Exactly seven months after my baby was born, I’m back. I’m proud to introduce Knox who as it turns out, is also a mover.
Becoming parents has not been easy, but we’re finally feeling a bit more like ourselves these days. More on that later, but more importantly, it’s March. That means March MATness. 31 days of pilates.
I’m excited on all levels. I’m working, pumping and spending time with my babe which hasn’t left much energy for working out during the week. All parts of me needs pilates everyday.
Let me know if you want to join me!
For the first time while traveling, I became really frustrated with my workouts. It was still super cold in Cleveland so I couldn’t (ok maybe wouldn’t) walk. I’ve relied on the Nike Training Club App and these go-to workouts, but there just not working as well with my new body. I end up having to adjust the exercises so much, I barely follow the workout.
I tried a bunch of pre-natal workout options and none of them gave me a true workout (or even a little burn which is all I’m looking for). I have even been stubborn and attending a lot of classes not meant for pre-natal ladies. What I learned is that the normal fitness junkie would have a to have a ton of knowledge to modify the workouts because it’s just too much for an instructor to give you the attention you would actually need in class (so please be careful mamas!).
Here are my pre-natal go-to workouts:
- Hatha yoga – Pre-natal yoga is great, but let’s be honest, it’s not much of a workout. I took a two hour pre-natal yoga seminar from The Pad Studios and it was the best $45 I could have spent. It taught me how to be safe and continue practicing yoga. The flow classes are a bit too much for me personally so I’ve been going to hatha classes which holds the poses a bit longer and is a more intentional pace. These were my favorite tips:
- Twisting is OK, but twist while keeping your torso open. That means you’ll likely be twisting the opposite direction of everyone else in class. If you think you are crunching your baby – you are crunching your baby!
- Widen your stance when in doubt. As you grow, your center of gravity shifts making balancing particularly challenging. Stand with your feet hip width apart instead of together. For hip opener stretches, widen your leg to the side more than you would think. In humble warrior, bow towards the center instead of next to your leg. Etc.
- Squat – just squat all the time. Low squat, high squat, open leg squat – just do it. Squats build those magic pelvic floor muscles and the low squat will release them. I’ll let you think through the benefits of both.
- Swimming – This along with maternity clothes has completely changed my pregnancy. To feel weightless is indescribable right now. Head to your nearest pool, trust me. I started swimming 2,000 yards (or 80 laps) twice a week and feel great.
- Spinning – Ok, this one is getting harder. I plant myself in the back because I can’t seem to keep the beat with all those gorgeous 20-somethings, but I feel great after and the arm weight component serves as a good break in between all the pedaling.
- Pilates – Of course I’m still doing pilates! I plan to post a side kick series video shortly and there’s still a lot I am able to do. I still do abdominal work with a shorter range of motion. While it might not be for everyone especially pilates newbies, it feels great to access those muscles. Note: talk to a trainer before you decide to do pre-natal ab work (you do have to be careful of your rectus abdominis muscles).
And please stretch! It makes all the difference in the world.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get an offer for a liver while Nick was at the top of the list for two weeks. Last week, his liver numbers improved (dropped) bringing his MELD score down and subsequently moving him back down on the list. Apparently, his liver isn’t ready to go just yet.
Nick is getting much better and is already looking forward to his follow-up surgery to reconnect his intestine and bid the bag adieu. We are looking into other transplant centers with lower waiting lists, mainly one in New Orleans and another in Charlotte. In case you’re curious, you’re MELD (model for end-stage liver disease) ranges from 0-40. UCSF seems to be transplanting around 34 and Cleveland is around 25, but they change all the time depending on demand.
Now, we’re just hoping a transplant and new baby do not coincide too close together.
More to come on working out while traveling and avoiding the great pastry battle.
Thanks for all of the love and support!
In my last post, I promised some news. Even I could not have imagined the news I’d be sharing this week. It has been a wild year so far with still so many changes ahead – hopefully all for the better.
My big announcement was that I’m pregnant, now 23 weeks! We had been trying to adopt a baby for over a year and we were not making any progress so we implemented the much more fun, plan b. We’re thrilled and so excited to meet our newest addition.
Apparently, that was not enough excitement and right into my second trimester, we got some bad news. My husband who has liver disease (PSC: primary sclerosing cholangitis) and ulcerative colitis was told he had to have his colon removed due to advanced dysplasia following a routine colonoscopy. It hit him and us pretty hard, but we didn’t have much time to process it all. Two weeks later he was in surgery.
The surgery was successful, however; his already overworked liver didn’t appreciate it. His liver numbers shot up and we discovered he was now eligible for a new liver through the Cleveland Clinic. Last year, we had started the process of getting wait listed in other regions. Unfortunately, California has one of the longest waits for a liver transplant so we didn’t have much choice than to start planning for surgery elsewhere.
After 10 days, he was released from the hospital to be rushed to the airport to fly to Cleveland. We’ve been in Cleveland a little over a week and are impatiently awaiting a call for an offer for a liver. He is still first on the list (your scores last one week through UNOS and then they have to report an updated number).
We moved from a hotel to a house yesterday and I’m thankful to have a kitchen and a best friend close by. We have amazing friends and family that serve as our cheerleaders. If you rock stars are reading this – THANK YOU for all the love and support. Even if we don’t answer our phones, we love hearing your voices and reading your texts and emails.
I knew pregnancy would be eventful and challenging for someone who felt so strongly about adoption, but I could have never dreamed up this story. And let me tell you, hospitals and hormones do not mix well.
I’ll do my best to keep everyone updated on Nick or at the very least let you know how I’m losing the daily pastry battle (never ever have I craved sugar this much).
It’s been awhile I know – apologies. I do have a reason which I’ll share shortly. In the meantime, HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I am one of those folks that loves to make resolutions and goals at the beginning of each year. We have a little family tradition that each person is allowed to suggest one resolution for the other. So this year, mine is to be more positive. I easily worry about far too many things beyond my control and it’s top of mind this year.
One of the most popular resolutions is fitness and working out more. I know I’ve seen a lot of fun new clients in January. If you’re ready to try some pilates, here is a quick 15 minute workout I did for my studio Internal Fire Pilates. Feedback and questions are always welcome. Enjoy!
If only I could send Joe a birthday card this year. I would thank him for changing my back, my career, my posture and my life. Pilates has given me new friends, new cities and a never-ending passion for the study of movement.
I found pilates after a back injury. You’ll never truly appreciate your spine until you can’t move it anymore. I was obsessed after my first session despite it being messy and uncoordinated. You see, I’m an athlete and I’ve always been strong, but when it came time to lift my legs above the ground… forget it.
I often tell my clients that pilates is an extremely humbling body of work, but it will change your life forever.
Pilates will teach you how to move in the best way for your body. Since every body is different, there is no one way to move. It’s why pilates instructors are taught to “teach to the body in front of you.” Clients usually begin pilates for the workout – long, lean muscles, better posture, strong core; however, what they end up valuing most is the knowledge they gain about how to move.
Yes, walking into a pilates studio is intimidating, but trust me, you’ll love it. Here are some things to scope out before you choose a studio:
- Do you research: Find a studio with instructors that have been certified in a 600 hour pilates program. Feel free to call and ask – it’s worth it to have a safe workout.
- The goods: Make sure the studio has a reformer, cadillac (sports medicine table with springs), various barrels and pilates mats.
- Start with a few privates – I know it’s pricey, but the method necessitates it. Ask for an intro special or access to an apprentice for lower rates.
- Your instructor: You have to click with your instructor. It’s a give and take relationship – make sure you find someone you are comfortable with and that will ensure you have fun while working out!
Let me know how it goes!
My sister will be the first to tell you, I’m not hip to the music scene, however….. I just made a new playlist and it’s making me so happy, I just have to share it. This one is all alternative, sorry dancers. Stay tuned for a faster playlist soon.
- High, Young Rising Sons
- Stolen Dance, Milky Chance
- Riptide, Vance Joy
- Ghost, Ella Henderson
- Take Me to Church, Hozier
- A Sky Full of Stars, Coldplay
- Ends of the Earth, Lord Huron
- Unbreakable, Jamie Scott
- Mess is Mine, Vance Joy
- Believer, American Authors
- Like Real People Do, Hozier
- Skinny Love, Bon Iver
- Mother & Father, Broods
- Love and Oceans, The Dimes
- I Will Wait, Mumford & Sons
The holidays are here! I know it’s hard to believe. I put on my tights this week and now it officially feels like fall.
We have been hosting Thanksgiving just about every year since 2008. I’d like to think we’re getting pretty good at. One year we even managed to make dinner and attend the Thanksgiving Day Parade (yes, it’s totally worth going).
Before everyone runs to the grocery store/co-op/farmer’s market this week, I wanted to share my Thanksgiving favorites. I also found these printables and can’t wait to try them out.
- Pumpkin-tini – I can’t find the recipe, but I make it every year so here it goes: vodka, pumpkin, vanilla soy creamer/canned coconut milk, pumpkin pie spice and fresh nutmeg. Alternatively, here is a fancier version.
- Turkey – we ordered our heritage turkey from 4505 Meats in the city. I’ve been told it’s great, but can’t speak to it since I’m fish and veggies only. This year, my husband wants to smoke the bird, but in years past he has perfected the apple cider brine.
- Citrus Glazed Carrots – we leave the sugar out since the orange juice sweetens it just enough.
- Pureed Butternut Squash – One of the easiest things to make: Roast squash with coconut oil, salt and pepper and puree with butter. Delish
- Pumpkin Tempeh – Marinate tempeh in pumpkin butter and then grill. Okay, yes, it has sugar in it, but it’s oh-so-good and it’s my Thanksgiving protein.
- My Mom’s Famous Stuffing – It’s not just me – everyone loves it.
- Heat oil in a big pot, then saute’ 3 chopped onions and 1 bunch of celery. Add 2.5 boxes of veggie broth and bring to a boil (veggies should be soft, not soggy) Add tbsp of poultry season and sage and let cool. Add 2-3 bags of regular whole wheat croutons and 1 bag of cornbread croutons. Fold in to avoid sogginess. If dry, add water or more broth. Cover with foil and bake for 30 mins at 350. Remove foil, shave carrots on top and bake for another 30 mins.
- Grain Free Stuffing – This is intensive, but totally worth it. I’d also recommend using Elena’s bread recipe which is included in these instructions.
- Aunt Theresa’s Mushroom Gravy – I don’t know why I don’t make this every week it’s so good.
- Here is how it’s done: Saute’ onions in oil, add chopped mushrooms (a lot), add garlic and set aside. Using the same pan, add 4 tbsp of flour and start stirring like crazy to brown it. Then slowly begin adding 4 cups of veggie broth – stir like you’ve never stirred before. Once it thickens, add the oniony mixture, grate fresh ginger and add all those Thanksgiving spices (thyme, sage, salt, pepper, etc). Add water to thin if needed.
- Elena’s Pumpkin Pie – Grain free made with honey. Awesome.
- Pumpkin Cupcakes – New this year, but incredible.
Happy Thanksgiving planning!
How many times a day are you asked, “how are you?” Likely, it’s more times than you’d care to count (add +10 if you live on the west coast). And how many times do you answer the question honestly? It has become as common as a hello, and while it’s well-intended, it’s just not genuine.
As a pilates instructor, I was taught to ask every person, HOW DOES YOUR BODY FEEL TODAY. It’s an incredibly important question for me teaching you, but it’s also a question we should ask ourselves everyday.
Our bodies can tell us so much – tightness can equate to stress while a lack of feeling anything can be our body’s ultimate defense mechanism. Have you ever felt a wave of sleepiness suddenly rush over you during an uncomfortable situation? It literally feels like someone has just powered you off? Hello, defenses.
Days are busy and those computers-in-our-pockets sure can take up a lot of time, but can you spare 3 minutes? I try to do this short 3 minute check-in while I’m riding the bus a few times per week. Try it out.
3 Minute Check-in
- If there are a lot of distractions where you happen to be, plug in your head phones and turn on some music.
- Take 15 slow breaths.
- While you breathe in and out fully, do you notice places in your body that seem to block the air? If so, try to focus on those areas.
- Take another 15 slow breaths.
- This time, try to focus on anything you felt from the first breaths you took. If there was tension, ask yourself why. If there was fear, let your self feel it. If there was sadness, be kind to yourself. If you don’t feel anything unusual, think about what you’re grateful for.
- Slowly open your eyes…and smile.
You get the idea, it’s not rocket science, but please, take of yourself a little bit too – even if it’s just for three minutes.
So, how does your body feel today?