How to Lose the Baby Weight: Workouts

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Pregnancy, man. What a trip.

Let me just say … I did NOT like being pregnant.

Of course, I was thrilled to be expecting a baby girl, and so grateful to have a healthy pregnancy and a delivery without complications. But the side effects? Umm, no thanks. Swollen feet (KKW-style), nausea, crippling fatigue, insomnia, acid reflux, mood swings … I could go on, but I’ll spare you. And of course, putting on a bunch of weight and feeling huge was icing on the cake. Speaking of cake, I gobbled it down at every opportunity for 9 months, which leads me to my next point …

…I gained about 33 lbs over the course of my pregnancy. And once I gave birth, I wanted those 33 lbs gone. Like, now. But of course, it doesn’t happen that easily.

When I came home from the hospital I was down 9 lbs (7 of which were the baby), and by the end of Week 2 I was down an additional 10 (I assume from fluids and other mysteries). That left 14 lbs I had to get rid of the good old-fashioned way … through diet and exercise.

By the time my daughter turned 4 months old, I was back to my pre-baby weight. More importantly, my strength and endurance was back up, my jeans buttoned and I finally felt like myself again. Getting in shape after pregnancy had a lot to do with breastfeeding and eating well, but I was also very active before, during and after my pregnancy and that made a big difference.

Is my body the same as it was before I had a baby? In a word, no. How could it be? It’s been through something pretty insane and badass, and I’m fine with that. Every woman is different – some moms seem to “snap back” instantly, others take a year to feel back to normal and some never go back to their pre-pregnancy weight. And it’s all ok! It’s not a success if you lose all the weight, and it’s not a failure if you don’t. As long as you feel healthy and confident, that’s all that matters.

Here’s my postpartum fitness journey.

Weeks 1-5: Walk, Walk, Walk

For the first 6 weeks after giving birth (longer if you have a C-section), you aren’t supposed to work out at ALL so your body can properly heal. For a fitness freak like me, this was torture. So, I walked.

The day after we got home from the hospital, I took a short, slow walk around the block. It wasn’t much, but it was something. Every day I went a little bit farther. After a few weeks, I was averaging 5-6 miles a day – my personal best was 9!

I’d walk with my daughter in the front carrier or in the stroller. I’d walk to get coffee, groceries, lunch. I’d walk just to walk, for an hour or two, leaving right after feeding her and arriving home right before her next meal. I charted routes in different neighborhoods and added in hills whenever I could. It kept me sane – and kept me burning calories.

 

Weeks 6-12: Ease Back In

After I was cleared to exercise again, I knew I’d have to rebuild my strength and stamina. After 9 months of pregnancy and 6 weeks of recovery, I couldn’t just jump back in – especially because I was freaking exhausted all the time! I mean, I was awake all the time with a newborn. I had nightmares about falling on the treadmill due to being overtired. So I started slow.

I started going to Baby Boot Camp and Pilates ProWorks Mommy & Me Pilates three days a week – workouts where I could bring my daughter with me. Sometimes she cried and I had to leave class halfway through, and it sucked. But sometimes she slept the whole time and it was awesome. The key is was just keep trying. I mean, I had nothing better to do on maternity leave.

On the weekends my husband watched her for an hour or two so I could take a class, and I started going back to SoulCycle and CorePower Yoga Sculpt. Eventually I was ready for Core40 and Barry’s Bootcamp. I probably averaged around 4 classes per week during this period. And along the way, I made modifications in every class. I didn’t push it too hard, I didn’t choose the heavy weights, I was careful about ab exercises (pregnancy does a NUMBER on your abs!) and generally didn’t do anything that felt uncomfortable.

I know lots of new moms love at-home workout videos and apps so they can get a workout in while the baby sleeps. But I just can’t get motivated at home. The thought of doing lunges or pushups in my living room is depressing to me. It probably would have been more convenient, but oh well.

Weeks 12+: Fit In Fitness

I went back to work full-time at 12 weeks, and my days of long walks and midweek classes were over. Between breastfeeding the baby before and after work, commuting downtown and pumping at the office – plus, you know, actually doing my job – I don’t exactly have a lot of downtime for exercise. I had to get creative and efficient.  

The first thing I did was maximize my commute time. Instead of taking the streetcar, I started walking 1.5 miles to the nearest subway station (BART, for my Bay Area friends). The subway is much faster anyway, and now I’m able to log a good 3 or 4 miles of walking every day.  

A busy workweek makes weekend workouts extremely important. I almost always take an early morning class on Saturday and Sunday. And I’ve been choosing classes that are hard (gotta make every minute count!) but still fun – for me, that’s Barry’s, Core40, CorePower and Soul. I’ve also been going to class after work on either Thursday or Friday, for a total of 3 classes per week.

I’m guessing that once my baby is a bit older I’ll find new ways to fit in fitness. I’m sure that, like with all aspects of raising children, my “routine” will change over time. I’ll just keep adapting and if I find something that works, I’ll let you know!

Would love your tips on how you fit in workouts, whether you’re a mom, a dad or have a crazy busy schedule! Please comment below!

*Please note: if you are pregnant or postpartum, consult a doctor before beginning any new workout program

Posted on April 29, 2019 and filed under Fitness.

My Top Pregnancy Fitness Tips (Plus 4 Awesome Prenatal Workout Classes)

Pregnancy Fitness & Prenatal Workouts

I used to wake up at 5:30 a.m. to hit up Barry’s Bootcamp, a hot power yoga class (with weights) or train for a half marathon before work. Then I got pregnant and yeahhhh...not so much. My workouts really changed.

For the first trimester I had crippling fatigue and couldn’t fathom any cardio besides walking. And in general I had no desire to run, jump or do anything high-impact (although many other moms-to-be keep pounding the pavement right up until their due dates). And I encountered many “joys” of pregnancy that affected my workouts, like heartburn/acid reflux, swollen legs and feet, shortness of breath due to squished lungs, loss of balance and generally feeling big, heavy and uncomfortable. Sexy!!

That being said, I made it a priority to work out 3-5 times a week for all 40 weeks (I’m currently at 39 weeks, 4 days). This helped me keep my energy up, manage my weight gain (even while eating anything I wanted … and I do mean anything), avoid any back pain and most importantly, stay healthy and sane through an emotional roller coaster of a year.

Every person is different and every pregnancy is different, and what was right for me is not necessarily what’s right for everyone else. There are a few general rules when it comes to prenatal fitness - avoid any extremely heated workouts, sports where you are in danger of falling or getting hit in the stomach (i.e. horseback riding, softball) and forgo many core exercises since your abs are, as one instructor told me, “busy doing other things.” But for the most part, we are all on our own journeys. These fitness tips and classes are just what worked for me.

My Top 7 Pregnancy Fitness Tips

  1. Check in with your doctor

    Your OBGYN is the best person to advise you on what you should and shouldn’t be doing. Check in with her or him before starting (or continuing) any workouts, and ask about modifications, too, especially for anything core-focused or that has you laying on your back.

  2. Listen to your body

    Sounds corny but it’s true. Feeling tired? Skip a workout and nap instead, or choose a mellow yoga class or a walk. Need a break? Take one. A move doesn’t feel good? Stop doing it immediately. Only you know your body, so trust it and do what’s right for you and your baby. Which brings me to…

  3. Leave your ego at the door

    Newsflash: when you’re pregnant, you probably won’t be the fastest, strongest, most advanced person in class. You won’t be able to do everything you used to do. Which kinda sucks. But hey, that’s the way it is, and that’s okay. So just accept that you can do the very best you can for where you are in your pregnancy...and that it’s more than enough.

  4. Talk to your instructor

    Tell every instructor that you’re pregnant before class starts. They’ll be able to advise you about any moves that you should avoid (even if they seem like they’d be fine!), and are usually happy to help you modify throughout class.

  5. Fuel up and hydrate

    Eat a snack or small meal 1-2 hours before and after a workout to keep your blood sugar steady and make sure you’re not running on empty. Also, hydration is SUPER important while pregnant or breastfeeding, so make sure to drink water before, during and after your workouts.

  6. Focus on your pelvic floor

    Pregnancy and childbirth can weaken your pelvic floor muscles, which support the bowel, bladder and uterus. Keeping them strong will help you bounce back after birth and can benefit everything from your sex life to your underwear (as in, you won’t pee your pants as much xo). A few moves to try: Kegels, squats, bridges and bird dogs.

  7. Think of workouts as training

    Giving birth and being a mom take major strength and stamina, so it helped me to look at pregnancy as 9 months of physical training. I’m hoping that cardio sessions will help me power through labor and delivery, and that strength workouts will make it easier to lift car seats, strollers, diaper boxes...oh, and the baby.

My Top 4 Pregnancy Workout Classes

  1. Spin

    Spin class is a great low-impact cardio workout that needs minimal modifications during pregnancy! I did SoulCycle or another spin class about 1-2 times per week during my 2nd and 3rd trimester and it was a great way to safely get my heart rate up and really sweat, plus tone my legs and arms, in 45 minutes.

    Modifications: raise up the handlebar to make room for your belly, “run” instead of sprint, sit down or take breaks when needed, forgo the choreography if needed

  2. Lagree Pilates

    Core40 has been one of my absolute favorite workouts for years and I never want to give it up. Plus, I’ve heard from MULTIPLE sources that women who continue with Lagree up until the end of pregnancy have quick and easy births - maybe due to all the squatting and lower-body strengthening? Whatever, I’ll take it! Plus it’s low-impact and only 40 minutes.

    Modifications: use the pole for balance, replace center core and oblique sections with additional arm or leg exercises in 2nd and 3rd trimesters, avoid Ramped classes in 3rd trimester when your balance can be off

  3. TRX

    This is a fantastic strength-building workout that worked for me throughout pregnancy. There are so many moves to tone your arms, shoulders, back, butt and legs, and the cardio bursts are typically easy to modify (i.e. swap jumping jacks for step-out jacks, burpees for squat kicks, etc.).

    Modifications: replace ab and oblique exercises with additional arm or leg exercises in 2nd and 3rd trimester, choose low-impact cardio options, modify any moves that require suspending your foot (or feet) in the strap that might affect your balance

  4. Walking or hiking

    The ultimate pregnancy workout. You can do it anytime, anywhere, even if you didn’t have an established workout regimen pre-pregnancy. It’s also a good default when you get too big or uncomfortable for other workouts. To amp it up, pick up the pace and add hills or stairs.

    Modifications: none needed! Switch things up with new walking paths, hiking trails (I love the All Trails app to find new ones) or stairway walks for more of a glute burn.

P.S. Wondering where prenatal yoga fits into all of this? Well...it doesn’t, for me anyway. I tried one very popular, highly recommended class and ended up leaving halfway in. Personally I just felt it was wayyy too slow-paced, too touchy-feely (we had to go around the room and each talk about our pregnancy and how our bodies were feeling :-| ) and too long (90 minutes). I ultimately felt like I got a better workout walking to the class than actually taking it. But others love prenatal and swear by it! So if that’s you, go on with your bad self.


Posted on December 20, 2018 and filed under Fitness.

My Top 20 Healthy Foods from Trader Joe’s

Healthy Food at Trader Joe's | Bellini Bootcamp

I’m going to preface this by saying … I LOVE TRADER JOE’S.

Yes, that needed to be shouted. I love their branding. I love their prices. I love their feel-good ambiance. And can we talk about the Trader Giotto’s/Trader Jose/Trader Ming epicness? One of my favorite things to do on a Sunday is get there right when the doors open at 8:00 a.m., load up on the free coffee and samples, and discover new and different culinary delights while I blissfully stroll the still-empty aisles.

I don’t always get my produce at TJ’s, but I buy tons of staples there – nuts, medjool dates, almond butter (have you tried the raw kinds? So good dude), coconut oil, RX Bars, chia seeds, sprouted grain bread … the list goes on. This list, however, is a round-up of 20 of my favorite finds that you can’t find everywhere else.


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1. Sweet Potato Ribbons: A delish alternative to pasta. Sautee with oil, salt and pepper, then toss with sauce.

2. Broccoli & Cabbage Slaw: A great way to reinvent the boring spinach or lettuce salad. Great in a cranberry and apple situation.

3. Steamed Lentils: Lentils are an awesome source of vegan protein, and these are ready to eat warm or cold.

4. Green Goddess Salad Dressing: Made with avocado, green onion, lemon juice, chives, basil and garlic. Need I say more?

5. Sriracha Flavored Baked Tofu: I love this stuff! Super firm, full of flavor and ready to eat. Chop it up and toss on a salad or grain bowl.

6. White Bean & Basil Hummus: I’m a sucker for flavored hummus (jalapeno and cilantro! Roasted red pepper and garlic! Artichoke!), and this kind is unique and a crowd-pleaser.

7. Spinach and Kale Greek Yogurt Dip: I feel like this was really “in” when it came out a few years ago, but it’s worth the hype. Try with baby carrots or as an alternative to sour cream.

8. Almond mozzarella style shreds: If you’re looking to cut down on dairy, try swapping in this almond “cheese” on top of pasta or pizza (pair with the cauliflower pizza crust).

9. Roasted butternut squash, red quinoa and wheatberry salad: My favorite of the grab-and-go salads. Hearty, healthy and only $3.99.

Healthy Foods at Trader Joe's | Bellini Bootcamp

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10. Colorful Carrot Coins: The perfect easy-to-heat side dish to add to your dinner. Warming and full of flavor.

11. Zucchini Spirals: Spiralizing your own veggies is kind of a production (what? It is!). These taste just as good as fresh, and are amazing paired with a little olive oil, pesto, garlic and nutritional yeast. They also have carrot spirals if you want to mix it up.

12. Cauliflower Pizza Crust: I always have at least one of these chilling in my freezer for easy weeknight dinners. Made with just 7 real ingredients and ready in 10 minutes.

13. Salmon Burgers: Another good one to have on standby. Full of healthy fats and omega 3s, plus their fish is wild caught and sustainably harvested.

14. Gone Bananas! Chocolate Covered Banana Slices: A delicious sweet treat that isn’t that bad for you.

Healthy Foods at Trader Joe's | Bellini Bootcamp

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15. Gluten-free Ancient Grain & Super Seed Oatmeal: If you’re an oatmeal fan, definitely consider swapping out your average oats for these fiber- and antioxidant-packed ones.

16. 10 Minute Farro: Basically fool-proof and creates fluffy, perfect farro in no time, every time.

17. Organic Brown Rice & Quinoa Fusilli Pasta: Sometimes “healthy” pasta can be soggy, weird-textured or flavorless. This stuff tastes great and holds the weight of sauces and add-ons.

18. Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend: This has been trending for a reason – it’s addictive on eggs, chicken, popcorn, roasted veggies, vegan mac and cheese

19. New Zealand sweet apple rings: Satisfies my sweet tooth and excellent dipped in almond butter

20. 3 seed sweet potato crackers: I just discovered these and LOVE LOVE LOVE. And all that’s in ’em are: yellow corn, sunflower oil, sweet potato, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds and sea salt. Boom.

 

BUT far and away my favorite thing that comes out of TJ’s is … the FEARLESS FLYER. You know, their quarterly newsletter highlighting new and featured products. It is honestly amazing and the most entertaining read ever. My favorite issues are: October (pumpkin everything), November (gingerbread everything), and December (peppermint everything). Get into it. You’ll thank me later.

Want more? Peep some new healthy TJ goodness here.

 

Posted on February 27, 2018 and filed under Food.

My 3 Favorite Health & Fitness Podcasts

My 3 Favorite Health & Fitness Podcasts | Bellini Bootcamp

It took me awhile to hop on the podcast train (I also only recently learned what “woke” means ... moving on), but now I love listening to 'em while commuting, running errands, jogging, you name it. And while sometimes a true crime thriller hits the spot, other times it’s nice to have lighter options that inspire me to continue progressing on my wellness journey (and after the indulgences of Super Bowl Sunday, let’s just say I am in dire need of a little fitspiration).

 

In the market for a helpful nutrition podcast, motivational fitness podcast, inspirational wellness podcast ... or just a positive way to pass time on your way home today? Here are my three favorites.

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The Skinny Confidential Him & Her

I’m obsessed with Lauryn Evarts’s blog The Skinny Confidential (that’s how I learned about GG crackers, shaving your face, jade rolling, the list goes on) and also follow her fabulous life on Instagram. Her podcast, which also stars her husband Michael, covers everything from career advice to healthy eating to travel tips and more. Get into it and thank me later.

A few to check out:

Episode 91: Dr. Dennis Gross - Youthful Glowing Skin & Stimulating Collagen

Episode 90: Tanya Zuckerbrot - The F-Factor Diet

Episode 98: Kelly LeVeeque - Be Well by Kelly

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Beauty Inside & Out

Kimberly Snyder is a celebrity nutritionist (Kerry Washington, Channing Tatum, Reese Witherspoon, hello) and author who is all about a vegan, whole foods diet. My favorites are her weekly Q&A episodes, where she answers questions sent in by listeners, and I generally just love how this podcast inspires me to stick with a plant-based diet.

A few to check out:

Episode 197: How Digestion Determines Your Weight Loss

Episode 209: Shedding Light with ‘What the Health’s’ Keegan Kuhn

Episode 215: Infrared Health Benefits

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On Air with Ella

Want real talk? You’ve come to the right place. Ella is just like us, except that she quit her business career to become a podcaster, entrepreneur and triathlete (while being a mom). Umm dream, right? She tackles all things diet, fitness and wellness with a healthy dose of humor. Don’t miss the Good/Bad/Yummy episodes – fun, quick musings on wellness topics and trends.

A few to check out:

Episode 130: Breaking the Nighttime Snacking habit

Episode 124: The Perfect Diet? Part I - Dr. John Berardi

Episode 100: Healthy at Home: Detox Your House!

 

Are there any other wellness podcasts I need to check out? Let me know in the comments!



 

Posted on February 5, 2018 and filed under Lifestyle.

Your Ultimate Hangover Handbook

You came. You saw. You partied off 2017 til you couldn’t remember it (lucky).

And now you’re waking up to a beautiful new year, a fresh start … and a f***ing horrific hangover.

Never fear, my friends. I’ve been preparing for this. And so has the Internet, which has been sending helpful hangover remedies my way for years. Here are a few of the latest and greatest that will get you back on your feet and back to causing trouble in no time.

And on that note, I’m kicking off Sober January. And pretty freaking excited about it.


How to Get Through a Hangover: Eggs, homemade sports drinks, ginger and more

Natural Hangover Helpers: Miso soup, acupressure, B vitamins and more

10 Best Hangover Cures: Alka seltzer, sauna (YES), ginger tea and more

The Embarrassing Hangover Cure: One word. Pedialyte.

31 Weird Hangover Cures People Swear By: Weed, grilled cheese, a bath and more

How These 8 Yogis Deal with a Hangover: Green tea, bone broth, probiotics and more

DIY Hangover Kit: Advil, Kombucha, eye masks and more

Want even more ideas? Here ya go. There’s gotta be something that works in here

 

Nothing’s helping? Embrace the pain, grab a mimosa, and make brunch your bitch.

 

 

Posted on January 1, 2018 and filed under Lifestyle.