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Post Partum Fitness & Recovery

You asked and I’m sharing!

I get a lot of questions about my post partum body routine. Everyone’s body is different and handles post partum different but we can all feel good…that doesn’t have to be different ❀

I love pregnancy and I love what our bodies are capable of. I think that it is most important to start with loving where you’re at FIRST. I’m not going to get into this because you can read my point on post partum positivity in a different post.

I want this post to be about my post partum process aka how I get my 6 pack back ASAP haha.

This collage shows the day I found out I was pregnant with my second, 1 week post partum and 5 weeks post partum.

1. Before pregnancy….

If you remember me before my second pregnancy, I started it STRONG. I was in the best shape of my life. This made a huge difference with both pregnancies. I had a strong foundation. This doesn’t just mean good aesthetics. It means I had a strong foundation for my health/fitness….my cardio was at it’s best, I had an athletic body composition, clean diet and solid fitness routine. Having a healthy routine makes it easier to keep consistent through pregnancy. It helps you make good choices throughout because you’ve already made a habit of it.

2. During pregnancy….

Exercise and eat balanced. Pregnancy fitness is for maintenance. You’re goal is to stay healthy and pump your body full of lots of oxygen and to keep you strong! Make sure you eat right. I firmly believe our cravings are the result of sugar addiction (lol) and nutritional deficiencies. If you’re craving fast food, you might be low on fats or salt. You don’t need to eat perfect, but like a regular diet eat balanced. One fast food night, sure. Every night because ‘that’s what baby wants’ is a no-no. Baby doesn’t want garbage.

So that’s the quickest run down of pre baby and pregnancy care, if you are pregnant or are wanting to get pregnant and would like more information feel free to reach out to me.

3. Post partum…

This is a whirlwind of excitement, snuggles and no sleep. It’s hard to prioritize working out. It’s hard to always eat a good meal. I get it. I make it a priority to care for myself and if you’re not…you need to also 😚 These are a few tips from my experience which have helped me stay healthy after pregnancies.

  • Meal prep so you’re eating well. Prep snacks, have protein powder handy…it’s a game changer. Especially if you’re breastfeeding, it is crucial to keep your calories up. For snacks I prep raw veges, protein shakes/smoothies, yogurt bowls (frozen fruit and granola), selective fruits, trail mix, granola bars.
  • Drink so much water
  • Set goals. Are you focused on gaining/losing weight? Rebuilding your core or pelvic floor? Improving overall wellness? Whatever it is, set specific goals and remain committed to your why.
  • Exercise. Commit to 3x/week. 30 minutes each session and you’ll notice a difference.
  • Stay as active as you can. This can be hard but I keep up with all my house and yard work. I also make an effort to get at least 10k steps in each day.
  • Tightening serum. I use an oil serum on my stomach and hips to help reduce water retention, and to help tighten my skin again (this is achieved through collagen or collagen like properties). You can see it in my shop
  • Focus on yourself. Focus on your mind. Focus on something you like and something you enjoy. I focus on growing my glutes and legs instead of dropping weight in my tummy. I also focus on improving my cardio again. πŸ™‚
  • Diet. Pick something around 80/20 for balance and clean eating.
  • Tan. I get a tan. It makes me feel better. Whether it’s a spray, at home or in a bed…I always love a little glow and it makes me feel good!
  • Get naked and put work into loving it. I know you probably just laughed and told me to f*ck off but seriously. Do some skin to skin with your baby. Wear your underwear or bra and just get used to being in your skin. Trust me…eventually it works <3 Your kids love you and your body, your partner does so why wouldn’t you?
  • Sweat band…I’ve been using this around tummy very regularly. It’s found my waist again and definitely helped move the fluids out of my tummy faster. I would recommend one of these. Sweet Sweat makes a great one, available on Amazon!

That’s it! There isn’t much to my process but it has worked for 2 pregnancies and worked well post partum for both of my kids. It is important to remember to care for yourself along with your family. Make it a priority to care for yourself. I really can’t say that enough. Care for yourself before pregnancy, during and after. You deserve to feel good. It matters what you put into your body and it matters if you use it or not so choose to make good choices. I don’t follow any diets, I don’t restrict my eating beyond choosing healthy with a little bit of yes. I try to follow as close to the 80/20 rule, 80% good, whole and healthy and 20% pizza, cake and donuts.

I always feel funny sharing personal progress, especially post partum. This can be a tricky time. One thing to remember is not to compare yourself to others. We all have different goals, bodies and different experiences. It’s important to love where you are at and to make sure you are working towards your goals, not someone else’s. 😊

My favourite post partum goal is strength. You’ve just carried and birthed a beautiful baby. You are a strong woman. I like to lean into this and continue feeling strong and powerful. πŸ’ͺ🏼 For me, this means focusing on building muscle and weight lifting. Provided you are doing this effectively, your body will be burning calories while gaining muscle.

Now, I get that not everyone is reading this 4 weeks after having a baby. Is your youngest 3, 4 or 5 years old now? You’re not alone. I know too many women that don’t give themselves the time to care for their bodies post partum. That’s ok, start now. Commit to yourself now.

What are you working on post partum?

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Cellucation: cellulite education.

Ohhhhh Cellulite….according to studies 90% of women and 10% of men will get this at some point in their lives. Regardless of its frequency, we hate when it shows up. Cellulite appears when the layer of fat under the skin presses against the connective tissue and bulges. There are numerous causes of cellulite, some we can control and some we can’t. I get asked about the causes and ‘cures’ of cellulite all the time which is why I decided to write about it. It’s SO important to remember it’s normal, natural and nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed by…it’s life 😊 That being said, a little education never hurts.

There are sooo many different ‘types’ and classifications of cellulite…I am going to explain two predominant ‘types’, hard and soft. Soft cellulite is soft, saggy and covers a larger area. It does not attach to the muscle making it move around more. It can be the result of lymphatic problems and can often be cold or clammy to touch. It is also usually with looser skin. On the plus side, it sits closer to the surface making it easier to treat. Hard cellulite is more concentrated and lives closer to the muscle. Hard cellulite is haaarder to see and treat as it sits deeper. Most of us have soft cellulite.

For me, hormonal changes during pregnancy gave me cellulite. Hormonal changes (especially a decline in estrogen) may contribute to changes in circulation and a reduction in collagen production. A thinner collagen layer, an increase in fat cells and change in blow flood can all create the appearance of cellulite.  This means that cellulite is also common around menopause as estrogen levels decrease Prolactin can also make cellulite more visible as it increases water retention in fat cells making them lumpier and larger. 

Prolonged sitting or inactivity can also cause cellulite. Decreased activity can change circulatory patterns in the body.

High levels of insulin increase the amount of fat your body produces in the form of triglycerides. Insulin sends the carbs to fat cells to be turned into these fatty acids and stored. So a high intake of carbs results in higher insulin levels and may create the appearance of cellulite.

Unfortunately ladies, some of it is in our make up. We have a higher risk of developing cellulite because our connective tissue and fat cells are arranged slightly different to men. I’ve attached a couple photos to demonstrate soft cellulite. It covers a large area around my hips. After pregnancy I noticed it in the front a little as well. I think this was largely due to water retention as it disappeared faster and easier than the rest. It’s mostly gone now but is still visible in the fatty area below my butt #2018goals. Right now I’m working on cleaning my diet after Christmas and bumping my total body water a little.

So we all want to know…how do I get rid of it?? Thankfully, there are tons of ways to reduce the appearance of cellulite. πŸ˜‰

Massage. A low, gentle pressure applied slowly over the area helps elongate the fascia and connective tissue. It can also improve circulation in the area. Get someone to massage the area, do it yourself or grab your foam roller. Dry brushing is another method to exfoliate and improve circulation.

Coffee scrub or wrap. I personally didn’t find this worked for me, but it definitely might for you! Caffeine stimulates blood and lymphatic flow to the area. It also exfoliates the skin. Coffee is rich in antioxidants which some think can penetrate the skin and boost collagen and elastin.

Balance your hormones. Paying attention to your diet, exercise, sleep and carbohydrates. These things may affect your hormone balance thus affecting the appearance of cellulite in your body. If you’re unsure of these things, see a health care professional.

Essential oils. The correct use of EOs can improve the activity of your lymph glands and improve circulation thus reducing the appearance of cellulite.

Change your diet. Monitor the amount of carbs you consume. By balancing your diet you can reduce the amount of fat that goes into storage. Drinking lots of water will also metabolize toxin buildup and hydrate connective tissue.

That’s the quick and dirty edition to cellulite education and helpful tools to reduce it’s appearance. πŸ’•πŸ’•

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Gym Updates

Hey everyone! I hope you are enjoying the holidays. We’ve spent a lot of time with family and friends enjoying the time off and winter weather! 

As we near the new year things are ramping up for Hillside Fitness! We’re working through a couple small set backs but am still set to officially open for group classes January 4th! Currently all the free weights are moved, we’re just waiting on the cables and some new additions! 

There is still one more day to take advantage of presale memberships for group fitness! The more you come, the cheaper it gets! πŸ˜‰ 

Class descriptions are going up this week so keep your eyes peeled for updates there! 

I am encouraging everyone to register with the Mindbody app. Simply search ‘Hillside Fitness’ and you’ll be able to purchase packages using a credit card and also registet for classes! 

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Surviving the Weekend

It’s getting close to that time again when weekends are filled with holiday festivities and more drinks amd treats. Now, you’ve been working SO hard this year to make a point of good health and consistent fitness, you don’t want to throw that away for a holiday party do you? (I know you don’t πŸ˜‰).

1. Substitute. Try this for that. A desert or some fresh fruit. Salad over bread. Have a vodka soda over a beer or sugary cocktail. 

2. Portion control / moderation / balance. Whatever you want to call it… you can have just a little bit. 1 square instead of the whole tray. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‰ 

3. Bring the healthy snack! If you’re worried about snacking, bring a vege plate or scour Pinterest for some simple, healthy recipes. 

4. Make exercise/activity a non-negotiable. Set aside at least 30 minutes each day to be active.  

5. Start a fit challenge with your friends! Invite them to a step challenge, or a workout challenge. Aka TAKE INITIATIVE.

6. Understand that you will make sacrifices. BUT, as a piece of perspective…you’ve been working out the last few months, you’re sacrificing your hard work by eating shit, over drinking and over indulging.

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What I Had to SacrificeΒ 

I’m currently just over 3 months post partum and have lost 24 lbs and am sitting only 1% out of my pre-baby body composition (yay for muscle gain!) I’ve lost 4 inches in my waist, 1.5 inches per thigh, and 2 inches in my hips. I’ve been focusing really hard on muscle gain and functional cardio (running and hiking). These changes aren’t huge I guess…but for me, it means I’ve almost restored my pre baby body  (just in time to have another right? πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‚ kidding). Im not there yet, but I know I will be soon πŸ’•

These changes have felt glacial and have come with sacrifices…a lot of sacrifices haha. After being pregnant for 9 months there were definitely things I needed to get in my body…if I’m being candid, it was mostly just alcohol and mac and cheese but I’ve maintained a healthy balance between good and not so good. After that quick purge, I knew it was time to get serious if I wanted to accomplish my goals. A few areas I’ve made sacrifices are…

1. Staying on the move. With a new baby that loves to cuddle it can be hard to put him down but it’s important to take this time to get stuff done and care for yourself. My baby carrier has been my best friend. I walk, he sleeps…its a win win. The more I do, the more energy I have. If he’s fussy, bouncing him with squats works way better than sitting on the couch crying with him because I can’t solve his issue. 

2. I reduced my gluten intake drastically. Although living gluten free/no grain carbs isn’t sustainable for me…reducing them is. I cut out bread and baked goods and sub in vegetable noodles for pasta. Ive noticed a HUGE difference in how I look and feel. 

3. No beer/wine/hard teas. Okay…Ill have the occasional one but I have subbed in gin and soda and drastically reduced the amount of alcohol. 

4. I am committed to working out. I balance weight training and functional cardio to optimize my fat burning and improve my body composition. Unfortunately walking isn’t enough work to really change my body so I have to put the work in. I workout every day but Sunday. Sometimes I get an hour, sometimes 20 minutes…it really doesn’t matter but you have to make it count. 

5. No eating past 730pm. Im usually up late so I cut myself off past 730pm unless its a special occassion. This means I have to eat enough throughout the day or I’ll get hungry. If I do a late workout I will drink a small protein shake because…gains haha but be smart about it. Late night snacking is a killer.

That’s all I can think of for now haha at the end of the day, you have to make your own magic…good shit comes to those that work their ass off (in this case literally πŸ˜‚). If you’re working hard and not seeing changes, its time to mix up your routine or make another sacrifice (sorry not sorry). Balance and sustainability are so important to keep in mind while you’re assessing your situation and sacrifices. Make choices you know are GOOD for your body πŸ’•πŸ’•

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Post Pregnancy Fitness

Well! It’s been a while since I’ve been on here! My beautiful boy came three weeks early and it has been a whirlwind of snuggles and mediocre sleep πŸ˜‚

As you know I had a very healthy pregnancy and labour was a breeze all things considering (don’t hate meπŸ™ˆ). I chose to have Maddog naturally and  I am so grateful for my experience. I was able to return to my regular activity seamlessly the week we left the hospital…this included working out and hiking shortly after. No I am not just lucky…I had a very intentional pregnancy and delivery. 

I can definitely admit I am eager to get my pre-baby body back and sometimes have a hard time respecting the process. Pregnancy is a beautiful experience and I have learnt to love my body even more…that even includes my stretched skin and cellulite. It takes time to reduce these things, I get it, so I’ve put my focus in improving my fitness level to where it was pre-baby.  Lucky for me that involves a lot of hiking! Thank youuu summer! 🌞 focusing on the things I can improve help me keep a sound mind and keeps me positive and inspired. The aesthetics will come when they come.

This photo was taken one week post partum. I chose to share this as a true testament to how healthy living can positively effect your body and mind during pregnancy and post partum. 

I lost a lot of my baby weight within the first couple days, but I also felt in control during labour and I was filled with energy during, after and ongoing. Not only does this make me feel good, it means I can give my son 100%.

This second picture is from 6 weeks post partum. 

I’ve been working hard on strength gains and active cardio. I call it active cardio because I am pushing myself and making my body work. For me that means I kick my ass on a 12 km hike or set of stairs as opposed to just walking around the block. I make sure my body is working hard πŸ’ͺ Change takes hard work and dedication but I’m so happy with how far I’ve come and am grateful to my body for my son, and for packing him around so he can explore the world from day 1.