Calling all Mamas

Since my doctor told me today my baby could come anytime (of course without trying to get my hopes up), I started thinking about what life with the new baby…past pregnancy would bring.  The least favorite part for me is the saggy belly and all the energy it’s going to require to get back to normal.  I wondered what tips all you experienced moms have…what works best for you??  Please comment below because I am sure I am not the only one who could benefit from a little extra wisdom.

Also, do any of you have good tips for getting those stomach muscles back together??  Mine never did go back together after Barett, which led to me being quite injury prone while I was stupidly trying to work out like normal.  Did you use a belly band?  Certain exercises?  How long did it take you to heal?

When I was searching online I found this interesting article on Shape.com with some simple, albeit random tips on getting back into shape post-partum.  Thought I would share his ideas as a jumping off point.

1. Kegel, Kegel, Kegel: Pelvic muscles may have weakened during childbirth so it is imperative that we start in this area. Begin by either sitting or lying down and contract (squeeze) the muscles that you would generally use if you were attempting to stop urinating. I recommend performing 15 to 20 sets of contractions. Hold each contraction between three to five seconds resting three to five seconds between sets.

2. The easiest workout: Standing on one leg while brushing your teeth works deep core muscles. It’s a perfect short workout, creating a degree of instability that engages the smaller muscles essential for core strength.

3. Eat with your non-dominant hand: You may feel awkward at first but you will eat about 30 percent less and actually pay more attention to your food instead of other things.  Go ahead. Give it a try at your next meal. Since the hormones that signal to the brain that you are full are at the end of your digestive tract, it takes a while for the food to get there. It takes nearly 20 minutes for your brain to realize that you’ve had enough to eat. Switching to your non-dominate hand will have you eating at a slower pace, which in turn will have you ingesting fewer calories.

4. Confuse your stomach and watch it shrink: Recently, my wife switched from adult sized plates with a 12-inch diameter to saucer-sized plates, which are about 6 inches in across. The Reason: it might feel like your sitting at the kids’ table but studies show people who eat food off of saucers believe they are eating an average of 18 percentmore calories than they really are. At home, we also purchased blue flatware because the color blue is a natural appetite suppressant and I can personally notice that the switch has helped.

5. Easiest way to start flattening your belly…work your invisible abdominal muscles: Your transversus abdominis lies beneath your rectus abdominis, the 6-pack muscle, and flattens your waistline when you suck in your gut. Work it with the vacuum. Pull your belly button toward your spine and hold for 10 seconds while breathing normally. Repeat five times.
Coaches tip: Test out this simple exercise the next time you’re standing in line at the grocery counter.

6. Dip your fork first: Next time you order salad keep the dressing on the side and dip your fork in it before spearing a piece of lettuce rather than dousing your greens. The average salad dressing has over 300 calories. This way, you’ll add taste without the extra calories.

7. Me and you time: Having a newborn can sometimes create anxiety between a couple, and distance. To help avoid this, my wife and I have set aside a few nights a week where we take our child Max (that’s him in the picture!) on a couple’s walk. Walking not only strengthens, tones, and redevelops muscles that may have been lost during pregnancy but, starting a walking or exercise regimen with your spouse or partner actually increases your chance of sticking to the program by up to 90 percent.

The Training Begins

Saturday I had my first outdoor ride of the season and the first long ride of training for our century.  I have to say that it started out great…the clouds had parted and the sun came out, which is why I decided to head outdoors instead of riding two hours in the spinning room at the gym (yawn!).

The further I went though, the more I realized that I was less than prepared!  Sunglasses would definitely have been helpful, something I’m obviously not accustomed to at this time of year.  And I didn’t remember until halfway through when the pain started kicking in that I had only taken one short ride during the week because sick kids kept me from the gym so my legs and butt were BURNING last night!!

Then the best part was encountering this, when I was in the home stretch.  SLEET!!  No better motivation for sprinting the last leg, that’s for sure!!

Some other preparation that would have been nice would be to make a playlist.  Messing with the ipod while riding on the street seemed like more of a safety hazard than it was worth and unfortunately Sarah McLachlan came up all too many times on the shuffle I had going while I was out there.  Don’t get me wrong, I do like Sarah, but it’s just not the best to pump you up for a long workout!!!  So I would love your help in making a better playlist for my long ride next Saturday.  What are your favorite songs for working out?  What keeps you going hard and burning those calories?

And of course you can also help by donating to the cause!

Tour de Cure

If you have been checking this blog, you probably have goals for healthier eating this year.  I’m loving that we can work together on this…though I’m a bit sad I can’t seem to be able to pawn off any leftover delicious homemade cookies on anyone.  Way to be strong!  Someone even decided to join me in my 90-day dessert fast, which made me think maybe some of you want to join me in one of my fitness goals for the year…ride a CENTURY!  Yes, that’s one hundred miles on your bike.

Now, if that seems a little far or a little intense, don’t worry.  You can still join in the fun without going all the way.  There are shorter courses of 15, 25, 45, or 75 miles.  For those who don’t know, the Tour de Cure is a ride sponsored by the American Diabetes Association to raise funds and awareness for curing Diabetes.  You all know what an epidemic this has become in our country, but maybe it has affected you personally like it has me…my dad and one sister both have it.

The ride is May 12th up at Lake Sammamish, you can go to the main website for more information, or if you’d like to join my team, you can go do my page.  If you aren’t even feeling up for the 15 miles, you can simply donate on my page as well.

Let me know if you have any questions…hope to ride with you soon!