Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Chewy Sweet & Tart Granola Bars + the #naptimehustle

#naptimehustle ... what do you do to take advantage of this sweet sweet time? If your house is anything like mine, this is a time where all is quiet and I have anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours of baby- and toddler-free time to get some things done...depending on the day. Obviously, with a five month old, her naps are a little less predictable and this makes me even more thankful for my toddler's predictable two hour nap (knock on wood they last awhile longer!).



Some days I take advantage of this "me" time to enjoy a long uninterrupted shower. Other days I clean feverishly. The odd time, I will sit down with a fresh cup of coffee or tea and enjoy the silence and stillness. Then there are my baking days. I love time in the kitchen to create. I do enjoy sharing this time with my hubby and my girls, but on the rare occasion I take advantage of nap time to whip up something delicious. I turn on some music and get started!


Now, I do have a tip for keeping the Littlest entertained in the chance that she wakes before I am finished. When I bring her into the kitchen to be my helper, I move her seat and/or activity each time I change what I am doing. For example ... mixing - she can sit in her bouncy chair, rolling - move her into the Bumbo and give her a rattle, cleaning up - put her on her play mat. You get the point. It is an easy way to keep her busy and not get bored so that I can finish what I started while she was still asleep.




This past weekend, my husband took our toddler skiing for the morning. She is absolutely loving it and we are blown away by her progress this season! The Littlest and I stayed home to get some snacks made and meals planned for the week ahead. The best part ...she had a stellar nap while I got three different snacks baked! #momwin #thankyou


 I wanted to try a new granola bar recipe but was having trouble finding exactly what I was craving. I ended up creating my own based on a few inspirations! They turned out better than I could have imagined! These bars are sweet, chocolatey, filled with good stuff, and #toddlerapproved. The best part is that they are not time consuming and your hands don't get dirty ....anyone who's baby begins to cry midway through baking might understand! 

Chewy Sweet & Tart Granola Bars
Time: 20 minutes (+30 minutes cooling time) 
Yields: 16 square bars 

Ingredients
  • 3 cups oats
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp coconut palm sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey 
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg 
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries 
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds 

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9x9 inch pan with parchment. 
  2. Add the oats to the pan and toast in oven for approximately 15 minutes. Stir at least once. Oats should come out golden brown and smelling toasty!
  3. While they toast, melt oil, sugar, maple syrup, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in small saucepan on stove. Stir until simmered to make sure coconut sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. 
  4. Once oats are toasted, pour into a large mixing bowl. 
  5. Add hot liquid mixture and stir until coated. 
  6. Add chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and almonds. 
  7. Stir. Yes, the chocolate should melt and smell delicious! 
  8. Replace parchment in 9x9 pan and make sure there is over-hang - this will come in handy for two reasons. 
  9. Scoop granola mixture into prepared pan and press firmly with a spatula into all corners. 
  10. Using the parchment over-hang, fold over, and press down as firmly as possible in all directions to compress the bars. 
  11. Place in freezer for 30 minutes. 
  12. Remove from freezer and using parchment over-hang, remove bars from pan and place on cutting board. 
  13. Cut into 16 squares (or rectangles if you prefer). 
  14. Store in airtight container for up to one week. 
  15. Enjoy! 

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Lock Your Ladies Down

Did you know more than 70% of women are wearing the wrong size of bra???

I’ll give you a minute to digest that number…70%!

And here’s another fun fact for you, Brooks’ research found that 25% of women don’t work out as hard as they could because of breast bounce.  WHAT?!

Both stats are crazy but I want you to know that you don’t have to be a part of those statistics.  You can be a woman who has fully supported breasts.  One who never worries about breast bounce during workouts.  You can give it your all and never fear that your breasts are going to become saggy from lack of support – YES! That is a thing. 

You might be asking yourself, how? How do I find out about proper fitting sports bras and what to look for when shopping?  How do I know if my sports bra is fitting correctly? 
I have compiled all of the information you will need to know to answer these very important questions.  
So, for the sake of your breasts, 
READ ON LADIES. READ ON!

Let’s start with some general breast information.
-       Breasts have no muscles. They are made up of fatty tissue stuck to the chest, and all that is holding them up are fibrous strands called Cooper’s ligaments.
-       Physical activity makes breasts bounce up, down and even in a figure eight.  Yes- even an A cup sized breast will move.  Check out Shock Absorber’s bounce-o-meter to see just how much movement different activities can cause. 
-       If the breast is bouncing around, even a little bit, then the Cooper’s ligament is getting stretched, IRREVERSIBLY I might add, leading to saggy breasts and breast discomfort or pain. Not to mention back pain, trouble breathing and improper exercise form.  Nobody wants any of that!


SO WHAT CAN WE DO TO PROTECT OUR BREASTS?

1.     Get fitted to make sure you are wearing the correct size.  
      Keep in mind that each bra style and brand will have a different fit so use your size as a starting point.  Furthermore, your breasts are continually changing so it’s important to be fitted often.  Check out this video for measurement tips.
   
2.     Choose a bra with the correct amount of support for your cup size. 
Take a look at the chart below to find out what type of bra construction you need to provide the right amount of support for your cup size. 
      
Type
Function
Recommendation
Some Examples
Compression
Holds breast tissue close to chest to limit movement
-good for low impact activities for all sizes
-A or B cup might get enough support for high impact activities
-Most LuLuLemon bras
-Most Victoria’s Secret Sports bras
-Nike Sports bras
-Brooks Moving Comfort Front Runner
-Baobei Maternity Nursing Sports Bra 
Encapsulation
Built with individual cups that surround and support each breast.
Helps limit the up, down and circular movement of the breast.
-everyday wear for all sizes
-Everday bras from LaSenza, Victoria’s Secret, The Bay
Combination
Uses both compression and encapsulation and provides the most support.
-C cup or larger need this type of bra for ample support, especially during high impact activities

-Brooks Moving Comfort Juno, Jubralee and Rebound Racer
-LuluLemon Ta Ta Tamer
-Victoria’s Secret Knockout
-Adidas Committed Chill



3.     Wear a sports bra with the appropriate support for the activity you are doing. 
       Low impact activities generally require less support than high impact. 

Low Impact
Medium Impact
High Impact
 Walking
Yoga
 Strength Training
Hiking
Skiing
Cycling
Running
Jumping
Mountain Biking


4.     These are the key areas to check for a good fit:

Band: The majority of bra support comes from the band. It wraps around the bottom and is the foundation of a bra. A properly fitting bra will have a band that is snug and parallel to the ground. Wide bands are more supportive than narrow bands. The band should fit slightly tighter than a regular bra, but not so tight that you can't comfortably take a deep breath. To make sure you have the right size, raise your hands over your head. If the band moves, you need a smaller band or the straps may need to be adjusted.

Shoulder straps: These straps hold up the cups but are not the bra's main support. They should provide minimal stretch to reduce up-and-down movement. Wide straps provide better support and comfort than narrow ones. Straps should not slip off or press into your shoulders. 

Adjustable straps: Straps that are adjustable allow you to customize the fit and are often found on encapsulation style sports bras.  This is also a great feature for nursing mothers.  Ensure that the buckles or Velcro or clips do not cause any chaffing or discomfort. 

Back closure: Many sports bras pull on over your head, which can be a struggle once you’re sweaty.  I know you’ve all done that special dance, twisting and turning and bending every which way trying to get that bra off. 


A back closure allows for ease when putting on and taking off the bra and also allows for further adjustment.  You want the back closure to be on the first hook when you buy it so you can tighten the band as the bra stretches over time.  This is also key for nursing mothers as you will get more use out of your bra as your breast size changes with your growing baby. 

Cups: The cup fabric should be smooth. Wrinkles or puckers indicate the cup is too big.  If you’re spilling out of your bra, the cup size is too small.




5.     Test the bra. 
Once you feel like you’ve got a good fit and support, give some movement a try.  Don’t be     afraid to jump around in the change room, do some jumping jacks or run in a spot. Even give that sweaty bra removal dance a try.  You'll be able to feel and see whether the bra gives you the support you need.

6.     Take good care of your investment. 
Let’s be realistic, a good sports bra is an investment, just like good running shoes or good jeans.  To prolong the life of your investment make sure you hand wash them in cold water or use the delicate cycle and a lingerie bag, always hang to dry and never use fabric softener. 

7.     Replace your sports bra every 70-100 uses or around a year. 
As a general rule, if you are replacing your running shoes, you should also be replacing your bra.  However, don’t wait to replace your sports bra if you notice that elastic is frayed, there are rips or tears in the fabric, the straps are stretched or you feel that it isn’t providing the same amount of support it did when you first bought it. 


I am a huge fan of the Brooks’ Moving Comfort Bras.  I love the fit and support and they are nursing friendly! There are so many adjustable parts, which make them perfect for pregnant and nursing mamas.  

Here’s one last video to help you find the perfect bra to support your breasts.


Now that you have all of the information you need to select the proper bra, 
lock your ladies down and take care of your breasts.  
Choose a bra that gives your breasts the amount of support you need for your breast size and the activities you will be doing. 

Happy supporting!  

Monday, 9 January 2017

2017 ... Are you ready?!

Hello!

Yes, things have been a little quiet on the blog, but can you blame me?! Baby snuggles, toddler adventures, and all that comes with the Christmas season. Being a mom of two has been a great journey so far. The image that immediately pops into my head when someone asks how the adjustment from "one to two" is going is the night that Keith was away for work when Mikah was four weeks old. Brooke was having her bedtime snack while Mikah nursed. After Brooke finished her piece of toast, she asked for another. Mikah was mid-feed, but okay..let's do this! Toast made and butter one-handed while not sacrificing the latch. Brooke finishes that piece. "One more please." Are you joking? She's joking right? Nope, a third piece of toast made and buttered with my left hand (I am right handed) all while Mikah continues her feed.

I am definitely learning what I am capable of balancing :)



Alright, now to 2017! Are you ready?! Jamie and I are PUMPED for resuming classes (slowly) starting February 6! Since we are both absolutely loving this special time with our Littles and our Littlests are both still exclusively breastfeeding, we are starting with three classes per week. 

Jamie will be teaching Monday and Wednesday morning Mom & Me Fit while I will see you Thursday evenings for the Prenatal Fit / Fit Bootcamp combo class! 

You will still see me around at those morning classes - I will often be there for the sweat and to cuddle your Littles! 


Passes are officially available for purchase and classes are open for registration! 
We are excited to see what 2017 has in store for Fit Your Life! 



Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Babywearing Toning + Mom Fuel

Okay, let’s get real for a few minutes. Being a mom of two is awesome, a ton of fun, humbling, and tough. Yea, it’s tough. Brooke and I were in such a groove on the days we had together – I knew how long it would take to get fed, ready, and out the door. Toss (not literally!) an adorable newborn into the mix and goodness knows how long it can take! I love the learning adventure and the little daily challenges, but most of all of the extra love that having two sweet girls has added to our home. 

Nearly two months in and I am feeling more confident each day in this new routine and the chaos it ensues. Sure, Mikah is still feeding on demand, so that is not always 100% predictable, but it is getting better. She is also a snuggly baby, which is lovely and incredibly sweet, however, a little tricky with a busy and fun toddler who wants to play and needs to eat! Therefore, Mikah is in the carrier a lot. Good thing she loves it! I usually love working out first thing in the morning and there have been quite a few days that either I get it in before they wake or both girls are agreeable to join in. We make play time out of it! However, there are other days where timing works out best to sneak in my workout at naptime so I have created a few new “babywearing” workouts! These are great as you automatically have an extra 10, 15, 20lbs strapped to you, you are forced to engage your core to align your spine, and baby gets snuggles (in our case, usually a solid nap)!! Win-win-win!


Babywearing Toning

what you need:
· two medium weight dumbbells (8-12lbs)
· a mat
· supportive baby carrier (we love our Ergo Baby!)
· water

 Warm-Up
30 seconds each
1. Squats with calf raise
2. Low pulsing lunges
3. Walking jacks
4. Squats with alternating leg abduction
5. Alternating lunges with front kick
6. Walking jacks

Toning
45 seconds work : 15 seconds rest x 2 rounds
1. Weighted squats
2. Biceps curl to shoulder press
3. Deadlifts
4. Triceps dips (off steps, coffee table, or other hard surface)
5. Sumo squat hold with calf raise
6. Wall or elevated push-ups

Core & Stretch
· 1 minute of belly breathing with kegels while kneeling
· minimum 2 minutes of various standing stretches

Notes:
· please make sure you have been cleared for exercise from your healthcare provider postpartum
· keep your core engaged throughout the workout to protect your low back and keep your spine in good position
· workout when your baby is fed, changed, and ready for a nap or play time! If he/she stays awake, then talk, play music, and/or sing throughout your routine!


Snacks

Workout done, now, we need to fuel our bodies! It has been over a year since I have done my best to keep our freezer stocked with healthy snacks for busy days, to pack for lunches, or when we are rushing out the door. Yes, it is some extra work, but so worth it and incredibly handy! As a new mom of two, exclusively breastfeeding the Littlest, and keeping active, I am HUNGRY! Having nutrient-filled on-handed delicious snacks ready to eat in the freezer is key!
Two new energy bite recipes can be found below!

Chocolate peanut energy bars
Ingredients
· 2 cups pitted dates (soaked for at least 15 minutes)
· 1 cup unsalted peanuts
· 1-2 tbsp cacao (depending on your chocolaty preference)
· 1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup
Blend all ingredients together in a food processor until doughy consistency. Take a pan or container and line with parchment. Spread dough to ½-¾ inch thickness in pan. Press down firmly to even it out. Place in freezer for 30 minutes to set. Remove from freezer. Take parchment out of pan and cut into 1x1 inch squares, or desired shape. Store in airtight container. Enjoy!
Keeps in freezer for 1 month.

Cookie Dough Bites
adapted from Oh She Glows
Ingredients
· 2 cups raw cashews
· 1 cup rolled oats
· 1 cup dates (soaked for at least 15 minutes)
· 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
· 2 tbsp nut & seed butter
· 1 tsp vanilla extract
· ½ tsp sea salt
· 4 tbsp dark chocolate chips
Place cashews and oats in food processor and grind until a fine flour forms (30-60 seconds). Don’t over-process, as the cashews can begin to turn into a butter. Add all remaining ingredients except the chocolate chips. Mix until doughy consistency. Remove blade from food processor and add chocolate chips. Mix in by hand. Form 1-inch round balls. Lay on a baking sheet to freeze for 30 minute before storing in airtight container. Enjoy!
Keeps in freezer for one month.


xox, 
kellie


Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Welcome sweet Mikah!

We welcomed our second daughter to the world on October 4, 2016 at 8:27am. 

Mikah Marie is sweet, snuggly, and so precious. Big sister Brooke is incredibly proud and loves "Baby Sister" so much already!

Our birth story is not one that you typically find when searching for "perfect birth experience", however, it was our perfect delivery. Actually, we have been blessed with two perfect deliveries. Being a labour and delivery nurse for five years, I have seen nearly every type of delivery and heard many birth plans. So for Keith and I, with our first daughter Brooke, our perfect birth experience was one where she arrived safely into this world. On April 16, 2014 I went into labour, but by the morning of April 17, I needed some assistance increasing the strength of the contractions with an artificial rupture of membranes (my obstetrician "broke my water"), followed by a syntocinon augment. After hours of strong contractions and not much change in cervical dilation I chose to try an epidural, in hopes that it would help me to relax muscles I thought I had been, but maybe wasn't. A few hours later, with minimal change in my cervix and Brooke's heart rate showing signs that she might not be able to tolerate labour much longer, my wonderful nurse, obstetrician, Keith, and I collaboratively decided that a cesarean section would be optimal for the safe delivery of Brooke. 

It was beautiful. After we made the decision of a caesarean birth, Brooke was born 30 minutes later, and placed on my chest less than two minutes after entering this world. With Keith by my side, it was everything we had ever hoped for in meeting and holding our sweet daughter for the first time. 



Fast forward to April 2016 at my first obstetrics appointment at 13 weeks gestation with the next pregnancy, where I was asked what our birth plan was. Keith and I had already discussed our options for attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) or scheduling an "elective section". We decided that we were 100% comfortable with a repeat cesarean birth and booked it that day! When asked by friends, colleagues, and clients why I was not attempting to VBAC, my answer was that it was our personal choice. I have witnessed beautiful and successful VBAC deliveries and I have seen scary situations for both mother and baby's safety in these attempts. Each family needs to make their own decisions in collaboration with their health care provider based on their own specific situation. 

For the majority of our pregnancy, we knew the exact date and approximate time that our baby would be born. How amazing is that? For us, it was! Sure, there was the possibility I would go into labour prior to that date, and we made sure to discuss that scenario with our obstetrician. However, that scenario never arose and I did not need to go to the hospital, as a patient, prior to our delivery date. 



October 4, 2016. Keith and I had a lovely sleep and woke excited knowing that in a few short hours we would be holding our new baby! I was thirsty and hungry, as required to have nothing by mouth (NPO) prior to surgery. We drove to the hospital giddy like children on Christmas morning. After checking in, we walked up the stairs (I knew it would be awhile before I could do four floors of stairs again!) and were welcomed with smiling faces on unit 4 South (the Assessment Room). We chatted and laughed with our wonderful nurses while they completed my paperwork and started my IV, all the while I couldn't help thinking, this is perfect - this is exactly the morning I had planned in my mind. 

We walked ourselves to the operating room (OR), took a few photos, and then I sat on the OR table for my spinal anesthetic. Once again amazing and happy thoughts were running through my mind, as everything to that moment had gone completely as anticipated. Keith was able to join me after the anesthetic was in effect and the surgery had begun. I felt much less "foggy" than with our first caesarean, I think likely because of our great sleep! Feeling the "pushing" sensation from the top of my abdomen, I knew it was almost time to hold her, so I looked at the clock, gave Keith a kiss, smiled at our amazing "Baby Nurse" and heard the most beautiful sound - Mikah's cry! She had arrived! 

8:27am. After cutting her cord, they carried her past me to the baby warmer to dry her off and Keith went over to meet her. She was then placed directly on my chest and what an incredible feeling that was! Within minutes, sweet Mikah was bobbing her head to search for some nourishment and latched herself right there in the OR! It wasn't the most comfortable nursing position - completely flat, unable to move my lower body, and with oxygen prongs in my nose, but I didn't even care. It was beautiful and amazing. 



Thoughts were racing through my mind, "Is this really happening? Did we really just have our perfect, planned cesarean birth that we had anticipated since early April?" You bet!















My spinal anesthetic took a little extra time to wear off, so we were in the recovery room longer than expected. Keith and Mikah stayed with me the entire time. We cuddled, fed, and took a few photos. Once we were transferred to postpartum, we shared the news with family and friends and excitedly waited for Brooke to make her way to meet "Baby Sister" with her grandparents!



Our entire delivery went as planned. We are ever grateful to our nurses, obstetricians, anesthesiologists, and unit clerks who made it happen! 
WE LOVE YOU!!! 

Two days later, Keith, Brooke, Mikah, and I drove home. What a surreal and beautiful feeling thinking, we are complete. 
xox


Friday, 21 October 2016

Deep core activation while recovering from a cesarean birth

Yes! It is true! We welcomed our sweet baby girl to the world earlier this month and have been in awe of her ever since. I will post about our birth experience and more about her very soon. 

In the meantime, I have been asked multiple times in the past few weeks about my transverse abdominis (TVA) or deep core activation techqniques; how I used these techniques throughout my pregnancy and how I am re-introducing them to my daily routine as my body heals from our cesarean birth. To begin, I did not know about these techniques when I was pregnant with Brooke, our oldest daughter, who was born in April 2014. I had a great recovery after her delivery (also cesarean), as I was cleared to begin upper body exercise with slow integration of lower body exercise at 4 weeks postpartum and cleared to begin core work and running at 6 weeks postpartum. I felt great! That being said, my core already feels so much stronger than it did at 2 weeks postpartum with Brooke. I already feel like myself and have to be very careful to not overdo it each day, as I am feeling so great already!


One week postpartum
Two and a half weeks postpartum

Walk & stretch in the ravine
Although I am yearning for a sweaty workout, I know my body is not quite ready for that yet. After all, a cesarean section is major surgery and we must remember that when healing from one. I am finding myself able to walk a little farther each time we head out and my pace has been steadily increasing. I have alternated between wearing our newest addition in the ErgoBaby Carrier and pushing her in the stroller. Both have been great to focus on my posture and engage my core as I walk. This past week, I have made a solid effort to do a full body stretch each morning, with a little foam rolling as I can tolerate it, and also integrate deep core work. 


My Morning Routine

Morning stretch with my Littles
Stretch

  • Downward facing dog
  • Kneeling lunge stretch (some mornings this tugs on my incision, so I gently back out and skip it) - right
  • Downward facing dog
  • Kneeling lunge stretch - left
  • Downward facing dog
  • Pigeon pose - right
  • Downward facing dog
  • Pigeon pose - left 
  • Butterfly stretch
  • Firelog (stacked shins while seated) - right
  • Firelog - left
  • Various upper body stretches

Then, I come into a comfortable seated position, either crossed legged or kneeling

TVA activation

  • Belly breathing x 5 | sitting tall, as you inhale allow the belly to relax. exhale and gently pull the belly in towards the spine. repeat.  I do have a video on this technique posted on my Instagram account @kellie.fityourlife
  • Kegels x 5 | with breath. inhale as you relax the pelvic floor down towards your mat. exhale as you progressively squeeze the pelvic floor as "high" as you can without tightening the glutes. repeat.
  • Belly breathing + kegels x 10 | combine your belly breaths with kegels while continuing to focus on breath. 
  • Cat cow x 5-10 | come onto all fours with a neutral spine. hands under shoulders and knees under hips. inhale as you look towards the sky at the same time as you curl your tailbone upwards. your belly will drop down. move slowly, as you don't want to pull your healing c-section incision. exhale as you round your spine towards the sky and draw your belly inwards bringing your chest and thighs closer together under your body. continue to round with breath. 
  • Supine TVA activation x 10 | lay on your back with knees bent and feet resting on the floor. place your hands either under the small of your back (where it will naturally round away from your mat) or on your belly. inhale to relax your core. exhale to press the small of your back into the mat. hold for one full breath. on the next inhale relax. repeat. 

Remember to continue to listen to your body. Every body will heal differently and at it's own pace. How these techniques feel in your body can also be affected by how you engaged your TVA during your pregnancy, the type of labour you experienced, and your surgery. Take each day as it comes, as some will be easier than others. If you experience increased vaginal bleeding, please take a rest day or two before trying again. If you experience any increased pain, swelling, oozing, or bleeding from your incision, please take a rest day and contact your obstetrician's office if these symptoms worsen or persist. 

Enjoy these special moments with your family, I know I am!!
xox
Kellie