Friday, February 27, 2015

Going Beyond the Naysayers

If you follow me on social media, you know I am a skincare consultant. I signed on with Rodan and Fields last March, pretty pregnant, and looking for a side business while staying at home with my son. It was the right choice for me for many reasons, including the ability to "conduct business anywhere", the support and training tools, but most importantly: the product stinking works. 

I had a few naysayers. People who rolled their eyes (And maybe still do!) at my posts. People who unfollowed me. People who said "well you get a discount that's the only reason you use it". Well, after I posted my before and after picture, showing my melasma (mask of pregnancy) completely diminished, people started getting interested. I have been working hard, and it is paying off. My business is growing, and people are realizing that this isn't just a hobby.
Please don't mind my horrible faces. I don't think before and afters should be happy faces ;-D If the coloring is off, I'm not sure why. It doesn't look this way in my picture folder!

So, I'm being bold and posting this on my blog. I know this is a running blog turned training/Henry blog, so I won't inundate it with my promoting my business. As I've said to people who become interested: I'm not pushy, I am persistent. I wanted to let you, my readers, know that I represent an incredible line of products that I know you will love. Whatever your skin issue, there are Rodan and Fields products that can help you. You can check out my website to get more information, or contact me directly at Here are a few before and afters, because everyone secretly loves perusing them!

This is my personal friend and hair stylist Wendy. Her results are what ultimately convince me that this was an incredible product and I had to get on board! She used to call herself "dirt face", and the mask of pregnancy made it even worse. She was thrilled with her results as she prepared for her wedding last September!

I leave you with this message: be bold in whatever you do. Forget public opinion. If you're passionate about something, DO IT. Run that ultra marathon, try a triathlon, attempt to go to a November Project workout, or join my Rodan and Fields team (cough cough). Whatever you're scared to do, try it out. Don't live life wondering "Could I have done it???"

"I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that's how you grow. When there's that moment of "Wow, I'm notreally sure I can do this," and you push through those moments, that's when you have a breakthrough." — Marissa Mayer

Monday, February 23, 2015

Don't Judge a Workout by Its Instructor

I have been encountering a lot of different fitness instructors lately. I guess because of the weather, many instructors are getting subs to teach their classes. I have been to six Pilates classes and I have had five different instructors. Each one of them is completely different, yet by the end I found they certainly had their own benefits. I had mixed feelings about most of them, but they all taught me a lesson. Here are a few of the types of instructors I've had recently and what they taught me that went beyond exercise:

I find enjoyment from this photo as I like to workout and this gives me a drop of happy inspiration.

The Laid Back instructor. This was my first class and she was chit chatting with a friend. She wasn't walking around the room I really didn't feel like she was engaged in the class. The flip side was that I got to chit chat a bit with my friend who was with me, so I guess it wasn't so bad. However, the following week she taught a very intense class. So, I learned that even fitness instructors have their off days.

The Chatty Kathy Instructor. This was a VERRRRRRRY interesting experience. She started a conversation with another attendee as though they were picking up right where they left off about traveling to a certain country (I later learned that this had been an ongoing conversation in the class for a few weeks). She wouldn't.stop.talking. She would give instructions then pick right back up in the conversation. Then she started to ask people their names, what they do...all while instructing. It was very distracting for me, and I was getting annoyed. However, the time FLEW by in the class, and she was really great at helping me. So, I learned that some distractions, though they seem annoying, can actually help pass the time.

The REALLY Strict Instructor. This was a girl after my own heart. She made my teacher's heart soar! Very present, using precise language, and constantly circulating to check us out. Every time she gave an instruction, she would end it with "I'm watching"...gah something I totally would say! However, this was during my first few classes where I was struggling. So, I learned through her repeatedly demonstrating modifications to embrace what I could do.

The Sweet Instructor. This girl was so nice. She was very professional yet sweet, and very calming despite a challenging workout. However, I was feeling uncomfortable while doing some of the moves she was dictating. So, I learned to ask for help. She didn't see me struggling, so I had to stop and ask. It made a world of difference with my overall workout.

After all these experiences, I have been going into class determined to get the best workout possible. Instructors definitely help, but the overall effort is up to me! It's my time to feel the burn, and I'm not going to let a difference in styles ruin that.

How about you? Do you have a favorite kind of instructor? Do you stop going to a class if they're not your style? What was the CRAZIEST instructor you have ever had like? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Workout Modifications: Your Best Work, Not Less Work

One of my goals this year was to work on my core. Between being a nominal core work person combined with having a baby, things have gotten pretty weak in my mid section. As I mentioned, I joined a gym. One of the factors that helped make that decision was that the gym offered Pilates a few times a week when I could actually make the class. Although this helped convince me to join, Pilates is a double edged sword.

You see, Pilates scares me. I've taken several classes in the past, and I know what it entails: CORE CORE CORE. C CURVE C CURVE C CURVE. SCOOP SCOOP SCOOP. All these words send a shiver down my spine (and abs...). Ab work often makes me feel nauseous, and post baby ab work is no different!

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I took my first class and tried to do EVERYTHING. I would find myself super frustrated because I could only lower my legs two times before I had to take a break. I could only do 30 of the Pilates 100. I kept trying and trying and trying but felt weak, deflated, and unworthy. Seriously? It was my first class! I was sore for days. When I went back to my second class a few days later, the instructor put a strong focus on something that changed my experience: modifications.

No pictures from class. that's not a pretty sight. This is from the yoga challenge that I'm currently really behind lower back has been killing me so I've taken two rest days from all workouts.

Modifications can be beneficial on both ends of the fitness spectrum. Modifications does not mean to make things easier, it simply means to change things. This instructor listed modifications to increase or decrease the level of difficulty. I started thinking about the word modifications, and realized that it didn't mean putting out less work. Modifications mean putting in your best work. I realized as I used the modifications, such as not lifting my head, staying in tabletop instead of extending my legs, that I was able to complete more reps of exercises that were previously discouraging to me.

Doesn't matter your workout. Always Dig Deep within you to get the results you want. @homeweightloss

I walked away from the class feeling pleased with my performance. I had dragged my feet to attend another one after a discouraging first class, and I am so glad I did. I am excited to see my progress from modifications that lessen the difficulty to modifications that increase the difficulty. Either way, I'm still getting a burn! 

How about you? Do you feel weird about doing modifications? How do you motivate yourself to try new workouts? Pilates: are you a fan? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Own Your Workout

On Saturday, I went on a fabulously cold run. I seriously love running in the winter, and with the continually snow/ice/cold/wind situation we in the northeast this was my chance for fresh air! Between my yoga challenge, pilates and yoga classes, my hips were feeling a bit tight and sore, so I said to myself "I guess I'll just do three miles." When I got home Mr. Miller asked me how it went and I said "I only went three miles but it was great." I realized I used two of my most disliked words: just and only

Loved the views. My park wasn't fully plowed, so I was limited in where I could run. Related: I had three failed self timer running photos. I gave up due to embarrassment. KIM TEACH ME YOUR WAYS.

I loathe those two words. I feel like they take away from workout accomplishments. I see them used by people all the time (Including myself!), and the thought I always have is one person's just/only is another person's just/only...but in the opposite way. Here's what I mean:

"I only ran three miles today."    /     "If only I could run three miles today."

I feel like we need to own our effort. Whether you deem it as a peak performance or a sub par result, you did SOMETHING. We are truly our hardest critics. When I recently stepped on the treadmill for the first time in a long time, I started out at a 6.0. Um. No. That was my old warm up pace, and now it's close to my sprint pace. I'm slowly learning to own my workouts, relishing in the accomplishment instead of focusing on how it's not even close to what I used to be able to do. I'm going to the gym, going to classes, and I'm putting in my best effort. Will there be days where I want to use the words just or only? Absolutely. As humans, especially those into fitness, we are always trying to better ourselves. Well, I think that starts inside our own heads. Instead of discounting workouts, own them. Didn't hit your pace? Didn't complete all your reps? So what. Use it is fuel to push you forward, not to discount your hard work.

Walldesign - Rockstar
I love this song by Pink. I heard it at the end of my last half marathon which I was gunning for (and really expected) a huge PR. This song got me through the last mile smiling! Pin it

How am I going to own my workouts? I'm going to think long and hard about my words. I'm only going to say positive things about my workouts. When my students would say something like "I'm not good at math." I would correct them and say "You are challenged by math, and you will overcome that challenge with hard work." If my workout leaves me wanting more, I'm going to make it a challenge to overcome the next time. And the time after that. Until I feel like I nailed it. Onward and upward, always.

How about you? Do you watch what you say about yourself? How do you feel when someone is negative about their workout? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Balance Project

Balance Bar recently hosted a fabulous event for local bloggers. This event included working out with Gabby Reece, one of my favorite female athletes, and sampling some yummy Balance Bar treats. Balance Bar was also premiering their new campaign called #TheBalanceProject. This campaign's goal is for people to find balance all aspects of their lives, including physically and nutritionally. They definitely delivered on both of those aspects!

The view from the event was spectacular.

We started out the event with a HighX workout. HighX is Gabby Reece's new workout program. She came up with it because her local gym closed down, and let me tell you, it's intense. It's a stations workout featuring a high intensity exercise, a recovery exercise, repeated over 30 second intervals for three minutes. It was a good mix of using weights and plyo, constant change and fast paced. In the moment I felt really good, and thought "This is actually not that challenging." Famous last words. I was sore for FOUR days. I guess the motivation of a professional athlete saying "Pick it up! Come on! Push it!" Made me do just that...

Top Photo: The twenty minute workout flew by. Bottom Left: The all new Balance Bites Bottom right: Ad featuring the new products plus a spectacular view in the background.

After getting nice and sweaty, we learned about some new Balance Bar products. Going anywhere during meal time makes me nervous because of my allergies. I always bring a snack, and actually forgot mine because a certain baby had me flustered right before I left home! Thankfully, Balance Bar to the rescue! They featured some new products, called Balance Bites. Unfortunately, these are soybean based so a no-no for me, but everyone raved that they were delicious! Fortunately there were some new products that were dairy and soy free (And the label listed those features, no repeatedly scrutinizing ingredients lists!). The new bars, called Balance Bares, are DE-LI-CIOUS. Two out of the four kinds (Mixed Berry Nut and Sweet and Spicy) are diary and soy free, but all of them are gluten free and Non-GMO.

These new bars are the perfect balance of nutrients for a pre or post workout snack.

I thanked the Balance Bar people for featuring dairy and soy free products. When they asked about my allergies, I briefly explained the whole situation (Which I've gotten down to four sentences!). They said, "Get her a box!" They gave me a whole box of the mixed berry nut Balance Bares! So generous and lovely. And FYI, I'm hooked.

Thank you to Gabby and the Balance Bar team for introducing me to The Balance Project!

We got a great goody bag to go filled with yummy treats. I love that they included a yoga mat. I'm currently participating in a yoga challenge on Instagram, and I've been finding myself feeling calmer and more at ease. Henry and Lambeau thought it was pretty great too.

Yoga with an audience. Always.

So, how am I finding balance? I thought about this on the train ride home. Alone. No baby. No husband. No dog. Just me doing something I would normally do pre-baby. Walking through the city, rushing to the train, it all felt normal. I'm trying to find the balance back to being me. The "new me", where I've taken on the new role as a mom, is part of my balance. But it doesn't have to put me completely out of balance. As I've slowly been doing things that benefit me, I've been feeling more like myself. I think balance is found in finding joy in your work and doing things that make you happy. Despite a teething baby and a barking dog, I'm trying to consciously find joy in my days. By working out at night, I meet my need for physical activity and health. By eating nutritionally, my body is continually thanking me with the energy to do all those things.

How about you? How do you find balance in the hustle and bustle of life? Do you get interrupted during home workouts? What's your favorite "healthy" snack? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

*Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. I was invited to the event, given free product, but wrote this post on my own volition. All thoughts and opinions are my own, naturally!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Henry: 8 Months

Reality is setting in: he is almost one. I went to go take his 8 month picture (a few days late...) and there is only one sheet of stickers for 9, 10, 11 and 12 months.! So much has happened in the past month, here are some of the highlights:

He kept grabbing that h. It's a miracle that I got him distracted!
  • Henry weighs 18.3lbs! He lost a bit of weight while he was sick, so he's finally back to gaining.
  • Henry was SICK for the first time. Up all night, sad and lots of prescriptions and doctors visit. He had RSV, so we had to use a nebulizer which was, well, interesting. If I never sing The Wheels on the Bus again it will be just fine.
  • Henry is a rolling nut, going all over the place and trying to chase Lambeau via rolls on rolls on roll.
  • We went on another plane ride! Henry loved Puerto Rico.
  • HE GOT A TOOTH. There were some early mornings, shortened naps and middle of the night wake ups, but overall he was very amiable despite the pain he was in.
  • Henry is sitting up! He was a bit of a late bloomer in this department, but now he loves it because he can use both hands to put all the things in his mouth.
  • Sleep: lots of early mornings. We were in a pretty good groove before he got sick, and then was teething. Now he's up between 5-7AM, there's no rhyme or reason for why it's earlier or later! He's also mostly down to two naps a day depending on how early he wakes up. 
  • Lambeau thinks Henry can play with him. Now that Henry sits up, Lamby will bring him his toy to play, then growl and bark to get him to throw it...and then Lamby has to go to timeout. He still has yet to learn that Henry is not quite ready to throw his toys for him!
  • Henry laughs at Lambeau. We have to work for it, making noises, tickling, kissing, peek-a-boo etc. Lambeau just walks by and Henry laughs! Not fair.
  • He understands FaceTime now. We FaceTime with Mr. Miller often, and he laughs and "talks" to him. It's super cute.
This has been an incredible month of growth. Seeing so many milestones, and knowing more are just around the corner, make me cherish every moment. Reading books has become one of our favorite times together, we can breeze through eight books at a time without a peep from Henjo. Next step: crawling. That I can wait for. Eek.

Happy 8 Months Little Lion Man!
Hands always in the mouth. And then they touch Lambeau's toy. Sigh. Good germs?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Times are Changing: Why I'm Exercising at Night

I decided that I needed to change some things up. I wasn't running, I wasn't exercising, I was stuck. Although I love early morning workouts, it was time to be honest and face the music: I wasn't doing anything during the day. I really wanted to work out, but the desire to do anything my house completely escaped me. I knew I needed to join a gym after a 3+ year hiatus. Henry is inconsistent in the mornings; he could wake up at 5 AM or 7 AM. Therefore morning workouts before he wakes up are still not feasible for me as his food source. So, I went and joined a gym after thinking about it for a long time. The plan is to go to the gym after Henry goes to sleep, which is around 7:30/8:00 PM. And so far, it's been working! Although the end of a long day may seem like a bad time to workout, I have been finding it to be a welcomed challenge. Here are a few reasons working out at night makes sense for me right now:

And this goes for more than just exercise - it goes for family/kids, friends, fun, and most importantly, YOU!

1. There are some great classes at night. I have already survived some challenging Pilates and yoga classes! It really exposed my lack of core strength, and I'm excited to be instructed toward fixing that.

2. I have friends willing to meet up with me. A lot of my friends belong to the same gym! My work wife joined with me, and we're committed to being consistent together. Knowing that I am meeting people is a huge motivator for me. Plus, it's like social hour! All good things.

My work wife and I in Puerto Rico circa 2013. Rolling deep since 2009.

3. It's a bit of me time. Although I don't like leaving Mr. Miller (Or Lambeau Puppy...) at night, it is really nice to be "responsibility free" for an hour or so at the end of the day. Blasting some Calvin Harris on the treadmill is a bit of the pre-baby me, and it feels liberating to zone out for a bit.

As a reformed 5 AM workout nut, I am actually enjoying my nighttime sweat. This bitter cold and rough weather make it the hardest time to workout, so I'm glad that my gym is one avenue from my house. I'm committing to going to the gym Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights and at least once on the weekends. Now, if only I could get myself to sleep before 10:15 PM after my 8:30 PM classes....I'm going to try Christine's Best Yoga Poses for Sleep!

Suffering from insomnia or restless sleep? Try this bedtime yoga sequence to relax your mind and body for an amazing night's sleep. These are the best yoga poses for better sleep.

How about you? Are you an AM or PM exerciser? What tips do you have to get out the door either way? Any tips to fall asleep quickly? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Dear Pre-Baby Self

I have read a few blog posts that made me cry. Mostly they have come from Coffee + Crumbs. I have sent "A Letter to My Pre-Mom Self" to every single friend who either recently had a baby or was about to have a baby to prepare them. When I read the post "Tethered", I sobbed. I actually had a wet shirt. I happened upon each of these at a time in new motherhood when I was struggling. Reading these posts helped me realize that I wasn't alone, and they also helped me communicate with my husband (Who probably thought I was a little off the deep end...). Recently, I have been thinking about how things played out a bit differently than I expected them to. Here are a few things that, if I had known, would have helped me make the transition to being a new mom easier.

- You will forget the newborn stage. You may feel ready to pass out, you may try to clean up a few things, but your days fly by in a blur. Especially the early days. When your baby is eating ten times a day (bottle or mommy fed), you feel continually spent. I would have told myself that those beginning days are fleeting. They are grains of sand in the hourglass. Memorize that baby. Gaze an extra thirty seconds when you lay them down for a nap. Suddenly your newborn is laughing, not as snugly, and rapidly gaining independence. Enjoy the dependence, as exhausting as it may be.

In the beginning they barely open their eyes! It's amazing how small he was. Truly amazing.

- Social outings can feel stressful. It was so hard for me to calm down when we would go places. Where will I feed him? How can I avoid getting spit up all over both of us? Not to mention the "what to wear" stress. I found it hard to relax despite my friends doing their best to assist me. There are only some things mom can do, and in the early days of breastfeeding it takes FOR.EV.ER. Now I understand why moms say "It's so different with number two." I would have told myself RELAX. He will eat, he will poop, and he will most likely spit up on both of you. Bring extra clothes and have fun!

He pooped every time we were on a plane. God love ya Henry!

- There will be tears. There will be tears over running out of coffee. There will be tears over pain. There will be tears when the nap only lasts 20 minutes. There will be tears when you are overcome with the most intense feeling of love over.and over.and over. I would have told myself that between the hormones, sleep deprivation and learning curve, tears will probably come unexpectedly and frequently. Embrace the feelings, work through it, and talk about it. Other moms will share what they cried over, and then you will probably cry from laughing about it. 

Face palm. Mom is whimpering because I'm so cute.

- Take more pictures of you with the baby. I didn't want pictures taken. I felt huge, bloated, awkward and exhausted. Seriously, I can't think of worse feelings to have right before taking a picture! I would have told myself that you will cherish these pictures when you are not huge, bloated, awkward and exhausted. You'll be able to look back at them and think "My how far we have come."

We sat outside because I needed fresh air. We live in a third floor walk up, so my post C-section self was restricted to our apartment for over two weeks. 

- If you plan on absolutes, plan for frustration. Doctor's appointments, play dates, mom dates, are all subject to an adjusted sleep schedule. If Henry's doctor appointment is at 11 AM because he is always awake and fed at 11 AM, he will inevitably sleep extra long! I struggled with this as a teacher who worked on an extremely scheduled day for six years. I would have told myself that babies are their own planners. Find the humor in adjusted schedules, relax when naps are shortened, and find comfort in the fact that your baby is A-O-KAY.

Oh look! He's up! AGAIN! 

We always gain wisdom after the fact. Although I struggled in the beginning, I would have told myself  "It will always be worth it. Always."

How about you? What would you have told yourself before having a baby? Were there any preconceived notions that differed after birth? What surprised you the most? TELL ME ABOUT IT!