Archive for ‘health’

May 7, 2012

On Being A Pregnant Fitness Instructor

Happy Monday friends!

I apologize for the blogging hiatus for the past few weeks – life just got to be too busy and intense for a while – but I’m so excited to be back. I love being able to write and reflect here on GPD, and it’s really become a special part of my life.

Just when I was reflecting on how lucky I’ve been to not get sick throughout my pregnancy, a wicked sinus cold/infection knocked me off my feet for all of last week.  Which was perfect because it was also finals week for me [life’s funny isn’t it?].  I actually lost my voice, wound up having to get subs for my TurboKick classes, and spent most of the week in bed.

It was rough for me not to teach my classes last week – especially as there are only a handful left – but I know just how important it is to honor my body, especially since I’m sharing it with someone else right now.  Regardless, this week will be my final week of teaching until baby comes [the new schedule starts next week, so it was the perfect time to stop], and I was really excited to get back to instructing this morning!

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Before I start, let me say that I’m simply sharing my own personal experiences.  Each person – and each pregnancy – is different, and I encourage you to find what works for you.  Also, contact your doctor or midwife before making any changes to your regimen.

This week marks my entry into the eight month of pregnancy.  Eight.  Months.  Seriously, I can’t figure out where the time went, but it’s true.  And although it’s gone by incredibly quickly, this journey never ceases to amaze me.

When Ben and I first started trying to conceive, we received all kinds of advice. Those I trusted most told me to start eating red meat and stop over-exercising.  Because we have local, grass-fed beef, I was willing to try some red meat, but as a fitness junkie, I had a really hard time with the latter.  At the time, I was teaching 3 TurboKick classes a week, running 3-4 times a week, keeping up with the LiveFit kettlebell program 4 days a week, and hiking on my rest days.  My body felt strong rather than worn down, but I could see how it might be difficult for an embryo to embed in my uterus with all the activity.

So I toned it down: I scaled back on the running and started swimming instead.

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After a couple of months with no pregnancy luck, I also decided to cut down a day on my weight training, just to see if it would help.  Throughout those months I knew that I was healthy and that I had to be patient with the process, but I was also adamant about teaching my kickboxing classes.

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Don’t get me wrong: I would have done anything to ensure a healthy pregnancy, but deep inside, I knew that being fit would help – not hurt – my pregnancy.  Being an instructor is something that has given me incredible fulfillment and joy as well, so I stuck with my guns and kept teaching.

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Because there is more to worry about during the first trimester – and because I was sick – I kept things much lower impact then, being sure to give my students their options for higher impact before class started.  Usually I’d feel sick and fatigued before class started, but once we got going I felt amazing.  As I’ve said before, I’m extremely fortunate to have incredible students who are willing to work hard and give me 100% even on those days where I’m not so bouncy, so that helped a lot.

By the second trimester my energy was back and I was doing much more with the gang than even I thought was possible.  I had to stop lying on my back or belly, so during the core sections I would demonstrate a set and then use a ball to modify while the rest of the class laid on their mats.  I also substituted a lot more standing core workouts.

I started using my maternal support band at around 20 weeks or so, which helps support the belly and lower back during activity, and it has been a life-saver!

Now that I’m in my third trimester I’ve been getting less quality sleep, am more fatigued again, and my lower back is feeling these extra 15 pounds.  I’ve reverted to my first-trimester tactics of showing options and then modifying the movements myself, but I’m always sure to encourage the students to challenge themselves and try the harder movements.

Personally, the classes have gotten harder to teach for me, but I’m always so amazed and inspired by my students that I just do what I can.  The toughest thing for me personally has been to keep the class motivated when I didn’t feel like I was giving 100%.  I’ve learned over time, though, that with motivational cues and an energetic attitude, it’s less about what I’m doing and more about what I can get out of my students.

Over these past months, I’ve gotten a lot of comments about my decision to keep teaching, both good and bad.  I know that each individual is truly just looking out for my and baby’s well-being, so I’m always sure to let them know that I feel well tuned in to my body and its needs.  I’ve always kept the mentality that if something didn’t feel right, or if it started to feel like too much, I’d find a sub for the rest of the semester.

Luckily, though, I’ve continued to feel really great while teaching, and here I am at the end of the semester – teaching my final few classes with an incredible group of students I’ve grown so fond of!

I have two more classes to teach [Wednesday and Friday], and while I feel physically ready for a break from teaching [I'll be heading to the ocean/pool much more soon!], I’m really going to miss my students and all that they bring to my life.

I know that, for me, the decision to keep teaching was necessary for my pregnancy.  I was able to inspire others while staying active, sane, and strong for myself and the baby.  I have a feeling it’ll help me with childbirth, too.

To read more about my pregnancy, click here.  And for more about my fitness routine during the second trimester, click here.

Aloha Pumehana. Whether you’re here to find balance, wholesome recipes or inspiration, I hope you enjoy the posts.  Please subscribe to Green Plate Dinners to receive automatic updates and be the first to read new posts for free!

March 21, 2012

Geek in the Kitchen

Not sure whether you’ve noticed, but we’ve slowly but surely been adding to our kitchen gadgetry here in the GPD household. 

Ben and I live very simply and don’t consider ourselves to be big consumers, but there have been a few things that I’ve been anxiously awaiting for our home for a while now.  We place a huge emphasis on our health, and since we eat at home most of the time we don’t mind investing in a few good kitchen gadgets [the food itself as well as what we need to prepare it].  Since we aren’t big purchasers, we want to be sure to get high quality kitchen stuff whenever we can so that we can have high quality results and so that we won’t need to worry about replacing them over the years.

Ben is much more logical and analytical than I am, so usually what happens around here is that I make an impulsive, emotion-filled argument along the lines of:

Our lives would be so much easier if we got a ___! [bunch of chickens, crock pot, jacuzzi, etc.]” 

And Ben responds with something like:

“Hmm, okay… do we really need it?”

If we can agree on good reasons to purchase something, Ben will take the time to do his research, finding out which product is the best and why, where we can get it, and when a good time to buy it would be. 

It’s amazing.  And yes, I recognize just how lucky I am. 

Over the seven or so years that Ben and I have been together, we’ve accumulated some stuff [even though we always donate whenever we get anything new].  Lately, the kitchen gadgets have been my greatest obsessions as I use them on a daily basis and they make cooking so much fun!  I am such a kitchen geek it’s ridiculous. 

First of all, our invaluable Champion juicer rocks my socks. 

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We bought one a few years back after years of debating whether it was something we needed, and I’ve never regretted the purchase.  It is incredible at making healthy juices as well as nut butters [you can also make sorbets and ice cream with it!]… and I think we’ll be utilizing it a lot for baby food once the baby’s at that age, too. 

This past fall I went 30 days without sugar and Ben surprised me with the most amazing kettle in the universe:

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I literally use this bad boy every single day.  Of course I use it for tea, but it also boils water for pasta/oatmeal/recipes in a fraction of the time it would take on the stove.

My beloved Crock Pot joined our family just a few months ago

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I didn’t realize just how simple it would be to boil my own dried beans [canned food is extra expensive in Hawai`i!] or prepare meals [with leftovers] in minutes!  At the beginning of each week, we usually cook a few chicken breasts [they’re always super tender and juicy].  The chicken is an easy and quick protein for casseroles, salads, and veggies.  This was actually one of our cheapest ‘kitchen geekery gadgets’ and it’s already invaluable to me! 

A few recipes I’m looking forward to trying soon: Kathy’s homemade evaporated milk, Stephanie’s turkey + wild rice soup, and Suzy’s spicy chicken, black bean + corn soup

And, last but certainly not least, the newest addition to our kitchen, the Blendtec high-speed blender! 

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I’ve wanted a high-speed blender for years and after hearing personal stories about both the VitaMix and the Blendtec, it seemed like the Blendtec barely fit my wants more [it’s got a wider base making it easier to clean, is a bit more compact, and doesn’t have a tamper to fiddle with… I actually did MY research this time!].  So when Mom and saw the Blendtec reps at Costco one day, we decided to make the investment [after about an hour of watching in awe and taste-testing all the incredible samples they blended up right there, of course].

I use this thing every day already.  To make my own flours [buckwheat, oat, etc.], for green smoothies, to make dressings, chia seed pudding… for hummus! 

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I know, it’s kind of incredible how excited I get over my kitchen gadgets, but I love being in the kitchen to begin with, so having these tools at my disposal makes me that much more giddy!  Smile

What’s your favorite – or most used – kitchen appliance? 


Aloha Pumehana.
Whether you’re here to find balance, wholesome recipes or inspiration, I hope you enjoy the posts.  Please subscribe to Green Plate Dinners to receive automatic updates and be the first to read new posts for free!

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