Workout Wednesday: Classes, LWF, and Cardio.

I did something I haven’t done in awhile this past Sunday – I worked out with my class. Right there, alongside them, for all five rounds.

Typically, since getting pregnant and having that sluggish touch-and-go energy, I will demonstrate the full out exercise, a rep or two and give the modified versions of each, then set my class off to do their thing. I will walk around, watching the form of everyone, assisting when they’re a little off, or need help when they are having a hard time picking up a move.

For the past 20-some-odd weeks, it’s had me curious as to which style I was going to keep post-baby for all of my classes. My classes cut off at 10 people so that I am able to give the attention to each member there that they need. I want them to get the most from my classes, and that means helping them do it injury free.

Pre-pregnancy, I’d stand in front, facing the classes, doing the full workout with them, instructing and watching. If I saw someone who needed a little adjustment, I’d let the class roll on with the workout, while I went to help that class member. That approach works, and the feedback I got on my “style” was positive. The people who were attending my classes didn’t feel that I was scrutinizing their every breath, hovering over them. They had been to classes like that and found it a little unnerving and made them feel like they would “screw up” an exercise more because of it.

So when, in attempt to scale back the amount of hours logged working out, I stopped doing classes over the summer and started taking the opposite approach, I worried. I wondered how I could keep the dynamic of my classes the same, but not workout alongside my clients. I’ve mastered the art of not hovering, and it was hard. Luckily, most of my classes now are set people, and they’re still small. Over the past year, we’ve gotten to know one another well. So while they are working out, I walk around the room in a big circle, counting out reps, calling out the change in exercise, giving encouragement and just chatting with them. If I see someone now who needs help, I approach it the same as I did before. Let the class go on, while I helped the class member who needed it.

And it’s worked. They don’t feel like I’m hovering, they’re comfortable, and they keep coming back.

One of the greatest things for my class members to see this past Sunday is: That my workouts don’t just kick their asses, but my workouts can kick my own too.
I could have written my own for the day. I could have pulled one from my arsenal of workouts from classes past… Instead, I went to Jen Sinkler and her Lift Weights Faster for a good butt kicker of a workout. The one I chose? The Tortoise and the Hare.

20 Pledge Planks
15 KB Swings
10 KB Jump Squats
5 KB Windmills

The workout on Sinkler’s page calls for four rounds for time, but I pumped my class for five rounds.

Anytime I give a class a “for time” workout, I get amazing results. The encouragement I hear passed around, the drive and push that I see. It creates a spark inside my class members, so I wasn’t surprised when all five rounds were completed in 20-minutes or less.

I also learned, that the months I’ve been spending sans cardio? Have taken a toll. Good thing I started hitting that stair stepper for 15-minutes a few times a week.

Leaving Facebook.

I’m just a small town girl, which has shown me one thing: I never, ever want to be famous. Ever. I never want to walk down the street, swarmed by fans and have cameras thrust in my face at every turn. I never want to have to struggle to keep my private life private. I want to be able to come and go as I please. Live my life on my terms.

So then why does it feel like I’m smack dab in the middle of a red carpet, being grilled about why I wore my hair the way I did today (it’s down, a simple bobby pin keeping my long bangs from my face, if you must know)?

Because small town living.

My county has a population of 37,000 people spread out over about 17 different towns. Breaking it down, that’s really not a lot of people. Topping it off: Both sides of my family, the DiNapolis and the Vanorses are well known in this county. Everyone knows one side or the other. Add to that, my job. It’s puts me out there in the public frequently, be it covering games, attending something for theSCENE, etc. And the final piece of this pie? Being a personal trainer, or a small business owner, leaves me still out there, in the open.

The first 20 some odd years of my life were lived in relative obscurity. Once in awhile, I’d cross paths with someone who knew my family, and that was that. Somewhere, about eight or nine years ago, these people I’d cross paths with became more and more, and what was worse was: They felt that they had a right to my life.

The more I became known in my job (it happens when you’re the sole woman in a male dominated department), I could add complete strangers to the mix. People I didn’t know approaching me, and because I worked for their local news source, they felt they owned me. deactivated2

Life changing events, like marriage, babies, etc, draw out the worst in people. And my pregnancy has certainly been no exception to this rule. It had pulled people out in droves, the masses able to access me with harassing, menacing words in regards to my size, my continued lifestyle of staying healthy and working out, and more. When I didn’t know right at 20-weeks what we were having due to scheduling issues (another small town pitfall, when doctors are out, you have to wait), I was criticized. Despite it being out of my hands, and only two weeks later, at 22-weeks, we had our scan and found out we were having a healthy baby boy. Now it’s the name thing. Because we have decided to wait until we meet our miracle before naming him, criticism.

A lot of it, I have zero control over. I cannot quit my job. I cannot voice to these people how I really feel about their intrusion to my life, as I risk losing my job and it can damage my business. I can only continue to sigh, let it roll off of my back and move on.

I do not want these people to feel that they have a right to my child. Because they do not. He is entitled to a quiet and private life, just like my husband is. Just as I, when I’m on my own time, should be entitled to the freedom of living my life. Yet, no one gives me that opportunity.

The one area that I do have control of it? Social media. Twitter and Instagram are great platforms. They’re basic, they’re simple, and to my benefit, not entirely “in” in my area. They’re obscure forms to socialize. And I love them dearly. The profile you see of me is genuine on those platforms. The life of fitness, my crazy dog, and more. I’m honest and I’m open there. Why? Because it’s free of scrutiny of the public eye here.

Facebook? No. Despite my locked down settings, my vague profile on there, it left me too accessible to the public. So what did I do? I deactivated my account. I clicked that button and felt an incredible sense of freedom. I know it’s only one small aspect in the grand scheme of what is really going on here, in my small corner of the world. But it has taken a great weight off of my shoulders. I feel I can breathe a little easier. I can focus on my pregnancy, my family, my work, my business…

It’s amazing how something so small can be so big at the same time.

But now the issue being faced is: As the designated poster for sports previews, championship stories, etc, I no longer have access to the one driving source in our social media world here at the company I work for. So, who will pick up the social media input? Which brings the question of, can an employer maintain a social profile? Or is it up for them to decide?

I’ve certainly opened quite a rank can of worms with the click of a button.

Workout: Back to Basics.

This blog has only seriously been a million days in the making. Well, not really a million, but ten days. Seriously. Between a storm that knocked out power for three days, insanity at work (gotta love poll papers!), clean up from the snow storm, and life in general… It’s been a bit since I’ve been able to sit down and put this blog together.

Working out has been my therapy. It has helped me work through ups and downs, demons, happiness, sadness, frustration, anger… Everything. I sometimes find myself in the gym for hours, working my body – and my mind, in sync. It has kept me level.

The funniest thing ever, when I first started telling people I was pregnant, was what they’d say to me, informing me of things I would surely miss. I’d miss drinking. No, not really, because I’m not much of a drinker. I’d miss seafood. Again, no, not really, because I don’t eat seafood (I know, a coastal person who has no love for the food from the sea or lakes).

What I do miss, is being able to hit the gym after a long, stressful day of work, or after a day where it feels like everyone has piled everything on me to handle, and just go at it. Work it out and get through it. I also miss heavy lifting.


It sucks doing it, but my “junk sets” are now my actual sets. Starting deadlifts with 65# and squats with 45#. Hard to believe 21 weeks ago, I hit a deadlift of over 300# and a squat of over 200… I’ll get back there. And that unimpressed face will be a crap eating grin again.

That’s where I’m dying. In the gym. Out of every year, I had maybe a total of 4-weeks in which I would put my body through just a typical maintenance workout. Give my body one month, maybe a month and a half, to just chill out after putting it through some pretty rugged workouts. So, you can imagine, when I hit week 23 of pregnancy, being stuck on loop in maintenance mode… I was wilting like an unwatered plant in the sweltering hot sun.

I’ve been constantly fiddling with my workouts since finding out I was pregnant. For a run, I was doing something completely different every time I was in the gym. Most of the time, it was a set workout of doing x for arms, x for back, and so on. I’m getting bored. Like anyone would after five long months.

Which brought me to thinking, what can I do now? What haven’t I done in awhile?

So now, I’m bringing it back to the basics. It’s a win-win for me at the moment, I’m getting bigger, my range is being limited by that growing belly, and I really don’t know how much longer I’m going to be able to work out. I’d like to think that I’ll be doing it right up until the baby comes, but in attempts at being realistic: I know that might not be what happens.

Leg Day

Standing Calf Raise
Hamstring Curl*
Romanian Deadlift

*For us pregnant ladies, being on our bellies once it starts to grow gets hard. To modify it, use a cable machine, or a band looped around your ankle and bend your leg at the knee (like you’re kicking your hiney).

Arms & Back

Dumbell Drag Curl
Hammer Curl
Kick Back
Dumbell Triceps Extension
Wide Grip Pull Down
Supinated Row

Shoulders & Chest

Single Arm Overhead Press
Lateral Raise
Single Arm Upright Row
Face Pull
Cable Flye
Pec Dec

As of right now, I’ve only done one full cycle through the workout program. When I hit legs for the second time last Tuesday, I didn’t quite approach the reps in each set the same way, and I did the same tonight with my second time through with arms. The exercises stay the same in the workout, but alternate between straight sets with straight reps at a set weight, do staggered sets where you do 2 sets with maybe 10 reps of a light weight, then do a set to failure, or do pyramids.

The “Give It To Me” mentality.

Nobody gives it to you, you have to take it.

At my nephew’s football game tonight, I realized, I wanted to scrap my initial idea tonight of a running blog, and change it to something like… The “GIVE IT TO ME” mentality of fitness took over my chaotic mind.

It was a junior varsity game, the last one of the season. My nephew is on said team. However, true to this particular coach’s “style”, my nephew and all of the other junior varsity players — never saw the field. The varsity players had a record at the end of THEIR season 2-7, while JV has a record of 5-1.

I have been to many games this season, for many different football teams. Part of my day job as a sports reporter and photographer. This particular coach, makes me shake my head. Why? He would rather lose a game, shout at his defensive line, watch his team get crushed — than make the changes he would need to make in order to play a successful game of football, and win. Because that would mean taking seniors off of the field, and putting in underclassmen.

The seniors are automatically made starters, never having to earn their spot on the field, while the players who play their positions better, watch from the sidelines. A quarterback who ignores the coach’s plays and creates his own. A team that fights and swears on the field, causing them to receive a 10-yard penalty because of their behavior. A defensive line that opens up like the Panama Canal right after a snap.

These players should be benched, and made to work and earn their places on the field. But instead, the privilege is just handed over to them.

This week in my fitness world, a few different things happened. I said good-bye to my last seasonal client, who, while I’m snowed in, will be enjoying the warm sun in Florida. I had two of my 60+ year old clients push themselves through six rather grueling rounds of a new workout, something I knew they had in them, but they themselves didn’t. The pride on their faces at the end, made it all worth it. And I had a potential client call with the request to lose 25-pounds by Thanksgiving week, and have a “nice, flat, toned stomach”. She and her husband are going to Mexico for Thanksgiving this year and she bought a bikini a few sizes too small, six months ago, to get her “up for losing the weight”. Yet she just now reached out to someone to accomplish that.

25-pounds in three weeks. Not to mention what she called a nice, flat and toned stomach.

Realistic? No, most certainly not by any healthy means. I won’t lie. It would take a lot of work to lose just half of that in a healthy way. I refuse to encourage unhealthy behavior for weight loss. Absolutely refuse.

I told her we could meet for a consultation, and made sure to make zero promise or guarantee I could do that even before she agreed to the consultation.


Because of the same mentality those seniors on the field tonight have developed. The Give It To Me mentality.

Results are not instant. You have to work for them.

The slew of advertisements for magic shakes, magic wraps or pills, those that will make you shed weight instantly – only encourage this mentality. The football coach I’ve mentioned here, he’s just like these advertisements. A world of false hope. The issue there is: Do they work? In reality: No. Very few work to some extent, but the results are only temporary. Lasting maybe a few days. Like with the players out there on the field. Only a few, a very small few, might be able to stand up to being able to prove that they deserve to stay on that field. The rest? Not so much. And with the magic potions: The damage to your body? Permanent. When those kids go off to college and think they’ll get the same privileges this coach extended to them? Heartbreak, because most coaches are not like that.

Over the summer, I had one of the gyms I contract with contact me because they had a woman who was getting married in two weeks that wanted to shed 20-pounds before her wedding.

My dilemma with clients like this, who are stuck in the Give It To Me mentality is: I take them on, make it clear that I can help them work towards that goal, make sure to NEVER say that I can do exactly what they are asking and — after just a session or two, they are not seeing results, it becomes my fault, I’m a horrible trainer, and I shouldn’t be working with people. I receive bad reviews from them. They tell all of their friends. It hurts my business. Never mind that I have several successful classes with glowing clients and reviews, or that I have many one-on-ones who have never once had a complaint… It will be because for the ones who want instant, finger snapped results, I’m “damaged”.

It is something that all trainers face. The clients who want as much in the result department, for as little to no work to them.

There is no magic workout. There isn’t a magic diet. It takes hard work and dedication to reach your goals in a healthy manner, and in that process, you learn the dedication and ways to keep successful and maintain your progress. There will be set backs, but if done properly, and coached correctly, those set backs will be easily overcome.

You won’t have it given to you — you have to take it. Dreams and goals only come to fruition if you’re willing to put the work into it.

Baby Rebel is… well, gonna be a rebel.

We found out last Tuesday that Baby Rebel is a boy. And that he is already living up to his, now well loved, nickname.

While it’d have been fun to experience life with a mini-me/girl, I realized very quickly, I’m best suited to be raising a boy. Make-up, princesses, actual style? I’d be a hot mess. Totally lost. I wouldn’t know what to do. Dirt, Tonkas, engines, bugs? I’ve got that. 1904093_10202773718804200_8158087595152938800_n

It’s quite funny that I’m having a boy actually. Women who are/have been pregnant or have children, know exactly what I’m talking about with what I’m going to say next…

Pregnancy seems to give the people around you a pair of brass balls. You get a lot of advice that you – guess what? Don’t even have to ask for! But you also hear all of those infamous old wives tales. The gender ones. The second the world around me was clued into my pregnancy, they came.

The only thing that indicated boy was the position of my bump and the low heart rate we were hearing on the doppler. Now, right off, I ruled out how I was carrying. Because of the positioning of my hips (tilted), my spine (from my disease), and the way things are tipped and tilted inside – I’m going to carry low regardless.

Everyone swore it was a girl. Morning sickness all day, that went away for week 21, but has since returned again in week 22. My face looks like a teenage girl’s face (she’s stealing my beauty). Among many other “tales”…

When the woman doing the sonogram announced “It’s a boy!” I pat my belly and smiled. Baby Rebel is already defying the world around him, and he isn’t even out of the womb.
Proving the world wrong, step one, check.

Just like mommy.

He’s an active little boy. The sonogram was hard to do because he wouldn’t hold still, and the heart beat on the doppler was fascinating as hell because in-between his heart beats, we’d hear “Whoooosh!” because he was still on the move.

He has been fascinated with kicking my belly button, I’ll poke my belly and tell him to cut it out, but it just makes him more persistent. We needed him to move just right to get a full spinal picture on the sonogram, but as he flipped all around, he wouldn’t show his back.

Don’t ever say no or stop, step two, check.

Needless to say, my little man already is trailing in momma’s footsteps, much to daddy’s worry.

So I guess we won’t tell daddy that momma’s worried about all the crazy things daddy did when he was younger, and our little guy wanting to do the same.

I guess I’m going to get a taste of my own medicine, aren’t I?

Pressed for time & space? Quick shoulders & back.

wwI have been home sick for going on three days now. Despite still working during two of those days, I hit stir crazy at the end of day numero uno. And I’m guessing by the activity level inside my stomach… Baby Rebel did too.

Ahhh, the pitfalls of coworkers coming to work sick. Add that to the wonky immune system courtesy of pregnancy: you are going to catch anything that passes your way. And it’s going to suck. Because it’s going to be bad.

Because of being so bad off on Monday, I missed my typical Monday night workout. Okay, fine, it can be done on Tuesday and I’ll just skip a day of yoga this week. Nope. After puking Tuesday morning, I knew it was a good idea to sit that day out completely too.

“Aren’t rest days for sissies?” or “Whatever happened to no days off?”

When you’re pregnant, you take the back seat and baby is in the driver seat. For real. That little thing growing inside of you becomes top priority. Sure, I could have still done my usual Tuesday yoga at night, or even gone to the gym that evening. By that afternoon, I was starting to feel better. But baby is first, and I don’t want to risk his/her health, just so I can go pump some iron for an hour, or work up my already high body heat in a prenatal yoga sesh. Nuh-uh.

Train smarter not harder.

So naturally, by this morning, my body hated me. My back and knees were especially screaming at me “You bitch! You haven’t worked out in almost three whole days! DO something!”

My body needs movement. It has been a huge coping mechanism not just with stress and anxiety in my life, but it has been immense in helping me deal with my spinal disease. I can tell, just how my body feels, how long it’s been since I’ve worked out. I don’t need a calendar.

Because people enjoy going to work sick, passing germs around and what not (then when you get sick from them, tell you not to bring those germs into work!), I felt it wise to spend one more down day at home. This time, since press day had passed, I could make the couch and three weeks worth of Chicago Fire, Chicago PD and Total Divas my sole days plan. I’d rather not, while I’m down, dealing with this sinus cold thing, catch whatever coworker-x has decided to bring into the office. Baby first, remember?

I can’t just sit on the couch all day, I needed to get some movement in. Thank the workout gods that I’m a personal trainer and have a crap ton of weights, kettles, bands, etc in my sunroom closet, my garage and in my car. Yay for home workouts!

Quickie Home Shoulder/Back workout:

Standing Kettlebell Overhead Press

American Kettlebell Swing

Bent-over Rear Delt Flye

Modified Warrior III Shoulder Raise (in Warrior III pose, weight in one hand, palm down, raise arm nice and high, over head, pause, then return to side)

Sitting Low Band Row (at hip height)

Sitting High Band Row (shoulders parallel to ground)

Pushups (pausing at top for 2 counts, and at bottom for 2 counts)

Tent Pushups

It’s not only a time friendly workout, but it’s a space conserving workout too. You only need about 35-minutes, and about the space of a yoga mat, so it’s great to have on hand for when you’re crunched for time, but need to get a workout in.

Foodie Friday: Eating for two.

This week’s is a special Foodie Friday blog. It touches on that infamous “eating for two” many, if not all, pregnant woman hear during their pregnancies.

Pregnancy brings out the worst in people. Really. It does. Just like with working out, parenting, driving, etc… Suddenly, the day everyone finds out your pregnant, you meet all of the “experts”.

So with voices coming at you, at all sides, how do you know what is correct information, and what’s just “expert” advice from those who just kind of need to take a pause, and maybe even back off?

First and foremost: Listen to your doctor, your midwife and even your doula if you have one.

Second? Stay away from the internet. For real. Those forum boards, chat threads, the endless articles about pregnancy? No. Just don’t even open that browser tab and search for it. Internet “experts” are the same as real life ones.

Unless they’ve had the education, the schooling, etc… Take everything anyone tells you with a giant, sparkling grain of salt.

As you can see, I am viewing my experiences in pregnancy, the same as I have my experiences in the fitness and nutrition world. The people who give their “advice” and “expertise” without prompt, make me batty. In any instance. I’ve been educated in my field, and I only offer anything when I’m approached by someone, seeking answers/guidance/etc…

I have yet to ask for advice, but man, have I gotten a lot of it. Most have been in regards to my still working out, and my eating habits.

It’s really hard to remember that not everyone knows of the studies and research that has been done to prove that exercise during pregnancy not only is okay, but something all doctors are encouraging now. So when I have someone looking at me like I’m about to drop my baby in front of the weight rack at the gym, I have to do my best to not chuckle or make a rude, snide remark.

Although, I did have to take that route one evening with a young man that tried to muscle me out of the gym that I have been going to for more than a decade — and he’s a new member. Sorry buddy, not sorry.

But the eating one is the one that gets me the most.


Should you really be eating for two while pregnant? The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologist say firmly and adamantly, no. It puts you and baby at unnecessary risks.

“Oh! You’re supposed to be eating for two! You shouldn’t skip those seconds!” And “Why aren’t you eating that? You have a growing baby in there, you need to eat for two now!”, so on and so forth.


Pre-pregnancy, my caloric intake was 3,300 calories a day. Those calories were consumed in 5 small, very well balanced meals a day. To consume twice that?! I’d be dead before I got the chance to meet my child. I’d smother myself to death consuming 6,600 calories a day, without increasing my activity level to match that intake.

Pregnancy isn’t the meal ticket to eat more and eat whatever the hell you want. If that’s your prerogative, so be it. It’s not a healthy one, and it certainly is NOT a smart one.

So what is best during pregnancy? Stick with the diet you’re on now. And I don’t mean diet as in what you do to lose weight. I mean diet as in: Eat a well balanced, whole diet of foods rich in nutrients, etc. You should NEVER diet to lose weight during pregnancy.

When you’re pregnant, the only thing that should change is how much you eat. During that first trimester, especially if you’re dealing with morning sickness — don’t worry so much about getting a few extra calories. Just focus on getting what your body needs to keep that baby growing and healthy.

You’re looking at a 300+ calorie a day consumption. This is on top of what you were consuming pre-pregnancy. That’s right. Only a measly little 300 more calories a day more than what you had before. A far, far cry from the “eat for two” everyone will tell you to do. Except your doctors, nurses, midwives, etc. They’ll tell you DO NOT eat that much.

If you and baby are going through a fit pregnancy, then on your gym/workout/run days, you’re definitely going to need to consume a little more than that 300 calories a day extra. That’s where that little plus sign comes in. Keep track of your workouts, monitor what you burn so that you can replenish, and you’re all set.

Ideally, a pregnant woman, who was of normal weight pre-pregnancy, should gain about 25-35 pounds during. If she was overweight before pregnancy? Obviously less weight should be gained. More if she was underweight.

Another thing often heard during pregnancy is: Give in to those cravings. Baby wants it!

Just like without being pregnant, your body is craving that certain “thing” for a reason. No, it’s not because it wants you to pig out on ten hamburgers from Burger King or McDonalds. To spring for the large Blizzard at Dairy Queen instead of that little bite size one they have. Your body is telling you that it’s missing something. Missing, or lacking a nutrient that it needs to get through. That’s where our sweets cravings come from. Most of the time, we get the sweets cravings because our body wants fruit and the nutrients that come with it. NOT that Three Musketeers bar.

Babies are the same way. Our body needs more of all of the nutrients we need on a daily basis, and your diet might be lacking in some key spots. Which is where those cravings come in. Finding out what exactly it is that your body is telling you that it needs, can be like deciphering an ancient code some times, but it can be done.

That’s not to say that everyone once in awhile you can’t have a burger, some ice cream, a candy bar, etc… But treat it as you would before. No, it’s not a reward for behaving well on your diet. No, it’s not meant to be a treat or a cheat. Indulge, lightly, once in awhile. That’s how you stay on track with your healthy eating. Don’t deprive, but sample and don’t dive right on in either. A few bites once in awhile is okay.

Brings me back to what Jill Coleman once said on sampling: taste everything and binge on nothing.

In the end, eating right and exercising will not only help you get back into shape easier and even faster, but it will help you in that delivery room as well.