Backyard Circuit Workout

Two weeks ago my favorite clients came over to our house for a backyard training session. The workout they did was so good that I wanted to share it on the blog. I realize not everyone has access to this equipment or space at their house but this could make a great park, track, or gym workout too with a few modifications if need be.

Equipment Needed: Pull-up Bar (Josh built one in our backyard but I am linking to an at home option), Battle Rope, Heavy & Light Kettlebells/Dumbells

Complete three rounds of circuit one resting only after a round is completed. Once three rounds are complete move to circuit two. For the squats and lunges I held in 18 pound kettlebell but you could also just use your bodyweight for these exercises. We have an alley behind our home that I used for sprinting, thus the name alley sprints, and I am estimating that the distance sprinted would be 100m.

Right before Jesse was born was the first time in my life that I had ever been able to perform a pull-up unassisted. I love Black Mountain Fitness Bands to assist with pull-ups and highly recommend these to help build strength. If you are using the bands be sure to concentrate on lowering yourself slowly and resist the temptation to fling yourself up and down.

In case you are unfamiliar with what I am calling the Lazy Man Rope Climb (see photo below), I recently found this exercise idea in the book The Modern Art of High Intensity Exercise that we recently ordered. I am always hesitant to purchase exercise/fitness books but this one was worth the money! It has great ideas and workouts!

Since starting to climb ropes can be difficult this is a good exercise to do working with a rope on the floor. This exercise is anything but lazy, I just like to name my exercises something fun that is also easy for me to remember!

Lazy Man Rope Climb: Lay the rope on grass or another surface that isn’t sticky or slippery. Attach one end of the rope to a kettle bell or dumbbell (I used a 44 pound kettlebell) and lie on your back at the other end of the rope. Then grab the rope and pull the weight towards you. Be sure to stop in time before you get close to your head. When the weight reaches you stand up and grab the weighted end of the rope and drag it back to where it started and get ready to pull the weight towards you again. Repeat a total of 3 times. Be sure to engage your transverse abdominis!

And that is the workout! It is a doozy for sure but also fun! I hope you have a wonderful week leading up to Easter. I am so thankful for God’s grace and get choked up thinking about the significance of Jesus on the cross, the Temple veil tearing, and the stone being rolled away. If you have children or even if you don’t you might be interested in the book The Garden, The Curtain, and The Cross. It is perfect for Easter or really anytime of the year that beautifully illustrates and explains God’s plan for salvation and explains the Gospel message without watering it down.

I love the following verse…

A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lordmake straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up,and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together,for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 40:3-5

God’s glory has been revealed and each one of us has to choose what we will do with that knowledge. Jesus Christ offers hope. A hope that is steadfast and true. Following Christ doesn’t mean that life is going to be easy. In fact the Bible tells us to rejoice in our suffering, which is very counter to what our culture teaches (Romans 5:3-5, James 1:2-4, 1 Peter 4:13, 2 Corinthians 12:10).

This past weekend at church one of the points made in the sermon was that “the ultimate irony would be to go to Hell after hearing the good news many times, and refusing to receive it.”

Seek the Lord while he may be found, call of Him while he is near. Isaiah 55:6

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12

God forgives and has offered a way for us to be with Him in Heaven through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross. And that is what Easter is about.

Faith, hope, forgiveness, and redemption isn’t personified by chocolate bunnies. Instead it is represented by two outstretched arms on the cross.

xo, Tamara

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#MakeYourMove at Home with Kohl’s

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Kohl’s. I was paid for this post and received the included fitness equipment as compensation.

A little over 8 months ago our family joined a gym after having not had a membership for 2 years. Josh and I loved being able exercise together again and it was great to have childcare for the kids when Josh was on shift so I could workout.

Fast forward to today and I am cleared to start exercising again after delivering our third baby in November. Adding a new member to our family has been amazing and exhausting.

Exercise is a great way to boost your energy, improve your outlook, and reduce stress, all things that are great for everyone and especially parents of a newborn.

The childcare at our gym starts for babies when they are 3 months old. The idea of taking three kids to the gym when Josh is on shift is a little overwhelming. There were some mornings when it was hard for me to manage Caden and Maisie on my own and getting them in and out of the car and into childcare was more of a workout than my actual workout.

I knew that going to the gym wasn’t going to be a reality for at least a few months. I also knew that for my sanity and health I would need to figure out a way to exercise, at a minimum, 3 days a week.

Thanks to Kohl’s, Josh and I have absolutely no excuse to not exercise. In addition to the awesome selection of products Kohl’s offers in store they also have a wide range of fitness products online. If you are looking to build your home gym Kohl’s has cardio equipment, strength training gear, fitness trackers, and much more.

Home gyms offer you the flexibility of being able to fit your workout in whenever it is convenient for you. If you enjoy group fitness classes there are so many options available now on DVD. Exercising at home allows you to roll out of bed and exercise in your pajamas if you so choose. Plus you no longer have to wait in line for certain machines or equipment and there is no 30 minute time limit.

Take a look at just a few of the great items Kohl’s has to build a home gym…

PROFORM DESK BIKE

I wasn’t super excited about this bike when I saw the photo and read the description online. It arrived in a large box and took Josh an hour to put together.

proform-desk-bike-setup

Once it was built Josh and I both took a spin and we were pleasantly surprised. Having taking numerous spin classes and after being certified to teach indoor cycle classes I am super picky when it comes to indoor bikes. This bike could best be described as a hybrid between a recumbent bike and spin bike. It exceeded the expectations I had based on the photos and description.

proform-desk-bike

Like the name states the bike has a desk that can be attached to the handle bars to allow you to stay active while you work (or in our house blog, read, or catch up on your favorite tv show).

PROFORM DESK BIKE (1)

There is a built in heart rate monitor that can be used by placing your hands on the handles.

The bike can be folded up to save space when not in use. The only thing we would add to improve the design is wheels on the front of the bike to be able to move more easily.

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PROFORM EASY STRIDER

Just like the bike this elliptical arrived on our doorstep in an even larger box. It took Josh two hours to build and to our surprise runs on 4 D batteries.

proform-easy-strider-setup

The ProFrom Easy Strider is a smaller version of an elliptical you would find in the gym but still comes with many features found in more expensive ellipticals. There are wheels on the front of the machine making it easier to move, has a built in workout fan, IPOD compatible, and features an on-board 8 week weight loss program designed by Jillian Michaels.

When I used the 8 week program that is built in to the machine for the first time I had no idea that Jillian Michaels was actually going to be talking out of the elliptical. It was so fun and had me laughing out loud several times when she told me she wanted to kick my butt. The 30 minute programs go by super fast and I really love this added feature.

proform-easy-strider

We put all our workout equipment in our bedroom because we wanted to be able to keep the kids from playing on the machines. Also, in case you were wondering, that is a super huge canvas print of me. This was the photo canvas that was displayed when I an ambassador for a fitness clothing brand. After the store was done using the photo it was gifted to me. Josh and I tried to give it to my parents as a gift but they politely declined. And now, the photo sits in the alcove in our bedroom.

STAMINA MAGNETIC ROWING MACHINE

The rower took just under two hours to unbox and put together. The main portion of the machine arrived together and the remaining parts like the seat, footplates, and console needed to be installed.

stamina-magnetic-rowing-machine-setup

The rowing machine is made of aluminum making it durable and lightweight to move around and features 8 levels of resistance. The workout monitor tracks total strokes, strokes per minute, workout time, distance and calories burned.

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For the price of this machine it really has great features. It is quiet, stores upright and can be easily moved to a corner in the room or into a closet when not in use, and tracks all your stats during your workout.

BACKTRAC BACK MASSAGER

backtrac-back-massager

I think most of us deal with some sort of pain, knots, or tenderness in our back. It can be hard to reach those areas in your back on your own. The BackTrac Back Massager features 30 acupressure spheres that target the upper, mid, and lower back as well as two larger spheres for your neck.

I have been following the recommended guidelines and lay without moving on the massager for 5 minutes. The spheres can be adjusted for less intensity by moving them towards the center. After the 5 minutes are up I slowly roll a few inches up and down for several minutes.

I was surprised to find the next day I was sore in certain places in my back and shoulders that I generally have knots. Nursing and holding an infant can really take a toll on your spine and I find myself contorting my body into unnatural positions while I am carrying the baby at times.

The past few days I have been less sore and have played around with adjusting the spheres to hit certain spots, especially in my upper back. If you enjoy deep tissue massage, acupressure, or trigger point release this would be a great item for in home use.

MY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR A HOME GYM

It is so important to invest in yourself and have a few pieces of exercise equipment at home. I love having options with my workouts and I am super excited about having an elliptical, rowing machine, and bike.

When you are deciding what equipment to purchase for your home gym there are several things to keep in mind.

The first thing you need to consider is your space. Where will you be exercising? The equipment you purchase needs to fit your space.

Also keep in mind that building a home gym doesn’t have to be done at once. Start with a few essentials likes weights and resistance bands.

Next, set a budget, and stick to it. You don’t need to spend a ton of money to live a healthier lifestyle.

And lastly, you need to think about your goal. What is your fitness goal? Are you wanting to improve your cardiovascular health? Perfect, an elliptical would be a great choice for you. Have you just come off an injury and are looking for low impact options? An indoor stationary bike would work well for that. Or maybe you are looking to be able to have variety and would like to be able to perform CrossFit type workouts at home. Weights and a rowing machine for you.

In addition to the cardio equipment featured in this post Kohl’s also offers many other products that would be a great addition to a home gym.

Build Your Home Gym with Kohls

one | two | three | four | five

Resistance bands, a stability ball, and ankle weights are great additions to a home gym.

Footwear is just as important at home as it in the gym. These Asics are my favorite and they come in really fun colors.

If you have little ones at home I highly suggest a video monitor to keep tabs on them during your early morning or evening workouts.

#MAKEYOURMOVE CARDIO TRIFECTA WORKOUT

With all this fun new equipment I was ready to get sweaty! Here is a workout I put together to use with the Elliptical, Bike, and Rowing Machine.

cardio-trifecta-workout-makeyourmove

This was my first workout that I did after having my third baby and I was loving it and silently hating it at the same time. It felt great to sweat but also horrible. I was so out of breath when I finished and I was ready to be done after I got off the bike.

The workout will take a little over 30 minutes. Let me know if you try it out!

Kohl’s is your one spot shop for at home fitness needs. From workout clothes, shoes, fitness equipment, and a wide range of healthy living products you will find what you are looking for at Kohl’s.

You can follow Kohl’s on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. For added inspiration be sure to check out Kohl’s Make Your Move Pinterest Board.

These affiliate links are not associated with Kohl’s.

The Workout Mama may contain links to other websites. I am not responsible for the privacy policies of those other websites. When you click on a link, your information may be collected by those websites so I encourage you to read their privacy policies.

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Everything You EVER Wanted to Know About Exercising During Pregnancy

Disclaimer: I feel the need to put a disclaimer on this post and let you know I am by no means a medical professional. I am however a mother, certified personal trainer, and yoga instructor. What I am sharing is based on my own research and experience. This post also contains affiliate links. 

I am in my third trimester of pregnancy with my third baby. Never thought I would type that, to see why watch VASECTOMIES, FOSTER PARENTING, & A PREGNANCY TESTOver the last 5 years of being pregnant three times I have learned as much as could about pregnancy and exercise.

I am a certified personal trainer, and yoga instructor, and also a nutrition coach. I also know there are many trainers and fitness professionals in the world who have way more knowledge than I do but don’t have the experience of having been pregnant three times. Here is what I have learned over the last several years about exercising while pregnant.

Your First Pregnancy is NOT the Same as Your Second (or Third)

Your first pregnancy is amazing for many reasons. You can nap when you are tired being one of them. But in all seriousness, during your first pregnancy your body is being stretched for the first time in a new way. Your muscles, ligaments, tendons, organs, and bones have never had the pressure of carrying and holding a baby before.

My first pregnancy I exercised very similarly to how I was exercising before I become pregnant. I adopted the motto “If you were doing it before you were pregnant it is safe to do the same while pregnant“. While this may be true for certain activities I wish I would have had more knowledge of what exactly I was doing to my body.

During my first pregnancy I did lots of yoga. I was already very flexible before pregnancy and with the added hormones I became even more flexible. I don’t think yoga is necessarily a bad way to move while pregnant, but I do think you need to be extra cautious about the poses that you do.

When I became pregnant the second time I was shocked by how my body felt. I was so uncomfortable. I couldn’t do even half of what I had been able do when I was pregnant the first time.

The best way I can describe multiple pregnancies on your body is to think of a deflated balloon. The first time you attempt to blow air into the balloon it will feel like you are going to pass out. The balloon has never been inflated before. The next time it is inflated you don’t have to work as hard.

With the body the same thing happens. The fascia surrounding the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and organs has already been manipulated in the same way previously making it easier to move, which is good and bad. Your body was made to adapt to pregnancy, but if you already have instability in areas of the body they will become even more noticeable and potentially problematic for you.

Hire a Trained Professional

These people are worth the money. Trust me. I spent several months working with a physical therapist after having my second baby and was so sad when I was recovered because I wanted to keep working with him.

While my physical therapist was a male and had obviously never been pregnant he had way more training than a personal trainer and could evaluate the imbalances in my body.

Personal trainers are wonderful. I am certified personal trainer. But our scope of knowledge is limited. We do not have the same training as a physical therapist.

Most insurance plans will cover multiple physical therapy visits. If you have been pregnant and something in your body still does not feel right these are great professionals to go and see.

Diastasis Recti & Healing Your Pelvic Floor after Baby

Women who have given birth – can we just get a moment of silence for all the times we have accidentally peed our pants during a workout. Jump ropes, box jumps, and jumping jacks, I am specifically looking at you. If this is you, there is a solid chance your body has yet to fully recover from having a baby.

Looks can be deceiving. Your tummy might be flat at 6 weeks postpartum but that doesn’t mean that your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles have fully healed.

I mention this because the way you exercise while pregnant can worsen your abdominal separation. Don’t be like me and let your ego get in the way! It isn’t worth it. Again, just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should.

No matter how many months or even years it has been since having a baby there is hope to heal your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles!I highly recommend the MuTu System for those wanting to heal their core and pelvic floor after giving birth. You can read about my experience with the Mutu System HERE.

Exercises to Avoid While Pregnant

These are the exercises I see recommended by trainers or #fitspo #fitmom Instagrammers that literally make me want to cry. Please, please, please if you are pregnant avoid these exercises. It is only for 9 months of your life and I promise your body will thank you in the years to come.

Even if these exercises can be performed it doesn’t mean that they should. This is a lesson I learned the hard way. Your body is going to change while you are pregnant. Abdominal separation is normal and how you exercise while you are pregnant can improve your recovery after pregnancy.

LUNGES

Most of us, personal trainers included, do not always have perfect form when exercising. For this reason alone, my advice is to avoid lunges after the first trimester. Be very careful with any unilateral exercise, like lunges, during pregnancy because of the risk of low back, hip and knee issues. In my opinion this exercise is not worth the risk of developing imbalances in the body.

Pregnancy Safe Alternative: Squats

Squats are great during pregnancy, just make sure that you have your feet and knees fairly narrow, narrower than you may have done them before, and ensure that you keep your knees in line with your feet. This is to protect your knees and hips, which are more vulnerable during pregnancy because of the horemone relaxin. Also, if you feel too much strain on your back, use a stability ball on a wall for support.

PLANKS & PUSHUPS

Planks and Pushups are beneficial exercises to do, but need to be done mindfully. You can place your hands on a bench, table, stairs, or even against the wall to modify this exercise. Planks should be avoided after the first trimester.

Pushups can be modified during the entire pregnancy. When you look at your midsection while you are doing this you should see more of a gradually rounding. If you see a bulge in the middle elevate your hands further from the floor. There is no shame elevating your pushup.

Pregnancy Safe Alternative: Bird Dog & TRX Chest Press

Bird Dog: Come to a hands and knees position on an exercise mat positioning your knees underneath your hips and the crease of your wrists directly underneath your shoulders. Your fingers should be pointing forward. Engage your core and abdominal muscles. Keep your spine in a neutral position, avoid any excessive sagging or arching. Pull the shoulder blades toward your hips. In this exercise you are attempting to move the opposite arm and leg simultaneously. It is very helpful to use a mirror to help you with form adjustments. Begin by slowly lengthening the left leg until it is long and strong. Lift the leg off the floor until it is at or near parallel to the floor. The leg should not be lifted above hip height. This will help to avoid upward rotation at the hip. That might be enough. If it feels comfortable you can lift the right arm as well. Another option is to lift the leg and arm separately and switch sides.

TRX Chest Press: Grab the handles and take a step forward on one leg. Keeping your body in a straight line and both arms straight, lean froward until your body is at about a 40 degree angle. Bend the elbows and lower your body. Use your arms to push yourself back to the starting position.

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SITUPS, CRUNCHES, AND OTHER ABDOMINAL EXERCISES

According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists the average distribution of weight gain during pregnancy is 30 pounds. This increase in weight causes internal pressure inside of the abdominal cavity. The pressure is upward, downward, and outward and is what creates the abdominal separation. The entire core of the body, glutes, ribs, pelvic floor, and the deeper core musculature become unstable.

This can lead to low back pain, pelvic pain, incontinence, prolapse and urinary urgency/frequency. Women who have abdominal separation also tend to have a higher degree of pelvic floor and abdominal pain.

Avoid these all together.

BOX JUMPS

As mentioned before pregnant women release a hormone called Relaxin which causes ligaments to be looser and can affect balance. Therefore, movements such as box jumps should be avoided after the first trimester. Plus they really don’t feel all that great anyway when you are pregnant.

LOWER BODY UNILATERAL MOVEMENTS

Now some trainers will tell you that lower body unilateral movements (lunges, single leg deadlifts, etc.) are an excellent way to train the body while pregnant. Their reason is that these exercises are great stabilizers and improve balance. I do not disagree that these are great exercises, but I cannot recommend them during pregnancy. It is better to keep both feet together and under the hips for improved balance and stability during pregnancy than it is to try and improve your overall balance and stability. Your chance of injury is higher with these types of movements and they should be avoided, especially after the first trimester.

TWISTING MOVEMENTS

Don’t twist or compress your abdomen torso and spine. No twisting yoga poses. Just don’t do it.

RUNNING

I have some friends who can run while they are pregnant. Personally, I feel like my body is falling apart mid stride and the next day I can barely walk. I learned during my second pregnancy that running and pregnancy, at least for me, are not a great combination. Running is very high impact.

The best prenatal exercise routine is to perform exercises that are low impact and will not create further imbalances in your body. Don’t be afraid to lift weights, increase your heart rate, and work up a sweat! These are all great things for you do.

Exercise Intensity, Heart Rate, & Rate of Perceived Exertion

Over the years the recommendations issued by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) on pregnancy and exercise intensity have dramatically changed:

  • 1985: The ACOG issues a statement that the maximum heart rate during pregnancy should not exceed 140 beats per minute and women should not participate in strenuous exercise for more than 15 minutes.
  • 1994: A new statement is released removing specific limitations regarding exercise during pregnancy. The ACOG said, ‘‘there is no data in humans to indicate that pregnant women should limit exercise intensity and lower target heart rate because of adverse effects.’’ They still recommended that women avoid exhaustion during exercise.
  • 2002: The ACOG published ‘‘Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period: ACOG Committee Opinion 267.’’ In this paper, the ACOG Committee recognizes that ‘‘in the absence of contraindications, pregnant women should be encouraged to engage in regular, moderate intensity physical activity to continue to derive health benefits during their pregnancy as they did prior to their pregnancy.’’

It has been many years since the maximum heart rate during pregnancy was recommended not to exceed 140 beats per minute. If a doctor or trainer tells you otherwise there is a good chance they are sharing outdated information. What you want to be mindful of is not allowing your body to become overheated to the point that it can not cool itself down.

If you regularly exercise with a heart rate monitor you can continue to do so while pregnant or you can evaluate your intensity using the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE), or how you feel based on a scale from one to ten. As a general rule, keep your RPE in the 5-6 range during pregnancy workouts.

Your 5-6 RPE pre-pregnancy will not feel the same as your 5-6 while you are pregnant. During pregnancy the body produces more blood and the heart works harder to circulate the excess. The increase in blood is responsible for fatigue, nausea and dizziness during the first trimester.

General Tips for Exercising while Pregnant

Remember to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated before, during, and after exercise. Dealing with dehydration is not fun when you are pregnant. I learned this the hard way with my second pregnant and ended up in the hospital twice.

Find out what works best for you. For me and my third pregnancy this has looked liked swimming laps, incline walking on the treadmill, lifting weights, and stretching.

Once you reach the third trimester be extra cautious and careful with your movements. During your final weeks of pregnancy your uterus is 500 times its normal size. You’re carrying around an extra 20 to 40 pounds, making even the simplest movements a workout. Enter the gym with zero ego to ensure you are as safe as possible.

Properly warm up and cool down as this will help to reduce the risk of injury.

If you feel dizzy or lightheaded at any time discontinue your current activity and give your body time to recover. This will happen sometimes due to increased blood flow.

High risk activities should be avoided. If you road bike avoid the risk of becoming off balanced by finding a indoor cycle class. Any risk or trauma that could potentially happen to the abdomen should be placed on hold until after you deliver.

Be mindful of the amount of time you spend on your back. The added weight of the baby can place more stress on your spine.

Dealing with varicose veins? Be sure to read the following post Varicose Veins & Pregnancy for more on this topic.

Wear comfortable clothes that aren’t overly tight especially around your waist. My favorites include: Lululemon Studio Pants, Lucy Get Going Pants, Reebok Studio Pants, Lululemon Tech Shirts, and Reebok Burnout Shirts.

Hopefully this post was helpful and encouraging to you! Let me know what you think. How was your experience exercising while pregnant?

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