Friday, 19 September 2014

27/28 Weeks - Third Trimester!

Ok, third trimester, bring it on! Back aches, sciatica, heartburn, kicks to the ribs, difficulty bending/twisting, difficulty breathing, hip pain, strained ligaments.... do your worst, because I now know that it will all end all too soon, and when it does I will have another little blessing to show for all my hard work and suffering :)

As my baby bump is getting bigger, I'm finding it's getting "in the way" of a lot of my exercises and stretches, so the majority of the modifications I've had to make to my program lately have been to accommodate my growing belly. Here are some of the exercises and stretches I've had to switch up:

Pigeon Pose --> just don't have the space anymore to fold over my front leg, so I stay sitting tall and have been instead working on bringing my foot parallel with my knee.

Squats, Deadlifts, and Leg Presses --> are all done in a wide stance now, or "plie" position.

Seated Twists --> I find it's easier to do my twists standing now, or with my knees below my hips.

Preacher Curl --> where I would usually do these facing straight forward and using a barbell, I've started turning my body to a 45 degree angle and working just one arm at a time with a dumbbell.  I'm actually really liking this tweak, as it allows me to hit a different angle of my bicep than I usually get with this exercise :) Just make sure your elbow is still in line with your shoulder to avoid injury ;)

Boom! Arm pump and baby bump.
The biggest modification I've had to make this week though was to cut down on the duration of my daily walks.  Last week I took a long 2 hour walk and ended up straining my round ligament (ligament that connects front part of womb to groin). Go figure - I can workout for 2 hours every day and feel completely fine, but I take a 2 hour walk and it totally destroys me! lol So I've been trying to follow the internet doctor's advice by resting it, gently stretching it, and not making any "rapid movements", you know, like chasing after my toddler who has taken off in a parking lot, or jumping up from my seat when said toddler is about to climb onto something dangerous..... *Sigh* I guess being a mom is not really conducive to "rest" :P

Has anyone else out there strained this ligament before? If so, what did you find helped speed up the recovery?


Thursday, 18 September 2014

4 Tasty Recipes :)

Sooooo I've been gaining weight a little more rapidly than I'd like lately. Nothing crazy, but it is a signal to me to check myself, and I've therefore been cleaning up my diet a little bit this week. **Notice I didn't say I was cutting calories! Unless you started your pregnancy overweight, you should not diet while you're growing a tiny human.** Because not all calories are created equal, by simply shifting some of those existing calories away from sugar and carbs and towards healthy fats and proteins, you can actually dramatically change the look and function of your body.

Here are four of the recipes I've made devoured this week. Notice the very strong pumpkin and sweet potato theme... I'm hoping that by cooking these fall-type foods that I'll manage to bring some of that cool Canadian weather down here to Florida. Hah!

Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash (from Shared Appetite)
*Makes 2-4 servings, depending on how hungry you are!
*Cooking time: 30 minutes

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/4" cubes
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 green and 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 large handfuls baby spinach
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
pinch red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
4 eggs
EVOO and Pam

1. Heat 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add in the sweet potatoes, onion, bell peppers, cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sweet potatoes are cooked through and tender, about 15-18 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, cook your eggs in a separate skillet over medium heat. I suggest sunny-side up, poached, or over-easy so you can get all that oozy yolky goodness mixed into your hash.
3. Toss in spinach for about 1 minute, or until wilted. 
4. Divide the hash among plates, topping each with 1-2 eggs. Top with some hot sauce or ketchup if desired ;)

Pumpkin Spice Protein Pancakes with Frosting (from Tiffany Doorbal's Facebook page - check it out!)
*Makes 1-2 servings
*Cooking time: 10 minutes

2 egg whites
2 tbs vanilla protein powder
3 tbs canned pumpkin puree
1/4 cup rolled oats
unsweetened almond milk (about 1/4 - 1/3 cup, but enough to thin the batter)
Dash of pumpkin pie spice
Dash of stevia
Splash of vanilla

Cashew nut butter, plain Greek yogurt, stevia, cinnamon, and vanilla extract (just eyeball it and adjust to taste). Whip with fork until it's a smooth and fluffy.

1. Add all the ingredients in a blender, and mix until smooth.
2. Heat a large skillet on medium heat and spray with Pam cooking spray.
3. Pour half the mixture onto the pan and cook on one side until bubbles appear. Flip the pancake, and continue cooking for another 30 seconds. Repeat with remaining mixture.
4. Meanwhile, whip up your frosting.
5. Top your pancakes with your frosting (or some classic maple syrop) and enjoy :D

Spicy Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce (from Martha Stewart)
*Makes 4 servings
*Cooking time: 1hr

Martha's picture
My picture

1/2 roasted chicken, skin removed, and shredded (I usually use the pre made ones from the grocery store)
6 scallions, thinly sliced
coarse salt & pepper
1 can (15oz) pumpkin puree
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 jalapeño chile, quartered and seeds removed (*Note: if you're making this for kids, you may want to reduce the amount of chile you use. It's not a particularly spicy dish, but some kids may not like it).
1 tsp chili powder
8 whole wheat tortillas
1 1/2 cups sharp white cheddar cheese, grated

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine chicken and scallions and season generously with s&p. Set aside
2. In a blender combine pumpkin, garlic, jalapeño, chili powder, 2 1/2 cups water, 2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Puree until smooth. Pour 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of an 8-inch or shallow 2-quart baking dish.
3. Divide the chicken mixture evenly among the tortillas. Roll up tortillas, and place them seam side down into the baking dish.
4. Pour remaining sauce over tortillas and sprinkle with cheese. Place dish on a baking sheet, and bake about 25-30 minutes until cheese is golden and sauce is bubbling.

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie (from Taste of Home)
*Makes 3-4 servings
*Cooking time: 1hr

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1lb lean ground beef or turkey (or half and half!)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup low sodium tomato sauce
Dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice
2 tbs each milk
2 tbs butter
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place the sweet potatoes in a pot of boiling water and cook until tender.
3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook beef and onion until beef is cooked through. Drain any excess fat. Add corn, tomato sauce, and spices.
4. Spray a 1-quart baking dish with Pam. Spread the beef mixture in the bottom of the dish. Set aside.
5. Drain the potatoes. Add the milk, butter, salt and pepper and mash until smooth. Spread evenly over the beef mixture.
6. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes, or until heated through.


The best part is that my 21 month son ate ALL these meals, so they're kid-approved!! Now THAT makes a mommy happy ;)


Wednesday, 10 September 2014

26 Weeks

Depending on who you ask (but according to me), this is my last week in the 2nd trimester :) I'm sad to be leaving the golden trimester, especially since I know very well what discomforts await me in the 3rd, but I know time is going to fly by and very soon now I'll be holding my little girl in my arms :) I now often find myself daydreaming about the delivery room and those first few hours together.

My workouts are going well (I'm still doing the functional training), but in my heart I'm not a functional fitness type of gal - I'm a bodybuilder, and I find myself itching to get back to my regular workouts. The thing is, my body has been feeling so great since starting this functional training that I don't want to give it up completely either! I'm going to try and make a compromise and incorporate elements of both within the same workout: I'll start with 30 minutes of functional, full-body movements that especially target 2-3 muscle groups, and then I'll finish up with 30 minutes of isolation exercises that'll hit those same muscles. 

As an example, here's what I'm planning for Glute & Shoulder day:

Walking Lunge with Reverse Punch
Plie Squats with Upright Rows
Med Ball Squat Throw
KB Swings/Hip Thrusts
Cross-Over with Side Leg Step-Up/Quadruped Leg Swings
DB Military Press/Front Raise/Side Raise
Cable Reverse Flye

*"/" = Superset or Giant Set

I haven't done any research on this method at all, so we'll see what happens! I also haven't been planning or tracking my reps/sets/weight as this changes with my energy from day-to-day; I pick a weight and go until I'm tired, then increase or decrease the weight depending on how I felt the set went. This is all very much "intuitive training", which I think has a very important place in any program, but is especially important during pregnancy. There are many roads that lead to the same destination; keep your mind open and your goals in sight... you'll get to where you're headed :)

A different kind of belly pic :P Jayden is "drawing our neighbor's cat" while I work on my new workout. The dog is trying very hard not to chase the cat! lol


Thursday, 4 September 2014

25 Weeks

25 weeks - baby is the size of a cauliflower

Oh wow, approximately 100 days until this little kicker makes her grand debut! The excitement this time around is different than with our first; there seems to be less scrambling and Googling and  cramming of information. All we really "need" to buy for this baby is a box of NB diapers, and all we really need to do is set up the bassinet and pack a hospital bag. It's nice not having to stress too much about making preparations, and instead being able to put all that energy into just being excited to meet her!

FYI, next week's post will be a more information-based post (I'm taking time to gather my sources and thoughts) but this week is purely a personal reflection.

This past week has been a good change of pace. So far my yoga challenge is going so-so.... I've gotten about 5/10 days. Not perfect, but a significant jump from my usual once per two weeks or two months, and I'm happy with that. Remember that progress is not contingent on perfection, but  persistence :) The full-body workouts are kicking my butt in a very good way! It's always amazing to me how just changing the type of workout you do can wake up your body, or reach muscles that have been hard to get to lately. I'm using lighter weights, doing fewer sets per exercise, and spending less total time weight training, but I have been S.O.R.E. all over the place since making the change. Of course muscle soreness isn't the only indicator of a productive workout, but the masochistic lifter in me still really likes it :P

Now that I'm really showing, I'm starting to get more questions and comments from people about the baby and my bump. I won't lie, it's nice that I'm able to share our news with the world without having to actually tell people, lol. I love talking about babies and pregnancy... new life elicits such joy and excitement in just about everybody. But I have noticed that in addition to the usual "Congratulations! Boy or girl? When are you due? Is it your first?" there are two comments that I get from just about everyone: "You're so tiny..." and "you make pregnancy look so easy!" Funny, I still don't really know how to respond to these two statements that sometimes seem to really be (judgmental) questions in disguise.  HOW are you so small? WHY is this easier for you than it was for me?  Sometimes I give the short answer of "Yeah, I'm pretty lucky that way", and sometimes I decide to go with the long answer. The real story. The truth that me being "small" is likely a combination of genetics, fitness, and dumb luck, and that nothing about being an active pregnant mother is EASY. Grocery shopping 2-3 times per week; cooking every meal every day; coordinating schedules and car rides with my husband to make sure he gets to/from work and I can bring our kid to daycare for just a couple hours (an effort in itself!) all so that I can workout at a time other than 4:30am; finding gym outfits that aren't too warm or tight on my belly, and aren't too sexy for my conservative gym (:P); playing with my son even though I'm sore and tired from my workouts; dragging my butt to the gym even though I'm exhausted from growing another human..... not easy, peeps! I also make an effort to ensure my weight gain is gradual and minimal, not only because carrying an additional 50lbs would be tough on my back and legs, but because I'm a competitive athlete and I'm always thinking to my next show prep. But this fight for balance is the story of every fit person, and especially every fit parent. And although it's not easy, I strongly - no, passionately - believe that the alternative of living with chronic fatigue, pain, and illness that comes from a sedentary lifestyle would be far more difficult... especially while pregnant, when it seems like all your body's weaknesses are exacerbated. (Also, I would go crazy - literally CRAZY - if I didn't have my daily dose of "therapy" lol.)

Hmmm, not really sure how to end this blog post as I was a bit all over the place in this one :P Thanks for listening to my random thoughts and following me along this up-and-down ride that is pregnancy and motherhood. OH, I know, I have a quote to leave you with:

"A man become a father the moment his child is born; a woman becomes a mother the moment her child is conceived."