When in doubt, sparkle

One of my favorite things (okay, of about ten million favorite things) at BlogFest this year was that we had a beverage sponsor. And not just any beverage sponsor… a totally kickass, my-favorite-kind-of-beverage sponsor.

sweat pink

You see, if I had it my way, I’d drink only sparkling water. I love the stuff. During my pregnancy, it was my go to for mocktails and hydration – all the hydration – and the same still holds true now that I’m breastfeeding.

 Mocktails gerolsteiner mineral water

I just love how mineral water makes drinking water feel festive and fun, instead of a chore. Because yes, I am terrible at hydration; getting enough water is something I have to think about every day.

So when Gerolsteiner Mineral Water invited me to join their #SparklingDetox challenge, I was all about it. In fact, I’m so excited that, instead of waiting for the official start date of September 12, I might, ahem, be programing now. #DelayedGratificationIsHard

A video posted by Alyse Mason Brill (@alysemb) on

What is the #SparklingDetox challenge, you ask? It’s simple, really: for 5 days the only liquid I’ll be consuming is Gerolsteiner. This is my kind of detox: the restrictions are FUN, not, er, restricting.

And, I get to claim all sorts of health benefits, in addition to the joys of indulging in my favorite beverage. Every liter of Gerolsteiner contains 348 mg of calcium and 108 mg of magnesium. That’s 1/3 of the daily requirement for calcium and 1/4 for magnesium!

Want to join me?

Sparkling Detox Infographic

Gerolsteiner Mineral Water #SparklingDetox

September 12-16

Drink only Gerolsteiner for the five days of the detox: no other beverages.* That’s it!

* Not to worry, smoothies are a food, not a drink. 😉

Simple, right? I’m excited to see how I feel after a week of healthy party time in my cup.

Come join us in the dedicated Facebook group to get advice, support, and recipes & workouts you can do during the challenge.

Gerolsteiner Mineral Water is available nationwide (here’s a store locator), and… just between us, there might just be a HUGE giveaway coming up in which 300 people will win a case of Gerolsteiner. Stay tuned for more on how to enter that… 🙂

In the meantime, go say hi to Gerolsteiner around the internets, and join our Facebook group!

Gerolsteiner Mineral Water website
Gerolsteiner on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram
#SparklingDetox Facebook Group

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Monday favorites

Happy Monday, sweaties! I’m just cracking back into my computer and life after a blissful weekend spent mostly outdoors with the fam.

We did a little hiking: alyse mac ergo smile hike

A little naked lounging (okay, only Mac was naked):

lounging outside latin azul

And a lot of swimming.

alyse swimming lake tahoe wetsuit

As I went through this weekend, I realized there were a ton of things I’d recently discovered that are working for me in really effortless, awesome ways, and I want to share my latest favorites.

1. Wetsuit!

wetsuit lake tahoe

I found this wetsuit on super sale at Nordstrom (no longer on sale, sorry!), and you guys, it has revolutionized my daily swim. It’s so much easier and faster to get in the water, and I can stay in so much longer.

The only downside is that, because it was on super sale, I ordered it a size (or two?) too big, so I get a little ballooning effect when I swim. I figured, hey, extra drag, nbd, that’ll just make me a stronger swimmer. Then I spotted this shortie on sale at prAna, and I had to order it, too, this time in the right size.

 

Photo: prAna
Photo: prAna

I’m hopeful it will work, and it’ll be awesome having two, since I’m already loaning mine out to visitors who want in on the wetsuit wonder.

2. Burt’s Bees BB Cream

burts bees makeup

I still am not totally sure what BB cream is (#beautymoron) but I got a sample of this in last Fabletics shipment, and I fell in love. It evens out my skin tone without making me look like I’m wearing makeup; just a better, filtered version of myself.

It also includes SPF (so necessary). The only thing I don’t love about it is that the smell is a little funky, but disappears (or you get used to it?) within a minute or so of applying.

burts bees sweat pink hat

Also, beware, my melanin-blessed friends: the shades run really pale. The light/medium shade is perfect for my summer skin, which means the light version must be made for ghosts.

3. Fabletics shorts

Speaking of Fabletics, if you follow me on Insta (@alysemb), you’ve probably seen me wearing two pairs of shorts on endless repeat:

fabletics heat wave print

 

fabletics palm print short

These two pairs are both from Fabletics and they are perfect for my summer adventures. They’re lightweight, stay put, dry fast, and have pockets. WITH ZIPPERS.

I can easily stash my phone, keys, and chapstick in my pockets and have my hands free for baby wrangling, yoga poses, and other adventures.

I’ve also worn them swimming and they’ve performed beautifully in the water and dried quickly after.

4. Protein bites

bobs red mill protein bites

I first made these shortly after Mackenzie was born, and have had them on repeat since. Lately, I’ve been making a double chocolate version with my fave Bob’s Red Mill Chocolate Protein powder, Wild Friends Chocolate Almond Butter, and Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Oats (the oats make them a galactalogue, too!).

They’re the yummiest, most perfect one-handed snack. Check out recipes over on My Healthy Happy Home.

 

… and that’s all for now! Don’t you love it when things just seem to fall in place and work for you? Hope your week is all kinds of fabulous.

 

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Bring on the girl power

This has been a week of girl power. Of rage.

There’s the victim blaming that’s going on with the three runners who were killed in the last two weeks.

There’s been all this media attention on how sexist the media coverage of the Olympics are.

The frenzy has produced quite a few funny-because-it’s-true spoofs of the Rio coverage, including the most perfect example of mansplaining I’ve seen in a long time:

Screenshot 2016-08-12 12.36.47

And this laugh out loud take on Miss California’s husband:

Screenshot 2016-08-12 12.33.11

I’m glad these instances of sexism are getting called out. The spoofs and reactions to them are funny, but they also make me deeply angry that we’re still having this conversation—and, I fear, if His Orangeness gets elected, this conversations are only going to get more troubling. (Note to would-be ‘splainers of any gender: I will categorically delete any comments in defense of the demagogue).

Because my reading and social media time now happens almost exclusively while my 7 month old daughter nurses or naps in my arms, each new headline hits a little closer to home.

mackenzie 7 months napping

How will I explain to her that all sorts of people will judge her differently because of the body she was born into? How can I raise her to believe in herself and call bullshit on the sexism and the mansplaining and the condescension?

IMG_9992

My dream is for my daughter to not understand the humor in these articles. I want it to fall completely flat. I want her to find this blog, years from now, and be (a) embarrassed by me in general and (b) totally confused by this post specifically.

My dream is for her to never have to identify as a feminist, because we will finally live the truth that equality and gender have no bearing on one another.

IMG_0016

Can we do this? We can.

I don’t know how to begin, so I’m just starting where I can, right now, with something tangible that feels real and powerful. I’m participating in If Girls Ran the World, an event in which we will collectively and virtually run around the world together. It’s movement on a mass scale, all to empower women and girls.

IGRTW-Facebook-Hero

 

I’m fundraising for Every Mother Counts, an organization that feels super relevant to me right now. If you’re so moved, I’d so appreciate your support, whether that’s with a tweet, joining the event, a donation, or just a virtual fist pump. Whatever you got, I’m taking it, and I’m adding it to my curriculum for teaching my daughter how to be fucking awesome.

This post was sponsored by everydayhero. I’m honored to be part of the effort to empower women and girls, and as always, all rage, opinions, and profanity are my own. 

Wait, there's more!

Feeling amazing every day

First off, thank you to all of you for your kind words and support around Tigger’s passing. I confess I felt a little silly admitting to just how much his death derailed me, but Suzi’s story and Shannon’s words were so validating about how grief is grief:

“If you’ve never loved a pup or cat, you might not get it. You might even roll your eyes. But if you HAVE, you will get this.” – Shannon, Badass Fitness

I’m trying to shake it off (oh Taylor, I will never grow tired of singing and dancing in my car to that song), and as part of that, I’ve been consciously focusing on doing things that make me feel amazing. Kind of like a gratitude practice, but with a dash of fabulous.

So – here goes. My #feelamazingeveryday top 5:

1. Swimming

lap swimming hawaii

There are few things in life that make me happier than a swim in a beautiful body of water, whether that’s a pool, the ocean, a lake, or … anywhere else. 🙂 This summer has been a boom year for beautiful swimming opportunities, from the beach in Maui:

amazing grass beach supplies
Beach day essentials.

To Tahoe:

alyse wetsuit tahoe

I’ve been trying to swim every day, and I’ve got a pretty good streak going. I just feel so much happier in the water, and also in a much more amazing mood after a good swim. My family benefits from that happiness, too. 😉

2. Slowing down and spending time with my daughter

alyse mac 6 months birthday

In a lot of ways, motherhood has been a tough transition for me—more on that to come. I’m making a focused effort to slow down and spend quality time with Mackenzie every day. That means no checking my phone while she babbles at her butterfly mobile; no spacing out and thinking about work while she puts my sunglasses in her mouth for the umpteenth time.

mackenzie sunglasses

 

 

I’m also trying to do at least one dedicated Mactivity per day, like hiking:

alyse mac reverse warrior flume trail

Or swim lessons:

mackenzie swim lessons

3. Morning smoothies

alyse amazing grass selfie tahoe

I just recently got on a smoothie kick, and for someone who has been a casual smoothie drinker at best, this bug bit me, hard. It’s lifechanging, y’all.

amazing grass sweat pink laces tahoe

I’ve been having an Amazing Grass peanut butter smoothie almost every morning. (Okay, probably because it tastes like dessert, but there’s no crash after).

plane snacks yeti amazing grass hemp heart bites

I’ve also been traveling with the single serving packets. Of all the protein powders I’ve tried, this is one that holds up under dire preparation circumstances. As in, it still tastes good even if all you do is add water and give it as good a mixing as you’re able to, given the tools available (coffee stir stick in the hotel room, anyone?).

alyse double fisting philz and amazing grass
Anything is possible when you’re doublefisting Amazing Grass and Philz.

4. Creeping on other people’s dogs

abbiethevizsla
Photo: Abbie, c/o Jamie King

 

Yep, I have been stopping just about everyone I see with a cute pup just to pet and chat. It’s good for the soul. I want a dog so badly, but know that (a) I need to give myself some time, and (b) getting a puppy is a terrible idea right now. We’re still working on getting settled in with this human puppy.

mackenzie tutu

5. Getting a tattoo?

Okay, this one is entirely speculative. I’m thinking about my first ink. But I’m a total chicken. Should I do it?!

This post was sponsored by Amazing Grass. I’m so grateful to the brands who support the Sweat Pink community… and especially for the theme of #feelamazingeveryday. It was the perfect push for me to change my mindset from, wahhh, I miss my dog, to “what can I do today to feel amazing?”

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Feeling stuck

I am running on nothing.

Last week’s conference was a huge success. I need to write about it, about the people, especially, but I can’t even get my head around how to do that right now.

blogfest group shot 2016

There’s always this crash that happens after. It usually takes me about a week to recover from Blogfest, but this year has been extra special.

We went straight to Tahoe (so long, steamy Austin!), and the adjustment has been rough.

I am wiped out. Mackenzie is wiped out.

mackenzie bear suit

It’s the HAF. The dreaded, cacophonous HAF (high altitude flatulence), which strains and contorts Mac’s little body, and keeps us bicycling and bouncing through the night.

It’s the dark moments pre-dawn, when despair gives way to melodrama.

I’ll never sleep again.

I am sure of it, each time I start a new set of bicycles on her squishy little thighs.

It’s the pediatrician’s raised eyebrow as he says, your 6 month old is physiologically capable of sleeping through the night.

mackenzie merlin

It’s the moment when I look at my to-do list, rich with exciting projects I’m so inspired to charge into, especially after the heady dose of energy the conference always injects me with.

But I look at that list, and I just want to crawl away and hide.

It’s that Tigger died last week, and I pretended it didn’t happen so I could get through the conference without making everyone listen to me talk about my dog. Oh, and so I wouldn’t spend all weekend bawling my eyes out. 

tigger in the sand

 

Post-conference, I’m flirting with the denial phase of grief and also, occasionally, bawling my eyes out.

 

A photo posted by Alyse Mason Brill (@alysemb) on


Every time I walk into a room, I miss his outsized ears swiveling around to meet me, hopeful with the promise of playtime.

IMG_3835

 

IMG_7593

 

Every time I crawl into bed and have enough space and somewhere to actually put my feet, I miss the warm heft of his always-in-the-way body.

tigger on the pier

Every time I look at the lake, I miss him.

tigger pinecone

Every time I spot a pinecone, I miss him.

Every time a toilet paper roll needs changing, I miss him. Every time I finish a plate or bowl that could be licked clean, I miss him.

 

I know it was his time. He made cancer his bitch and lived 3 times longer than any of the professionals projected. More than once, they told us they were astonished he was still alive.

Nothing we can do. We’re not even sure how he’s still walking. 

I’m sure that in just this one week he’s spent in doggy heaven, he’s already blown past his personal best of 3 tennis balls in his mouth at once.

tigger 3 tennis balls

 

This feeling will pass, I know. I will sleep and we will get another dog and Mac will delight in her ability to fart independently.

In this moment, I’m sad. Tired. Stuck.

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Upgrading my gold star chart

When it comes to tracking my goals, I’m a big picture kind of person. All I really want to know is: did I exercise today? Yes or no. I don’t care how long, how many calories, if I went with friends or if I was thirsty or if I loved my playlist. I want the 10,000 foot view. Yes or no.

For years, I’ve been using basically a grown up version of a gold star chart (yes, like you had in kindergarten) to track activities I wanted to do on a daily basis. And by grown up, I mean when I ran out of stickers, I used a highlighter to give myself props for the day.

However… I found myself adding more and more rows to my chart, and it stopped being so visually compelling. When you start adding gold stars for exercising, flossing, hydrating, tummy time (for Mackenzie, duh), pumping, (I’m really invested in building up my freezer supply. Milk in the freezer = freedom for mama), and about 10 other things, it turns into too much data. It’s too hard to spot trends, like “bam, lady, you exercised 6 times this week! Let’s get some ice cream!”

And honestly, seeing those trends is what I’m really interested in. I don’t want to think too hard or crunch too many numbers; I just want to see the gold stars piling up. GIVE ME THE REWARDS, PEOPLE.

So. Long story short, I found an app that gives me exactly what I want. Except the stickers, but I’ll give them a pass on that. I’m totally obsessed with Strides after one week, so much so that I upgraded to their premium version within a few days of using it.

strides app

Each day, I check off my accomplishments, and it shows me high level trends and data if I want to see it … but I also don’t have to look if I don’t want to.

I get pretty obsessed with earning my gold stars. One day I flossed twice in a row just so I could cross off my goal for the day.

Watch out, world, I’m about to earn a lotta ice cream. Or some grown-up frappuccinos.

This might read like a sponsored post. Guess what? It’s not. I just really like this app.

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My own personal frappy hour

Years ago, when Jamie and I used to work out of various cafes around San Francisco, one of our regular haunts was the Starbucks on Fillmore. Wifi, seating, and available outlets were our main criteria.

sweat pink laptop skins starbucks

We’d usually begrudgingly order the same old tea with steamed soy, day after day, so sick of drinking tea but so aware of what a steal it was, in terms of rent cost.

I’ll never forget the day when, at the usually quiet-ish hour of 3pm—3:13pm to be exact—the store started filling up with all sorts of people. And these people behaved very strangely. Instead of going up and ordering, or avoiding eye contact with the baristas and grabbing a seat or an outlet without plunking down at least $1.85 for a tall coffee, they just stood there, near the counter, but not close enough to order.

Source
Image Source

They coagulated in the open area where a line usually forms, all of them just… waiting. No one stepped up; no one elbowed through to be first in line.

We watched this bizarre group coalescing until 3:30pm on the dot, when suddenly the horde rushed for the counter. Moments later, they left, one or two at a time, with giant, frothy, whipped-cream topped beverages and satisfied grins on their faces.

Frapp_Happy_Hour_Low_res
Image source

We later learned that was the first day of Frappy Hour, and we soon came to know that every day, eager sugar-hungry people would arrive just before 3:30 and wait, counting down the seconds until their blended concoction was available at half price.

Naturally, we took great delight in the spectacle of frappy hour. Who were these people, and why did they care so much that they arrived early to wait for frappy hour? Was this the best part of their day? And why, oh why, did so many people LIKE frappuccinos?

We took turns coming up with the most ridiculous sounding beverage, and threatening to order it for one another. We’d say, “I’m going to get you a venti mocha orange creamsicle mint cookie blast with apple caramel crumble and make you drink it!”

Mockery and juvenilia aside, I secretly wished I liked frappuccinos, especially as I ordered my boring hot tea day after day. I love the idea of an iced blended treat, and of adding in some variety into how I paid my rent; I just hated the taste and how the sugar content turned my stomach into a roiling queasy mess.

The fact is, I’m super boring when it comes to food and beverages. (Maybe purist is a kinder word). I like my coffee strong and black. I’ll take my nut butters without the sugar and oil and other additives. I think flavored yogurt is a crime against nature. I stick to a tried and true smoothie rut: frozen berries, spinach, plain yogurt, plain protein powder, almond butter. I know, I know, it’s almost criminal how much fun I am. 😉

mackenzie with berry smoothie

Done and done.

raspberry smoothie selfie

The other day, I was out of all those things. No yogurt in the fridge. No berries in the freezer. Nothing in the house but a fussy baby and a hangry me. I decided to improvise a smoothie without berries or yogurt (SAY WHAT?!).

I’d been using, and loving, Bob’s Red Mill protein powder—the unflavored one, thankyouverymuch—and scoured my pantry for anything, anything, I could add to turn plain ol’ protein powder into a meal.

berry smoothie bob's red mill protein powder
Did I mention I ONLY drink berry smoothies?

I found, first, the cute little card that Bob’s Red Mill sent with the protein powders, with various recipes on it. I happened to have all the ingredients for their oatmeal cookie smoothie (well, no dates, but hey, close enough).

Bob's Red Mill smoothie recipe card

Hmm, I thought. That sounds like something I’d hate. But maybe it’s worth a go. What do I have to lose?

Answer: half a cup of oatmeal, a cup of almond milk, and a scoop of chai protein powder that I had not yet opened and already decided I disliked. 

In went the ingredients, with some almond butter to make up for the missing dates, and some peanut butter granola on top for an extra crunch.

oatmeal cookie smoothie

Guess what, guys? I fucking loved it. It was a fucking perfect afternoon treat that made me feel all yummy inside and kept me full until dinnertime. It tasted exactly how I wanted a frappuccino to taste, only so much better. It tasted like a grown up, balanced, healthy frothy beverage that just happened to have protein powder in it.

I loved it so much I had a second one for dessert later that night.

And then I tried all the other Bob’s Red Mill flavors that I had so judgily decided I didn’t like, and I fucking love those too.

almond mocha smoothie
This one’s called an Almond Mocha. I should categorically HATE it, but I can’t get enough. I would totes show up early and wait in line for this.

 

That plain flavor that I swore by when I first got my package is sitting, lonely and abandoned, in my pantry while I celebrate healthy frappy hour in my kitchen on the daily.

 

bob's red mill chocolate smoothie
With cacao nibs and hemp hearts on top? Hellz yeah.

 

I’m revising those frappy threats into a way more positive version:

I’m going to give you a chocolate peanut butter / oatmeal cookie / vanilla frappy and be jealous while you drink it.

This post was sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill. All opinions & strong language are my own. I really do love this stuff, and I also love it when you support the brands that support the Sweat Pink community.

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Our get out of the house morning routine

Nathan and I have split up childcare by time of day, meaning I take Mackenzie in the mornings and he takes her in the afternoons, so we can each get some work done. (More on how that’s working, or not working, in an upcoming post!)

I’ve found that for the sake of my sanity, we have to get out of the house in the mornings. Otherwise I end up still in pajamas, with makeup creased down my face, and the crazies in my head spinning out of control.

alyse mackenzie warrior 2 zilker park
Yay, we made it to the park!
tigger stick at zilker
Tigger loves this routine, too.

Of course, getting out of the house with a baby is an art that for first time moms, takes some practice to get used to. Some mornings, just brushing my hair feels like a major accomplishment—forget loading up the baby, stroller, and diaper bag into the car and getting ourselves somewhere else. My sunglasses and keys always seem to be in different rooms, and I never have enough hands to pacify a screaming baby, find my stuff, and get out the door.

That said, over the last few weeks I’ve been consciously working on a routine that seems to ease those roadblocks to getting out. Here’s what’s helped us:

Collect your belongings the night before

alyse mac tigger with diaper bag
I learned the hard way you always, always need your diaper bag with you. Whoops.

Every night after Mac falls asleep, I spend about 10 minutes collecting all the rogue items that have scattered around the apartment: pacifier, my wallet, headphones, diaper bag, water bottle, baby carrier, etc, and load them back into the diaper bag so that’s ready to go in the morning. I also restock  the diaper bag with diapers, burp cloths, and backup outfits.

Have a get-everyone-fed routine

We start the morning with Mackenzie’s (fourth) breakfast, then after a diaper change, I put her in her bouncy chair so I can make coffee and a smoothie. Feeding and caffeinating myself is so important and really affects the rest of our day.

alyse mackenzie smoothie

My smoothie is a protein explosion that also includes oats and spinach to help with milk supply.

manitoba harvest hemp protein smoothie ingredients

manitoba harvest hemp protein smoothie and baby

I’m super in to the new Hemp Protein Smoothie from Manitoba Harvest – the berry flavor is delicious, and it includes greens. One less ingredient to pull out of the fridge!

Just fucking go

It’s really easy to get caught up in “oh, maybe I should wait until after her next meal / diaper / nap before I go” decision fatigue. Whenever I find myself waffling, I remind myself to just fucking go. Nursing, diaper changing, and naps can all happen in the car / in public / wherever they need to happen.

mackenzie napping postnatal yoga
This nap happened during our postnatal yoga class. She’s so good at savasana.

 

alyse mackenzie at zilker
This is also a nap. Funny thing, we get way better nap results when we’re out and about.

 

So that’s how we’re doing it, so far. It’s far from perfect; it still takes us an embarrassing amount of time to leave the house and also to come back in. But at least we’re out and about. 🙂

Wait, there's more!

How to make postpartum fitness more fun

I’m 11 weeks postpartum and am back into working out, but definitely not BACK in terms of frequency, intensity, or fitness level. It’s strangely motivating and demotivating to discover how deconditioned I’ve become. For example, I can’t even do a single chaturanga on my feet, and even though I did deep, delicious backbends throughout pregnancy, I can barely get into one currently.

Fitting back into some of my clothes has also helped motivate me to get back into the game. It’s so pleasurable to wear something other than the 3 shirts I wore on endless loop for the last few months of pregnancy, and the lounge clothes that I lived in for the first fuzzy postpartum weeks.

I still have a long way to go until I feel like I’m back to where I was, pre-baby, but here’s what I’ve found helps me get going and keep working at it:

Get your partner on board

My husband knows all too well that I’m much nicer to be around when I’m regularly exercising, so it’s in his own self-interest to make sure I get time for that. Since we’re both back at work, and don’t have any outside childcare (more on how we’re managing—or not—to come), finding time to work out requires some creativity, and Nathan has been nothing short of amazing at helping make it happen.

I’ve been doing a lot of Baby Strong Workouts, since that’s childcare + sweat in one easy, portable package.

sweat pink prana baby strong
Wearing: prAna top and tights. These have been the kindest, most flattering options for my new body!

I’m also dipping my toes back into running.

Since I don’t run very far, that’s a super quick way to get some endorphins. 🙂

Once or twice a week, I make it to a yoga class, and make it home just in time to feed a screaming baby. The benefits I get from even a very reduced practice balance the guilt I feel about leaving her, and leaving Nathan with only a bottle to console her. (She’ll take the bottle, but she definitely prefers the boob).

Use fitness as a way to find community

I’m desperate to meet other new moms, especially those who have babies around the same age as Mackenzie, so I’ve been exploring mommy & me fitness opportunities, from postpartum yoga to stroller fitness classes.

stroller stretching tahoe

Confession time: I have signed up for TWO Stroller Strides classes and have made it to neither (sorry, instructor!). They’re morning classes, and well, both mornings that I intended to go, shit happened. Literally.

There’s always next week.

Make sure you have clothes you feel confident in

Most of my pre-baby workout clothes were form-fitting pre-baby. That means that post-baby, they create some unfortunate bulges that my ego just can’t handle taking out in public. Luckily, a few of my go-to pieces still work. I’ve found that of all the brands I own, my prAna clothes have been the most accommodating and flattering throughout this journey. Take, for example, this amazing top:

Pre-pregnancy

sweat pink prana

4 months pregnant

prana top during pregnancy

11 weeks postpartum

prana sweat pink
These prAna tights also worked at 4 months pregnant; I just rolled the waistband down to accommodate the belly.

 

I end up wearing the same outfit over and over again, because it’s the one I feel most confident in. And we all know that feeling good about how you look is key to actually getting out there. Vanity is a powerful motivator.

psst: in case you need an excuse to try out some prAna gear yourself, they’re offering a 15% off discount that ends TODAY: prAnaSpringStyleS16. In addition to the items I’m wearing here, I LOVE their swimsuits. 

Try something new

Not just for the novelty or the cross-training: trying something new can also save your ego. It’s HARD going back to the activities you used to do and discovering just how much your body has changed and how much work you have to do to get back to where you were. (I’m looking at you, yoga!)

I was able to go skiiing a couple of times this winter, and while it’s not technically new to me, it’s an activity that I have zero ego attached to (I’ve always been a beginner at best).

skiing tahoe

I really enjoyed getting outside without seeing any noticeable difference in my skills. The glute workout was a nice bonus, too. 🙂

I’m doing my best to get into a routine, even though destroying routines are what babies do best. My goal I’ve set for myself is to be able to hold my own in all the celebrity workouts at BlogFest this year. I’ve got a few months to make it happen!

 

Wait, there's more!

No mo’ muffintop

Well, I’m 9 weeks postpartum, and I’m just starting to wean myself off the couch and back into activities.

I found out at around 5 weeks that I had diastasis recti—fancy speak for my abdominal muscles having succumbed to the pressure of my pregnant belly and separated.

When I first found out, I did the dumb thing: I googled, then freaked out.

Then I did the smart thing: I got on the phone with the founder of Baby Strong Workout, and she calmed me down in a matter of minutes. I’m keeping an eye on my abs and not overdoing any dedicated abdominal exercises, but am otherwise easing back into fitness without any restrictions. In fact, I got back on the mat  (humbling, invigorating), and I’ve been getting back into strength training and cardio in an entirely new and fun way.

My main goal has to do with strengthening. Thanks to breastfeeding, I’ve lost a fair amount of the 42 pounds I gained, just by sitting around being a milk machine. I’m not down to my pre-pregnancy weight, but some of my looser clothes from that era are starting to fit (yippee!).

That’s where the good news ends, though. I may be able to button my jeans, but they don’t feel or look quite the way they used to. They pinch in unflattering places, and I’m softer, flabbier, jigglier, and more muffin-toppier. Right now, I’m less concerned with losing weight and more concerned with regaining the muscles that began softening over 9 months of pregnancy and then fully disappeared during the last 7 weeks of couch-sitting milk-machining recovery.

So here’s what I’m up to:

I’m taking the #babystrongchallenge

I’ve got this super handy (droolproof!) deck of baby-friendly workouts thanks to Baby Strong Workout.

baby strong workout deck closed
Tiger socks not included. ;)

 

Each of the moves in the deck has you use your baby as the weight—and the moves get really creative with mommy and me exercises.


 

Each day, I’m doing some light cardio, as in, I’m carrying Mackenzie while I walk. No carriers, no strollers, no husbands to help; just me and the baby, taking a little tour of the outside world.

baby strong workout walking

 

Then I’ve got a prescribed strength training workout, along with some stretching.

baby strong workout hinge and serve

I love the variety of moves in the deck: I’ve been doing the workouts for two weeks now, and as someone who REALLY STRUGGLES with self-motivation around home workouts, this was crucial. All the cards are color-coded with the type of move, too, so it’s easy to find a core move or a lower-body strengthener with one hand.

baby strong workout deck open closeup

Since all the workouts include—no, depend on—Mackenzie, I don’t have to figure out baby sitting, or feel guilty for taking some me time. (Which I DO feel guilty about, even though I know I shouldn’t, but that’s another post for another day.)

baby strong workout bridge

You can check out my daily workouts on Instagram, so come on over there and follow along … or, better yet, join me in the challenge, and make sure to tag #babystrongchallenge so I can follow your workouts! It doesn’t matter how old your baby is—just keep in mind that the heavier they are, the more intense the workout. 🙂

baby strong workout side lunge left

One move that’s not in the deck that I think qualifies as a total body move is trying to roll up and grab your yoga mat, in the wind, while holding a screaming baby. 😉

baby strong workout yoga mat move

I started feeling stronger after just a few days of just using Mackenzie as my weight. And since you can do a full workout in less than an hour, it’s easy to squeeze one in between nursing sessions.

The biggest change this deck has prompted for me, though, is what I do with all the weird little pockets of time you get with an infant. So many times I’ve put her down, pulled out my computer to do some work, and then immediately had to reverse course and pick her up again. She knows exactly when I’m about to dive into something and chooses that moment to demand attention.

So, instead of pacing while I’m trying to soothe her in the middle of the night, I do one of the Baby Strong moves.

sweat pink baby strong challenge
Just wall sitting in my pajamas at 3am. NBD.

Instead of just sitting there and cheering her on during tummy time, I’ll stretch or do another move—all while still cheering her on, of course. Just adding those one-off moves into my daily life has made me feel happier, more awake, and more in control (such an elusive feeling with a baby) of my day. Each day, I pull out a couple different moves and leave them as reminders in key places: next to the changing table, next to Mackenzie’s bouncy chair, and on the bedside table.

You can find the Baby Strong Workout deck here – it’s a full postpartum fitness plan for less than a Barry’s or Soul class. Or a babysitter, for that matter. 😉

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