Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fitting In Fitness

Having trouble making exercise part of your regular routine? It can feel like an added stress on top of full time work (or full time parenting), running a household and spending time with friends and family, but making time for healthy habits can give you that added boost of energy do help you do it all.

With extra energy comes lower stress levels, making the challenges of daily life much easier to handle. And who couldn't benefit from that?!

By using some of the tips below you'll find fitness fits right in:

Schedule Exercise Into Your Day

Yep, this one's first for a reason. If you don't carve time out of your schedule for your health, the rest of these tips won't do you any good.

I can tell you right now - if you're waiting until you have time during your day to exercise, it isn't ever going to happen. You have to make the time. Put you and your baby first by making exercise a priority.

You know the saying - "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail". Sit down right now and take a good look at your week. If you're efficient with your workout it will only take you 30 minutes (tip #2). Do you have time over your lunch break? Can you get up just a little earlier a few days a week? Can you stop at a park on the way home from work? Doesn't matter when you do it, just make it happen!

Cut Down Your Workout Time

30 minutes of exercise 3 times a week is really all it takes. Sure - 4 or 5 times a week would be even better but it doesn't ever have to mean 2 hours in the gym 6 days a week.

Sometimes that idea overwhelms people - they know they don't have that kind of time, so they don't do anything at all. In actuality, 2 hours a day 6 days a week is too much. 30 minutes will keep you and your baby healthy, won't wear you out and will leave you time for everything else you want to do. Sounds much better, doesn't it?

Exercise At Home

Does the idea of running to the gym on your way home from work send you running in the other direction? Going to a "gym" can be added time that you don't have. With a few inexpensive pieces of equipment, you can be well on your way to a variety of fun and productive exercises.

Every program in our Fit and Healthy Pregnancy Guide can be done in the comfort of your own home, in 30 minutes or less. Pick up your copy today at


Sound too simple? I would challenge any of you that say you don't have time for a 20-30 minute walk most days. Besides the mood elevating benefits of being outside (especially if the sun is shining), squeezing in a brisk walk before or after work, on your lunch break or even after dinner (which is MUCH better than sitting down in front of the TV for the night!) is all it takes to add some exercise to your day.

Exercise With Your Kids

Are you a stay at home mom? I know how busy your days can be! Why not work fitness in for the whole family? If they're old enough, walking, bike riding, roller skating or any number of fun activities can be your chance to get your heart rate up a little bit. If they're still too little, push them in a stroller or add a baby seat to your bike. You'll also be teaching them about the importance of staying active at the same time - perfect!

Make a Date With Friend

Nothing helps with consistency like accountability! Ask a friend or your spouse to help you commit to exercise each week (and you'll be helping them to get in shape too!). It is much harder to allow yourself to skip out on exercise if you have to answer to someone else.

Find Things You Enjoy

I don't have enough fingers and toes to count the number of activities that can be used as exercise. It doesn't have to be running or working with dumbbells.

Let me brainstorm for a few seconds here: yoga, tai chi, dancing (ballet, hip hop, belly, ballroom, etc.), swimming, rowing, golf, tennis... I could go on. I am sure there are even activities out there that I'm not even aware of. If it gets your heart rate up, uses some muscles, and makes you sweat a little bit, it probably counts.

Just be sure it isn't going to be a dangerous activity while you're pregnant. For example, things like kick boxing, soccer, horseback riding and rollerblading should be put on hold for the next few months.

For step by step instruction on exactly which exercises are right for you during pregnancy, as well as crucial nutrition information, visit today for your copy of The Fit and Healthy Pregnancy Guide.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Spicy Foods During Pregnancy


A frequent question my pregnant clients ask me is if it’s safe to eat spicy foods during pregnancy. The answer is yes!

It is safe to eat spicy foods during pregnancy-many cultures around the world have been doing so without problems for a long time.

The biggest complaint a pregnant woman who eats spicy foods may have is heart burn, but not all will to the same extent. It is a very individual experience. Heartburn symptoms might increase as the pregnancy progresses, because the stomach is closer to the throat due to the baby growing in size. Another reason for heartburn from eating spicy foods during pregnancy is due to progestin which causes the sphincter muscle at the top of the stomach to relax (food and stomach acid can then back up into the esophagus).

A couple of common myths associated with eating spicy food during pregnancy are...

…marking up the babies skin
…giving baby less head hair
…bringing on labor

These are all myths and bear no truth. Try as she might, a pregnant woman approaching her due date will have no success in brining on labor from eating a spicy dish.

Here are some interesting fun facts about spicy food.

• Baby can “taste” the flavor of foods eaten by mom while in the womb
• The hotter the pepper the more magnesium it has
• Spicy foods are a source of many vitamins and minerals

I recommend women to go ahead and eat spicy foods while pregnant if they so desire, but to take it slow. It’s a good idea to start with a few bites or combine with cooling foods like yogurt. It is also important to make sure spicy foods are not high in sodium. Sodium can cause fluid retention and increase blood pressure.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Importance of a Warm Up and Cool Down During Pregnancy

Workouts of any kind - cardiovascular or strength training - are going to require extra circulation of blood.

As you move, your muscles require more oxygen and nutrients to keep them going. Your blood carries these essentials throughout the entire body. As your muscles begin to work harder, your heart needs to pump faster to keep up.

If you jump right into a workout with out warming up, your heart is not pumping fast enough to the oxygen and nutrients around in an efficient manner. This is especially important for expectant mothers because you need blood not only for your hard working muscles, but for your baby as well.

A good warm up ensures that your body is prepared well enough for both in advance, keeping you and your baby safe during your exercise session.

So, before you do anything - even before you stretch - get a light sweat going with 5-10 minutes of light to moderate activity. Walking, jogging, rowing and biking are just a few examples of activities that will start you off on the right foot.

At the other end of the workout, cooling down is just as important as warming up.

Your body required extra circulation in order to keep up with the demands of your workout so you'll want to give yourself some time to return to normal before going back to your daily routine.

Using the same light activities as your warm up, take 10 minutes after your workout to let your heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature drop before sitting in your car to head home, hopping in the shower, etc.

Complete your exercise session with these simple tips - your body and your baby will thank you!

For more information on stretches, strength training and cardiovascular exercises that are just right for you, review your copy of The Fit and Healthy Pregnancy Guide or visit

Friday, June 27, 2008

When NOT to Exercise

Exercise is a great addition to any healthy pregnancy but the health of your baby is the most important thing of all. So knowing when to put down the weights or hop off the treadmill and give yourself a rest is just as important.

No matter how fit you were before your pregnancy, you should not participate in any exercise with any of the following conditions:

- Pregnancy Induced hypertension
- Pre-term rupture of placenta membranes
- Pre-term labor now, or in previous pregnancies
- Incompetent cervix
- Persistent bleeding in 2nd or 3rd trimester
- Intrauterine growth retardation

If you experience any of the following signs or symptoms while you are exercising, you should stop and seek medical attention right away:

Pain of any kind
Amniotic fluid leak
Shortness of breath
Chest pain
Muscles weakness
Swelling of the calves
Difficulty walking
Contractions/Pre-term labor
Unusual absence of fetal movement

If you weren't involved in a regular exercise program prior to getting pregnant, the 1st trimester isn't the time to start. If you are interested in incorporating exercise into your pregnancy try walking or other light exercise initially but wait until your 2nd trimester to add more challenging activities.

By this time, morning sickness should have subsided, you'll be feeling more energetic than before, and your body will be more ready to handle the demands of an exercise program.

Of course we recommend checking with your doctor about exercising while pregnant - regardless of your activities beforehand. They may have slight modifications and/or suggestions for you specifically.

For specific exercises to do during each trimester of your pregnancy, complete with photos and descriptions, refer to your copy of
The Fit and Healthy Pregnancy Guide.

Vitamin Deficiency Even with Prenatal Supplements

Up to 80% of women who took prenatal supplements were deficient in one important nutrient.

Curious? Read on to find out the details...

A study by the University of Pittsburgh reported in the Journal of Nutrition that prenatal multivitamin supplements do not prevent a Vitamin D deficiency!

Maybe you are saying, "I've heard of foliate and pregnancy, but not Vitamin D". Well, let me fill you in on the importance of Vitamin D for you and your baby.

What Vitamin D does for your baby...

- proper tooth formation
- insulin production
- increased mineral absorption
- fetal organ and brain development
- In addition, babies born with a Vitamin D deficiency have been associated with having an increase of asthma, impaired growth, skeletal problems, Type 1 diabetes and schizophrenia.

What Vitamin D does for you...
- protection against depression
- insulin production
- increased mineral absorption
- improved bone health
- prevention of blood pressure during pregnancy (preeclampsia)
- prevention of colon and breast cancer

Are you ready to up your intake of Vitamin D?

This may come as a surprise, but the best sources are grass-fed dairy and eggs, grass-fed meats, lard, butterfat, shellfish, Salmon, marine oil, and liver/organ meat.

If you doubt that you'll eat enough of these foods then be sure to read Chapter 10 of

The Fit and Healthy Pregnancy Guide for the names of the best supplements and where to get them.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The BEST Cardiovascular Exercise for You, Your Baby and Your Busy Schedule

First of all, what IS Cardiovascular Exercise?

To make sure we're all on the same page here, cardio is any activity that keeps your heart rate elevated for an extended period of time, while using the large muscle groups of your body. Otherwise known as cardio, or aerobics - it strengthens your heart and lungs and helps deliver oxygen to your muscles.

It is especially important to engage in this type of exercise 2-4 days a week during pregnancy because it will help you:

- have an easier, problem free pregnancy
- manage excess weight gain
- decrease swelling of hands and feet
- sleep better- reduce constipation
- fight fatigue
- gain/maintain strength and endurance in preparation for labor
- get back to your post-pregnancy body faster

So, what is the BEST kind? Although this might not be the answer you are expecting, the best kind of cardio is the kind that you will actually DO!

If you shy away from 20-40 minutes of aerobic exercise a day because you think you need to be inside, on a treadmill, staring at a blank wall, then I have to say - I don't blame you!

Exercise shouldn't be something you dread. And if walking or jogging isn't for you, I'm here to tell you that there are lots of alternatives out there, some you might even enjoy - imagine that.

Some of the other more common types of cardio that are great during pregnancy are swimming (a good way to give your back a break!) and biking (indoor upright or recumbent is best) but if those don't motivate you - get creative! At the gym, try:

- rowing- stair climbing machine
- a low impact group class
- water classes
- yoga or pilates (you'd be surprised how some of these can get your heart rate up!)
- dance - any kind is great, just avoid lots of leaping and jumping, or anything that involves something closer to acrobatics...

Don't belong to a gym? Take your workout outside! Take advantage of a sunny day and moderate temperatures to enjoy the outdoors and go for a hike. Or, cut down on travel time and workout in the comfort of your own home with a video or DVD.

There are a few things you'll want to stay away from during pregnancy - anything that involves the potential for bodily injury (especially to the abdomen) like soccer, roller blading, horse back riding, skiing - water or snow, etc.

Please use your best judgement (and consult with your doctor) with your particular level of fitness before trying any type of exercise. Pregnancy is not the time to go full speed ahead, especially if your body isn't used to that. So use common sense, and ease yourself into a routine that suits you best.

You'll find more suggestions and recommendations in Chapter 7 of Your Fit and Healthy Pregnancy Guide. If you haven't already gotten a copy of your own, now is the time! Visit today!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Foods to AVOID During Pregnancy

Knowing which foods to avoid (or severely limit) during pregnancy is especially important. It's a time in a woman's life when she should be especially careful to protect her developing baby. Some foods on this list are obvious, like alcohol, but others may come as a surprise.

1. Junks Foods

It will be challenging to find the time to burn off these extra dead calories. Plus they are full of detrimental non-foods that are bad for you and your baby.

"Junk food" includes the usual suspects: fried foods, margarine, soft drinks, sweets, anything made with white flour (crackers, cookies, bread, cereals) and most boxed foods. They contain synthetic vitamin A which is toxic, and best avoided while pregnant.

Do the "ingredient list test" - how long is the list and how many words look like something out of a chemistry text book?

2. Caffeine

It is best to avoid or at least reduce your caffeine intake to no more than 200mg per day. It reduces iron absorption, interferes with normal fetal growth and is associated with lower birth weight and an increased risk of miscarriage.

3. Alcohol

I'm sure it's not a big surprise to avoid alcohol while pregnant. It negatively affects the developing fetus. Enough said.

4. Trans Fats

Trans fats inhibit the conversion of fatty acids needed for fetal brain growth and decrease the fat content of breast milk. Also, it has been found to decrease sperm count.

Do not trust labels that claim products are trans fat free. If a food has half a gram or less per serving than it can be labeled "trans fat free". No big deal? Well, the Institute of Medicine even stated there is no safe intake level for trans fats.

It's not good for you and it's not good for your developing baby. If the ingredient list has the words "partially hydrogenated" it's got trans fat and it is a food to avoid during pregnancy.

5. Artificial and Refined Sweeteners

Artificial and refined sweeteners (like Splenda, Sweet-n-Low, Aspertame, Nutra-Sweet, etc.) are a source of empty calories and a great way to gain too much weight. They can also negatively affect your baby's ability to regulate blood sugar.

Artifical and refined sweeteners can increase your cravings for sugar (causing too much weight gain). So, the more you eat, the more you want to eat and this increases the demands on your body's insulin production (which is also the pathway to diabetes).

A study out of The University of Texas Science Center at San Antonio suggests that the more diet sodas a person drinks, the more likely they are to become over weight.

There's all kinds of information out there about how nasty artificial sweeteners are for you. It is a neurological toxin and can cause headaches and even seizures. Just say NO!

Stick to drinking water (filtered if you can), mineral water or lacto-fermented beverages to satisfy your thirst.

6. Commercial Fried Foods

It's no big surprise that fried foods aren't good for you or your baby. You are just consuming extra calories with out any nutrient benefits. They are also full of trans fat. (see #4 in Part 1 of this article)

7. Food Additives

Food additives (such as MSG) are neurotoxins (bad for the nervous system). I find it rather scary that a study found brain lesions on developing embryos assiciated with MSG intake.

MSG may appear in the ingredient list as: hydrolyzed protein, calcium, sodium casinate, textured protein, citric acid, soy foods, malt flavorings, flavorings, and natural flavorings - so CHECK YOUR LABELS!

As a side note, seasonings all usually contain MSG.

8. Soy

Soy food is a highly processed and refined food. It is also full of things that will block you and your developing baby from absorbing nutrients such as zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium.

Consuming it also increases the mothers need for vitamin D.

Soy also contains phytoestrogens (a.k.a plant estrogen) which can negatively impact the fetal development of the reproductive organs and brain.

In recap, the eight foods to avoid during pregnancy are:

1. Junk Foods
2. Caffeine
3. Alcohol
4. Trans Fat
5. Artificial and Refined Sweetners
6. Commercial Fried Foods
7. Food Additives
8. Soy

Making at least some of these changes to your food intake will do wonders for your baby! And, if you can do them all, even better. For information you won't want to miss on eating and exercising for a healthy happy baby, check out our Fit and Healthy Pregnancy Guide at