How to Use Bodyweight Exercises to Improve Your Fitness

Hi there!

It’s been a while since I did a workout post, which is strange because those are my favorite posts to write.

As a wife, mom, and business owner, I have to have a quick workout routine that doesn’t involve a lot of expensive equipment that I can take anywhere.

That’s one of the reasons why I’m an advocate for body weight exercises. They’re easy to learn (most of the time), convenient, and can be modified for just about any fitness level!

I’ve also seen many, many clients through the years achieve phenomenal results with body weight exercises, not only maintaining their fitness levels but advancing their fitness levels by leaps and bounds.

I’ve also had many personal training clients and group fitness participants say to me, “Oh, I just didn’t work out this week because I was out of town and couldn’t get to my gym.” That’s just crazy. Doing something is better than nothing.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love free weights, and resistance  bands and pretty much any kind of resistance you can think of, but at the end of the day, what matters is that you trained.

(Disclaimer: This blog post may contain affiliate links to products, the sales from a portion of which help support my blog, which I put a lot of effort into. The opinions of any products I review are my own, and I only recommend products which I believe are exceptional. Thank you for supporting my blog!)

Really, the only equipment you need is you, or a yoga mat or towel. I prefer a yoga towel because they’re sweat absorbent and can easily be folded and placed in a tote bag or suitcase.

So you see, you really can’t go wrong with this type of workout.

With body weight training, your body experiences these benefits:

  • Less chance of injury
  • Ability to focus on your form and technique, rather than the amount of weight you’re lifting
  • A convenient workout you can do just about anywhere
  • A multitude of exercises so you can add endless variety to your workouts

To give you a taste of body weight training, especially if you’re new to exercise, I’ve provided a sample workout for you. You can do this workout as many rounds as you like, but I recommend completing the series, one exercise after the other, with little to no rest in between, anywhere from two to five times. You can use any variations of these exercises that you like, so the possibilities are endless!


They are pretty basic exercises, but if you really do them correctly, you’ll definitely feel them working.

Squats: butt, legs

This classic exercise is one of the best at boosting your metabolism because it uses some of the largest muscle groups in your body. Try basic, plie, single-leg, and jump variations. Try holding still at the bottom of a squat for 30 extra seconds at the end of each set.

Side Planks: abs, obliques, lower back, shoulders    

Side planks can also be done on your elbows and also have lots of variations. The key is to make sure your head is in a straight line from your head to your heels.

Pushups: shoulders, triceps, chest

Another classic exercise, push-ups are a great way to get your heart pumping. They also have numerous modifications. And for those of you who need to build up your upper body strength, they can be done on your knees instead of your toes. Just don’t let your stomach hang to the floor and aim for a straight line from your head to your heels.

Lunges: butt, legs, core

Lunges are another exercise that can really rev up your metabolism. There are lots of ways to to do them too: static, front, rear, side. The options are almost endless. Just remember to put your weight into your front heel to stand. (If you’re a beginner, gradually make your lunges deeper and deeper as you get more fit.)


What’s your favorite body weight exercise?

Tell me in the comments below!


– Julie







Things that Make Life Easier as a New Mom

So, I know… I’ve been doing a lot of blog posts on motherhood lately. But I think that there’s a lot of misconceptions about entering into motherhood.

One such misconception is that you need lots of stuff to be a good mom. From the time a woman gets pregnant, or embarks on the journey to foster or adopt, she is bombarded with ads and offers from companies, all competing to get her time and money.

There are gadgets galore, and the possibilities of things you may or may not need may seem overwhelming.

Let’s be real. What your child needs is a safe place to sleep, eat and lots of love and attention.

When we brought Erin home, I quickly learned that half of those things that are touted as luxury baby items are not necessary for my child’s development nor helpful for me as a mom.

There are a few things that are really simple things that do make my life easier as a mom. And I thought I’d make a list of them for you. Granted, they’re things that help me, but may not necessarily be the things that save your sanity. Every mom is different. But without further ado, here they are.

(The posts on this blog from time to time contain affiliate links, and a portion of the proceeds go to this blog, which takes time, energy, and money to run. However, I only recommend products I really like.  Thank you for reading and supporting this blog.)

1. Comfortable, easy to wear clothing for mommy and baby. I own a few good pairs of leggings. Old Navy has great leggings with a roll-down, yoga waist band. They were essential for me when we brought Erin home from the hospital because I could slide them on quickly with a t-shirt before guests came over. Having a comfortable robe helped too with nursing. No one prepared me for the lack of clothing that having a newborn involved.

Oh and for baby, those frou frou outfits just don’t work for every day. Erin lives in onesies and leggings, and they are easy to change. She also has had several comfy zipper sleepers that were a lifesaver when it came to changing diapers, half asleep in the middle of the night. I will only do zipper sleepers with the new baby.

2. Lots of books. Nothing calms Erin like reading a book when she’s teething. We’ve been reading to her since birth and now she picks up little stroller books and pretends to read them… it’s so cute! We read her Beginner’s Bible before bed at night. She also has a few other favorites.

3. A big crockpot. So this really makes my life easier. I make at least two meals a week in a crockpot. It’s a lifesaver. Just throw in some chicken, potatoes, green beans, and Italian dressing, and you’re all set!

4. A diaper clutch. Someone had the brilliant idea to give me one of these diaper clutches by Skip Hop, and I love it! I can throw it in my tote bag for a quick trip to the store, and the built in changing pad has saved Erin’s bottom in many an emergency.

5. A good nursing/car seat cover. So for about 8 months, we exclusively breastfed and pumped, and this cover has been amazing! It also works as a car seat cover, and I love the 360 coverage. I just slide it over my head, and I felt like I could nurse Erin anywhere in this cover.

6. Stacking toys and puzzles. So as Erin has gotten older, she’s wanted more of a challenge. I’m so thankful one of my old co-workers got me this puzzle, and my mom and dad gave her a developmental tea set for Christmas. She also has some simple rhythm instruments that keep her entertained for quite awhile.

7. An easy to assemble stroller. Let’s face it. Big bulky strollers are a hassle. I have a stroller I’ve used only once because it was just too difficult to assemble. But I love my Graco stroller. I can unfold it with one hand. Woohoo!

8. A good swing. Oh man, I don’t know how I got any sleep without a baby swing. I didn’t think I needed one, but my oh-so-wise SIL bought me one at Once Upon a child, and it was a lifesaver for the first 6 months!

9. A workout dvd with short workouts. Okay, mommies, you cannot use the excuse that you have to much to do. You are worth your time and attention. Can’t get to the gym? A dvd with a 10 minute workout will help you lower stress levels, reduce the risk and/or duration of postpartum depression, and allow you to feel more like a human being. Here’s my faves:

Pilates Workouts for Busy Moms – Erica Ziel/Knocked Up Fitness

Strength – Mash-up Conditioning

Rev4 – Natalie Jill Fitness

You can also check out some of the short workouts I have on this blog. Just remember, you don’t have to work out for an hour to see, feel or maintain results!

10. Healthy snacks you can eat with one hand. If you are breastfeeding, this is an absolute must. I love cheese cubes, a handful of nuts, veggie slices and hummus, bananas, and protein smoothies in a blender bottle, just to name a few. They’re easy to prep in bulk. I can put them in portion appropriate containers to grab and go later. It’s a win win.


11. A fertility monitor. So this is a personal preference, but your hormones do all sorts of wacky things after childbirth. I wish I’d bought one of these earlier. It tracks your cycles and basal body temperature and even the early stages of pregnancy. I have the Easy@Home fertility monitor that plugs into my smart phone. (I did receive this product for a great discount.) And it is so nice to not have to keep a paper chart. I just sync the thermometer with my smartphone, and voila.

12. A planner. With kids, the appointments seem never ending, and trust me, you shouldn’t try to remember them all. That’s why a planner is so important.

13. A way to relax…. I’ll admit.. I’m a little more of a type A personality, but I’ve learned to have me time each day, even if it’s 5 minutes before bed. I love journaling and crocheting when I’m trying to relax, and I’m always in the mood for a good cup of tea with my manatee tea infuser. I also typically sneak in a 5 or 10 minute workout to lower my stress levels.

14. A cleaning routine. I’ll just be honest, this is one I struggle with, but we do make sure certain things get done daily, like kitchen counters and sweeping, while others, such as bathrooms, get completed once weekly… (or every other week). Assign who does what, and this will save you frustration and heartache.

So here’s my very short list of different things that have made my life easier as a new mom this past year… notice, there were no wipe warmers or baby food makers. (That’s what I use my Ninja blender for!)

Keep it simple, and you’re sure to enjoy spending time with your little one, and less time, thinking about this lavish routine I’d have to maintain.

Stay genuine,


10 Things I Learned in My Last Pregnancy and What I’m Doing Differently


It’s been awhile. Life has been busy: moving prep, running a business, and finding out baby #2 is on the way! Fortunately, this pregnancy has been less stressful, and not nearly as rough physically. In fact, I just entered my second trimester weighing less than when we discovered I was pregnant again, and I have explosive amounts of energy.

Yes, this baby was a big surprise! But we’re also very excited. I learned a lot during my last pregnancy – things that have made my life so much easier this time around. I thought I’d share a few of them with you.

If you’re a new mom or are expecting, hopefully, these tips will help you stay sane on your journey through motherhood.

Disclosure: The opinions in this post are my own. I only endorse products that I have used personally and have found to be beneficial. This blog occasionally contains affiliate links, and a portion of the proceeds when these links are clicked on go to support this blog, which takes time and resources to run. Thanks again for reading!

1. Take time for you each day, even if it’s just 5 minutes. It felt like when I was pregnant with Erin…everyone and everything had a job for me to do, and to be honest, I was afraid of saying “no”. This time, even when my writing business gets hectic, I take the time to relax and do something for myself. It’s not selfish, because if you don’t take time for you, then you can’t take care of your family.

2. Stay active. I’ll admit that it was tough exercising with my first pregnancy. I was very nauseous during my first trimester and had a hectic schedule my second and third trimesters. I’ve learned though that even 5 minutes is better than 0 minutes. Once I get moving, I feel so much better and more relaxed and can give so much more to the people around me. Talk with your ob about what types of physical activity are best for you at this point. I loved using resistance loops and bands because I could take them anywhere with me, and a comfortable yoga mat is a must. I like these bands because they’re made of excellent material and they’re affordable.

3. Be generous, but spend time with those who value you. This was a hard lesson for me to learn. I’m not saying that you should be a snoot, but be mindful that if someone, say a friend is taking you for granted, and seems to think their time is valuable, but somehow yours is less, it might be time to part ways.  For most of my first pregnancy, I felt like I constantly waited on people hand and foot. Did I have friends that would check on me? Yes, but they were few and far between. I’m not saying don’t show kindness to everyone, but there’s sometimes when you need to set boundaries. This time, one of our rules will be that we’re not traveling all over the place to go to everyone else’s houses. They will have to come to us from time to time. It’s just too stressful to load up your family all the time and load them up again to leave. The same rule applies to you… just because you are pregnant or have kids, doesn’t mean the world revolves around you. Let someone know if you’re running behind, life happens. It just does. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

4. Find healthier alternatives for your cravings. I learned this the hard way too. I do not have to eat 24/7 to grow a baby, but I don’t have to eat cardboard either, or feel hungry all the time. We started loosely following Trim Healthy Mama, and it has made a big difference in my energy, and I can have satisfying, healthy food that tastes great. If you want to know more about this doable way to eat healthy for families, you can find out more here.

5. Have open and honest communication with your doctor about stresses you are going through. At one of my jobs, yes, I was working two jobs while pregnant, I was receiving daily intimidation attempts, and no one seemed to care…only one of my friends had the discernment to ask what I was going through at the time. I was so embarrassed and hurt. I would literally cry from the time I got off work until I went to bed at night when no one was around. My husband had to intervene.

My doctor had to send a note, and it caused me to wind up in the hospital overnight 2 months before my due date. To be honest, I was terrified, and after my daughter’s birth. I was told by my medical team and a wise counselor in so many words that “No one has the right to alienate you and make you feel unwanted and unsafe. This is a time for you to be happy.” It took this to make me realize that being a Mom makes me more capable, not less. This empowered me to set healthier boundaries for work and other relationships, and I’m so thankful that Micah was supportive, and I’m happy to say, I’m in a much better place emotionally, if you know me, and you’re reading this, please don’t read into it…it is what it is. I’m just a mom trying to take care of her family. If someone seems to be intentionally trying to intimidate you or make you feel like you never do enough, tell someone you trust, and do not tolerate it. Your family needs you to be emotionally available, and you can’t be if you feel like you’re drowning constantly.

6. Have a getaway. I’m so glad that Micah and I did this… In fact, I wish we’d taken more time. Another boundary. This time, I have no idea how we’ll afford it, but we’ll have a baby moon if I have to sell donuts to pay for it. (And I don’t even eat donuts.)

7. Pamper yourself. Even if it’s an at-home spa night once in awhile. Take that time to feel pretty. Get together with some gal pals and relax and watch sappy chick flicks from the seventh grade. Laugh a little. I wish someone had done this with me when I was about a month from my due date. I was already on maternity leave and felt so shut off from the rest of the world.

8. Make date night a priority. Your marriage needs it. End of discussion. You can forego those $5 coffees twice a week to pay for it. Offer to exchange babysitting with friends to make it happen. Your kids need to see two parents who love each other. Because trust me, you both may have moments where you want to pull each other’s hair out after your baby is born.

9. Find a creative outlet, even if it’s doodling in a journal. I enjoyed crocheting things for Erin, and bought a coloring book with Scripture verse art. Relaxing with a cup of tea also helped me unwind. This is what worked for me. I probably would have pulled my hair out otherwise.

10. Meet with other women in the Word. I don’t care what anyone says, the days of women’s Bible studies are not over. Women need other women in an environment that isn’t comparison based. In a world of social media and selfies, it’s time to learn to build each other up again and refresh our hearts with Scripture. I have a great prayer partner that keeps things just between me her and Jesus, and we PRAY together, not gossip. Be real about your struggles and find a group of women passionate about studying and applying Scripture. This made a difference for me after Erin was born, and I plan to join a study on Romans after Little Bear is born.

What did you learn in your first pregnancy? What have you learned since becoming a mom? Comment below!

Why I Think Twice Before Taking a Selfie

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So, before you start thinking of me as raining on your parade. Just hear me out.

When I say selfies, I’m talking about a pic of you and you only that pretty much has no other purpose but to show off your lip gloss or eye liner. Not that these pics aren’t fun once in a while, but let’s be honest: what is your purpose in taking those pics? Is it to portray an image? Do you have something to prove?

Let me provide an example:

I’m the owner of this blog, and like all bloggers should, I have an instagram. I’ve recently been leaning out after losing the baby weight, and I also do product reviews from time to time. So I take the occasional selfie, of me using a brand’s product, or make the occasional 30-second workout video. When I do this, I’m hoping to inspire someone to live a healthier lifestyle. The other day, I got a comment from a moderately famous instagram page, basically saying, “We love your page; please follow ours”, so I of course went to their instagram, but I didn’t follow them, and here’s why.

Even thought the title claimed that they were trying to inspire people… instead, I saw post after post of obviously airbrushed “selfies” of women who all looked like Cindy Crawford wannabes, and the camera shots were more suggestive than inspiring. Needless to say, I did not and will not like their page.

So that’s an extreme selfie example, but my point is that their reason for taking these pics was probably more to pressure a certain look or image on young women.

As a mother of an extremely young daughter, I don’t have the time or energy to devote to trying to make sure I look picture perfect all the time. If I took a selfie everyday, most days, it would look like I went ten rounds, and hey, I teach boot camp classes, so that’s probably not too far off.

Use that camera to capture memories with your loved ones and then use it when you’re bored on occasion.

I’m not trying to bash my young mommy friends or gal pals, in fact I LOVE seeing pregnant selfies , and technically, there’s at least two people in that picture. 🙂

Weight loss selfies can be done in a way to encourage others.

I’m just saying that when I see a news feed full of selfies, it implies, that either a person is self-focused or the makeup filters imply that their not happy with who God made them to be. I’m not saying that the occasional selfie is harmful, but I DO think that constantly trying to look perfect or put forth and image is bad for us gals’ mental and spiritual health. When we constantly give into the selfie craze, we feed into the lie that we have to compare… Listen to me, that creates mean girls…and guys But don’t take my word for it, here’s what the American Psychological Association has to say.

You can read the summary of one of the studies related to selfies and narcissism in Psychology Today. The study found that narcissists tended to take certain types of selfies, not to commemorate an event, but simply to try to achieve the perfect look.


What is narcissism? Narcissism is “excessive and obsessive self-interest in oneself and/or one’s physical appearance”. Basically meaning that a narcissist will try to squash or neglect anything that doesn’t put their self-interest first.


What does Scripture say? “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Phil. 2:4

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what the will of God is, His good pleasing, perfect will.”


Please don’t take this as condemnation, but know that I’m looking at those who are in my general age group, and the selfish behavior I’m seeing astounds me. I feel like more women are insecure now than ever before, and I don’t think that I personally, should make it a constant pattern to post stuff that comes across at self-glorifying. Confidence is great, but pride comes before a fall.


Most importantly, spend that time taking pics and creating memories with the ones you love. If you’re spending time taking selfies, when you should be paying attention to those around you, there may be a problem. Anyway, that’s my food for thought.


You were fearfully and wonderfully made, and that’s a truth needs no filter.





5 Minute HIIT Ab Workout and Fitness Towel Review


Disclaimer: I received this product at a very discounted rate in exchange for my honest review. However, I only give items positive reviews when I feel it is a trustworthy product.

Hi! So, I'd recently been looking for a fitness/yoga towel to take to classes with me so I wouldn't have to lug around a mat. So, I when Mango Fitness let me try their yoga/fitness towel. I was so excited!

Why would I want to use this towel?

- It's antimicrobial and wicks away moisture, aka, sweat.
- It has non-slip corners that overlap over any standard size mat.
- It adds just a little extra comfort to your mat.
- If you borrow a mat at your facility, this is a great way to give you a barrier between you and a mat.
-If you want a little extra traction, so that you're not slipping in sweat, this yoga towel becomes non-slip when wet!
- It's easy to clean. Just throw it in the wash!

Adam, is the owner at Mango Fitness, and he was very helpful and super courteous. I really loved working with him!

You can order Mango Fitness Hot Yoga Towels on Amazon

Here's a great quick workout that I wanted to share with you!


Inchworm Walk-outs
Boat Situps

Perform 8 reps of each exercise then, move immediately to the next ab exercise, without any rest. During the next round, perform 7 of each exercise, then 6 of each exercise, and so on until you reach one rep of each exercise. This is a great way to break a sweat and strengthen your core at the same time.

I loved using Mango Fitness' towel, because it made me feel like I had a great grip on the mat with no slipping.

To see demonstrations of both exercises, check out my instagram!


How Functional Exercise can help Reduce Back Pain

Hi Everyone,
There’s a lot of buzz out there about functional exercise on the fitness scene, but it’s really important to understand this valuable fitness concept. Today, Molly from Proactive Chiropractic was kind enough to share with us what functional exercise is all about. So, without further ado, take it away, Molly!

Chiropractors treat a variety of conditions, from chronic pain to sports rehabilitation therapy. However, many patients initially seek chiropractic care due to a common complaint; back pain. In fact, roughly 31 million Americans experience back pain at any given time, that’s nearly 10% of the population.

What Causes Back Pain?
“Back pain” is a common, though often vague description for a variety of conditions that cause pain or discomfort in the back. The back itself is made up of several bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and muscles. Any of these can become damaged, inflamed, or otherwise compromised to the point of causing distress.

Common causes of back pain include repetitive strain Injuries such as work-related lifting, carrying, or other strenuous actions. Post traumatic injuries such as caused by an accident may also contribute. Further, the current office environment in the workplace, characterized by long hours spent sitting at a computer desk may also contribute to poor posture and circulation which are also contributing factors.

Some additional facts regarding back pain:
It is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
It is the second leading cause of workplace absence, after upper respiratory infections.
50% of working Americans report having back pain each year
Most cases of back pain are mechanical in nature. In other words, the underlying cause is not a serious condition such as infection or disease. These conditions are often the most responsive to treatment
The Agency for Health Care Research and Quality recommends that patients who experience recurring back pain choose the more conservative treatment options before surgery.
Back pain is responsible for at least $50 billion is healthcare costs each year. And that only includes easily identifiable healthcare costs. When factoring in additional expenses such as lost wages from workplace absences or over the counter treatments and therapy devices, the total costs associated with back pain are much higher.

Functional Exercises
Functional exercises differ from what you may think of when you imagine traditional exercise training. Functional exercises are meant to train and develop your muscles for normal, everyday activities such as you might experience at home, work, or school.

Functional exercise programs fit in well with the chiropractic approach to health. The goal of chiropractic adjustment is often aimed at aligning the body and creating a harmonious environment that is ideal for healing, rehabilitation, or continued well-being.
Functional exercise training likewise is intended to train and develop muscles and joints to work in tandem with one another. This is aimed at increasing strength and agility, developing core muscle strength, or improving balance.

The use of functional exercise programs is widespread and includes:
Rehabilitation of sports or traumatic injuries
Strength training for elderly patients
Combating the effects of work-related injuries and conditions
As an effective, low-impact course of exercise for patients who are inexperienced with exercise, or for those with special considerations such as limited mobility, or even pregnant women.

Chiropractic Care and Functional Exercise
Strong support exists for the role of exercise in the treatment of chronic or occupational back pain. In fact, according to the Scientific Commission of the Council on Chiropractic Guidelines and Parameters:
Exercise is at least as effective as other non-surgical treatment options for chronic lower back pain.
Occupational back pain has been shown to be alleviated or managed through the use of exercise programs in conjunction with chiropractic evaluation and adjustment.

Your chiropractor can help evaluate your back pain and recommend a course of treatment to manage or alleviate your pain. Functional exercise is not recommended for every patient or every condition, and the underlying cause of the condition will play a large role in the recommended treatment.

If you are experiencing back pain, or are interested in seeing if functional exercises may help you, contact us today to set up an appointment!

Thanks, Molly and Proactive Chiropractic for sharing with us today!
How do you incorporate functional exercise into your fitness routine?

Tell us in the comments below!

30-Minute Total Body Circuit Workout

Hi Everyone!
It’s been awhile. I wanted to talk to you today about circuit training. This type of workout is definitely one of the most efficient ways to get a workout if you don’t have a lot of time or equipment.
There are several reasons I love circuit training, so here they are:
– strength training and cardio combined
– doable anywhere
– works the entire body
– blasts fat and builds muscle

So what are you waiting for?

How this workout works:

You will do each exercise for one minute each, then move on to the next exercise. When you have done one set of all the exercises rest for one minute, repeat this cycle 2-3 more times. Then cool down and stretch. As you get fit, try seeing how many reps you can do for time or add resistance. I recommend using the exercise library at if you need exercise tutorials. Enjoy!

Peace, Love and New Mom Life

Hi There!

Yes, I know how long it’s been since I’ve written…I have been a little preoccupied though. Baby Erin entered the world on July 30th and life’s been a whirlwind ever since.

I’d love to tell you the past 8 weeks have been a fairy tale, and don’t get me wrong, I love my little one, and I love being her mother. It just seems as if the rest of the world had a vendetta against me for having a baby sometimes. Thankfully my husband is very supportive, and although I was diagnosed with postpartum depression, I seem to be returning back to normal relatively quickly, according to my doctor.

Just a side note: if you have a new mom friend that’s suffering from postpartum depression, just reach out. Even if you don’t know what to say, just listening and being there for her without saying a word speaks volumes. Unfortunately this wasn’t my experience across the board…I won’t go into detail, but it is very damaging when you feel like those around you lose any kind of faith in your abilities to function…Leave that stuff to the professionals.

Little Erin is pretty wonderful though. She entered the world at 8 pounds and 1 ounce and hasn’t stopped eating ever since…(She gets that from Micah.) Is motherhood easy? No. Is it wonderful? Yes. Erin is already holding her head up very well and loves tummy time…and yes, she is already a music snob. LOL.

Oh, but I still hold the record on napping…that is no contest…I confess to reaching for my coffee mug immediately after nursing…

My favorite part of having this Sweet One to take care of though, is the snuggles. Ahhh, the snuggles. When she falls asleep, it’s as if the rest of the world pauses for a moment. This little chunky angel loves going on walks in the stroller or baby carrier. She goes straight to sleep when I do slow squats with her strapped to me! (Yay for exercise!)

Erin has started smiling a lot in past week and a half, which is so neat! She makes faces like a cartoon character and loves to wiggle…my goodness, I know now why I felt her trying to kick her way out…she was…


Speaking of exercise, I’ve never been so happy to work out in my life! Doing stand-up squats and walking was about the limit of what I was allowed to do…I’m someone who likes to pick up heavy weights, and all that mess was messing with my head. While a lot of women start back to working out after 2 weeks, I had to take it slower than most because of receiving a blood transfusion at the hospital. It took me about a month before I started to feel like myself energy-wise.

Once I started walking about 3-5 times a week, the weight started falling off. Nursing causes me to have to keep my calorie intake at a pretty high level, but I try to put high quality calories in because it Erin’s and my nutritional needs more efficiently. Oh, and I’ve never wanted to just chug a bucket of ice water like I do now…In the mornings, I wake up and feel like I just walked through a desert.

There’s been a lot of changes in our household…saying “hello” to new friends and saying “goodbye” to old ones. As tough as that might seem right now, Micah and I believe some of the tough decisions we’ve faced as a family in the past few weeks are for the best, and that “In every element of rejection, there is divine protection.”  And God is never late or early, but you’ll never meet anyone more punctual. No one walks with him without facing trouble, but the trials we face can drive away or make us take refuge in Him – I choose the latter of the two.


Micah and I definitely have sleep-deprived, new parent look going on in this picture….haha.

A dear friend of mine once told me that I would reach a place in my life where the question I needed to ask was not “Why?” but “Lord, what could you be to me in this situation that you couldn’t be in any other?” I believe that as we are in this whirlwind of change as a family, both good and not so good, that God wants to be our protector, refuge, provider and friend who sticks closer than a brother. Something that I have come to know so much more deeply in the past 2 months. He is also my joy…dealing with post partum depression has been a struggle, but I haven’t lost my purpose. Sometimes God brings us the biggest blessings, like Erin, to push us through dark days. “Even when we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny himself.” God sends us the greatest joys in life when we are about to go through the toughest trials. Romans 8:28 says, “For we know that God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”

I would definitely say that having a baby has grown the relationship Micah and I have as a married couple. Having to work through so many decisions together has made us grow closer in so many ways. One thing that I’ve learned is that it is so important for us to always have each others’ backs. You can both be insistent on being right or, you can work together as an act of love towards your spouse. Good parenting is the definition of teamwork.

So to sum it up, motherhood is not easy, but it is easily the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, and I would do it all over again.






Monday Motivation: Setting Goals

Hi! So here it is on Monday, and…we got freezing rain…again! Winter just does not want to let go of his grip!  Today, I’m here to talk about persistence. James says, “Let patience have it’s perfect work, so that you do not grow weary and lose heart.” Wow, I wish it were easy, but many times, I know that at the slightest sign of difficulty, I’ve thrown up my hands and walked away from some great opportunities, but that’s not the case anymore! I’ve been learning some things about my self the past 2 months, and one of those things has been that in the past, I’ve talked about goals, but never laid out the ground work to reach them. I get caught up in the grandiose vision of achieving a certain goal, but then try to “guestimate” my way there. My advice: when you set a goal, do the research. Make a detailed plan. Know your strengths. Know your weaknesses. Make a sacrifice to get there. Without sacrifice, you will have no ownership in your goal. Some of the best decisions I’ve made in life have been risks.
Here are some tips to help you reach your goals:
1. Write out your goals. Be specific. For example, my next fitness goal is to have a six pack…I’m actually close right now. The goal I had before was to have a flat tummy again. I wrote this down in my fitness journal.
2. Do some research. If you want, slimmer thighs, then you may not want to do powerlifting to reach your goal. Is this an extreme example, yes, but you get my point. That said, do not overlook strength training if that is your goal. Do you want more energy, then do research about programs that allow you sufficient nutrition…a “no carb” diet is not for you. Ask a fitness professional that specializes in the types of goals that you have.
3. Get accountability. So many of us lose sight because we’re afraid to tell anyone what we’re about to do…for whatever reason. Find someone who will encourage you but also be honest with you. Announce your intentions on your social media. It works.
4. Show up. If you never start, then you can’t finish. It’s that simple. Just commit to starting your workout…once the balls rolling, it’s harder to get off track.

I hope this helps! This may not come naturally to you, but anything worth having must be worked for!

Stay warm! 

Workout Wednesday: Butts and Guts

I’m so excited!!! Today marks my first post as a Sweat Pink ambassador, and as part of the group Fitness Media in Motion, and I’m proud to be a part of both. It’s humbling and a tremendous blessing to be affiliated with such prestigious names.

I’m so excited to present this workout to you today! I’ve been experimenting with the pre-exhausting technique: working a muscle that usually takes over first in an exercise so that you can grow weaker muscles. For example, I used quad extensions in this workout, because they usually get the most activation instead of glutes and hammies when I squat. I tend to have stronger quads anyway, well I tell you, this technique works. In the past 2 weeks, I can already tell a difference in my hamstrings. This workout is home-friendly and gym-friendly, so you could really do this anywhere. This workout went by quickly and will scorch your lower abs and glutes in about 30 minutes!

Seated Leg Extensions: Sit in a chair with a resistance band tied around your ankles. Work one side at a time, straightening your right leg and contracting the quads in the front of the leg. Slowly return leg to start position. Repeat for repetitions, then change legs. If you’re in a gym, use their leg extension machine. This is your pre-exhaust exercise.

Walking Lunge to 1-leg Dead Lift: (This is an advanced move. If you’re a first-timer, try just walking lunges, then add deadlifts when you perfect your form.)Step your R foot forward in a lunge. Keeping weight in the right heel, bring L foot forward to meet R. Hinge at the hips, and bend so back is parallel with the floor. Slowly return to standing. This is a challenge, so don’t rush.

Side Skaters: Use a marker to create a boundary to hop over, such as a band or jump rope. Standing on the L side, hope over to the R and lift L leg. Keeping abs in and R knee slightly bent. Repeat, alternating sides. Do this move for 20 seconds!

Hip Thrust: Sitting on the ground with shoulders against a bench (or the couch) with legs straight on the ground, press into your heels, bending knees and lifting hips off the floor. Your shoulders, not neck should be pressing into the bench. Squeeze glutes at the top, then lower, and repeat. This is an advanced move, so if you’re unsure, do glute bridges.

Pop Squats: With knees slightly bent, jump out into a squat, and slowly descend. Jump feet together, and sink back into a squat. Repeat. Modification: walk feet out while staying at least halfway into the squat, then walk feet in.

Reverse Crunches: Lie on your back, feet on the floor. Zip up your abs, and use them, not momentum to bring your knees to your chest, with a lift at the top.

Walking Planks: Get into a plank on the hands, and “walk” hands and feet to the R for 5 steps, then to the L for 5 steps.