Fitness Journey, Pregnancy Journey

Staying Active While Pregnant: Week 39

This picture does no justice to show how big my belly is 🙂
At least, I am still able to see my feet.

Exercising while pregnant does not have to be extensive or exhausting. Since approaching my final weeks of pregnancy, I have transitioned to strictly walking. In the mornings I challenge myself to complete 1 mile of walking between the hours of 5-7 am. I enjoy this time the most because the morning crisp air feels good and wakes me up as I prepare myself for the day ahead. I really do not enjoy the heat so I am more encouraged to workout/walking during the early morning hours. This is a great time to get moving since it is considered ‘fasted cardio.’

Around lunch time I strive to get in another mile or two. Throughout, the day I also work to meet my hourly step goal of 250+ steps between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm. I easily reach my step goal of 5,000 steps by 8 am.

Honestly, since I have been walking more in the past few weeks I have been feeling my best. Prior, I was experiencing a lot of back and pelvic pressure from the additional weight from my pregnancy. However, since I have been walking and moving more the pain has eased. My muscles are nicely loosened and relaxed. The tension has completely disappeared. At 39 weeks pregnant I feel more energized than ever. This morning after getting dressed and ready I prepared myself to walk our dog Roger and I sprinted down the stairs so easily. For a moment, I had forgotten that I was pregnant and carrying a estimated 7 lb baby.

Here is a look into my morning walk:

My fitness commitment is to keep moving. I know I can’t run a marathon at this point in my journey. But by moving and staying active it will make for a easier recovery after delivery. Walking not only helps me physically but it is beneficial mentally. Walking relieves stress and we all need to breathe in some fresh often- walking is the best opportunity for this. I use my walking time to catch up on current audiobooks that I am reading. Since I am a busy mom on the go I don’t often have time to sit and read a book. Yet, I don’t use my busy schedule as an excuse- I make it a priority to read on the go through the use of audiobooks. I listen to my books while in the car driving and while walking. The saying is true that we make time for what is important to us.

I encourage you to make time for yourself and your health. Commit to your journey and the progress. Progress requires effort, so you have to be 100% in and committed to the challenge. It only takes 1-2 weeks to form a habit; start today!

FLWE ❤

Fitness Journey, Health

9K Steps @ 39 Weeks Pregnant: What’s your excuse?

I have been even more motivated to get my steps in during the past few weeks to hopefully progress faster in labor once it begins.

Today, I logged 9,160 steps, 3.93 miles, burned 2,125 cals, and spent 49 minutes exercising.

I managed to meet my hourly step goal of 250+ steps between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm. This is something I do not typically target to accomplish but was very proud of myself to have completed it. I really enjoy using my Fitbit to manage my stats.

To record my walking I use Map my Walk which tracks your walk via GPS. I find it to be very accurate. This morning I started out my day with fasted cardio at 6:15 am and walked for 1.10 miles before work. Around lunch I took another walk and accomplished another 1.11 miles. It’s hard to make an excuse for not having time to walk. Walking is one of the simplest exercises routines you can incorporate into your daily activities. One strategy is to park further away from your destination and walk (parking lots at stores). This can help you burn a few calories, increase your heart rate, and save your car from someone dinging your doors.

Take a look at my stats from my two walking sessions today:

It’s not too bad for someone who is 39 weeks pregnant and carrying a whole (7+ lb) human in her womb. If I can get out and walk- so can you! So, what’s your excuse?

The most important part of embarking on your fitness journey is to START today! Small progress is better than no progress at all. I am not challenging you to be a runner or a top athlete. It’s okay to be a walker and have a slower pace. It’s not about running a marathon, it’s about keeping moving!

My advice to you is to cancel that gym membership that you are paying for and not using. Walking is totally FREE! It’s easy to make an excuse of why getting to the gym is out of the way or inconvenient for you. It’s tougher to make an excuse on how you can’t incorporate walking into your daily routine.

Story time: While I was walking today around lunch time I passed a wounded Veteran who was sitting in his wheelchair outside of Starbucks. After I passed him for the third time he looked at me and told me to get some steps in for him. This moment made me realize that while I am complaining about pelvic pressure and backaches from pregnancy I should not take for granted my ability to walk and still be mobile. There in front of me was a man who has lost his ability to walk. Just a Monday reminder to be humble and thankful.

FLWE ❤

Fitness Journey

Fitness Goal: Run a 5k

I have felt so helpless in the past 8 1/2 months since I have not been able to be as active as I would like. This pregnancy has also made me even more aware how important it is that I recondition myself and get back into my fit lifestyle once I am cleared after delivery at my 6 week check up.

This past weekend I made a list of my fitness goals that I am prioritizing as I prepare myself to get back out there. I am going to commit to walking 2-4 miles per day and gradually work myself back into running. I recently joined a local running club for women called, “MOMS Run This Town” (aka MRTT). Those ladies are inspiring and is just the support that I need to accomplish one of my biggest fitness goals– to run a 5K before the end of the year.

This group has chapters is various states and if you are interested you can visit the main website https://momsrunthistown.com/local-running-club/ and locate a chapter to locally join.

I am really looking forward to preparing myself for running a 5k. I have the support of my Husband Andrew who also has already began training for our first marathon. It makes it so much better when you have someone to do things together with. When I first shared with him my goal he was thrilled and wanted to do it as well.

I am writing this post to share with you my fitness goals. For those of you that know me and or have come to know me through my blog, you should then know that I am constantly encouraging my readers to set goals for themselves (health, fitness, and personal goals). In my efforts to be as trasnsparent as possible with my journey, I will be sharing with you my goals. I will continue to keep you updated on my progress while on my health and fitness journey.

FLWE ❤

Fitness Journey, Motivational Monday

Motivational Monday: Keep Showing Up

Welcome back to another Motivational Monday pep talk. A special welcome and hello to all of my new followers and a special thank you for those that faithfully show up each week and support my blog.

This weeks topic is about “Keep Showing Up”. This quote to the left perfectly sums up everything that I am about to touch base on. And don’t sit back, read, and act like you haven’t been there and felt that. Speaking from experience there are some days when I am feeling more motivated than others. On those other days it takes more than just reading some inspirational quotes to refuel my dedication to the process. When I say ‘process’ I am referring to living and breathing a healthier and more fit lifestyle.

Prior to my current pregnancy, there were many days that I struggled with my commitment to working out. I had to have a talk with myself. It was no way that I would continue to watch my gym membership fees deduct from my account monthly, while I only showed up twice a week if at all- some weeks. At one point I convinced myself that I would just walk in and cancel my membership. Each time I decided to make that move- something always stood in the way. I took this as a sign that God was not going to allow me to just give up on goals and my vision.

It is so easy to make excuses for yourself but when you have a support system behind you, pushing you to keep going- to keep showing up; it makes it harder to give up. I really owe it to my personal coach (my Husband Andrew). He is there supporting me on my good days when I am mentally and physically all in on my health and fitness journey and he is also there on those days when I want to take a break from working out (going through hell feels).

Andrew has taught me that my actions and how I apply myself is all my choice. Making that decision to show up each day no matter what; in ways both small and big is important and crucial to your success. As long as you show up, you are making progress. Keep showing up! Whether your accomplishments and milestones are small or big, there is always tomorrow to do better- to be better!

Self Reflection:

Do you have an accountability partner?

How often have you recently struggled with showing up daily for yourself? Did it cause you to derail from your fitness journey? If so, what did you do to get back on track?

If you do not have an accountability parter. I highly recommend that you find one. It is so much fun and honestly better when we are working together to achieve our goals. Accountability is what will keep you on track. You can make excuses for yourself but those same excuses are not going to be accepted by your accountability partner. Save the excuses! We are in this for the win! Each day you have endless opportunities ahead of you. Wake up to a fresh start and make the best of each day.

FLWE ❤

Fitness Journey, Health

Health Tip Tuesday: 5 Reasons to Avoid Eating Late at Night

If you are struggling with weight loss you may be over looking an impacting factor. Ask yourself: When are you having your last meal of the day? Do you find that you are snacking after dinner?

You should have a eating window set and an established cut off time at night after your last meal. Data collected from animals and night-shift workers correlate that those who eat late suffer from what they call, “night eating syndrome“. “Studies tend to show that when food is consumed late at night — anywhere from after dinner to outside a person’s typical sleep/wake cycle — the body is more likely to store those calories as fat and gain weight rather than burn it as energy, says Kelly Allison of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine’s Center for Weight and Eating Disorders” (Allen, 2015).

Data collected suggests that overall the body processes food differently throughout the day. This can be a result of, but not limited to: digestion, body temperature, hormone levels, and physical activity (Allen, 2015).

While eating late at night often prompts weight gain it can also raise your blood sugar. The spiking of blood sugar levels has been linked to raising the risks of other chronic diseases. Often, night time cravings consists of higher calorie foods/snacks (sugary or salty cravings). It is recommended to avoid late night snacking and this can be successfully done through training your not only your body but yourself. Change your mindset if you are seeking to change your current lifestyle (Allen, 2015).

5 Reasons to Avoid Eating Late at Night:

  1. Altered Hormone Function: Consuming food late at night alters your hormone function, specifically- insulin, glucagon and leptin.
  2. Increased Inflammation: Calories consumed between the hours of 7 pm and midnight have been linked to an increased C-Reactive protein, which is a indication of inflammation.
  3. Impaired Blood Sugar Regulation: Insulin produced as a result of the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels throughout the day is least efficient at night. Consuming food and/or snacks that have a high-glycemic index will increase your blood sugar and impair your body’s ability to regulate your levels, resulting in increasing your risk of other chronic diseases.
  4. Increased Weight Gain: Eating late at night is linked to weight gain because the disruption of our circadian clock in our fat tissues are disrupted when consuming foods late into the night. As a result, the body is prompted to store fat rather than burn it. The body is less active at night as it attempts to slow down for the night, as triggered by our bodily clock.
  5. Elevated Triglycerides and Cholesterol: Eating outside of our circadian cycle has an impact on how our body metabolizes lipids, resulting in elevated levels.

Knowing the effects of eating late prompted a change within our family as we are all on our fitness journey. It required us to change our schedule and be consistent in our commitment. Our household enjoys dinner together each night between the hours of 5:00 – 6:00 pm. It only takes on average about two weeks to build a habit and this is a standard that we have set. We avoid eating outside of our dinner window and my husband Andrew is so strict that he will fast if he finds that eating would put him outside of our set eating window. If your schedule does not permit you to eat dinner early, adjustments will need to made to work around this. You can not use your schedule as an excuse. It is true that people find the time and dedication to do what they chose to do. If you are looking to live a more healthier lifestyle you have to want it and make the appropriate changes as needed.

Recommendations:

In the effort to minimize nighttime eating I recommend that you commit to a time window for eating. Set a time in which you will break your morning fast from the night before (breakfast= break-fast) and a time in which you will begin your fast at night (last meal of the day-dinner). If you do find that you have a hunger urge outside of your eating window replace high glycemic food/snack options with smaller and high-protein snacks (I.e. eggs, nuts, yogurt).

I encourage everyone reading this post to share your experiences in the comment section. Are you currently battling with eating late? Is weight gain a concern of yours? Is obesity effecting your health? How do you feel? Your testimony can help someone. My primary focus is to build a community around my blog but this is only possible with the help of all of my followers and readers.

Be sure to follow my Facebook page, Fit Life With Erica in order to connect with myself and others on their fitness journey.

FLWE ❤

References:

Allen, J. V. (2015, August 24). Why eating late at night may be particularly bad for you and your diet. Retrieved April 8, 2018, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/why-eating-late-at-night-may-be-particularly-bad-for-you-and-your-diet/2015/08/24/ad8b85ac-2583-11e5-b77f-eb13a215f593_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.a8f4bd12bf7a

Clark, C. (2018, July 11). Is it Bad to Eat at Night? 6 Reasons to Avoid Nighttime Meals and Snacks. Retrieved April 8, 2019, from https://universityhealthnews.com/daily/nutrition/is-it-bad-to-eat-at-night-6-reasons-to-avoid-nighttime-meals-and-snacks/

Fitness Journey, Health, How To

How to Reduce Your Weight Effectively

Are you looking to lose weight? Has your progress flatlined? If your goal is to reduce your weight effectively here are a few recommendations that I suggest you incorporate in your routine:

  1. Workout Variety- Do not allow your body to get use to the same old routine. Mixing up your intensity, duration, and workout type will shock your body into weight loss. If you are not already, combine both cardio and strength training in your routine.
  2. Strength Training- Incorporating strength training with free weights into your routine will encourage weight loss. Remember: the more muscle you have in total body mass will allow you to burn more calories in your workout.
  3. Sleep- Be sure that you are getting an adequate amount of sleep daily. People that are sleep deprived often have a harder time at losing weight and often weigh more, compared to those who eat the same diet but receive adequate sleep. When your body lacks sleep it “over” produces the following hormones: leptin and ghrelin which signals hunger pains.
  4. Nutrition- Exercise and diet together work to improve your health on the inside and out. Physical activity works to reduce your risks of disease (heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, etc.). Balanced nutrition assists with improving your health (heart health, brain health, energy levels, and weight control).
  5. Recovery- Although, you may be addicted the results you are seeing from working out, do not forget the importance of “rest days.” Your body and muscles need time to repair and this occurs when you are sleeping. While asleep you produce the most growth hormone; further assisting with burning fat and building muscles. Overtime building more muscle results in increased strength which further encourages weight loss.

FLWE ❤

Fitness Journey

Build Good Fitness Habits: What is the Optimal Amount of Exercise per week?

As you start out on your fitness journey you may be unsure of exactly where to start when it comes to exercising. You may wonder how often you should be exercising, to what extent, and what type of workout you should be doing.

The answers to these type of questions differ from person to person. Which means you need to assess your personal fitness goals and ability in order to build good fitness habits custom for you.

Cardio vs Strength Training

If you are seeking to improve your cardiovascular health it is recommended that you select exercises that include cardio. Examples include: cycling, swimming, walking, and jogging. These cardio exercises will assist in building your endurance.

If you are seeking to build muscle it is recommended that you focus on strength training. Strength training can be done with the use of your own body weight and/or the use of free weights.

How often should you work out each week?

The answer to this question depends on your activity level. If you are not moderately active, working out at a minimum of one day a week may be sufficient enough to notice some results. However, if you are active it may require working out multiple days per week in order to challenge your body enough to maintain and/or make progress.

If you are a beginner I recommend that you start out slow; workout one day a week for a minimum of 30 min and build your momentum. Each week increasing your time and then you can work up to adding an additional day of training (2-3 days per week).

For more experienced individuals looking to workout and balance both cardio and strength training; working out five days per week is sufficient in maintaining active. However, it is encouraged to incorporate at least two rest days.

Always consider your schedule and have reasonable expectations for yourself. If 4 days per week is more ideal, then be realistic. Reconsider your goals. If your goal is to add muscle, then replace a cardio day for strength training. If your goal is to increase endurance, replace a strength training day with cardio. You have the ability and control over your workout schedule; make adjustments as needed. Keeping realistic expectations, will keep you on target for success. Ultimately, unrealistic goals will lead to failure.

Cardio (2-3 Times per Week)

Benefits: Cardio encourages good circulation and blood flow. Cardio also assists with your recovery, while improving your endurance.

Exercise Options: outdoor jogging, elliptical, treadmill, stair stepper, cycling, row machine, etc.

Goal: Reach and maintain your targeted heart rate (fat burning zone)

Strength Training (2-3 Times per Week)

Benefits: Strengthens joints and bones (more muscle = higher metabolic rate)

Exercise Options: squats, lunges, bicep curls, overhead presses, etc. (strength train with body weight or assisted/free weights)

Goal: Body shaping, gain muscle, weight loss, improve flexibility

Rest Day- Recovery (2 Times per Week)

The importance of having rest days is allowing your body to recover and rebuild. By doing so you are allowing yourself to reset and refresh, which contributes greatly to your success in building good fitness habits.

I am encouraging you to start building good fitness habits today. It all starts with getting active. Share below in the comments some fitness habits that you have incorporated into your routine. What does your daily/weekly workouts consist of? What keeps you motivated to keep moving? I would love to hear from you.

FLWE ❤