My Top 8 Pregnancy Exercises

Hello there!

Here I am this week in almost week 30 of my pregnancy! Erin is growing and I feel and look like I’m about to pop. I’ll spare you the picture…Just kidding – there will be a picture at a later post…I’m learning how to use the new camera I got for Mother’s Day!

Let’s talk about exercise! Did you know that if your doctor okay’s it, you should be getting a healthy amount of exercise during your pregnancy. (Hey, even if you’re not pregnant, you still should be exercising regularly.) I’ll admit, I was doing well to exercise 3 times a week during my first trimester, but the second and third trimesters have been easier on me in the nausea department. Since I’ve had a healthy pregnancy and exercised regularly before my pregnancy, my doctor encouraged me to stay active, within reason. I have had to learn how to listen to my body, which hasn’t been easy for someone who formerly had a no pain no gain mentality. I do miss lifting heavy, but I am enjoying adding new exercises to my repertoire and taking the intensity down a notch or two.

Disclaimer: Before beginning any exercise or diet program, consult with your physician/healthcare provider. The opinions in this post, although by a fitness professional, are not, in any way a substitute for medical treatment or advice. 

Untitled

 

  1. Squats – This was recommended by the nurse-midwife at my ob/gyn. I have been gradually increasing the number of squats I do with each session, up to 100. I break it up in to sets or somtimes add a light resistance band around the ankles. Adding kegels at the bottom gives an added benefit. For a beginner, standing in front of a chair is a great way to learn how to sit back correctly. You can also stand with the chair in front of you as time goes on.
  2. Donkey Kicks – This exercise can be done on all fours and is great for the low back and booty. With your knee bent, press your heels up to the ceiling, but keep your abs engaged to protect your spine. Complete all reps on 1 leg before the other.
  3. Wall Push-ups – This one is fairly self-explanatory.  Stand at arm’s reach away from a wall. Without bending at the hips, bend your elbows as you lower your body closer to the wall. Press into the wall to straighten your arms.
  4. Tricep Dips – Sit on the edge of a chair or bed, with elbows bent behind you and feet flat on the floor. Slide your bottom off of the seat and press through your hands to straighten your arms. Bend your elbows to lower back to your seat level.                                          Prenatal Exercises
  5. Glute Kickbacks – Standing with good posture, lift one leg behind you until you feel your glutes contract, without forcing your range of motion. Lower the leg until your toes barely tap the floor. Repeat. To make this move more challenging, tie a resistance band around both ankles.
  6. Side Lunges – Stand with both feet together. Step to the side with your right leg, bending your knee as you land and keeping your left leg straight out to the side. Push off your right leg to return back to start.
  7. Bird Dogs – Start off on all fours, using and exercise mat to make you more comfortable. Engage your abs and extend your right leg in front of you and your left leg behind you. Lift your opposite arm and leg to parallel with the floor and pause for 2 counts at the top of the movement, then lower, after you’ve completed the desired number of reps, then change sides, using the left are and right leg.
  8. Seated Row – For this move you will need to be seated in a chair or on the floor. Use a resistance band that challenges you, but allows you to complete the exercise with proper form and technique. From the seated position, loop the band around your toes. taking one end of the band in each hand. Be sure that there is no slack in the band, even with your arms extended out in front of you. Now, simultaneously, bend at the elbows to bring the ends of the band toward you, keeping your elbows by your sides and close to your rib cage. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, and release, allowing your arms to come back in front of you. Repeat.

 

5 Simple Ways Pregnant Women Can Take Care of Their Health

Hi There!

It’s been awhile since you’ve heard from me and with good reason….The past 6 months have been busy to say the least since Micah and I found out that WE’RE HAVING A BABY! Little Erin is expected to make her entrance into the world in July of this year! We couldn’t be more excited! She’s growing more and more every day.

With this exciting new adventure on the horizon, I’ve had to take a step back and look at my health. Sure, I still try to eat a healthy diet. (“Try” is the operative word.) I do exercise, but in spurts throughout the day. My workouts have changed a little bit, but now I focus on being active to increase my endurance and to feel good, as opposed to only getting faster or stronger.

So without further ado, Here’s some simple, yet effective ways that I’ve been able to stay healthy through the past 2 trimesters.

(Disclaimer: I am not a medical practitioner, and this post is not in any way intended to replace the recommendations of your practitioner. Please consult with your doctor prior to beginning any diet, exercise, or wellness regiment.)

Stay Hydrated
I’m not going to lie to you…I’m not the best about drinking plain old water. But this is something I’ve had to change as an expectant mother.Let me tell you why…If I don’t get enough water, then I feel completely drained and icky. I attribute maintaining a healthy body composition during pregnancy to water. You are over 70% water, so I would venture to say that it’s important for your little one’s growth and development too. I track how much water I drink by how many times I have to refill my water during the day. I also keep a glass by my bedside because having to take allergy medicine this time of year dries out my mouth and throat.It’s such a simple thing to do and pretty much anyone can do this…and it takes minimal effort…ok, so it is getting a little tougher to get up and down, but you get the idea. Add some ice cubes and a slice of lemon or orange and you’re ready to go!

Eat a Rainbow
Fill your plate with as many colors as possible. I know, craving fried foods is the temptation of every pregnant woman alive, but just think about the good you’re doing your baby and yourself by making a healthier choice. Recently, I’ve gotten addicted to Greek yogurt parfaits with berries and granola. This is such a great way to sneak in those antioxidants! I do still love salads too, I haven’t been much on cooked veggies, but I still love any veggies I can eat raw, so I monopolize on that when I can. Be sure to get sufficient protein too. Invest in a great-tasting protein powder and mix in a blender bottle with coconut or almond milk and the nut butter of your choice.

Get Moving
This might be a tough one, and please, check with your doctor to see what guidelines apply to your specific pregnancy. Remember, no two pregnant women are the same. My doctor recommended that I work up to 100 consecutive squats, but remember, I was in great shape when I got pregnant. Side-lying floor exercises might be a great option too, and don’t forget kegels…Walking is great exercise and dancing to music is fun too. Talk to a prenatal exercise specialist. You can break up 30 minutes of daily exercise into 3-10 minute segments. Make it happen once your doctor gives you the green light.

Rest
Get enough sleep. Take the day off work if you can. Never allow yourself to get so busy that you can’t unwind and relax. Don’t feel guilty about taking a nap. There is a little human being growing inside of you, so your body is working overtime.

Breathe
Take 5 minutes a day to focus on your breathing and nothing else. You will feel calmer and more relaxed, and you’ll be glad you had a moment of sanity. There are lots of studies out there that show the positive benefits of breathing on the immune system, the heart, and the brain, and stress levels.

I know the months fly by when you’re waiting for your little one to arrive. Frankly, I can’t believe it’s been 25 weeks already! This is a great time to take care of your health and prepare for setting an example for your child. I know for me personally, Erin is a great motivator for staying healthy, because I want to be a good example, as well as feel physically capable of taking good care of her.

Moms and expectant moms, what do/did you do to stay healthy during your pregnancy(s). Comment below!

Julie

Liebster Awards, and the blogs I’m nominating

Hi Everyone,

 It’s Tuesday, and it’s been a whirlwind of a week!
I looked on one of the comments on my “About Me” page and saw that I was nominated by Kimberly Cox – Adventures of But Mom, for a Liebster award! Liebster means “beloved” in German, and I am very honored to be nominated by her!
Here’s my answers to the questions she asked:

   1. What is your favorite smell? the smell of Micah’s aftershave…make me feel snuggly 🙂
   2. Where do you see yourself this time next year? Traveling, finishing another degree, working from home writing and coaching full-time, and teaching the formats I love, and continuing to do worship ministry with Micah, and maybe planning to have our first child. 🙂
    3. How many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop? (Just kidding) hahaha. To infinity…and beyond!
    Ok, seriously (well as serious as this blog gets anyway) What is one cause you support & believe in? I really believe James 1:27 – standing for the vulnerable….society pushes that you must be the toughest, fastest, and the strongest…but Jesus rescued those who were social outcasts, and changed their lives forever.
    4. What is your favorite blog post you have written? Probably the one on goal setting, and planning…we all see fitness ads and think we want something, but waste so much time because we’d rather take shortcuts and not invest….I was preaching to myself too in that post. http://gracelaceandiron.blogspot.com/2014/03/monday-motivation-setting-goals.html
   5. What is your favorite season? Autumn, like late September and early to mid October.
   6. Rain or Snow? Snow…I love to ski and sled
   7. What is your favorite sandwich?grilled chicken, hummus, and mini peppers on a g-free wrap
   8. What is your favorite childhood memory? Standing on the handlebars of my Dad’s bicycle while he pedaled, and I hung on to his neck. (Not my mom’s favorite.)
   9. Favorite vacation spot? Holden Beach, NC or Bradenton, FL….can’t decide
  10.Favorite SuperHero? Captain America
    (since #3 doesn’t count)
  11.What is the best part of blogging? Meeting new people, trying new things,  and being blessed with the opportunity to make a positive difference in people’s lives!

Now it’s my turn to pay it forward!
These people have blogs that inspire me, and I love reading their latest posts!.

1. Alicia Orozco – Never Ever Been Skinny
2. Melissa Gaines-Mow – Forever Fitting In
3. Kimberly Job – Sublime Reflection
4. Natasha –  Epic Mommy Adventures
5. Annie Brees – Strong Brees
6. Diatta Harris – Femme Fitale
7. Jen Avellaneda – Rich Faith Rising
8. Cynthia Pickett-Steele – You Signed Up For What!
9. Cathy –  A Peek Into My Paradise
10. Tela – Sweet Southern T

Thank you, Ladies for what you do for your fellow bloggers and your genuineness!  I look forward to reading many more awesome posts! 🙂 Who inspires you?

This week’s Post: Friday Five

This week: it’s been a little crazy…ok, maybe very crazy, but I have to say, I’ve finished the week stronger than I was when I started. Micah’s grandmother fell and broke her shoulder Sunday night, and then fell again Wednesday, so I’ve been a little preoccupied. I’ll be posting the strength training tutorial of the week this weekend. Since it’s fitness Friday. I thought I’d take a moment share 5 reasons that I exercise, and maintain healthy habits. Sometimes, it’s good to take a step back and reflect on why we do what we do.
1. To gain discipline that I never had before. If you learn to master your health, and your spiritual health, you can become displined in every other area of your life.
2. To feel healthy. I really don’t ever care to look like a runway model. Starvation is not the key, proper nutrition is. When you feel healthy, your outside will show it.
3. To be a better wife, aunt, friend, and daughter and employee. I’ve struggled with anemia, and hypothyroidism for awhile now, and if I didn’t take the time and resources to invest in myself, I would never be able to keep up with all that goes on. I have the energy to do my job, take care of others and serve. People can hate on Maria Kang all they want, but if she’s anything like me she works out to take care of her three sons. It doesn’t take hours in the gym, just 30 minutes. My butt got kicked today in a 30 minute workout.
4. To manage stress. Ladies, I’m talking to you…take all that energy and time you waste thinking about what will never happen and take time for you. It can be one minute of jumping jacks at a time. But seriously, your hormones and your mind will be more balanced.
5. To be able to say, I can

 …what’s holding you back?

See you soon!
Julie

Fired Up and Ready to Go!

Here I am writing to you now…Micah and I have really gotten fired up this weekend! My heart is full! There’s a lot of reasons, but a very big one is that our band, These City Walls, and Micah’s dad’s band are joining together to form a canned food drive for CUOC, Christians United Outreach Center, a local ministry that has fallen on tough times. Because 33% of children in Randolph County are food insecure, we felt led to do something. This post is not to make us or our band, These City Walls, hyper-spiritual sounding, but the more people that help, the better, and trust me, we can’t do this by ourselves!   James 2:15-16 says, “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” The concert proceed, non-perishables will go toward feeding the hungry in our community! It’s not about the money, honey! Please spread the word as we prepare for this event. Times are tough, but that doesn’t mean we can’t spread hope for the broken. 
Okay, So that’s my Monday morning soapbox.  

It was great to have such a refreshing weekend, and to get to spend time with my husband, I must confess, I’ve had a few problems, with dreaming big the past couple of years, but not anymore. I don’t want to waste my life wondering what I could’ve done with it. We went swing dancing Saturday night in Winston Salem and I got to dance more last on Saturday than I have in years! So much fun! I even got to dance with one of the teachers, and he said I did great! Man, was I on cloud nine! My sweet husband knew that going swing dancing would be just the thing for us to get away and just let our hair down. I’ve got a full writing docket the next couple of weeks, but I’m super excited that I get to use this gift so much, because that’s what it is, a gift. Just like our bodies are a gift. Why waste time, tearing them down, when we can build them up? When I was dancing, I was so glad that I strength train, because we were doing Lindyhop, and let me tell you Lindyhop is no joke! So, don’t waste time procrastinating with your fitness goals!!!! Now, I love fitness, but I don’t live for fitness. I stay fit so that I can live a healthy life, and serve God and minister to others. Oh and here’s a vid of the “Shim Sham”. It’s the Cupid Shuffle of swing dance. lol!
Happy Monday!


Oh, and By the way, today is my first link-up, so share the love and help our your fellow bloggers!Oh and you can still enter to win the Mash-Up Conditioning dvd today!

Wonderful Wednesday: Inspiring Stories, Ruthie

 Good morning! The snow is falling and I’m preparing for a snow day tomorrow. But my guest today, lives in beautiful Florida, near the Emerald Coast area…so jealous. Her name is Ruthie, and I cannot tell you what an amazing lady she is! She’s stared obstacles straight in the face and is very inspirational to me as a person and fitness professional. One of my first memories of her was attending our first PiYo training together at the Dowd YMCA in Charlotte! What a fun trip and a tough, but totally worth-it workout! Both of us were experiencing major transitions in our lives, and I’m proud to say, she’s a great example of how important of having a strong faith and great support system are for even us fitness professionals. Here’s her fitness strory:

My journey from a group dance fitness instructor and Personal Trainer to (a stay at home) (home based) Health and Fitness Business owner.


My personal health and fitness journey started in 1999, I was a working mom with 3 kids. At the time I was working as a dental assistant, a very unhappy dental assistant.
You see I’m one of those people that need to see a greater purpose, just working a job to make money just doesn’t motivate me. I want to feel a part of something bigger, something with purpose. I was looking for something that excited and challenged me, made me look forward to getting up each day to meet the challenge. I wanted to be involved with people at a deeper level.
One day a couple of my fellow employees invited me to join them at the gym, after work.
This is where I found my passion, you see it was the first time I had participated in a group aerobics class! It didn’t feel like I was even working out! I loved the music, the energy, and the fun.
From that day forward I knew that I wanted to be teaching some type of group fitness activity.  I loved dance, so I soon found a local Jazzercise class to attend.  It became my happy place! I so looked forward to attending the class several nights a week after work.


Soon after I became a licensed Jazzercise instructor.
And for a couple of years, I taught a couple classes a week at a local studio. But I wanted to do more, so I opened up my own Jazzercise studio which I ran  for 5 years.
Wanting to go deeper into fitness, I soon received my AFAA group instructor certification. I continued my fitness education and I became a N.A.S.M. certified personal trainer, Sports Nutrition Specialist and a Zumba instructor. During this time I was teaching some group classes at area gyms and holding fitness Boot camps.
Several years ago I decided to get certified to teach a  format called PIYO Strength, the certification instructor introduced me to the Team Beachbody Coaching opportunity. (Virtual Fitness Coaching)
At first I wasn’t sure how I could incorporate this type of training into my fitness business, especially since it didn’t involve hands on training with a client or group as I had been accustom to.  So I continued to teach some classes and run a few boot camp fitness classes, while I also worked on growing my Team Beachbody business from home.


Fast forward a couple of years and I am now dedicating most of my time to developing my Team Beachbody business. With virtual coaching, I work with clients nationally, on their schedules, providing support, encouragement and accountability with superior nutritional products and workout programs. All keys in attaining and maintaining health and fitness.
For more information about Beachbody products, programs and accountability groups visit http://ruthiegage.com/beachbody  
or connect with Ruthie on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ruthie.gage

Jeremiah 29:11

11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Please check out Ruthie’s website and pages. She is a breath of fresh air with her positive attitude, and her love of helping people! 

Allergies, Pollen, and Hayfever, OH MY!

Tis the season…to sneeze.
News stations have been reporting that we have had the highest pollen count in 20 years…and my ears, nose, and throat said, “Amen”! This has been a rough allergy season for me, but the past few days, they seem much better, and my migraines have ceased for the moment. I don’t even have to take medicine but once every 3 or 4 days, as opposed to every 3-4 hours. “What has brought about this turnaround?”, you might ask. Well, allow me to share with you what has worked for me, so that you may try it yourself. Of course, with a doctor’s supervision.

No wheat, or dairy, except for yogurt, and pepper jack cheese(because of the capsaicin, which clears sinuses). Although recently stated by prominent members of the medical community to be an old wive’s tail, this always reduces my symptoms. If I’m having too much drainage. I know immediately to not cheat on my gluten-free diet, and eliminate dairy as well. After a few days, my sneezing reduces.

Black Cumin Seed Oil. A natural inflammation fighter, this supplement tastes like aftershave going down, but after a week’s time, cut my use of claritin in half. My headaches are almost non-existent now.

Leave your shoes at the door. Not tracking pollen all over my house has kept my symptoms to a minimum. We leave our seasonal shoes in a basket by the door.

Vacuum, often.

Wash your hair and face, daily. Pollen gets blown into our hair around our face, and for those of us with longer hair, causes the little pests to be in close contact with our eyes and face.

Breathe. Practicing pilates has taught me to breathe more deeply in order to calm my body’s response to allergens, not allowing my system to get too hyped up. The unrelieved stress will often trigger a headache or allergy attack for me. Be patient. Take a moment to pray.

I hope this will help ease your seasonal issues. I still have some days that are better than others, but my symptoms have been greatly reduced.

Consider it pure joy when you encounter various trials. James 1:2

All or Nothing

So, this week has been a strange one…and when I say strange, I mean…STRANGE… phone not working, email not working. You name it. Miscommunications right and left, people showing up early, late, or not at all…*sigh*. One of THOSE weeks. It’s one of those weeks where my prayer life has been dramatically increased by 200%. Those of you who are reading are probably laughing hysterically by now, at least some of you are…unless this week has been that way for you. Between planning a major fundraiser for work, balancing home life, and trying to carve out just a little time for myself, between wasted hours waiting for people…who don’t care…my “grace-o-meter” is just “plumb tuckered out”. Friday, I went into the gym, determined to work hard and fast…I only made it through 2 sets of three exercises before I had to clock in for work, but man have my glutes and lower body been sore today…mission accomplished. The point is when you put your mind and heart into your training, you can make it work, no matter how little time you have, but if you just mindlessly work your way through exercises, it doesn’t matter how many you do…you won’t feel that “reward” the next day, and by reward, I mean delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). A study by the University of South Carolina Upstate states that when told what muscle to squeeze during an exercise, participants experienced 25%  more muscle gain from their workouts. Amazing! 25%! That’s a huge number! The bottom line is it’s all or nothing. You can’t go through life giving 80%, if that’s your philosophy, then you will fail at careers, marriage, parenting, relationships (with God and others), but if you truly commit with your mind, not just going through the motions (no pun intended), then the rewards are endless.
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” Phil. 4:13

Try this exercise for easing low back pain and strengthening the muscles surrounding (glutes and hamstrings).
Hip lift/Bridge
Lie on your back, palms down and  heels pressing into the floor, close to seat, with feet hip-width apart.
scoop your abs in,and squeezing glutes, lift hips into the air.
Hold for 2 counts then lower, barely touching the floor.
(This exercise also stretches the hip flexors/psoas.)

This blog is no substitute for supervised exercise. Always consult a physician before beginning any physical activity regimen.

How Determined Are You?

Committment: This word is one that probably holds less meaning than any other word in the dictionary, to the current generation. We are a society of instant gratification. Period.We want our fast food, entertainment, and our lives to be well, uh, faster. Never mind who we hurt in the process…who cares about learning the value of people…we must get to where we’re going…AND FAST. The most appreciated journeys are just that. It is so important to enjoy or at least learn from our journeys…when you’re at a destination, yes you’re there, but your deepest memories of the experience will come from the journey itself, not the destination. So many people look at a destination, i.e., competition, wedding, weight loss, and think the result is amazing, so they sign up for change, and then get frustrated and quit, after the first roadblock. CHANGE is UNCOMFORTABLE. But through change, you have the opportunity to learn something you never experienced before. So before you decide to make a change, count the cost, and purpose in your heart to make that change happen. You will spend less time backtracking and spend more time headed in the right direction if you do some serious soul searching BEFORE you begin. When you begin to take those next steps in you fitness journey, enjoy the process. Find a class you enjoy, a trainer you get along well with, healthy meals you actually like, a time amount that is challenging but reasonable for you to devote to your routine, and stick with it. Don’t look back.
“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3,4

Motivation:When it’s tough to move on

       Let’s be honest…The past few weeks have been difficult for me to get motivated….You might think, “But you’re a fitness professional…you’re immune”. WRONG. I’m not immune. Let’s banish the thoughts of fitness professionals who claim to never eat sweets, bread, alcohol, or other such temptations…It’s not a realistic picture. I learned a long time ago that if I never treat myself, then I’ll crash and man, will I crash hard and quickly. And I’ll crash for hours, maybe days, maybe weeks…lol, but really, that picture is not pretty. Life happens, that’s the blessed truth. But one valuable lesson I’ve learned is to make the most of the times when I’m at home…It’s MY time, my clean meals, and my fitness routines that matter then, no one else’s. I was asked recently by someone what it would take for me to give up my health and fitness regimen. I looked at that person and said, “You’re asking me to give up the one thing I do for me – that’s not going to happen. If I don’t get that time in, then what you want from me is not going to happen.” Really though, some women go shopping, some love pedicures (there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that), some women have other hobbies. The one thing I do for myself, and my hubby is we try to indulge in healthy foods and exercise. Next to my quiet time with God, then time with Micah, this is the most critical part of my day. If I don’t get that 15 min. – 1 hr., then I’m one cranky caterpillar. Here lately, fitness has helped me deal with stress, with emotional pain, and brother has there been a lot of it.

       Micah’s grandmother passed this week. But she wasn’t just his Nana, I claimed her too, even for the short time I knew her. After both of my grandmothers passed away last year and my husband and I started dating, Nana adopted me. It has been during the past month as she digressed that I spent a lot of time on the recumbent bike, praying that we’d get to love on her just one more time. My thoughts would be so blurry and scattered to the outer edges of my mind, but something about hopping on that bicycle became my prayer chair, and the place where I could clear my head…I took out stress from work and other areas on that bike, and honestly, it helped. But oh, how my goal of working towards that fitness contest in November was not as all important for me. I had to find another reason to train in addition to that. Strength training makes me feel like a valkyrie…just kidding…but pretty close. I needed to feel strong. The tension I felt in my mind began to fade as a contracted my muscles to the max…the more I thought, the more I placed the tension in my muscles. Now I’m back working towards that contest, but more importantly, I’ve persevered….I didn’t just stop…I still kept going. I pity those who think they can not deal with the physical because of the mental and emotional issues they face. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivators affect each other… so Persevere.
“For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love, and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7