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What 4 Years of Motherhood Has Taught Me

My oldest baby turned 4 this week. While I haven’t been a mom all that long compared to some, seeing other mamas going through the newborn phase for the first time has caused me to reflect on how much I have grown since becoming a first time mom myself. 

Here are some things that I’ve learned from my first 4 years of motherhood:

  1. It’s okay not to be perfect. If you’re a new mom and are reading this I want to let you in on a little secret: none of us knows what we’re doing. Us moms are constantly bombarded with messages about how to be the perfect mom. There are blogs, social media posts, articles and TV shows showing us exactly how to do everything in the perfect way so that we don’t mess up this whole mom thing. Oh, and of course there are the Facebook mom groups where you receive every opinion under the sun. We’re not only being told how to do everything “right,” we’re being told that if we do it any other way that we’re doing it wrong. Listen up mamas: no one is perfect, no one does things the same way and not every way of doing things works for every child. Listen to your voice. Trust your instincts. And know that you will mess up. We all do. And that’s okay!
  2. It’s okay to give yourself permission to do nothing. Recently I told my therapist that my mind was kind of a like an iPhone. Even if apps aren’t open and being used, they are constantly running in the background because I’m not very good at turning them off. This, my friends, is an energy suck! If all of your apps are open your phone is still losing battery life even if you’re not using them. Same is true for you! Don’t get me wrong, there are SO many things to do all of the time. The to-do list never seems to get shorter, things just get replaced with other to-do tasks. And if that’s the case, it becomes even more important to us to take time to do absolutely nothing, because your to-do list isn’t going anywhere. Recharge your batteries! Meditate, lay down and breathe, totally veg out with the latest season of Workin’ Moms….it’s okay! You need it! And when you’re done, you can get back to being super mom.
  3. It’s okay not to love every minute of it. “You’re gonna miss this.” “Cherish these times!” “The days go by slow but the years go fast, love every minute of it!” I’m not saying that these sentiments have no value. They do. I have experienced moments with my children where I have told myself in that exact moment, “I’m going to miss this.” I have also experienced moments with my children where I wondered if my sanity was going to survive it. I don’t love those moments. I don’t love feeling depleted, my needs ignored or being shouted at because I grabbed the green cup instead of the pink one. And that’s okay! Not loving every minute of it doesn’t make you a bad mom, it makes you human. And giving yourself permission to feel the bad with the good is what helps keep us balanced. It’s not all smiling pictures at the pumpkin patch, right?

With 4 years down and a lifetime to go I know that I have so much more to learn. But I am so grateful to have moved through the journey of brand new motherhood with some great lessons that I can carry forward with me.

What are your #momlife lessons that you’ve learned? Comment on this post to let us know!

Jill

www.movementduets.com

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What Does it Mean to “Listen to Your Body?”

What does it mean to listen to your body?

 

After my hernia repair I had a lot of questions about what I could or couldn’t do. As a trainer who didn’t want to miss a lot of work, I wanted to know how soon I could get back to training people. When could I pick up a barbell? When was it safe to start stretching in different ways. At about the 8 week mark I was given a “go ahead” to do all the things, with the advice, “just listen to your body.” Within a few days I started having a lot of pain, so I called the doctor, he asked me what I was up to and I got put on a 10lbs restriction for 6 weeks. Apparently, I hadn’t listened all that well…or I just didn’t know what I was listening for. 

 

We’ve heard it a lot…just listen to your body! This is really common advice to pregnant and postpartum women when it comes to exercise. But…what the heck does this even mean?

 

If I sit in a quiet place and ask my body what it needs…it usually just says…CAKE! So, I guess that’s not a reliable source of information. 

 

What do trainers/doctors/other professionals really mean when they say “listen to your body?”

 

  1. Are you having pain? Women are notorious for ignoring pain. Research shows that women will often wait longer before going to the doctor, or even the ER when they are having pain. This might be because they downplay their symptoms…I mean, many women have birthed a child for godssake so that puts pain into perspective a bit. But it could also be because of certain biases from doctors. Studies also show that some doctors are less likely to take women’s concerns about their bodies seriously. So, if you are having pain, we want to know where, doing which movement, and how bad. We want to know all the things about your pain so we can troubleshoot the movement, find you a new movement, or maybe just make some changes to your posture or breath during that movement. 
  2. Do you know what symptoms to watch out for? Women seem to accept that a lot of physical changes occur with motherhood. And, for realz, a human just came out of your body…there will be physical changes. But we seem to accept some of these as “just how it is now” when we might not have to. If you are experiencing incontinence, painful sex, pelvic pain, pressure in the pelvic or abdomen, there are probably a lot that can be done about those things and you don’t just have to live with it. So, if you feel those things, let’s talk about it! We tend to want to keep our privates private. But if we don’t speak up when we have these symptoms, they won’t go away, and might get worse. 
  3. Do you push through because it felt ok at first? Sometimes when we are doing an exercise it feels great at first. But as we do more reps, or run more miles, we start experiencing pain or symptoms. Maybe we can do 5 perfect squats, but that 6th one makes us pee a bit. Maybe we can deadlift our bodyweight, but as soon as we add 2lbs over we get a twinge in our pelvis. It can be tempting to push through, because it felt great to start with goshdarnit! But it is important to stop, assess, and gather this new information about your body so you can try some different things. This doesn’t mean you’ll never go up in weight or reps in you lifts, but it means that your body isn’t ready for this intensity or volume right now. 
  4. Do you feel like you are mentally and physically prepared to do this activity? Especially after sharing our body with another human for a good part of a year, many of us are ready to start feeling like ourselves again. We feel the urge to push ourselves to “get our body back.” But sometimes we are doing this when we are tired from midnight feedings, undernourished from not having the time to cook, or stressed out or depressed from big hormonal and life changes. Pregnancy and postpartum might be a time for grace, not gusto. 

 

So, now you know what it means to listen to your body. If you want more guidance on listening to your body through pregnancy and postpartum, schedule a consultation with us! We’d be happy to show you the ropes! 

How to Get Your Workout Groove Back

Sometimes taking a break from exercising is necessary. Maybe you just gave birth, had an injury or just needed an emotional break. That #noexcuses thing? It’s BS. Because we do have excuses, (also known as reasons) and sometimes those excuses are very valid.

When you’re trying to get back into working out, though, finding your groove again can prove to be tricky. Here are a few ideas on how to get your workout groove back:

  1. Start small. Chances are that if you have been averaging 0-1 workout sessions a week that trying to jump to 5+ a week isn’t going to be commitment that you can follow through on in the long term. So, start small! Maybe start by attending 1 exercise class a week or scheduling two 20-minute blocks of physical activities into your weekly schedule. The goal of getting your workout groove back isn’t about trying to get to your most ideal version of health and fitness in as little time as possible, it’s about trying to gain consistency and making small changes over time is the way to do that.
  2. Be okay with feeling not okay. Sometimes that first workout back is tough. Everything feels hard. You’re not performing the way that you’re used to. You kind of can’t wait until it’s over. Just know that those feelings are completely okay and normal. Your first workout back doesn’t need to be stellar. Just show up and do your best. That’s all that’s required! 
  3. Do things that you enjoy. Just like we’re not likely to follow through on big, sweeping changes long term, we’re also not likely to follow through on participating in exercises that we don’t enjoy. Try not to view exercise as punishment, but as something that enhances your life and makes it bigger! This should include things that you like to do whether it’s walking, running, yoga, weight lifting, swimming, biking….whatever it is that you enjoy, do that! Don’t punish yourself with activities that you feel like you “should” be doing if you just really, really don’t like it.

Another way to get your workout groove back is to join a community of people who are looking to do the same. We pride ourselves on the community at our gym. It’s a judgement-free, come as you are kind of place and we’d love for you to be a part of it. Email us at info@movementduets.com to get started.

Jill

Return to Running Postpartum

We’ve heard a rumor that running is fun. 

 

In all seriousness, we do know that many women really do enjoy running. Running is convenient, you can just step outside with a stroller. Running is easy, we all know how to do it. But running might not be the best way to start your new exercise program as a new mom! As your core is healing, adding all the impact of running can cause pain, increase your healing time and create dysfunction in your core and pelvic floor.

 

A lot of us think that running will help us get in shape. But, for long-term health, we really should get in shape in order to run. 

 

It  can be hard to know where to start, so here are the steps that we take our clients through to get them back into running in a way that honors the changes their body has been through! 

 

Crawling– They say that you should crawl before you walk and we agree! Crawling helps get those inner core muscles firing again. During pregnancy these muscles get stretched out and sometimes injured. Crawling can help strengthen them and sync them up. 

 

Walking Hills– Your butt and your pelvic floor are besties. They work great together! Hill walking not only helps develop your glute muscles, but they make you lean forward, helping you utilize your pelvic floor muscles better! 

 

Lunges– Practice exaggerated running patterns. Lunging can help you develop muscles that are important for running! Lunging is also a lot slower than running. And slowing things down a bit can give you a chance to practice different breathing strategies and get your pelvic floor ready for all the impact of running. 

 

Jogging for short periods of time– Start slow. You might feel great at the beginning of a run, but feel pain or pelvic floor symptoms towards the end. Give yourself permission to do less than you think you can. If you start slow and work up slowly, you can keep your fingers on the pulse of your symptoms and make adjustments as you need to. Little by little you can start adding time and intensity until you are tackling your old routes! 

 

If you’d like to work with us as you get back into running postpartum, shoot us an email and we will set up a consultation! info@movementduets.com

When’s the last time you did something new?

 

When is the last time you tried something new?

Moms come in to see us all the time feeling out of place in bodies they don’t recognize, moving and breathing in ways that fell alien. Thier body just went through an enormous transformation and before they even get a chance to adjust to the change…EVERYTHING CHANGES. They give birth and feel, as one of our clients describes it, like a deflated balloon. Sleep changes. Relationships change. Schedules change. Priorities change. Many women we see are looking for a sense of normalcy in their bodies. Something that feels familiar. 

It can feel frustrating and complicated. Especially when we are constantly seeking that body we knew before. It’s why we save old jeans that don’t fit. Why we see ourselves locked in a body we had years ago.  But in the depths of this transition lies so much possibility! Opportunities for acceptance, love and growth. Our bodies are always changing, and there is a freedom in submitting to that change and enjoying the ride!

When we are constantly looking longingly behind us to the body we used to have we forget about the amazing things our bodies are doing RIGHT NOW! Our heart beats constantly on our behalf. Our bodies may have grown another human. Our bodies snuggle our children. They feel pleasure. They do all the things! 

Recently I started training with a CrossFit trainer. I wanted to challenge my body and mind in new ways. I wanted to learn. And I have been pushed in ways that have surprised me. There have been times I have felt weak and naive in a realm I thought I was comfortable in. I have felt elated and excited as I learn new things. I have cried in frustration as I tried to get my body to cooperate. I have welcomed the highs and the lows. 

And this is good!!!

It’s in these icky places that the beautiful things start to grow! I’m excited about what lies ahead!

So mama, if you are feeling weak or frustrated or like you’ll just NEVER feel “normal” in your body again, or you’ll never learn to relax your pelvic floor, or you’ll never get a full nights sleep again… you are doing great. You are learning again about this amazing, ever-changing body and it is a beautiful thing!

If you want to learn in a welcoming environment with other women going through the same transitions as you, come try out a class or get signed up for an orientation! Email us at info@movmentduets.com. 

When exercising during pregnancy doesn’t feel so great.

I am so excited to be in my third trimester! I didn’t have a third trimester during my last pregnancy, so this feels like a big deal to me. This 29th week of pregnancy brings with it relief and happiness, but it also has brought on a lot of physical aches and pains that I don’t remember experiencing so much of during my last two pregnancies.

It seems like every workout I do brings on a new pain that I didn’t know I had. And for someone who enjoys training that can be really frustrating! I’ll admit that there have been times where I’ve thought, “Well then….I quit until after this baby is born!” But I know that that is not only not something I want to do but that continuing to be active during pregnancy is beneficial and important.

If you’re experiencing this during your pregnancy, too, I want to share with you a few things that I’m keeping in mind to help me through this rough patch in my training journey:

  1. This is temporary. At some point this child will exit my body. In the grand scheme of things this is a short period of my life where I am sharing my body with another human. And of course that means that things will feel different and challenging! But it’s not forever (even if it feels like it’s been forever). During this time I can continue to give myself grace and patience.
  2. There are still a lot of things that I can do. Yes, there are exercises that are not appropriate for me right now at this stage of my pregnancy. But there are still a lot of things that I can do! Instead of being disappointed about the exercises that I’m missing out on I can focus on feeling strong and successful with the things that I can do.
  3. My body is serving me well and is doing something amazing. My body is growing and sustaining a life. That’s pretty freaking cool, right? I may not be maxing out on barbell deadlifts but I am growing a human. Instead of lamenting the aches and pains that have come up during my workouts I can shift my focus to that of gratitude for the work that my body is doing all of the time to nurture this baby. 

Exercising during pregnancy can feel pretty daunting and confusing if you’re not sure what you should or shouldn’t be doing, especially if nothing is feeling all that great right now. If you want some more guidance let us help….it’s what we do! Contact us by email at info@movementduets.com to get started.

Jill

www.movementduets.com

Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter

4 Exercises to Stop Doing Now

  1. Shit
  2. You
  3. Don’t
  4. Like

 

Exercise should serve a purpose. Ideally, it should help support our physical, emotional and mental state. However, in a culture that is constantly trying to tell women how to change their bodies and ever changing beauty standards, it can be easy to start seeing exercise as a punishment. Our bodies are flawed. Our bodies need to “bounce back.” Our waist needs to be smaller. Our butt needs to be perkier. And on and on and on…

 

So…

 

We sweat out what we ate the night before.

We sweat to shrink.

We sweat to try to change the shape of our body.

We sweat to make our fat cry. 

 

You get the picture. 

 

But, that is not only NOT how the body really works, but it doesn’t set us up for success in the long term. When you come and workout with us, we aren’t just concerned about you having a healthy pregnancy. We aren’t just concerned with getting you back into your pre-pregnancy jeans in 3 months. 

 

We are concerned about you being able to do the things that you love to do now and 20 years from now. And if you are beating yourself up, using exercise as a punishment, chances are, you aren’t going to be doing it 20 years from now. Heck! You might not even be doing it 20 days from now! Because nobody has the willpower for that! 

 

So, find exercises that you love. This might take some trial and error, but it’s worth it. Visit a few gyms and see if there is a place that makes you feel welcome, encouraged and connected. Sometimes even if you don’t love the exercise, you might love the people who are sweating alongside you! Want to try out a class with us? Email us at info@movementduets.com

What to Expect at a Training Consultation with Us

You’ve taken the plunge and have decided to starting hitting the gym….awesome! But, you may be thinking, “Now what?”

While we don’t consider pregnant and postpartum women to be a “special population” (over half of the population is female and around 80% of those women will become pregnant at some point in their lives, so….) pregnant and postpartum women do have unique needs that should be addressed before creating a training program. This is one of the reasons that wether someone is seeking out group training or individual sessions we ask that all new clients do at least one 60 minute 1-on-1 consultation with us before moving on to the next steps.

Here is what you can expect when you schedule a training consultation with us:

  1. A caring, fun and open environment. One of our company’s core values is to provide a welcoming, judgement-free and fun environment with excellent customer service. We do this by seeking ways to bring fun through humor, building community and making everyone who walks through our doors feel like they belong. So, yes, there will probably be lots of laughter!
  2. Preliminary questions. When you contact us we will send you a “Getting started” email that will include some more information about what we do and what we offer, but we will also ask for more information about you! In this questionnaire you’ll find what we would consider to be typical questions about your health history including injuries, surgeries, preexisting medical conditions, etc. but we also include questions about other women’s health considerations such as questions about incontinence, constipation, diastasis recti and pelvic floor health. These types of questions can be embarrassing or difficult to talk about in person with someone that you’re just meeting for the first time so we like to give people the opportunity to tell us about it in writing first.
  3. A review of your training intake questionnaire. When you come in for your consultation we’ll review what you’ve shared with us on your questionnaire and may ask for more clarification on certain things. We’ll also review what you’ve shared about your goals for training in terms of how you want to look, feel and what you’d like to be able to do.
  4. A movement screen. After we’ve talked and gotten to know each other better we’ll have you perform something called a Functional Movement Screen. A functional movement screen is a series of 7 basic movement patterns (like shoulder mobility, core stability, squatting, lunging, etc.) where we look for ways that you move really well and ways that maybe you aren’t moving so well right now. And don’t worry, if you can’t perform certain things, shouldn’t be performing certain things or if there is pain during certain exercises we will not make you do it! Along with your movement screen we’ll take a look at your breathing patterns, posture and other ways that you move in everyday life. Because you’ll be doing some movement during your consultation it’s a good idea to wear clothes that you are comfortable moving around in. You are also free to bring a water bottle if you’d like.
  5. A review of your movement screen. After your movement screen we’ll go over what we saw. We’ll tell you if we saw anything that we might need to address specifically with different breathing and movement strategies and will give you an overview on how we’d address that in future training sessions.
  6. Make a plan! Toward the end of your one hour consultation we’ll discuss how you’d like to move forward based on what we’ve discovered during your consultation and set a plan in motion!

We know that new experiences can be a little intimidating if you don’t know what to expect. We hope that this answers some of the questions you may have had about what happens when you come in for a consultation with us! If you have any other questions don’t hesitate to ask. To set up a training consultation please email us at info@movementduets.com to get started!

Jill

www.movementduets.com

Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter

How to Support Your NICU Friends and Family

September is NICU awareness month, an awareness month that is close to my heart due to my own experiences.

The short story is that when I was pregnant with my second son Finn my water broke around 26 weeks, he was born via emergency c-section at 27.5 weeks and he stayed in the NICU for 74 days. (If you’re interested in reading the long story feel free to check out Finn’s birth story here.) Those 3 months of my life are ones that changed and shaped who I am forever. My husband Sam and I often refer to our life story as before this event happened and after this event happened. 

The impact of having a NICU baby is a life lasting one and unless you’ve been through it yourself it can be hard to know how to support the people that you love who are going through this trying time. 

Here are some ways that you can do that:

  1. Please, please, please, try to refrain from saying “at least.” This phrase made my hair stand up and quite frankly made me a bit angry. “At least you have a healthy baby,” “At least everything turned out alright,” “At least XYZ.” Look, I know that you mean well and that you’re trying to be positive by highlighting the good that came out of the situation but when you say “At least” you risk negating that person’s experiences and emotions. Of course I’m happy that Finn is here and is healthy. I’m SO grateful for that! But that doesn’t change the fact that our family went through something traumatic and when you say “At least,” it can make people feel like their grief and trauma is unnecessary and unwarranted. Instead of saying, “At least you have a healthy baby,” maybe try saying, “I’m so sorry that you are going through this.”
  2. Offer to visit them at the hospital. This may not be something that every person wants, but I know that I could have used a bit more of it. Yes, the NICU staff became some of my favorite people and it was actually a little sad to say goodbye to them, but us NICU parents spend a lot of time alone in the dark behind that curtain. I spent countless hours watching monitors, worrying and fretting. Being in that environment for months felt so incredibly isolating, like I didn’t even know how to be in the real world anymore. It really lifted my spirits when someone would call or text asking if I could use some company at the hospital. And if I didn’t feel like it? Well, I’d just say no! But it felt good to have folks reach out.
  3. Do favors for them (bonus points for doing it without being asked). Make and drop off meals. Clean their homes. Do their laundry. Offer to care for their other children. Bring them coffee at the hospital. The NICU staff is awesome at taking care of our babies, but us parents need to be taken care of, too. And it’s not always within our emotional capacity to ask for what we need. So, please, feel free to just reach out and offer or even just do it!
  4. Don’t forget about them once they and baby are home. I remember talking with my counselor about this in one of our sessions. I told her, “I don’t really know how to move forward in the real world when everything feels so different now. Like, how do I just act normal?” Of course she said, “You don’t.” It was so confusing to engage in “normal” everyday conversations among people who existed in daylight for a long time. So, in order to support your NICU friends and family continue to check in with them for as long as they need. Keep asking how they are feeling. Keep validating their feelings about their situation. Because the truth is healing from this takes a loooooooong time. 

Keep in mind that your NICU friends and family are probably having a harder time than they are letting on. They either don’t want to burden you with their sadness and worry or they just don’t have the energy to be completely real with you, but I promise they could use some encouragement and support in whatever way you can offer it. If they say, “no thanks, we’re good,” that’s fine, but the fact that you offered will mean a great deal to them.

Jill

www.movementduets.com

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Inside Out Strength

“We help women find strength on the inside and out.”

This is something that you will read in our blogs, our newsletters and social media posts over and over and over again. Why? Because it’s what we absolutely love to do and because we’ve seen it happen before our very eyes.

Strength training is about more than just sweating and lifting heavy stuff. It’s about finding strength. Confidence. Power. It’s about taking up space. It’s about finding your inner voice telling you that yes, you can do this!

When I have a lag in my training consistency I can feel it. Not only physically in terms of energy and physical movement but in terms of how I feel about myself. I don’t feel as confident when I enter I room. I don’t feel as inspired to do the things that I love to do. I don’t feel as empowered to make decisions or take action. But when I am consistent? It makes a world of difference!

And we’ve seen this in our clients, too.

We’ve seen women in our gym grow the confidence to ask for what they need from their partner.

We’ve seen women in our gym find the strength to ask their boss for a work schedule that’s more conducive to their lifestyle.

We’ve seen women stop caring so much about the size of their thighs.

We’ve seen women take risks by reaching out to make new friends.

We’ve seen women feel like a total bad ass because they did something physically that they never thought they could do!

And all because they decided to work on their outside strength. Little did they know that when they made that choice that they were also making the choice to get strong from the inside out. 

Strength training is about so much more than getting stronger and more proficient at different exercises. It’s about stepping into the powerful, wonderful, strong, confident woman that is you….on the inside and out.

Jill

www.movementduets.com

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