Crunchless Abs Workout

Oooh, exciting (or maybe not if this stuff bores you!) — I’m back to posting workouts!! Or at least A workout. Let’s not get carried away here.

While I’m not cleared to run yet, I CAN do some exercising to restore my body. It was actually recommended to me during discharge to start doing pelvic tilts (and kegels – which really DO help).

I don’t do these religiously, but every few days I’ll lay day and tilt it out.

Another workout that’s highly recommend to me are planks.

You remember my stellar plank tutorial, right?

elbowplank

Kinda miss that belly. Kinda.

So that’s what I’ve been doing the last week or so. I am actually very surprised at how fast my muscles bounce back. I started with a few 30 second planks – and now I’m up to a minute and 30 seconds! There is still a lot of work to be done though. Here’s me at 4 weeks postpartum (how has it already been a month??):

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That linea nigra is so attractive, right? It will be there for at least another 4-5 months.

The key to getting my core back into shape is focusing on CRUNCHLESS core work. Crunches can actually jack your abs up when you are in postpartum recovery. Most women have a touch of diastasis recti after having a baby (basically when your abs separate to make room for the baby – and they don’t move back into position) and doing crunches can actually make that situation WORSE. Instead, it’s key to do exercises that pull your abs IN towards your spine. It also helps your back muscles and gives you better posture (which I know I can definitely use!), so even if you aren’t recovering from popping a baby out they are great exercises to strengthen your core.

I know that once I start running my abs will also get whipped into shape (it’s amazing how much you use your core to run), but starting this week here are a few more exercises that I am going to start adding into my daily routine (if you want to call it that).

*Core Contractions/Lower Back Flatten*

*Flutter Kicks*

*Lying Leg Lifts*

*Supermans*

*Wide Squat Punches*

So my “workout” ends up looking something like this…

crunchlessabs

 

*You can repeat this workout 2-4 times to make it a more challenging workout. Right now, once is challenging for me!*

I’m varying it depending on how I feel and how easily my muscles tire. I haven’t used most of these muscles in MONTHS, so it’s really important I don’t rush into ANYTHING. Yes, even a simple ab workout. It’s also important for me to remember that it took 9 months for my belly to look like a beast, so it’s going to take some time for it get back to “normal.” Plus, it was worth it because look how cute this chunker is?

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Yes, I had to squeeze some Evan pictures in somehow.

What’s your favorite core exercise??

PS – Countdown to my first run back? 16 days (Nope, I’m not excited/terrified AT ALL!)

Move Monday: Workouts I Can’t Wait to Try!

Pssst… My PRO Compression giveaway ends tomorrow morning. Don’t forget to enter!

Absence really DOES make the heart grow fonder. Not just with people and places – but burpees, mountain climbers, and all of the weird workout moves I typically despise. Now that I can’t do them, it’s all I WANT to do. Of course.

What’s even more difficult is that I torture myself.  I am insane and love it when people post their workouts. I seek them out each week and pin the crap out of them. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of seeing the same 5 workouts on Pinterest every time I search. There have to be more workouts out there right? (I admit, I’m just as guilty – I’ve pinned the 100 Workout just like 90000 others!). That said, here are 10 workouts I am REALLY looking forward to doing (once I am free and clear) in a few months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Yes, the last one is my own – I cannot wait to do Bootcamp workouts at my gym again!!)

I know there are tons of other workouts out there – so PLEASE share. What’s your favorite workout (can be your own or someone else’s, I’m not picky).  What’s your go-to workout?

Move Monday: 10 Tips for More Motivation

One thing I forgot to mention yesterday was that it was my brother and sister-in-law’s first wedding anniversary! It’s crazy to think that a year ago we were celebrating in Vegas…

Group

AJ&C3

sibsandspouses

And this year I spent the day wishing I could celebrate in Vegas. Ha ha. (OK, maybe I’m NOT quite ready to go back to Vegas yet, but I do wish I was celebrating!).

Back to reality…

Actually, the reality is that I’ve really lost a lot of mojo in the past 2 weeks to work out. I knew this was going to happen and I’m not beating myself up (too much) for not making it to the gym as often or not giving it my all, but I KNOW that even just making the effort and pushing through makes me feel so much better – mentally and physically.

So what’s a girl entering her 9th month of pregnancy to do? Throw in the towel? Give up? Heck no! That would mean at least 3 months off of working out. I’d probably stop for a week and then go insane. No, despite the general malaise I feel towards working out right now, I know I need to keep going. In addition to these motivational strategies I posted just a few months ago, here are ten more tips for getting your sweat on.

1. Reset goals.

If you’re feeling burned out or overwhelmed with a workout – do something about it!! I have been aiming for 4-5 workouts a week for the past 9 months and I’m now at the point where my body is saying NO. So my new goal is 2-3 times a week. If my alarm goes off at 4:45 and I’m JUST NOT FEELING IT, I’m not going to give myself grief. However, if it’s just because I’m being lazy – that’s a different story.

2. Create a new playlist.

I don’t know WHY, but the thought of new music always gets me excited to work out. Here’s what I’ve added recently. Yes, it’s all over the place, but I am ready to put it into effect tomorrow morning.

 playlist

3. Buy new clothes and shoes (or in my case, just think about buying new clothes).

I am literally drooling about the thought of buying new workout clothes and running shoes.

I’m already planning this purchase once I start running again…

BumWrapOiselle

And I’ve been researching the crap out of new shoes. I might try the Brooks PureFlow — but does anyone know if Mizuno has a similar shoe? I love the Wave Riders, but they are just too damn heavy. I’m also contemplating trying out theses Saucony Triumphs.

SauconyTriumph

Aren’t these pretty? And you know it’s all about the pretty (not really).

4. Get everything ready the night before or put your clothes on IMMEDIATELY.

If I don’t everything set out the night before, there’s no way in hell I’m getting up. That’s a given. Some people sleep in their workout clothes, but that’s not happening here.

Another trick – instead of changing AT the gym after work – I change before. Or, if I’m doing a workout at home I change into my workout clothes immediately– once I get home and before I start making dinner. For some reason, if I have the clothes on – I’m gonna do the workout. I don’t know why it works, but it does.

5. Squeeze in a workout while watching TV.

In the case that I skip the morning workout and I try to make up a million and ten excuses on why I “can do it later.” I remind myself that I can still watch TV and workout at the same time. I’d say you could do your workouts during commercial breaks – but who REALLY watched live TV anymore?

Speaking of commercials (and totally unrelated any of this! ha) — those AT&T kid commercials are at the top of my list right now. Maybe it’s because I have a kid that age – but I assure you those are not scripted responses. I think the Nicky Flash one is my favorite…

http://youtu.be/CaQ5AZgwEfE

6. Join a challenge or a group for inspiration.

You don’t HAVE to join something like Best Body Bootcamp to join in a group or find supporters (though I highly encourage it!). No, there are TONS of fitness challenges going on. Just do a Google search. For example, my fellow runner/Orlando blogger- Carissa just started a challenge today.

plank april challenge

7. Browse Pinterest for workouts and motivation.

I love Pinterest for this reason. It motivates me to get out of my comfort zone and try new workouts (and discover new blogs!).

 WorkoutsFromBloggers

The best part is that it’s free!

8. Set yours sights on a reward.

New shoes? New clothes? New music? Food?

Figure out what extrinsically motivates you and tell yourself you can have it – as long as you meet your goals.

I’m in a weird position right now where most of the stuff that would typically motivate me is silly to buy right now. The end game for me is having this baby – I’m hoping that continuing walking, spinning, and strength training will actually HELP put me into labor in a few weeks. If not, I KNOW if will help me during labor and postpartum. So I’m focusing on that. A baby seems like a pretty good reward!

9. Aim to make it a habit.

They say (whoever “they” is) is takes between 21 and 60 days to form a habit. I think this mostly depends on what kind of person you are, how well you intrinsically motivate yourself, and how “addictive” your personality is. Regardless of how LONG it takes, in order for you to really see the results you want – you need to make it a habit. You can’t sabotage yourself if you want to see results or meet a goal. You need to set realistic goals and you need to follow through. Making it a habit doesn’t mean you still don’t have to motivate yourself, because you do. It just means it’s a little bit easier and you don’t have to think about it twice.

 

And finally…

10. Never stop setting goals.

 

I know there are other ways that you can motivate yourself through a rough spot, but I’m blanking. Anyone have any tips to share? What motivates YOU?

Move Monday: Modifications

I am pretty immune to the crazy looks and stares I get at the gym these days. I can’t decide if it’s because people think I’m just going to lay down and have the baby AT the gym or just because people can’t help but stare at pregnant women. I’ll admit it – I stare at them too.

Sam and Dean staring

I mostly wonder if people are thinking “Is that safe?” because honestly, if I didn’t know better, I would probably wonder the same thing! I feel like I should wear a shirt that says “I’m modifying my workouts!” because since I hit 13 weeks (and even before then) I’ve modified almost every single one of them.

It’s important to note that modifying my workouts doesn’t make them easy or less intense. It just means that I am able to do exercises using proper form without risking harm to myself or my baby. Sometimes I have to learn the hard way what works (like when I attempted to do burpees a few weeks ago. I think it took me about 10 minutes to get up off the floor, and no I did not actually do said burpee) and sometimes I know outright that I’m just not going to be able to do it.

How do I modify?

As my body and bump have grown, there are definitely certain moves that I cannot comfortably do or do without risk of falling over. It happens. I’ve accepted it and instead of just skipping a workout, I attempt to find other moves that still work out the same muscle group.

For example… here’s the HIIT Lean Workout that Melissa posted last week.

hiit-lean

(Stolen from Melissa, of course)

I did this workout on Saturday (from home) and while the general concept of the workout was the same, I modified the crap out of it. This is everything I could and couldn’t do.

hiit-lean_modifications

 

Umm – so there was obviously a lot that I needed to change!  In the end, the workout was completely different. But the concept (8 reps for 8 sets) remained and I still feel like I worked the same muscle groups she did. Just in a different.

hiit-lean_mod

PS – Melissa’s picture is much prettier than mine.

Here’s what I changed — and why:

  • I knew going into the workout that I wouldn’t be able to do the one-legged deadlifts, so I changed those just regular straight left deadlifts AND I added static lunges (with weights on my shoulders) — a set on each side.
  • The lunges replaced the narrow squats. There’s nothing “narrow” going on with my body right now. 
  • I also knew that my wrist was not going to cooperate with me and pushups are now OUT of the lineup (boo!) so I changed the tricep pushups to tricep extensions. No, it’s not the same as a pushup, but it works for the time being.
  • While I was doing my first set, I realize that because of my carpal tunnel, I also can’t do overhead presses (again, boo – this is one of my favorite moves). It just hurts my left arm way too much. Knowing that I still wanted to add a shoulder exercise, I switched the clean and press to just squats and then as a separate move I added a front lateral raise (a set on each side).
  • Because I did the squats already, I decided not to do them the second time (my legs were already dead as it was!) and just did hammer curls.

Where do I find my modifications?

There are  a few places I search when looking up workouts because they provide extensive explanations about both the anatomy of the move and provide how-to videos:

If I really can’t find ANYTHING at those 4 sites, I will just do a simple Google/YouTube search.

Who should modify their workouts?

ANYONE. While I’m not a certified personal trainer, I will give you this advice: If you are not comfortable doing a particular move or exercise – or you can’t do it using the proper form — DON’T. It’s not worth it. You could hurt yourself in ways that you can’t even comprehend!

whenindoubtmodify

Do I really feel like I still get a good workout when I modify?

HECK YES. I am so, so sore from my workouts this weekend (but in a good way!). This workout above is just one example of how you can find what works for you and still get a workout in. Just because you are modifying some doesn’t mean you aren’t WORKING. You should still challenge yourself. You should still sweat.  Most importantly: Don’t confuse “modify” with “easy.”

How do you modify your workouts? Any resources I’m skipping when it comes to “how-to” videos?

Move Monday: Prenatal Workout For Everyone

This weekend was just exhausting.  I would recap it, but truthfully, I’m not 100% sure what happened. You know it’s hectic when you can say that and you were totally sober. I recovered by sleeping for 11 hours on Saturday night. That, my friends, is a talent. The gigantic meal at Outback MIGHT have had something to do with all of that sleep. I’m pretty sure my body thought I was trying to hibernate for the winter.

sleepyboo

The sleep was needed though and I’m (surprisingly) refreshed for Daylights Savings (though, I’m sure the true impact of that lost hour will hit me in a few days/weeks as it always does). I am ready to tackle this week and new workouts!

Speaking of workouts… I am frequently getting more double takes and questions at the gym about how and why I am still working out. It amazes me the comments I’ve heard, especially from other (fit) women about how they never realized that they would still work out while pregnant. WHAT? REALLY? Thankfully, I also go to a very supportive gym where I’ve seen at least 2-3 other pregnant woman working out until the bitter end. The majority of the instructors have been also been pregnant at some time or another (and continued to work out and teach). It’s a weird mix!

Have I mentioned  that I’m surprised to discovered that the workouts that I find the easiest to do actually involve strength training? Yes? Oh, well I’m going to mention it again. Since I’m currently in Best Body Bootcamp limbo (yes, I am crazy and I’m all signed up for Round 5 – which starts April 1st <– you can sign up too!!), I’ve been making up workouts on the fly and I’ve found myself doing this workout more than once (mainly because I am not very creative at 5:30am). It’s a safe prenatal workout that anyone can do!

Warmup: 10 minutes of cardio. (I usually walk at a 4.2-4.3 at a 3.0 incline. Although when I’m feeling inspired I do my 20-minute walking workout!)

Recommended Weights: I generally use 10-12lb weights with each move (except the pushups, obviously).  Prior to getting pregnant I was using 12-20lbs, so this is a step down for me. I find it tricky to figure out which weights I should be using when pregnant. I don’t want to overdo it but, I also want to still feel like I’m actually getting in a good workout. I try to test them out before I start a set, reminding myself that I am doing 4 sets total.

Instruction: Repeat each superset 4 times before moving on the the next one. (see below for video links to some of the moves)

Prenatal Full Body Workout

The killer to this workout (for me) has been set #3. It’s not just working my chest and back – but balancing on the ball  also works my butt and hamstrings (and as much as the core as it possibly can). My legs are usually screaming just as much as my chest/back when I’m done!

I will warn you, every time I’ve done this workout, I’ve been sore everywhere afterwards. It doesn’t necessarily make me sweat like crazy – but it is definitely effective. Try it and let me know what you think!

So… did you survive Daylights Savings and find that extra hour somewhere in your day? Or are you like me – just waiting on the change to reek havoc later this week?