For those of you getting ready to have a baby and/or those of you who had a baby in the past year or so, this blog is for you! If you have no intensions of having a baby or you are squeamish then please X out before I make you uncomfortable 🙂
This topic came by request and I am happy to share my thoughts here as I am a mom of (almost) Irish twins and trained right up until the day of delivery and the same day I was cleared by my doctor postpartum!
Let’s talk about training first…
Training feels different after having a baby, doesn’t it? Your doctor will generally clear you to train 6-8 weeks after having a baby. If you have ever returned to training that quickly after having a baby, then you are about to nod your head to everything I write about today. If you are getting ready to have a baby, then here are some things that will be different (at least for a little while) when you return.
In my personal experience, these things have improved with consistent training and proper modifications. If you experienced a more traumatic delivery, there may be repercussions which will mean more extreme modifications. In my coaching experience, I have had students with severe hip displacement as well as lingering back issues which have required modification for over 2 years. The point is that when your doctor clears you to train, it is not advised to dive into the performance level on the board for all of the exercises. I know you are motivated to drop the extra weight and tighten back up, but you need to remind your body what it feels like to train especially after baby put your body through the ringer.
Training while pregnant - yes! If you have been training, then it is highly recommended that you stay after it. Here’s my personal 2 cents…I absolutely do not want to know what labor and delivery feels like as an unfit person. That is a serious and powerful workout. Imagine how much “easier” you will make it on yourself if you are STRONG!
Postpartum nutrition is up next. You just had a baby. The past 9 months you have been caving into cravings (or maybe you haven’t) and your body is a little more “jiggly” than it was before. You are determined to get this weight off and tighten back up. Postpartum nutrition should be no different than our nutrition program geared toward fat loss. Just eat real food! This is a safe way to eat all the time. It is healthy for nursing mom’s and babies and non-nursing mom’s and babies. If you want to drop fat, then drop the processed nonsense and just eat real food. The rules don’t change when it comes to nutrition and fat loss.
I hope this helps answer some questions about how you may be feeling post-baby and for those of you wondering what happens once baby comes. We are here to help along the way!
I often receive wonderful emails from students at Get Fit NH proclaiming their happiness because of the progress they are making.
On the front page of our website you’ll read: “We love coaching because when you get healthier you automagically get happier, and the world needs more happier!”
How can you argue with that? Everyone needs a bit more happiness. And I’m going to share a bit with you from Theresa, a Rockstar out in Epsom.
“A few days ago you sent me the portion chart for men and women (*Coach Nancy's note: you can see that on the free tools page on The Grateful Plate).
THANK YOU for the "gentle" reminder.
That took me back in my mind's eye of the very first Nutrition Class I took on a Wednesday evening April 2015 in Epsom NH with you as the presenter
Shortly after absorbing all that information then, I committed that info to memory and followed through
Progress is progress
Change is happening
Life is a constant
5 almonds = my thumb
3 eggs/ 1/2 chicken breast or any protein that is the size of my palm is my portion at each meal
Vegetables are never measured
Water Water Water and oh yes, more water
And oh yes did I mention to you Nancy how grateful I am for the savage training and epic nutrition coaching coming out of Get Fit NH
Thank you again if I have failed at all in this email to thank you
God Bless Everyone!!
Theresa isn’t alone. She and many others have increased their happiness by increasing their health. And your coaches love to help you.
Kettlebell swings are one of the most challenging exercises that we do. They are a serious skill that I think we underestimate. I could coach the swing all day long. There is always something we can freshen up. There are a few cues that we use frequently that I would like to dive into a little deeper. It is important that you understand the cues, why we use them and why it is important.
1. “Attack the zipper” or “Thumb to bum”
We wish there was a more polite way to get our point across, but these seem to work the best. Here’s the deal, with kettlebell swings you have to have your arms up high in the back. In fact, if you are swinging correctly your thumbs should “real life” touch your bum at the bottom part of the swing. If you are not “attacking the zipper” and your hands are hanging low, then you are putting some serious unnecessary strain on the back by bending at the waist.
2. "Reach way back behind out”
This sort of goes hand in hand with “thumb to bum”, except what we are looking for is that you not only keep your hands up high, but also get your thumbs all the way back between your legs (to your bum!). By reaching way back, you will regain the power from your glutes and hamstring to power through the movement. If you do not reach back, then you are likely to find that power elsewhere such as your lower back. The kettlebell should touch the cheeks at the bottom of the kettlebell swing.
3. “Throw the kettlebell back”
When you are the top of your kettlebell swing, it is easy to let gravity do the job of dropping the bell back, BUT kettlebell swings are a HIGHLY explosive and powerful exercise and we are looking to be ENGAGED through this entire movement. We talk about “staying tight”. If you are throwing the kettlebell back, you have no choice but to stay tight and you have no choice but to explode back to the top of that movement.
We could coach the kettlebell swing all day long. This exercise is a skill that we continuously work on mastering. I hope explaining some of the coaching cues gives you a better idea of what we are looking for and why it is important!
Keep making it happen!
I was chatting with my dad yesterday, and we were talking about fun stuff. You know, like wills, and who gets what, and being prepared for when he "drops dead". (His words)
Just another pleasant afternoon chat with the Carlson's. 🙂
But dying is inevitable, as much as we don't like to think about. I'd rather focus my energy on living well, and keeping my functioning high, for as long as I can. One of the men I consider a mentor, even if from afar most of the time, is strength coach Dan John. He shared some articles on aging that I think are very insightful as time marches on.
The first is a logical set if measurements for aging.
All 10 are good, but as Coach John does, I think the last three are often overlooked:
8. Sleep Zone. When it comes to sleep, Goldilocks had it right, not to little, and not to much. Under 6 hours and over 9 hours were both predictors of death. If either is in your life, get some help to figure out why.
9. Make Some Friends In Your Community. One of the best and healthy things a human can do is be involved in their community. What that means to each individual will be highly different. Whether it is church, a gym, a bike club, a book club or anything were you get involved and share some type of bond has proven to be a highly healthy trait that is ingrained in the human soul. It has as much evidence for lifespan as quitting smoking. I recently just finished Sebastion Jungers great book "Tribes," in it he describes why we gravitate towards things like Crossfit gyms and why we are the most content after natural disasters when we are forced to band together to endure hardships. In fact, during wars, mental depression and suicide go down.
10. Keep Your Joints Healthy. Does your shoulder move in 360 degrees of motion? Does your hip act like a hip? Can you laterally bend your spine? Joints are designed for motion. If they can't, you tend to not move as much. As you can see, a lot of these healthy aging markers will be improved if you can keep moving. Functional Range Conditioning was designed to keep your joints acting like joints. Every morning moving your joints and explore their motion, this is called your Daily CARS. Controlled Articular Rotations. Your asking each joint, hey can you move in a circle without much discomfort. If not, figure out why.
This graphical way of looking at time passing by is pretty clever, and also very sobering.
And check this quote out from Original Strength (read the whole article "Does Age Cause Us To Break Down?" here)
But the weeds and the “facts” trip us up. Sometimes the norms don’t actually show the true story. Is it normal to get arthritis with age? Or is it normal to get arthritis by sitting around and not moving your joints? Is it normal for mens’ testosterone levels to drop with age? Or is it normal for men to consume lots of xenoestrogens from all the plastics, chemicals, and added hormones in food that we fill our lives with? Our issues may show a correlation with our age, but that does not mean that our age is the causation of our issues.
We have to protect our minds by knowing the right things and looking for the real story. Look, our design is better than the norms that fill our world. Our body is made to heal, made to be resilient. But it is also made to carry out its design. What if the majority of all our problems, was the real unseen story? What if the real story is this: As we age we sleep less, we eat less real food, we sit nearly all our waking hours, we live our lives stressed out behind technology that feeds our fears, and we expect one concentrated hour of overcompensated movement to magically fix all our needs? What if its not our age, but our ignorance and our misplaced notions.
If you know things are happening to your body that shouldn’t, don’t accept them or settle for them. Know you are designed to heal. AND, open your eyes. Are you missing something? Are you seeing the real causation? Or are the world’s normals simply trying to corrupt your mind to keep you from living the life you were meant to have?
The bottom line is you have more control over the aging process than you think. You are going to get older, until you don't. Why not do your part to make the most of it?
Until next time,
In August we are going to have a friendly competition between yourselves and between the training hours. What will you win, you ask? Bragging rights, pride and of course strong muscles! Here is how it works!
For the month of August (actually starting Monday July 31st) we will have a challenge of the day for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Those who accept the challenge will be given an index card so you can personally record your repetitions. Your training hour will also have a designated "block" on the white board where you will tally your reps each day for your class. This is a great tactic to scare the other training times with your big numbers!
Monday: Sled push day! For the month of August we will leave out the sled so you can push it (on Mondays) to get points for yourself and for your class. 1 tally is down and back on the green turf. This can be done before or after training. Please just make sure you are cognizant of your surroundings. We don't want to clip any ankles with the sled- youch!
Tuesday- Sled pull day! Again, the sled will be out and 1 tally is the length the green turf down and back. You will mark your points on your index card and also on the white board for your training hour.
Thursday: Ski erg day! 1000 meters will earn you 1 tally for yourself on your index card and 1 tally for your training hour on the white board! You can come in early or stay late to get your Ski Erg meters in!
Friday is for farmers! Farmer walk with 2 kettlebells or 2 dumbbells the length of the green turf down and back will earn you 1 tally for yourself and 1 tally for your training hour! This can be done before or after training on Fun Fridays!
The challenge of the day must be done on the designated day to earn points for yourself and for your team. If you will not be at training then they cannot be made up. All the more reason to shoot for perfect attendance in August!
Who will end up with the most tallies on their index card and which training hour will have bragging rights and the strongest muscles of all? We will have to see! Stay tuned for those cards in training!!!
Kicking off: Monday July 31,2017 at 5 AM!
Wrapping it up: Friday September 1, 2017 at 7:45PM
Tara was a part of the Get Fit NH family before I started here and I am glad she decided to come back! She is an extremely consistent example at the 6:15 class who always works extremely hard and I can count on to give it her all and want to always improve. I would ramble on, but Tara has a lot of experiences to tell you about that I don't want to take away from.
"Why did you choose Get Fit NH?
I was always very active as a young girl and teenager - I played every sport I could, all throughout grade school and high school. And then came adulthood and I found myself doing zero, zilch, nothing to keep my body active and fit. I have a “sit-down-in-front-of-the-computer” job and started noticing small aches here and there and stiffness in my hips when would get up from my work station and it really made me feel, well, old. I signed up at the local gym on 4 different occasions and, no lie, went about 3 times. It just was not the scene for me. I had no instruction, no oversight and no motivation, therefore, I didn’t go!
I was lucky enough to have a friend talk me into giving Get Fit NH a try in 2010. A two-week trial period is genius because it was the perfect amount of time to get me hooked! I struggled with finding a program that 1) kept my interest, 2) fit with my busy schedule/offered classes early enough that I could go before work and 3) had instructors that would motivate me and most importantly, push me to be accountable. Get Fit NH offers all of these things and, little did I know at the time, much more!
What changes did you notice in the first few weeks after joining?
Well, I’m sure like everyone….I noticed that everything hurt (haha) but in a good way! I noticed that I didn’t have that mid-day sluggish period - I didn’t feel like I need to take a nap at 2:00 every afternoon. I felt stronger and toned and I couldn’t wait for the next work out!
What outside of Get Fit NH has become easier since starting?
I have completely changed my eating habits since joining Get Fit NH. I am amazed that most of my diet is whole foods now and how easy it is. I love all of the recipes, videos and helpful hints that are shared by both the coaches and Get Fit Family.
What are your goals?
I really, really, really want to be able to do a pull up some day :o) Other than that, my goals are to stay committed and be accountable, keep increasing my weights and to try to stick with the 90/10 eating habits.
What is your favorite part of Get Fit NH?
It is not possible to pick just one favorite…
1) I love the MyZone program. It is a fabulous way to track your workouts and how hard (or not hard) you are working. It keeps me very motivated when the coaches yell out, “I should be seeing everyone in the yellow zone!”. Another great feature of the MyZone is to become connected with other people on the MyZone App. I have a couple of connections and we all can see each other’s workout information. We like to see who gets the most MEP’s per month.
2) The Competitions/Encouragement Incentives. There is always something extra to get involved in with Get Fit NH. Whether it is a 21-Day Detox, a group hike on the weekend, food work-shops, or the famous S3.
3) Get Fit NH Family. I love that I see the same faces every morning at 6:15-it proves that everyone who attends, loves this program and is dedicated. I think it speaks volumes to see the same people, every morning at 6:15 (or whatever time your class is), 4 days per week, year after year. I’m also thankful to everyone who is kind enough to let me know when I’ve ventured off from my group and am at the wrong station :o)
4) The Coaches-I truly admire and respect all of the coaches. You are all so dedicated and good at what you do and it is obvious you are completely invested. You all have such a hectic and strange work schedule - I don’t know how you do it…but you do and I am grateful. Thank you for always correcting me when I am not doing something quite right. Thank you for pushing me to pick up a heavier weight or put the red band back and get the black band, and to ‘get that last rep in’. I may make not-so-nice faces at you when you are telling me to do it but I truly am thankful that you do.
Thank you Get Fit NH for making me a stronger, healthier, happier me!”
I guess I realized in reading this that I talk about protecting the wrists an awful lot…well, if it keeps them healthy, then perfect! Thank you for being a part of the Get Fit Family, Tara!
As my knowledge base has grown when it comes to human physical development over the years, I always realized how important physical activity was. However, only in the last little while, especially while preparing for our Athlete Academy for ages 9-12 this summer, have I realized just how important it is to kids. As I coach more and more kids and visit schools, I see things I honestly cannot remember from when I was younger. Kids don’t seem to know how to “play” and, consequently, they don’t seem to move well.
All those things we did as kids, without even thinking about it, are the things that helped teach us how to move well and be active. How many of you reading this remember there being as many kids as there are that don’t like being active? Kids that hate gym, that take no joy in it whatsoever? I understand that some of us liked it more than others, that some were better at certain sports or games than others. Maybe instead you enjoyed hiking, climbing trees, or riding bikes. Either way, you were active. How many kids do we see today that enjoy none of those things? I would wager a pretty healthy amount.
I believe this problem comes from a lack of confidence or enjoyment from doing active activities. A kid that hasn’t played and hasn’t developed some semblance of coordination or physical ability will have more trouble in physical settings and be prone to being embarrassed and not want to do it at all.
The flip side comes from the development side. I want you to think about something before you continue - which was more challenging, your 1st squat thrust or burpee? Or your 100th? (Not in a row, but over time). It is the 1st, right? Your body wants to work as easily and efficiently as possible, but it has to learn how first. This is why the first time you do an exercise it may feel impossible, but in repetition it begins to be less challenging. If children don’t move, play and experience different movements, even hiking or bike riding will be pushed away because they require so much more effort than they would for you or I who have experienced it over and over again.
If you live in a town or area that your kids can’t really get out and play, help them out - do fun things outside in the summer. Go hiking, run along the beach, go out back and play catch with different balls. Just help your child get moving in different ways. Whether they realize it or not, you will be helping them out for years to come.
Anyone else wake up after a day of picking weeds and planting flowers and feel like they just got hit by a truck?
Yard work can be a KILLER on your back. We see it every spring and summer when the weather starts to get nice we start to hear about how planting those pretty flowers did a number on your back.
I think we can all agree that when we are working in the garden, we are in a terrible position. Bending at the waist, sitting in awkward positions to try and find relief…we push through it, because we want to look at pretty flowers.
Good news! You can still look at pretty flowers and save your back from the unnecessary pressure. Here are three things you can do while gardening to protect your back.
1) A super deep squat. Hanging out at the bottom of your squat while picking weeds is a great way to keep your back safe. Remember all of the Get Fit NH coaching cues! Chest and shoulders up, knees out, weight on the heels! This is how I picked weeds for a while yesterday and my back feels just fine today.
2) Tall kneeling or half kneeling position. You guys practice this all the time in training. When you are planting flowers in the ground, try it from one those positions to protect your back from painful positions.
3) Sumo stance. We do sumo deadlifts in training who said we can’t do sumo gardening? For those of you with knee issues try going wide with your stance and hinging at the hips or even sitting in a chair with a wide stance and hinging.
The constant bending at the waist is going to put a lot of unnecessary stress on your back. If you are sick of being in pain for days after working in the garden, then let’s pay attention to how we are doing it!
Flowers are pretty, but with a pained back you won’t be able to go outside and look at them and smell them!
For those of you who have or are athletes in the 13-18 year old range, this event is for you! The combine will be comprised of 5 events that kids all over the country are also doing in order to test their power, quickness, and speed.
The best part is this event is completely FREE!!! I want to get as many kids as possible in here to pack the building and test their skills.
If you have any questions about the event or any other part of the Athlete Academy program, please contact me (Coach Adam) or just come down on July 22nd and participate. See you all then!
Athlete Academy Summer Combine for Ages 13-18
Date: Saturday, July 22nd
Location: Get Fit NH Concord
When I first began running Athlete Academy a little over a year ago now, I wanted to highlight a student who had been in the Academy and liked it. However, now that Sam is a year removed from his start, I have seen how much he has grown and how hard he has worked. I wanted to get an update from Sam after seeing him accomplish more and more.
What changes have you noticed since starting Athlete Academy?
Ever since starting athlete academy last summer, it would seem fitting that I have become more overall athletic. I have noticed clear improvements in multiple physics traits such as speed, strength and agility. I've begun focusing more on how to do physical activities correctly and with proper form to increase efficiently.
What outside of Athlete Academy has become easier since joining?
Since starting academy, my strength and speed have both improved significantly which is just generally useful for most physical sports and activities and just being active.
What have you accomplished since joining?
Since joining academy I have passed landmarks and records that I never would've thought possible. I've been lifting amounts of weight that over a year ago I would've thought would be way out of my realm of possibility and have seen improvements in speed. I was able to make it on my track 4x100 team that got 4th at states.
What is your favorite part of Athlete Academy?
What makes athlete academy so great for me and what motivates me to get out of my bed on Saturday mornings is just how it makes lifting weights and working out fun. Working out with a group of people can be great for motivation and pushing you. When you are close with those people and they're your friends and you just enjoy being with them, it makes working out seem less like a struggle and pain, and more of just an activity that we can all share and do together and allows us to push each other and strive for much greater heights than if we were alone.
How has Athlete Academy affected your performance?
Since joining academy, I have noticed I have become both stronger and faster, but one of the biggest things is that I haven't gotten injured. In academy, we work on getting stronger, but also keeping our bodies healthy. Last track season, before I was in academy, I had a hip injury that resulted in me missing a good portion of the track season and missing out on being on a relay team. Well, this season I didn't get injured at all and was able to perform to my peak ability.
Great job, Sam, keep working hard!