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All about ABS

Who likes tight abs? You, me, we all do! Maybe you know, maybe you don’t but our ‘abs’ are comprised of more than one muscle. There are actually 3 main components to our abs.  Not only does it look good to keep this area in check, having a strong core offers improved posture, spinal stability, shape and more.

The transverse abdominis is your deepest abdominal muscle. It helps the breathing process by assisting exhalation as its main function is to active the core muscles and stabilize the pelvis. It also helps resist lumbar flexion, assisting in proper posture.

The rectus abdominis (or 6 pack muscles) assist in flexion of the spine. We can also contract these muscles during bowel movements, breathing and laughing 😊

Obliques are split into your external and internal obliques. The internal oblique lay beneath the external oblique muscle. They have similar functions in that they assists the abdominal wall in respiration and torso twisting.

Serratus anterior are my favourite looking muscles. They are represented by a saw tooth pattern and don’t function the core despite their location. These muscles attach to the scapula holding it in position.
These exercises are great for anyone  (Including pregnancy babes!).

Some great exercises to strengthen your core are:

Plank:

You can perform a plank from your hands or elbows and knees or toes. You want to make sure you tuck your tummy and avoid a saggy lower back. It also helps to protract the shoulder blades to create a strong base.

Ball rollout:

This is similar to using an ab roller with more control and stability. Start with the ball 2 feet or so away from the body, and roll the ball forwards creating the end position seen in the photo. Remember to engage the core and tuck your tummy to avoid a saggy lower back.

Bird dog:

Start in a table top (hands and knees) position and slowly lift the alternating arm and leg. Tuck the tummy and keep a strong core. Give a little extra squeeze at the top.

Side plank:

Great for the obliques! This one can also be done from hands or elbows. Make sure your shoulders stay stacked on top of each other and feet stay stacked.

Modified Boat pose:

If you’ve done yoga or Pilates this is no stranger to you! You can lift the feet or keep them on the ground as I have. You can use your hands or let them stay straight beside the outside of youe legs.

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Pregnancy weight gain

Ok ok ok, I am 3 weeks behind on posting this 🙈 it’s shameful I know and I have zero excuses for you. I found this topic really interesting as I went through my prenatal fitness course and wanted to talk a little about it. There is often a lot of misconception on pregnancy and how we treat the body. There are SO many common ‘myths’ about eating for two, craving/eating what ‘the baby wants’ and they’re all lies! 

The SOGC/CSEP (society of obstetricians and gynecologists/Canadian society for exercise physiology) use BMI categories to determine the approximate weight gain based on your current weight/height/gender. Now I’m not a huge fan of the BMI but I do appreciate the guidelines they offer in this case. 

If you are unfamiliar with the BMI it follows these 4 categories. I have added the pregnancy weight gain for comparison 😊

BMI <18 -weight gain: 15-25lbs

BMI 18.5-24.9 -weight gain: 25-35lbs

BMI 25-29.9 -weight gain: 15-25lbs

BMI >\=30 -weight gain: 11-20 lbs

Now these numbers aren’t exact science. Everybody’s body is different and let’s be honest, when you move through the different stages of pregnancy it can be hard to maintain a lean clean diet all the time. That being said it does offer an aspirational guideline if you move through this from the first trimester. If you’re nearing the end and have exceeded this recommendation, don’t worry about it now and definitely don’t try to undo 😊 Pregnancy needs fitness maintenance and healthy eating. 

To break it down further, 

The average newborn baby is 8lbs. 

Placenta: 2-3lb

Increased blood supply: 4lbs

Large uterus: 2-5lbs

Amniotic fluid: 2-3lb

Increased breast tissue: 2-3lb 

Stored fat: 5-9lbs 

This totals at around 25-30lbs of baby required weight at full term. 

If you’re like me and typically eat a lean and low calorie diet, watching calories can also be more important. In the first trimester baby is so tiny calories don’t matter. As you move into the second and third trimester, baby’s needs become a little higher and they may require more calories for healthy growth and function. It is recommended women increase their calories by 300 in the second trimester and around 500 in the third trimester. This is an easy extra snack or two. Keep in mind these need to be healthy calories to ensure your growing baby gets all the nutrients they need for proper development. 😊 

I am a firm believer that we are in control of our bodies and there are a lot of things we can do to improve our pregnancy experience. Some call it luck that I’ve made it 34 weeks with no cravings, sickness and only healthy weight gain, but it’s not luck. I stacked the cards in my deck to try and create the best outcome. I don’t cave to ‘cravings’, I worked out through the bit of sickness I had and I eat well! I treat my body as if I am as capable as I was before pregnancy. I think a strong mind contributes to a strong body and I don’t let people do things for me (within reason). I am not a delicate flower, I am strong and capable and I treat myself that way 💕 always know your strength! You will need it soon 😊

Following these guidelines not only ensure personal health, but encourage the development of a happy, healthy baby. 😊 if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out and ask! 

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Bump Day update!

Happy Easter! 

Today marks 30 weeks of pregnancy and I couldn’t be more excited for my nearing due date. In addition to this I get to blog from my WARM and sunny patio tonight while muffins bake in the oven which is amazing. With the warmer weather and busy work weeks I know the next 10 weeks are going to fly by. 

For some reason 30 weeks is a big milestone for me, the last months I’ve told myself as soon as I get here, baby will be in my arms before I know it. I took a little time to look back to earlier in my pregnancy and giggle at how tiny I was but how exciting that little bump was. I was willing it to grow. Now that baby’s getting bigger, I’m willing an easy way to put my runners on 😂 or to have an easy shower….showering is officially harder than working out. 

I started here, at 19 weeks documenting my pregnancy changes. I still can’t decide if thats a tiny baby bump or if I was a little bloated haha who knows. 

I snapped this one on my way out the door yesterday, my 30 week baby! The last few weeks have been the most wonderful weeks where baby’s soft whispy movements have turned into full on kicks, rolls and dance moves. The best part, Nic can feel them now too 😊

I’m realizing now that all the content I mentioned in social media today is a lot to cram in and I want to dive into weight gain during pregnancy because I find weight gain misconceptions super common. Ill share about this one in a post later this week.

I am also really excited to share about my 4 week prenatal fitness program. There are SO many benefits to exercising during pregnancy and I hope to share that with other expecting moms. This program is packed with information and a progressive workout program. As there are things to avoid while exercising, it can be a daunting experience, especially if you’re learning from Pinterest or Google searches. 

So..what we all want to know, what do you get?

•FIIT for every level 

•Intensity measurements

•A tested 4 week fitness program

•written cues and images for each exercise

•suggested sets and reps 

•Information on warning signs, prenatal core and avoiding diastasis recti 

•5 workouts + a warm up and extra core workout 

•Improved CV and muscular endurance 

•More energy! 

I want to make this available to EVERYONE so I will be offering this program for 40$, yours to keep 😊

If you’re pregnant or know someone who is feel free to share this information! The program will go live May 1st but you can prepurchase to get it early! 

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Why You Should Use HIIT

If you’ve trained with me you know I love the sweet burn of interval training during sessions. Not only do they keep you moving and keep our workouts spicy, they have numerous scientific benefits for fat loss, heart health and muscle recovery.

Bursts of high intensity  increase caloric expenditure thus burning more calories. In addition to this, the total calories burned is greater in the exercise post oxygen consumption for HIIT than with continuous exercise.

Using a HIIT method can also boost your endurance which is seen through improved blood pressure and higher counts of mitochondria. Science also suggests an improvement in VO2 max and improved glycemic control.

HIIT can also increase flexibility and elasticity in your arteries and veins supporting improved heart health.

In addition to these internal benefits, interval training keeps things more interesting than continuous exercise (like an hour on the treadmill). It also cuts your workout in half and works to avoid plateauing.

Ive shared 4 of my favourite plyo exercises great for intervals. Next time you’re at the gym, try adding these between sets or reps to kick your workout up a notch. 

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5 Tips to Caffeine Free Energy During Pregnancy

I’m currently at 26 weeks pregnant, spring has sprung and work is in full force. My to do list seems endless and I’ve been seeking out caffeine free means of boosting my energy to get me through 13 hour days on a crappy nights sleep. On a regular day I’d enjoy an extra coffee or a red bull on ice but that won’t do these days!

1. Start the day moving. I am generally a sucker for enjoying a cup of coffee with the news, a book or some Netflix. This has now changed for me. If I start the day sitting, I end up feeling tired throughout the day. A better use of my morning is my first breakfast and a walk or some tidying up at home.

2. Exercise! I’ve found a good balance between too much and too little when it comes to exercise. A nice walk in the morning does WONDERS to wake me up. I love lifting weights and a 30 minute session is usually the right amount for me on a busy day.

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3. Eat before you get hungry. This is a rule for everyone pregnant or not, but holds true when trying to keep your energy going. By feeding your body throughout the day, it is getting all the sustenance it needs for you and baby 👶 Eating smaller snacks and meals throughout the day is also easier for your body to digest so it is spending less energy at once compared to eating a big or heavy meal. That being said, eating healthy is also important.

4. Make sure your vitamin/mineral levels are ok and supplement as needed. I take a prenatal, folate, fish oil and BCAAs to help keep me and baby happy and healthy. I really think the BCAAs help boost my energy a little while assisting in my muscle recovery. Just make sure you check with your health care provider before adding new supplements.

5. Rest. I am not a napper, but on long days I find resting in the afternoon helpful. My sleeps are pretty inconsistent right now but I still can’t sleep during the day. Taking an hour to unwind and lay down on the couch or in bed does wonders. Remember you’re nurturing a human, that’s hard work 💜

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Blog Fails & Pregnancy Update

If you know me you know I start things with the best of intentions. You also know that sometimes I shit the bed, blogging is one of those things. I’m not a natural personal ‘sharer’ which I think is part of my issue, but on the flip side I love to learn and connect. 

I started my mommy blog as a personal diary through my pregnancy and with hopes of sharing some struggle and learnings as I go. My absence is not due to there being no struggle or learning, I just forget 😂

My pregnancy is speeding along, I’m at 25 weeks now. That means only 15 weeks left which BLOWS my mind. I redid the math on a calculator because I really didn’t believe my mom brain was doing the math properly. But that is real. And really exciting. 

I’ve been pretty fortunate in that my only real symptoms are outrageous heartburn and elevated RLS episodes. Other than that baby M is healthy and happy inside. I’ve been trying everything to reduce my RLS symptoms which I will be blogging about hopefully this weekend. I think I am finally seeing some positive results 😊 As for heartburn….I always read about moms popping tums, (real talk alert) but nobody mentions how constipation you end up if you go that route 😂 SO I’ve been trying some natural solutions in hopes of some better results. 

There are SO many things to be read about pregnancy on the internet, it takes a lot of time to really figure out what works best for your own body. 

Anyone, I am currently getting kicked out of the tub to go to a movie with Nic, so that’ll be the end of my update. I will be sharing soon about some healthy ways to reduce some symptoms of RLS and heartburn

😊

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5 minutes to a stronger core

Hey everyone!

As promised I have put together five of my favourite core exercises. You can run it through once at one set, fifteen reps OR you can lengthen it and do three sets and fifteen reps.

I have uploaded a quick video to YouTube that you can watch HERE to see each exercise in motion. Please ignore my camera presence…I’m working on not getting flustered and forgetting what I’m talking about hah

please, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to comment or ask 🙂

 

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Single leg toe touch. Remember to keep you neck neutral, chin up, and shoulders off the mat.
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Slow assisted crunch. Place your feet firmly on the ground, and place your hands comfortably on the back of your legs. Slowly lower your back to the mat, and lift back up to sitting.
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Dolphin plank! Make sure your bum stays flat and your back neutral. You have the option to switch to high plank, and repeat OR hold in this position.
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High plank:  keep your spine neutral, elbows straight but not locked. Option to rotate with dolphin plank.
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Single leg bicycle crunch. Hold your hands by your head and reach your elbow towards your opposite knee. Keep that knee up and lower the shoulders to the ground and repeat.
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Side plank. Option to lift the top hand (as I have). To make this move even harder, try pulsing the hips from straight (as I am), to dropped just above the mat. Keep the spine neutral and the shoulders and hips stacked.

 

 

* note: Hillsid Fitness releases itself and staff of any liabilities. It is recommended that you seek a physician before starting a new fitness program or new exercises.