Working Out While Pregnant? No Brainer!

Ever since people have found out that I’m pregnant, the number one question I get (besides, “How do you feel?”) has been “Are you going to cutback on working out like you have been?”

Uhhh…NO.

It would be insane for me to do so!

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At our first ultrasound appointment, meeting with our nurse, she went through the dos and don’ts of pregnancy, with one of them being to not life more than 25 pounds. Excuse me? I immediately raised my hand to stop her and said, “That’s going to be a problem…” and went on to explain my physical activities on a weekly basis: CrossFit 3-4 days a week, running 1-2 days a week, sand volleyball 2 nights a week, dog agility, lots of dog walks, and hiking. She looked at me with an open mouth and said I was probably the most physically active patient they’d ever had. I then said, “I just clean and jerked 80 pounds yesterday…and that was cutting back on my weight.”

For me, not lifting, not running, not working out is NOT an option. And it shouldn’t be for any woman, pregnant or not.

I got the OK from my OB to continue with the CrossFit and running, with the understanding that I was listening to my body, slowing my pace, and cutting back on my weights. I’ve been doing a lot of research on running and CrossFitting while pregnant, and have to thank Tina and Lindsay for their encouragement for working out while pregnant. They are inspirations! My running group knows I’m pregnant, and quite a few ladies told me they ran the same half marathon I’m training for 2, 4, 5, and even 6 months pregnant.

Some people are surprised that I’m still going to Man O’War CrossFit as often as I am and lifting. If I didn’t workout like I have been, I’d go nuts. Trust me–you wouldn’t want to be around me if I haven’t been active in more than a day.

I saw this video on Facebook the other day, and it made me want to stand up and shout, “Yes!”

My feelings on the whole “Do not lift more than 25 pounds during pregnancy” is that this advice is antiquated, and if there are women out there who regularly workout, but are afraid to go against the grain and not follow the pregnancy books word for word, I’m afraid they’re doing themselves, and their baby, a disservice.

One of the sites I’ve discovered for moms-to-be doing CrossFit is CrossFit Mom. I totally recommend checking this site out if you CrossFit (or even want to workout, in general) while pregnant.

This week I’ve played in one sand volleyball game (don’t worry, the season is done for one team, and I’m finishing up with this team, and I’ll be off the courts until next Spring…), hit up the box twice, and walked the dogs. We’ve been working on checking our 1-rep maxes and hitting new PRs this week, but Taylor has been good about keeping me in check. For instance, when my old back squat PR of 145 felt real easy, I started thinking “Should I go for it?” Taylor saw me thinking and said, “I see you thinking…if you’re thinking, then no. Do not push it.” So, I didn’t. When we went to run our 1 mile for time, I told myself I would go for whatever I felt comfortable, and to keep in check my breathing and just go with it. When I finished that mile in 8:01, I said, “Oops.” Because that was my usual, pre-pregnancy 1 mile PR…I didn’t mean to go that fast, but I was comfortable and felt fine!

So, yes, I’m going to continue working out and continue to be active. Will I push myself as hard as I did pre-pregnancy? No. I’m learning my limits and learning to take things easy. I don’t want to endanger my baby in any way, but I also want us both to be healthy (and sane).

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Getting My Groove Back

Ever since M and I discovered we were expecting, it seems like life has gotten even more crazy…yet not much has changed. I’m still working basically two full-time jobs and one part-time gig, he’s back on second shift (4pm to midnight) so we rarely see each other, and I’m still working out like usual.

Saturdays have been full of activity lately–wake up early to get in a long run with my running group (usually 6-8 miles for me right now), errand running, etc. Then Sundays have been the days that I am supposed to devote to my freelance writing, but they mostly end up being the days I wake up with a crick in my neck from falling asleep on my laptop at least two or three times throughout the day. I’ve heard everyone tell me making a baby is hard–they weren’t kidding! I’m about to say that’s my third full-time job.

I’ve still been working out regularly. 3-4 days a week you’ll find me up bright and early at Man O’War CrossFit getting my sweat on. I’ve toned back on my weights (not going as heavy as I normally would) and my intensity (taking more breaks during WODs to catch my breath). My coaches have been great, offering different options for me and making sure I’m not overdoing things.

My coach at Man O'War CrossFit is always inspired by WODs he does in competitions, so this week has been all about mirroring some of the CrossFit Games WODs... Oy! Monday's was fun, though--finished in 7:37 with 1 35lb kettlebell. Also, accidentally, earned a new PR in the overhead squat--80 lbs (I didn't realize it, I promise I wasn't pushing it--it actually felt easy).

My coach at Man O’War CrossFit is always inspired by WODs he does in competitions, so this week has been all about mirroring some of the CrossFit Games WODs… Oy! Monday’s was fun, though–finished in 7:37 with 1 35lb kettlebell. Also, accidentally, earned a new PR in the overhead squat–80 lbs (I didn’t realize it, I promise I wasn’t pushing it–it actually felt easy).

 

Right now I’m running only once a week, but I know I need to add at least one more day to that list. I run on Saturday mornings with the Striders and have slowed down my pace from the usual 9:30 to 10-10:30. At first I thought it would be difficult to scale back on the intensity of my runs, but surprisingly I’m OK with it already. I’m just hoping to stay as close to 10:30 as possible for as long as possible right now. For my half marathon in October, they have a pace cut-off of 14 minutes, and while I know I am still pretty far from that, that’s also still two months away and a lot can happen. I’m trying to keep my distance up, without pushing it too much, so it’ll be easier as I get heavier.

I got new running shoes!! Found the same Saucony Ride6 on Ebay for 46% off the regular price! Score!! (Can you tell it was time to get new shoes??)

I got new running shoes!! Found the same Saucony Ride6 on Ebay for 46% off the regular price! Score!! (Can you tell it was time to get new shoes??)

I’m finishing up the summer league playing on two sand volleyball teams, and after that I think I’ll be done playing until next year. I’m careful not to dive too much for balls (and, if I do, I lead with my leg so I’m not flopping on my stomach), but I’m finding that I’m moving slower than I used to. It’s not fair to my teams to have them cover for me, especially on my exhausted days. Plus, there are too many circumstances that I need to be conscious about. I’m going to miss playing because I’ve had so much fun this summer, but I’ll still be reffing for a couple more months, so at least I’ll be somewhat part of the action.

I’m trying to do better about eating healthier. I figured, while this baby-making stuff has me eating more often than usual, I need to be more attentive to what I’m putting in my body in mass quantities. Granted, there are days I say, “Screw it…I want ice cream” and I get ice cream, but luckily that doesn’t happen everyday, and we don’t keep it in the house.

Healthy meals, healthy snacks, for a healthy baby & momma--I've tried to keep us stocked up on fruits, and making filling meals that are easy to heat up for lunches.

Healthy meals, healthy snacks, for a healthy baby & momma–I’ve tried to keep us stocked up on fruits, and making filling meals that are easy to heat up for lunches.

This blog has always been a work in progress ever since I started it over two years ago. My plans for right now are to try to document life as a 30-something active, extremely busy, woman who just happens to be pregnant. I’m currently at 11 weeks and we’re one week from our second ultrasound. I have a lot of conflicting feelings about things, and maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to share them on here. Right now I’m just trying to wrap my head around how much my life is about to change and how much I’ll have to really find myself before I can bring a child into the world.

So, stick with me as I continue this journey!

Good Reads: Thinking Positive, Healthier S’mores, Pre-Workout Eats

My days are extremely busy, so I hardly get free time to read as much as I’d like, but I wanted to share a couple of posts I’ve found recently that are worth sharing!

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It’s All About… (Black Dog Runs Disney): Life is all about perspective. We can take it as seriously as you’d like, or you can just let the chips fall where they may. This is a great post about the whole Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend during the NFL Draft, and how it should be treated the same as if he were kissing a female. What’s your perspective?

Healthier S’mores (Lululemon Blog): Umm…hell-llo!!! It’s summer, which means bonfires, cookouts, etc., which means my favorite summer treat–s’mores! I can’t wait to try these, and I hope you do, too!

Pre-Workout Carbs & Fat Loss (Eat to Perform): Working out at 6:30 in the morning makes it hard to get in the best pre-workout fuel–you’re still waking up and not hungry. I’ll drink a pre-workout drink, and I’ll get in half a banana with peanut butter if I’m particularly hungry, but lately it seems that’s more difficult to eat.

Let Me Introduce Myself (See Mama Run): Esther is a former co-worker and friend of mine and she’s joining the blogging world! She’s run many half and full marathons, plus a relay race (just months after giving birth to her adorable daughter)! I am excited she’s taking this step and I can wait to read along.

Your turn: What’s been some of your favorite reads this week?

Recipe: My First Try at Chia Pudding

I’m trying to do a better job at eating healthier, but not be boring. I’ve read a lot of different blog posts about chia pudding, and I’ve always been interested, but a little intimidated by the idea of it. But finally last week I looked for a simple chia pudding recipe that had ingredients that I knew I had already, and then made it my own.

Simple Chia Pudding with Strawberries & Bananas

Simple Chia Pudding with Strawberries & Bananas

I started with a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network and then just went from there.

Simple Chia Pudding with Strawberries & Bananas

1/2 cup low fat milk
1/2 cup plain low fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
1/8 cup chia seeds

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the milk, Greek yogurt, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and pinch of sea salt together.
  2. Whisk in the chia seeds, then set aside to let stand for 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes, stir to redistribute the chia seeds. I then divided the batch in half into two containers, cover, and leave in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. The next morning I sliced up half a banana and a few strawberries, added some cinnamon, and mixed it all up.
  5. Enjoy!

This was great for my breakfast, and to have it already complete was great! Next time I’ll try unsweetened vanilla almond milk (then not use the vanilla extract). But I definitely love this dish and can’t wait to make more. (And to be more experimental with different flavors like Tina’s Almond Joy Chia Pudding.)

Your turn: Have you ever tried to make chia pudding? What’s your favorite recipe?

Good Reads: Sports Bras, Healthy Cooking & Eating, Defending CrossFit

Sometimes I find it relaxing to just be able to sit down with my MacBook and read new blogs. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to do that in quite some time. However, here are some good reads from the week:

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5 Sports Bra Commandments (Keep It SimpELLE): As a woman who is “blessed” with an ample chest, sports bras are always something that is a pain! I hate trying to find the right bra, but when I do, I try to buy as many as I can afford–and they can be expensive. There’s nothing worse than an ill-fitting sports bra as you’re trying to push for a 7-miler, or go through Karen in the CrossFit box (150 wall balls). Elle is right on point!

Healthy Cooking Solutions (Slim Sanity): I love if I can find a healthy substitution for cooking and baking, because then I hope I can enjoy my favorite foods without a lot of guilt. Alysia shares some great tips, some that I knew and some that I didn’t. I really need to try doing mashed cauliflower! M loves mashed potatoes, so why not try something different and healthier?

5 Adjectives to Avoid While Eating Out (Diary of an Ex-Sloth): Crispy, Slathered, Battered, Breaded, and Rich…yep, those are some tempting, but also some naughty adjectives when it comes to foods! Giselle offers great alternatives for some of your favorite foods that just might contain those words. Great things to remember!

In Defense of CrossFit (T-Nation): This paragraph says it all: Again, God bless CrossFit. Women in droves are lifting weights, squatting, deadlifting, climbing ropes, sweating, and building beautiful bodies. In an increasingly unfit world of sloppy cows and praying-mantis legs, CrossFit helped redefine sexy and gave women the green light to do what they should have been doing all along to look their best. Your wife or girlfriend, once content with lifting pink dumbbells and running on a treadmill, took one look at Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet and magically became interested in setting PRs, building thick, muscular legs, and learning to clean and jerk. Maybe she even bought a pair of bootie shorts. Thank you, CrossFit.

Your turn: Share something great you’ve read this week!

Food Prep: Delicious Recipes for Easy Meals

Life has been a bit busy lately. I’ve been trying to do some meal prep and easy meals to make life easier…and maybe a little healthier.

M’s been working long hours at the racetrack while live racing is in session. When I say “long hours” I’m talking from 6 am to 9 pm…five days a week. Poor guy. It sucks because he doesn’t get to eat much, and when I’m hanging out on my own I’m not that motivated to eat right. So, for both of us, pre-planning is the best route to go.

I’ve done easy things like washing and cutting up carrots and celery which I can take for sides for lunch, making chicken salad for M to take and snack on with some crackers when he gets a few quiet moments at work, and I’ve also marinated and grilled chicken breasts that can be heated up for dinner or lunches. I’ve actually really enjoyed the grilled chicken because it’s so flexible–shred it for a salad, eat it cold or heat it up and eat it with my carrots and celery.

Another easy, yet delicious lunch I discovered last week is a salad with chicken sausage. We buy this spinach and asiago chicken sausage from Sam’s Club every once in a while and I love it. I’ve sliced it up to have with whole wheat pasta and tomato sauce, as well as just eaten it plain for dinner. But one night I had a bag of salad and wanted something different. I poured some salad in a big bowl, sliced up some carrots and celery, added some slivered almonds and sunflower seeds, then heated up one sausage link. After cutting it up into smaller pieces, I added that and some light Italian dressing to the salad. OMG. I’m telling you, it might sound weird, but it’s delicious! So good that I had it for lunch the next two days (I just packed the salad in one container, the sausage in a sandwich bag, and brought the dressing with me to work).

One of the most satisfying work lunches ever!

One of the most satisfying work lunches ever!

Another favorite has been this Meatball Parmesan Casserole that I discovered on Pinterest. If you think you might be pressed for time, you can pre-make the meatballs and store in the refrigerator to bake another night. The longest part is the baking, but if you can have these ready to pop in the oven, it helps so much.

To add a little something, I place slices of zucchini under eat meatball, as well as scattered along the top under the cheese. I love zucchini, especially in Italian meals, so any time I can incorporate it, I will. Plus I think it adds some fiber and extra nutrients to the meal. The meatballs are great in a sandwich, as well as leftovers for lunch the next day.

Meatball Parmesan Casserole

Meatball Parmesan Casserole

And, finally, for breakfast, I have loved the Lean Green Bean’s Baked Oatmeal. I made this recipe in one pie pan, substituting chopped walnuts and slivered almonds for the pumpkin seeds and I used peanut butter instead of the Nutzo (but I added some cocoa powder as well as the cinnamon and some nutmeg). Baking this in the pie pan yielded four servings for me. And I loved heating these up every morning, adding some more peanut butter to the top and having some fresh berries on the side. It’s a great way to wake up! Next time I’m going to try adding some of my protein powder to it for some added protein.

The Lean Green Bean's Baked Oatmeal

The Lean Green Bean’s Baked Oatmeal

I’ve come to appreciate taking a little extra time, when I have the free time, to do some food prep. It might not exactly be Sunday night like some people, but it works…whenever I do it.

Your turn: Have you started doing food prep? If so, share your favorite pre-made meals!

Combining Two Passions: Horses & Healthy Living

I love horses. And I love fitness. I’ve run in two half marathons (training for my third now) and am an avid CrossFitter. I’ve always been active, but I’ve gotten more so as I’ve gotten older, and I’m obsessed with following healthy living blogs. So when the opportunity to combine my equine passion with my fitness passion came up for the Equine Chronicle, I jump at the chance to interview two competitors on the Quarter Horse and Paint Horse circuits and see how they attempt to live a healthy lifestyle in a world where fried foods usually reign.

If you’ve ever wondered, can you be a healthy equestrian athlete on the road, Melissa Sachs and Erin Shapiro Boatwright have your answer: YES!

On top of this article, I started an online article series, happily working with Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean. I’m so thankful for her insight and willingness to help. It’s a great series and I’d love for more ideas on how to grow it.

First up, the initial article:

HealthyHorseShow_Page_1 HealthyHorseShow_Page_2Read the rest of the article here: Healthy Horse Show Living

And now, the initial article for the online series: Healthy Horse Show Living: Breakfast Basics

Better health is always a topic of conversation from the newsroom to the boardroom and now the tack room. Equestrians are athletes too, and in order to be able to show your horse at its best, you have to be at your best. If you read theMarch/April issue of The Equine Chronicle, you learned how two competitors, Erin Shapiro Boatwright and Melissa Sachs, strive to live healthy lifestyles in and out of the barn. This online series will continue to help give you tips so you can start making healthier choices and perhaps live a healthier life at home and on the road.

Start Every Day with Breakfast

The old saying is “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” For some horsemen and women, it’s often the most forgotten part of the day. We’re more concerned with getting our own horses fed and chores done and maybe squeezing in a few rides before the heat of the day. Soon, it’s after noon and your stomach’s grumbling. You realized the last thing you ate was dinner the night before.

Finish reading the article here.

My First Attempt at Food Prep

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So I’ve never been much of a good planner lately. M and I always talk about planning our meals ahead of time and making solid grocery lists and sticking to them when we shop, but we fail at that…unfortunately. At least we try!

But for some reason Sunday afternoon I got a wild hair to do a little food prep for the week.  I didn’t have a solid plan as to what we were going to have all week long, but I figured just doing a little bit would help. So here’s what I came up with:

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You’ll see that I washed and cut up celery to have on hand either for snacks or to cook with later.

I made M some chicken salad so he can just grab it for his lunches either at work or when he’s at home (fat free mayo, diced celery, dill relish), and put them in two separate grab-and-go containers.

I tried a new cookie recipe for when I get hit with my sweet tooth (blueberry oatmeal cookies), but I’ve already decided the recipe needs work (a little dry).

I also tried a protein muffin recipe so I can grab one for a mid-morning snack for work. I changed the recipe from the pumpkin cinnamon roll protein muffins I found on Pinterest, so I’ll let you know how they taste and post the recipe.

I also pre-made Italian turkey meatballs for a meatball casserole I’m going to finish up for dinner tonight (this way I can just add the zucchini and spaghetti sauce and pop it in the oven.

Finally I pulled out some  beef veggie soup from the freezer that M’s mom had made for us. I’ve been taking some for my lunches at work along with a sandwich.

Hopefully next time I can do a little more for prep to help with meal selection. At dinner we usually make more than two servings so M can take the leftovers to work for his “lunch.” That’s been a big help.

One thing about it, I did feel accomplished writing out this list of what all I’ve finished this afternoon.

Thanks to Lindsay for the constant inspiration. Check out her weekly posts on for food prep every Sunday for her ideas and other blogger’s food prep ideas.

Your turn: Do you do weekly food prep? If so, share your tips!

Super Easy & Nutritious “Faux Mexican” Dinner

Looking for a quick, nutritious dinner with a little kick? I discovered this easy recipe from a friend who posted a photo of her dinner on Instagram, so I asked for the recipe, then made it my own.

Lindsay calls this “Faux Mexican”…I’m not quite sure why, but either way, it rocks! It has the right kick to it, and can be great with tortillas, tacos, tortilla chips, brown rice, as chili, or like I made it.

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“Faux Mexican”

1 lb ground turkey
1 can reduced sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes with green chills
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 package reduced sodium taco seasoning

  1. Brown the ground turkey. Meanwhile, dice the green and red bell peppers.
  2. Once the meat has been browned, add the black beans, green and red bell peppers, diced tomatoes, taco seasoning, and a little bit of water (I put some water in the tomato can to get the last bits of tomatoes).
  3. Simmer for about 10-20 minutes, depending on how much liquid you want left, and until desired softness of the bell peppers.
  4. Serve with the desired sides: I used shredded lettuce to make a naked taco salad of sorts, with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt and a little bit of shredded cheese.

A one-pot meal with protein, fiber, and can be pretty darn filling! I served this with croissant rolls that I unrolled, sprinkled some garlic powder and shredded cheese, rolled up, and baked in the oven. They were just perfect for the meal on a cold winter night.

The finished product: So colorful (and yummy)!!

The finished product: So colorful (and yummy)!!

Your turn: What’s your favorite one-pot meal?

Going Meatless for #Elf4Health

Happy Monday! And Happy First Day of Elf4Health!!

Today is the start of the 2013 edition of Elf4Health. Last night I “met” my elf for the first round, Tracie! Tracie is training for her first half marathon in February, and now that it’s gotten cold in upper New York she’s having to do most of her training on the treadmill (oi vey!). But I know she’s going to rock it!

The first challenge is to have a Meatless Monday. It’s exactly how it sounds: make all your meals meatless. Breakfast is pretty easy for me, as this morning all I wanted was something warm so I heated up some oatmeal after CrossFit. Lunch was a quick peanut butter and jelly sandwich with some cheesy broccoli I found in the freezer.

Now, for dinner. I’ve had a butternut squash laying around for a while, so I decided I wanted to try making butternut squash soup in the CrockPot. It’ll be served with a salad and homemade biscuits.

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Butternut Squash Soup

1 medium butternut squash, peeled & cubed
Freshly diced yellow onion (I only used a couple slices, since M isn’t a bit onion fan)
1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled and cubed
32 ounces low-sodium veggie or chicken broth
Cinnamon, nutmeg, salt & pepper to taste

  1. Prepare your slow cooker (I spray olive oil before placing the ingredients inside)
  2. Peel & cube the butternut squash and apple, dice up the onion and place it all in the slow cooker
  3. Pour the broth.
  4. Cook in the slow cooker. 6-7 hours on low, or 3-4 hours on high
  5. Once everything is soft, use an immersion blender (or do what I did, carefully transfer  contents into a blender, in batches, and puree) to blend everything.
  6. Once thoroughly blended, add your spices to your taste. (I just added a little of everything, and then let everyone make it their own (do they like it extra sweet? Or a little more pepper?)
  7. Serve and enjoy!

I served this with some homemade whole wheat cheddar biscuits, adapted from an easy recipe I found online.

Whole Wheat Herb & Cheddar Biscuits

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup cold milk (I used fat free)
Italian spices to taste
Shredded cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 450* F. Prepare an ungreased cookie sheet and set aside.
  2. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and Italian spices with a whisk or fork.
  3. Cut the butter into small pieces and mix those pieces into the flour. Continue until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Pour the milk and mix all together.
  5. Drop the batter onto the cookie sheet.
  6. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown. With about 4-5 minutes left in baking sprinkle some shredded cheese on top each biscuit.

Here are a couple more Meatless Monday options, including what I made for last year’s Elf4Health:

Your turn: What’s your favorite Meatless Monday meal?