February’s Healthy Heart Challenge

As January comes to a close, our New Year’s resolutions may be winding down as well. To keep the momentum going, I have a challenge for you that will keep you moving through February!

For those who are new here, I am 8 weeks postpartum and announced in my last post that I have set a goal for myself to lose my baby weight by April 6. To help keep me accountable, I will be tracking my cardio weekly…and you can join me!

Here’s the challenge:

WHAT: 4 hours of cardio each week (16 hours total for the month) with 1 cardio session to be done with family, friends, spouse or dog each week. Studies shows this helps improve heart health even more! If you participate in classes at our studio, these count toward your cardio count. You can add the time in small segments as well; ex: dog walks of 20 minutes everyday would add up to 2 hours 20 minutes of cardio for the week assuming you do it every day.

Since February starts mid-week, your goal will be to log 3 hours of cardio this week (breaks down to about 35 minutes per day).

Since it’s hard for me to get in an uninterrupted 1-hour workout these days, my personal goal is getting outside for a 20-30 minute walk daily. Instead of setting lofty goals for myself, I’ve concentrated on smaller, more realistic goals; like, completing 10 push-ups a day. When I can check something off my list, I feel more accomplished and that motivates me to continue pushing forward.

The best thing you can do when setting small goals for yourself is attach the action to something you already do. For example, I complete my push-ups before taking a shower each night. My husband Kendrick wrote a great blog post about creating positive changes without motivation. Read more here.

 

I’m super excited for what February has in store! If you missed the announcement in my last post, I will be publishing an exclusive newsletter bi-weekly for those who are subscribed to my blog. The first newsletter will be released this Wednesday, February 1st.

 

I’d love to hear if you’re joining me for this month’s Challenge! Feel free to comment and let me know if you’re participating below! 🙂

 

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Back to Body: Postpartum Series

Last Friday I had my 6 week checkup post-baby. I tried not to psych myself out for that fateful moment when I would step on the scale. Over the course of my pregnancy I gained 42 pounds. More than I had expected, but since this was my first pregnancy, I wasn’t as worried about weight gain as I was about staying healthy and doing what was best for my body. I was very active for most of my pregnancy and my OB wasn’t at all concerned about my weight, so that reassured me that everything was going smoothly.

Truth be told, when I saw that number on the scale, I panicked a little.  I’ve never had to intentionally try to lose weight. I’ve maintained a healthy balance between exercise and nutrition so that I can eat what I want without feeling guilty.

The first 22 pounds have come off seemingly easy. I’ve been exclusively breastfeeding and walking daily. After week 3, when I started finally feeling like myself again, I hit the gym for some higher intensity cardio. My favorite machines have been the water rower, the ski erg, and the Airdyne bike. I like to rotate between all three during my workouts and add strength training  in between. Then, I usually finish with a core set.

(NOTE FOR NURSING MOMSBe wary when feeding your baby after a high-intensity workout! I learned this the hard way.  I had no idea that the lactic acid could affect the composition of my breast milk. Recent studies claim that moderate exercise has no effect on breastmilk, only “exhaustive” exercise…this may be the case, but I can only account for my own experience. I spent an hour working out, rotating high intensity cardio with strength training; and when I fed my baby a half hour after, he ended up spitting it all back up. I must also note that my milk smelled sour, something that has never happened before. Since he showed no other signs of sickness, and didn’t have a fever, it made sense that the reason he spit up was due to the composition of the breastmilk. Every body is different and what happened to me might just be a fluke, but I don’t want to risk putting my poor babe through that again so I will be sure to feed him BEFORE working out next time.)

Anyway, I still have 18 pounds to lose to return to my pre-baby weight…however, I can’t deny that having a baby changes your body, and chances are my body is never going to look the same as it did before…and that’s OK. It took over 9 months to grow a baby, so it may just take another 9 months for my body to return to its NEW normal.  I am not going to stress over the scale. I am going to give myself a 5 pound buffer to account for the changes my body’s been through (these new boobs weigh at least a couple pounds each) 😉

I’ve set a goal for myself to lose between 13-18 lbs by April 6, 2017…a little more than 3 months from today. Since this is a first time journey for me, I’ll be documenting my progress along the way. If I don’t reach my goal by this specified period, I will not give up. This process is about the journey, not the destination; my number one priority is my new baby and taking care of his needs first. If that means I carry around some extra weight for a little while, then so be it!

I’ll be posting  on Instagram (@mrskfit), Facebook (Mrs K-Fit page), and Snapchat (@acn1228), in addition to my blog…so be sure to follow along on these social media outlets as well.

I’ll also be releasing a newsletter twice a month filled with exclusive content; such as workout videos, delicious (and easy!) recipes, monthly challenges, tips and inspiration, and of course – baby photos! 🙂

To receive the newsletter, be sure to subscribe to my blog!

 

Here’s a quickie core set to start your week off strong:

20 crunches

15 butt lifts

15 toe touches

10 sit-ups (* I only did one set of sit-ups, but if you feel good, go for two!)

1 minute plank

REPEAT

 

Let’s do this!!

 

 

 

7 Tips for Mindful Eating during the Holidays

With the holidays fast approaching, (Thanksgiving is already next week!)  I’ve put together a list of tips to ease your feasting anxiety. 😉

  1. Don’t let the fear of the Thanksgiving Day feast cause you to start dieting now. Instead of restricting your favorite foods the week before Thanksgiving, practice eating mindfully so that when turkey day comes, you don’t find yourself with the excuse to suddenly binge on anything and everything you find enjoyable. Remember, it’s all about balance. Drastic highs and lows in your diet do not do any good. Learning to eat healthy consistently will be much better for you than extreme dieting, binging, and then dieting again.
  2. Offer to bring a dish (and make sure it’s a healthy one). If you’re not the one hosting Thanksgiving, ask the hostess if you can bring a dish. Having a healthy option can bring you a sense of relief if you’re unsure of what the menu will consist of. Chances are there will be someone else secretly thanking you for bringing something they don’t feel guilty eating. I brought this delicious kale salad to Thanksgiving last year, and it was such a hit..seriously! I even had a guest request the recipe and she’s told me she makes it regularly for her family. Another favorite holiday salad of mine is a spinach salad with roasted strawberries and almonds. The roasted strawberries are warm and gooey when they come out of the oven and provide just the right amount of sweetness. Check out the recipe here. spinach-salad
  3. Schedule your exercise for the day. Plan a hike, walk, or go to your favorite exercise class in the morning. (If you live in the Bay Area, visit us at Studio K-Fit for our annual Pre-Turkey Burn workout! 😉 ) Remember, high intensity exercise allows your body to continue burning calories even after the workout is over. If you can’t get out before dinner, plan to do a walk after. This will help fight that ‘sluggish’ feeling and also help you digest your meal faster than if you took a nap or sat on the couch. If you’ve been inside cooking all day you’ll feel grateful to get out of the house for some fresh air.
  4. Use a plate when nibbling. When you’re at a holiday party, or standing around the kitchen waiting for the roast turkey, be sure to pick up a plate so you’re mindful of what’s going in your mouth. The more steps you take to observe the food that’s in front of you before you eat it, the less likely you’ll overindulge in that cheese dip.
  5. HYDRATE. Instead of grabbing a beer or pouring a glass of wine when you arrive, opt for a glass of water. Drinking an alcoholic beverage while also munching on hors d’oeuvres will most likely cause you to overeat/eat more than you planned. If you opt for a glass of wine at dinner, be sure to follow it up with a glass of water. Drinking water in between courses will not only aid in digestion, but also trigger a cue to your brain letting you know you’re full.
  6. Assess your dinner plate. Does it contain a protein (turkey) and at least 1 serving of vegetables (corn doesn’t count). Instead of grabbing a biscuit, mashed potatoes, AND stuffing – choose 1 or 2 of your favorites. For me, I would choose mashed potatoes because it’s something I never make myself. Bread is easy to come by, so I usually pass up the dinner rolls at Thanksgiving. Be mindful if your veggies are loaded in cheese or a cream sauce. If you were munching on cheese and crackers before dinner, choose to eat more turkey and green beans and/or carrots during your main meal; especially if you have a sweet tooth like me and know you won’t be able to refuse a slice of pie. Remember, you control your food- not the other way around!
  7. Slow down and enjoy the experience. Savor the foods smell and texture. Engage in the dinner table conversation and thank those that helped prepare the meal. You don’t have to refuse Grandma’s pumpkin pie, but take small bites and give yourself time to digest afterwards before helping yourself to seconds.

Having a game plan before going to a party this holiday season will help you to make smarter decisions when temptation comes knocking. Instead of completely eliminating everything you love, choose which vice you would rather indulge in. For example:

“I will drink sparkling water with hors d’oeuvres instead of wine.”

“I will have a glass of wine instead of having a slice of pie for dessert.”

“I will eat the sour cream mashed potatoes at dinner instead of eating these macaroni and cheese bites as an appetizer.”

The holidays don’t have to undo all your hard work from this year. With these mindful tips, you’ll be sure to have a healthy, and happy holiday season 🙂

Entering Maternity Leave & Hiring a New Trainer

This week I trained my last client before becoming a momma. I’ve been reluctant to admit how hard training has become on my body, because I’ve had a wonderful pregnancy thus far. I like staying active, and the thought of going on maternity leave made me fear that I would be sitting on the couch watching reruns of Friends all day.

Being a business owner, I knew the implications of taking a maternity leave…it didn’t mean paid vacation, it meant paying someone else to take over my job. In the past, it’s been difficult for us to find trainers that we feel are 1) Qualified; and 2) a good match for our Studio. We’ve received plenty of resumes with pictures attached of candidates flexing or even worse, sending a video of themselves grunting and posing in front of a mirror. To say we were nervous about diving back into the candidate pool is an understatement. The fitness field can be full of egotistical trainers, and we wanted to stay far away from those people as we could.

My favorite thing about our Studio is that we are community driven. We want everyone who steps in the door to feel welcome and accepted, and not intimated. We expect our members to greet their fellow classmates by name, and come in with a positive attitude. We live in the Silicon Valley, so we know the pressure and stress our members face every day in the workplace. We want the Studio to be a haven or “happy place” for people to come and de-stress; not just physically, but mentally as well.

Another “rule” we have in the Studio is for people to make friends. We encourage people to not only learn each other’s name, but to learn about them. If you’re gone for a week, you better believe there will be someone in your class asking where you’ve been. It creates accountability that you otherwise might not have had if you were attending a class with 30 people, who never said Hi or Bye to you. That’s why we keep our classes small, not only for accountability reasons, but so that we can correct people’s form and make sure they’re doing the exercises correctly. My biggest pet peeve is when I try an exercise class and see that people are doing things incorrectly. I can’t help but cringe and think, “How come no one is correcting them??”

The most common mistakes are with lunges and squats. Too often I see someone do a squat where they drop their hips too low, or do a lunge with their knee over their ankle. I’ve always told my clients to remember the magic number…which is “90” for 90 degrees. Your knee in a lunge should be at a 90 degree angle, and same with your squat- you should always keep your butt out to protect the lower back. The minute you drop those hips, say hello to serious back pain.

left leg lunge

Proper lunge form

squat

Proper Squat form

Now that I’ve gone off on a tangent about proper form, I’ll get back to our hiring process. Thankfully enough, this time around we had much better luck with the trainer pool. We interviewed some great candidates, even some that we felt were over-qualified for the job. In the end, we found our perfect match!  She couldn’t have come at a more perfect time as well. I’ve been struggling with serious back pain these last couple weeks, and feared how much longer I’d be able to train if we didn’t find someone. The universe works in mysterious ways, and it was like God knew exactly what we needed, at the time we needed it. I feel totally confident that our new trainer will do an excellent job taking over for me. In the meantime, you’ll find me blogging and writing more, and also doing lots of back end stuff for the business like marketing and advertising.

I feel so blessed to be in a position where I can take the time off I need to prepare for this new  life coming soon. I’m also incredibly thankful to have such a supportive husband who has encouraged me in this new phase, and understands how important rest and relaxation is for both me and baby. It’s only been 3 days, but I think this new adjustment is working well so far…( I haven’t even watched one episode of Friends)  😉

Thanks for reading and encouraging me to keep this blog going.

Sending good vibes your way on this Friday 🙂

xo

Rowing For Meals: How our Fitness Studio Helps Feed America

Hi there-

First off, I want to say thank you for reading my blog! I also want to say thank you for sharing my articles with your family and friends. In our digital age we are constantly bombarded with content, and so when I write a blog post, my hope is to always share something useful for you to take away. I created this blog because I love to write; but mostly because I wanted to share meaningful content with you. I am always intentional about my posts, and never want to make this blog “all about me”. I will always strive to write about things that I feel are of value to my reader and possibly teach them something new.

With that being said, I want to share with you a mission very dear to my heart, that has been the motivation behind what we do.

My husband (Kendrick) and I own a small fitness studio in Redwood City, California. In January of 2015, we took a risk and bought 4 Water Rowers…a seemingly unknown piece of equipment at the time. We had owned a Concept 2 Rower…and Kendrick really liked how the water rower was smoother, engaged more of the core, was more aesthetically appealing and was a full body, low-impact cardio for our clients.

k-fit experience class

Rowers

Up until this point, our studio consisted of mostly personal training and partner training. We offered one class, a 30-minute circuit style blending cardio and strength training. When we got our rowers, we were excited to create a new class (which we named the K-Fit Experience); a blend of water rowing, strength training, and core training.

At first, clients were apprehensive to the rowers. We are creatures of habit; and not many people like change. (Anytime you add something new, it takes people time to adapt.) But, the more time they spent on the rowers, the more they started to love how they felt.

A couples months later, Kendrick and I heard a sermon at our church by John Ortberg on the power of giving; and it sparked in us a desire to use our studio to give back to our local community. We were pressed with the question of: “How often did we give more than what we felt comfortable?” It was after our unsettling realization that we decided to actively give and trust that we would see that generous spirit come back to us. Kendrick had read about Feeding America and liked the transparency of the organization and also how 98.5% of the money donated goes directly to food (less than 1% goes to administrative costs-according to  charitynavigator.org). This was a very high number compared to most charities. We also liked that they linked up with local food banks, and that our money donated would get to feed those within our community.

…And so began the concept of rowing for meals. Our initial plan was to encourage clients to come early before class to warm-up and get in some extra cardio. Kendrick had been telling clients that if they rowed  at least 500 meters, that he would donate 1 meal to Feeding America. (This equated to about $0.10/meal since they buy in bulk quantities). We started tracking how many “meals” each client had contributed. By the end of our first month, the buzz was swarming. Clients loved the concept and were excited about working out on the rower. Kendrick and I thought, “How can we help clients row for more meals while they’re here?

In our K-Fit Experience class, we have a 6-minute relay that clients complete during their second set on the rowers. Instead of offering 1 meal per 500 meters, we would offer 1 meal per 250 meters! This created a little more competition and desire to row faster in order to donate more meals. And so, at the end of the relay, each client adds up how many meals they rowed and tallies it on the board.

October 2015 Meal Board

Each month, Kendrick and I add up the meals and donate a portion of our personal earnings to Feeding America. A few months into our fundraiser, clients started to approach us asking if they could “match” what we donated and contribute as well. Our answer? “Of course!!” We seriously are so blessed with amazing clients who are 100% behind us and support us in whatever we do. Since Kendrick and I don’t have family in California (except my sister who now lives here-yay!), they have become our family and our #1 fans. It has been over a year since we started our “Row for Meals” program, and we’ve donated over 23,000 meals to families in need. This would NOT have been possible without their generosity and support.

We plan to continue this program as long as our studio is in business; and wholeheartedly believe that “the key to living is giving”.

 

 

xo

 

If you’d like to make a donation to Feeding America, click here.

 

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear about ways in which you give back to your community. Please share in the comments below! 🙂

5 Moves for Buns & Thighs

5 Moves for Buns & Thighs

Happy Friday!

Spring is almost 2 weeks away…and that means, Spring Break! Time to don those bikinis, shades, and flip flops. I noticed the growing popularity of the “cheeky” bikini bottom last summer. If you were one of those bold trend setters, good for you! Whatever you choose to wear, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable. I won’t be able to give you a Brazilian booty overnight; but, these 5 moves are sure to help sculpt those buns and thighs.. and I am all for that!

Let’s get started!

 

  1. Hip Dips – 20 reps

hip dips

Advanced option: Try single leg dips (10 reps each leg)

hip dips single leg

2. Lateral Leg Lift – 20 reps each leg

lateral leg lift smile

3. Backward Skaters with an Ankle Band  – 20-30 seconds

ankle band skater

4. Frankenstein Walk with Ankle Band – 20-30 seconds

ankle band start

5. In-N-Out Jumps with Ankle Band – 20 reps

 

Repeat this set 2 times; for best results, perform this circuit with your favorite strength workout twice a week.

Ready to start? Buy your Resistance Bands here.

*Make sure to consult a doctor before starting any exercise program.

What workout would you like to see next week? Share in the comments below!!

 

5 Exercises to Tone & Strengthen Legs

One of the first things I learned after retiring from gymnastics, was that if I wanted to relieve/combat knee pain, I had to strengthen my quads.  I added strength training to my workouts, and started to see a huge difference in my running. I was able to run for longer periods of time without the shooting knee pain.

Here are some of my favorite leg exercises to strengthen your quads, hamstrings, thighs, and glutes. We do these exercises regularly in our K-Fit Experience class at Studio K-Fit.

Perform 10 reps of each exercise, and repeat. Start with your Left leg the first round.

#1: Squat Jumps with Toe Touch (works those inner thighs!)

Make sure toes are facing forward; when you jump push your hips forward to engage your glutes; touch toes together and land back on feet.

#2: Single Leg Deadlift

Stand on your left leg, holding 10 lbs weights by your sides; keeping a soft knee (slightly bent) and your chest up, lean forward and touch a step or chair with your weights (you should feel the pull in your hamstring). Stand back up, then repeat. *Remember to switch legs the second round.

#3: Single Leg Squat 

Using a chair or elevated step, keep your left foot planted on the ground and sit back onto the chair. Stand back up and squeeze your glutes pushing your hips all the way forward. Switch legs second round.

#4: Forward Lunge

Make sure to keep your shoulders back, and your front knee at a 90 degree angle.

#5: Elevated Backward Lunge

First round: Place your right foot up on the step, left foot is on the ground. Perform a lunge, making sure your front knee is at a 90 degree angle. Switch legs second round.

 

*For best results, perform this set at least twice a week. As always, consult a doctor before starting any exercise program.

Don’t forget to “Like” Mrs K-Fit on Facebook to stay updated with new workouts each week!