Friday, 31 January 2014

On the mat with baby



Before Weston, when I wasn't out running I was at yoga. I am a power flow junkie. I love the strength of warrior pose, the awareness of balance and the stillness of savasana.   To be honest though, I didn't love prenatal yoga. Sure I liked the time to connect with baby, but I often left frustrated and feeling a little off because the practice just wasn't the same. Forward bends eluded me because of my growing belly, lying on my back was uncomfortable because of sciatica, and my alignment was non existent.

Post baby, yoga was one of the first forms of movement my body was reunited with. Cat Cow pose and modified sun salutations after sleepless nights gave me a tiny sense of calm. At the six week mark, I headed back to Moksha with my mat. The closeness of the studio and the practicality of a 60 minute class made it an easy first step. 

Oddly, as I set my intention for that first class, I felt a wave of anxiety rush through me.  I took a moment to check in with my racing heartbeat and realised I was worried about Weston.  This was my first venture out in a roomful of adults without him, and I felt his absence like only a new mother can.  I told myself he was safe. He is with his dad and grandparents. You can relax.  By mid class, the feelings had settled.

This past week we ventured out to our first mom and baby yoga class. This time as we set our intention I thought carefully.  In the past, I usually focussed on things like not comparing myself to others, focusing on breath, staying in the moment etc.  But in that class as I looked down at my baby rolling about on his little folded up bed of blankets I said to myself "I will be peaceful when he can't be".  

I am carrying that intention with me this week on and off the mat. 




Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Weekly Workouts (Jan 20 - Jan 26)

Monday, Jan 20  – OFF

Tuesday, Jan 21 –  60 minute HIIT class
Wednesday, Jan 21 – OFF (unless you count a lot of up and down lifting of Weston to the tune of the Grand Old Duke of York)
Thursday, Jan 23 This Tracy Anderson workout
Friday, Jan 24  – 60 minute walk and two sets of stairs (walking with Weston)
Saturday, Jan 25 – 35 minute run
Sunday, Jan 26 - OFF

Things to note:

  • I try to like Tracy Anderson workouts but I just feel totally uncoordinated and awkward. Also, who works out in satin?!?

  • Running in ice and slush probably isn't worth the effort.

  • On Wednesday we drove all the way to mom and baby yoga but Weston was having such a meltdown in the car that I turned around a drove right back home.

Trip Planning

I mentioned previously that we had gone to get Weston's passport photos taken so we would be prepared for a potential trip this spring. Much to our frustration we had to go back and get them redone because both ears weren't showing!

We are all set now though and will be bringing in the forms on Friday for his first passport. Mine also expires in May so I have to get it renewed.

We have thrown around a couple of ideas so far but are yet to land on anything solid. The parameters seem to be Short(ish) flight, ability to speak the local language or confidence that there is enough of an English speaking population in case there is an emergency, and obviously a baby-friendly environment.

These are the options we have come up with:


  1. Belize - not too far of a flight and small enough to tour around without needing to take additional transportation (trains, buses etc.)
  2. California coast - we figure we could fly to san francisco and do a mini road trip from there. 
  3. Iceland - Iceland air just started offering direct flights from Edmonton (6hrs) with a free stopover option in Reykjavik before heading to your final destination. From Reykjavik we are thinking of taking a short haul flight (2 hours or less) to either Stockholm or Amsterdam. In reading reviews, both are very clean and family friendly.
  4. Scotland - we could visit my family and friends but it is the longest flight option (9+ hours!)
I am going to do a bit more research this week. We are looking to go at the end of March for about 10 days. 

Have you traveled with a baby under 6 months?
Any tips or suggestions??

Friday, 24 January 2014

What's next

It has been a busy week. The older Weston gets the more activities we are able to attend and he becomes more amenable to becoming my sidekick. And by sidekick I mean we go out once in the morning (sometimes) and for an afternoon walk.  If this doesn't seem like groundbreaking progress you should have been here in the coldest days of December. 

We are still making it to story time lap time and baby massage. Today we are learning sleep techniques so I might give Weston a baby massage for 2 hours tonight : )


I have also been studying. A lot. I am working towards my North American Academy for Sport Fitness Professionals (NAASFP) Marathon Coach certification. I chose this program for a couple of reasons. I wanted more credibility as a run leader, I wanted to improve my own running, and I wanted to keep my mind active and have something just for me while I am on mat leave.


Let me tell you I am learning a lot. It is like I am back in school and when J comes home I am full of “did you knows”. The challenge is I don’t always get time to even crack a book but I am making it work. Every night once Weston is asleep he stays with J while I go to read my texts. The only problem is tiredness makes me fall asleep about 10 minutes in. Better than nothing I guess.


I have a couple of steps to complete before being fully certified but I would love to develop training plans for people who are looking to work with a coach on a more personalized programs or who have lives far too hectic to make it to a group training scenario.


Happy Friday everyone!


Sunday, 19 January 2014

Weekly Workouts (Jan 13 - Jan 20)

Monday, Jan 13  – OFF
Tuesday, Jan 14 –  This Jillian Michaels DVD (part 2 which was WAY harder than part 1)
Wednesday, Jan 15 – 60 minute HIIT class, 3o minute walk with Weston
Thursday, Jan 16 – 30 minute Barre3 workout (online), 30 minute walk with Weston
Friday, Jan 17  – 60 minute HIIT
Saturday, Jan 18 – 60 minute Moksha class
Sunday, Jan 19 - 30 minute group run (4.7km)

Things to note:


  • Did you know Moksha changed its name in the US?? It is called Modo yoga now.

  • Dark chocolate and tea is not a great recovery meal. But you already knew that.

  • If you slip on the ice and gravel you will tear a hole in your favourite Lululemon wonder unders ; (

  • Never underestimate the power of a pulsing plie squat. NEVER!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

All in good form

There is something that has been on my mind the past couple of weeks. Exercise Form.  Maybe it is because I have noticed a deterioration in my own form due to a weakened postpartum core, but bad form seems to be a plague lately.

As a running group instructor I saw variations of this a lot. Slumped shoulders, shuffling feet, side swaying arms and other easy to spot (and easy to fix) running form mistakes.

I am by no means an expert on strength training, but I do believe that if you are going to do an exercise you should do any modifications you can to execute the movement effectively an efficiently.

The worst offenders for me are burpees and planks.  This week I have attended 2 HIIT classes that were full of burpees.  I will try to explain where and how my form falls apart:


  • my wrists hurt from nursing so I can't plant my hands properly.

  • when I jump out my lower back  almost certainly sways.

  • I don't have the hip flexibility to jump forward properly.

  • my elbows lock out as my arms fatigue causing undue stress on the joint.


All of these problems put me at risk for injury, and when I look around the room I am not the only one having problems. I have noticed a movement lately that emphasizes speed and heavy weights before form. Don't get me wrong, I love HIIT and think it is a great workout. But there is something about peer pressure in group classes that needs to be addressed.

We need to hear more "go at your own pace" of "form first" mantras in these classes. I also don't have a problem in particualr with burpees, I just think they should be approached with care.

12 minute athlete has some great advice on this topic:
Go ahead and try the tough exercises. Do a pull up, or a push up, or a handstand, even if you’re not that good enough at it yet. Build up your confidence. But when it comes down to really getting stronger, work on the modified versions. And don’t be embarrassed about it!

That is encouraging to me. I can do 5 pushups and then drop to my knees. I can hold side plank for 30 seconds and then drop on one knee. I can do full chatruanga and then modify it half way through class.

For those interested, here is a great video on how to do a burpee with proper form:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZQA08SlJnM

Have you ever felt peer pressure at the gym or your favourite class to keep up?

What exercise do you struggle with the most and how does that make you feel? (um chin-ups anyone??)


 
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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Link Love

I spend a lot of time during the week reading blog posts and article while Weston naps.  I am going to make a habit of bookmarking the ones I found intriguing, helpful and even irritating so I can share them with you. Here are the top five in no particular order:

  1. Raising genderless children - I had no idea people actually raised their children without ever revealing their gender to even their family. The child psychiatrist calls this out as unhealthy. What are your thoughts?
  2. Running Shoe Trends for 2014 - yes maximalism is a new shoe trend. Think weird toning shoes meets neon mesh.
  3. Can we retire the phrase real women please - Interesting article. I took this quote away from it: "There are so many ways for women to be; all of them are real."
  4. Caffeine Doesn’t Cause Dehydration! - Need I say any more?
  5. 5 Questions to Ask Before posting to social media - You may have seen this post making the rounds on facebook. Interesting food for thought. I will admit right now that I have likely posted things in the past to be boastful. Isn't every "I'm on vacation look at the beautiful beach and my ice cold margarita" post a little bit snarky??

 

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Weekly Workouts (Jan 6 - Jan 12)

Monday, Jan 6  – OFF
Tuesday, Jan 7 –  This Jillian Michaels DVD
Wednesday, Jan 8 – 60 minute Moksha class
Thursday, Jan 9 – 60 minute HIIT class, 3o minute walk with Weston
Friday, Jan 10  – OFF
Saturday, Jan 11 – 40 minute walk with Weston
Sunday, Jan 12 - 35 minute group run

Things to note:


  • I still hate burpees.

  • My inner thighs and core were very tight from running on the ice (hello stabilizers!).

  • My arms are getting much stronger but not from working out - from carrying all the baby equipment!

  • I have excess skin around my mid section from being pregnant. I am not sure if that ever goes away but it is what it is... I just hike my lulus up to conceal it : )

Monday, 13 January 2014

Vegan Paleo Part 2

Sunday morning I surveyed my run club members for their thoughts on the paleo approach. Consensus was that there were too many rules. And let me tell you, this is a group that doesn't shy away from sampling diet/lifestyle changes. In the past we have weighted the pros and cons of other approaches including the blood type 'diet', alkalinity eating and Brendan Brazier's thrive diet. I am the only Vegan in the group so for my meat eating friends to think paleo is restrictive was eye opening.

No beans!?!

The most troubling part of paleo is the exclusion of beans and legumes which are considered antinutrients due to the high phytic acid, lectin and tannin content (for the record, tea is also high in tannins).  

I found this intriguing so I began to do some research on beans - the staple of most vegan diets. This article by Dr Clyde Wilson argues that beans are only harmful when eaten raw. The beans we consume are always cooked, canned or sprouted.  As Dr. Wilson suggests"

Cooking beans for 15 min at 100 C or 2 hrs at 80 C completely denatures lectins, and canning beans is just as effective, meaning cooked and canned legumes are not only completely safe but their residual lectin levels fight cancer and fungal / bacterial / viral infection.

Where's the protein? 

If you were to omit beans, No Meat Athlete lists the following paleo approved vegetarian protein sources:

  • Almonds*

  • Avocado

  • Broccoli

  • Eggs (not for me)

  • Hemp Seed

  • Pistachios

  • Potatoes (technically, only sweet potatoes are allowed)

  • Spinach

  • Spirulina

  • Walnuts*


*note: I believe that all nuts should also be soaked before eating

Menu ideas

I have been able to find a few  examples of people who were successful on this approach.  Vegan, Paleo Crossfit huh? did a great job of tracking her food intake for 30 days, making it look almost easy.  A sample day looked something like this:

Breakfast Smoothie: mango, banana, orange, spinach, hemp protein, flax seed, maca powder & almond-hazelnut butter

Lunch Salad: mixed greens, sunflower seeds, walnuts, avocado, tomatoes & EFA oil & vinegar

Snacks: handful of nuts; carrot sticks

Dinner: Stir fry veggies cooked in an almond butter, lime juice, coconut aminos, cumin sauce.

Conclusion

I think there are a lot of healthy ideas coming out of the Paleo approach. Increasing vegetable and healthy fat consumption while limiting higher glycemic index fruits is something I already do.  I eat very limited amounts of soy as a vegan due to my sensitivity and a noted effect on Baby W when I breastfeed.

I don't however think I could completely eliminate beans and legumes. As a runner and someone who struggles to maintain iron stores, lentils are an important source of iron in my diet.  I also eat a lot of oatmeal! I do however think I should mix things up and would be happy to add a smoothie to my breakfast routine unless of course the baby is sleeping... then there is no blending happening : )

All in all, I felt anxious even reading all the food rules and was already starting to look at foods in a good/bad way. This may work for some people, but the idea of restricting certain food groups is not a healthy choice for me. I could see myself doing a 30 day challenge and then going off the rails with nibs and soy lattes!

For now, I will continue to make the healthiest choices I can (while occasionally enjoying both peanut butter and quinoa salad)


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Saturday, 11 January 2014

Up for a paleo challenge

I have been reading a lot about the paleo diet lately and whether or not it is possible as a vegan. No Meat Athlete is probably the most informative source as he took on the challenge himself for 30 days.  You can read more about it here.  I am seriously considering doing my own 30 day challenge. Mostly because I was motivated by this Nerd Fitness challenge:

take 30 days and give it a shot—cut out the grains and  dairy, start eating more vegetables and fruits, eat more humanely raised and non-grain fed meat, cut out the liquid calories and sugar, and see how you feel after the month is up. 

So why paleo? This post by Eat Drink Paleo highlights some of the known health benefits. I am most interested in:

  • Increased and more stable energy levels (I will do anything to combat my lack of sleep)
  • Improved sleep
  • Clearer skin and healthier looking hair (breastfeeding is leaving me with dull mousy hair)
  • Improved mood and attitude
  • Higher immune function and a general feeling of well being
  • Paleo diet is anti-inflammatory (which is probably great for runners!)
  • Improvements in those with respiratory problems such as asthma (Asthma was one of the reasons I initially eliminated lactose free dairy)

Right now I am still wading my way through articles, blog posts and recipes to see if this is something I want to take on. I would love to hear from you if you follow a vegetarian/vegan paleo diet or lifestyle. 

Reasons why, resources and recipes are welcome!

p.s. we went to baby massage class yesterday and this morning I gave Weston his first massage. So cute!

 

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

A sunnier disposition

After our nearly disastrous Monday, the rest of the week has gone quite well.  Highlight so far was definitely out Laptime Storytime class yesterday at the library. Weston was the youngest in the room but I think he enjoyed it. Mommy on the other hand needs to brush up on her nursery rhymes.  Getting out of the house and to the library for 10:15 = a win!

I also got my act together enough to attend a 60 min. Moksha class last night. My hips are tighter than ever! I think it is a combination of pregnancy strain and a lot of couch sitting while breastfeeding.  Oh and remember my goal to drink more water?? I need to place even more emphasis on that post sweaty yoga session. I have a headache this morning but I only have myself to blame.

Other big achievements include Weston learning to make Buh and Ba sounds and a Skype session with my parents where they only disappeared out of the frame twice : ) He also fits his 3 month clothes now so he got to sport his "awesome like aunty" t-shirt for the first time.

 

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The cutest thing this week is Weston seems to be hugging more or at least holding on when I carry him downstairs. My heart melts!!

I have 2 questions today:

What is your all time favourite nursery rhyme?

Did you travel with your children under 6 months? How long/far did you venture? (p.s. travel post coming next)

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The truth about postpartum fitness



I am going to start this post with a recap of yesterday's events.

I had plans to go out with a new run club at 6pm. J finishes work at 4:30 and runs home  to avoid the traffic and slow winter commute. It is a 7k run so if you do the math he automatically logs 35 km/work week. Yesterday he got home at 5:33. When he came through the door he said:

J: "aren't you going to run club"
Me: "no, it's too late"
J: "you could have told me"
followed by an IRATE Lindsey whose choice of words probably don't need to be included here ; )

To protect you and your significant other from a similar argument I thought I would point out some of the reasons why that is a CRAZY thing to say to a new mama.


  1. Unpredictable Babies - I have no idea how ANY day with baby W will pan out. At 9 weeks he doesn't have a predictable schedule, he still cluster feeds during the evening and he continues to resist a bottle. At this points plans are more like possibilities. 

  2. Day to Day Logistics - The execution of a solo outing (even for an hour) takes a lot of planning. The location is based on the amount of time I will spend driving. 15 minutes each way is considerable if you tack that on to a 90 minute yoga class and a baby that eats about every 2 hours.  The solution: 60-75 minute yoga class a 5 minute drive away.

  3. Breastfeeding Realities - When W nursed dictates when I can leave. I know this is hard to understand for spouses but it relates closely to logistics. Add in the need to pump a "just in case" bottle and things are further complicated.  I can try to pump right after a nursing session but if he wants to eat 30 minutes later lower milk at that time will make for a very fussy baby.

  4. The New "Getting Ready" -  I can rarely just change and go now. For one, getting my sports bra on now seems like a pre workout warm up. Chances are I need to rinse spit up out of my hair and try to find two matching socks amidst the baby laundry that isn't yet folded.  There are also new things to consider like breast pads for my sports bra. Let's not talk about the leaking I really hope other people think was sweat during my HIIT class this weekend.

  5. Energy Highs & Lows - here is the most important part. After an 11 hour day with a baby smack dab in the middle of a 10 week growth spurt, I may not feel like working out. I might want to go upstairs for just 30 minutes to read a magazine on my own. I might want to go on a 20 minute walk to regroup for my next day of mommy duties.  Sometimes I just want to go to Starbucks and have a grown up coffee around grown up people.


This is my new world. While I can make plans and workout schedule I also know that they are merely plans. My new world places Weston first and everything else second and I am mighty fine with that (until a well-meaning spouses comment rocks the boat).

Today I hope to get to a yoga class.  My mat is calling me for some much needed deep yogi breathing.

 

Monday, 6 January 2014

Cleaning up January

As the new year kicked off, I reflected on the past 2 months (ok 11 if we are being honest) and took stock of my nutrition habits as of late.  Even with our organic box delivery, I still seem to be lacking whole foods in my diet.  One too many times, an entire bowl of steamed green beans has become my dinner because I haven't had the energy  to do much else.  Sure green beans have a health quotient but they don't make an entire meal.  Know what else doesn't constitute a healthy meal? A cliff bar and a diet pepsi. Oh my how I have let things slide.

This is not going to be a post about a new year's fad diet. Nope not at all! It is simply about taking a moment to be honest with yourself about where improvements could be made.  As I begin to add more activity to my daily routing nutrition is going to become even more important, especially with the added demands of breastfeeding.

Here are some of my goals to amp up my eating this month:


  • I am taking a new approach to Pinterest and pinning smoothie ideas and salads. Right now those are the two easy things I think I could manage.  A smoothie, after all, is a great place to hide the wilting spinach we never got around to eating or the melon that is a bit past it's prime. Please add me on pinterest and share your ideas!

  • I always need to drink more pure water.  I seem to be able do it at the gym when there is a water cooler near by, but at home I will drink anything and everything but water. I used to be a crystal light addict just so I could gulp down fluids, I have to consciously limit my intake of diet pop, and I have drunk more tea in these first few post partum months than I have in years.

  • See less of my good friends Lara, Luna and Cliff : )

  • Go back to ONE tassimo pod a day. It isn't helping my sleepiness at all, in fact I think it is creating a vicious caffeine dependency circle (p.s. I switched to Tassimo's last year so I would stop drinking entire pots of coffee).

  • Make sure I take my supplements. Nothing crazy here, just the essentials: multivitamin, vitamin E, vitamin D, and a DHA supplement. A note about DHA: I added this supplement after a good friend suggested I would benefit from it while breastfeeding. After a lot of research and a visit to a local health store, I chose to take Ascenta NutraSea DHA. This is NOT a vegan source of DHA but I was afraid that I wouldn't absorb as much from a vegan source and that was a big worry for Baby W's brain development.  This brand is harvested from Squid oil which you can read more about here. I thought this would be an important note to share as I had a hard time reaching this decision.




There you have it. A few simple changes that I hope will make quite a difference in the coming months.

Here's to a warmer week!

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Weekly Workouts (Dec 30 - Jan 5)

First weekly workouts post of the year! I have also updates some of the pages with new info.

Monday, Dec 30  – 60 minute Moksha class
Tuesday, Dec 31 –  30 minute cycle (trainer road)
Wednesday, Jan 1 – OFF
Thursday, Jan 2 – 50 minute walk with Baby, 30 minute barre3 class online
Friday, Jan 3  – OFF
Saturday, Jan 4 – 60 minute HIIT class
Sunday, Jan 5 - 75 minute Vinyasa Flow class

I am finally starting to get back to activity! I am able to get out of the house in the evenings for a bit and on weekends I time things around Weston's eating schedule. I feel alive! For anyone who has had to take a break from their usual training due to circumstance, injury or pregnancy you can probably relate to the rush of endorphins you feel once you are able to get back on track.

Things to note:


  • My intensity is much lower (i.e. at HIIT class I can't do nearly as many reps in 60 seconds as I once could).

  • My HR is higher and to be honest a bit all over the place but I am confident it will improve quite quickly.

  • Lack of sleep takes a toll on your body. I am having a hard time balance the old adage of "once you will start you will feel better" with honouring my bodies need for rest.

  • My lower back gets fatigued quickly due to my weakened core while my arms are stronger than expected from toting around the carseat, stroller and Mr Weston himself.

  • Increased workouts + breastfeeding = even more thirsty!


New in 2014!

  • I am beginning training this month to become a certified running coach! Me and J have reached an agreement that he will be my case study for my coursework as I have to sign up and train someone for their first marathon. Watch for posts on that here!

  • Next Sunday I have my first run club that I am leading for lululemon staff. I am looking forward to some fun mornings with that team.


Do you have any new fitness/lifestyle goals in 2014?
Have you ever had to take a break from fitness? 

Friday, 3 January 2014

2 months

Dear Weston,

IMG_0108

I can't believe you are already two months old!

This month you hit the 12 pound mark. You are growing like a weed and yesterday I had a teary moment looking at the 0-3 sleepers in the store as your days left in them are numbered.

You met your cousins and saw grandpa and grandma again for an early Christmas. Cailynn sure does love you!

IMG_1621_1

You celebrated your first Christmas with an early church service (you were digging the music and lights) and a walk down candycane lane with mom and dad.  Next year maybe you will stay awake for it.

IMG_0091

You have discovered your hands and feet and have been kicking up a storm lately. Maybe we have a future soccer player in the family. You also love the sound of water running and bath time has become splash time.

You are most smiley in the morning and I cherish the little moments when I change your diaper and get you dressed for the day and you chatter away to me.

You sleep about 4-5 hour stretches some nights which is quite a gift. Still won't tolerate your bassinet but I am not going to hold it against you since the times I get to hold you in my arms like this are making sweet memories.

I can't wait to see what this next month brings! We have our first dance class together and baby massage so maybe you will make some little friends.

Love you much!

Mommy.