5 Habits To Develop in 2017 for a Healthier, Happier YOU

Hi Friends! How are you doing? Are we surviving the beginning of the year?
It’s ironic I’m sharing this post today on health as Calvin has been sick all weekend. Luckily this is only the 2nd time he’s been sick…ever, but this means we aren’t used to seeing him like this and we want our lil’ Calvin back. We went to the doctor and he just has the really bad cold that’s going around…so guess who else has it now? Yours truly. Isn’t this true to life though – you’re feelin’ good, feelin’ good, and then a detour comes along, which can throw a wrench in the entire week. January…you’re winning, but not for long…
I shared this instagram post last week about my new year goal. It’s not something I WANT to do – it’s something I NEED to do in order to keep my sanity. Or did I lose it along time ago? My goal this year is to put my physical and mental health first. I seem to have put myself on the back burner for too long at the end of 2016 and honestly it’s really taken a toll on every aspect of my life. I know I will write more about this in the future because I’m realizing just how important making time to take of yourself truly is – and how easy it is to not. Having kid(s) means having to deliberately set aside time for yourself – one of the biggest things I’ve had to overcome as a new mom. So, in 2017, I’m making this a priority.
There are 5 things I started committing to consistently and I already am starting to feel a bit more grounded & on track for the year. They all seem like common sense but are super easy to slack on or forget in the midst of such busy, busy weeks!
|Keep Fresh Groceries in the House|
img_1857
Anyone who knows me well knows that I really dislike grocery shopping – one my least favorite activities, but so important! It’s kind of like going to the gym…once I’m there, I don’t mind doing it! Shopping on the outside parameter of the store and having fresh, natural ingredients in stock at home guarantees you’ll have something healthy to grab or make at any time. It’s the best decision for your health and your wallet. Now that Calvin is starting to eat “real” foods it’s really stretching us to make sure we have a surplus of good food ready. It’s one thing if we slack on our healthy eating momentarily, but we cannot for Calvin. Honestly, in the busyness of 2016, we ate worse than we should have, and slacked in this area big time. Craig usually goes to the grocery but I am going to try and take on this responsibility more often and make it a weekly (quick) trip.
What are some common items on my grocery list?
Organic, lean meets (chicken, ground turkey, turkey burgers) – we probably only eat red meat once a month
Carrots, raspberries, bananas, peppers, lettuce, avocado
Bagged salads – easy to grab for lunch (choose ones with oil based dressings)
Natural lunch meets and cheese from the deli section
Brown rice, oatmeal
Steam fresh vegetables – so easy for dinner sides!
Red Onion (one of my favorite ingredients for cooking), Cilantro
Cheese sticks/Eggs/Yogurt – vanilla greek or the 100 cal greek chobani mix-ins (so good)
Salsa, hummus, guacamole
Organic Beech-nut baby foods and pouches – I try to buy organic or natural while I can still control what he’s eating!
Whole wheat tortillas & english muffins (with PB is one of my favorites)
Calvin’s current favorites? bananas, cheese, raspberries

img_1861

What am I missing? Any recommendations?
|Keep a (visual) Calendar|
img_1864^not the fanciest, but it works!
Get a monthly dry erase calendar and put it somewhere you look every day. Mine is on the countertop in the kitchen and I use it to write down appointments, events and most importantly, plan workouts. This is much like writing your goals – if you jot them down, you are more likely to commit and see  it through. It’s not the end of the world if I miss a workout as I will just adjust the schedule, but this is helping to keep me accountable.
It also helps on the days that you just DON’T want to get moving. You can look back and see how far you’ve come that month and use it as motivation to keep going. Check off the days as you go. Put up pictures of what inspires you, or write out a new favorite quote for that month. Get creative, and keep it in front of you! The quote that is helping me this month: “You cannot pour from an empty cup.” I have to do these things for myself and keep up with them in order to provide for and be the best me for the others in my life.
Get mine here.
|Make Coffee at Home|
img_1869
I think we are all guilty of going through phases where we buy coffee every day, aka me on maternity leave and then for a few months after…. this is another habit that is bad for the waist line and your bank account. If you drink coffee every day, make it at home! I have a 30+ minute commute so I like to take that time to enjoy my coffee. Since I only need one cup, I have the single serving Keurig. Get a to-go mug that you love, take 2 minutes to pop in a k-cup (hello Starbucks from home) and buy natural ingredients for fixing. My personal favorites are natural creamer & either Organic Honey or Organic Blue Agave as a sweetener (in very small doses because these are still added sugars) Say this with me: I WILL STOP USING ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS. There are already enough hidden sweeteners in the foods we eat, don’t add them into your daily coffee where you can actually control the ingredients.
|Drink More Water|
Image result for water image
GUYS. I also don’t like drinking water. What’s wrong with me? Sometimes I feel like my thirst button doesn’t work. This year I am MAKING myself drink more water. For my energy levels, my skin, my hydration and overall well-being. I noticed I was starting to get headaches every day around 3 pm and often felt nauseous. And no, I’m not pregnant again – it was because I wasn’t drinking enough water. I have also been trying to get in the habit of drinking a large glass in the morning before I eat or drink anything else and then at least 50 ounces throughout the day. I have noticed a huge difference in sustained energy.
Using a cup that holds 20+ ounces and has a straw makes me drink the most. I’m loving these type of cups: Plastic Mason Jar Tumbler.
|Be Present|

Sometimes I get anxious that I haven’t been present enough mentally during this time in my life. As an extreme multi-tasker, it doesn’t always allow me to focus on ONE thing and take it all in. Having a baby, a full time job, a blog, a fiance…the list goes on and on of different areas that need my attention each day. I want to try to minimize the things I’m trying to do at once and BE PRESENT. I want to make a conscious effort to focus on one thing at a time – and remember that right after work, it’s strictly Calvin time where we can play and enjoy each other’s company uninterrupted. When I’m exercising, I’m taking those 20 minutes to give it 100%. When I’m writing, I’m not trying to answer work emails and vice versa. When I’m talking to Craig, I’m not browsing instagram. I definitely need to dive into this one a bit more – let me know if you have any tips for growing in this habit.

Okay friends, what am I missing? What are your goals for 2017? Any of these overlap with yours? I need to know 🙂 Catch up with you all soon!!

kaylasignature-06

*Follow me on instagram, facebook & pinterest to never miss the latest on Running with Strollers. Subsribe by entering your email below to get my *amazing* posts send straight to your inbox!*
Advertisement

HIIT: The Most Efficient Workout For Your Busy Schedule

OKAY OKAY – we’re already deep into another week! How does that happen?  Anyways, this means a full new week of work, meetings, calls, taking care of baby, prepping him for daycare each day, picking up from daycare each day, making dinner, keeping up on laundry, cleaning up after ourselves, packing lunch, blogging, and last but not least – trying to fit in exercise.
BUT, Thank God (seriously, thank you God *insert praying hands emoji*) for my all time favorite type of workouts: HIIT 

HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a training technique in which you give all-out, one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods. This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time. Basically you can kill cardio & strength at the same time. 
My favorite benefits to this type of training:
  • Efficient – short, intense interval workouts can produce results similar to longer, slower cardio workouts in a much quicker time period.
  • No gym or equipment necessary – Clear a room in your home, grab a glass of water, and go. The best for when you have the busiest day and cannot clear time to make it to the gym (which is now most days!) I do recommend a workout mat and some free weights for the times you want to add some intensity with weight.
  • Continual fat burn – not only does the intensity of the workout allow you to burn more fat in a shorter period of time, you will also continue to burn fat for up to 24 hours following the workout
  • The Challenge – I actually feel like I got a REALLY hard ass workout after a HIIT session. I’m one of those people who isn’t satisfied unless you can feel it the next day. Trust me when I say your muscles will feel and respond to your workout for multiple days.
  • Different exercises each time – much less repetitive than running, elliptical, or cycling. It’s almost impossible to run out of HIIT routines. I like to make up my own, but when I don’t feel like thinking, I head to Bodyrock.tv. So many free videos that can be sent straight to your inbox. They also have a new subscription service called SweatFlix – all of the videos they’ve ever created are in one spot for 9.99/month.
I’ve been doing HIIT workouts for years and have made my sisters, cousins, friends, and co-workers participate with me… Haha, love me a good workout partner! When I lived in Cincinnati, I started and taught a corporate bootcamp called Sweat Suits at my workplace and we focused on body weight HIIT exercises. This means almost everything we did, required little to no equipment outside of your own body weight (just like it sounds.) I taught HIIT workouts 2x/week for 2 years with a group of awesome individuals and can honestly say I was the strongest, and in the best shape of my life during those 2 years. Ah, the good old days.

My favorite time intervals are 50/10 – this means you are going all out for 50 seconds, and ‘resting’ for 10. Long enough to get in the zone – short enough that you can tell yourself, “I can do anything for less than a hot minute.” Chose your # of exercises and repeat those in as many sets as you’d like. I usually pick a set of 4 exercises and repeat 3-4 times, depending on how I’m feeling.
In those 4 exercises I choose, I love to create what I call “combos”, or exercises that target multiple muscle groups at once. For example, instead of just doing squats as one of the 4, I’ll add a squat + shoulder press and now I’m engaging the upper and lower body in just “one” exercise.
Here’s an example:
5-10 minute warm-up (jog, jumping jacks, quick stretch)
Standard burpee with pushup (hold 5-8lb free weights)*
Squat jacks – bending down to touch opposite hand to foot*
(On hands) 4 Plank jacks + 4 side crunches bringing knee to elbow*
Back lunge with simultaneous bicep curl + step up & lift knee to chest. Split half time on right, half on left*
5 minute ab burnout (bicycles)
5 min stretch
(repeat the set of exercises in bold 3 times through)

Get the look:

Incredible by Victorias Secret Sport Bra
I legit could barely do exercises with my feet coming off the ground before I found this sports bra. It is made for high-impact and comes in actual bra sizes. I highly recommend for post-partum OR anyone who needs some extra support! Need. every. color. stat.
Knockout by Victorias Secret Capri
The best black workout capris. Period. They are the good ones that come up justttt high enough to suck everything in! Again, need. every. color. stat.
product photo
Old Navy Go-Dry V-Back Long Sleeve
Nike Women’s Flex Trainer

 I’m somehow just now discovering how amazing the VSX line is at Victoria’s Secret is…who else swears by their sport clothing?  Any other pieces I need?
img_2865
Talk so soon!

kaylasignature-06

Achieving Body after Baby: 4 Ways to Mentally Prepare

I think I have referenced the #4thtrimester in more than one post – and let me tell you, it’s no joke. What an awesome, yet strange time for Moms everywhere, both physically and mentally! Not only are you trying to learn how to take care of a tiny baby, but you are trying to feel good in your own skin and stay sane at the same time. I think that this is SO FREAKING IMPORTANT – feeling good about yourself. I can’t do anything when I feel bad about myself. I feel sluggish, lazy, and unmotivated. I am a better Mom when I re-charge with physical fitness.
I’m just starting to get into that #fitmom life post baby. To be completely transparent – I lost ~70% of the weight I gained right away (within 2 weeks) of having Calvin. And from 2 weeks until now (9 weeks) post-partum have literally not lost one more lb. I’m not really concentrating on the scale or cutting calories as I can’t risk affecting milk supply, but I did think those numbers were interesting. I thought it would be more gradual and continual over the course of several months. It reminds me how everyone’s bodies are so different. I can already tell it’s going to take a lot of hard work, and even more patience to get back to where I started.
Outside of the physical challenges, I’m trying to mentally prepare, in order to set myself up for success. Although I’m no expert, I want to publicly talk through my thought process in hopes it helps out even one other mom to know she’s not alone, and to know “you’ve got this.” You can go through the motions all day, but the ongoing mental prep is the hardest part.

I’ve been physically active my whole life – I danced for 2o years, have run 4 half marathons, tried every fitness class in the book, started a corporate fitness bootcamp called @sweat_suits, kept up with my high intensity workouts until 20 weeks pregnant, and just generally enjoy working out. Actually, I just enjoy the benefits of working out and being active. The 2nd half of my pregnancy (20 weeks) plus the recovery time after (6 weeks) is the longest I have probably ever gone with so little activity – so you can see why I’m longing to get back into my old habits…the good ones of course 🙂 Here is what I’m trying to do to get back into the routine. These tips are great for anyone wanting to start a physical fitness routine, definitely not limited to someone who has just had a baby:

Start Slow

I’m more of a 0–>100 (real quick) type of person. Kind of like Calvin when he’s hungry. If I get something in my head I have to do it right then, all the way, no excuses. I once ran a half marathon, rested for weeks, and then decided I need to get back into it, so I ran 5 miles of hills at once. I paid for that one later. I’ve done multiple stupid things like that. So this time I’m starting slow. For example, I’ve had to start with slow walking lunges before I can get back into jumping lunges, and I am walking before I begin to run. If I am too sore or tired to take care of my babe, it defeats the purpose of exercising in the first place. If you’re too sore to work out the rest of the week, it also defeats the purpose.

img_2313

Set Realistic Goals and Intentions

This one is huge. I’ve seen so many friends decide to start exercising and set goals like, “I’m going to go to the gym every day!” or “I’m going to give up carbs completely starting tomorrow.” No you aren’t. You are setting yourself up for failure, in the nicest way possible. Start with a few days a week, and make them days you are actually likely to go. For example, don’t say every week day if you know you aren’t replacing HH (happy hour) on Friday for the gym, or if the only thing you want to do on Fridays is get home to your family (don’t we all?) I always do a mix of strength training and cardio on days I go to the gym, but I’m setting a goal of doing this 4 out of 7 days/week, doing outdoor stroller walks or a home workout on the other days… with the intention of re-gaining strength, stamina, and increasing my energy levels throughout the day. I’m being realistic in the sense that I cannot go to the gym every day, with a baby. I’m also not being TOO specific as I want this to be a part of my life long term, not consume it and set myself up to give up. I will re-set my goals and intentions after maternity leave when my schedule changes, in order to stay realistic. img_2308-1 
Don’t Compare

Ah, the old “everyone looks better or cooler than me on social media” game. It’s really easy to compare yourself to people on Instagram who likely only post the best or professional photos of themselves. That’s what Instagram is…a place to share your favorite photos. But it’s not necessarily reality. It’s also easy to compare to people you know, who might be going through the same things as you. Instead of comparing, we should use this as inspiration, create a community, and support one another, especially as new Moms.

img_2307

Learning to Love the Process

And what a process it is. It’s going to take time, dedication, and patience to start seeing and feeling changes. Learn to mentally love this process of bettering yourself physically. If you know your family and overall quality of life will improve if you commit to your goals and feel good about yourself, what is there to lose? I’m learning to love the process by knowing I’m doing the best I can, as often as I can. A short or small amount of exercise is better than no exercise. My body will likely never be the same again and I’m honestly okay with that. My body is now responsible for another. Changes on the inside result in changes on the outside, and what a life changing 2 months it’s been.  



Here’s to committing fully, reaching your goals, comparing only to the person in the mirror, and learning to love yourself all over again. Who’s with me?

❤ Kayla


Shop this gym look:

Jacket – Lululemon (similar)

Shoes – Nike (similar)

Leggings – Old Navy