — try about 15 lb, and increase from there. Much better to start too light than to go too heavy and risk injury.

Build those booties people, glutes save lives!

Any questions? Do you include cable pull throughs in your workouts at all? If you try these for the first time, let me know how you like them!

 

Bumpdate: 24 Weeks

A few days ago, on Friday I hit 24 weeks, which seems really crazy to me! Time is flying, and I know that September is going to be here before we know it. With everything creeping up on us, I like to take some time every now and then to reflect on everything so that it doesn’t fly by too fast!

24 week bump

Here I am! Looking a little tired, but feeling pretty good. Baby has moved up finally so she’s not sitting quite so low.

Baby is a… Girl! In case you missed it.:)

Baby is the size of… an ear of corn or a cantaloupe depending on which app I look at. Seems vastly different to me, but the point is, she’s getting pretty darn big in there!

How am I feeling overall? Still feeling pretty great at this point. I’ve definitely noticed some changes in my low back/pelvis that have made me slow down a little bit, but other than that my energy is great and I’m still sleeping well. No major aches or pains to report, although on our recent trip to the West Coast I finally saw the dreaded foot swelling that so many pregnant ladies complain about. After our return flight direct from LAX to Boston, I had swollen feet and ankles for 2 days! Luckily they’ve gone back to normal, but I’m sure my days of permanently swollen feet due to the summer heat and water retention are coming before I know it.

Cravings? Nothing out of this world to report here. I’ve still been loving fruit, but that’s also because there is so much yummy fruit in season at the farmer’s market right now. I’m starting to think these crazy pregnant cravings are a myth, but who knows what’s yet to come…

Aversions? None. In fact, I find my appetite to still be quite normal. I always hear about women who become ravenous during pregnancy, but I haven’t experienced that yet. I know, I know, I still have lots of time and lots of baby growth to get through!

Progress on the nursery? Nope. Nada. None. Does that make me a bad mom? The crib is here, it’s just not set up. As for anything else…well..we’ll get there, I promise.:)

Workouts? And here is where things have finally started to change big time. I’ve finally slowed down at this point in terms of cardio and higher intensity training. My pelvis is starting to really feel the effects of a human body growing inside me, and let me know quite loudly during a run a few days ago! It was the first run that has been very uncomfortable, with lots of pelvic pain during and after. I’m not sure if that’s my new norm or just a bad day, so I’ll probably give another easy paced run a whirl and see how it goes. That being said, I’m sure my running days are severely limited at this point, at least extended running. Hill intervals still seem to feel pretty good, so maybe I’ll have to stick with those for now.

As far as weight training goes, this is where my focus has been lately. In contrast to higher intensity cardio, I can still push myself a little bit with weight training and feel like I’m making progress. I’m only lifting a fraction of the weight I was before pregnancy (in lower body lifts; upper body have continued to progress), but I’m feeling strong and very good when going through full body lift days. These have been my favorite training days by far, and don’t seem to take quite as much out of me as a cardio session will. Good thing that strength training will be, I think, one of the most important things that will help me through labor, delivery, and recovery, so I’m feeling pretty good on that front!

Worries? Fears? Concerns? Other than the fact that I have NO IDEA WHAT IM DOING, I have not a worry in the world!:)

Anything else new? Baby kicks have become an all day occurrence, which is truly amazing. I love being able to feel her moving around in there, and she’s started to have some movements so big that they can be felt on the outside, so Will can feel them too!

I think that’s it for now. Baby girl is growing and healthy, and that’s all I can ask for at this time. One thing I feel like I need to get my hands on are some good books to read about the first year with a new baby. I’ve heard a lot about The Happiest Baby On The Block, so I’ll probably order that soon. Does anyone else have any good recommendations of must reads that really helped them out with their first? Thanks in advance for any recs! Anything else you want to know? Ask away!:)