Category Archives: Health and Nutrition

Healthy Pregnancy 2 – 26 Weeks

How far along? 26 Weeks

Baby Size: An eggplant

Weight gain: 20lbs

Maternity clothes? I’m hoping with the warmer weather I can stick to dresses and workout capris.

Belly Button in or out? Out

Best moment this week: Pat is starting to feel baby move more. I forgot how fun that is for me to experience.

Miss Anything? Normal taste buds. It’s amazing how different each pregnancy is! The “honeymoon” of this pregnancy only lasted about three weeks. Now I feel like I’m in the third trimester already with taste buds gone haywire, and less energy than I had at this point in my first pregnancy.

Movement: Pretty active little guy, especially when I lay in bed at night. He’s not as active as I remember big brother being, but that could be because I have an anterior placenta. It might also be because he’s a calmer kid. A mom can dream!

Food cravings: I mostly look forward to my post workout breakfast (oatmeal, berries, peanut butter, and peanut butter chocolate protein powder) and egg casserole. Otherwise I’m just surviving. I threw out half of a meal the other day (very unlike me) because I couldn’t stand the taste.

Gender: Boy number 2!

Looking forward to: This will sound bonkers, but I’m looking forward to going into labor on my own this time. I was induced with my son, and obviously labor will hurt either way, but I am looking forward being able to labor at home for a bit and have a different experience. I did not enjoy being strapped to machines and bed ridden the whole time. Of course I know I may still not have this experience, but I am looking forward to the possibility of it.

Glucose Tolerance Test Alternatives

For anyone who followed my first pregnancy you may remember that I believe screening for Gestational Diabetes is extremely important. Testing for gestational diabetes is important because some women who are seemingly healthy end up having gestational diabetes. According to Mayo Clinic, if gestational diabetes is not properly managed, the baby may be at increased risk of excessive birth weight, preterm birth and respiratory distress syndrome, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), or type 2 diabetes. Complications for Mom can include high blood pressure and preeclampsia, and future diabetes. This is of course something that I want to be aware of and control for the best health of baby and me.

My issue is with the drink prescribed to screen for this: Glucola. This ingredients and amount of sugar in this are similar to that of a soda. I cannot recall the last time I drank soda, and I am certainly not willing to drink soda while I’m pregnant. This is an important time for my baby to be getting the best nutrients possible for growth and development. I don’t want to throw those nutrients away on sugar water.

Further, there is never a time in my life, let alone pregnancy, where I would consume this much sugar in one sitting. Therefore, I am looking at not only getting really sick from the side effects, but an unrealistic situation altogether. Thankfully, there are alternatives, you just have to ask (and sometimes push back).

During my first pregnancy I asked what my alternatives were (and I started the discussion early) and was told there were “no good alternatives”. While I respect that this medical professional had an opinion, I was asking for my alternatives, not her opinion on the alternatives. After that conversation I went home and did tons of research on what I could do in place of drink Glucola. At my next appointment I went in with my solutions and was met with less resistance. This time I started the conversation more bluntly, telling them I was not willing to drink Glucola, but was willing to do what I did in my first pregnancy.

The way I see it, there are two alternatives to drinking Glucola:

  • Use a glucometer to monitor your sugar levels upon waking in the morning and 1-2 hours after eating.
  • Consume a real food that is high in natural sugars. Think bananas, grapes, or other food from the earth that is high in sugar. Ask your doctor.

I opted for the first route. I have been monitoring my glucose levels for the past week, and will continue to do so until the doctor says otherwise. This way I can see how my body is truly reacting to the food I normally eat. If I am having spikes in my blood sugar then, at least I know it is not a false positive. I have not changed my diet at all during this time, so I know I am getting the most accurate data regarding how my body is reacting to food.

What can you do? First, I recommend doing your research. You don’t have to have the same beliefs as me. If you are OK with drinking Glucola, go for it! If you dread it and have been wondering if there is an alternative: there is! Have a frank conversation with your doctor, and go to them with some ideas and an open mind. It is your body and your baby – you have to be the number 1 advocate.

Getting My Son To Consume Vitamins

I may be compensated by affiliate links in this post. I thoroughly test products before writing about them. All opinions are my own.

My little guy is coming up on two, and as a baby he was the BEST eater. He would eat any vegetable and almost anything we put in front of him. Once we moved, he went through a MAJOR food regression. I expected this as most children go through a food regression, and moving is a big change for such a little guy. I have been trying to ride out the regression, but patience is not a virtue of mine and we are going on about six months now. The QUANTITY of food that he eats is good, but he refuses to eat any vegetables now, is selective about his fruit, and with the exception of sausage, he won’t eat meat if he can see it.

Our approach has been to make sure he has the same meals as us (I’m not interested in being a short order cook), always ensuring there is at least one thing on his plate we know he will eat. He can eat what’s on his plate, or not, but he doesn’t get other food or special meals. I also sneak vegetables into EVERYTHING. Chopped, pureed, and hidden in every food. For the most part, this has been working for us in terms of getting him to consume enough calories. My worry has been his vitamin and mineral (micronutrients) intake. It’s extremely difficult to get vegetables and some fruits in this boy, and I have not found great results on children’s multivitamins that aren’t full of fillers and added sugars.

I was starting to get really stressed out about the lack of micronutrients I was getting my son to consume (literally I have cried over this ::cue eye roll::). With this in mind, I asked around and found out about KidzShake. Despite all of the extra veggies I am sneaking into food, sometimes I just need a faster option. I heard great things about this product so I ordered a container of the vanilla. Once it came in, I mixed 1 scoop with oatmeal and our little guy gobbled it up. For a snack I added one scoop to plain Greek yogurt. He asked for seconds! This made me feel good because now I know he isn’t only getting the calories he needs – he is also getting the vitamins and minerals he needs.

For two scoops of the KidzShake powder kids get 5g of carbohydrates and 10g of protein. More importantly though, are the vitamins! 2 scoops yield 50% or more of Vitamins: A, B1, B2, B5, B6, B12, C, D-alpha vitamin E, and Niacinamide. As with anything, you of course do not want too much of any vitamin. Having an excess of vitamins can cause sickness the way that lacking a vitamin can cause sickness. I mention this as a reminder to stick to serving sizes and not get carried away as can be done with anything!

After hearing about this product and trying it first hand, I knew I had to reach out to the creator. Dr. Rachel is a mom of four and an advocate for children’s health and nutrition. I told her how much I loved KidzShake and that I would love to be able to share this with other Moms! She went ahead and gave me a code to offer my follows for 10% off. Use the code “Kristen” to get 10% off on KidzShake and let me know if you love it as much as I do! I am so happy to finally have a solution to the vitamin issue so I can sleep a little more at night.

Healthy Pregnancy 2 – 20 Weeks

How far along? 20 Weeks WHOOOOAAA WE’RE HALFWAY THERE!

Baby Size: According to “The Bump” baby is the size of a banana.

Weight gain: We are traveling so I haven’t checked my weight this week.

Maternity clothes? Leggings are still my jam. I think I will invest in some maternity running pants/capries.

Belly Button in or out? Out

Best moment this week: Feeling baby kick more, and getting in some outdoor runs!

Miss Anything? Since I have been able to run outside this week, and felt so great after, I am missing that a lot!

Movement: I’m starting to feel movement more frequently, but it’s still light.

Food cravings: I have been loving nectarines! Otherwise we have been eating some really nutritious food this week, which I will share below.

Gender: We found out last week we have another boy on the way!

Looking forward to: Feeling stronger kicks and watching the belly continue to grow.

What I Am Eating And Food Value

This week I have been visiting family in Illinois. We have been cooking some delicious meals, including ribs, pumpkin chili, and homemade pizza. My goal for eating during pregnancy is to eat as many whole, vitamin rich foods as possible. I want a lot of flavor, but I want to make sure I am giving our baby everything he needs to grow strong and healthy.

When I eat I have found that unless I am working out first thing in the morning, having fats, and carbs energize me best. Fats help with satiety, so having a responsible amount at breakfast energizes me for the day. After my workouts I usually have a protein heavy meal with some carbs to replenish my glycogen stores and repair my muscles. I have also been having an electrolyte water and BCAAs each day, mostly to assist with hydration. Finally, I focus on protein before bed and that has helped me to remain full throughout the night instead of waking up starving at 1AM! Below is a typical day of eating for me, distinguishing my pre-workout between if I run or if I do a circuit first thing in the morning.

  • Pre-workout (run) – 2 Gluten Free Waffles – I have been loving kashi lately (carbs) with peanut butter (fats), banana (vitamins & carbs), and a little agave (carbs). This gives me some fast digesting carbs for immediate energy to put toward my run.
  • Pre-workout (FWK circuit) – BCAAs
  • Post workout breakfast – PB&J overnight oats (vitamins, fats & carbs) with 1 Scoop protein powder (protein)
  • Lunch – Leftover homemade pepperoni and veggie pizza (vitamins, fats, protein, carbs) with a side of brussel sprouts (carbs, vitamins & fats from oil)
  • Snack – Decaf latte – extra foamy (fats & carbs from milk), orange (vitamins & carbs), and egg casserole – probably 2 pieces (vitamins, protein, carbs, and some fats).
  • Dinner – Pumpkin Chili (carbs, fats, protein) with riced cauliflower (vitamins & minimal carbs), shredded cheese (fats), Greek yogurt (protein, some carbs), and homemade biscuit (fats)
  • Snack – Greek yogurt (protein, some carbs), heated frozen blueberries (vitamins & carbs), 1TBSP Protein powder (protein… and flavor), and a sprinkle of gluten free cereal (carbs)

As you can see, I put how I see the food as I put it on my plate. I wrote where I see vitamin value, and which macronutrients I see being consumed from each meal. This is not tracked or plugged into a calculator, so there will be a few places where other macronutrients are in that meal (for example peanut butter does have carbs and protein as well), this is simply how I view my food as I look at my meals. I try to keep my meals fairly balanced, ensuring to get vitamins at most meals. I know most people don’t see their food this way, but understanding the value of my food has taken the stress out of eating well. I can see the function each meal serves for my body (and now for my growing baby). I focus on getting vitamins at most meals, and again, getting a well rounded diet of each macronutrient.

If you are wondering how much of each macronutrient you should be consuming you can begin with the NASM recommendation for macronutrient distribution, which is as follows:

  • Protein – 10-35% of total daily calories
  • Carbs – 45-65% of total daily calories
  • Fats – 20-35% of total daily calories

This will give you a base to start, and you can play around within those ranges to figure out what works best for YOUR body.

When Words Aren’t Enough

I have really been on the fence about writing this post, for so many reasons. I worry that our family will think it’s crazy that I put this out there, but I know our family is always so supportive of me. I worry that it will look like I am just looking for sympathy. I am not, but it may look like that to some people and that’s OK. I also worry because I fear the responses. This may seem weird once you read my story, but responses are tough for me. On the one hand, it really hurts when a friend or family member doesn’t reach out after we tell them. On the other hand, there is not one solitary thing that anyone can say to make the pain go away- nothing. Since I don’t know what I want from my friends and family, they obviously have no idea what to offer me.

Here’s the story. Over Fourth of July weekend, Pat and I were elated to find out we were pregnant. I had a chemical pregnancy the month prior, and that was obviously sad, but in all honesty, the doctors and nurses were so dismissive (some of them didn’t even know what the term meant) that I thought I was crazy for even caring. For everyone who doesn’t know (because most people not in OB probably have no idea) a chemical pregnancy is essentially when you have a positive pregnancy test but then begin bleeding a few days later. Your hormones had begun to change, but the pregnancy didn’t “stick” for lack of a better term. Most people don’t know they are pregnant when this happens because it is so early. This also means that I was three weeks pregnant when I ran my marathon.

Back to the point though: Pat and I found out we were pregnant, and we were also getting ready to move to Colorado. We were so excited, and when we went in for our 8-week appointment the woman we saw set up an ultrasound for us since we were leaving soon. The ultrasound showed that the baby was only six weeks and no heartbeat yet, despite estimated due date putting me at 8-weeks pregnant. We were shuffled back to the doctors office where we saw my favorite doctor (it’s a group practice). He told us the ultrasound showed a six week sac, which could mean one of two things: 1) The dates were off. 2) We were going to miscarry. He said at this point there was really no way of knowing, and sometimes the body doesn’t register a miscarriage. It’s referred to as a “missed miscarriage”.

He was so kind and optimistic. He assured us that miscarriages are common, and it is a sign that your body is operating well, but it is still emotionally gut wrenching. I really appreciated that he touched on the emotional aspect, despite how common it is. He said we could ride it out, or come back in a week (the day we were supposed to leave for our 10 day trip around the country before settling into Colorado) for another ultrasound. He said that if the baby had grown, it’s a good sign. He was also hopeful for a heartbeat at that point, but sometimes seven weeks can be too early.

Over the next week I jumped onto my good friend Google, and looked for similar cases with positive outcomes. It turns out there are A LOT of cases with misdiagnosed miscarriages. I was SO HOPEFUL that this would be the case for us. We also finished packing our house, where we decided what went to Colorado and what went into storage. We sent all baby gear 0-6 months to Colorado.

When we went back seven days later, the ultrasound showed the baby as being five days larger, still without a heartbeat. The doctor we saw that day was far less hopeful. He was convinced we would miscarry. We left for our flight a few hours later and made it through the entire ten days of travel without any signs of miscarriage. I continued to feel sicker and was so hopeful that this was a good sign.

We arrived in Denver the following Sunday, and spent that evening in the emergency room. The miscarriage had begun… sort of. The problem was, my body still wasn’t fully miscarrying. When I finally got in to see an OB that Thursday, she went over my ultrasound with me, in great detail. She showed me everything and explained that my body wasn’t registering that the baby had died. She showed me that the bleeding hadn’t collapsed the sac the way it was supposed to. I asked her what I can do, and if there was any way to avoid a D&C. She said I could continue to wait for another week (it had been over three weeks since our first ultrasound), or I could take some pills to help the process along. If the pills didn’t work there was the risk of D&C.

I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong, but I asked my doctor anyway: “what did I do? How could I have prevented this?” She assured me I did nothing wrong. That it is normal, and a sign that my body is strong. I told her “but I just ran a marathon.” “Good” she said. “We have marathoners, triathletes, Olympic lifters – they all come in and have healthy babies.” I encourage you to ask your doctor. Even though I KNEW I did nothing wrong, hearing my doctor tell me that made me feel infinitely better than anyone else saying it.

So, at 11 weeks, with a baby who stopped growing at six weeks, we lost our baby. The Monday after we spent the night in the emergency room, the movers arrived to move us into our house – including all of the baby boxes we had packed. I wanted to write this post because, before we had the miscarriage, I always read how people didn’t talk about it, but I never understood why. I would never judge someone who had a miscarriage, or blame them, so why don’t people talk about it? I also realized, it’s gut wrenchingly common. Before we went through this, I only knew of three people who had experienced a miscarriage. After word spread, people were coming out of the wood works to tell me about their miscarriages and those of women close to them.

I think I understand more now, why people don’t talk about it. Maybe I’m alone here, but the reason I don’t talk about it is not because I’m ashamed. I don’t talk about it because nothing anyone can say will bring my baby back. Nothing anyone will say can make the pain I feel stop. Nothing anyone can say will make all of the dreams we already had for our baby disappear. It is hard because OF COURSE people want to make you feel better. I want to make people around me who are hurting, feel better. It’s just not a situation that can be solved though. The problem solver in me is in a constant struggle. I want to feel better, but I don’t know how to make that happen.

The other thing I was shocked about, was how angry I felt. Maybe I am reading the wrong stuff, but no one ever really said they felt angry. I feel ANGRY. Anger is my default emotion anyway: when I’m sad, I’m angry that I’m sad. When I’m scared, I’m angry that I’m scared. So I could be alone, but I’m going to put it out there anyway in case it helps even one person feel less crazy. I felt really angry that people who never wanted kids, get to have a healthy pregnancy (it doesn’t mean these people don’t deserve pregnancy, it’s just how I felt). I feel really angry that people who are on drugs through their entire pregnancy and don’t care about the health of their kid get to have kids. Meanwhile, I was on the fence about my one cup of coffee during pregnancy. It makes me so angry that I work so hard to be healthy, and set myself up for healthy pregnancy and healthy family, and my baby was ripped away from me. It made me angry that I had no energy and was so so tired for several weeks after, despite the initial burst of energy I had. It made me angry that I couldn’t be as present of a mom for our son that we already had. It really upset me when people would say, “at least you have Nate.” I know I have Nate. I am not unaware of how much and how deeply I love him. It doesn’t lessen the pain of losing a child. It all just makes me angry.

I wanted to share this today because, writing about it helps and I want people to know they are not alone. Maybe you coped differently. Maybe I seem like a psychopath because I talk about my anger. Maybe you are just wondering what a friend or family member is going through, because they won’t or can’t talk about it. I hope this gives you insight. If someone in your life is going through this, send them a bottle of vodka and a pass to some boxing classes, and call it a day. Also remember, not saying anything is worse than saying the wrong thing. If you want to reach out to someone, even a simple “I don’t know what to say” or “how can I help” is better than nothing.

My Current Obsessions

Anyone who knows me knows that when I get into something I AM OBSESSED. I’m that super annoying friend who learns about songs months after is was popular and I listen to that song on repeat. I am that person. You can stop following me now if you need to, I would understand. Now that we have that cleared up, once in a while I like to do a round-up of my favorite things. At this point though let’s be real: these are my current obsessions.

Podcasts

Guys, I’m onboard. Again, I am always so late to the party, but I have arrived. I am super obsessed with podcasts right now, and there is no turning back. I listen to them while I work and they give me a lot of inspiration. I also listen to them on my run. I have been running headphone free for years but I was in the middle of a podcast and decided to run with it playing one day and I loved it. Music messes with my tempo, but with the podcast I can listen to fun conversation and it doesn’t have any impact on my pace.

Serial – Pat and I binged Serial on our move to Colorado. The first season was so good and I was torn the whole time. Was the guy guilty? Was he not?! I need answers!!! I had to look up everything regarding this story afterward and was kind of sad when the season was over. I immediately looked up every podcast that was considered similar to this, and none of them delivered the same sense of “what happened next?” that Serial did. I HAD to listen to each episode.

I’ll Have Another – This is my running podcast. The host interviews women runners, as well as successful women, most of whom are entrepreneurs. Most of the women are also moms, so these are all subjects I can relate to. I love hearing about women who ran their first marathon around 4 hours and now they are running times below 3:10. This is super motivating to me. I also just love listening to successful women because I want to be a successful woman, so they inspire me to keep moving in the direction of my dreams.

Girls Gone WOD – This podcast is hysterical. The two hosts reference Mean Girls at least once per episode, and it’s so well placed. They interview people all over the spectrum: cookbook authors, therapists, Crossfit athletes, distance athletes, nutritionists, etc. They also have a few episodes on marriage hacks, which is brilliant. They have a lot of discussions about “what is balance” and really discussing that it isn’t black and white when it comes to food and exercise. This brings up so many points that I want to remember to chat with my group about. Mostly, they are hilarious.

Food Products

img_9259Arctic Zero – I don’t really love foods promoted as “diet foods” or “health foods”. If you have been following me for a while, you have probably noticed that I am mostly a real food advocate. Sometimes though I do want something sweet, but I don’t have a BIG sweet tooth so I can’t really handle anything really rich. I have found two flavors of this ice cream that I love, and I have been having a bowl every night. I don’t feel really bloated or heavy after, I just feel full. I like the brownie batter and the cookie dough best because they are a bit creamier and they have some chunks in there. I have tried a few other flavors and wasn’t a fan, but these two I am obsessed with!

img_9249Primal Kitchen Avocado Mayo – I know a lot of people are afraid of mayo because of fats or whatever we have been told that makes it “bad”. My only gripe is that there is usually sugar in it, and I don’t see the necessity in that. I started using this mayonnaise for a buffalo chicken casserole recipe and it’s so good. I can’t wait to make BLTs with this! I like the ingredients in it and it tastes good.

Local Food

img_9582Beet Box – On Sunday I decided we NEEDED to have donuts, but full disclosure I look for gluten free donuts. The sugar is a lot for me when it comes to donuts, so I don’t want to add in the digestive stress of gluten. We went down to this bakery and they were legitimately the best donuts I have ever head. They were super filling and SO TASTY! We got double chocolate, apple cinnamon, and pumpkin spice. Unreal. If you live in the Denver area you HAVE to try this place. You don’t have to be gluten free – they have gluten free and non-gluten free. It’s cake in donut form.

 

Fabletics Review

unnamed-2

I am a Target girl all the way. I always buy my workout clothes at Target, especially running shorts. I decided to branch out and try Fabletics. When I initially wrote this I was under the impression that I would gain nothing from anyone purchasing from them, I just wanted to tell you all what I thought of the pieces: I bought two sports bras, a pair of capris, and a top. I did receive this link though and I am not sure if it gives you more of a discount than you would have already received for being a new member, but it might.

ANYHOW, the clothes. I traveled in the capris and long sports bra (+ a tank and sweatshirt) for over eight hours and it was SO comfortable. The capris were like butter. I do have other workout capris I like traveling in, but they usually aren’t super practical for working out. They ride down and I cannot do any jumping motions without having to pull them up every four seconds. These capris are super comfy, I can jump and run in them (I ran a mile, did sprints, and burpees) without them falling down, AND they are flattering.

unnamed-3I purchased this elongated sports bra because I always end up taking off my shirt two minutes into a workout, and I wanted to have a little more coverage while still being able to be cool and comfortable. Plus it is just super fun! I love the design, it’s comfortable to workout in, and it stays in place so I don’t have to fuss with it.

I also got this neon yellow sports bra with a super cute back and a tank to wear with it. I am a function over fashion gal, so I usually go for a piece that is more functional than fashionable. These two are actually cute but they are good for working out too, staying in place and not needing to be fussed over.

I ended up going crazy and signing up for their VIP program. I am not usually impulsive, but it seemed worth it. Again, I am just reporting my experience. How I understand the VIP program, your first outfit is only $25. Shipping on your first VIP order is free, and shipping on anything over $50 is free. Once you enroll, they send you outfit recommendations the first of each month. You can purchase or SKIP between the first and the fifth of the month. You can skip as many times in a row as you want. If you forget/choose not to skip, your card will be charged $50 BUT you can use it as store credit. You also get discounted prices, and up to 50% off regular prices. You also get 2 points for every dollar spent, and 20 points for each review you do of your purchased products. You can use redeem your points on articles of clothing. I just purchased more clothing this month, so I cannot comment on how difficult it is to skip. So far though, I really love the clothes and the company! Have you heard of Fabletics or ever tried their clothes? I would love to hear your experience!

What I Am Loving Right Now

I wanted to do a round-up of things I a loving right now. I know this will end up being one day too early as I just ordered a bunch of stuff from Fabletics and I am hoping I love those too. They are scheduled to arrive tonight, so I can just do a separate post on that order and how I liked it! ANYWAY, here is what I am loving RIGHT NOW:

unnamed-1Colorado – Duh! This place is beautiful. We live right near a lake and there are some beautiful hiking trails near it. Running is also fun and challenging right now because I am adjusting to altitude AND there are actually hills here to run! We have already found so much to do, and cannot wait to explore a ton over the next year. We definitely plan on hiking a good amount while we are here and we want to get down to the Red Rock Amphitheater a few times. There is a ton here for kids to do so my little guy and I have been exploring the Children’s Museums and libraries. I am also debating signing up for some shorter races, but my running is so pathetic right now, I want to wait until I feel like myself again.

unnamedArctic Zero – I am not a huge sweets person, so if you need something REALLY rich to satisfy your cravings, this might not be for you. Every once in a while I crave something sweet, and it is usually because I have not been consuming enough carbs, I tried this yesterday and it hit the spot. I wanted some ice cream, but honestly I always feel a bit queasy after eating real ice cream, because I don’t usually stop when I am full. I also, don’t really like frozen yogurt. This was perfect for me.

Bai – I try to limit my caffeine to one serving per day. With our move and our little guy being sick right now, some days I am not sure I will even make it until noon. I love these Bai dirnks because they are tasty, they are not super sugary, and they have a kick of caffeine in them

unnamed-7Heavier Weights – After marathon training, I had lost some of my upper body strength. I was still lifting throughout training, but it was different than our Fitness With Kristen workouts. Now that I have been back at them for a few months and we are in a more stable environment, my strength is coming back and I am able to lift heavier weights! It makes me really excited to feel strong again.

IMG_6698PR Half Marathon Training Plan – I know this is a bit of a shameless plug here, but I am just so excited to have this plan put together. I tracked everything I did during my half marathon, where I set a TEN MINUTE PR. I put everything I did, as well as tons of resources, together in this plan for you guys. It has already been so popular, which is so exciting! Fall/Winter races are coming up so this 10-week plan is worth looking into. It is as detailed of a plan as you can get without hiring someone to actually personalize it!

I am really loving all of this stuff right now! Let me know if you try any of these things, and what you are loving right now.

What Supplements I Take

I get asked a lot about what supplements I take and what I suggest for others. I always feel weird suggesting my supplements to other people, simply because we all have different tastes. I am going to list the few supplements I take, when, and why, and also briefly let you all know why I decided to partner up with strength.com, of all the supplement suppliers.

unnamed-1First, what I use.

Protein Powder – I use this most days, typically after my workout to ensure muscle repair. I always have my protein 30-60 minutes after my workout. You don’t HAVE to have a protein shake, but it is important that you consume PROTEIN. I have been using Garden of Life lately, switching between chocolate and vanilla. I like the chocolate mixed into my pancakes, and I like the vanilla mixed into everything else (oatmeal, smoothies, etc). I really like the ingredients in this protein powder because there is no sucralose.

BCAAs – I get on a kick with these then kind of forget about them. I like them for a mid afternoon pick-me-up, or when I workout first thing in the morning I will have some beforehand. I like BCAA’s mostly for hydration and for maintaining muscle mass. I tried flavorless and really hated it, FYI.

Nuun Hydration – I think I would die without this. I usually have one tablet mixed with water after any run. If I am out a lot during the day and sweating, I will have one. I don’t usually have more than one tablet per day, but sometimes in the summer I will have one before my run and one after. These help me maintain my electrolyte balance, and give me a leg up with hydration. Sometimes water just does not cut it for me and I need the extra flavor. Lemon-lime is my favorite flavor. The pricing is a little outrageous, so I usually try to get it on sale at REI. I have found it in some supermarkets, but it can be hit or miss depending on where you live. I have no affiliation with Nuun, I literally just love their products. I like the ingredients and the taste.

Protein Bars – I try not to get too crazy about these because even though they are convenient and high in protein, I still would prefer to get as many nutrients as possible from more real food. None-the-less, I am a mom on the go running my own business, so I am in a crunch for time A LOT. My favorite protein bars are Quest bars. I will usually toast them up so they are gooey, but I like them on-the-go too. They end up being my dessert from time to time.

unnamedWhat’s the deal with Strength.com?

So here is the deal: I am not some super popular trainer. I am mostly known by locals wherever I move, and a handful of awesome followers online. Somehow, I have had several companies contact me about being a representative for them. The problem is, they typically have one line of products, and I change my mind a lot. I like to try new things and find new products. I liked that strength.com had more options than JUST protein powders, or JUST their brand.

I also liked that I was not expected to purchase anything to then sell for profit. A few companies contacted me and told me I could essentially buy into their product. Even better, they were asking me to do this without ever having tried their product and without offering a sample. Sounds like a pyramid scheme to me. No thanks. I was given a few bucks toward my first purchase, and I get the same discount I can offer to you. I do not have to buy anything up front to then turn around and sell it. That seems fair to me.

Further, I ALWAYS wait until too late to reorder my goods. Essentially, once I have run out I go put in my order. That means I usually have a week where I have to go buy in store, or I am without my protein powder (or even worse, my Quest bars). Strength.com set it up so your order is automatically sent out monthly. You can change this to be quarterly or you can cancel it after your first order so it is not automatically sent out. I love having that set up for me, but I also appreciate how easy it is to change that (since I like to try new things and switch my order).

Finally, I liked that they have a price match option. At the bottom of their website they state “*We strive to have the best member prices on all our products. If you find a lower price on the exact same item before we do, contact our customer support team at 1-877-410-2877 and we will beat it for you.” Again, that seems fair to me.

For these reasons, I am an ambassador with strength.com, so I encourage you to use the code fitnesswithkristen when you purchase items off their site for 10% off your entire purchase.

Our Move + Maintenance

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I have barely blogged all month, despite my best intentions. People move. People travel. Some people do both in combination. Our family is in that group of ridiculous people. We spent close to two weeks traveling, in addition to one week in an unfurnished house. Throw in a toddler and I pretty much wanted to throw the towel in after two days. Did I keep up with my fitness? Nutrition? Did I break my back over it? What did I even DO?

First, of course I kept up with my fitness and nutrition, or overall health. I did not break my neck over it or make special requests for where we went to eat or stayed. I simply worked with my surroundings. I looked for nutritious food most of the time and focused on maintaining fitness over increasing fitness. That means, I was not looking to burn fat or get stronger. I was simply aiming to be able to lift roughly the same weight, and run close to as fast, when I returned to my regular environment. This means working out when I can, but not getting crazy about finding perfect equipment or messing up a whole day with the family because I have to go log hours of cardio. I am not training for anything in particular right now, so I am simply not willing to do that at this point.

The same goes for my nutrition. I was not willing to make us go to only certain types of restaurants. I made the most energizing choices I could, most of the time. We ate a lot of Chipotle because it is easy, quick, we both love it, and it is simple. We also went to my favorite restaurant in New York City: S’Mac. I have said this before, but to me balance is making nutritious choices most of the time. It is honoring my body and helping it to operate as well as possible without limiting myself to grilled chicken, steamed broccoli, and salads with no dressing. It also means not eating until I am ready to explode because I am on vacation.

unnamedHere was our sequence of events. First, we spent 5 days driving to and searching for a house in Colorado. We saw six houses in two days and found our new place. We spent some time with family over the weekend then stayed in a hotel for two nights. Since we were in a hotel, I was able to get my Fitness With Kristen workouts in, as well as a short run. I have lived at sea level my whole life so trying to run at 6000 feet elevation was an adjustment. I have done it two other times and I know I need to manage my expectations for it.

From there we headed back to California for a week, where we lived in our house with just an air mattress and a pack and play. We lived out of a suitcase and ate out most nights. We also said a lot of “see you later” so gallons of coffee was involved. We had no weights during this time, so I did body weight workouts, and easy running during this time. I was exhausted already so I made sure to get in some energizing workouts without draining what little energy I had. I also did a lot of leisurely walking with my little guy. We both enjoyed the fresh air and activity.

Next, we took off for St. Louis. Pat had friends to visit, and I stayed with his sister and family. They were also just moving into their house, so it was a pretty exciting and chaotic time for everyone. Her strollers are infinitely better than mine, so I got to go for a decent stroller run (in 1000% humidity, so it was about 4 minutes). Their weights were not unpacked yet so I used lighter weights than normal, but I still got to do my workouts while I was there. Normally my sister and I run while we are together, but my son miraculously slept until 7:15 or so on the morning we would have run, so we did not get to run together this time! She was as desperate as I was for home cooked meals, so they made some delicious homemade chicken nuggets, vitamin packed loaf, and ribs. We also made the most disgusting hashbrowns of my life, which the kids apparently loved. It was so nice to eat homemade, nutritious meals for a few days!

unnamed-4After that we made our way to New York City for two nights. I lived there for six months and loved it, but three days there with a toddler and I was dying to get to some open fields. We ate out for every meal, and I actually was feeling a bit sick from it, probably because my digestive system was working harder than normal to process some of the food I was eating. I do not have a gluten allergy, but I don’t eat gluten often. I was eating it at every meal and I think my body was simply overrun with figuring out how to digest that much gluten again. I was told by a nutritionist years ago that I had a gluten sensitivity. I am not sure if that is the reason, or if it is because I don’t eat much gluten. Either way, I spent a lot of time not feeling great in NYC. I did some body weight workouts, and as to be expected in the city, TONS of walking.

Our final stop was Alexandria for a wedding. We had the added bonus of my Mom coming down to hang out (mostly with her grandson – let’s be real). I got to lift and run indoors (as it was a real feel of 110, no thanks). We had a Harris Teeter across the street from us, and a breakfast buffet in the lobby. This made eating pretty accessible, but of course we still went out for sushi one last time while we were near a coast. It is also of note that we spent four days being completely obsessed with the Olympics during this time. We would turn them on the minute we woke up and they would play in our room the entire day.

Finally, by Sunday we made it to Denver and had dinner with our welcoming committee. Monday I took the day completely off because I don’t need to grind everyday. All of our stuff was moved in and unpacked Monday and it was just an absolutely insane day. My husband even hit up Costco to stock up on some food and supplies. We still ate out on Monday and Tuesday because we were so wiped out from moving, but it was only for dinner. We had some oatmeal and rotisserie chicken in the house for breakfast and lunch. I was so desperate for a run by Tuesday, it felt so amazing to get out and move my legs! It is my favorite way to explore a new area. I have been a cooking machine the last few days, whipping up some of our favorite staples to have in the house (banana muffins, roasted brussel sprouts, egg casserole, etc). I have had the opportunity to get back into my routine and start eating some whole food again with my favorite recipes at home.

unnamedSummer is a very common time for moving or simply traveling. Years ago this kind of ridiculous trip would definitely have sent me into an all or nothing mentality. I would have felt the need to be fairly meticulous about where we ate or getting in my workouts, or I would have thrown all caution to the wind. Now I simply focus on maintaining where I am and working with what I have. I cannot give my nutrition OR fitness everything I have with that kind of chaos. It is not a realistic expectation. I also do not have to completely give up my fitness or nourishing my body. I simply have to work with what I have. Eat whole foods where possible, stop eating when I am no longer hungry, and let go of stressing over these things. Moving and/or traveling is chaotic. That does not mean you have to be at one end of the spectrum or the other. You cannot control everything, and unless you are in the middle of a training cycle, there is no reason not to loosen up control on your workouts and nutrition. Loosening your control does NOT mean eating past comfort, or sitting on your butt and doing nothing the whole time. Move, stay active, just let go of doing it exactly the way you do at home.

Dedication & Extremes

MyMorning Routine*Here again, I will be climbing up on my soapbox, so get some popcorn and settle in.

I work with clients one-on-one and in groups setting, both online and in person. I am confident in my background, and I know I can get people to their goals. Here’s the deal though: I REFUSE to go to extreme measures. I refuse to give my clients low-calorie diets, or insane workouts just so they can get to a goal faster. Can I help someone lose 20lbs in 2 months? Yes. I am confident that I could get someone there. I will not do it though. I believe in giving clients tools. I believe in health and balance. I believe in slow and steady wins the race because you learn how to take care of yourself. When I work with clients, I rattle off information constantly and remind them that I won’t be their trainer forever. They need to learn to take care of themselves without me as their crutch.

I cannot stand a quick-fix and it really bothers me when I see companies promoting this. I get that it is a business, and the goal is for people to make money, but I simply cannot get onboard. A company/trainer/program that shows a client how to lose a ton of weight, really fast, eating a tilapia and asparagus diet kills me. It is so unhealthy, teaches zero life skills, and is not maintainable. It completely screws-up your hormones and metabolism. There is zero that is healthy about it. What makes me really sick about it is that these programs are preying on the overweight population when they are feeling down.

What is crazy, is that it truly takes a lot of dedication to be that committed. If you are in a program where you are encouraged to not drink water during your workouts (I hear horror stories!), your weight is the only thing that matters, your workouts are multiple hours, and your food intake is extremely limited: that takes dedication. People who participate in these types of programs are desperate to lose weight, and are SO SO dedicated. Truly, it takes a lot of dedication to be that extreme. I wish the same dedication would go into learning healthy habits. What if, instead of going to the extreme of being on a very restricted diet, you were taught how to eat balanced meals, and to fuel your body? What if, instead of spending 2 hours working out because that’s the only way you think you can lose weight, you work as hard as you can for 30 minutes? What if, instead of starving yourself and losing sleep because your body struggles to sleep despite how tired it is due to being undernourished and overtrained, you actually nourish yourself and sleep MORE? The great thing about sleep is that it really does wonders for your body, especially its ability to lose fat.unnamed-1

I don’t want this post to come off like I am judging people who participate in these programs. I am NOT! You are dedicated to finding a way to change. I am however, very disappointed in the programs that tote these claims. I am disappointed in a program that becomes a quick-fix without offering any real tools for long term success. I am disappointed in a program that perpetuates the yo-yo diet cycle. It does nothing for a person’s confidence, metabolism, or overall well-being.

Like I said, I get that it’s a business, and the goal is to make money. Maybe someday I will be jaded enough to stop caring about people having the tools to succeed and I will just want to make a quick buck. My husband laughs, but whenever we talk about my business I always say “sorry, but I will never make us wealthy.” I refuse to take short cuts, or offer people a quick-fix when I know they will just slip into old habits (I know a business does not have to be slimy to be wealthy, I say it jokingly). I am not saying this as a “look at me, I’m so moral” kind of statement. I just mean that, I would prefer to only have five people in my groups who are all dedicated to make slow lifestyle changes, than put together some crazy program that makes people think they can lose some ridiculous amount of weight in a short amount of time, and that it will somehow be sustainable.

Our bodies are meant to survive. They are designed to be pushed and to thrive despite difficult conditions (even though in our modern, first-world society this is not as necessary). That means, if we starve our body, it will survive. If we deprive our body of sleep, it will learn to survive and adapt. If we dehydrate ourselves, our body will adapt for a time. This also means, if you hydrate and nourish our body, it will adapt to that! It will learn to use more food as fuel without the body having to retain so much, because it is not being starved. Our bodies are amazing, and I believe we have to treat them that way. I believe we need to stop “punishing” our bodies for a body image. I believe we need to find balance and set a healthy foundation for ourselves. That is how we find healthfulness and happiness. Not on a tilapia and asparagus diet where we will lose weight quickly with no tools to sustain that weight loss.

If you are someone who is desperate to lose weight, and you are at that point where you are willing to try ANYTHING, including some insane program that has you on a really restricted diet, you may begin to look for someone to really help you build a foundation for long term success. Instead of being on a restricted diet, I think your best resource would be a registered dietician. These types of programs set you up to have a TERRIBLE relationship with food. An RD can help guide you in how to nourish your body. Or honestly, get a therapist to help you have a better relationship with food. Or find a trainer who will help you build a foundation. If you have the money put aside to spend on one of these insane programs, I really hope you will reconsider, and spend it on something that will give you the foundation to be HEALTHY for the rest of your life, instead of simply losing a bunch of weight now, just to gain much of it back once you are done with the program. Tools and foundation – that’s what I wish more programs promoted.