I’ve Never Been a Fan of Yoga…Until Tonight

I’ve always been one of those people that has found yoga a bit underwhelming.  The standing still…the heavy breathing…the sweaty air…and sometimes the passing of unpleasing gas from fellow yogis has always left me feeling, well a little less than thrilled.  Well, tonight all that changed.

After feeling incredibly sore after teaching my Butts & Guts Class last night, I knew that tonight’s workout would need to be a recovery workout.  But, I didn’t feel like doing your run of the mill foam roll and stretch session, so I decided to take a gander at some yoga apps in the iTunes Store.  I clicked on a few here and there, not really finding any of them appealing.  Then I clicked on FitStar Yoga. The reviews were ok, and I had just gotten both of my youngest babies asleep, so I decided to give it a try.  (It was also a free download)

FitStar YogaFitStar Yoga – Increase Flexibility, Lose Weight, & Reduce Stress with Personalized Video Fitness Workouts Led By Tara Stiles – FitStar, Inc.

To start, it took me through a fitness test that was 18 minutes long and 46 poses in total.  I was able to rate the difficulty of each pose as I went through the fitness test much to my surprise, I was finding myself relaxing AND getting a great stretch.  So, I kept going and before I knew it, found myself looking for the next workout.

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Scrolling through, I found more workouts, but the ones I wanted to try were locked so I thought maybe I’d check out the membership option…you know…just incase I might want to TRY this yoga thing.  WELL…I’m hooked.

I bougbetter-tara-2ht it for the entire year for $29.99 that included unlimited workouts, full support, and CUSTOMIZATION ($7.99/month option too). After my second CUSTOMIZED yoga workout for the night, (with membership you can request how difficult the workout is) I’m looking forward to many more days of trying out this app.  Who knew the anti-yogi would go for the yoga app?  Well, at this point, I’m feeling relaxed, stretched out and recovered which is what ANY mother of 3 wants after a long day home with the kids!! Yay for yoga!

Happy Fitstar Yoga Workouts to come!

10 Ways to Stay Active with Your Kids This Summer

Staying Active with Your Kids This Summer

Summer Fun

The summer is all about enjoying the outdoors, relaxing, and reaping the benefits of all our hardwork through the colder months.  But, it also means SCHOOL IS OUT!
So, how will you keep your kids entertained and stay active at the same time?
1. Run through the sprinklers – TOGETHER
2. Create a scavenger hunt that requires you to walk to find the items.  A metro park is a great place to do this.
3.  Have a family relay race in the yard or at the park.  Make it fun so that the winner receives a fun summer treat or combine with #1.
4.  On rainy days, play make-believe.  Create scenarios where the living room may be a jungle, where you have to crawl down and around different rocks (chairs), trees (lamps), and sneak by animals (stuffed animals) to get to your tent (bed sheets draped over furniture).  
5. Climb on the jungle gym at the park – TOGETHER.  Repeat until you as the adult start to feel sweaty.
6. Plan a bike ride together.  If your children are old enough to ride their own bikes, choose a bike path, metro park or section of your neighborhood where you can all ride safely together.  If you’ve a little one or multiple little ones, invest in a bike buggy and turn your workout into an adventure for your child(ren)!
  
7.  Create workout plans together.  Before doing the workout, have your child(ren) help create the workout.  You will be amazed to see the creativity that they can bring and how much more challenging your workout can be with a little help from your kid(s)!8.  Follow a tv or dvd workout together.  Whether I’m doing kickboxing or a core workout, when my son sees me doing a workout on the tv, all he wants to do is join in.
9.  Have a dance party!  Make a playlist with your little one(s) of your favorite dance songs and and let your bodies wiggle!  Don’t stop dancing until the entire playlist is finished!
10. Play a family sport outside.  Maybe this is as simple as a game of freeze tag, or it’s a larger family affair of holding a softball tournament.  Make it even more fun by grilling out afterward, and picking up the game again when meal time is finished!  

 

Want to Work on Your Butt? Try This Workout:

The Mini-band Butt Workout

This workout is simple but it is not easy.  It is designed to activate muscles that you didn’t know existed and to help shape your body from the inside out.  All you will need is a set of mini bands and a workout mat.  Perform each exercise for 3-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions.
                        
EXERCISE #1:

Clams

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Preparation :
Lying on your side with a mini band placed around the knees, position your body so that your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle and 45 degrees from the hip.

Movement :
Stabilizing the ankles and keeping the feet together, lift the top knee away from the bottom knee working against the resistance of the band. Return the top knee to the bottom knee to repeat the repetitions to finish the set.

 

EXERCISE #2:

Band Walks

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Preparation :
Place a mini band around either your knees or your ankles.

Movement :
If around the ankles, stand upright with the feet hip width apart, and if around the knees, position the body in a proper squat position. Keep the shoulders square, core engaged, and glutes squeezed. Step laterally with one foot with the feet aligned just outside the hips. Step in with the other foot to align the feet with the hips again. Continue walking in the same direction until repetitions are complete. Repeat in the opposite direction to finish the set.

 

EXERCISE #3:

Bridge with Mini Band

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Preparation :

  • Comfortably place tubing around your upper thigh as depicted.
  • Lie flat on your back with your knees bent, feet straight ahead and arms to your side.

 

EXERCISE #4:

Lateral Lunge to Balance

 

Preparation :

  • Begin with both feet shoulder-width apart and hands on hips
  • Movement :
    • Lunge to the side landing on the entire foot, coming to a stabilized position, with mobile foot pointing at a slight angle (to allow for the slight external rotation that must occur when abduction occurs at the hip), and the knee directly over 2nd and 3rd toe.
    • The lunge knee should be bent 90° while the stationary leg is straight.
    • From this position drive off of front foot (heel first) onto back leg.
    • Stand directly up into a balance position with balance leg straight and opposite leg flexed 90° at the hip and knee with foot dorsiflexed.
    • Note: This can be done in all three planes of motion: frontal, sagittal and transverse.
    • Progression: On airex pad or other unstable surface.

Movement :

  • Brace the spine by drawing your abdomen inward.
  • Squeeze glutes and raise pelvis vertically from floor.
  • Maintain glute activity throughout the entire exercise.
  • It is important not to let your back arch at any time during the movement.
  • Use a slow tempo (2 second concentric /2 second isometric /4 second eccentric) while abducting and adducting the hips against the band.
  • Do not allow knees to “jut” forward.
  • To increase glute activity, lift toes up.
  • Maintain a level pelvis throughout the entire exercise.

 

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How to Get in a Workout When You Have Children Around

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                                   photo courtesy of Rx Muscle

 

I first realized that my at-home workout ritual changed for good when my first child became mobile.  I was in my workout space that I had created and was about to begin my workout on a stability ball when I heard him crawl toward the ball, gurgles and all.  After a few attempts at trying to rush through my workout, I decided to get creative.

 Including Your Children In Your Workout

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                        photo courtesy of Baby Fit Sparkpeople

 

While my son was too young to hop on a kiddie treadmill, I decided to make it fun by making him my weights that I lifted.  I would put him in the Ergo Baby Carrier, and do squats, lunges and monster walks with the band.  I would lie on my back and “bench press” him.  For cardio, I would strap him on my back and I would climb stairs at the local park.  I really REALLY got a good workout in then.

Let Them Play!

During in-home personal training sessions, I meet with other mothers who either work from home, are stay-at-home mothers, or like one particular client, is able to work from home 1 day a week.  During this time, her two sons and my daughter are present, but that doesn’t keep us from working out.  Instead, it allows us to connect!

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The children of course play with their own toys, but if one or more expresses an interest in what we are doing, then we include them in the workout.

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My daughter plays (supervised) with safer workout equipment with my client’s son while his mother and I train during a personal training session.

 

Buy Them Their Own Toy Equipment              

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is your child too young for school but old enough to climb the walls while you workout?  Include them by buying them equipment so that they too can workout.  There is a great line of exercise equipment by Redmon available on Amazon that allows kids to walk on a foam treadmill, lift on a foam bench press, and even ride a stationary bike.   Melissa & Doug also has colorful activity cones on Amazon for fun drills that you can do with your child as well!  These creative toys can get them in the habit of exercising while finding it fun.

For more fun posts from my mommy blog, please visit http://www.opalmom.com!

Getting Through the Mommy-Do List (or ANYTHING for that matter) with Four Simple Words

My daily mommy-do list is always full of things that need to be done before the day is finished with many carry-over items when life needs my attention more than what’s on the list. This can be frustrating at times, but when it comes down to what really matters, some of those things on the list can wait. To help me determine which items can wait, and which need my more immediate attention, I use four simple words: Organize, Prioritize, Act and Let Go.

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Today, I haven’t any clients to see, so I’ve constructed a list of mommy-do tasks to tackle for the day. When I have days where I don’t have to work outside of being a mommy on-the-go, I fill this list with a slew of items that I am determined to accomplish before the day is over. As I sit here sipping my coffee, I’ve already cooked and eaten my breakfast, finished a load of laundry (that now needs to be dried and folded), had our upstairs neighbor dump a bucket of water on their back deck only to rain down and soak all of the furniture on my back deck, spoken with said neighbors and attempted to soak up the mess, and written the original version of this entire blog only to have it randomly erased (and unsaved) by WordPress. Great start to the day, right? But here I am, starting over. What can I say, I’m an optimist and overachiever (understatement of the year). So, before I let my head get in the way of what will actually happen during the course of today, I’m going to share how I integrate OPAL into my day to help me accomplish what is needed without getting overwhelmed or worse, down on myself.

ORGANIZE

In order to conquer the world, I of course need a plan of action. For some this means making an actual schedule where their time is held accountable by a timetable, and I’ve seen plenty of these SAHM templates online. For me, this works for all of 1 day before I’m found curled up in a ball, in the corner, quaking from an irrational disdain that I have for the piece of paper containing the time table that “made me” slave all day. So, when I decide to ORGANIZE, I simply make a list of the things that I would like to achieve for the next day.

PRIORITIZE

If you’re anything like me, you may find your list looking like a bucket list. In my mind, I am super woman and can fly from one place to another managing to finish everything in a matter of seconds before my kids decide to tear it apart again. In the real world, I’m still pretty amazing, however, I’d like to have my sanity when it’s time to go to bed. So, I PRIORITIZE what’s on my list. First and foremost, I PRIORITIZE my health and well being. Without them, I cannot be asked to do much of anything without growing impatient, stubborn or downright pushy with anyone that I encounter. So, the first things that I push to the top of my list are the very things that will put me in the right frame of mind to mindfully go about my day. These things may include working out, meditating with my children, taking time to write my thoughts in a journal, or just taking 10 minutes to sit and do absolutely nothing. I cannot stress enough how important the practice of self-care is when setting out to be productive for the day. After these things are set, I take a look at the rest of my list and choose three small tasks along with one to two larger tasks.

ACT

Now that I’ve ORGANIZED and PRIORITIZED my list, I feel pretty accomplished. However, ACTING on what I’ve set out to do is the actual goal. I’m one of those people who abhors being told what to do, (partly why I own my own business and am a personal trainer for a living) so my list of tasks needs to look particularly appealing. This is also why I put self care items at the top of the list. I am more likely to ACT upon my attaining my goals if I feel important and nurtured from the start.

LET GO

This is the most important of all the words for me to follow. It’s usually when my family is fed, the kids are bathed, story time is finished and everyone is in bed that I revisit my list to see what is left. It’s usually at this time that I also feel as though I can tackle everything that I didn’t PRIORITIZE on my list in addition to the items still left on it like doing an extra load of laundry, mopping the floors and even cleaning the bathroom. This is where I need to LET GO. If I didn’t PRIORITIZE it on my list, then it doesn’t need to be tackled for the night. On the flip side, if I didn’t finish everything on my list, that is ok. I decidedly take this time at the end of the night to listen to my body and how I am feeling. If I still have the energy to finish up a few things I started earlier in the day, then I will finish those things. However, if my day was rife with more challenges than I expected, then I might revisit one of the self care items on my list and repeat so that I can have a more restful sleep in preparation for the next day.

Following these four words that make up the OPAL in OPAL Mom™ really help me when it comes to doing anything. It’s not just the mommy-do list that needs to be addressed in my day, as I’m sure is the same for other mothers out there. One of the great things (and challenging things) about being a mom is that our days change from moment to moment requiring us to stay on our toes and be adaptable. And if all else fails, there’s always tomorrow.

For more information about my mommy blog and to join the OPAL Mom™ Community Forum, please visit: http://www.opalmom.com