Category Archives: fitness

3 Essentials for a Fit Pregnancy

3 Essentials for a Fit Pregnancy

When I found out I was pregnant, I wanted to make sure that I had the healthiest pregnancy possible. I was no means a rock star when it came to staying on top of my goals; however, I do think that I managed to make it through my entire pregnancy healthy and made sure anything I did was in moderation.

Through my first trimester, I learn a lot about listening to my body, not skipping meals (which I’m really bad at doing), and keeping active. It truly is hard as your body changes, you are tired, and you are sore in all new places. Growing a healthy baby is obviously important, but it is also hard not to give into the American message that being pregnant means you can eat whatever, whenever. My major go-to treat was chocolate ice cream cones from Dairy Queen; however, I still limited myself (so I would not end up there daily) and managed to “treat” myself when I felt like it was necessary (which sometimes felt like it should be every day). At the end of my pregnancy, a nightly walk through the neighborhood seemed like a daunting chore, but I stuck through it and love that I was able to continue through my entire 40 weeks healthy.

There are three major things that kept me going through my pregnancy that helped me stay fit. I cannot wait to be cleared for normal activity again now that Ollie is here, but until then, I wanted to share these items with you!

1. CamelBak Eddy Water Bottle

Your water intake is an important part of your life, regardless of a pregnancy or not. However, it is super important during your pregnancy. There is a very clear difference in my daily water intake from the days that I have my CamelBak by my side and those days that I do not. I have this thing by my side at all times and it really helped me stay on track during my pregnancy. Keeping hydrated also helped me feel better about myself, more alert, and more likely to be active in general.

2. Great Maternity Active Wear

I am not sure I would have gotten through my pregnancy with some great active tops. I found all of my tops from Old Navy on clearance in the fall and I am still rocking them post-birth! They are so soft, flowy, and worked great when nothing else fit! I also love them now because they are not tight on my stomach and are easy to nurse in this summer.

I also lived in my Fabletics Salar Capris up until my last month of pregnancy. I could not believe how long they fit me while my belly grew! If you have not tried Fabletics active gear yet, you should definitely try them out! They are the best material, super soft and high quality. You also can try your first outfit for only $25! Not only does this get you an entire workout outfit, but it also gives you VIP member access with exclusive access to sales, discounts, and special deals!

3. BaoBei Belly Sport Band

I had sciatic nerve pain since the very beginning of my pregnancy. Simply walking sometimes was a huge pain, especially at the beginning. I wasn’t really prepared for this so early! I found BaoBei Belly Sport Band on Instagram through a Tone It Up gal who loved hers. The more I read about it, I knew I had to get one. It is designed for both pregnancy support and post-pregnancy care. This band supports the abdominals, take pressure off the low back, and eases many common discomforts of pregnancy including sciatic pain. I was nervous that I would not use it much, but I ended up wearing this band almost every day regardless if I was active or not. It grew with me and helped me carry the weight of my belly towards the end of my pregnancy. I also wore it for the first week I was home from the hospital as my belly shrunk a bit each day. It was perfect to help keep my stomach in places where it should be instead of sagging down.

Belly Support :: My BaoBei

Here is how my BaoBei fit at 24 weeks!

It really helped keep the life of my favorite Fabletics workout pants and winter active top.

Belly Support :: My BaoBei

Belly Support :: My BaoBei

Here is how my BaoBei fit at 31 weeks!

Belly Support :: My BaoBei

Belly Support :: My BaoBei

Here is how my BaoBei fit at 39 weeks!

I could not believe how my Old Navy running shorts still fit underneath my belly, but I really needed some support. My belly band acted like a sports bra for my belly, helping hold it up!

Belly Support :: My BaoBei

Belly Support :: My BaoBei

Do you have any pregnancy fitness secrets or tips??

Bella Beat LEAF Fitness Jewelry

Duston and I make lots of attempts to be healthy throughout our lives. From diet to exercise, we allow each other a lot of grace and a lot of support. Grace is definitely needed through all of this as the months get colder and closer to the holidays. We stay in bed in the mornings instead of going to the gym. We eat cookies to “test” for the holidays. The line in between healthy and the holidays get a bit blurred.

I am so excited this year to take such a pro-active approach this year with my new Bella Beat! The Bella Beat LEAF is something that I have been eyeing for months now. It is beautiful, easy to use, and such a great addition to my life.

Tick tock! The clock is ticking here at Bellabeat - with every tick, we get closer to the launch of the third batch of the LEAF, with every tock, you get closer to finally owning the world's smartest piece of jewelry! It's a matter of days before we open a new round of orders for the LEAF - get on our waiting list now and don't miss the news! Join it now on bellabeat.com

Bella Beat is an activity tracker that is designed specifically for women! I have used a handful of activity trackers in my life and have never seen anything like my LEAF. It’s a wearable fitness tracker, like many are; however, the options of wearing it are endless.

Out of the box, it can directly clip onto my sports bra or shirt as a pennant. It also has the options to wear as a beautiful necklace or a bracelet as well! I cannot believe how many compliments I receive on the necklace alone when I wear it out. Then my friends get even more excited when I tell them that it is an activity tracker.

Accessories are always a touch of pretty, but with the LEAF, you also get a touch of smart to go with the pretty :) #bellabeat #wearables #jewelry #health #tracker bellabeat.com

Because Bella Beat LEAF is made with for women specifically, the tracking side of the wearable speaks to my heart. It tracks so many great things.

Breathing/Stress
I feel like everyone leads a stressful and busy life. With my LEAF and my LEAF app, I am able to spend some time each day on breathing exercises that allows me to take control of stressful situations. There are goals that I can set for each day to help keep me on track.

Sleep
I always feel like I do not get enough sleep. With Bella Beat LEAF, I can track my sleep patterns, reveal the quantity and quality of my sleep, and use this to adjust bedtimes or caffeine happens in my life.

Activity
Since working from home, my activity level throughout my day has decreased significantly! My LEAF tracks every movement throughout my day and lets me know when I need to increase my activity. I also set an alarm to vibrate after an hour of stillness. It’s super helpful to to keep me moving throughout the day.

Monthly Cycles
I love being able to track my monthly cycles inside the same app of all of my other health stuff. From ovulation, premenstrual, and period days, I can now see this right along side my activity, sleep, and stress patterns. Also, inside the app, you can add pregnancies as well!

Smart Alarm
Like I mentioned early, there are smart alarms that you can add through the Bella Beat LEAF app to help you stay on track to your goals. Beyond the InActivity Alarm, there is a Wake Up Alarm, Important Event Alarm, and a Pill Reminder as well!

In addition to all of the awesome features, my LEAF syncs to my phone wireless. It comes with six month battery life, and a 14 day memory. If you want to know more about LEAF or are interested in joining the LEAF community, head on over to their website!

Thank you, Bella Beat, for sponsoring this post. I was selected for this opportunity by Bella Beat; the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

3 Ways to Exercise (Poolside)

The clouds have finally parted in the Midwest, and hopefully it is for more than a day or two. And even with this year’s rainy days…followed by more rainy days, I think I have had better luck this year traveling back down to Southern Illinois to my hometown to be poolside than I have had in the part two years. This past weekend, my sister and I got to spend some hours resting in the sunshine and decided instead of being lazy bums for the whole afternoon, we would take a quick moment and do some workout as well!!

Working out in the pool, especially with a buddy, just does not seem like much work to me. And, man, it is it fun! Here are three ways that we exercised poolside:

1) Poolside Crunches
First, swing your legs up onto the concrete (poolside) and sit your bottom up against the liner of the pool. Your knees should be bending at the edge of the pool. Then start doing normal crunches. Obviously, if you fully extend back to a sitting position, your head will be underwater. This actually makes me more motivated to do additional crunches!

2) Trending Water
Have a contest of who can trend water the longest! We held our abs tight the entire time to give us that extra boost of a workout. Try a race with just legs, or just arms. The one that can keep their head above water the longer wins! I swear it will wear you out and we got a lot of laughs in the process.

3) Leg Kicks
Head back to the side of the pool, hold on tight to the side, and kick! We tried to kick as fast as we could without splashing. For some reason, this is harder than with splashing. Then we tighten our abs while kicking. Our next round, we squared up our elbows and flexed our arms while we kicked. Finally, we splashed until our hearts were content.

What are some of your favorite workout (poolside) routines? I would love to hear more!

photo credit

fitness fridays :: music

Today is my first day back to the gym in a week. A week! That does not really sound like a long time; but for me, there are two 5k’s on the horizon. This past week I have been struggling to breath — let alone run and breath. I think there is no better way to motivate myself to get back into the gym than a new playlist. I have been jumping through a few on my Spotify playlists over the summer and finally sat down to comply my favorites for you!

FitSugar has quite possibly the best compilation of workout playlists on the web. From 20 minute bike rides to half marathon playlists and everything in between, they provide updated playlists at least once a month!

I also love sharing and viewing others tips and tricks for staying healthy and fit! Feel free to check out my Pinterest workout board for even more inspiration!

Follow Heather’s board sweat. on Pinterest.

photo credits :: Fit Sugar

fitness fridays.

fitness fridays

I have absolutely never been a runner. I have never been athletic. I have always been the creative kid – reading literature, writing stories from within, and everything photography related. I have an imagination that functions a degree away from Walter Mitty and more vivid, outrageous dreams than anyone else I know. But after graduating college, I found my world turned upside down and my “life plan” in shambles, shattered across the payment like little pieces of glass. I had a strong desire to look back at my life and figure out how to define “me” again. It was not easy and it took literally a full year and a half to really be able to stand on the ground on my two feet again with confidence. But I made it. I struggled through peaks and valleys (both) during those 18 months, but I found running.

Running that summer after graduation instantly gave a new definition to who I was. It was something that was against the grain of my personality, my identity, and my being. I remember calling my father on the way to the gym and him giggling at the idea of me running. Not in a hateful way, but because the idea was so out-there for me. I first started going with a friend, who was highly athletic. A college soccer player who had ran her entire life. She encouraged me, uplifted me, and taught me about each machine in the gym. She allowed me mold into her routine. It was more needed than she will probably ever know. I would take my iPod, focus on my steps, weights, and crunches, and it was insanely pleasing to my soul.

I was the 75 pound eighth grader that took twenty minutes to run a mile in grade school. There was no foreshadowing to this part of my story; however, I believe I have learn some advice to give in the process.

1. Do not wait to buy the gear.

  • There are many studies and articles that say not to buy the new workout clothes or new running shoes until you have put enough quarters in a jar for each gym visit as an reward. Do they know how many quarters that is?? I am a full supporter of gear making me motivated. If I do not have running shorts clean or a fresh sports bra, the deal is typically out; there is not gym visit that day. Additionally, when I started, I was not a previous “athletic” person…I had nothing but volunteer T-shirts, pajama pants, and regular bras. I am not even sure I owned a pair of sport shoes. I would have felt more uncomfortable not looking the part. And I know that sounds silly, and that I care what those strangers at the gym think of me, but I did… and that would have made it enough to demotivate me. My favorite gear is still really cheap and reasonable. My best and most worn workout clothes are all Old Navy and all of my sport bras are from American Eagle. I have learn that although you can buy, you do not have to splurge.

2. Regardless of how you poorly you have treated your body in the past, you can change it.

  • After neglecting to care for my body for much of my life, running was my gateway to other, greater things. Each gym visit gets easier. My sleep improved. And I will have more energy. Each time I get out of my routine, I struggle for even the desire to walk the block to the gym for a ten minute treadmill pick-me-up. However, once I go, tomorrow is less of a struggle and less of a drag. I even better than I did better, and growing up a child that indulge in vegetables does not even compared to the healthy habits that I pick up when I am running.

3. Some days I do not like running.

  • I really don’t. I have a conversation with myself about how my knee is going to randomly give out or that maybe I will fall off the treadmill in an empty gym and lay there for hours without any help. Some days I set my alarm for a 5am run to wake up angry at myself when my alarm goes off; I immediately throw my phone across the bed. I tell myself that my body wasn’t made to be a runner, that my body is punishing me for “all of a sudden” deciding to attempt to be athletic. I beat myself up to the point that I feel bad if I go and terrible if I don’t, but there is the one thing that I try to focus on… terrible if I don’t. I always worse if I do not make it to the gym and thankfully, God encourages me that I can do it, and that he did not give me a faulty body regardless of what I think day-in and day-out.

4. If you have time to read blogs about running, you have time to workout.

  • I read this once in a blog. Seriously. I laughed and immediately put my computer down and went to the gym. It all goes back to living intentionally. There is always time, especially for those things that will better your life and the lives of others around you for the glory of God. If it is a priority, then the time will be important enough. And this goes for all aspects of life :: prayer, evenings with your husband, coffee dates with friends, and running.

5. It is okay to set goals that do not make sense to others.

  • I sometimes go to the gym specifically at 6:30pm. Not because it is convenient, but because I can watch a full episode of Wheel of Fortune and not even realize the time. When I started running, I would try to make it on the treadmill for an entire episode of Gossip Girl or some other ridiculous show that I loved at the time. I did not care if I was running, jogging, or walking; an hour on the treadmill is an accomplishment.

I do not consider myself a “runner” like some people do. I do not have any medals and I do not typically enjoy running outside unless the weather is just right. I make a thousand of excuses for myself and consistently tell myself that the “old” me did not run, which means running now is pointless. However, the moment that I find the perfect beat in a Lecrae or more likely, Rend Collective, my soul is filled. And that is really want matters. Running is like life; there are victories and defeats in every day life, but we have to keep pressing on to make sure that we make it to the finish line with the same intention to which we started.

What’s your motivation for exercise? Are any of you out there new to it, like me? How did you get started?