All posts by mgosser

Prenatal Workout with Renee Peel of CRUNCH

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Whether you’re a workout buff or just starting out, exercising while pregnant is a whole new ball game. Staying fit and active is important during pregnancy. I attribute all of my smooth pregnancies and deliveries on the fact that I worked out. However, many modifications are necessary, therefore attending a prenatal class, letting an instructor of a regular class know you are pregnant so they can show you modifications or working with a personal trainer that specializes in prenatal exercise is extremely important.

I was lucky enough to have a workout session with Renee Peel, certified personal trainer, at CRUNCH gym in Hoboken, New Jersey. Renee is a mom of two so she knows what it’s like to be pregnant and workout. She is very knowledgeable on prenatal exercise and the one-on-one training was so amazing. Not only was she able to show me modifications that worked for me and were at my fitness level, she was also very helpful in correcting my form and making sure I used proper technique. Below are some tips from Renee along with a great prenatal workout that you can try on your own or with the help of a trainer.

“Working out while pregnant has so many benefits….too many to name! The best for me was that it made me feel sexy and energetic at a time where both those things are tough to feel! And, my recovery was so much better as a strong mom!” – Renee Peel

But you need to remember a few very important things:

1. Slow and Steady. This is not the time to overdue anything.

2. Stay hydrated and take breaks as needed. You should be able to hold conversation when exercising.

3. Increased relaxin hormone during pregnancy makes your joints more prone to injury. Avoid High impact exercises

4. Blood volume and cardiac output increases- avoid holding your breath!

5. After the 1st trimester Avoid exercises lying on your back. Work on standing core strengthening exercises instead.

6. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! Keeping yourself and baby healthy are the most important things!

Prenatal Exercise Routine designed by Renee Peel of Crunch:

During my session Renee noted reps and sets to use as a good pregnancy total body workout. She said that she would typically start with foam rolling and some kind of light warm up (a 5 minute walk on the treadmill).

We started with Tail wags (sitting on a stability ball and moving hips from left to right – like a dog – see image) and Pelvic Clocks (moving hips in a circular motion – 10 in each direction) on stability ball – 1 set of 20 each – work these in between Exercise Groups 1 and 2, see below…

When using a stability ball make sure it is the proper size.  Renee said that when sitting on the ball, legs should be at a 90 degree angle.
When using a stability ball make sure it is the proper size. Renee said when sitting on the ball, legs should be at a 90 degree angle.

Tail wag to the right
Tail wag to the right
Tail wag to the left
Tail wag to the left

GROUP 1

Pelvic Clocks and Tail Wags- 1 set of 20 each

1a. Bilateral and Unilateral TRX Rows- 2 sets of 12 reps Bilateral and 1 set of 12reps unilateral- 6 each side

Bilateral TRX Rows
Bilateral TRX Rows
Unilateral TRX Rows
Unilateral TRX rows

1b. Unilateral Horizontal Cable Row- 3 sets of 20- 10 each arm
Unilateral Horizontal Cable Row
Unilateral Horizontal Cable Row

1c. Body Weight Squats- 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps – sorry no image, these are standard squats, legs should be shoulder width apart. Toes should face forward, however as your bump gets bigger, turning your toes out on a slight angle will feel more comfortable.

Pelvic Clocks and Tail Wags- 1 set of 20 each

GROUP 2

2a. Single Leg Hip hinge and static hold- work up to balance and hinge on one leg for 45s to 1 min- 3 sets

Single Leg Hip hinge and static hold
Single Leg Hip hinge and static hold

2b. Split Squats- 20 reps- 10 each leg
Split Squats
Split Squats

2c. Modified Side Plank- 30s hold on each side
Modified Side Plank
Modified Side Plank
Modified Side Plank
Modified Side Plank

Pelvic Clocks and Tail Wags- 1 set of 20 each

This was an amazing workout. It may look easy, but believe me it wasn’t. It was very challenging, but I never did anything that made me feel uncomfortable. Renee was able to evaluate my personal fitness level to make a routine that works for me. If you want to try a Personal Training Session at Crunch click HERE

Flourless Banana Pancakes

pancakes

I LOVE pancakes, but they aren’t always the healthiest option. My kids love them too, so my husband came up with a healthier version allowing us to eat what we love without the guilt! They are SO delicious!

Ingredients:
-2 medium size bananas, chopped
-2 eggs
-2 tablespoons PB2
-1/2 cup rolled oats
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-fresh melon and berries (for top of pancakes)

Directions:
1. Blend banana, eggs, PB2, oats, and baking powder until smooth.
2. Let mixture stand for 15 minutes to allow to thicken.
3. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat, add batter (spoonful size) and cook until golden brown on both sides.
4. Top with fruit and serve!

Two Girls & A…

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Whenever I tell someone I’m pregnant the first question is “Are you going to find out what you are having?” I found out for my first two. With my first it was amazing. We had the dr. write the sex of the baby and put it in an envelope. My husband and I went on a babymoon to Antiqua and sat on a quiet dock on the beach and opened the envelope. It was so exciting and we couldn’t have been happier to learn we were having a baby girl. It made it all seem so real. I felt like I was really able to bond with my baby. For number two we had a lot of issues and found out what we were having on not such a good note. I saw it on the paper when they were going over our test results and I actually was upset to know because in case anything was wrong or happened now I felt attached. I had two totally opposite experiences. I always said if I had a girl and a boy I would let number three be a surprise. However since that is not the case my type A personality wants to know because I like being prepared. If it’s a girl I already have most of the things I need, however if it’s a boy it’s a whole new ball game. I also know that my husband would really like a boy. After all we went through, we obviously just want a healthy baby, but I know deep down he is wishing for a boy. I don’t ever want him to have even a minute where he is upset in the delivery room if the baby comes out and it is another girl. I want the experience to be complete joy!

From the moment I told my oldest daughter I was pregnant she said it was a boy. I told her that we didn’t know and if it is a girl she still has to love her. She insisted it was a boy and I was actually a little concerned because if we were having a girl I wasn’t sure what her reaction would be. It’s a 50/50 chance either way. I have read some statistics that say if you have two of one sex already your chances increase of having the same sex for the third, but how do they really know? I was convinced I was having a girl, so we had two conflicting opinions in my household. My pregnancy has been very similar to my first two, which were girls. I looked that up too and some people had different pregnancies with girls and boys and some felt the same. I also saw that some people were really sick while pregnant with a girl and I have friends who were really ill with a boy. I think everyone is different. Of course we look for signs and symptoms and their are old wives tales, it just makes it more fun and ineresteing. So my husband and I decided that we were going to find out. One of our friends had a gender reveal party, that seems to be the thing to do these days. So we said maybe we would have a few close friends come over and get some cupcakes and have our girls bite into the cupcakes to reveal the gender. We had our 13 week sonogram and the tech asked us what we had at home and we said two girls. She said do you want to know what you are having? I was shocked because it was only 13 weeks, how could she tell. She said she was 90% sure what it was as she could see it very clearly on the sonogram. I looked at my husband and was like do you want to know. We were both very anxious. So we said lets just find out! We are so excited to announce that baby number three is a…

A BOY!
A BOY!

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How To Pack A Lunch Box

image from www.laptoplunches.com
image from www.laptoplunches.com

My daughter’s last day of school is today (sob!). I can’t believe how fast this year went. By the end of the year I think we are all out of new ideas. With camp starting next week, I want to start fresh and that includes new improved lunch box ideas. I feel like at the beginning of the year I am all creative and by the end I’m lucky if I can get out of the door on time. I put together a list of some tips and a link to some amazing ideas so that you don’t have to think and your kids will think you are the best mom ever!

1. Keep foods simple – simple and easy-to-eat foods interest young children. Packaging children can open and food they can easily eat help develop confidence and independence when eating their meals.

2. Add contrast and variety – by using lots of colors, flavors, textures and shapes lunches become more appealing.
-Color: Include foods with at least two colors from the rainbow along with neutral colors from dairy, meats and grains
-Flavors: Children tend to prefer mild-tasting foods. Think of different foods your child might like and select a variety of flavors each week. It can be different sandwich fillings, breads, vegetables, fruits, and cheeses, just try to add variety.
-Texture: Combine crunchy/crispy foods such as fresh veggies, fruits, nuts and crackers with soft textures like bread, pasta, and lunchmeat.
-Shapes: Make lunch look more interesting and therefore more tempting by cutting foods into circles, triangles or other fun shapes. Use a cookie cutter to transform a sandwich and add foods that come in interesting shapes naturally such as broccoli trees or sliced bell pepper rings.

3. Create balance – Include a variety of foods from all the food groups including fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy and whole grains.

4. Don’t use the lunch box as a testing ground for new foods. Have your child try new foods at home first. If they like the new food, then include it in their lunch box.

5. Serving size – Small children have small stomachs that can only hold small amounts of food. Sending too much food for lunch will most likely result in food waste and may encourage your child to overeat.

6. Don’t forget about breakfast – Start the day by serving your child a healthy breakfast at home. A healthy breakfast and snacks along with a lunch that includes child-sized servings should keep you child satisfied throughout the day.

7. Ask your child – let your child help pack their lunch or ask they what their favorite fruits, vegetables, sandwich, foods are. By letting them give input they are more likely to enjoy their lunch.

8. Add something special – an occasional surprise in your child’s lunch that is a non-food item will be welcomed by your child. Let them know they are special by adding something such as a note, colorful napkin, sticker or a picture of family or a pet.

9. Be safe – pack lunches in insulated containers with a frozen ice pack.

For inspiration check out this gallery of lunch box ideas from Laptop Lunches

Three is the New Two

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It seems like everyone I know these days is having a third child. For years it felt like everyone was having two. Two seems like a good number; There is one child for each parent to manage, everything you book from vacations and hotels seems to be accomodating for 4 (two adults and two kids); it just seems like the perfect number. I have been reading a lot about the transistion from two to three kids. The message seems to be consistant that three just kind of puts you over the edge. Some say, now the parents are outnumbered, trips, traveling, cars, become more difficult to do and purchase and overall it’s just a lot of work. I can totally see how that can be an issue. I myself think the hardest transition was from no kids to one kid; talk about shock, I had no clue what so ever! Going from one to two seemed manageable because I was already in it and I kind of new what I was doing. Obviously it was chaotic at first, but once we settled into a routine and the sleep deprivation wore off all seemed good and normal. My husband and I always said that we wanted three kids. Three weeks into my second being born, my sleep deprived husband said he my have changed his mind about having a third. We went through a lot of drama before we had our second and that kind of sucked the life out of us, but I always knew in the back of my head he would change his mind. I was content, I had my two girls, my best buddies. I know he always wanted a boy and the only way he may ever get one is if we went for a third. However, there was a 50% chance that we could end up with a girl, actually, I think if you already have two girls the chance of having a third is more like 85%, but who really knows for sure, I always say it’s a 50/50 shot.

Just as I predicted, my husband got back on the three train. So we went for it and I am now pregnant with my third, due September 2015. I know we are crazy. We have an almost 4 year-old and a 15 month-old. While the next several years are going to be completely chaotic (and that is an understatement), I am so happy we did. I always think of the future and having a big family at holidays and gatherings. It just seems right. While I am a little scared (ok, petrified) of how I’m going to manage 3 kids 4 and under, I’m not the first and I certainly won’t be the last. Being a parent is a tough job and sometimes (ok, most of the time) I am frustrated and hectic and a complete disaster, but when I get those special moments, the kisses, the hugs, holding their little hands, being their hero, witnessing them accomplish milestones, rocking them to sleep, being the most important person in their lives, it is so worth it. This time goes by all too fast. My oldest is going to be four and I swear I just blinked. All too soon I will be driving them off to college. For now I am going to enjoy the emotional rollercoaster called parenthood and get ready for my third round!

Me and my little ladies.  Someone doesn't look too excited about becoming the middle child!
Me and my little ladies. Someone doesn’t look too excited about becoming the middle child!

Fuel Your Body Pre and Post Workout – Cardio

trail mix

What you eat pre and post workout can directly affect your performance during and recovery after. Cardio workouts, such as spin classes, are no joke; so don’t let all of your hard work go to waste by eating the wrong foods or by not eating at all. Your body needs fuel to function, especially if you are about to take a 45-minute to 1 hour spin class. So what should you eat? Eating a snack or meal rich in carbohydrates, moderate in protein and low in fat is a good rule to follow. Carbs are the best fuel for working muscles, especially during an intense cardio workout such as spin. Carbs are partially converted to glycogen, which is stored in your muscles in order to power your workout. If you are having a meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) you should give yourself 2-3 hours before working out and less 30 minutes to an hour for small snacks. For those who work out in the morning, don’t skip breakfast before your workout! Breakfast means to break the fast. Have something small such as a fruit smoothie, a banana, or split your breakfast in half (have half before your workout and half after). No matter what time you workout, always hydrate before, during and after exercise.

Try some of these snacks pre workout to help you power through your session:
1. Whole grain toast, tablespoon of all natural peanut butter and sliced banana
2. Steel cut oats or rolled oats (higher in fiber and lower in sugar than the pre-packed oats), mix with water, skim milk or unsweetened almond milk and add some fruit such as berries or bananas.
3. Smoothie (try blending 1 frozen banana, 2 cups baby spinach, 1 tbsp. peanut butter, 3//4 cup unsweetened almond milk, ½ cup fat free Greek yogurt
4. Apple slices with Almond butter

What you eat post workout is also important because the muscles are repairing. Help that process by consuming carbs and protein 30-60 minutes after your workout. Drink a lot of water as well. Sports drinks are not necessary and I only recommend them for workouts lasting longer than 90 minutes; food and water is sufficient for anything less than that.

Try some of these ideas post workout to help your muscles recover quickly so you can get back at it tomorrow:
1. Plain Greek yogurt (higher in protein than regular yogurt), topped with fresh fruit and walnuts
2. Cottage Cheese topped with fresh fruit (great with honey dew or cantaloupe) and almonds
3. Turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with lots of veggies and 1 slice of light or low-fat cheese
4. Mixed green salad with lean protein such as grilled chicken or fish with olive oil and vinegar.
5. Trail mix (mix almonds, dark chocolate chips, whole grain cheerios, sunflower seeds & raisins) – serving size ¼ cup

Mother’s Day Picks

mother's day gifts

Mother’s Day is only a few days away. I put together a list of some of my favorite gifts. Every mom is different, but there is a gift out there for everyone. You don’t have to go and spend a lot of money, something simple and thoughtful will let all the moms in your life know that they are appreciated on this special day.

For the Mom-to-be:
The book You Know You Are Pregnant When is the essential mother’s day gift for every expecting mother. This hysterical book is a collection of quotes from women and husbands from all over the country highlighting the often hilarious things that happen to you when you are growing a baby inside your body including hormonal and body changes, strange food cravings, uncomfortable sex, and having a foggy brain. It is a must read for anyone who has ever experienced pregnancy. Buy on AMAZON for only $8.95.

For the New Mom:
New moms love having anything that is monogramed with baby’s name or initials. And what mom doesn’t love jewelry. I have the two necklaces above from stella & dot: The Signature Engravable ID Tag and The Signature Engravable Bar Necklace Layering is so in this season and these necklaces go perfectly together and can be worn daily. Most importantly they will mean something special to that new mom.

For the Fit Mom:
Independent, intelligent, precise, strong, determined. Loves challenges and trains without wasting time. Extremely health-conscious, especially when it comes to fitness, nutrition, and hitting the gym. An inspiration to friends and family. Fighter. Won’t take no for an answer. Positive. Ass-kicker. Awesome. Does that describe a mom you know. Then KEEPTIGHT® gear is the line of workout clothes for her. It’s a brand dedicated to women and their fierce desire for fitness and health. One of my favorite items from the brand is the KEEPTIGHT® IronCharger™ Tank. The material is amazing and it keeps you cool and dry all workout long.

vitamin shoppe
For the Health Conscious, Do-Gooder Mom:
Throughout the month of May all Vitamin Shoppe Stores stores across the country will be supporting Vitamin Angels. The Vitamin Shoppe will collect monetary donations at register and customers can purchase products – including the items featured in the gift basket above – from select vendors who will donate a percentage of the purchase to Vitamin Angels. So be creative and put a cute basket together like the one above and give to a mom who will be grateful that you helped someone on her behalf.

Vitamin Angels, a non-profit organization, helps at-risk populations in need – specifically pregnant women, new mothers and children under five – gain access to lifesaving and life changing vitamins and minerals in the U.S. and internationally by partnering with over 700 non-governmental organizations worldwide. Vitamin Angels envisions a world where every child, from the day he or she is born, has the chance to lead a healthy and productive life.

For the Classic Mom:
When I think of mother’s day I think of fragrance and flowers, two classic gifts. A fragrance says a lot about a woman and there is nothing more classic than Chanel. I love their fragrance Chanel Chance. It has a light, subtly sensual fragrance. Perfect for all moms, it’s a classic for sure.

Gym Bag Essentials

gym bag essentials

Spring has sprung (finally!) and it suddenly hits us that beach season is around the corner. Although we all know we feel better after a gym session, let’s face it – finding time to work out is HARD. That being said, a great starting point is to prep your gym bag with all the essentials. Keep your gym bag stocked and ready to go with the below necessities!

1. Ban Total Refresh Cooling Body Cloths in Energize: Keep up with your active lifestyle with ease. Try Ban® Total Refresh® Cooling Body Cloths to instantly cool the back of your neck and décolleté or use for an all-over refresh during any transitional moment day or night.

2. David Kirsch Wellness Kirschbar: Created by fitness expert David Kirsch, the KIRSCHBAR is the only meal-replacement bar gives you all the nutrition you need for a completely satisfying meal or post-workout snack: it’s 100% natural, gluten-free and is made from 20 grams of high quality, easily digestible protein and 6 grams of fiber.

3. KMS California HAIRPLAY makeover spray: Dry cleansing and instant style renewal. Split-second style refresher. Absorbs oil and builds bulk to refresh limp or day-old styles. Great for quick style touch-ups and in-between shampoos.

4. Lavanila Laboratories The Healthy Mini Deodorant: The perfect deodorant to throw in your gym bag! This all-natural, freshly scented deodorant provides superior, long-lasting odor protection. Soothing essential oils blend with powerful anti-oxidants and beta glucan technology for daily defense and nourishment.

5. Rimmel London Wonder’lash Mascara with Argan Oil in Waterproof: You can now get the Moroccan Argan oil your hair loves in a Rimmel mascara with new Wonder’lash Mascara with Argan Oil. Condition lashes and break through clumps for full, smooth volume. The unique brush’s super-soft bristles hug and coat each lash, perfectly separating them from root to tip. Even small corner lashes are dramatically transformed for an effortlessly eye-catching look. Lashes are left smoother, sleeker, and more defined than ever.

6. Orico London Coco Spritz: An all day coco boost! With just one spritz, your skin will be cleansed, nourished and protected. The main ingredient, Coconut Water, is an excellent humectant and intensely hydrated and locks in moisture to encourage a healthy radiant complexion – especially after perspiring. The nutrients in each bottle provide anti-bacterial and antioxidant benefits to reduce the appearance of blemishes or redness, too.

7. Scunci Everyday & Active™ 3x Stronger Braided Hair Ties: A No Damage braided weave creates a hold three times stronger than regular no metal elastics to keep hair out of sight and out of mind.

8. NYC New York Color Smooth Skin BB Crème Instant Matte: NYC New York Color Smooth Skin BB Crème Instant Matte: Refine your skin instantly with this long-wearing crème with an effortlessly matte finish. Smoothing and hydrating, this crème leaves skin looking healthy and silky-smooth without even a hint of shine.

9. Burt’s Bees Brightening Daily Facial Cleanser: Clinically proven to help improve the appearance of surface dullness, this cleanser, infused with Daisy extract, helps reveal a more even skin tone in as few as 4 weeks*. Formulated with a multifruit complex, our cleanser effectively removes dirt oil and makeup. Make it part of your daily regimen for a brighter and more even complexion, naturally.

Skincare Tips During Pregnancy

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During pregnancy we all want that pregnancy glow that everyone talks about. I mean you are creating a human being and carrying it around for 9 months so you deserve to have glowing skin, right? Unfortunately we all don’t get the glow. Hormones can make our skin look more like we are going through puberty than having a baby. Creams and lotions that may have been your go to pre-pregnancy might not work anymore. Thankfully Jaime Cane, Licensed Esthetician and Director of Education for natural skincare brand derma e® has some tips to help solve some of your skin issues and get you on your way to the glowing skin you deserve!

1. During pregnancy, skin can be more sensitive, redder or thinner than usual. Choose natural skincare products that are extra gentle and include anti-inflammatory, calming and soothing ingredients like Aloe, Chamomile and Pycnogenol®. Also, avoid aggressive or frequent exfoliation.

2. Many women complain of being scent-sensitive or adverse to fragrance while pregnant. Choose fragrance-free products for your face and body so you’re not overwhelmed by scent.

3. During and after pregnancy, many woman experience Chloasma or “Pregnancy Mask”, a hormonally-induced discoloration that appears in patchy brown spots on the face and sometimes the décolleté. Use natural skincare products enriched with melanin inhibiting ingredients like Vitamin C, Licorice and Alpha Arbutin to help minimize and prevent the appearance of dark spots. Additionally, protect the skin daily with a chemical-free, nanoparticle-free Zinc Oxide sunscreen to help prevent future discoloration.

Jaime Cane, Licensed Esthetician and Director of Education for natural skincare brand derma e®
Jaime Cane, Licensed Esthetician and Director of Education for natural skincare brand derma e®

About derma e®
Family owned and operated for 30 years, derma e® has pioneered the development of vitamin-rich, high-performance antioxidant skincare solutions. The award-winning line features over 80 doctor-developed and clinically-test products that are free of parabens, phthalates, mineral oil and petrolatum. derma e® products are cruelty-free and 100 percent vegan. Manufacturing and operations are offset 100 percent by wind power. derma e® can be found in over 8,000 retail outlets across the U.S. with additional distribution in 25 countries internationally and on www.dermae.com. For more information, visit www.dermae.com, call (800) 933-9344, follow on Facebook at derma e® Natural Skincare or Twitter @derma_e.

Green Morning Smoothie

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Get your morning started right with this delicious and nutritious smoothie. It’s so simple all you need is the five ingredients below and you will be in your way to a great day!

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Ingredients:
-1 frozen banana
-1 cup fresh spinach leaves
-1/2 cup Greek yogurt
-1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
-1 tablespoon natural peanut butter

Blend ingredients together until smooth and enjoy! I topped mine with some goji berries for some added crunch.