BIG NEWS & Thanks for Joining the Team!

I wanted to take this time to thank all of you that follow the Team Fit Mommy Runner Blog! When I decided a few months ago to expand to a self hosted site I didn’t want to leave all of you great folks who have supported me so I have migrated my followers to the new site, http://www.teamfitmommy.com You will get the same great content and a few more items that I could not offer here! Although I will still be posting here, you will see even more each week on the new site! So thanks again for following and I hope you will stay tuned for more fitness and more fun!

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Stephanie
Team Fit Mommy
Founder & Editor

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Building a Simple but Effective Home Gym

Building a Simple and Effective Home Gym

 

 

I always considered myself to be a pretty fit and active person. When I got married I did what most newlyweds do… I cooked and I ate and I packed on a few pounds!  I knew that I wanted to shed a few of the pounds I had gained as a happy newlywed.  I would go to the gym sporadically and saw sketchy results. Then, I had two children in two years, which changed my wanting to shed a few pounds to needing to lose at least fifty pounds!  As a new mom with a toddler and a newborn there was no way I was going to the gym, even though in my mind I saw myself getting up at 5am every morning, going to the gym and getting my pre-baby body back. You know, like all those other moms out there…. Anyway, that vision did not became my reality.  I realized that I was going to have get started with what I already had.

When I decided it was time to get in shape and lose the baby weight, I gathered the various equipment I had scattered all over my house and discovered that I had a pretty effective home gym. I found that you can get fit at home with no or minimal equipment that won’t break the bank!  The equipment that I have includes, dumbbells, a stability ball, an exercise/yoga mat, a jump rope, and resistance bands. I use each of these in various ways to create a great workout.

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I have three pound and five pound dumbbells.  I use the three and five pound weights when I do squats to make them a bit more challenging.  Place one weight in each hand. As you bend your knees into the squat position, lift your arms in front of you to shoulder height. Do three sets of five to start. If you can do more, increase the number of reps per set.

Although my stability ball has become more of a toy for my kids, there are some excellent core exercises that can be done using it. A simple and easy one that is very effective is crunches.  To do this, lay back on the ball with your feet firmly on the floor. Place your hands with your fingertips to your ears, so you do not strain your neck and gently and smoothly lift your head pointing your chin towards the ceiling.

My exercise/yoga mat is of great use, especially since my entire house has hard wood floors! I use it for everything from sit-ups to crunches to planks and more. When choosing a mat, make sure you choose one that has enough cushioning to be comfortable and enough of a grip so you won’t slide around while exercising.

Another simple tool is my jump rope.  I have to admit my rope has been under utilized. However, recently I took it along with me to my family reunion. Mostly because I had packed a jump rope for my daughter and I wanted to show her how to use it. I got a great workout on the go! That is the beauty of the rope. It is compact and travels well. With this in your arsenal there is really no excuse not to get a workout in. If you don’t know where to begin, try this jump rope workout by FitnessBlender.com. http://www.fitnessblender.com/v/workout-detail/Jump-Rope-Weight-Loss-Routine-20-Minute-Home-Cardio-Workout/8u/

Another compact and easy to use item are resistance bands.  They can be used for a total body workout.  I primarily use them for my arms but they can be modified to workout your legs as well.  Two of my favorite resistance band exercises are a simple curl and a shoulder press, although I know I could also do this with my weights. You can also combine those two exercises to make your workout more challenging.  Resistance bands come in a variety of colors which correspond to different weights. They can be bought individually or as a set. Again they also travel well eliminating excuses.

While these items are what I currently have, I plan to add these final items to my home gym to continue to add variety to my workouts, Kettle bells, Chin-up Bar, and a Bosu Ball.  Kettle bells are the most trendy and popular workout equipment these days.  Beside being on trend they provide an excellent upper and lower body workout. A chin up bar provides a full workout for your arms, shoulders, back and chest. They are available in sturdy varieties that don’t require being screwed into your doorway and they are compact enough to be stored under your bed. Lastly, the Bosu Ball is another piece of stability equipment. It looks like a stability ball that has been cut in half. It can be used in a variety of ways to build your core muscles.

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Often people don’t embark on a journey to fitness using the excuse that they can’t afford a gym membership.  The reality is that three out of four gym memberships go unused any way. I have introduced you to eight must have items for your home gym.  If you purchase two items each month, you will have your complete home gym just in time to get ready for bikini season!   Remember to be fit and have fun!

New Year, New You? Only If You Keep Going!

Are you like millions of others who made a New Year’s Resolution to only find yourself a few weeks into the year and losing the motivation to keep going? You are not alone… As moms we often find a million excuses why we can’t do the things that will benefit us most. Starting a healthy lifestyle and maintaining it is often beyond our grasp. Let me encourage you and share a few ideas to help you reach your healthy living goals this year.

One year ago this month, I started my journey to a healthier me. I weighed 200.4 pounds on January 3, 2013. This January 3, 2014, I weigh significantly less at 148 pounds. It is certain that I would not have reached my goal without being focused and disciplined. No matter how many resolutions we make without discipline it is really is only an inspired wish. These four ideas helped me reach my goals and continue to help me live the healthy lifestyle I want.

Create a Theme for yourself. All super heroes have a theme song. Giving yourself a theme to live by can inspire you to stick to your plan when you are feeling discouraged and when you don’t feel like continuing with your plan. Last year my theme was “Team Fit Mommy”. I used this as my hashtag when I posted on Facebook and eventually it became who I am. That theme also reminded me that eating right and exercising was not all about me but it was about my family, “My Team”! So when I did not feel like going to the gym or I wanted to eat something not on my plan I was able to refocus and stay on track. My theme for this year is “Eat Clean, Train Mean, Get Lean in 2014”. My theme song for the year is “Stronger” by Mandisa.

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Develop a Plan. When you are trying to transform your life it will not happen by accident. You have to be intentional about what you want to accomplish. It is also important to be realistic about what you can accomplish in that time frame. It may help to develop a “vision board”. (A visual representation of what you want to accomplish) Some people cut out magazine picture and post them on a bulletin board or poster board. I like to use Pinterest because it allows me to carry my vision with me on my phone wherever I go.

Find an Accountability Partner. Having someone who will say to you “you’re doing great” or ” you know you can do better” is important. You may not want this person to be one of your closest friends or family members but you want it to be someone you are comfortable enough with to share your desires and know that they will respond with a helpful and considerate response. I was blessed that my husband was on board with my goals and he was able to support me in my journey. However, I also made myself accountable by starting a blog and posting my progress on Facebook. I also joined a few support groups and started to follow a few health and fitness pages on Facebook.

Be Consistent. This is often easier said than done. Life can always seem to get in the way of this. Between work life, home life and everything else that pulls us in a million directions each day, staying on track with your fitness plan can be the least of your concerns. However, if you think about you are already being consistent , why not refocus that energy to consistently accomplishing your goals. If you want to live a healthier lifestyle you are going to have to eat better, get moving, and do it on a regular basis. You have to make the commitment real by executing your plan on a daily basis. Everything in life that is valuable takes time to develop.

Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” -Earl Nightingale

Seventy percent of people that start a fitness plan quit. You don’t have to be one of them. What are your healthy lifestyle goals for 2014? Leave a comment and share your plans. Have a Happy New Year and Be Fit and Have Fun!

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“You’re a stay-at-home mom? What do you DO all day?”

Reading this made me think how we have to be careful when we judge others… As a “Stay at Home” who chose to give up my career, I find it incredulous when someone devalues women who choose to raise their kids fulltime. Although I am well educated, I have a college degree and a master’s degree… it really was not an option for me to work and be a mom. I can appreciate those who decided that being a working mom works for them and their family however, I decided a long time ago that it was not the life I wanted for my family. Thankfully, I married a man who shares the same values. The reality is being a parent in today’s society is a challenge. Raising my children is the MOST important “job” I will ever have. I am happy to dedicate at least the same amount of time and energy (although my position as a mother is forever) as I did to my career outside of my home. I thank Matt Walsh for expressing the importance of moms!

The Matt Walsh Blog

It’s happened twice in a week, and they were both women. Anyone ought to have more class than this, but women — especially women — should damn well know better.

Last week, I was at the pharmacy and a friendly lady approached me.

“Matt! How are those little ones doing?”

“Great! They’re doing very well, thanks for asking.”

“Good to hear. How ’bout your wife? Is she back at work yet?”

“Well she’s working hard at home, taking care of the kids. But she’s not going back into the workforce, if that’s what you mean.”

“Oh fun! That must be nice!”

“Fun? It’s a lot of hard work. Rewarding, yes. Fun? Not always.”

This one wasn’t in-your-face. It was only quietly presumptuous and subversively condescending.

The next incident occurred today at the coffee shop. It started in similar fashion; a friendly exchange about how things are coming along with the…

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Running My First Thanksgiving Turkey Trot

“The miracle is not that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start. – John Bingham”

This year I have so many things to be thankful for. I have a loving, supportive husband, two beautiful and healthy children and fifty pounds lost that I hope to never find again! With all of that, one would think that there was nothing else to be grateful for but I am ever so thankful that I made the decision to challenge myself and take on running in my first ever five mile “Turkey Trot”.

I trained for six weeks. When I started I could barely run a half mile and the thought of running five miles was really only a dream. Yet, when the day arrived, although mildly nervous I was confident that I had trained and prayed enough to be able to finish this challenge strong. The race began at 9:00 am in a picturesque area of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park called Forbidden Drive. There were hundreds of people who signed up to run and the air was full of anticipation.

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First and foremost in my mind was the fact that I had my husband drag our three year old and our 17 month old out in the frigid weather to support me. After I made sure they were sufficiently bundled up, (Mommy duties never rest…) I was able to focus on stretching a little before the race began. The event was truly a family affair with my husband and children there. In addition, my father in law lent his support by running with me! I was extremely happy to have a running partner to get me through the run, as I had never run a full five miles before.

” Before every run is a race between your mind and an excuse. Win it!”

At the start I was confident. I told my father in law who is a half marathoner, I was taking it slow and easy. There were all kinds of people out there running: entire families, young and old and a variety of fitness levels. Although it was a race and the mayor was there to present awards to the top three finishers, the only race I was running was against myself. I turned on my running app to keep track of the miles and the time and we were off!

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We were in the middle of the pack, which made for a slow start but once we got moving we were able to get a steady pace going. Somewhere around the one mile mark my father in law pulled away from me but I just kept my steady pace. He came back and got me and we made the 2.5 mile turn around together. Let me just say, when you are cold and a bit nervous it is inevitable that having to go to the bathroom is going to happen. I don’t know if I was happier to see the turn around or the bathroom!

On the way back to the finish line I took the time to text my husband and tell him we were on our way back and then I fixed my mind on finishing strong without stopping. My breathing was still good, my legs still felt strong, and I was beginning to sense that feeling of accomplishment with every step closer to the finish line. When I saw the four mile marker my excitement grew because I knew was in the final leg of completing something that I would have never dreamed of being able to do a year ago. At the 4.5 mile mark, a police officer gave some encouragement to my father in law in the form of a “way to go sir”. I found it kind of humorous that that the encouragement was offered to the marathoner who runs that same path a few times per week, while I, the newbie was given a slight nod of the head. Never judge what a person can do based on age or appearances because little did that officer know, my father in law was keeping pace with me as my support even though he could have left me in the dust.

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When we crested the final incline I could see the tents at the finish line. Immediately I began looking for my husband and my kids so I could share the moment with them. As the finish line came into full view, I caught the attention of my daughter who broke free from her dad and ran out to meet me with a big smile and a hug. All the weeks of getting up early, running in the cold, falling and injuring my knees, pushing myself beyond my mental and physical limits to become a runner were instantly worth it when I crossed that line. As I crossed the finish line hand in hand with my daughter on her third birthday, I was overwhelmed by how blessed I really am.

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I faced the physical and mental challenge and I completed the race in one hour and twelve minutes. As we end this year and enter a new one challenge yourself to accomplish a new fitness goal. While we were running my father in law asked me to complete a half marathon with him in the spring… What new activity would you like to accomplish?

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Fit Pride Isn’t ‘Hate Speech’

While Maria Kang and her pictures and her opinions can be a lightening rod for negative attention, generally I agree with and support her views. In my adult life I have gone from fit to overweight and now back to fit. Each day I am continuing on my fitness journey to be a role model to my kids and encourage others that think it can’t be done. In America we have the right to be anything we want to be and FIT should be one of those things!

Ideas

Will a “real woman” please stand up? In the age of Photoshop, plastic surgery and celebrity idolatry, it seems women are constantly debating what is considered a “real” woman. And, as I found out recently when I posted a picture of myself looking fit and healthy in workout clothes with my three sons (playfully asking the question “What’s your excuse?”), apparently I don’t count. My voice as an apparently nonreal woman counts so little, in fact, that Facebook recently banned me temporarily from the site — shutting down my account for almost three days for supposedly violating the site’s terms of service — after a number of users flagged a post of mine venting about the damaging culture of fat acceptance. After my post had garnered thousands of likes, comments and shares, these users apparently reported what I wrote as “hate speech.”

While I accept Facebook’s explanation that the post…

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RUNNING ~ Week Six, Day Three: Surprising Myself!!

I woke up later than I wanted, got started later than I wanted… My husband said he wanted to leave a little earlier for work… I decided that I was not going to let that deter me from getting my run in.  Five miles in one shot still eludes me but I’m still running.

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I started with my new routine. I walked to the track, stretched and began my run. I had decided on my way there that based on my previous pace and the time I had, I would have to limit myself to a one mile run today.  I was ok with that. Determined to make the most of my time, I began my run. I felt good, actually I felt really good! Surprise number one… I did not feel like I was totally dying!!!

Half a mile in I still was feeling pretty good and I was thinking that I may continue my trend of 10:30ish miles for the week. Third lap, I was starting to feel it a little but was actually enjoying my run. Fourth lap, I decided to push myself a little harder for two reasons.  First, I was keeping my eye on time and I wanted to get back home. Second, I was getting tired and the faster I ran, the faster I would be done!

As I entered the third turn on the track I knew I would hear the voice on my Runtastic app saying “Distance One Mile” soon.

When I finally heard that voice I was stunned to hear the following… “Duration… 9 minutes and 59 seconds” WHAT???

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I truly surprised myself! I wanted to keep running but I knew I had time constraints and I still had to go another .91 miles back home… If someone told me six short weeks ago that I would not only be able to not only run several miles at one time but that I would also be able to run a mile in under ten minutes, I would have laughed in their face!

The feeling of accomplishment I had this morning was amazing. Although I still have this love/hate thing going on with running, the confidence I have gained since starting this adventure far outweighs the minor discomfort that comes from running. I think I am really a runner now. And that is the Biggest Surprise of All!

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What is the biggest surprise you have encountered since beginning your fitness journey? Leave a comment.

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