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Postpartum Recovery with Dr. Christine Maren

Listen closely ladies: postpartum recovery is not limited to one year after having your baby.

I know so many of us are convinced that you are no longer considered postpartum after one year of having baby. AND some of you even strive to reach that one-year mark because it’s thought that all postpartum symptoms will just go away. I mean, that would just make our lives easier right? BUT…postpartum recovery AND postpartum health aren’t that simple.

I invited board-certified physician, Dr. Christine Maren, on the Core Connections podcast to teach you how to thrive postpartum and beyond.

Instead of learning to live with the “new normal”, you CAN take control of your postpartum recovery! Becoming your own health advocate, learning new lifestyle habits and wellness practices can make a drastic improvement in how you feel physically, mentally and emotionally!

Ladies, being aware, being knowledgable and being on top of your health can allow you not only heal symptoms in your body but prevent them from ever happening.

So this is Dr. Maren and I sharing our knowledge with you…not only as women’s health professionals but as moms who want you to get your life back to thriving postpartum + beyond.

If you’re ready to hear how to find better solutions, plug-in those headphones and take a listen. Things are about to get real good and it all starts with clicking play >>HERE!<<

IG: @drchristinemaren

Website: www.drchristinemaren.com

Bio: Christine Maren D.O. is a board-certified physician and the founder of an innovative, virtual functional medicine practice in Colorado, Michigan and Texas. She is also the co-founder of Hey Mami (pronounced: “Mommy”), a platform dedicated to helping women throughout the stages of motherhood.

Dr. Maren was introduced to functional medicine after struggling with pregnancy complications and recurrent miscarriages. A functional medicine approach helped her address her own underlying health issues associated with gut infections, hypothyroidism, hormone imbalance and mold toxicity.

Now a mother of three, she’s devoted her professional life to helping other modern day moms optimize their health before pregnancy, thrive postpartum and get their life back. Dr. Maren is board-certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and is an Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner (IFMCP). She is a compassionate clinician, speaker and wellness advocate. She is married to a surgeon and together they balance rewarding careers with raising three beautiful children. Learn more at drchristinemaren.com.

Looking For This? Ideal thyroid lab parameters that were talked about in this episode can be found >>HERE<<.

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Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

Spaghetti squash may be a signature fall and winter veggie, but we are here for it becoming a summer staple thanks to this non-traditional spin on Pad Thai — a light and colorful family fave!

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Minimize + Heal Diastasis Recti During Pregnancy

I have talked to thousands of women about diastasis recti during pregnancy. You know the most common question I get about it?

No, mama, it’s not how to pronounce it…because to each their own on that one!

>>How can I test to see if I have diastasis recti during pregnancy?<<

I don’t test any of my pregnant clients and I don’t recommend you test yourself either. You are ideally going to want to wait until you are 8-10 weeks postpartum before you try to test for diastasis recti for yourself.

But, before we go any further, let’s reframe the way we talk about diastasis. Instead of attaching fear to the topic of diastasis recti, I want you to start thinking about this as something you can work to prevent, minimize and heal.

Here are a few key items to pay attention to:

1. Coning of the belly. If you experience any coning of the belly (ridge or bump instead of your round belly), this is your body’s way of telling you that you are putting too much pressure on your Linea Alba (the fibrous structure that runs down the midline of your abdominals). If this occurs, stop doing that particular exercise temporarily.

2. Use your breath. Your breath has a huge impact on how you feel physically, mentally + emotionally. I want you to sit on a mat, chair or ball at home and just breathe. On your inhale, visualize your breath going deep into your low back and pelvis. On your exhale, visualize all the tension leaving your body. Repeat this several times. Using this exercise throughout your day can help you destress, relax and alleviate tension throughout your body.

3. Connect through your pelvic floor + deep core. Knowing how to properly engage and release your pelvic floor and low belly is key to minimizing, preventing and healing Diastasis Recti. AND…the best time to learn this is during pregnancy because you have that tactile feedback from your baby. 

At the end of the day, what it comes down to is if you are bringing awareness to the way you are holding your bump.

If the answer is yes, then you are on the right track.

And when you start to make these connections in your body, I hope you begin to understand the potential of being able to feel better stronger and more empowered after baby.

Because you’ve got this mama.

If you’d like even MORE information on diastasis recti during pregnancy, check out my Knocked-Up Fitness® Membership! It is full of educational tutorials, workouts, trimester guides, nutrition information, recipes, meal plans, my Push Prep Method designed to help ease your labor and delivery process and SO much more. We can’t wait for you to join us >>HERE!<<

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The Best Mileage & Time-Tracking Apps + Gadgets for Running & Walking

Whether you’re looking to go for a casual jog or walk around the block with your kids for fun, want to run a few miles solo to help your anxiety and/or stress levels, run with a mission to fuel your body and your mind for Strength in Motherhood™, or are looking to train for an upcoming race (pssstt…sign up for our First Annual Community in Motherhood Virtual Run for Charity HERE), it’s a great idea to track your time and distance. It’s motivating, empowering, and can help you stay accountable (we suggest having a friend or group to text mileage to if you’re training or have weight-loss goals); it’s so helpful to stay on top of your goals when you have a gang who’s rooting for you.

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Toning Arms While Pregnant

Let’s start toning arms while pregnant!

Listen, we know that pregnancy is full of changes, so we are here to help you through those postural shifts, minimize your neck pain and say bye-bye to low back pain.

But before we get started, the number one thing that we want you to remember when performing these movements is to lightly connect through your deep core and low belly FIRST!

Now, grab a pair of lightweights (or no weights at all) and let’s get moving!

Triceps Kickbacks
  1. Take your legs shoulder-width apart
  2. Lightly connect through your pelvic floor and deep core
  3. Soften your knees and stick your booty back
    • Make sure you are not tucking your bum
  4. Open up across your chest
  5. Place your elbows at your side
  6. Squeeze your triceps and press
  7. Make sure you are using your mid-back muscles 
  8. Release and repeat for 10-15 reps 
Shoulder Raises
  1. Lightly connect through your pelvic floor and deep core
  2. Lengthen tall through the top of your head
  3. Open up across your chest
    • Make sure you avoid rolling your shoulders forward
  4. Scoop your elbows down and up as you lift them
  5. Lead with your elbows
  6. Control your movement on the way up as well as on the way down
  7. Release and repeat for 10-15 reps 
Reverse Flyes
  1. Take your legs shoulder-width apart
  2. Lightly connect through your pelvic floor and deep core
  3. Soften your knees and stick your booty back
    • Make sure you are not tucking your bum
  4. Open up across your chest
  5. Lift your arms back
  6. Make sure your mid-back is doing the majority of the work
  7. Release and repeat for 10-15 reps 

When you go to stand up from each of the exercises, make sure you are using your deep core and staying out of your low back. 

As you can see, working toning arms while pregnant can help you stay strong during this bumpin’ time and help to avoid those nagging aches + pains.

Now before you take what you’ve learned here with you throughout your day, we want to invite you to join us in this FREE pregnancy workout that is bump approved!

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Important Tips For Lifting During Pregnancy

Do you ever look down at your bump and ask yourself how you are going to be able to do lifting during pregnancy when you can’t even see the floor?

Don’t let your bump hold you back!

That bump can seem to be in the way of a lot of things, but through this 2-minute video, you are going to learn that it doesn’t have to hold you back from picking things up off the ground!

Follow these steps to properly lift and avoid dumping into your back:
  • On your exhale, lightly connect through your pelvic floor and deep core
    • Properly connecting through your pelvic floor and low belly provides your low back with additional support and can help you avoid those nagging aches + pains
  • Stagger your stance by putting one foot in front of the other
    • Switch up which foot is forward to help keep your body balanced 
  • Lower down
  • Remain lengthened through the base of your pelvis to the top of your head 
    • Avoid leaning forward because all the weight will go to your lower back
  • On your inhale, use your hamstrings and glutes to help lift you up

See ladies, back pain can be avoided during pregnancy.

The more you use these important tips for lifting during pregnancy, the stronger your body can get and the more you can avoid those aches + pains during pregnancy.

That’s what we are all about here at Knocked-Up Fitness®. We are here to want to ensure that you and your bump are supported during every step of your pregnancy.

Sound like something you need in your life?

We know that you want more from us, so sign up for our FREE Pregnancy Workout Video! Not only are the movements safe and effective, but it’s bump approved! Sign up for the workout >>HERE!<<

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7 Instant Pot Vegetarian Recipes

I’ve put together a list of seven vegetarian recipes I like to cook using my Instant Pot. I like using a multicooker (instead of a regular stove-top) because it’s faster, simpler, and the cooking technique keeps nutrients in the dish.

So, if you want to keep living healthy and enjoy life as a vegetarian, here are some recipes for you to try:

1 Baked Potatoes

This is a recipe for baked potatoes, and since we’re using an Instant Pot, the time needed for cooking is cut in half. So, you won’t have to wait by the oven and keep checking on the potatoes to make sure they’re at the right temperature all the time!

You can find the ingredients and full recipe here, but the process is quite simple. You simply put halved red potatoes in the inner pot of your IP cooker and set the pot according to instructions. When the cooking is done, you’ll have a delicious meal that can be served with a salad or any other side dish you want.

2 Tacos

food-for-fitness-tacos

Who said you can’t have good fast-food when you’re a vegetarian? I know that many big food chains offer vegetarian versions of their menus, but the taste is never up to standards (at least that’s how I see it).

So, why not make your own fast-food that’s healthy, fresh, and tastes amazing? This Instant Pot tacos recipe proves you can do it without too much fuss over ingredients. In addition, you don’t have to fight over who does the dishes after you eat – it all goes in the Instant Pot!

3 Hummus

food-for-fitness-hummus

It’s delicious, nutritious, and makes you think of exotic places kissed by the sun and blessed by rich cultural habits. Hummus is a wonderful dish that doesn’t require too much effort to make but brings a variety of nutrients in your diet!

Luckily, it’s easy to make using an Instant Pot so you can enjoy it whenever you want. Still, keep in mind that moderation is important when you’re trying to have a healthy lifestyle!

4 Mac & Cheese

It’s easy to make but it can be a lot of work when you’re making it using standard methods. But if you follow this Instant Pot vegetarian recipe, you’ll see it takes less to get this creamy, cheesy dish steaming hot on your plate. In addition, there will be fewer dishes to clean, since you’ll only be using the pot to cook the pasta and the sauce.

If you want to add to this classic dish, you can always combine some broccoli (or other veggies you consider useful) in the cheese sauce.

5 Portobello Pot Roast

food-for-fitness-portobello-pot-roast

Most people think about beef and slow cookers when you say pot roast. While it’s true that this is a dish that requires time to have all the flavors blend together in a symphony of taste, you can get the same result in half the time by using an Instant Pot.

Also, the beef can be replaced with portobello mushrooms, like this blogger did, and you are good to go! Of course, you can use other types of mushrooms, as long as they are meaty and retain their texture when pressure-cooked.

The good news is that you can serve this pot roast as is or as a side dish next to pasta or rice. Not to mention that it’s a flavorful vegetarian recipe that the entire family can enjoy!

6 Lentil Stew

food-for-fitness-lentil-stew

There’s nothing more soothing like a hearty stew when it’s cold outside! Be it rain or snow, this dish is a fantastic idea for lunch or dinner, especially when you’re sharing it with friends and family.

In addition, this lentil stew is so versatile that everyone can enjoy it. You can cook it vegetarian, and people who eat animal products can simply add smoked sausages in their bowl, to make it more to their taste.

Lastly, this delicious recipe (available here) doesn’t require fancy ingredients. Most of them are already in your cupboard or fridge.

7 Pad Thai Stir Fry

pad-thai-stir-fry

You can still enjoy delicious foods, like Pad Thai, even if you don’t add chicken or animal-based sauces! According to this recipe, you can make a fantastic Instant Pot vegetarian and gluten-free version without dirtying any other dishes and tools (except for the inner pot of the IP, of course!)

In addition, it reduces your activity in the kitchen, since you won’t have to take care of the noodles in one pot and stir the vegetables in another pot! So, follow the recipe and enjoy the result with your guests – who I promise, will be impressed with your cooking skills!

Wrap Up

It’s not that bad to make the switch to veggies after all. It only takes a bit of imagination and reliable cooking tools (like the Instant Pot) to enrich your culinary life. So, as long as you make sure your food is not boring and you keep up with the required daily protein and fiber intake, you’ll be healthier and happier for your choice!

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4 Effective Training Strategies For Unlocking Your True Running Speed Potential

It’s not all about distance – these tips will have you building explosive power in half the time.

Whether you’ve just taken up running or you’re prepping for your first marathon, improving your running speed is going to be high up the list. It’s a common goal among runners from all backgrounds and training goals.

The kicker?

If you normally log miles for distance, trying to increase your overall speed is going to be a VERY welcome change to your training program. Prepare to enjoy.

Here we go.

Interval Running

Once reserved for top athletes, interval training is now the go-to training option for everyone, from newbies to elite fitness buffs.

Interval training consists of mixing bursts of intense exercise and intervals of lighter activity as recovery. This training method is best described as a series of peaks and valleys – you go hard at the peaks and slow it down at the valleys.

The typical interval run is a mix of sprinting, jogging, and/or walking for recovery. The length and intensity of each period depends mainly on your fitness level and training goals.

For example, beginners should start with shorter sprints at mild intensity, whereas elite runners may design an interval routine that fits with their specific racing goals. How?

Start with a proper warm-up to prepare your body

Do five to 10 minutes of cardio-based movement, such as jogging or spinning, to get your heart rate and body temperature up. Next, perform a series of dynamic warm-up exercises for another five minutes. Think inchworms, squats, lunges, leg swings and arm swings.

Once you’re warmed up, sprint at 85-95% of your maximum power for 30 seconds, then jog or walk for one minute to recover.

Repeat the cycle for 15 to 20 minutes then finish it off with a five minute cool-down jog.

Job DONE.

Hill Workouts

Want to build explosive strength and speed? Head to the hills.

The extra resistance of going up and down hills places a much higher demand on your body than running on a flat surface. I hope you’re ready.

Sure, this might not be your favourite thing to do, but here’s what you stand to gain by tackling more hills:

  • Build better economical form
  • Build more power than running on a flat surface
  • Improved VO2 max.
  • Increased stride power
  • Improved running economy and efficiency
  • Reduced impact forces on your muscles and joints thanks to working against gravity

You in? Here’s how to do hill reps right.

Find a hill that’s roughly 100-200m in length. Make sure the incline is hard but not too challenging that you won’t be able to keep good form throughout the climb.

Before you tackle the hill, perform a 10 to 15 minutes warm-up on flat terrain.

Once you’re ready, sprint up the hill at 85-95% of your maximum effort, then jog or walk down for recovery. Repeat the cycle eight to ten times, then finish it off with a 10-minute cool-down jog or walk.

But pace and form also matter on this one:

Try running up the hill at your 5K pace, or slightly faster, shooting for the amount of exertion throughout the climb. Make it your goal to push yourself out of your comfort zone, but don’t let your form go south. Keep a consistent effort up the hill.

Focus on the ground roughly 15 to 20 feet ahead of you – and avoid staring at your feet or gazing way up to the top of the hill, especially on steep inclines. This will help you keep your eyes on the prize.

As you get fitter, try tackling more challenging hills with a wider range of grades and lengths.

Go ‘Plyo’

Also known as explosive or jump training, plyometrics are another great way to target your fast-twitch muscle fibres and build explosive speed even a Lamborghini driver would glance twice at.

Plyometric exercises consist of fast and powerful movements starting with an eccentric action – muscle lengthening – and ending up with a concentric action – muscle shortening. These are key for any speed training program.

And I’m not just talking out of anecdotal evidence—research actually backs this up, too.

A study, reported by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, revealed that middle and long-distance runners who performed plyometric exercises for six weeks improved their 2400m race results by roughly 4%. That’s huge.

It might not seem like much, but it might also be the exact thing you need to achieve your next PB.

Use this list of examples (but this is entirely not exclusive) of plyometric exercises that work very well for improving speed:

  • Box jumps
  • Power cleans
  • Squat jumps
  • Standing long jumps
  • Med ball tosses
  • Snatches
  • Frog jumps
  • Plyo pushups
  • 2-leg bound
  • Depth jumps
  • Box squats

Start by choosing a few of these exercises and adding them to either your post-run ritual or as part of your cross-training workouts.

Plyo training is technically more challenging and demanding, so it’s even more crucial that you perform them correctly to avoid injury and wasting your time.

I highly urge you to hire a coach or personal trainer to assess your technique or to film yourself, so you catch any mistakes.

Listen to your body

Training hard is key for success, but so is paying attention to your body and taking plenty of recovery when recovery is needed. Otherwise, you‘re asking for injury and burnouts.

As a general rule, follow hard workouts – think intervals and hill reps –with at least one or, ideally, two easier training days. Then, take a full day off training at least once a week.

In other words: Don’t chew more than you can swallow.

To know when you need rest, you need to know the signs. So, here are a few of the most common:

  • Persistent aches and pains
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Elevated heart rate.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Undesired weight loss
  • Chronic dehydration
  • Loss of performance
  • Lack of sleep
  • Sickness and the common flu

 

And that, folks, is it.

Your guide to improving your running speed. Incorporate these speedwork guidelines into your workout plan, then it’s a matter of time and practice. Just remember to keep track of everything and remember not to do too much too soon.

Happy sprinting.

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Prepare For Birth and Recovery Postpartum With Your Pre + Postnatal Coaches

Learn how to prepare for birth and recovery postpartum with your pre + postnatal coaches. There is a lot of information out there and I wanted to help bring awareness, educate and empower women so they can make the best decisions for their bodies!

Where did this all start?

Several years ago, my girlfriends and clients convinced me to start this blog all about prenatal exercise. They believed that my style of teaching needed to be experienced in mainstream fitness.

Little did I know that that push would lead me to where I’m at today: in an online space where I’m able to provide women with a prenatal membership, a postpartum recovery program and even an instructor course.

So…I think it’s safe to say that I have helped thousands of women prepare their bodies for pregnancy, birth and postpartum recovery. I’ve also inspired others to do the same through teaching this way of training.

This is where Annie comes in

Annie joined my Knocked-Up Fitness team in 2015 with the eagerness to educate and empower women during their pregnancy journey.

As you will learn from tuning into our conversation, is that the pregnancy journey starts well before you are pregnant.

Society tends to segment out preparing your body for pregnancy, pregnancy itself and postpartum recovery. BUT Annie and I believe that they are all intertwined.

Here’s how we’re breaking it down:

  • Things to do to prepare your body for pregnancy BEFORE you’re pregnant. (3:57)
  • What to do now that you’re pregnant. (8:37)
  • Working on prevention of body dysfunctions for a smoother postpartum recovery. (13:29)
  • How Kegels are causing your pelvic floor to be too tight… and that’s a big no-no. (16:03)
  • What you do during pregnancy affects how your birth goes (even for c-sections). (19:37)
  • Annie and I’s first birth experiences and what we learned. (23:27)
  • How Annie wants you to think about labor and delivery. (29:38)

It’s never too late to take care of your body or implement any of the things Annie and I discussed. If you’ve been feeling tired, stressed and overwhelmed while still wanting a prepped body for birth, you’re going to want to join us in our prenatal membership. Join >>HERE<< and let’s start getting your pelvic floor ready for the delivery room!

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