Three Life Lessons From the Past Year–My Birthday Present to You

To sum up my 32nd year, I think Charles Dicken’s quote, “It was the best of times and the worst of times” summarizes the past year.

My birthday year started off rough with the unexpected passing of my mom July 10th and, then a few days, later the stroke of my 25 year old “healthy and fit” brother.Dustin and mom fm4l gear

Lesson #1

Life is precious, health is precious and we aren’t guaranteed another day. We do our best to stay as fit and healthy as possible but that doesn’t guarantee anything. My mom was the pinnacle of health but it couldn’t prevent her massive brain aneurysm. My brother ate pretty healthy and exercises regularly but somehow it didn’t prevent a clot from reaching all of the way up to his brainstem.

Grief is real, but so is joy, and joy can come after grief. Our family is closer than ever and my dad is doing very well and starting to get a clearer picture of what life looks like as a widower.

The Transformation Center saw incredible growth over the past year with the launch of our Fit over 50 small group training program. We have had over 340 (mostly women) join the program the past year and have seen incredible improvements in their health, weight, strength, balance, energy and confidence.

I got back into town early this morning (at 2:30am) from Phoenix where I was presenting at the Functional Aging Institute International Conference. I was honored to be acknowledged as having one of the best and most cutting edge fitness and health programs for 50-90 year olds. Many thanks to everyone who has played a role in this.

Lesson #2

Success is a team effort and we can’t do it alone. This is a lesson I have been learning over the past 12 years in business. Starting out, I had to wear every hat, but as things grow I am able to find people who do certain things WAY better then I could.

There are times in life when we need help and we need to check our egos at the door and ask for help. This year I have had to ask for help more than ever before and my friends, team of trainers and staff, and clients have helped out so much and I am grateful for that.

When we ask for help, we are also letting go and putting trust in someone else. There are things in my life and business that I have clung onto not wanting to let it go, but I am slowly giving those things up to others and it has been scary, uncomfortable, and nerve-racking at time, but it is necessary for growth to happen.

Each year, I try to train for something different, to keep me excited about exercise and to keep my body improving.

With the death of my mom, I decided to commit this year to doing something I really didn’t think I could do, participating in Ironman Wisconsin. This was mostly because I didn’t know how to swim at all and the thought of a 2.4 mile lake swim seemed beyond daunting. I also have virtually no experience with running.

With 3 months to go until the Ironman, I am feeling extremely prepared and confident.

Lesson #3

There are SO many lessons I can share on this topic, but will save that for another day, but the one lesson from this that I want to share is to DESTROY the lies in your head that you “aren’t” or you “can’t” do something.

For 32 years I told myself, I told you, I wrote about it in my book and blog that I “don’t do cardio,” as well as I can’t swim.Dustin run pic

These beliefs stifled any chances of me being able to do it because it eliminated me even asking the right questions.

Once I had decided upon the desire outcome (finish Ironman), I had to ask myself a new set of EMPOWERING questions like:

1. Who can I hire to teach me how to swim?
2. What type of running mechanics do I need to make sure my troubled knees can handle it?
3. Who specializes in creating a program to get me to the finish line of IM?
4. Where is there a community of triathletes in Madison that I can spend time with?

These 4 questions might not sound like much but they opened the door for possibilities.

Since that decision, I officially started training in November giving it my 100%. There have been ups and downs but the trajectory has mostly been up!

At 33, I can say I feel like I am in the best shape of my life. I am not as strong in my upper body as I have been before, but my dramatically improved cardio, leanness and increased energy I have gained trumps it all.

Thank you so much for being part of my life, during the ups and downs. I hope in some small way I can educate and inspire you to not only go after new physical challenges, but in all areas of your life, strive for improvement.

Cheers to another year together.

Lessons from My First Triathlon

I just competed in my first triathlon. My coach, Blake Becker, told me that since this is my first race that I should have no expectations going into it and that things will go wrong and it is a learning experience.

For those who don’t know me very well, I am highly calculated, highly competitive and analyze everything.

The truth was, I DID have expectations and pretty high ones at that.

The Lake Mills sprint triathlon is a 400M lake swim, followed by a 16 mile bike ride and a 5K run to finish up.

This is the first of 4 races this summer for me building up to Ironman Wisconsin, which is the big race I am training for.

I will share with you my race report and then, towards the bottom of this post, some of my lessons that I hope will help you in whatever health and fitness goals you have.

It was a special day for me, my dad came from Minnesota to cheer me on and see what this whole triathlon thing was. He heard me talking about it and the training I have been doing, but he said nothing prepared him for the specialness of the day.

I signed up under male novice, meaning someone who has three or fewer triathlon races under their belt. This started me in an earlier wave, which is what I preferred.

A couple minutes before the start of the swim, out of nowhere, a huge storm blew in with 30 plus MPH wind gusts, black clouds, and a little light rain. The lake, which had been quite calm, turned white capped and was pushing the waves onshore.

This was going to make the first 100 meters out much tougher.

Now, some of you have been following my swimming journey. In November, I began adult swim lessons because I never learned how to swim as a child. By the end of the first lesson, I was able to get across one length of the pool but my heart rate would be well over 180.

I began swimming 3-6 times per week for the next six months with an average of about 4-5 miles each week. One week before Lake Mills, I put a wetsuit on and did some open water swimming. I found the wetsuit really helped keep my legs higher, which is what I was really struggling with.

So given my background, I wasn’t too pleased to see large waves heading for me. There were 60 men in my wave and the gun goes off and I run into the water quickly, hoping to get in front of the main pack, even though I figured I would probably get passed up soon.

The next few minutes seemed like a blur, but wave after wave kept crashing over me as I battled against the current. I would pop my head up from time to time to make sure I was swimming out to the first buoy.D post swim pic

I rounded the first buoy and then had a 200M swim across the shore line…a little easier but still very turbulent. I couldn’t really see any other swimmers around me except for some of the novice women who were really struggling in the water having gone out 10 minutes before me.

I made the turn around the final buoy and quickly got pushed into shore. I got up a little tipsy and more out of breath then I felt like I should have. I had no idea if I was in the front, middle, or back of the pack, but grateful that I stayed very calm in the water and had no fear or anxiety.

After the race was over, I discovered I came out in a relatively fast time of 6:25 in second place, only two seconds back of first place.

As I ran to my bike, I felt quite nauseous. Fortunately, I didn’t swallow any lake water, I think it was that my HR was high and going from swimming to running was something I had yet to practice.

My wetsuit got stuck around my ankle with the timing chip and I was forced to go to the ground to finally get out of the suit. This ended up being one of the only glitches of the day and might have cost me 15 seconds.

My bike was going to be my strongest part of the race. I have been biking for 2 years and really love it. I am a student of aerodynamics and have trained in an aero position quite a bit this year.Dustin bike pic

I have trained with a power meter on my bike for over a year and had a goal of 280-300 watts average for the 16 miles. If I did that, I figured I could ride under 40 minutes which would put me at about 25 MPH average.

I had never trained biking right after a swim, though, and was surprised at how tough the first mile or two was because my HR was well over 160 getting onto the bike. For reference, in my tough bike training days, my HR rarely goes above 160.

My HR soon went to over 170, but my legs started to feel better. After about 5 miles, I felt like I was in a good rhythm and stayed in my aero position the entire time except for a couple sharp turns.

It was very windy out, but I have been training all spring in high winds so it didn’t bother me at all.

My watts were around 275 at the half way mark and I tried to push it just a little harder to get to my minimum goal of 280, but each time I did so, my HR would creep towards 180, which I knew was too high to sustain.

For the first time ever, my legs wanted to give more, but my cardio held me back, in training it is always the other way around.

At mile 12, I was averaging a blistering 25.5 MPH, but had the final 4 miles into a strong headwind. I kept my head down and finished my ride in 38:59 which ended up being about 25 MPH average.

The only bike mishap happened on the final mile when I got confused with bikers just starting the ride and took a wrong turn at about 30 MPH, I had to slam my breaks on, and do a U turn and go back, this might have cost me 20 seconds.

After the race, I discovered that I had the 10th fastest bike time out of around 700 riders. This included some professionals that were competing. I was very pleased with that!

My HR was about 174 as I quickly change into my running shoes.

Running is something I started in Dec, and have very little experience with. I struggled early in the spring with a few minor foot and leg injuries, which slowed my training down a bit.

My goal was to run a 7 min mile pace which is about as fast as I have run in practice on fresh legs.

Dustin run picFirst mile, I took slow as I found my running legs and did a 7:20. My HR stayed in the mid 170s, so I increased my pace a bit for the second mile and did 7:10. My HR was now about 180. I knew from experience, I can only stay above 180 for 5-10 minutes before my body shuts down.

I picked the pace up and finished with a very strong kick and did a 6:55 ish final mile and then threw up moments after I crossed the line, this seems to be a theme of mine. :]

Total time was 1:10:30 and I won my novice category by about 3 minutes and placed 25th overall out of close to 700.

Most things went according to plan, which I was grateful for. I credit my coach Blake and team BBMC for helping me train and prepare for the race, and for the extended amounts of time I prepped and visualized my ideal race.

1 hour and 10 minutes was my BIG goal time and I pretty much achieved that.

My swim surprised me with how good it was, my bike lived up to my high expectations, and my run was a touch slower than I had hoped and WAY slower than I need to be competitive in the future.

To put it in perspective, if my run was as strong as my bike, I would be running 5:40 min miles for a 5K, instead of my 7:10!

Lessons Learned

1. You are only as good as your training and preparation. There is a saying in triathlons and probably most races, that you aren’t going to magically run/bike/swim/ much faster than you have in training, in other words there are no positive surprises. The goal is to execute the race you have trained for.

This is so true. My swim might have been a few seconds faster than my best in training but not by much. My bike was right around my training times, and my run was too.

2. Be grateful for the body you have and what it can do. Whether you are first or last to cross the finish line it doesn’t matter, what matters is that you are having fun, enjoying the great outdoors, and living life to its fullest.

Halfway through the bike, I was in a nice rhythm and I had a big smile come over my face as I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude to have a body that is healthy enough to move it and to experience life in the way I was experiencing it.

3. Community is everything. I was blessed to have a handful of clients come out to cheer me on, and 5 of my staff and clients raced with me and did their first tri. It was so special to share that moment with them.

4. There will always be challenges and unexpected bumps in the road, how you handle them plays a huge roll in how you experience life. Fortunately, I didn’t have too many unforeseen challenges, but the large waves, wetsuit sticking, and the wrong turn were things I didn’t expect, but stayed calm and did my best to overcome.

5. Have fun! If I didn’t love the training, camaraderie, and racing of triathlons, I wouldn’t be doing it. But I LOVE doing the work and look forward to continuing the journey this summer.

6. Be well rounded. I think it is good to have many different hobbies, and interests. I struggle with this because I like to do things I am really good at. For triathlons though, I need to be good at all three disciplines, so I will be putting more of a focus in on my running. I still plan on biking a lot and hard, but my run is my glaring weakness. I have discovered my love of open water swimming and especially swimming with a wetsuit. 🙂

Thank you all for your support, love, and encouragement. It means the world to me as I discover more about myself and who I am and who I can become. I hope that in some small way I am able to inspire you to go after your goals and dreams with a passion and intensity that you have never had before.

Feel free to reach out to me with questions or “wins” that you have had in your own life.

I’m More Than a Number!

I’m more than a number.

Neither my weight nor my clothing size defines my self-worth.

I say this now, like it’s easy. But it’s NOT. It takes constant reinforcement to remind myself of that in this day and age.

Just look in any women’s magazine and you’ll find multiple articles about how to shred fat and drop 10 lbs in 2 weeks… all surrounded by super-lean models.

Scroll through instagram and see “fitspo” everywhere… it’s supposed to be motivating but so many of those models are crazy lean—skinnier than I’ll ever be.

It’s easy to get down on your body and your looks when constantly surrounded by all of this. Especially if there is part of your body that is sometimes hard to love. =)

More than a number

My superpower is getting outside each and every day this year with our two boys. Trading the tablets for the trees; spending our time in the light of the sun rather than the light of a screen. It’s challenging us and changing us and that’s good.

So when People Magazine launched a campaign geared toward “proving that women are more than just a number”, more than just their size, I was initially happy to see a mainstream media outlet taking on this issue.

But unfortunately, the campaign is asking people to share their picture with… you guessed it… their number! People’s #ShareYourSize campaign is asking people to post pictures with their clothing size.

I get that the idea is to show that all sizes are beautiful and that there are many different body types out there.

All that is true, but I’d rather learn something about those people and what their bodies can do for them. I’d want to hear about my friend who is a grandmother and is training for her first triathlon. Or my friend in the Navy who has three kids and who did a tour in Iraq. Or my friend who is bravely recovering from an accident that destroyed her knee.

I couldn’t care less what size clothing they wear. I want to know what they do.

I want to learn about women who constantly grow by pushing themselves out of their comfort zone and challenging themselves. I want to be motivated and inspired by their example, whether big or small. Because that’s how I will become a better version of myself.

So we are launching an alternative to People Magazine’s campaign.

Share your picture on Twitter or Facebook with a sign that says something about you, but nothing about your size or weight!

Share your Secret Superpower—something that you are proud of or that challenges you in some way.

Use the hashtags #shareyoursize AND #morethananumber. Tag @People and @FitMomsforLife and let’s change the conversation!!

We are more than a number. We are strong. We are healthy. We are Fit Moms for Life!

Update (4-29-16)

So many beautiful women who are Fit Moms for Life agree… we are proud to share a few of these amazing people!
morethananumber 4

more than a number 2

more than a number 1more than a number 3

Self-Care Revolutionized

I don’t know why, but making the time for self-care can feel so difficult this time of year.

Maybe it’s because we’ve been sick a fair amount. Or maybe it’s because the days are short. Or that it’s a crazy busy time.

Regardless, it can be too easy to start pushing self-care aside and letting other things creep in and get in the way of workouts, healthy meals, stress-release time, etc.

That’s why I so love this quote from Lisa Bauer, who leads an awesome Yin Yoga class at the Transformation Center on Wednesday evenings.

Many of us equate self-care with being selfish. Self-care is filling up so you can continue to take care of others. Self-care is feeding your spirit, taking care of your body, calming your mind, so you can be more present in the world and with those you love.

Lately, though, I’ve been thinking about self-care as a revolutionary act: Taking care of yourself is kind of like flipping off this cultural notion that we should be going, doing, winning, striving, setting goals, meeting goals — all the time, in order to have worth. Self-care is stepping outside that cycle and saying, “Nah, I’m gonna just be good to myself, and be myself.”

I love that because the funny thing is that when you adopt that mindset, it actually becomes easier to make the changes you want to make… for all the right reasons.

take care of yourself (1)When you stop spending so much energy trying to be the person you think you “should” be, and instead love and care for who you are, it frees up the space to be able to take care of yourself.

When you find that sense of self-love and self-worth, you want to take better care of your body and your mind, because it matters to you.

Then it becomes easier to take the actions that will get you closer to who you want to be in the future, because you love and respect yourself now.

Personally, I’m adding yoga back into my fitness routine because it reminds me of all of these things. Plus, it loosens my muscles and joints and just makes me feel better. I had let it slide as time grew tight. But I’ve realized that I need to let other non self-care things slide instead.

How about you? How can you take better care of yourself? What can you do to start letting go of the notion that you must always be doing more in order to be worthy? How can your actions reflect that shift in perspective?

If you are looking for a place to start, try moving more. Nutrition plays a huge role in your overall health, but exercise can help you feel better more quickly and can give you the energy to make other changes.

Whatever it is, start now! There is no better time.

Need support? Check out the community and support in our flagship 6 Week Challenge program.

Lessons Learned from Staying Active Every Day

We’ve always been pretty active as a family. But this year, I wanted to be more intentional about it.

I’d noticed that it was too easy to stay indoors on our short, cold winter days in Wisconsin. And, especially on those days, our boys had too much extra energy and acted out a lot more.

Plus, I recently read Younger Next Year, which is a great read that talks about how critical it is to do something active each and every day, especially as you get older.

As our lives have gotten busier, my husband and I have found this harder and harder to do…

So, on New Years Day, we decided as a family to commit to getting outside every day, even for just a little bit.

I’m tracking our progress and posting pictures a couple of times each week on Instagram with the hashtags #365outside, #activeeveryday and #outsideeveryday. (You can find me at h88emily.)

While we are only two months in, it has been a great experience so far! Here are a few of my early take aways:

  • Getting outside helps the mood and behavior of our boys. One of our sons is on the autism spectrum, and some days can be really challenging. Getting outside, even for a short period, can really help. I remember one evening in particular, where a walk on a dark, cold night saved us from hours of awful outbursts.
  • Skating

  • We think about new things that we can do as a family outside. This challenge caused us to discover geocaching, for example, which has been a blast and an easy thing to do together. I’m not sure I ever would have tried it otherwise.
  • We’ve had some spectacular moments, like this evening on the ice on a perfectly glass smooth lake. The ice was so smooth that it didn’t make a sound under our skates. It. Was. Amazing. I’m not sure we’d have been out there to discover that without this challenge..
  • Our house is messier because we get outside in all kinds of weather. We are in mud season right now as the snow melts in Wisconsin and there is A LOT of mud in our house and our front yard is a disaster. So we spend a bit more time cleaning… I still think it’s worth it.
  • It’s been easy to stay unplugged. We’ve never had a lot of screen time in our house, but the kids have watched almost no TV since we started this in January. And they haven’t missed it!

While it hasn’t been easy every day—some of those short, cold, Wisconsin winter days were tough, especially when they are in school most of the day—it’s been worth it to actually think about when we were going to get outside and what we were going to do. Although it’s not too planned most of the time—there’s a lot of creative play that happens in the sandbox and the snow banks. But knowing that we made this commitment causes us to be very intentional to think about how and when we are going to get out.

We’ve only missed one day so far. It was well below zero, with a 30-40 below wind chill, and while we could have gone out, I decided that it just wasn’t worth it. We went to an indoor pool and went swimming instead. So, still active… just not outside. =)

It’s been totally worth it for us and we’ve seen benefits already in time spent together as a family, time being active, and our kids’ behavior.

Plus, it doesn’t usually cost us a dime!

What can you do to get more active as a family? It’s a lot easier to stay in shape when you can do it together!

Post your goals in the comments here and connect with me on Instagram so we can hold each other accountable!

Feeling SAD?? This Can Help!

The birds are singing, the days are longer and spring really is coming, but still, if you suffer from seasonal blues at all, this time of year is the hardest! All of those grey, short days have taken their toll.

The good news is that there are some things that you can do to help yourself get through the last gasp of winter, and that’s what I wanted to share with you today.

You are not alone if you struggle with this! My husband, who is an EMT and firefighter, said that they get far more crisis and suicide calls this time of year than any other.

It’s not that severe in my family, but I have less energy and have to work harder to find the motivation to work out and eat right this time of year. My boys fight more and it’s easy to feel exhausted at the end of the day.

Here’s what helps our family…

Eat foods that support your mental health.  Eating a diet rich in plants, and especially those that are good sources of Omega-3s, certain minerals, and anti-oxidants, can really bolster your mood. My top picks:

  • Raw cacao or dark chocolate – very rich in anti-oxidants and a proven mood booster. How cool that this is on the list, right? See below for the smoothie recipe that I drink almost every day this time of year. You can also simply eat a square or two of dark (70% cocoa content) chocolate each day, but watch the overall sugar content.
  • Spinach – getting more greens in is a good idea no matter what. But spinach is high in iron, Omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, magnesium, and Vitamin C. Overall, there are a fair number of studies that suggest it can be helpful in alleviating both depression and fatigue. Best of all, it is easy to incorporate into just about anything, from eggs to casseroles to soups to smoothies. Yes, I even put it into my daily chocolate smoothie… see below for the recipe!
  • Chia or flax seeds – again, both are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which help your body combat depression by naturally boosting serotonin levels. Add them to smoothies, oatmeal, salads, yogurt, etc. Chia seeds will thicken smoothies, etc, but otherwise I find both of these to be pretty undetectable.
  • Blueberries – very high in anti-oxidants and a great way to satisfy the sweet tooth cravings that I tend to get this time of year. 

Take time to support your mental health. My go-to strategy this time of year is daily meditation in the morning (just 10 minutes!) and daily gratitude journaling at the end of the day. Both of these activities help set me up for success, keep my mind clear, and remind me of all of the good things to celebrate in life so I don’t get stuck in Debbie Downer mode.

I struggled with the idea of meditation until someone recommended the app Insight Timer. It’s free and it’s jam-packed with daily, guided meditations of all different lengths. My favorite so far are from Tara Brach. Check it out here: https://insighttimer.com/

Get moving, even if you have no energy. I can’t recommend this highly enough. Whether it is a walk around the block or a 5 minute workout, get your blood going each and every day and it will do wonders for your mood.

Click here to check out 14 free 5-minute workouts that Dustin recorded and use them when you think you have no time to move!

While abs may be made in the kitchen, exercise is absolutely your biggest lever to get a better mood and more energy. Use it to give you the momentum to tackle other goals.

I hope these strategies help!

I’d love to hear how you deal with this in the comments below. Let’s all support each other through the last gasp of winter!

Superfood, Bust-your-blues Smoothie Recipe

1 cup raw spinach
1 cup water or coconut water (may also use coconut or almond milk)
1/2 – 1 banana (frozen, ideally)
1 heaping tablespoon raw cacao or unsweetened cocoa powder
1 scoop hydrolyzed collagen (protein powder)
1/2 tablespoon chia seeds
1/2 tablespoon almond butter
cinnamon to taste
1-2 drops stevia if you need it sweeter

Add ice if desired and blend until smooth. I recommend blending the spinach and water first, then adding the remaining ingredients and blending again.

How to fall in love with your health in the New Year

How many times have you set New Years resolutions in January, only to abandon them by March?

We’ve all done it!entertainment-career-resolutions

But it can leave you feeling guilty and like you’ve failed yet again to improve your health, exercise more, eat better, etc, etc.

It sets up a negative spiral in your relationship with your body and your health.

The good news is that there is a better way and you can fall in love with your body and your health—you just have to shift your mindset first.

This year, when you are thinking about the resolutions you want to make, skip the ones that involve losing weight, getting into better shape, etc.

Instead, focus on loving and accepting yourself. Decide that you are worth taking care of—that it is worth the effort to put yourself first once in awhile.

Then, instead of thinking “I should exercise more” or “I should lose weight,” ask yourself “How can I do more to take care of myself?” “What can I do to put myself first?” “How can I make my health more of a priority?”

Pick 1-2 small action steps that you can start now and that feel doable in the context of your life.

Then take action. Right away!

Make those 1-2 things the focus of your attention and energy for the next few weeks. Tell a friend or family member what you are doing and ask them to hold you accountable.

Once you start to experience some success in taking action and making changes, it will start to shift your view of what is possible.

Then you can ask yourself those same questions again: “What else can I do to take better care of myself?” And pick another small action to start focusing on, once your first actions start to become part of what you do each day.

That is the key to starting healthy habits that last. Start small with actions that you can sustain. Early success will keep you going, and they will ultimately become part of who you are and what you do each day without thinking about it—just like brushing your teeth.

It doesn’t even matter what the actions are, as long as they are taking a small step on your path towards health. However, actions that help you feel better will naturally keep you motivated to continue.

There are our top picks for healthy habits to start to incorporate into your life. These things will all help you look and feel your best. However, pick something that resonates with you and that you can work into your life!

  • Move more, whatever that means to you—walk each day; exercise a certain number of times per week; take the stairs instead of the elevator; etc.
  • Reduce the processed food that you eat—if your great grandma didn’t eat it, then you shouldn’t either.
  • Eat more veggies—drink a green smoothie each day.
  • Drink 96 ounces of water each day.
  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep.
  • Don’t eat carbs alone—always eat carbs with a protein to help balance your blood sugar and reduce cravings.

Make 2016 the year that you enjoy success with your New Years resolutions and fall in love with your body and your health!

Tips from 2-time gold medalist and mom Lindsay Tarpley

2008-7-12-US-WNT-Denver-Practice-8436s-412x600Today I’m excited to share an interview with Lindsay Tarpley, a 2-time Olympic gold medalist in soccer, an owner of Sweat Cosmetics, and a mom of two young kids—Jacob and Alexandra, who she calls her greatest accomplishments.

Lindsay won her first gold medal in 2004 and played on the Women’s National Team until 2011, when she suffered a career-ending knee injury during a send-off match for the 2011 World Cup against Japan. Since her injury, Lindsay has had five surgeries and is still rehabilitating her knee. You can learn more about Lindsay’s history here.

Just this summer, Lindsay joined the Fit Moms program at our Transformation Center in Madison, and we are looking forward to working with her in a budding partnership with Sweat Cosmetics—a company that shares our values of empowering women and encouraging sweat.

I wanted to talk to Lindsay to learn a bit more about her background and her takeaways from competing at such a high level.

And, at the end of the interview, you’ll see a link where you can enter to win one of Sweat Cosmetics’ twist-brush mineral foundation sets. They have generously provided us with several to give away, and my team members tell me that the product is awesome. =)

1) As an elite athlete, what does it take to compete at that level? How do you maintain that level of excellence and still pay attention to the other important areas of your life?

Being an elite athlete is incredible, but it also comes with a lot of responsibility. In order to be my best and play at such a high level, I had to make sure I took care of my body, mind, and overall physical well-being. I loved competing at the highest level and it was always an honor to represent the USA. Now my passion has turned to Sweat Cosmetics, which encourages and empowers women to embrace their beauty and live an active lifestyle.

2) Now that you are a mom, what has been your biggest challenge when it comes to taking care of yourself and how have you worked to overcome it?

I learned quickly that being a mom is an all-consuming wonderful challenge! It has taken me a long time to realize that after having my children, I still need to create time for myself. As soon as I walked into the Fit Moms Transformation Center, I felt like it was a community where I could work hard and reenergize myself. It is an encouraging environment that pushes me to be my best. I’ve learned that in order to try and get the best out of my children, I need to set the example and try to get the best out of myself first.

3) Lots of women feel overwhelmed when trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle, whether that has to do with getting fit, eating healthier, or just making the time in their busy lives to take care of themselves. What advice do you have for women who want to make a change but struggle to get started or to make time for themselves?

The hardest thing to do is start. It is always easier to say, “I’ll start tomorrow.” I would encourage you to make the decision to start TODAY. Be your best. Do something for yourself. Do it now. Believe me, I understand how hard it truly is, but I am a better mom because I have found time to take care of myself. Fit Moms for Life has provided me a supportive community that pushes me, challenges me and encourages me. As a result of making the time, I am a happier, healthier, more fulfilled person, which makes me a better mom for my family.

4) What’s the story behind Sweat Cosmetics? What are you all out to accomplish?

Our mission at Sweat Cosmetics is to narrow the gap between beauty and fitness. We want to empower women, embrace beauty and encourage sweat. We are all former/current professional soccer players and we appreciate wanting to work hard while embracing our beauty. We launched at the Women’s World Cup this past June with our all-in-one convenient, Sweat Stick. Our mineral-powder is a makeup and sunscreen that contains skin-loving ingredients which will protect and repair active skin. Our stick comes with a magnetic brush for easy clean-up. We are a brand that active women can trust to keep their skin healthy and beautiful. So, go ahead and SWEAT!!!

5) Finally, what is your favorite thing to do for fun?

I feel fortunate that I am very passionate about Sweat Cosmetics. I enjoy being part of a great team of people who want to empower and encourage women. It is important for women to know that they can live an active, healthy lifestyle while embracing their beauty. I love my morning workouts at FM4L and feel thankful that I found a community that helps push me and makes me a better all-around person. Also, I enjoy cooking healthy meals, shopping anytime, and exploring the outdoors.

I hope you got something out of that—I think it’s always helpful to hear from others who are successfully balancing a busy life and still managing to take care of themselves.

TP2-white-standing-with-refill-squareNow for the fun stuff…

I’m excited to announce that we are partnering with Sweat Cosmetics because our companies are so closely aligned in terms of our values.

Sweat has developed an all-natural mineral foundation and sunscreen that my team tells me is very easy and quick to apply, workout-proof, and lasting.

We will be giving away several of their twist brush set + mineral foundation Sweat Sticks ($42 value) over the next few weeks.

Please click here to enter!

When you do, you’ll get coupon codes good for 20% off at both Sweat Cosmetics and Fit Moms for Life.

Good luck!

What to Eat After a Workout

handstandEver find that your workouts leave you exhausted and starving the rest of the day? Like all you want to do is lay down and take a nap… after eating all the snacks in your secret stash of the good stuff that you don’t share with the kids? 😉

I used to feel this way. And with two boys under two running around underfoot, I could not afford to keep feeling like I just got hit by a mack truck on gym days.

It took some experimentation, but I finally realized that what I ate after exercising hard and how quickly I ate it made all the difference in how I felt the rest of the day.

I started off not eating anything after exercise, because I wanted to lose a few pounds. But it turns out that strategy was not only making me feel bad, but probably hindering my recovery and weight loss too.

Read on for my solution to the problem and follow us on Periscope @fitmomsforlife to join these conversations live! This was the topic of yesterday’s scope, which you can watch below.

First, keep in mind that everyone’s body is different. What works so well for me may need to be tweaked for you.  But just about everyone will benefit from refueling after a good workout.

Right after exercise is when your cells are most receptive to the carbs and protein that will help repair damage and build new, lean muscle, helping you get stronger and fitter.

More importantly, eating something right away helps keep your metabolism going, prevents that energy crash, and helps tame your appetite the rest of the day.

So, what should you eat?

The key is a balanced mix of easy to digest proteins and carbs, without much fat. Fat slows the absorption of carbs and proteins and so this is the one time where you do not want to consume too much fat, even healthy fat. You want those carbs and proteins to get into your muscle cells as quickly as possible.

You can go with somewhere between a 1:1 to 3:1 ratio of carbs to proteins.

Some examples are:

  • Low or no-fat greek yogurt with fruit
  • Fruit smoothie with protein powder (we recommend hydrolyzed collagen, but you can also use whey, rice, pea, etc)
  • Cottage cheese with fruit on the side
  • Hard boiled egg and a piece of toast or fruit
  • Half a turkey sandwich, with little or no mayo or cheese
  • Low/no-fat chocolate milk, possibly with added protein powder

You can certainly use one of the many pre-packaged post-workout recovery drinks, but read the label carefully. Many of them are full of sugar and very high in calories, with lots of added ingredients.

Organic Valley’s Fuel or Balance drinks are pretty clean options. (The Fuel has more protein—otherwise they are similar.)

cookbookandcollagen for webMy go-to is a smoothie, which I make with the FM4L Hydrolyzed Collagen—an amazing, clean protein that dissolves in anything with no taste. As a huge side benefit, it’s pretty much eliminated my knee pain, which I had had for 15 years, before I started using the collagen.

Click here to find out more about our collagen.

If I’m working out early in the morning, I’ll drink 1/3 of it before the workout and the rest of it when I get home. Otherwise, I drink the smoothie within 15-30 minutes of wrapping up the workout. And then I feel pretty amazing the rest of the day!

Below is a basic fruit smoothie recipe that you can customize as you wish.  You can use your favorite combination of frozen fruits.   Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and even allspice can jazz up a fruit smoothie nicely.  Lemon or other citrus is a great way to freshen the flavor.

Basic fruit smoothie

  • 1 cup of frozen fruit—usually mixed berries with a couple of chunks of pineapple
  • 1/2 frozen banana (optional—use for more sweetness, or if you’ve just done a very taxing workout and want more carbs in your smoothie)
  • 2 scoops hydrolyzed collagen
  • Water or coconut water as the liquid—use as much as you need to get the consistency you want; You could also use milk, almond milk or coconut milk
  • Cinnamon for extra flavor and blood sugar balance (optional)

Blend until smooth.

If this isn’t sweet enough for you, you can add a couple of drops of Stevia.

My other favorite, for the chocolate lovers out there:

Chocolate Dream Smoothie

  • 12 oz coconut water
  • 1/2 – 1 frozen banana
  • 2 scoops hydrolyzed collagen
  • 1 rounded tablespoon (to taste) unsweetened cocoa or raw, unsweetened cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon chia seed (optional — adds fiber, some protein, a little fat and thickens this smoothie a bit)
  • Cinnamon (optional—to taste)
  • 3-4 ice cubes

Blend until smooth.

If you want to make this more of a meal replacement, you can add a tablespoon of almond butter, and even 1/4 cup of oats. Blend well.

 

 

 

 

A Surprising Way to Manage Stress

It’s 8 AM, the school bus comes in 4 minutes and you have to be at work for a meeting by 8:30.

You’ve been up for hours already, tending to a crying baby, packing lunches, and trying to get everyone dressed, fed, and ready to head out for the day.

But your preschooler just had an accident, your baby spit up on your shirt, and you all needed to be out the door one minute ago.

No wonder you are STRESSED!

I’ve heard many versions of that story from the moms I’ve worked with over the years.

I’ve also had plenty of my clients who have struggled with chronic stressors of loss, caring for an ailing parent, job changes, moves, etc.

Stress happens to all of us, sometimes with devastating impacts to our bodies and our minds.

But I learned something amazing about stress recently from my good friend (and FM4L nutritional consultant) Tracie Fountain.

Recent studies have shown that the right mindset can completely transform your body’s response to stress… that the way that you THINK about stress and its impact on you can change the way that stress actually impacts you.

Think about that for a minute.

That means that you have the power to literally change what happens in your body when stress happens (because it will–we cannot eliminate stress!) by changing your mind.

Check out this mind-blowing TED talk for more.

Then join us for a free workshop tomorrow night as Tracie talks more about this and gives us some small steps that everyone can take in their daily lives to help change the way that we think about and respond to stress.

The workshop starts at 7 pm, October 27, at the Fit Moms Transformation Center at 202 South Gammon Road in Madison.

→ Click here to join us live in Madison ←

→ Click here to reserve your spot in our online webcast ←

Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn how to better manage this challenge!