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wellBEing weekends: functional fitness

wellBEing weekendsI haven’t stepped foot into a gym for workout purposes in over 3 years.  Not that you need a gym for fitness.

Since I was pregnant with my son, I still did some swimming, intense walking and hiking.  Post-pregnancy, I did some martial arts (a little too much too soon), and some intermittent running training, but I didn’t have a much needed routine for fitness.

Oh have I missed the routine.  Intense workouts with a surge of accomplishment afterward.  There may be a serious soreness after-the-fact, but THAT’s what I missed.

But this past month, I got to get back into a routine at the Crossfit Charlottesville On-Ramp class–a class that eases prospective gym members into the basics of weightlifting, rowing, stretching, and functional fitness skills with attention to safety, proper form, and complex movements that are broken down into small, digestible movements.

Workout #1, my Crossfit On-Ramp comrades and I muscled our way through a tough workout.  Today, eleven workouts later, we repeated that same workout from day one, and we crushed it.

Workout #1 & #12:

  • Row 200 m
  • 3 rounds of 15-12-9 repetitions of air squats, push-ups, and ring rows
  • Row 200 m

My time during the first workout was 7:12.  Today, I shaved off almost 2 minutes with a 5:21.  Yeah!  Also, in four weeks, I’ve lost one size and most of my winter pudge.

What is a typical Crossfit workout? Well, you can visit Crossfit.com to play along with the workout of the day.  You can read more about “what is Crossfit?,” too.  The Charlottesville Crossfit has its own workout of the day postings, plus social event postings.

Crossfit Classes

Small classes vary from groups of three to seven.  Based on the workout of the day, you lift weight or do as many repetitions of a specific exercise within a given amount of time.  Over time, you get stronger, faster, and healthier.

Our on-ramp class began with seven people.  Yet, due to busy schedules we  ended with the three of us in the photo, plus our awesome trainer Ben chilling in the middle of the tire.

By the way, one night after a workout, three of us did tire lifts and flips–that is one heavy tire, let me tell ya!

If you think Crossfit sounds too intense for new moms, think again.  Two of us in on-ramp were breastfeeding moms…one mom just had a baby three months ago!

Can’t wait for my husband to do his on-ramp class so that we can both join as members.  I’m so excited about Crossfit!

*Note: I did not receive any compensation for this post.  I just love Crossfit’s fitness philosophy, and I’ve been a fan for years.  I paid for the On-Ramp class, and I’ll pay for my membership in the very near future.

wellBEing weekends

Welcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, wellBEing weekends, formerly known as  Health Happy Round-Up.

Each weekend (Friday – Sunday), wellBEing weekends will feature health-related news, recipes, and fresh tips on wholesome health for your family’s well BE-ing.

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I’m getting back into the groove of the regular columns on Traveling with Baby after taking a hiatus from the Valentine’s Day Gift Guide.  If you missed out on the great prizes, never fear, we have more gift guides lined up for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day!

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While Calvin’s napping, I’m going to use Elisa’s recipe for yummy banana bread, but I’m going to use a gluten-free flour combo of buckwheat and brown rice flour.  It’s the perfect thing to make with several bananas that are over-ripe!

Actually, we’re going to make a more concerted effort to feature delicious and healthy food recipes on Traveling with Baby.  If YOU have a recipe you’d like to share, please e-mail me [drgarnecki at gmail dot com].  We’d be happy to feature YOUR great foodie ideas for healthy and delicious meals and snacks for the whole family.

Last month, we talked about ways to engage in fitness as a family.  A lot of that family fitness stuff got put on hold when we were dealing with an indoor flood, immediately followed by Snowmageddon.  Boy, did I get a lot of cleaning and furniture rearranging done!  Turns out Elisa B did the very same thing.  If women and children are stuck inside for days on end, we can be VERY productive!

Although re-organizing our tiny living space was a plus, the lack of sunshine and ability to run outdoors was KILL-ING me.  My son was asking every 5 minutes of every day to “go to the playgwound to play with tids”.  Thankfully, a few “tids” came to visit us at our home and at the office, so my son’s developing social cravings could get met.

Back to the fitness thing…lifting heavy furniture and boxes was a great workout.  However, I am yearning to run.  I’m so eager to get back to it that I’m setting a goal: a 5k race in mid-April.

I’ve been asking my women running friends to join Elisa and me as we run and train to complete our first 5k race since both of us were pregnant and had our sons.  I have not run in a race since 2006…it’s been too long.  The Race for Autism is raising funds for the Virginia Institute of Autism–a day-school and resource center for families and health professionals on autism.

Charlottesville Moms, will you join me in training and running in this 5k on April 17th?  This race is a great opportunity for you to promote family fitness by living as the example, and you’ll help raise money for an organization that is working to help families with autism–a condition that affects one in every 150 children in the United States (according to a survey by the Washington Post).

We’re going to create an exclusive Team Traveling with Baby // Team Bridal Ring running shirt (it will be pretty and flattering) for all the gals who join us for this upcoming race.  First, register for the race (it’s only $20 before the day of the race), then leave a comment that you’ve done so, and that you want to participate on Team Traveling with Baby.  Next, we’ll keep working on the design for the shirt that you can pick up and wear on race day.

Are you excited?  I am SO excited!

Let’s DO this!

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Yoga with Kids…Really! {Giveaway}

Are you a veteran yoga practitioner, or have you dabbled in a yoga class at your local gym, or does yoga sound like something you’d like to try, but it’s hard to fit it into your busy life?

If you fit into any of the three categories above, then a yoga video is the way to go.  There are several great yoga videos available on the market.

Continuing with this weekend’s theme of family fitness, I was eager to learn about Tot Yoga–A teaching DVD specifically designed for parents and their children ages 10 months to 3 years, hosted by Khadi Madama.

Regardless of your experience-level in yoga, you can pop Tot Yoga into your DVD player, and follow along, or just learn creative ways to incorporate relaxation, stretching, and creative play with your toddler.

I learned better ways to stretch, and my son enjoyed imitating me and the kids on the video.  We had fun playing together, and I even got a chance to feel like I accomplished something toward my fitness goals.

After yoga, I was inspired to bust out with the jogging stroller and hit the sidewalks for my first run of 2010, even if several of them are STILL covered with icy snow.

Enjoying yoga-bonding with my son

My son enjoys the poses that mimic animals–something he already naturally does in his play.  In fact, he loves performing “the dinosaur” complete with a specific walk and sound effects.  But, that’s a post for another day…

Tot Yoga DVD retails for $20 on Totyoga.com and Amazon.com.  Running time is approximately 40 minutes.

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As a mom, I feel like my son’s nap time is precious time for me to catch up on all the things that I can’t exactly do when he’s awake.

Do I do the dishes or laundry?

Do I work on writing up blog posts or catch up on phone calls?

Seldom do I ask myself if I should just take time out for me to stretch, relax, exercise, or just rest on the couch.  But, after doing some Tot Yoga this week, as much fun as it is to exercise with my son, sometimes I appreciate stealing a few minutes of ME-time to stretch, pray, relax, and breathe.  It’s a beautiful thing.

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One of our favorite new CDs for dancing and relaxing is Party Like a Twinkle Star by Charity and the JAMband.  It’s a 2-CD set, one for Party time or dancing in the living room with your child, and one for Twinkle time–stretch, do yoga poses, relax, and prepare for bedtime.

The vocals on the Twinkle CD are out of this world–tight a capella harmonies and soothing lullabies.  The Party CD includes fun songs about pancakes, s’mores, rocket ships, and a snazzy take on the favorite Row Your Boat. Check out jamjamjam.com for a free song download each month.

Party Like a Twinkle Star retails for $20 and can either be purchased as a 2-disc CD or as a full album download on the Charity and the Jamband site and Amazon.com. That’s $1 per song, 2 albums: playtime and sleepytime.

Note: if you’d prefer that your child doesn’t listen to the word “Booty” even as a reference to “bottom” then avoid the first track on the Party CD, “Get
Your Booty Out of Bed.”  I like both CDs quite a bit, but I don’t want my son going around saying the word “booty,” so we just skip over that one, and move on.

YOUR TURN: What ways have you found to make exercise fun with your child?  What do you do for yourself during your ME-time?

WIN IT!

One winner will receive a copy of Tot Yoga DVD (retail value $20), and one winner will receive a copy of Party Like a Twinkle Star 2-Disc CD (retail value $20).

Even if you don’t win on this contest, EVERYONE can be a winner.  Just enter code TWB2010 on Amazon.comor Totyoga.com for a 15% savings on your Tot Yoga DVD purchase plus free standard shipping within the United States.

To enter, leave a comment relevant to this post prior to January 30th at 11:59 p.m.  Please follow the contest rules and avoid any generalized comments, or you will be disqualified.

FOR A SECOND ENTRY: Blog about this giveaway, then leave a comment with a link to your post.

FOR A THIRD ENTRY: Tweet (include @drdolly) about this giveaway, then leave a second comment telling me that you tweeted with a link to your tweet.

*I received product samples of Tot Yoga DVD and Party Like a Twinkle Star CD for the purpose of this review.  Read my full disclosure policy.
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*UPDATE*
Congratulations to the winners, #5 Lo won the Tot Yoga DVD, and #1 Carlita won the Party Like a Twinkle Star CD!

Family Exercise – Play Together

The family that plays together, stays FIT together.

This weekend, we’re discussing ways for families to incorporate together time and fitness.  Physical activity shouldn’t be a chore or a dreaded event.  Just like turning room clean-up into a game becomes more fun for the child (and the parent who’s spared of the disobedience or whining), physical activity where the entire family participates can be a fun experience where beautiful memories and healthy habits are created.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 16 percent of children (over 9 million) 6-19 years old are overweight or obese — a number that has tripled since 1980.  Over the past three decades the childhood obesity rate has more than doubled for preschool children aged 2-5 years and adolescents aged 12-19 years, and it has more than tripled for children aged 6-11 years.

Experts agree that inactivity and poor eating habits contribute to obesity. While national guidelines recommend 150 minutes of physical activity each week for elementary children and 225 minutes for older children, only Illinois has a statewide requirement for daily physical education.

Why rely on the government to give your child his daily dose of exercise?  As a parent, I kinda feel like it’s my responsibility to teach my child how to live a strong and healthy life–I don’t think anyone else can do a better job with that than my husband and me.

Here’s three suggestions for families to engage in physical fitness while enjoying time together:

  • Go on a weekly nature hike. If you live in an area with varying terrain, the hike alone with increase the breathing and heart rate while giving everyone’s legs a good climbing workout.  If you live in a relatively flat area, then incorporate speed drills.  Run or race to a specific tree or marker that’s 10 or 20 feet away, and then walk, and repeat at varying markers throughout your route.

  • Go on a family bike ride. If you have older children who have bikes, then pick a route with minimal or no traffic.  If you have a bike trailer for smaller children, you can tow them in a low-traffic area.  They’ll learn to appreciate the time together and desire to exercise just like YOU!  Wouldn’t it be fun to have a bike trailer like the one *pictured above?

Do yoga or stretches together. Yoga for pregnant women, and post-partum moms is often a great way to help your body relax, and find balance with your constantly shifting center of gravity.  If you’re unsure of how to incorporate this back into your life once baby arrives, we’ll talk about some great tips for this later this weekend.

    • Do family calisthenics a few times a week. These are good, old-fashioned exercises such as jumping jacks, skipping, galloping, jumping across one end of the backyard to another.  If you’re familiar with other calisthenics, use those, too: crunches, push-ups, pull-ups.  Make it a game and do it together as a family.  Laugh, have fun, and encourage one another.

    A basic calisthenic exercise that small children usually do perfectly and innately by the time they learn to walk is the squat.  As they get a little older, children tend to forget how to do a perfect squat since they don’t do it all the time…well, at least not in our culture.  Kids and adults in several countries in Asia perform perfect squats their entire lives.Why is it important to learn how to do a good squat?

    The squat is a basic movement that we perform our entire lives.

    • We often bend down to pick something up, and then stand up.
    • Small children naturally squat with their feet flat on the ground, and then stand up using their stronger thigh, buttocks, and leg muscles.
    • Over time, we incorporate less of our strong thigh and buttocks muscles, and rely more on bending over with our backs.
    • Improper execution of this simple task can lead to wear and tear on the joints and discs in the low back over the course of time, resulting in back muscle strain, sciatica (or sharp/numb radiating back pain), and low back disc problems.

    Want to learn how to teach your kids the proper form for a squat?  Actually, do YOU want to learn a simple method to do a perfect squat?  Watch this 5 minute video by Crossfit instructor Jeff Martin (complete with two cute kids).

    YOUR TURN:  In what ways do you incorporate fitness into your family routine?

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    *Bicycle image above by Kamyar Adl via Flickr

    Goals for 2010

    It’s taken me a few weeks to think through and prioritize my goals for 2010, but I finally did it.

    I wrote out categories for various aspects of my life (spiritual, physical, family, business, etc.) and in each category, I wrote out attainable, measurable goals.

    Would you like to read a few of them?

    Transition to a self-hosted blog

    I’ve got some exciting ideas for this blog.  Something I’ve put off for far too long is to have it self-hosted…meaning I’ll have to switch it over to another template (that’s the big hold-up).  My blogging goal is to make the switch this year…it only opens up more possibilities for sharing greater content with you!

    Increase my daily core exercise and weekly running.

    It’s easy to improve on my running goal since I’m averaging zero runs per week.  I can only increase from there…just as soon as the temperatures get above 40 degrees.  Running in freezing weather?  Unsafe and ridiculous!  My goal is to do my core strengthening exercises (right here on my living room floor with my son by my side) a minimum of once a day, 4 days per week.

    Once it’s a little warmer, I’d like to run twice a week.  I’d also like to enter and complete a 5k by this fall…by then I’ll have time to train and commit!  Anyone know of a great local fall race that isn’t on Labor Day (my wedding anniversary) weekend?

    Focus on the moment…and be content

    Too often I find myself thinking about the fifty million other things that I COULD SHOULD be doing when I’m doing something else.  If my son wants me to read him a story, I’m thinking about the pile of dishes that just have to get done.  The same is true for work, and I regret not taking my son to the playground at that very moment while the sun is shining.

    Whatever I’m doing, I’m going to focus and be completely intentional and present in that moment, and not wish I was doing something else with my time.

    Read More

    I do a lot of online reading, but not as much page-turning.  There is so much I want to learn and absorb about the latest in health and chiropractic, I’d love to learn how to home school in Virginia, and I want to grow in my wisdom and understanding of God and his ultimate instruction book, the Bible.

    My goal is to read, study, and meditate through 4 books or epistles of the Bible with at least 1 or 2 commentaries.  I’m starting with John Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries on Corinthians.

    YOUR TURN: Would you like to join me?  What are your goals or resolutions for 2010?  I’d love to hear about them!

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    Getting (Back) in Shape

    health happy round-upWelcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, Health Happy Round-Up which focuses on multiple aspects of wholesome living and optimal health for the entire family.  Each weekend, Traveling with Baby will share some insightful news, recipes, and tips to help you consider fresh new perspectives on wholesome and happy health.

    What new mom doesn’t feel the pressure of getting that pre-pregnancy body back, stat?

    runner

    Some moms feel ready to do light walking within a few days after the birth event.  Personally, I was advised to avoid that and especially avoid stairs for an entire month.

    The road to recovery was slow, but it sped by compared to the road to regaining fitness.  I was at my peak fitness just before I was pregnant.

    Anyone else?

    I credit that fitness peak to the decidedly crazed health and fitness bubble that surrounded me in chiropractic college.  Have you seen Super Size Me?  Well, my colleagues and I were on the opposite extreme of that spectrum–to a fault.

    I can’t compete with my grad school self the woman who could study until 11PM, then wake up at 6 AM for a long run.  Hours of class or clinic were interrupted with a lunchtime swim.  Afternoon classes were topped with weights at the gym.

    Seriously.

    What parent has time for THAT kind of schedule?  Maybe the Hollywood crowd, but not me.  At least, not in this season of my life.

    Also, I recognize that breastfeeding can tend to keep a layer of padding for that constant milk supply.  Yes, I’m still making milk, thankyouverymuch.

    So, I’ve grown weary of my clothes feeling too tight, and my padding feeling more cushioned in places that didn’t used to have quite so much.

    Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t expect to look like the svelte 29-year-old pre-prego gal that I used to be.  I accept that I’m shaped a little differently now that I have birthed a baby.

    However, I know I can have more energy and feel a little more comfortable in my clothes (and my own skin) if I can shed a little unnecessary padding and increase my muscle strength and endurance.

    After all, I need to be fit and strong to take care of my family and my patients.

    So, I started making small and manageable strides to making exercise a more regular component to my week.  Chasing after a toddler and lifting a laundry basket aren’t cutting it anymore.

    1-3 times a week, I’m doing calisthenics.  The amount varies, but it looks something like this:

    I bust out with as many lower abdominal crunches as I can possibly do for a full minute.  Then, I do as many pull-ups as I can for another minute.  Next, I do as many perfect military push-ups as I can before I must do the girlie modified version on my knees for a full minute.  Finally, I do as many perfect squats as I can in a minute.

    Then, I lace-up my runners, and clip Calvin into the running stroller and I run…FAST.  If I slow to a walk, then I only take a few steps and then I launch back into my run.  I run as fast as I can because it forces me to use better ergonomic form compared to a sluggish and knee-jarring jog.

    When I’m spent (about the time I hit cardiac hill), I walk.  But, I walk as FAST as I can with long strides and pushing the stroller up a 7% grade.

    Afterward, I feel achygoodallover and refreshed.  I remember WHY I used to run…to de-stress, for refreshment, to clear my brain about the workload of the day.

    I encourage you to find your fitness mojo.  Whether it’s stretching, yoga, walking, or an ironman triathlon, I encourage you to join me on the road to finding balance by first carving out some time for a few days each week for fitness.

    Join me…won’t you?

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    Run with the Bulls

    We’ve been enjoying our anniversary weekend/Labor Day weekend by hanging out with family in northeastern Pennsylvania.

    There was one little glitch with our trip–major car trouble.  We heard a highly unusual sound when we set the car to idle at a pit stop on the way.  My husband chose to “press-on” and do our best to make it.  So, twice during the last leg of the trip, we smelled burning metal.

    We made it in one piece, and Steve and his dad tinkered with the car on Friday and Saturday.  After replacing one part, the same irregular sound persisted.

    So, we’re going to drive the car back to Virginia, then finalize our search for a replacement vehicle.

    So, please think about today as we make our way back in 7.5 hours worth of travel time.

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    So, while the guys have been laboring away with the car, I’ve been playing with my nieces, nephew, and son.

    We’ve been dragging the smallest kids around on the wooden floors on blankets, constructed sky scrapers from legos, practiced somersaults, ran, and hiked.

    Saturday morning, we headed to the local high school track because I wanted to stretch my legs and run.

    With the high school football game in progress, that meant the track around the field was off-limits.

    So, we meandered over to the unoccupied baseball diamond, instead.

    I ran the perimeter while my mother-in-law and four of her grand kids walked around and threw a Frisbee.

    After my warm-up, I noticed that there were 12 symmetrical rows painted on right field–perfect for interval training.

    I ran up and down each row with a different pace or running form: high knees, heels-to-buttocks, grapevines (sideways running with the lead leg alternating), skips, and full-speed sprints.  When I was on repetition #15 out of 24, the rest of the gang thought that running looked like fun.

    My 3 year-old niece joined me in running lengths.

    Soon, we were joined by my 7 year-old nephew, 11 year-old niece, 22 month-old son, and mother-in-law.

    My nephew pretended each length was a race.  My youngest niece directed the running styles at the end and suggested we run like ponies.  Calvin struggled to keep up, although he ran at a full-sprint the majority of the time.

    At one point, we ran backward while I did the fireman’s carry with my son.  He absolutely had a blast and wanted to be carried for the remainder of the workout.

    Running is fun for kids when you can turn it into a game!

    After the end of the running workout, everyone’s shoes were wet from the damp grass. Montrail Mountain Masochist GTX

    Everyone, except for me.

    The Gore-Tex in my Montrail Mountain Masochist GTX were drier than toast.  Usually, when I do speed work on the grass, I’ll slip and slide all over the place.  But the super grip traction on these shoes were as sure-footed as track spikes.

    Have I told you how much I love these shoes?

    labor day giveaway

    WIN IT!

    Montrail_Logo_blkOne winner will enjoy a pair of Mountain Masochist GTX from Montrail (retail value $115).

    (Primary entry method, this must be completed first!) To enter, visit Montrail and tell me about one other item that would love to use.  As always, Kudos to creativity!

    EXTRA CREDIT

    • Earn two additional entries by blogging about the giveaway and linking to Traveling with Baby using “Montrail Trail Running Shoes Giveaway” as the title in your blog’s post.  Then, leave two comments here with a link to your post.
    • Earn two additional entries by subscribing to Traveling with Baby’s RSS feed.  Leave (two) comments stating that you’re subscribed.
    • Earn another entry by entering another Labor Day Giveaway contest on Traveling with Baby.  Leave a comment telling me the name of the other contest that you entered.  Active contests are listed on the left sidebar under the header “Win Prizes”
    • Earn another entry by following me (drdolly) on Twitter and tweeting this contest with the following RT @drdolly Win Montrail Trail Running shoes on Traveling with Baby! http://wp.me/p4s6M-NXLeave a comment with the weblink to your tweet.
    • Earn another entry by adding Traveling with Baby’s button to your website/blog.

    Leave a valid e-mail address, so I can contact you to claim your prize, or it’ll go to another amazing person.  The contest is open to U.S. shipping addresses only.

    This contest runs until 11:59PM (EST) on September 14th, 2009.

    One winner will be randomly selected (via random.org) and announced on this post and e-mailed sometime shortly after September 14th. If a winner doesn’t respond within 72 hours, a new winner will be selected.

    **UPDATE**

    Congratulations!  The winner is #20, Keitha.

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