Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Back on the Pure Barre On Demand Bandwagon (Newly Re-branded as Pure Barre GO)

It's been a couple weeks of consistent participation in at home Pure Barre GO workouts and I am happy to report that I am feeling the progress.  My core is feeling so much stronger.  I have also noticed a slimming down of my post baby belly.  Things are starting to tone up.  I'm also experiencing DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) on a regular basis so I know these workouts are targeting areas that need attention.

My favorite part of doing the Pure Barre GO classes is how easy they are to do.  It is so convenient for Moms that can't get away to attend a live class or leave the home to go to the gym.  I usually do my workouts after baby boy has been put down to bed for the night.  I'm also enjoying the low impact movements of their fitness philosophy.

There are some downsides to the at home workouts and that is in regards to the equipment.  I haven't been able to find their double tube resistance bands for at home use.  A couple years ago I was able to purchase one of their red balls and I believe I got it from their online store.  I do not see an online store through their main website however, reddit users have commented that there is a new website layout in the works and the online store will be back.  Prospective re-opening of the online store has been said "early 2020." So that is something we will have to wait and see if it transpires.  I just don't get the impression that their online classes are a priority in the grand scheme of things.  I could be wrong.  In the meantime I have been using a figure 8 resistance band I acquired many years ago from Amazon.  For now, it does the job.  I do plan on stopping by a local studio to see if they sell the double tube resistance bands.

Another equipment pitfall I experienced was during one of the workouts I was instructed to "pull off the barre."  This basically means you are holding onto the barre and leaning your weight back and using the barre to support all your weight.  This does not work using a chair or stand alone barre supports that you may use such as the Lebert Equilizer Bars.  This is best performed in a door frame using the wall, a stable couch or other piece of furniture, or as in my case a secure dance fitness pole.  This is a great reason to preview the online videos prior to performing them if you have the time to do so.  While the PB GO videos have been really good at telling you exactly what equipment is needed for each workout, there have been surprises like the pull off the barre that can leave you fumbling around in the midst of a workout.

These were just a few of my thoughts as far after a couple weeks of consistent participation in their online classes.  I have recently decided to adopt the "2 day workout" idea for my fitness goals this year which means you don't go more than 2 days in a row of not working out.  I got this idea from a local influencer that posted about the concept on Instagram and decided to work it into my ideology for my own personal fitness.  I really like that it takes the pressure off and I don't feel bad about taking it easy if I need to or if a workout just doesn't fit into my day (which I've yet to experience since PB GO offers various quick workouts that can be completed in as little as 10 minutes).  I'm planning to continue updating my progress as long as I am a subscriber to the PB GO so be on the lookout for future blogs as I continue along my at home fitness journey.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Pregnancy Comfort/Fitness Must Haves

***I originally wrote this blog on January 19, 2019. I had my baby the first week of February 2019 and at the time of posting this blog, just celebrated his first birthday. Looking back through this list of items, it appears I created this list in the order in which I acquired each item in the form of a timeline. ***

I wanted to combine both my comfort and fitness must haves that I have really enjoyed during my active pregnancy.  I've had a few set backs during my final weeks of pregnancy that have forced me to slow down and take it easy - which has been where the comfort items have REALLY come in handy.  So without further ado, here is my list of must have items.

1. Water Bottle
I purchased a 1 gallon water bottle from Amazon early on in my pregnancy so I could keep track of my daily intake.  I ended up drinking 1.5-2 gallons daily.

2. Lemon Drops
These were a first trimester item that I used whenever I felt nauseated. Luckily for me, I didn't really experience any overwhelming nausea. I made sure to constantly be nibbling on something and drinking plenty of fluids throughout this period typically known for increased nausea.

3. Snoogle Pregnancy Pillow
I purchased one of these very early in my pregnancy and anticipated using it all throughout.  Unfortunately a few weeks into my third trimester I had to quit using this pillow and opt for an alternative for a good night's rest.

4. Jacket Extender
As my bump grew during the colder months, so did my need to bundle up.  I didn't want to buy a whole new jacket so instead I opted for an extender that I was able to attach to my favorite winter coat.

5. Backpack
I had to ditch my shoulder tote work bag and opt for a backpack.  This change up really made a huge difference in my coming and going to and from work.  As my body changed throughout my pregnancy, so did my ability to move as well as I did before.  Carrying all necessary items and my giant water bottle in a back pack made it less of a struggle when getting to work on time was of utmost importance.

6. Boppy Wedge
Mid-third trimester I had to upgrade from the Snoogle Pregnancy Pillow to the Boppy Wedge pillow.  This little pillow made a huge difference in alleviating aches and pains I was experiencing throughout the night.  Due to nerve compression in my left hand, sleeping with the Snoogle would cause numbness in my entire arm by morning.  The wedge pillow allows me to have freedom of my arm placement all while supporting my bump and back muscles for a good night of rest.  It also made it easier to get in and out of bed or to change sides as my bump grew larger and made movement much more difficult.

7. Exercise Ball
I use one to sit on while at work, in the shower, and for fitness activities.  I cannot praise the use of an exercise ball enough.  This thing helped me stretch out achy hips and sciatica pain, alleviated restless legs, and provided a place to rest while taking a shower where I do not have an area already for sitting. I also incorporated my exercise ball into my weekly circuit routines.  If there is one fitness item you plan on getting while pregnant, let it be an exercise ball.  You will not regret your decision.

8. Vaseline Intensive Care Cocoa Radiant Lotion
I went through several containers of lotion before I landed on using this one.  I have used the Palmer's Belly Lotion and Lubriderm Fragrance Free Body Lotions to apply to my skin as it stretches and becomes itchy.  My favorite for long lasting softness and anti-itch has been the Vaseline Intensive Care Cocoa Radiant Lotion.  I find that one application after showering in the morning to last all day. The other lotions I have used I had to reapply later in the day as I noticed the skin on my belly looking dry and my legs becoming itchy.

9. Travel Size Foam Roller
I bought one on Amazon that was a travel 2 in 1 combo.  I use the foam roller for rolling out my lower back, side of my hips, front of my hips, and upper back. One thing I have noticed during rolling is that is really gets my abdomen moving so if I am having a lot of gas pain, this has given me a lot of relief.  In addition to alleviating aches and pains I also found some foam roller exercises online that I was able to implement for some extra workout activities.

10. Pilates Ring
While the majority of the items I listed lean towards comfort items, I wanted to include the Pilates ring in this list as it was something I have been using quite frequently during my home circuit workouts with my husband.  My favorite way to use the Pilates ring was to incorporate it into leg squeezes to work my inner/outer thighs and glutes.  I suffer from third trimester sciatica so being able to maintain some level of fitness is really important to me for labor and delivery.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Happy New Year! 2020 Edition

It's a new year and I took an entire year off from blogging because I had a baby in 2019. 👶 My cute and cuddly busy bundle of joy is now a toddler and that has enabled me some freedom to start working again on my own fitness goals.  While every baby is different, I got to be the lucky Mama that had a very hard infant.  I have baby sat and been around enough kids to know that my child was NOT an easy baby whatsoever. I've taken care of multiple children that have been easier than my own kid.  So needless to say, last year my mind was not in a place to sit down and blog. I was barely able to workout.  So as my angry little infant has transformed into a happy go lucky little on the move toddler, my life has gotten significantly easier.  Believe me, my husband and I have collectively shared a big sigh of relief.

Moving on from baby-gate 2019, I have decided that I would dip my toes back in and start blogging about my postpartum experiences with fitness.  I wish I had blogged more as I was going through postpartum but like I said, the craziness that was my life didn't allow much breathing room let alone setting aside time to really think.  To sum up these last twelve months, I have noticed that my body took it's sweet time and took exactly twelve months to start to feel normal again.  This could be my age talking here (34 pregnant/35 delivery). It amazes me that some women are ready to start trying for another baby two weeks after having one. Who are you and WHAT kind of crazy hormones are you producing? I would have loved to have felt like my body bounced back that quickly but the reality was, it was no longer my body - it was the baby's as much as it was when he was on the inside as it was when he came out. I was his nutritional, comfort, and life support. To an extent, I still am. I'm still breastfeeding at twelve months postpartum.  Anyone who has breastfed can tell you that you are literally eating for two.  It's so important you eat and eat well.  As my little one starts to wean, I am still eating a higher caloric intake.  This is an adjustment I am going to have to focus on making so I don't fall into weight issues that can be harmful to my health.

To combat my higher caloric intake while breastfeeding and starting the weaning process, I've recently gotten back into increasing my physical activity. One of the things I have started back with is using my DeskCycle at work.  I was unable to use it in my later stages of pregnancy because my belly prevented me from comfortably cycling at my desk.  I've written several blogs about the DeskCycle. See DeskCycle for Your Sedentary Work Day and DeskCycle One Year Update. I'm happy to report that this thing is amazing and all these years later I am still using it.  I'd forgotten all the feel good benefits I experienced while using my DeskCycle until I started using it again.  In my opinion, this thing is HIGHLY recommended.

Another fun fitness tool I recently incorporated into my fitness routine is a FeetUp Yoga Trainer. It's a solid wooden chair/bench looking contraption that has a padded seat. Except it's best used for yoga stands or inversions.  The FeetUp yoga trainer has been an amazing addition to my fitness routine. I love using it for stretching and of course for it's intended purpose of getting upside down.  I have been using this for my cool down stretching flows after pole, circuit training, and barre workouts.  In addition to cool down sessions, I have also found the FeetUp to be amazing for core work.  I'm still playing around with how I intend to use it and have been doing quite a bit of research for ideas on different exercises I can do with it.  I'm hoping to dedicate a future blog post to this.

I also recently re-subscribed to the Pure Barre On Demand so I can get back into doing barre workouts at home.  I know there are some barre fitness workouts online that can be accessed for free but since I am familiar with Pure Barre On Demand (recently changed to Pure Barre GO for re-branding), I decided to give their program another GO (totally unintentional pun 😂). I wrote a detailed blog about Pure Barre On Demand back in May of 2018.  A lot of the content is the same. The most recent content is from November 2019 which I have seen many people complain about online.  There is however, A LOT of content.  I feel like for me it would take me a long time to get through all the content.  It's not that big of a deal to me but for some, it has been a deal breaker.  One thing that has changed since my last subscription is every once in awhile they will post a month and the week with daily workout videos you can do for that week.  I like this concept as it gives me a plan to work from. It hasn't been consistent though and I wonder if this is a feature they are trying to work out kinks as they transition into their new brand of Pure Barre GO.  One thing I have been doing is during some down time I like to watch the video I plan on doing the day or night before. It gives me a chance to focus on form of specific exercises so when I go to do the workout I will know what to expect.  This may be just something I do as I get back into the Pure Bare world and after awhile I may not do this anymore but for now, I find this to be helpful.

So those are a few things I have been doing off the pole for fitness. On the pole I have found that my brain thinks I can still do things the way I used to but my body is where the reality check really happens. I'm working on grip with my legs, inversions, and endurance.  All things that have seemingly gone away.  I have been wearing my Cleo's Rockin Pole grippy leggings A LOT. I also recently purchased a new pair of ballet slippers in bright red.  In addition to working on strength on the pole, I have revisited some of my former Pole Harmony studio routines.  I'm currently working on the Beginner Pole Routine I used to teach.  It's been fun to get back into pole and dancing.  I'm hoping that if I am able to have another child that I can continue to maintain my fitness through another pregnancy.  One thing I learned from going through my first pregnancy is to listen to my body and take it easy when  I need to both physically and mentally.  That time heals and working at my own pace is what is best for me.