50 Tips to becoming a Fit Mother

50 tips to becoming a Fit Mom
by Maria Kang

Staying healthy is a whole different ball game when you’re a mother.  You can forget about keeping a consistent schedule, sleeping eight hours a night and spending two hours at the gym. While the day-to-day physical challenges are one thing, the daily mental challenges are another. Not only do you deal with stretch marks, hormonal fluctuations and pregnancy weight gain, but you have to deal with your insecurities around women who have never had a baby, a sleepless night or a full-on toddler tantrum. I knew becoming a fit mother required me to make extra efforts in creating a successful environment.  After gaining and losing 110lbs for three years after having three kids, three years old and under, here are my 50 top tips to becoming a fit mother.

1.      Breastfeed: it burns tons of calories and contracts your uterus to become smaller.

2.      Create short term goals to keep you motivated.

3.      Measure your progress by inches, clothes and confidence…not just the scale.

4.      Stock up on meal replacements, like protein shakes, if you are too busy to eat.

5.      Drink some tea or coffee for an extra boost of energy.

6.       Journal what you are eating so you get a good idea of your caloric intake.

7.      Only keep healthy foods in your house.

8.      Bring healthy snacks like a protein bar/shake or nuts for quick snacks in your car.

9.      Carry a water bottle everywhere you go.

10.  Workout in the morning before the children wakes up.

11.  State your intentions every morning by creating daily workout and diet goals

12.  Invest in a jogging stroller. (I’ve purchased mine inexpensively on Craigslist)

13.  As soon as your baby is old enough, instill a routine for him/her so your schedule becomes more predictable.

14.  Join a stroller club or No Excuse Mom Fitness group

15.  Perform exercises with your baby like “kiss the baby sit-ups”

16.  Buy workout DVD’s to perform at home.

17.  Jump rope while watching your kids in the backyard or park

18.  Climb on the jungle gym with your kids

19.  Play the Wii instead of video games

20.  Create a mini-home gym complete with some weights, strength bands and a yoga mat

21.  Join a gym with a kids club

22.  Befriend other fit mommies

23.  Find a role model who is a fit mom

24.  Make “workout dates” with your friends

25.  Set a goal like a beach vacation to keep you focused

26.  Hold yourself accountable by telling other people your fitness goals

27.  Workout with your partner for support

28.  Enjoy active recreational activities like hiking and biking

29.  Don’t finish the rest of your child’s food

30.  Start eating more raw foods (fruits and vegetables). It saves on cooking time and is more nutritious.

31.  Eat before attending birthday parties

32.  Avoid eating out (and save yourself from the chaos of bringing kids to the restaurant)

33.  If you eat fast food, always order a salad or grilled chicken sandwich

34.  Eat most of your sandwiches “open-faced” or with just one slice of bread.

35.  Forfeit the bread basket at restaurants and only drink water or unsweetened ice tea (with lemon!)

36.  Eat s-l-o-w-l-y. Allow your body and mind to get satiated by the food your consuming.

37.  Purchase a healthy cook book and try a new recipe every week. If it’s not within budget, follow healthy Facebook pages! There are tons.

38.  Subscribe to an informational fitness magazine or online newsletter (that is often free).

39.  Try out new exercises every week as it will promote change, challenge and avoid boredom.

40.  Perform core exercises three times a week to tighten up your midsection. Here are my favorite AB exercises.

41.  Incorporate both weight training and cardio in your exercise routine

42.  Invest in cute workout clothes that make you feel beautiful and confident

43.  Brush your teeth at 8pm to avoid eating late at night

44.  Create a workout calendar as a visual reminder

45.  Make a personal pact to spend a minimum of 20 minutes a day exercising

46.  Get acquainted with the free workout channels on your television set

47.  Find your favorite workout videos on Youtube.com

48.  Be an active consumer in your local farmer’s market

49.  Plant a vegetable garden with your kids

50.  Focus on becoming a positive role model for your kids

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Mom of Twins: Stacy Menecola

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To give you a brief history of myself and my weight loss journey…I have struggled with my weight since I was a little girl.  I can remember back as far as the 3rd grade wearing my brother’s hand me down jeans, that only a boy should wear, and thinking my thighs were fat.  THIRD GRADE…!!!  That’s where it started for me.  In High School I can remember hating wearing my school uniform every day because, let’s face it, I wasn’t happy with my legs and thought of them as tree trunks.  I got teased by kids in school and my brother too…but hey, we were kids and that what we did.  I, like many of you, have dealt with not liking what I saw in the mirror day in and day out.  Not liking the way I looked in my clothes, I hated shopping, and a bathing suit…forget it…!!!   I tried a million things from my very early teens through college and nothing; I mean nothing, worked for me.   Up & down and up & down my weight would go with each ‘fad’ diet I would try.

11 years ago I stumbled upon a major weight loss companies commercial and it got me thinking about trying their program.  So I did.  I lost a bunch of weight but still was never really ‘happy’ with what I saw in the mirror.  I was merely a smaller version of my once overweight self.  I maintained my weight loss for 7 years until getting pregnant with my now 4 year old twins.  I gained 62 lbs while pregnant with them…yikes…!!!  They were delivered by emergency C-Section at 27 weeks weighing just over 2 lbs each.  Gaining 62 lbs in only 27 weeks…could you even imagine if I went full term with them…WOW!  We are very fortunate that they both are here with us today.   It was touch and go for my son in the beginning but after several setbacks for him and the love and support of our family and friends we now have two healthy and happy 4 year olds.

After my C’Section I was able to eat ‘right’ and do some cardio to take my weight off again.  Soon after reaching my pre-pregnancy weight I got pregnant again.  This time around I gained the same 62 lbs but with only one baby.  Our little guy was delivered naturally and no C-Section needed.  Soon after I was released to exercise I started eating ‘right’ and I became what I call a ‘cardio queen’ once again getting down to about 10 lbs above pre-pregnancy weight.  I stayed there pretty much up until this past summer.

This past summer I started following some of my favorite fitness models on Facebook, one being Maria Kang.  She put out a Challenge for this calendar and the rest is history.  I began eating clean a month prior to starting this challenge so continuing throughout the challenge with no cheats was a challenge in itself but I was determined to succeed once and for all.  I had lost ‘weight’ before but never really transformed my body until I found clean eating and lifting weights. 

I was in such shock that I actually found something that worked for me.  Each week I would notice changes in different areas.  I remember one morning waking up and looking in the mirror and thinking “I DO have knees”.   My legs were starting to have shape and muscle definition.  My body fat percentage was dropping and I was starting to transform myself in to the body I have always wanted to be.  Before I knew it I was at my weight loss goal…!!!  Something that I had tried ALL my life to do was finally accomplished.  I had such belief in the program I wanted to scream “try clean eating, it works” from the roof tops. 

Why am I telling you all this, you ask?  I’m telling you this because I was just like some of you.  I struggled every day.  I hated my self image.  The way I looked, they way I felt, my attitude, the vibes I gave off were so negative.  Clean Eating and lifting weights changed my life and it can for you too…!!!  You are worth every healthy meal you eat and every sweaty workout you do.  Believe in the process, believe that lifting weights won’t make you bulky and most of all BELIEVE.IN.YOURSELF…you can do it too. 

 <3   -Stacy Menecola        

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No Excuse Mom: Lorna Pope

My name is Lorna, I’m 30 years old, a mum to one son and I work part time as a molecular biologist. I am one of the administrators for the No Excuse Mom Movement and I look forward to sharing my fitness journey with you – I’m sure we can inspire each other. But for now, here is a little bit about me.
On 8thNovember 2012 my life changed, I gave birth to my amazing baby boy Henry.

Although the love I felt for him was never in question, the love I felt for myself had disappeared along the way.

When I looked in the mirror I didn’t like what I saw. Who was I? I had everything I had ever dreamed of, I always though I was naturally maternal, but really I was lost. I felt as if I had lost purpose – and yet there, laying in my arms, was the biggest purpose of all.

The truth about postnatal depression is that it’s an illness. You can’t just snap out of it, you can’t just look at your baby to make the sadness go away, regardless of how cute they are or how much you love them. You need to give yourself time, need to get support and seek medical assistance.

I was patient with myself, both physically and mentally.

I came across Maria’s No Excuse picture, and investigated her further. I read her book, joined up to the group and set about to make plans.

I knew I couldn’t just sit around waiting for my life to change, I knew I had to do something about it.

I just kept going, focusing on each hour, which then turned into a day, a week and then a month. And this wasn’t just in weight loss, for some days it was just survival.

I took progress pictures every 4 weeks, and for sure I could see the difference, which would give me another boost of motivation.

My motivation to begin with was mainly weight loss. I wanted to feel better about how I looked and I wanted to give Henry the mum he deserved. I wanted to be able to run around with him and not let my weight hold him back in any way.

It wasn’t always easy…. There were days when I felt too low to go out and days where I would be crying all the time. But as time went by, it got easier, I realized that going to the gym actually gave me a boost and improved my mood. Since I was lifting weights, and the area is mainly male dominated, there was no way I could shed a tear. I was becoming stronger, both mentally and physically. I was becoming a better mother too, my energy levels were up, and I wasn’t on edge or snappy.
It would have been easier at times to reach for something quick to eat, or reach for chocolate to get an instant feel good hit, and I admit, sometimes I did this. But it’s very empowering to over come this. To pick yourself up, wipe away the tears and cook dinner. I always ask myself a these moments…. What is it you want the most? Do you really want to eat that chocolate or do you want  6 pack abs? I also leant to plan for such days. Make up big batches of soup and freeze them. Dinner can then be ready in 10 minutes – some days as a mum…. Time is not on your side!

I set myself a target of weight loss, but with knowledge I learned that it’s not the main focus. Now I have a whole new set of goals. It’s about me as a person, I want to be fit, healthy and strong. I’ve set goals for 2014 so that I stay motivated. I’m going to do a triathlon!

I started out slow at first, I made small changes to my diet, first cutting out the obvious junk and cleaning it up. Now I eat 6 small meals a day and my food is 90% clean. I don’t calorie count but it’s around 1600, on this amount I’m still consistently losing weight. I plan my meals for a week ahead, making sure I have enough time in the day to prep that meal. For exercise I started with the C25K program and swimming. Now I do strength training with free weights, some HIIT and Pilates.

I faced some criticism along the way, this often happens when someone makes a lifestyle change. But I have my core supporters who really got me through these difficult times and have celebrated every success along with me. I’ve made new friends, I’ve been able to inspire and motivate others…. I’m even in calendar!

Now I find myself as a whole new person. I see that my journey out of depression and into my new body run along in parallel with each other. I have more confidence and self respect than ever before. At 5’6, I started out at 218lb on 19th Feb 2013 and I last weighed in on 30th October and was 158lbs.

Now Henry is over a year old, he is the light of my life. He has taught me so much and been the central part of my journey. I’m so proud of every new thing he learns and discovers, I just hope I can serve him justice. I hope he looks to me as an inspiration, I hope he sees the dedication I put into my fitness and sees how I achieve my goals. I hope he one day reads this and realizes that anything is possible…. You just need to set yourself some goals, break them down, be determined, put in hard work, learn from your mistakes, and smile!

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Featuring Maria Kang’s top fitness and diet tips and
24 real moms with real advice for the New Year! Lorna is Miss August!!

Easy Recipe – Watermelon Sorbet

This recipe is so simple, clean and easy.
Just freeze chunks of watermelon, add some water and lemon (I used 1/2 lemon for 1/2 a medium watermelon, you can use more) – mix in a processor and voila!
You can make sorbets using the same recipe with other fruit also! The boys absolutely loved this cool, summer treat – and so did I as it didn’t break my diet!

What is a No Excuse Mom Group?

 What is a No Excuse Mom Group?
A No Excuse Mom Group meets 1-3 times a week at a local park or indoor location.
How do I start a No Excuse Mom Group?
Starting a No Excuse Mom group is a great opportunity to meet new moms, get active and enjoy playtime with kids in your area. You can meet anywhere between 1-3 times per week at a local park, or a couple local parks. In the duration of your meet-up, mother’s typically workout for half an hour, then participate in playtime with the kids for half an hour.
Deciding to lead the program will take a lot of effort on your part in the beginning. It will require you to contact people, media outlets and print fliers. While it will be a challenging endeavor, it’s also very rewarding to bring together mothers and children towards a healthy activity.
How do I find a location and market the group:
If you are in an area where you can workout at the park, then choose a park that is closest to you. You can also request to use community centers, church rooms, large basements or your local gym.
The best way to market is to spread the word. You can notify people verbally, announce on your Facebook page and have people ‘share’ the meet up, post flyers on community bulletin boards and promote in your Newspaper’s calendar of events.
We will also put your group on our website where people can contact you and find your  meet up location/time.
Do I need a background in fitness? How do I know what exercises to perform?
No you don’t need a background in fitness (although it is helpful). You just need to be passionate about health and fitness and desire to connect with like-minded people. We will give you a database of park workouts to choose from! You will communicate closely with our administrator for any questions, advice or concerns.
Is this just for moms?
Absolutely not! We’ve had fathers, caretakers, grandparents, siblings and pregnant women join the group!

What is No Excuse Mom?

What is No Excuse Mom?

No Excuse Mom is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit program through Fitness without Borders. No Excuse Mom offers thousands of members online support and encouragement and boasts over 350 free workout groups in over 25 countries worldwide. You can join our online group here.
Who is a No Excuse Mom?
She’s a mom who makes no excuses for making her health a priority. She’s someone who prioritizes her health, her family’s health and understands the ripple effect their role plays in the health of their community. These moms chose to transform their lives by consciously deciding every day that their health was worth it. When they were tired they trained. When they were lost for time to exercise, they found the time. When they were busy, they purposefully planned and prepared their daily goals and meals to coincide with what they wanted out of life. Some work outside the home, some have multiple children, some dealt with depression and some are raising a family on their own. They are true examples of real every day women – whose fitness manifests in different sizes, shapes and ages. These women made No Excuses for not prioritizing the body that brought their babies into this world.
What is a NSV?
NSV means “Non-Scale Victory”. We know all too well that pounds don’t define progress. One pound of muscle is three times smaller than one pound of fat, so you can gain weight and lose inches at the same time! Your success is dependent on how good you feel, how consistent you are and how healthy you become. If you can run longer, lift heavier, fit into old clothes, overcome sugar cravings, run a 5k or confidently wear a bikini – then it’s a victory!
What diet and fitness plan do we follow?
We follow many of the guidelines is based off the founder, Maria Kang’s No More Excuses Diet  Program. Here book is available in-stores and online here.  Suggestions include:

  1. Eat Breakfast every morning.
  2. Write down everything you eat
  3. Workout 3-4 times a week (or more)
  4. Drink ONLY water (or straight black coffee/tea)
  5. Stop eating 3 hours before bedtime
  6. Eat small meals throughout the day (calories are dependent on current weight)
  7. Each meal must have a protein and carbohydrate. Include healthy fats as needed.
  8. Measure your progress weekly via measurements and strength/endurance tests. Weigh yourself once a month.
  9. Plan your splurge meals, which you can have once a week.

What’s in a number?

What’s in a Number..?
I learned early that I wasn’t happy with myself. I knew I was overweight and I was told it on a regular basis. My parents picked up a new scale when I was a teenager and I stepped on, ready to judge my success and worth as a human being by the number I looked at. It read 167 pounds. At 5’ 3”, I felt desperate to make that number go down. I felt stupid, fat and ugly. I started to step on the scale every time I passed by it. I found myself elated if the scale went down even by one pound and depressed as if it was the end of the world when it inevitably went up. This went on for months until my scale reached 170 pounds and I angrily tossed it in the closet, in tears, vowing never to step on it again.
I wish I could say that it was the last time I obsessed about the number on the scale. But it wasn’t. I wish I decided then not to let it determine my worth, but in my teenage brain it did. More than my teenage brain, those thoughts passed on for a lot of years. I wasn’t small, I wasn’t popular, I didn’t look cute in all the latest fashions like some of my friends did.
Deep inside I knew that wasn’t right.
I knew I wouldn’t struggle in this forever.
But I wish I knew then what I know now.
I wish I knew that the scale is not the ruler of my emotions. I wish I knew that it really was just a number and not a true reflection of who I am. A number does not define me, nor tell my worth. A number doesn’t even tell the whole story of what any person’s “weight” is. The number doesn’t tell you how much muscle or body fat you have, it doesn’t tell you how much water weight you are holding, etc.
I have stopped using the scale as a tool to judge my weight loss efforts. But more importantly, I have stopped letting the scale define me. There are so many other, more accurate assessments of your health and success, without looking at something so abstract and easily influenced day to day. The number one way to judge your weight loss is not with the scale, but with the measuring tape. Yes, it’s still a number. But the measuring tape will show your progress much more than the scale can. Next, we can look at photographs. I highly recommend taking a “before” picture. Although these are not easy to take, they are one of the most rewarding things, as you can literally see the difference in your body as you change it. Next, look at your clothes. This goes hand in hand with the first two, if your clothes are looser naturally the measurements will be smaller and you should start seeing a difference from the before photos. Finally, you can judge your own success and health through functional goals like running a 5k, being able to do pull-ups, or challenging your body in some other way.
The fact is this: if you are weighing yourself daily or multiple times a day… you are probably obsessed.
Ditch the scale.
Say goodbye and don’t keep its phone number. Would you keep a friend around who constantly made you feel inferior and made you go on a rollercoaster ride of emotions? Hopefully not.
If the scale is as toxic for you as it was for me, don’t make an exception for the scale…

Park Workouts

Park Workouts:
All exercises are completed as a circuit, complete 10-20 repetitions of each exercise, going directly to the next. Complete the circuit 2-5 times.
Level 1 (low impact):

  • Warm up: walk laps around the park (5-10 minutes total)
  • Bench pushups: hands on the back of a bench, feet on the ground
  • Squat
  • Bench crunch: Seated sideways on a bench, feet on the ground, lower back and “crunch” up
  • Reverse Lunge
  • Plank
  • Tricep dips from back of bench

 
Level 2:

  • Warm up: Jog in place or around the park (5-10 minutes total)
  • Raised pushups: hands on the seat of a bench, feet on the ground
  • Plie Squat
  • Bench ab pull-ins: sit sideways on a bench gripping the edge of the slide with your legs straight out in front of you, pull your legs in and repeat.
  • Side lunges (both sides)
  • Inch worm: From standing, bend over and place hands on the ground. Walk your hands forward to a plank position, walk hands backward towards your feet and return to standing.
  • Tricep dips from seat of bench

 
Level 3:

  • Warm up: jumping jacks (5-10 minutes total)
  • Narrow bench pushups: hands next to each other on the bench, feet on the ground
  • Step ups onto a bench
  • Bench ab pull-in and lift: Seated on the bench, pull your knees in, raise your hips off of the bench and lower.
  • Around the world lunge (each leg): right side lunge, followed by a front lunge, left side lunge and reverse lunge.
  • Plank up/downs: Starting in a plank position with straight elbow, lower down to elbows one arm at a time and repeat.
  • Reverse plank tricep dips: Lower yourself to the ground and push your belly up with your hands. Bend the elbows while keeping your hips straight.

 
 
The “I Don’t Have a Park” equipment-free bodyweight Workout #1

  • Warm up: Jumping jacks
  • Burpees – from standing, squat down and place hands on the floor, kick back feet behind you to a plank position, jump your feet back forward and stand up.
  • Wall Sit – sit against a wall, knees bent to 90 degrees and hold as long as you can.
  • Superman – Lie on your stomach with your arms and legs stretched out. Raise your arms and legs off the ground a few inches, hold a few seconds, and then lower
  • Plie Squat
  • Spiderman Pushups: From a plank position, place one hand 6 inches forward and the other 6 inches back, do a pushup. Switch hands and do another pushup. If necessary, do these from your knees.