Are You As Active As You Think You Are? 4 Ways To Move More

So you go to the gym 3 times per week, like your doctor told you to. You lift some weights and jog on the treadmill for 30 minutes, do some abs, and call it a day.

You had a good workout, so now it’s ok if you just sit at your desk for the next 8 hours, and then in front of your TV for 2 more, right?

Unfortunately, not so much.

Yes, it is important and recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine that we get a certain amount of exercise per week, but those 30 minutes per day of moderate exercise won’t create the change that many of us are looking for. Any movement is better than no movement, but it’s also important to think about the rest of your day when you’re not in the gym.

I’m certainly not saying that you’re entire day needs to be spent on your feet or at a treadmill desk, but it is important to get in regular movement throughout your day, not just a 30 minute block at the beginning or end.

The movement fallacy.

Many people believe that if they get a workout in on a given day, it gives them the freedom to move less for the rest of the day, or to eat whatever they want for the rest of that day. Unfortunately, that’s just not true. A 30 minute moderate workout may only burn about 200-300 calories — the same amount of calories in one medium sized apple. Doesn’t seem so significant when you put it like that, does it? Regular exercise is an important component of a healthy lifestyle, but what I find to be just as important is the amount of low intensity “lifestyle” movements you do throughout the day as well.  In other words, we need to be more understanding of the difference between exercise and simple activity or daily movement, and the necessity of both in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

These daily  movements come in the form of walking, standing, moving from place to place, even just standing for a periodic stretch break if you can’t actually get away from your desk at work. We’ve all been told a thousand times now that those long periods spent sitting are literally killing us, but we’re also told that 30 minutes per day of exercise will counteract that. Breaking up your sitting times at regular intervals throughout the day is a great way to ensure that you’re moving enough to make an impact on your health and your longevity.

So how can we move more throughout the day? It’s more than just picking a parking spot a little bit farther away; sometimes we need to be a little bit more deliberate than that. The following are 4 of the most consistent strategies that I use throughout my day to move a little bit more, a little bit at a time.

  • Pretend the escalators/elevators aren’t even there. Trust me, there are days when I’m exhausted and want someone to just push me home in a wheelchair. But I would say 99% of the time, if I’m coming out of the train station or going to one of my offices, I’m taking the stairs. Even when I’m tired, even when others are hopping on the elevator. Especially when the line for the escalator is long but the stairs are empty. Seriously — you’d be surprised at how often you can get somewhere quicker by using your own two legs rather than the machinery to get there.
  • Take a lap. If you are stuck in an office building all day, like many people are, hopefully you’re not actually chained to your desk (and if you are, you might want to speak to HR about that). Take a lap around the office in between phone calls, deliver a message to someone in person rather than through email, actually walk to the proverbial water cooler and have a conversation. If you are in the depths of a huge project and can’t do any of this, at the very least stand and do some light, unobtrusive stretching at least once every hour. I’m not talking about getting on the floor in butterfly stretch, but bring your arms up, twist your torso, and just move your body, even lightly, for a few moments. The extra blood flow may even give your brain a boost, giving you a bright idea for that meeting you have coming up.
  • Be Ambitious. Sometimes things like this do take some extra effort, and require a little bit of motivation. For some of  you, this may  not be an option at all, but is along the same lines of parking at a farther parking space. For those who are train commuters in a city, try getting off the train one stop sooner than you have to. I started this habit last year, mostly because I actually like that extra walking time on the way to and from work. It gives me just a few minutes to gather my thoughts, center myself, and decompress from the “go-go-go” of my work day. Yes, you do have to give yourself extra time, and this isn’t really realistic when the weather is miserable, but for me, one or 2 extra train stops meant an extra mile or more of walking per day. That adds up!
  • Make yourself a deal. Add in little bits of actual exercise, without turning them into a full on workout. For instance, there are certain times where I’ll tell myself that every time I walk past the pull up bar in my house, I have to do one pull up. One rep seems like nothing at the time, but when I pass through the same doorway 15 times in one day, that adds up to (you guessed it) 15 pull ups. Not bad for fitness “freebies”, right? You can make a similar deal with yourself whether or not you have equipment in your home. Commercial break during your favorite show? 15 squats and 15 glute bridges. Have a bench in your bedroom that’s the perfect height for incline push ups? Every time you enter that room, bang out 10 pushups. It’s easy, and it’s not something you have to do every day, but it’ll get you moving at times when otherwise you might just be sitting around.

 

Readers: How do you move more throughout the day? Is it possible for you to take a different train stop or find another way to sneak movement into your commute? 

 

 

My Workout Progression Through Pregnancy

As I’m nearing the end of my pregnancy, I’ve recently begun to be on the receiving end of a lot of questions and concerns about my health and the health of my baby.

It’s no secret that I’ve remained active throughout my pregnancy, and at nearly 38 weeks, I’m still going not so strong. Because of all of the questions though, I wanted to take a few minutes to address some of these concerns and paint a picture of what my workouts, and my exercise progression (or, more accurately, regression) has looked like for the past 37 weeks.

“Are you supposed to be doing that?”

This is a question I’ve received a lot, especially as I’m nearing the end of my pregnancy. I’ve also had it asked in a less tactful way, as in when my neighbor straight up asked “are you hurting your baby?” while I was in the middle of a back yard workout this summer.

Spoiler alert: No, those battle rope swings were not hurting Baby R.

Anyway, I think most people ask these types of things not out of malice, but out of concern. They’ve been told for most of their lives that pregnant women are not supposed to lift anything remotely heavy, are not supposed to exert themselves in any way, and are essentially supposed to lie in wait for their baby to be born for 9 months. I don’t get angry at people who ask me this question, but I do try to clarify the truth for them.

And the truth is, pregnant women are more than capable of physical activity, as long as it’s something that they were engaged in prior to becoming pregnant, and as long as they have gotten the OK from their doctor. Now, I’m not a marathon runner, so I wouldn’t have dreamed of trying to train for a marathon while pregnant. Likewise, I’m not a CrossFitter, so I wouldn’t join a new box and try to compete in the Crossfit games while pregnant. But weight lifting, casual running, spinning, and other types of fitness are normal parts of my life. Since becoming pregnant, I have continued with these types of activities, just modifying them as needed as things progress. Because I’ve had a low risk pregnancy, all of this is encouraged by my doctor, and by current research in the field.

Have I maxed out my deadlift or squat for the past 9 months? Not even close. But I have kept myself under and barbell and have tried to maintain as much strength as possible while still being safe for myself and for baby.

Have I set any new running PRs? Oh, hell no. But I did continue running at a slower, more comfortable pace, up until I was about 6-7 months pregnant. Maintaining strength and physical activity is great for a pregnant woman’s body during labor and delivery, and also helps her to recover after the trauma that is child birth. As long as you’re not over exerting (and remember, this is different relative to all of our various pre-pregnancy lifestyles) physical activity is a benefit in most pregnancies, not a hinderance. Of course, there are certain medical conditions and circumstances which prevent this, but the overwhelming rule us that it is more than healthy to continue physical activity into the duration of your pregnancy, as long as you are mindful and smart about it.

So how has my progression looked? And keep in mind — this is just me, for this one pregnancy. My next pregnancy will likely look and feel much different, just as each pregnancy will for every other woman out there who experiences this. What I do should shed no light on what others “should” be able to do, and it certainly is not a rule book to guide anyone through their own pregnancy. I am just an example, a unique experience, and information here should be taken as such.

First Trimester: Weeks 5-13

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I start at week 5 because that is when the test turned from one line to two!

During my first trimester, I was extremely lucky to not be plagued by horrible morning sickness. I did have nausea, but it generally came on in the evenings, which worked out well for my morning workouts. My energy was certainly not up to my normal standards, but I did find that keeping a consistent workout schedule helped to keep my energy as high as possible during that time. As I got to the end of the first trimester, I did realize that back to back workout days really took a toll on me, so I made sure to generally schedule things with at least one rest day in between tougher workouts.

During these weeks, I was still weight lifting, spinning, and running, and would base the intensity on how I felt on any given day. I did take the weights down on my weight lifting days, sticking to about 60% of my previous weight levels on the big compound lifts (deadlift, squat, bench).

One thing I realized as well, however, was that my upper body could train a lot harder than my lower body. I made a conscious decision to continue with push ups, pull ups, and heavy weight training for my upper body, as long as these things did not overly strain my core too much.

And the result? Although my workouts were overall less than before, my upper body strength actually went up in several lifts, including the overhead press. I’d call that a win!

Second Trimester: Weeks 14-27

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During these weeks, I felt excellent overall. It was the amazing second trimester energy burst that many women describe, and boy did I notice it! My nausea all but disappeared, and my appetite went back to normal. During this time, however, I did have to be extra careful about taking rest days in between workout days, in order to avoid lower abdominal pain. I learned to recognize the discomfort of over exertion pretty quickly, and listened to my body intently when it needed 2,3, or even 4 days in between workouts.

Lifting continued, albeit with even more decreases in the big lifts. I took my squat and deadlift down to about 50% of my pre-pregnancy weights, using this time to just keep my muscles engaged. This was not about building (or even really maintaining) strength, just maintaining proper movement patterns and engaging my muscles just enough to continue feeling good physically and mentally.

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Running ended between 6 and 7 months, once I realized that it had become too painful. Around this time, I did want to keep up some good cardio conditioning within my own limits, so I took to the hills by my house and would walk hill repeats for 30-40 minutes at a time. This wasn’t too strenuous, and didn’t give me the pelvic pain of running, so it was the best thing for me then, and continues to be my cardio of choice at this point as well.

Third Trimester: Weeks 28-40

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And here we are in the 3rd trimester! Lifting is still part of my routine, but it’s only about once per week now, or twice if I’m feeling good. I was still in the weight room for most of the third trimester, but as I’m nearing full term, I have been sticking mostly with dumbells and cables in the gym, and kettlebells/resistance bands at home. Workouts are short with plenty of rest, and I listen carefully to my body to make sure I’m not overdoing it. Some days I feel great and can get an hour of light work in, and some days it’s just 15 minutes! The key for me in these later weeks has been to take it one day at a time, and to remember to not compare myself from one day to the next. This little baby takes priority, and while I want to maintain as much strength as I can to keep myself healthy through labor and delivery, I also want to make sure that she’s given the best environment in there to grow and develop.

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A little tired gym selfie! 

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At this point, at just under 38 weeks, I am proud to say that I am still as active as I can be. I may move a little slower and less gracefully, but with an uncomplicated pregnancy so far, I’m doing what I believe to be the best thing for both myself and for my baby girl.

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Readers: Do you have any questions? Have any of you maintained an active lifestyle during pregnancy, and what was your experience like? Did you receive any negative backlash for doing so? 

 

Work Your Hardest TODAY

Today I want to talk about something that isn’t talked about very often when it comes to fitness. We are often told to work harder, to “go hard or go home”. But what is often left out of those statements is that working hard looks different from person to person. Depending on the level you are at and what your specific strengths are, what is hard to me may be easy for you and vice versa. But beyond differing levels of fitness between individuals, let’s take a second to look at variables on a much smaller level: those within yourself on any given day.

Whenever I have a new face at bootcamp, I make sure to let them know a few things. One of those is that I’m not a drill sergeant, and it’s not in my DNA to be “in your face” with tough love or harsh critiques. Jillian Michaels, I certainly am not.  Along those same lines, I tell these ladies is that all that I ask is that they give their very best on that given day.

I add in that last qualifying statement because I think it’s important for people to realize that your best doesn’t have to, and rarely does, look the same on every single day. Do you think that Katie Ledecky has the best swim of her life every time she jumps in the pool? Do you think that Kerry Walsh Jennings hits the ball perfectly every single time she steps on the court? Of course not. We all have good days and bad days, and it’s important to not beat ourselves up over that very natural fact.

There are so many variables that can play into this. From the amount of sleep you got the night before, to what you’ve eaten the past few days, to the amount of stress in your life at the present moment, your best can look very different from day to day. Maybe you’re just distracted by that big presentation you have coming up at work, or your schedule has been thrown off for the last few days. Whatever it is, there are endless variables that can change how much we can give in a workout from one day to the next.

It would be easy for me to look at my bootcamp ladies and mentally put them all on the same level. It would be easy for me to just write up a work out and expect everyone to do it, no matter what. What takes time and understanding, though, is not only the modifications that might be needed from person to person, but the ability to notice the subtle cues that tell me where a person is at during any given workout.

If I have someone that can normally do 10 pushups with perfect form, shouldn’t I expect that every time I ask her to do push ups, she can complete at least 10? I know she can do it, right? Well, honestly, the answer is no. With all of the variables that change in our lives from day to day, expecting our bodies to behave exactly the same, day in and day out is actually pretty ridiculous. Think about how your car starts and runs on a bitter cold winter day vs. a warm summer day. The former usually takes a little longer to get going, things feel a little slower, and sometimes downright creaky. No, we are not machines and we are certainly not cars, but a similar thing can be said about the human body. Give it less than optimal conditions — be that stress, little sleep, poor diet, or any other number of things– and performance can be drastically changed.

Just as I don’t expect my bootcamp ladies to be able to perform at their peak every single Tuesday and Thursday morning, you can’t expect the same of yourself, either! So next time you are having a little bit of an off day,  can’t lift quite as much as usual, or your running pace is noticeably slower despite tremendous effort on your part, cut yourself a little slack.

As long as you are working to the best of your ability on that very day, that’s all you can ask for. Expecting any different can lead to disappointment and discouragement, two of the major reasons why people abandon fitness programs in the first place. Your best shouldn’t look the same on every single day anyway — if you’re truly that consistent, you’re probably not actually even hitting your peak. If this is the case, try taking a week to deload, to let your muscles recover a bit, and then get back at it. You might find that your best is actually better than what you imagined, and will give you new goals to strive for on those days when you do feel like kicking ass and taking names!

What it all comes down to is this: Your best today is all that matters in this moment. Don’t beat yourself up about a dip in performance from  yesterday, because it’s probably out of your control. Work in the present, appreciate your body for all it does for you, and treat yourself with care in order to reach your best potential. Give your best in this very moment, and you’ll continue to make progress. Beating yourself up for doing “less” than you think you should is just taking away precious energy from allowing you to reach your goals. Focus that energy in the right direction, and you’ll be surprised at the progress you can make.

 

 

Monday Musings

Well I think it looks like I really need to get back on my blogging game, no?

Especially considering that in just a few (!!!) short weeks, there will be a tiny human that will be (adorably) demanding all of my attention for a while, so the blog will likely go on a bit of a mini hiatus at that point. I have so many good ideas in my brain, the struggle lately has just been finding the time and energy on top of everything else going on, in order to get it down on the page coherently!

It’s now my busy season at work, and add in the fact that I was selected to serve on a jury that started last week. It’s actually extremely interesting, so I’m not complaining about that, but when you add together the jury service, organizing the new place (more on that in a second), getting everything ready for baby, and work, things have been a bit of a blur for the past week or so!  I can see the light at the end though, and I just have to trust that we will be able to get everything organized and set up before this baby gets here. Or at least the essentials, and the rest may have to wait.

And… on to the Monday Musings!

Monday

New Balance just gets me.

Honestly, I love just about everything New Balance has to offer. I also love surprises. So imagine how awesome it was to arrive home after a stressful day last week and find a box from my favorite company on my doorstep! I opened it up to find a complete outfit from the Newbury Collection from NB Women. I can tell you with 100% certainty that this is some of my favorite NB gear I’ve ever had. The colors are spot on, and all of the clothing is not only comfortable but super flattering.

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Love the combo of this sports bra and tank!

 The leggings are so comfortable that I can even wear them right now, at 8 months pregnant, and feel really darn good about myself! The material is lightweight and breathable, but fully supportive and flattering at the same time. Hello, new favorite workout tights!

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The navy cropped jacket pictured below is also something that I can’t wait to wear when the weather cools down a little bit.I’m not one to wish away summer, but I’m looking forward to some cool crisp days when I can rock this jacket!

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And I can’t go without mentioning the shoes, the Vazee Transform. These are extremely comfortable, and according to New Balance, the designed to be the perfect shoe for both strength training work and cross training. I wouldn’t wear these for heavy lifting days but group classes at the gym? weight circuits? outdoor workouts? Absolutely.

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The red/navy combo is just delicious! High-five, NB Women! 

We are home owners!! 

If you follow along on Instagram, you may have noticed a little photo a couple of weeks ago about moving into our new place. Well, at 33 years old I can finally say that we are homeowners and it feels so good! The move was a bit chaotic, as it coincided with my return to work, but we got it done. As for unpacking? There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight, although we sort of have to finish things up soon since (very) soon our little babe is going to want to come home to a clean, organized house! Or at least her mama is.🙂

Where has the time gone? 

I swear I was just announcing my pregnancy. And then I swear I was just 20 weeks pregnant. Now here I am, just a few short weeks away from my due date, and I’m just wondering how this has all gone by so fast? With everything we still have left to do, I feel like I have just kept telling myself all along that we have so much time, we’ll get it all done. But all of a sudden I’m feeling a little bit overwhelmed at how little time we actually have, and how much of that stuff remains on the To Do list! (Can you sense I’m a little anxious these days?) Not to mention that little baby girl is growing so fast, it’s pretty amazing to watch my body change so rapidly over the past few weeks. There was so long where I felt like my normal self, just a little bigger, and now all of a sudden I can actually see big changes from day to day. I don’t think I’ll ever get over how amazing all of this is, and that it’s true that you don’t truly understand any of it until you’re going through it.

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This is me just a few weeks ago at my baby shower. I was just 30 weeks, and I swear the bump has doubled in size since then! 

Spread a little sunshine. 

Not that I wanted to make this post all about pregnancy (I know there are a lot of my readers who come here for other things!) I just have to share this story.  A couple of days ago, I was walking down the street downtown, and a stranger stopped me out of nowhere, just to tell me that I looked beautiful and radiant. Now, of course this would be appreciated at any time, any day, but to combine all of the emotions of being 8 months pregnant, with the crazy body changes I’ve had lately, I’ve been feeling less and less like myself. And for this woman to go out of her way to pay me such an amazing compliment truly made my day. It was a great reminder of how much we can affect others through simple words and gestures, even complete strangers in passing on the street.

Take a little time and spread a little sunshine wherever you are today! Pay someone a compliment, pay for someone’s coffee behind you in the Starbucks line, even just smile more throughout the day. Positivity is contagious, and that woman made me feel on top of the world for the rest of that day, even though I was absolutely exhausted and feeling a bit haggard prior to that. You never know how much just one comment or gesture can turn someone’s day around!

Readers: Has a stranger brought a little sunshine into your day recently? Anyone else moving this summer and feeling like it’s a never ending process? What’s your top organizing priority when you move into a new home? 

 

Workout Wednesday: Bootcamp Workout

Oh, hey there!

Things have been a bit… crazy around here for the past couple of weeks. I’ll give you all a life update on Monday but suffice it to say that I have a few very good excuses for not being around here much lately!

Plus, it’s the Olympics, and who has time to blog when Simone Biles is tearing it up on the floor routine? Am I right?

Ok ok, that’s not the real reason I haven’t been around, but you’ve got to admit that when the Olympics come around, there’s often little time for anything else. Especially the Summer Olympics. And especially especially when there are people like Michael Phelps running around with about 10,000 gold medals.

Anyway, today’s Workout Wednesday is a little EMOM bootcamp workout that my Rondeau Group Fitness ladies did two or three weeks ago. It is great for a small group workout, takes about 30 minutes including rest time, and is a great way to get a full body blast with plenty of fun mixed in with lots of hard work!

We added in a core component between each EMOM set, and also did some partner band runs at the end to round out to about 45 minutes. Adding in a strong core component is a great way to spend a little bit more time on the workout without completely burning anyone out.

EMOM stands for Every Minute On The Minute, and these types of workouts are always a little bit of a silent killer. The “reps” are fairly short in order to allow for some rest time, but as time goes on, that rest feels shorter and shorter, and the effort feels harder and harder! To get the most out of this workout, be strict about the times even when you start to get tired. Each 10 minute segment will be over before you know it!

 

Equipment needed: 

Cones

Medicine Balls (# will depend on the number of people doing the workout)

Flat field space of at least 50 yards in length

Additional equipment for optional core additions of your choice

The Set Up:

Set up one area with 3 cones. One as “Start” cone, one at 20 yards, and one at 50 yards.

Set up another area with medicine balls

EMOM Full Body Bootcamp WOrkout

Complete the workout:

The first two cycles will each be completed for a total of 10 minutes, completing the designated exercise/combo every minute on the minute. I split my group into smaller sections so that some were working with the med balls while others were running, and so on.

Cycle 1: Side shuffle to cone one, turn and sprint to cone two, and then turn and sprint all the way back to the start cone. Alternate the side facing for each side shuffle rep.

Cycle 2: Med ball squat and throws – hold a medicine ball at your chest. Go down into a full squat, raise from the squat and push/toss the ball straight up overhead. Catch the ball and immediately go back down into a squat.

Medicine ball slams: Raise a medicine ball up overhead, and slam to the ground, contracting your core and using your full body to create the maximum amount of force. If your medicine balls bounce, catch and repeat continuously.

Cycle 3: Burpees. Self explanatory! Think you want more than 5 minutes of this cycle? Think again!

As I said above, we completed an additional core component between each cycle, and then capped the whole workout off with a few rounds of partner band runs. You could stick with just this workout, though, and still get a great full body workout in just 30 minutes! Another great thing about this workout is that it does not need a group either — I completed this a few days before my ladies did and it was great as a solo session too.

Enjoy!

 

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!

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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.

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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?