You know what you need?

You know what hasn’t changed since Mac has been born? The things that make me happy.

If you’re surfing (drowning in?) the postpartum emotional riptide, you know what you need?*

The same stuff you always need.

If bliss to you is a bubble bath, take as many bubble baths as your pruny toes can handle. Binge reading YA lit? Find a way to escape into a fantasy land made for 12 year olds.

For me, the things that reliably turn my frown upside down are exercise and time with my oldest and dearest friends. The ones who always lift you up and give you energy, even if you’re an introvert and generally have diminished capacities for social interactions.

I got a LOT of that over a visit to Tahoe for my aunt’s milestone birthday and some quality Jamie time.

We spent time outside playing in the snow with the Surge and the Kamagon: two pieces of equipment that customize the weight on by filling with water. The water sloshing around inside means you get a lot of stability work, too. Between the snow and the lake and the water sloshing around in our equipment, there was water, water everywhere!

Jamie always makes me work out, but she is nice about it: for example, her Kamagon ball is WAY heavier than mine. Mine was practically empty. That’s one of the things I think are so great about water-based equipment: if you’re shy about how much weight you’re working with, nobody will know how full or empty your Surge or Kamagon are.

The equipment meets you where you are, and you can be all stealth about how hardcore (or not) you are.

prAna hoodie, #sweatpink laces, pink Kamagon.

The difference in our resistance reminds me of a time that we took a HIIT class while traveling in New York. I forget where the class was, but I DO remember it started at 6am and we’d been out til 3am the night before.

It was a ROUGH class. I could smell the adventures from the night before coming out of my pores and the room seemed to spin on its axis every time I stood up from a squat or a plank. Burpees were a sick, sick joke.

The best part about it, though, was that the instructor switched our names. So when I was dropping to my knees for pushups or dragging myself too slowly from one exercise to the next, he was yelling at “Jamie” to pick up those knees or hustle. The real Jamie, of course, was doing everything perfectly, while I snickered secretly at his mistake and tried not to throw up.

Anyway, I was in much better shape for this workout with the Surge and the Kamagon while my awesome dad braved the cold and the wind to take pictures.

HOORAY FOR FAMILY.

prAna hoodie, pink Kamagon, Canada mittens from Susie!

And hooray for exercise. The time when you don’t want to do it is the best time to actually make it happen.

And then we took Mac snowshoeing for the very first time. She loved it.

Also, I love babies in snowsuits. SO MUCH.

And the thing that makes me happiest, hands down?  Snuggle time with furry friends. <3 you, Abbie.

Stay sweaty, stay happy, my friends.

*I don’t actually know what you need. I’m not a professional. This is just a guess. 

 

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The simplest answer is usually the right one

Mac turns one on Friday. Tonight is the anniversary of my water breaking, and the beginning of a looong time waiting for that baby to come out.

Her birthday is prompting a lot of self-reflection, as birthdays tend to do. In those early, hazy postpartum days, and in the ragged months that followed, the refrain I heard most consistently was that it gets better. Specifically, by the time she turns one, all the extremes of new motherhood will soften and erode. Sleep deprivation. Mourning for past lifestyle. (Ir)rational resentment of husbands. Shattered resilience, broken body.

Y’all know—or at least, I haven’t been hiding—that this first year has been a doozy for me. I’m used to being in control and making shit happen and having my own fucking agenda.

So I’m pleased to report that one of the walls I keep running up against—finding time to take care of myself, or, more specifically, exercise—is starting to crumble. This is happening just this week, so, early results, and all. But still.

In the last week, I made to a class or the gym four times. FOUR TIMES.

For all y’all I know through fitness, this probably sounds like a pretty weak week. Or, in more gracious terms, a recovery week. Some of you regularly do that in a single day.

But this, for me, right now, is major progress. Here’s how I’m making it happen:

In the simplest way possible. I’m not trying to work out in the morning, because I don’t like mornings, and having a baby has not changed that about me.

I’m not trying to go to mommy & me fitness classes because, fun and kill-two-birds notwithstanding, the baby’s nap schedule rules all and often overrules our ability to attend.

Nope, I’m doing what comes most naturally to me, and what makes the most sense for our new lives.

I’m doing it after she goes to bed.

Stupid simple, right?

So simple I feel kind of silly writing a blog post about it.

But it’s working. And, bonus points, it eliminates a lot of decision fatigue: there are limited options for yoga or dance classes that start after 8pm, so those are the ones I go to.

That means, this week, I’ve taken lyrical contemporary, candlelight vinyasa, and jazz funk, all three of which were new to me, and all three of which I liked.

I also went to the gym once, which is not exactly new to me but is pretty rare for me.

Is this new routine making me happier? YES. More productive at work? YOU BET. A better mother? 100%. Nicer to my husband? In progress …

I’m doing my best to appreciate what’s working right now without getting too attached. If there’s anything the last year has taught me, it’s that once you think you have something figured out, everything changes again.

The timing is spectacular because this week is all about goals, and I’m grateful to have a more positive progress report to share.

Here’s to being nimble. Here’s to finding your way to the other side of whatever it is you’re running up against.


Other stuff you should know about:

  • This week’s #IAmEmpowered theme is all about goals, goals, goals. Tag #EBGoals2017 #IAmEmpowered @egglandsbest #sweatpink to get in on the action!

  • We are hosting our first-ever retreat this March in Sonoma, CA. It’ll be a weekend of yoga, hiking / running, sweat, community, and WINE TASTING. yeahhhh. Come join us!

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In 2017, I will

2016 started on such a high note, with the birth of my daughter and the opening of Flex & Flow.

2016 wound down to a devastating close. It was the year that showed us that the glass ceiling is disinclined to break, but will take advantage of your proximity by stabbing you in the back and grabbing your lady parts.

I took a break from the internet, from the news and social media, for a few weeks in December. I had to break free of the masochistic tendency to open up the comments section on any news article (why? WHY?) and to step away from the trolls that sank me into a major depression about how much our country hates women.

Anyway, I digress. The whole point of this was to step away, to recenter, to come back with renewed energy.

To stop feeding the trolls with my attention.

The last week of the year is typically easy on my inbox—thank god for small mercies—and it’s a time I typically use to step back and plan and power through some projects that hadn’t been given the attention they deserved earlier in the year. This year, this week, I’ve been focused on how to change my mindset from this dark shitstorm that closed out 2016 to one of empowerment and action.

Our theme for 2017 is #IAmEmpowered. The community will be rallying around positive action, and I’m so eager to see my community lift up inspiration and inclusiveness after a hateful, divisive year.

I’m tacking on to that my word for 2017, which is actually two words, because #IAmEmpowered to make it so, dammit.

Begin again. 

Did I mention this has been a brittle, tough year? My resilience is beaten down. It’s saggier, less springy, and it has dark circles under its eyes. In the moments when bouncing back feels too fucking hard, I repeat these words to myself, again and again, until they lose their meaning and become pure sound.

Begin again. Begin again. Begin again. Begin again. Begin again. 

In 2017, I refuse to let anyone strip me of my power. I refuse to give up. I will make change and I will stand up for what I believe is right and I will keep hammering at that fucking ceiling.

In 2017, I will not let little setbacks add up and become insurmountable. I will begin again.

Bring it, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

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Gift Guide for New Moms

Mackenzie is officially 11 months old, meaning I’ve made it as a mom for almost a year. That milestone is hitting me harder than I expected. The year has gone by so fast in so many ways… and so slowly in others. The old saying “the nights are long but the months are fast” is so true.

I feel like it’s taken me this long to get a handle on my new lifestyle: adjusting my routines, my expectations, my priorities. After years of it really just being all about me, making the shift to being decidedly NOT first priority is tough.

This gift guide is all about getting things for new moms—because yes, I absolutely still consider myself a new mom—that are actually for them, but that make their lives easier and brighter within the context of their babies. So you won’t find any dream gifts in here. Because a weekend ALONE is out of reach right now. Just real-life gifts that will make her feel a little more sane. 🙂

And, most importantly, ALL of these gifts are for her, not for the baby. Because she’s still her own person, dammit.

Stitch Fix shipment



One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced this year is major decision fatigue. Oh, and regular fatigue, too. Getting dressed in the morning is HARD, not least because you’re still working with a closet in which most of your pre-baby stuff doesn’t fit, and you wore your one pair of maternity jeans so often you want to BURN THEM. Literally. I have violent thoughts about my pregnancy clothes – my wardrobe was so limited that I passionately hate everything I wore while pregnant.

But of course, shopping with a baby in tow is … not fun.  I tried on jeans with Mac when she was new. I found myself surrounded by so many choices, and none of my pre-baby go-to brands or sizes quite fit my new body. It was like starting from scratch. So I hauled an armload of jeans into the dressing room, and wriggled my way in and out of that pile, all while Mac alternately snoozed and fussed in her Baby K’Tan.

dressing-room-selfie-with-baby

And of course after all that (sweaty) work, I left empty handed.

There is a better way, y’all. Stitch Fix takes the hassle of shopping, and more importantly, of DECIDING, out of the picture. You get a few pieces each month picked by a stylist and keep what you like, send back what you don’t.

I’m all about outsourcing to the pros AND updating my wardrobe without having to brave a trip to the mall.

This would be great for expecting moms, too: they have a maternity line. Oh how I wish I’d taken advantage of that. There would be fewer bonfires happening over here… and that would be better for the environment. 😉

Sudden Coffee

sudden coffee packaging

I’ve always been a big coffee drinker, but never have I relied on the caffeine drip quite as much as I have this year. Not even in grad school, when I mainlined the dark stuff to the point where I had a capital P Problem.

2016-12-03-16-41-00-1

A barista recently tipped me off to actually good instant coffee, and these little test tubes of actually good instant coffee have been lifesavers.

I keep them in my purse for emergencies and rely on them when even a three-minute french press process feels too daunting.

sweat pink fit approach

I no longer have to travel with a french press—and when you’re packing for two, every little thing you can leave out of your suitcase feels like a victory.

How would I fit a french press AND a baby in my suitcase?!
How would I fit a french press AND a baby in my suitcase?!

It’s not cheap, but I don’t drink cheap coffee, and I don’t see why I’d make an exception for instant.

Aftershokz headphones

alyse mac selfie in the grass

One word: wireless.

Okay, two words: pink and wireless.

2016-11-18-07-49-09

From conference calls to workouts, I literally can’t live without these. The end.

Baby Strong Workout

baby strong workout deck open closeup

Postpartum fitness is a day-by-day adventure. Some days you escape for a real workout feel on top of the world (albeit with sore, shaky muscles) and other days you are lucky to count pacing with a sleepless baby as your exercise for the day, all while scarfing down suspect-looking leftovers in a hangry moment of desperation.

This deck of workouts from Baby Strong helps me fit in a little strength training while I’m hanging out with Mac. It also saves me from decision fatigue, because there is nothing better than having someone else tell you what to do when you are running on an hour of sleep.

For a real-life look at a home workout with baby, check out my first Facebook Live video below. Mac couldn’t have better demonstrated why sometimes the sweat just ain’t happening.

MostFit Core Hammer

This one may look like a strange addition to this list. If you’re thinking, WTF happened to fruitcakes and bath products; who gives people hammers for Christmas? I don’t blame you. But hear me out.

When my core hammer showed up, I was having a MORNING. Like, why can’t I get a baby that sleeps in, or sleeps, at all? Why does my coffee go cold before I get a chance to drink it? CAN I GET SOME BREAKFAST UP IN HERE, BESIDES THE CRUSTED OATMEAL SMEARED ALL OVER MAC’S FACE AND CLOTHES AND MY WALLS AND FLOORS?

Yeah, one of those mornings.

Then this giant, heavy package shows up, and, I swear to you, just taking the core hammer out of the box made me feel like a conquering warrior. A mother of dragons.

It was just the boss-babe boost I needed.

Plus, how badass does this look under a tree? This will be the most talked-about gift of the year.

You can read my full review here, or just pull the trigger and be a boss babe. Save 10% on the MostFit Core Hammer with the code MFSW10.

Now if only I could get my dragon to eat her oatmeal instead of paint with it. 

So there you have it. My top gifts for mom, unless, and only unless, you can give the gift of a weekend completely alone. Until then, these options will make her feel like herself again. 🙂

Stitch Fix, Baby Strong Workout, MostFit, and Aftershokz are all Fit Approach partners. Opinions and fire-starting tendencies are my own. I so appreciate your support of brands who partner with the Sweat Pink community! #sweatpinkpartner

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Getting to be my MostFit

My neighbor showed up at my door the other day with a suspiciously large package.

“I’m so sorry,” he said, “this package for you has been sitting in my entryway for almost two weeks – I’ve been out of town and just realized I had it.”

I could barely lift the giant box. What in the world? I hadn’t been expecting anything, had I?

You guys. It was my Core Hammer from MostFit. The most game-of-thrones-inspired, awe-inducing, badass piece of fitness equipment I’ve ever seen.

As soon as I unpacked the box I was READY to start kicking ass and taking names. I mean, if this hammer doesn’t make you feel like a boss, I don’t know what would.

I took it to the park to experiment with some workouts. Don’t worry, I kept it far away from these wandering babes.

Though Mac clearly had some ideas about what she could do with it…. like take over the world. Mwahahaha.

I started playing around with the hammer. To be honest, I had looked up a bunch of moves you can use them for, but at first, I just wanted to play.

The weight makes it really fun to spin around in circles… you get so much fun momentum.

Whee!

Then, and only then, did I start doing some actual working out. Though honestly, the playtime got me sore, too.

So, not only is the core hammer badass, but it can be the kind of workout that you don’t realize is a workout, until you can’t lift your arms any more.

 

And these crazy planks? Crazy core workout, my friends.

I have to say, this would make an amazing gift for anyone who loves fitness OR game of thrones. I mean, how cool does it look under a Christmas tree?

Yeah. You know it. I’m bringing mine home for the holidays.

Best thing is, you can save 10% on the MostFit Core Hammer with the code MFSW10.

And while you might think it’s an unusual holiday gift, just think about how you’re giving that person a jump on new year’s resolutions… or just making her feel like a badass, take no prisoners person.

This post was sponsored by MostFit. All opinions and Daenarys associations are my own. I so appreciate your support of the brands who partner with the #sweatpink community! #sweatpinkpartner

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