Do I Need to be a Mom?

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Do I Need to be a Mom?

That was the question I got a few times from friends and clients who found out about my event with Randi Zinn at Athleta a few weeks ago. They were enticed by the event but were unsure whether motherhood was a requirement since we would be touching on “motherhood” themes. It was definitely a fair question.

I first heard of Randi Zinn through a dear friend, and I quickly felt like I had found a kindred spirit when I finally met her. I realized immediately that she was a truly thoughtful and intelligent person with a depth to her that I sought in good friends.  Randi’s work with mothers came out of her own experience as a entrepreneur trying to find her identity beyond just “mother.” She met other women who were struggling with similar questions and who had not found a support network that really spoke to their struggles. And that’s when her business, Beyond Mom, was born.

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I am not yet a mother, but I quickly realized after getting to know Randi that identity, transition, and empowerment are themes she addresses that are truly universal. We are all pulled in so many different directions — from societal expectations to mass media images to our workplaces.  When Randi would talk about the ways that mothers could get lost between the demands of their family and  professional lives, I recognized that this was an issue present across many categories of women.

Don’t get me wrong – I know that motherhood is so very unique and needs to be addressed in its own right. And Randi is an important voice for mothers, especially female entrepreneurs who have ambition and an identity that can be challenged when they start a family. What I soon recognized, though, is that this was a conversation that could be stretched — that all women could benefit from her insights and advice.  An event focusing on self-care and personal wellness as a source of strength, and creating community in the process, was good for ALL of us.

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So there it is. I told everyone to come, and we had a blast. I was blown away because we had so many different women of all ages and fitness abilities (and family situations!), and there was such an empowering and positive energy.

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I have felt this for a long time, but there is something so bonding about a room full of women working hard together. Fitness in the city can sometimes breed competition, but there is so much opportunity to bring people together in fitness classes. Everyone is working hard for the same goal – and everyone is trying to do the same thing. That morning felt particularly special to me. Working out together and talking about creating community through fitness left me feeling bonded with the group  and empowered as a woman. After all, we thrive better together than apart!

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I have wanted to use my business to bring women together. I felt like this was a great opportunity and hope to continue working towards that goal in our events, challenges, and daily classes.

I don’t want to keep “non-mothers” from ever feeling excluded but rather find more and more opportunities for ALL of us to feel included – no matter who we are.  After all, we have enough pressures and expectations as women regardless of where we are in life. If I can provide at least one place for women in the city where they can feel strong, capable, supported, and validated — then I have done my job!

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Photography (except final photograph) by Michael Seto

How to Stay Fit in the Winter Whether You’re Pregnant Or Not

When I first met Kelli and Lauren, the founders of Basq Skincare, I was impressed by their passion, expertise and thoughtfulness.  I was also immediately drawn to their high-quality skincare, which they originally developed for new and expecting mothers.  Their products smell amazing and make your skin feel silky, and I suggest using them well beyond pregnancy.  (Can you tell that I’m hooked?)

I was honored when Kelli and Lauren asked me to be part of their “People We Love” program.  I sent them some tips on how to stay fit in the colder months during pregnancy, and I found that many of those tips applied to women whether they were pregnant or not.  Check out the repost of my article below, and be sure to check out the range of Basq products while you’re at it!




How to Stay Fit in the Winter Whether You’re Pregnant Or Not

Whether you are pregnant or not, the changing seasons can require lots of change in your fitness routine. You may not be able to go outside as much, and the shortening days might affect your daily routine and make you feel a little less motivated to get up and exercise. You might need to seek new ways to exercise and not quite know where to begin. And on top of that, your body responds differently to cold weather than to warm weather.

So what do you do? The exciting reality is that new fitness classes and methods are popping up every day, and many of them are both safe and highly recommended during pregnancy. And whether you’re hard-core or looking for something more relaxing, there is some thing out there for everyone. Here are a few great tips to help you make the transition more smoothly and safely.

Drink More Water: Just because the weather feels colder and you don’t sweat as easily, you NEED to stay hydrated. Make sure you drink water before, during, and after you exercise. If you’re worried about needing a bathroom, try scoping about your surroundings beforehand (which you might want to do anyway!).

You Can Exercise Outside: Unless the air is extremely cold, you should be fine exercising outside. Most pregnant women’s bodies run hotter than before pregnancy, and they feel more comfortable in the cooler air. As mentioned earlier, make sure to continue drinking water, and dress in layers so that you can manage cold in addition to the warmth your body will generate as you exercise. Also be extra wary of navigating ice or snow since your center of gravity has changed, and know that it may be harder to navigate obstacles when it starts to get darker earlier in the day.

Warm Up Your Joints: Your joints can feel extra stiff in cold weather, which can lead to poor technique and injury if you don’t warm them up properly. If you are exercising outdoors, try doing a quick indoor warm-up first.   Avoid holding extreme or static stretches and instead move through your joints with a softer version of the exercise you’re about to do (like lifting each knee up and down, doing some gentle-side-to-side lunging, or circling your arms). You want to take your joints through their range of motion while increasing circulation and warmth in the muscles.

 If You Decide to Try Indoor Fitness Classes, Find Instructors Who Are Prenatal Certified: This seems like a no-brainer, but it could go such a long way for you. Many women who get general exercise guidelines from their doctors don’t know what specific exercises or positions they should avoid (or do!)during their pregnancy. And they don’t know what to expect from trimester to trimester. Take some time to consult with a fitness professional who’s an expert. Ask him or her what to avoid and also what kinds of exercise is the safest for you. You can use this information to help guide you across a range of classes and also make you feel more at ease when making fitness choices. And if you take a class from an instructor who is prenatal-educated, you will feel more comfortable pushing yourself knowing that your instructor will be looking out for you. Of course, make sure you get full clearance from your doctor before you exercise, and always tell your instructor’s that you’re pregnant!

Listen to YOUR Body and No One Else’s: Every woman has a different experience, and some exercises that work for some women can feel very uncomfortable for others. If you are looking for new indoor classes, make your choices based on YOUR history. Stick to the kinds of things you have done before, and don’t try something radically different for the first time during pregnancy. Don’t push yourself in a class if something feels wrong to you just because the pregnant person next to you seems to be fine. And perhaps you can push much harder than she can in other exercises. (I have a pregnant trainer in her third trimester who still loves teaching our dance cardio, while one of my private clients in the same stage stopped jumping up and down several months ago.) Your body tells you everything, and your best bet when diving into fitness classes is to do what your body craves and has experienced before.