Baby #2: 26 Weeks

We're nearing the end of the second trimester and this Tuesday is a very special day for the big brother-to-be:

Mr. E is turning 2 years old!!!

We went on a family mini-vacation to a neighboring town and visited the local science center.  What a blast! Before we had taken our coats off, E was staring at everything there and telling me "Play, play!".

From petting snakes and watching tropical fish to blowing massive bubbles and flying an indoor hot-air balloon, there was so much exploring for us to do...

Baby #2: 26 Weeks

Baby's Size: A head of lettuce, average fetus size: 13.6 to 14.8 in, 1.5 to 2.5 lbs.

Cravings: The usual. Plus, steamed broccoli (with ranch, of course)?!

Aversions: Lately, going out to eat. Unless it's Erbert's and Gerbert's sub shop!

I'm Feeling: Baby is very active these days! Poor E has been fighting a cold all week and, while we were cuddling, Baby was actually "kicking" E. The sibling fights start early I guess! Had a great appointment with our midwife last week. Baby is measuring 3 weeks ahead but all is well. No UTI, no dehydration, looking good!

Sleep: I struggle with sleeping past 6:30 am, which is fine, but the problem is I'm ready to pass out for the night at like 8 pm. When I'm out, I sleep like a rock!

Weight: +17 lbs from pre-pregnancy weight.

My Prayer for Baby: "Lord, as we are nearing the third trimester I give all of my worries and concerns to You. I feel tempted to worry about carrying our baby full-term, how the delivery will go and how we will adapt to having a new baby in the family. I know that You care about every aspect of our lives and that You will take care of our family in every way!

Prepare Leo, E and I to welcome this little one into our family. Continue to guide Baby's development and prepare us for a healthy delivery in a few months! Thank you, God, for the blessing of this pregnancy and for my supportive family. Thank You for knowing what we need even more than we know ourselves! Amen. "
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? MATTHEW 6:25-27
Last Week's Workouts:
Monday: 3 treadmill miles, 10:00/mile.
Tuesday: 4 snowy miles outside with our dog, 10:10/mile.
Wednesday: Strength training
Thursday: 3 treadmill miles, 10:00/mile.
Friday: 3 treadmill miles, 10:00/mile.
Saturday: Strength training
Total Mileage: 13 miles

What is one of your best birthday memories?

Linking up with Mommy Moments.

7 Questions to Help Choose Your Training Plan

Well, I made the leap. Today I'm linking up with the #fitfam at the Fit Dish link-up and I've got some news to share!

After much prayer and contemplation, I signed up for a September half marathon which will be my first long-distance race after having our Baby #2. I like to sign up early because the race fee is significantly cheaper, it gives me motivation to make healthy choices while pregnant/postpartum and I have time to make babysitter arrangements (Thanks, Grandma!).

The week that I found out I was pregnant again, I had just ran the Wild Hog Half Marathon and I'm excited to return again this year! The race was awesome, the course is flat and it's super close to home for us.

Since I am now committed to a fall 13.1, that means it's time to think of a plan.

When choosing a full or half marathon training plan, I usually use a free training plan and modify it to fit me personally. For this race, I plan to use a modified version of Hal Higdon's Advanced Half Marathon Plan which has worked great for my past two half's.

Whatever type of plan you use, it is important to use a training plan that fits your lifestyle, time availability and your race goals. Here are the questions I ask myself when working on a half or full marathon training plan:

1. How many days do I plan to run?

- I'm planning to run 4 to 5 days a week. It all depends on how much of a sleeper our Baby #2 is and how we adapt as a family of four. Training plan flexibility is key for me!

2. How many days will I strength train or cross train?

- Planning for at least 2 days of strength training. My marathon training in the past has lacked strength training in the past and I know this will help to decrease burn out and keep me injury-free.

3. What will the weather be like in training?

- Training over the summer and early fall. No more excessive clothes-layering and Yaktrax-wearing!

4. Where will I be training?

- Mostly early morning runs outdoors for key workouts. I will likely be out with the double jogger for "easy" run days when Baby #2 is old enough to ride along. The treadmill is always there as a backup and my only option for hill training workouts (Thank God for treadmills!).

5. What will be my starting fitness level?

- My fitness level will rely on how the third trimester of this pregnancy goes. We can assume that I will be running low on sleep and very hungry from adjusting to breastfeeding again! As long as my midwife gives me the OK, I will continue running and strength training regularly through the pregnancy. That helped immensely with my first pregnancy and postpartum recovery.

6. How many weeks do I plan to train?

- 12 weeks of "official" training. After Baby arrives, I am going to take my time to recover and gradually run/walk my way into training again.

7. What is my goal for this race - time goal or other?

- I don't want to have a set time goal for this race because there are so many unknowns in postpartum recovery and while adjusting to the toddler + newborn life. Ideally, I would like to finish under 2 hours but but my focus is to take it one run at a time. My main goal: HAVE FUN!

I'm curious to see how running with a double-jogger will go this year! Single- or double-jogger, I do think that running with a jogging stroller counts as a cardio workout and strength training :)

Specific Training Plan Components

Hal Higdon includes the below specific workouts in his training plans. For more detailed definitions, visit his website here. If you are unsure of your appropriate training paces, calculate them using the McMillan Pace Calculator.

  • Easy Run - Run at a comfortable, conversational pace. 
  • Hill - Run interval on a hill of 200 to 400 meters in length with a jogging or walking break of equal distance between each repeat. Hill train to strengthen quads and build speed.
  • Speedwork - Train fast to race rast! Start with 400-meter repeats and increase to 800- and 1600-meter repeats in the later weeks of training. Walk or jog between repeats.
  • Tempo Runs - A continuous run with a build-up to your 10k pace. 
  • Pace - Race pace workout.
  • Long Runs - Run at a comfortable pace and don't get hung up on the miles covered or your speed. Focus on spending time on your feet. 
  • Long Run 3/1 - Run the first three-quarters of the distance at a comfortable pace and excellerate to near-race pace in the last one-quarter of the workout. 

How do you choose your training plan?
What is your favorite type of workout to do?

Linking up with Fitness Friday and the Fit Dish. #dishthefit

Book Review: Growing Up Social

Since the day word spread that I was going to stay home full-time to raise our son, the word "socialization" was thrown around like the name of some mythical creature. I was clueless - would my son be socially deprived because we would be forced to stay in the house forever? Do moms not count as social beings anyways?

Anyone who stays at home or homeschools has probably heard comments like this, too. If you aren't sure what I'm talking about, I highly recommend you watch this short video by Tim Hawkins. It's short, sweet and Hawkins has a great way of describing "s-s-s-socialization"!

What if teaching our children the skills of socialization isn't about whether we stay-at-home or send them to daycare? Or if our kids are homeschooled or public schooled? What does it even mean to have a socialized child?!
"Having a social child means your son or daughter will be able to talk to people and like people. He'll be able to relate to others and enjoy activities with friends and family members. Being social isn't just about making small talk in the cafeteria. It involves showing other people you care through eye contact, conversation and empathy.

The ideal place for a child to learn to be social is in his home, where a loving mother or father can model what healthy relationships look like." Growing Up Social, p. 8 (emphasis added by me)
It's not often I find a book that I just can't put down but this is one of those books. I finished reading Growing Up Social by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane a couple weeks ago and it has changed the way I look at my parenting decisions and my own life.

Thank you, Faith, for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book!

My Growing Up Social Review

When initially picking up this book, I thought the main message was going to be anti-technology - basically, don't let your kids use it because it's the devil - but Chapman and Pellicane covered so much more.

Technology isn't the enemy. In fact, technology is good when used in moderation. Setting screen time limits is necessary and does require parents to have a backbone to stick to those limits!

Here are a few key takeaways that I learned from this book:

Key Lessons from Growing Up Social

  • Set screen time limits as a family. Use personal judgement when choosing the amount of screen time. The key is that every family must set clear boundaries! Two hours a day is a good general rule.
  • No screen time for children under 2. This is a recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics because they believe the negative effects of media use far outweigh the positive ones for this age group. 
  • How to teach your children "A+ skills" of socialization. Learning the social skills of affection, appreciation, anger management, apology, and attention.
  • Quietness  Shyness. Quiet and reserved children are often incorrectly labeled as shy. Quiet children are often great listeners and analytic thinkers, while shyness refers to someone who is nervous and uncomfortable meeting and talking to people. 
  • The Mistake of Multitasking. While multitasking is sometimes considered to be a positive word to add on the resume, it is shown to reduce the quality of your work, distract your learning, encourage skimming rather than true reading and it actually wastes time. 
  • Evaluate Your Child's Screen Time ABC's:
    • Attitude - What is my child's attitude like after the screen time?
    • Behavior - How does the content encourage my child to behave?
    • Character - What character traits are being modeled and picked up? 
  • Family Meal Time is Sacred. Eat together, share conversation, no screens allowed. Set a goal of sharing a certain amount of family meals per week.
  • Determine Digital-Free Zones. Again, use your personal judgement to determine these. The bedrooms, kitchen and dining room are highly recommended as digital-free zones. 

Final Thoughts on Growing Up Social

I rate this book with five stars because the information was well-presented, the steps for parents were encouraging rather than condemning and it also stresses the importance of managing our own media-use habits as adults!

As a family, we are taking into consideration all of the guidelines presented in Growing Up Social and are using our own personal judgments to determine the limits we set. We rarely watch TV (or tablets, kindles, etc.) in our family but we do allow our toddler (under 2 years old) to watch 30-45 minutes of TV three to four days a week. Personal judgement call for us - just long enough to watch a Mickey Mouse cartoon or Superbook episode.

I was totally shocked to read that multitasking is not as wonderful as we make it out to be! As a "multi-tasking extraordinaire", I am doing my best to cut back on that now and focus more on the project at hand.

Learning that quietness and shyness are not the same was a mind-blower, too! I have incorrectly considered myself "shy" my entire life yet I love to visit and meet new people. I'm not socially awkward yet I prefer to recharge at the end of the day in peace and being the center-of-attention is not my favorite. From now on, I will stick to just saying I'm "quiet".

After reading this book, we are taking action by implementing the "no phones at the dinner table" rule. That's a bad habit for me but it is so important to keep family dinners sacred and to start this habit now as a young family! I am thankful to have a non-smartphone (or a dumbphone) as there is no Facebook or email-checking temptation but texting or answering a call is still something I need to avoid during mealtime. For computer-usage, blogging or working on the computer is allowed while the little guy is sleeping. You will usually find me writing in my old-fashioned journal that I love dearly!

I highly recommend this book to any parent, non-parent or even anyone who uses social media (nearly the whole world then).

What are your thoughts on this media-heavy world?
Do you have screen-time limits set personally?

Linking up with Fitness Friday and Mommy Moments.

My First-Ever Manifesto #dishthefit

Today I'm pushing myself out of the comfort zone. I have been meaning to write a blog mission statement for some time now but kept putting it off... until now. #dishthefit

This week's Fit Dish [optional] Topic: Write a Manifesto

A mani-what?! Thankfully, Jill included the definition on her blog and it sounded very similar to a mission statement:
"A manifesto is a declaration of your core values and beliefs, what you stand for, and how you intend to live your life. It becomes a source of inspiration to live your life with purpose, fulfillment and a sense of self."

My First-Ever Manifesto

The brainstorming process left me with a lot of scribbling and random tangents in my journal. Writing a manifesto felt like such a daunting and intimidating task. Then I realized that my manifesto is already quite clear, as it was written by the ultimate Author!
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” MARK 12:30-31 (emphasis added by me)
God's clear direction tells me to love Him with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love other people. In my journal, I have been jotting down any words that come to mind when I think of living a life dedicated to God and experiencing freedom in Christ.

Freedom in Christ - life to the full - is something new to me. John 10:10 inspired the name of my blog and, ironically, I have only been truly living to the full for 5 years now. I'm 27 years old and I spent 22 years of my life living without a personal relationship with Jesus.

My life before Jesus seemed to be going well or at least it looked pleasant from the outside. I was playing college tennis, kept an honors grade point average, loved my teammates and thought I was in a good relationship at the time. All seemed well, but I wasn't living the way God wanted me to and I felt empty. Life was missing something and I tried to fill the void with worldly things, but nothing worked.

A series of trials in my life finally brought me to my knees and I surrendered my life to Jesus. Surrender is a word often connected to defeat but surrendering to Jesus means freedom.

Freedom from all the world's lies and failed attempts at filling the void with accomplishments, relationships or even material things. Freedom from the guilt, the shame and condemnation. Surrender to Jesus means forgiveness and healing.

As for my manifesto, my core value and belief is that God is the Creator of all. His Son, Jesus Christ, died for my sins and I intend to live my life rooted in Him and God's Word, as it is 100% the truth.

When we surrender our lives to Him, we are a new person - ready to live in the freedom of Christ. Living out a new life in Christ means we can dream big and love fully because all things are possible with Jesus. (Matthew 19:6)

The random scribbles from my journal have taken form into this visual manifesto:

I live my life to the full by:

  • Loving God, accepting my new life in Christ, and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
  • Spending time with the Lord and His Word.
  • Loving and serving my family.
  • Embracing my role as a wife and mom.
  • Blessing other people.
  • Running my heart out.
  • Motivating and encouraging others.
  • Practicing my cooking skills.
  • Writing on this blog.
  • Dreaming big.
  • Taking care of my body.
  • Playing the piano.

All for the glory of God and His Son, Jesus - my inspiration, my purpose, and my life.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 CORINTHIANS 10:31
Have you written a manifesto or mission statement before?

If you have any questions about how Jesus or how He has changed my life, please feel free to ask!

Linking up with Jill and Jess at the Fit Dish.

My Valentine's Five + Week 24 Update

♥ Happy Valentine's Weekend to you all ♥ This week has been extra special because my Valentine is back home. So nice to have the family together again!

Today I'm sharing my Friday 5 (+ a pregnancy update) with Fitness Friday and Mommy Moments link-ups. Be sure to stop by!

5 Things Friday ♥ Valentine's Edition

Here are five things I have loved this Valentine's week:

1. Be Spiritually Strong.

My book just came in the mail today! After listening to an interview with the author, Kristen Feola, I knew Spiritually Strong was a book I had to check this out. This study covers the importance of having a spiritually strong core as well as a physically strong core. Both are essential to being healthy, but our spiritual training is even more important to strengthen (1 Timothy 4:8)!

I'm excited to read through Spiritually Strong to learn about training myself in godliness by focusing on the disciplines of Bible study, prayer, fasting, healthy living, financial stewardship, and serving others.

Check out this book here

2. My Old-School Training Log.

Is it weird that I keep a training log even while pregnant? Meet my "old-school" training log. I draw the grids by hand (hence the crooked lines) and make collages... by hand! It's fun to have projects that are non-computerized now and then. Making a collage was a fun mess project for little man and I to do together!

3. "More Run!"

After supper, I am about ready to crash and we usually unwind as a family by visiting in the living room or reading books. E's new favorite thing is to run all over the house yelling, "More run!!!". He insists that Leo and I join him. Looks like he's a runner in training!

4. Our Healthy Valentine's Treat.

These energy bites were the easiest to make ever and make treat time a little healthier for my family.

Just mix together 1 cup oats, 1/2 cup peanut butter, 2 Tablespoons maple syrup and whatever other add-ins you would like. For our batch, I added raisins, chocolate chips and a little cocoa powder. Roll into balls and store extras in the fridge. (Tip: Wet hands with water while rolling balls.)

5. Valentine's Nails.

I rarely paint my nails and was surprised that these Jamberry things are actually fun! Turns out they are a blast and easy to do - even with a toddler "helping" me. This pattern is called "lovespell". Might as well have cute nails while running!

Pregnancy Week 24: Baby #2

Hello to Month 6 of this pregnancy! Only 16 weeks to go. That's like the length of a marathon training program and those sure do fly by fast. "Race day" will be here in no time!

Baby's Size: Cantaloupe, average fetus size: 10.5 to 11.8 in, 12.7 to 20.8 oz.

Cravings: My morning coffee with half n' half, popcorn and breakfast food.

Aversions: Anything that equals heartburn.

I'm Feeling: E and I are fighting off a mild but annoying cold right now. Other than that, all is well. Leo has been sure to remind me lately how much my belly has grown. I can tell it's gotten bigger because I have had to alter my bending down technique to pick toys off the ground. It's more of a squat position now!

Sleep: I sleep like a rock but am doing my best to continue waking up early for devotions and a run before the family wakes. Some days it happens, some days it doesn't! I do need to rest a little more to shake off this cold.

Weight: +15 lbs from pre-pregnancy weight. Yeah... growth spurt maybe?

My Prayer for Baby: "Lord, I thank You for each day of this pregnancy and for the children you have blessed us with to raise and shape into godly adults! I pray that Your constant guidance, help, kindness and support remain with my family and that we trust You to work good in all circumstances. Continue to bless our Baby's development and I again give You any fears I have of preterm birth. Help us all to prepare for this Baby's arrival and I ask for special guidance for E to adjust to his new role as 'big brother'."
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. PSALM 23:6
Last Week's Workouts:
Monday: 4 treadmill miles, 10:01/mile. Some SI joint discomfort on left side.
Tuesday: 3.05 treadmill miles, 9:50/mile. SI weird feeling is gone - answer to prayer!
Wednesday: Strength training - upper body focus.
Thursday: 3.01 treadmill miles, 9:58/mile. Feeling great!
Friday: 3.03 treadmill miles, 9:54/mile.
Saturday: Rest day.
Total Mileage: 13.09 miles
Any special plans for Valentine's Day?
What is something you have loved about this week?

Linking up with Fitness Friday and Mommy Moments.

Top 3 Questions from Non-Fitness Enthusiasts #dishthefit

How do conversations go with people who have different passions than you? Do they get your passion or does it totally baffle them?

Running has grown to be my passion over the past 5 years. It doesn't define me as a person, but it is a regular part of my day (like brushing my teeth) and God has used it to change my life in ways I never expected. I feel right at home with fitness-minded people but some of the conversations I have had with non-fitness enthusiasts are interesting... and awkward at times.

I can see where they are coming from. Actually enjoying exercise is a strange concept for some people. For me, exercise is something I feel passionate about because it has been a lifelong habit but habits do take time to form. Each person has their own "thing" and that's what makes life fun. Wouldn't life be boring if we were all carbon copies of each other?

Sometimes I have wondered why I'm such a running weirdo and why God made me with this specific personality. Psalm 139:14 is a reassurance that God has made me the hyper-driven and passionate person I am for a reason and I can glorify Him, even in my weirdness!
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. PSALM 139:14
We are all uniquely made by our Creator and it's guaranteed that you will run into people who just don't understand your passion! Hence, this week's conversation topic with the Fit Dish group: Conversations with Non-Fitness Enthusiasts. #dishthefit

As I mentioned above, everyone has their thing and I have no problem with people who aren't enthused with fitness. Sometimes it is hard to understand another person's passion which makes for some interesting conversation.

Here are my Top 3 Questions from Non-Fitness Enthusiasts:

1. How do you find the time to workout?

I do my best to fit in a run around 5:30 to 6:30 am or, if it doesn't happen in the morning, I will workout on nap-time or after bedtime. Our son has taught me to be much more flexible with each day's routine - so not like my type-A tendencies!

Finding time to workout means being disciplined and just making it happen. I am definitely not up at 5:00 am every morning because, hey, I like sleep - especially in this pregnancy! Some mornings I get crazy and sleep in until 6:30.

View Pin Here.

2. Why would you pay to run a race?

  1. Competition
  2. Comraderie
  3. Medals
  4. Free Bananas
  5. The Feeling of Accomplishing a Goal
Some people spend their money going to concerts, getting their nails done or buying video games. I'm not really into those things so I will stick to running races.

And, yes, I've done this before:

View Pin Here.

3. You're going to quit running for the baby, right?

Quick Answer: No, I'm going to keep running for the baby.

While running pregnant, I do cut down my mileage and intensity significantly because it's what works best for me. Example: Instead of super long runs and speed workouts, I run 3 to 4 miles four days a week at whatever pace I feel like. No preggo marathons for me - just a personal preference.

Long Answer: Though running and exercise in general are proven to be good for both mother and baby, running has a bad reputation in some circles.

In the second trimester of my first pregnancy, an older woman asked me if I was going to quit running... you know, for the sake of the baby. Had I been eating an entire package of Oreos every night, she wouldn't have questioned me. But continuing to exercise while pregnant?! How horrible!

Contrary to some of the population's belief, pregnancy is not a disease. Running and exercise do not cause preterm labor. Actually there are many benefits from exercising for both for mom and baby! Check out this article for more information: Running During Pregnancy.

23 weeks with Baby #2!

What is one of your quirks?
What is the most popular fitness-related question you have received?

Linking up with Jess and Jill at the Fit Dish. #fitfam

Build a Budget-Friendly Home Gym

After we moved into our house, one of the first projects on my mind was creating a home gym in our basement. Building a home gym sounds intimidating but it is possible to make one on a budget!

Here are just a few reasons why a home gym is worth it for us:
  • No babysitter needed.
  • Exercise time is flexible.
  • $$$ is being put towards assets rather than a monthly membership fee. 
  • Adding items to the home gym can be a gradual process.

I do miss the community of working out in a local gym but being able to workout at home is a lifesaver when caring for a little one full-time!

What's In Our Home Gym

Here are the main pieces of equipment that make up our home gym. Some I have collected over the years, some were bought secondhand and some were bought new. I have included a price estimate based on that may be helpful if you are planning out your first home gym or adding to a current one!

Cardio Equipment

  • Proform Treadmill: $500 to $2,000+ - The treadmill was our biggest investment because we wanted quality and something that would survive many speed workouts and long runs. Running is the main thing I do, so might as well get one that lasts!

    We went with the Proform Pro 2000 and it has been awesome - sturdy, incline/decline options, fan and able to handle long runs. Pricing on treadmills varies greatly depending your type of use (walking/running) and frequency of use. This treadmill was $1,300 bought new.

Free Weights

  • 10-lb. Dumbbells: $25.00 - Great to use with workout DVDs or for strength training circuits at home. Bought these at Walmart and I highly recommend buying weights in-store because shipping weights is crazy expensive!
  • Barbell/Dumbbell Set with assorted weights: $135.00 - We hit secondhand heaven with this one! Our neighbors were selling their set and contacted me because they knew we were looking. Secondhand the whole set was actually given to us (I could have cried).

The Stretching Station

  • Yoga Mat: $20.00 - I bought mine about 5 years ago and it's still going strong! Great for stretching on hard surfaces and for toddler tumbling, too.
  • Massage Bar: $25.00 - Perfect for rolling out muscles post-workout. I prefer this over the foam roller!
  • Foam Roller: $22.00 - Another great tool for rolling out sore muscles. I think ours came as a set with the yoga mat and it's still in great shape years later.

Other Accessories

  • Resistance Band: $14.00 - I use a stretching band I was given to rehab tennis elbow back in high-school for strength training, especially hip exercises. If this ever breaks, I may buy a "real" resistance band! Some day...
  • Sound System: $35.00 - My iHome2go has been chilling with me since around 2007. I've almost given it away a few times but found the perfect use for it now as strength training sound system (and toddler distracter)!
  • Baby Monitor: $15.00 - We didn't get one until E was almost a year old and now it's my best friend at nap-time. I can fit in a run while he sleeps and still hear when he wakes up. Baby monitor prices vary greatly but our plain audio-only and cord-necessary model was very affordable.
  • Step Up: $50.00 - An actual step-up trainer is sturdy and adjustable. Until I find a super good deal on one, I'm using a kitchen chair very carefully.

Additional Home Gym Items

What you have in your home gym all depends on your specific exercise preferences and the amount of space you have available.

If you aren't a runner, skip the treadmill and go for a stationary bike or eliptical instead. Maybe you are into weight machines rather than free weights. The customizing possibilities are endless because it's your personal gym!

Here are a few additional items that are on the home gym "wish-list":
  • Stationary Bike: $150.00
  • Jump Rope: $5.00
  • Bosu Balance Trainer: $105.00
  • Exercise Ball: $23.00
  • Kettle Bell Set, 2 weights: $36.00
Do you have gym membership or a home gym?
What items would you add to my home gym "wish list"?

Linking up at Fitness Friday and Mommy Moments.

Professional Fit Mom Series: Jess

For the third interview in the Professional Fit Mom series, I am excited to introduce you to Jess Allen. Jess is a mom, a NSCA-CSCS trainer, former Stanford athlete and she also writes awesome fitness content on her blog, Blonde Ponytail.

Jess (and her sweet little girl) from Blonde Ponytail

Coaching &Training

Who or what inspired you to be a coach/trainer?
I was an athlete my entire life, so it was a very natural transition. After playing softball at Stanford University, I coached college softball while obtaining my master's degree. Then, after several years of academic advising in higher ed, I knew I needed to get back to the fitness arena. With the birth of my daughter 19 months ago, it was the perfect professional and personal balance.

How long have you been a coach/trainer?
+10 years

What type of coaching/training do you do?
Personal training with an emphasis on CrossFit and HIIT workouts.

What certification did it require to coach/train?
I chose to get my NSCA-CSCS which is required if you want to train student-athletes. It is an intense certification, so it serves me well with the general population too. I also am a certified Healthy Moms instructor.

How do you balance motherhood and coaching/training?
I work part-time, 10-15 hours per week, and only train in the mornings, so the evenings are for family. I could add more hours, but it's not worth it to my family at this point.

What is your main goal when working with clients?
Typically, my clients want a leaner physique, so it's helping them understand that muscles are a positive and the scale is only one form of measurement. I love seeing my clients do something they never thought possible.

Where do you train clients?
At home and at the local YMCA (child care!!)

Where would you like to see your practice in the future?
I REALLY want to develop an online training program after receiving numerous requests.

Goblet Squats with the Kiddo

Personal Life

How many kids do you have?

How did your passion for fitness begin?
Probably around age 6 in PE class, when I realized I could run fairly well. Then, it grew with sports like youth gymnastics, softball, basketball and track & field.

What is your favorite workout?
A CrossFit WOD referred to as a "met-con" (metabolic conditioning). I'm usually gassed after it, but I love the challenge of pushing myself.

When do you fit in your time to exercise?
In the mornings, 5-6 days per week. I'm a better person and mom when I make time to workout.

What advice do you have for other moms who are considering becoming a coach/trainer?:
Focus on your niche. Who do you really want to help? Do you see yourself training children? Senior citizens? Pregnant women? Obese individuals? Find out who you really want to help and it never is a job. Then, make sure you get certified. If you plan to work for a gym, find out what they like their trainers to have.

Kid-Friendly Push-Ups!

Thank you for sharing your personal training and motherhood experiences with us, Jess! I love how you involve your daughter in your workouts!

Linking up at Fitness Friday.