Saturday, March 1, 2014

Time to get ready for spring...Spring Bootie Buster Challenge

It's sign up time for the Spring Bootie Buster Challenge (SBBC). Amanda @ RunToTheFinish is hosting the second Spring Bootie Buster Challenge. This is my, I think, 5th Bootie Buster Challenge. I love them and I think you should give it a try.

So, what is it? It's a 7 week "Challenge" of motivation, workout ideas, clean eating recommendations and motivational support of a great group of like-minded ladies! (although, Matt did participate the first year and he always asks if any other guys are participating. ;) )

When does it all go down? Sign up is now, but the challenge runs from 17 Mar to 4 May. Currently, registration is only $12.50, but will shortly go up to $17, and then to $25 on the 17th.

Who is it? Amanda @ RunToTheFinish is a great friend who I met several years ago while running in the Nike Run Club on South Beach! She is awesome and pulls together a great event with AMAZING PRIZES! oh, had I not mentioned the prizes yet? They are always SUPER SWEET! One year I won Oakley and McDavid compression tights, and another year a sweet skin care kit. And every year, I have FUN and see RESULTS.

What results, you might ask? Well, whatever you're looking for and are ready to dedicate to reaching! During 2012's H(oliday)BBC, my goal was to just stay active and eat my freggies to maintain my healthy pregnancy! In last year's SBBC, which either started a few weeks before my beautiful CAT was born, my goal was just to eat healthy and walk enough to help spur on labor so I could have the water birth that I'd planned! I met my goals during both of those challenges!
Our Family Countdown Challenge
Workout during HBBC '13

During this year's HBBC 2013, my goal was to help me eat my freggies and enjoy exercising so I could shed off the last few pounds I was holding onto! Success! Just after the HBBC, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight! And I'm feeling pretty good!

Are you ready to join us and get some motivation to get ready for spring and summer? If so, find more information here and register. Please add either my name (Samara Elledge) or my blog name as the referral when you do sign up!

And, I'll see you on the SBBC Facebook page for motivation!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Fitness Workouts while Pregnant: Second Trimester

I am about to wrap up my second trimester of my first (so-far-successful) pregnancy. Staying physically active during pregnancy is so important for many reasons, including these:
  • Maintaining your strength and flexibility, which will help throughout the pregnancy, during labor and delivery, and post-partum
  • Helping you to gain weight at a steady rate to remain healthy and prevent complications such as gestational diabetes
  • Promoting healthy sleep patterns which again helps baby grow!
  • Helps to keep you regular! yeah, I mean that way (see my post on prunes for another way)
Check out yesterday's post on ideas for your first trimester. Today, I will discuss what I've done during my second trimester. You might hear that the second trimester is the best and so far I can confirm (mind you, I've never experienced a third...yet!) Great things happen in your second: your energy increases, hopefully your morning sickness subsides, and you get to see your baby in the ultrasound! This is the trimester to get things done and, as I've found, to increase my fitness regimen a little in preparation for the third trimester and birth!

Second Trimester - Here is what I've done during my second trimester:

  • Strength Training 2-4 times per week. I have been able to increase my weights a slight amount from what I lifted during the first trimester, but I am still keeping them lower than what I lifted pre-pregnancy.
  • Running 2-4 times and walking 2-4 times per week. I took a little break after my race in October, but when the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge came around, I finally used it as a kick in the Bootie to get back out running. I definitely felt much better during this trimester, but that bladder still seems so small when you start to jog! haha!
  • Yoga 1-7 times per week. During the challenge, I started incorporating 20 minutes of yoga practice at home to work on my flexibility and to help release some back pain that I'd created. 
  • Group Fitness/Cardio and Core classes 2-4 times per week. With the return of my energy, and the kick in the Bootie of the HBBC, I was encouraged to get to the gym for several group classes, to include BodyCombat, CXWORX (core), cycling, and dancing (Sh'Bam and Zumba)
Now, you may add all of these up and say, "Sam, there is no way you were doing 20+ classes/workouts a week." You would be right, my activity flowed from week to week, but I have managed to be pretty consistent in just staying active and I think that is key!

  • I've had to make some modifications to my strength training (BodyPump and CXWORX):
    • I have widened my squats to account for my change in balance and I also need to modify my range of motion on squats on certain days. 
    • I do most of my plank work on my knees now because I started noticing more pulls in my belly and so, while trying to maintain core strength, I don't want to injure my belly either.
    • Prone lying poses are out right now. When we do leg raises or belly poses, I modify to something on my knees. For leg raises, or supermans, I kneel on all fours and do leg lifts and/or arm raises to try and mimic what the actual move is and still reach similar muscles.
  • Yoga  - the second trimester is where you really need to start modifying yoga to fit your pregnancy. I will post next week on body changes and modifications.
  • BodyCombat/Kickboxing - I can still do the majority of BodyCombat, but I pull back on the intensity as needed. I do not do most of the plyometric moves and just choose the lower options offered of either marching in place, lightly jogging in place, or just staying on the ground when the high jumps are involved. I also do lower kicks of all varieties so as not to overstretch my hamstrings. But I can definitely still get a good sweat and strength workout in even with these modifications.
  • Cycling - Last night during cycling is the first time that I felt it really affect my belly, but that is because mine is just starting through it's biggest growth spurt. During some challenging portions of the ride, I felt some pulling in my belly that was a new sensation, not like I've felt while running. Regardless, when I felt this, I just dialed back the intensity until the feeling subsided and then i jumped back into my groove.
  • Utilize your resources- If you do take group fitness classes, head to class a little early and talk with your instructor about modifications that you can make throughout the class. Your instructor will work with you to make sure you are getting a good workout, but in a safe way for both you and your little one.
Always remember to consult your physician prior to engaging in a new exercise regimen while pregnant. But remember that it is your body and you know when something doesn't feel right! Moderation and balance in fitness and rest during your second trimester will reap great benefits for both you and your growing baby!

P.S. I wrote this while actually in my second trimester....and my little CAT is now 10 months old. I forgot to actually post this! Oops! Please forgive me! :) much more than sachets!

Since I've become a mother, I've been using essential oils for all sorts of things. I started during my pregnancy, as I was preparing for childbirth. I was planning a natural childbirth and so began researching which essential oils could help me achieve my goals. I had several by my side during labor and deliver, to include Clary Sage, Jasmine and Lavender.  Once our baby girl came along, I've been using Tea Tree Oil in our homemade bum wipes; and when she had chest congestion this winter, I used a balm of Eucalpytus, Lavender, and Chamomile on her chest to help her breathe and sleep better.

Maybe I'll talk about the rest in future posts, but today, I want to talk about Lavender. We use it all of the time...or if you're like me, you used it before you even thought about essential oils. It came in sachets for my unmentionables (ha). I sprayed in onto my pillow in a pillow spray before bedtime! And I had it in all sorts of bath time goodness: bath bombs, bath oils, soaps and hair products! Now that I've entered the essential oils world (and, full disclosure, I've become an Independent Young Living Distributor)...I've learned so many of the benefits of this amazing essential oil...beyond just the relaxing scent!

Here are just a few of the great uses for lavender:

I've been eyeing a pin on Pinterest about lavender lemonade. It looks so's purple! But, I am the worst at growing plants! I have tried to grow lavender several times, to no avail. I am chalking it up to living in hot climates...I've tried in both Texas and Miami. (It's surely not that I have no green thumb!) 

So, now that I have therapeutic grade lavender in Young Living's Essential Oils (and someone else is successfully doing the growing for me), I figured I have a chance to try it out. So, I looked at the pin and she uses sugar, fresh lavender and fresh lemons (and, GASP, food coloring for the purple color! I've been set up!!). Here is the recipe I used as a guide Centsational Girl's Lavender Lemonade.

I used Young Living Lavender Essential Oil, YL Lemon Essential Oil, and stevia extract. The first cup I made, I left out the stevia. It was fine until I reached the bottom of the glass...then it tasted a bit like soap. So, I added a few drops of stevia in the next glass, and I am in heaven. Not only does it taste amazing, but I also feel like I'm sitting on a hilltop overlooking fields of lavender in France. ;) And who would want to pass up these additional benefits:
 Lavender Essential Oils:
  • Balance normal body functions
  • Soothes and relaxes the mind and body
  • Eases bodily tension and stress
Lemon Essential Oils:
  • Boosts natural defenses
  • Promotes energy and mental clarity
  • Refreshing

Please be advised that I only recommend this with therapeutic grade Young Living Essential Oils. Not all EOs are created equally. You can check the packaging and see that many EOs are not meant to be ingested. But, most Young Living Oils can be ingested either neat (without diluting in oil or another carrier) or diluted. Check out my website on more information on Young Living products and feel free to contact me for any more information!

Now for the details:

Young Living Lavender Lemonade

2-3 Drops YL Lemon EO
2-3 Drops YL Lavender EO
2 or more drops (to taste) liquid stevia or powdered stevia to taste
24 oz. filtered water

Stir gently and pour over water for a refreshing drink! (And please accept my apologies for it not being purple.) 

Note: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. And this information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.