knocked-up fitness: a giveaway!

March 31, 2015


even though i’ve been teaching fitness for over 15 years, when it came to the pre and post natal field, my knowledge was limited. my knee-jerk reaction to taking on private clients who were expecting has always been to pass them off to the expert, aka erica ziel, creator of knocked up fitness–the leading pre and post natal program in the country.


a mother of 3, erica has spent her entire career educating herself and others on the benefits of exercise during pregnancy. her knowledge is cutting edge, experience-based, and major media, ie the new york times, parenting magazine, people magazine, etc. routinely reference erica as the leader in the industry. she is currently on the board for fit pregnancy, educating the public on the do’s and don’ts of pre and post-natal fitness.

i am so lucky to consider her a friend and colleague.

but as of nine months ago i have started seeing her as a client; she has provided me with immeasurable comfort and support during this physically challenging and whacky time of my life.

here’s a glimpse of some of what we do to keep me as strong and comfortable during this pregnancy:

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i warm up each session with a cat/cow type of stretch using an exercise ball.

this is nirvana for my tight back, but also strengthens my core.

one of the most eye-opening take-aways from training with erica has been her knowledge on core-strength. so much of what i had been taught and told to do for mamma’s and their core, specifically what i knew about preventing diastis recti: the separation of the abdominal wall that happens to many pregnant women, was actually counter-productive to keeping the abdominal muscles strong.

erica’s post on avoiding any and ALL crunches during and right after pregnancy is a must read!

i was doing the occasional isometric crunch here and there, thinking that because my core was already strong i could continue with abdominal flexion—NO! NO! NO! apparently this type of core work can encourage the split in your rectus muscles!

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here we are strengthening my back and opening up the front of my chest.

erica is consistently getting me to “MOVE” through all ranges of my back–an area i’m typically timid with due to chronic low-back pain.

during our workouts erica encourages me to really activate the spine—this has helped me tremendously with staving off the occasional lumbar flare up, and so far, with three weeks to go, i haven’t experienced sciatica-a common ailment during pregnancy.

if you’ve been working out prior to pregnancy, strength training is still allowed and encouraged to keep you feeling as agile and pain-free as possible, even though everything else on your body gets bigger and activities become harder–getting out of bed for me these days warrants a standing ovation and straight across “10’s” from the judges’ table.

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here is my favorite exercise to do with erica! she “lets” me do these every session.

it works the core, glutes, arms and legs!

see erica’s instagram for how to correctly execute.


having erica as a weekly touchstone has given me so much stamina, relief and peace-of-mind during this crazy time.

the amount of conflicting information on pre-natal fitness is mind-boggling, and i’ve come to believe opinions and advice are typically given from a place of fear rather than knowledge.

erica has broken it all down for me with her decade-plus experience.

she has empowered me with knowledge that i can take into all my other activities these days–such as spinning, strength training, and pilates reformer classes.

she is someone i will continue to seek guidance and education from way after my little person is delivered.

erica’s post-natal program is perfect for busy moms everywhere!

luckily we all don’t need to live in southern california to take advantage of her expertise.


erica is graciously donating her 3 dvd sets and knocked up guide to pregnancy book to one of my lucky readers.

there are several ways to enter this giveaway:

simply leave a comment here on my website, my facebook page, or instagram page.

 liking my facebook page, following me on instagram and twitter also earns an entry.

enter the drawing more times by following knocked up fitness on twitter and instagram, and liking knocked-up fitness on facebook.

that’s nine entries right there!

erica’s dvds are great workouts, and are not limited to just the pre/post natal–anyone can do these workouts and see amazing results regardless if you’re a man, woman, momma or not.

good luck m’loves…contest winner will be announced next monday 4/6/2015.

——–contest closed. 

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stay rad, read books…..

March 30, 2015


in addition to crushing carbohydrates my vocation of late has been pummeling through books day and night.

i’m pretty much in bed 20 hours of the day, and there are only so many youtube videos a girl can watch before overdosing on dog fails.

i’ve been reading like i’ve made it to the final four of fiction.


 most of the stuff has been good….some REALLY, REALLY bad. i am a big fan of; it’s a platform where my friends {most linked through facebook} and i can scope out, get recommendations, and anonymously judge each others’ reading likes and dislikes.

here are few reads i’ve found notable of late:


one of my favorite books last year was kevin powers’ stark but beautiful yellow birds. it told the compelling story of an iraq deployment.

redeployment by phil klay {which just won the national book award} is similar in its gritty illustration of this war-torn region. told in a short story format, redeployment is war writing at some of its best. this is sure to go down as a classic.



 now i’m only one-third of the way through this one, but the light between oceans by m.l. stedman has begrudgingly snatched me in.

most massive bestsellers let me down, but so far this soon-to-be dreamworks released blockbuster is an enthralling read about a world war I veteran, turned lighthouse keeper, living along the rugged, australian coast.


if you’re fan of complex, family dynamics, anne tyler’s a spool of blue thread won’t let you down.



 if you’re looking for a quick, easy, beach-read type, the sweetheart by angelina mirabella is a fun romp through the south during the 1950’s. i’m pretty much a sucker for any book with the description “coming of age” on the back cover; not terribly deep, but entertaining {kind of like me.}



bret anthony johnston’s remember me like this stuck with me for a while. a story of a family’s experience with losing a child to a predator, only to have him returned years later, this is a dark, complicated read. the author does a great job of fleshing out a believable and compelling {often conflicted,} characters for each member of the afflicted family.
i loved this book.



 david gilbert’s, & sons, was pretty much on everyone’s top ten list last year. i would add it to mine as well, and that’s pretty much the most detail i can give about this strange, wonderful, unexpected contemporary work of fiction.


everything i never told you, celeste ng’s heart-wrenching debut about a mixed-race, chinese family living in ohio during the late 1970’s, nails the grind that takes place within a family where all the different members {gender, culture, age} strive to be understood and to understand one another.

i loved this book.


ok. so yes this is a post about reading, but none of you should be reading anything until you’ve watched the newest and best show on tv right now:

 bloodline from netflix.

i haven’t been as excited about a show since true detective.

and because it’s a netflix show, you can pound through all 13 episodes in one sitting-hunkiest and i are currently saving the last episode; it’s more like a preservation actually, testing our self-control and delaying our propensity to instantly gratify ourselves—we’re hoping this makes up for us not taking any baby-prep, parenting courses.

so there you have it…what are your current favorite reads? any tv i’m missing?


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the spin on pregnancy……

March 24, 2015

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so the number one question i am asked during this pregnancy is hands down: “how are you still spinning?”-the inquisitors typically a mixed bag of the horror-stricken, the supportive and those who are truly curious as it pertains to their own current or future pregnancies.

the benefits of exercise during these 40-plus weeks are plentiful, but the major reasons for me to keep vigilant with my fitness are those that directly benefit my baby: i.e my risk of gestational diabetes is lowered by more than 27%, pre-natal exercise is linked to more brain-power in newborns, cardiovascular exercise strengthens my baby’s heart, and when i’m working out my blood volume, oxygen delivery and blood flow all increases—meaning my baby is getting her nutrients and all other pulmonary and cardiovascular needs met at boosted levels.

my commitment to fitness during this time has always been, first and foremost, for the health of my baby.

but none of my advice or personal experience takes precedent over what your doctor tells you; every body and pregnancy is different, and should be addressed accordingly.

the advice and exercise prescription given to me {by my obstetrician} allowed me to continue with the same type of activity i was enjoying prior to pregnancy; this includes indoor cycling, sometimes even multiple times a day due to my job as an instructor. it was recommended to continue with my normal hustle, especially since it seemed to be the only remedy for my nausea–which i’m still experiencing here in my 36th week.

 the following guidelines have allowed me to spin several times a week, resulting in stellar stats for my baby girl during her pre-natal check ups:

1. hydration!

this has been a huge wake-up call for me because i am typically a d-minus student when it comes to drinking enough water. the fluids needed by the body during pregnancy are more invaluable than ever–extra water is required for that sweet baby of yours. blood volume, amniotic fluid, baby’s tissue–it all is created, maintained, and nourished with proper hydration. my rule of thumb, in addition to consistently drinking water throughout the day, is to consume an entire bottle of water {life factory bottles are my favorite} 30 minutes before spin class, one bottle DURING said cardio session, and another within 30 minutes after.

2. heart rate

the old rule of thumb for keeping a pregnant woman’s heart rate under 140 beats per minute went out of fashion with home perms and reeboks with the straps. the current recommendation is to NOT “lose your breath.” for me this means forgoing any anaerobic intervals which could leave me panting or gasping for air.

in my workouts i’m consistently alternating between an “in through the nose, out through the mouth breath,” and even just nose breathing when i’m starting to feel winded.

another test i give myself is the talk/sing test—if i can do both, i’m getting enough oxygen to my baby–so if you hear me singing it’s not just because i’m fantasizing myself in a jay z video…..well, not solely.

3. overheating

i have to say this has been the hardest to get used to. typically when i teach or take a class i detest the fans! i’d rather be boiling hot than even slightly chilled. but when you’re growing a little person inside you, climate change is not up for debate!

overheating is a major concern during pregnancy. your baby’s body temperature is already warmer than yours {hence the “bun in the oven,”}—so when you heat up, it’s even hotter for sweet baby.

i’m either under a fan or near an air vent {typically both} when i take classes these days. if i sense that the room is getting a little warmer i take my pace/intensity WAY down–this isn’t the time of my life where i need to keep up with the front row or personal bests need to be set.

4. modifications on the spin bike

the pregnant body is undergoing crazy, physical changes. besides weight gain, ligaments and tendons are moving/stretching, joints are relaxing, and you’re more prone to back pain {regardless of how in-shape you were before.}

if you’re experiencing discomfort, play with your bike set up. in accommodating my burgeoning bump, i’ve had to move the seat forward, the seat lower, and the handlebars higher; and there are just some things i cannot do anymore: i.e. high speeds out the saddle, certain choreography, etc.

i always get the approval from the instructor before i take any class; letting them know i’m pregnant and most likely won’t be able to do everything. i can’t emphasize the importance of telling your instructor before class any limitations/conditions/injuries you may have—we instructors are SO grateful when students notify us beforehand of these things. otherwise we’re left wondering if we’re not cuing properly, that you hate our class, our outfit, hair, etc.

it’s like having a dinner party, and a guest not eating your food due to dietary restrictions, and not telling you why.

5. find a supportive community

hormones are no joke during pregnancy. forget about the massive remodel your body undergoes; the changes in you mood, your sensitivity meter, and stress-levels can reach an all-time high. there’s something about a baby bump that can sometimes coax out the most ridiculous behavior from non-pregnant people–horror stories, judgements, lectures abound–these can send a pregnant woman into her own fetal position for days.

it is vital to find a community where you feel supported, welcomed, and nurtured. this pregnancy, my home away from home has become grit cycle–maternity leave has not kept me away from the saddle room. the benefits i receive from riding with my fellow gritties have not only benefitted my baby’s health, but also my mental and emotional health as well, and this has been an immeasurable gift.

for more tips on indoor cycling and pregnancy check out this article written by my friend and fellow grit instructor, cassie piasecki {remember her from shut the fridge?}

stay tuned for more #fitpregnancy posts and an upcoming giveaway from a major voice in the fitness industry.

tuesday fit-healthy+ happy to you m’loves!

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