Get into the groove

Every day I read about a new kind of workout that promises to revolutionize our lives and burn trillions of calories, but unless you are a dedicated gym-goer (if you are, we applaud you!), most of us are just trying to find a routine that we enjoy, have time for and will stick to. And it’s hard, especially if you’re just starting out as I mentioned in my last post. But it doesn’t have to be and the health benefits from even light to moderate exercise are astronomical. This is especially important if you’re trying to conceive as weight is the number one factor contributing to fertility issues.

I wanted to answer a handful of baseline FAQ’s about exercise routines that you might find helpful. I know there are plenty more so if feel free to email me at Carolyn@CLTWellness.com or leave it in the comments if there is anything more specific you’ve been wondering about.

1) I don’t have time to exercise. How can I fit it into my already packed day?

Finding the time to work out can seem impossible given all of our commitments but I promise you, you can find 30 minutes in your day - even if it’s 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there. Start by writing down what your typical day looks like from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed, and see where you can re-prioritize and add in more movement. Including family and friends in your exercise routine can kill two birds with one stone. Take family walks or a workout class with a girlfriend instead of grabbing dinner.

2) I have trouble staying motivated to workout. What can I do try and stick to a routine?

We’ve definitely all been there - we are SO good for like a week or two and then all of a sudden, we drop off and start avoiding the gym. The two biggest factors to adhering to an exercise routine are:

  • Working out at a time and place that is convenient for you. If it’s adding more stress to your day, it’s not sustainable. Waking up at the crack of dawn day after day or going too far out of your way to get to the gym is probably not going to become routine. Find a time and place that works for you.
  • You dread your workout or you find yourself getting bored. This is crucial - if you hate running, don’t run! There are so many other workouts out there. And be sure to mix it up - keeping it fresh will keep you coming back. Group fitness classes can also be a great way to stay motivated, try new workouts and get into a routine.

3) What time of day is best to work out?

The short answer is whatever time you can commit to working out. The is no time that is significantly better for you than another, so it really is whatever you can manage. Generally speaking, working out the morning before the day gets too hectic is the best way to make sure you get some exercise in, but everyone is different. Just find what works for you.

4) How many days a week and for how long should I be working out?

This totally depends on your current fitness level, any health issues you may have and what your goals are, but general exercise guidelines state that 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous cardio, 5 days a week is optimal for health - ideally with 2-3 days of strength training layered on top. If you’re just starting out, don’t psych yourself out, you don’t need to be able to run 30 minutes right out of the gate. Start small and work your way up.

5) Can I target a specific area to lose weight in?

Unfortunately, doing a million crunches everyday won’t help you lose weight around your midsection. Weight loss requires cardio exercise to get your heart rate above a certain level to burn calories from carbs and fat.

5 ways to get baby-bod ready

One of the things that continues to blow my mind is how food affects the body. I’m not talking about gaining or losing weight, I’m talking about issues that you don’t necessarily associate with food and often turn immediately to medication for: trouble sleeping, headaches, fatigue, bowel issues, high blood pressure, skin irritations, chronic pain, and for women, having an irregular cycle. These are all external manifestations of something that is off balance in the body and can oftentimes be solved through diet alone.

Fertility is a huge topic and weight is one of the biggest factors affecting it. I’ll touch on these issues quite a bit, but I wanted to share 5 quick ways that you can start getting your body baby ready. It’s never too early to start to rid your body of toxins that have accumulated over time, and even if you aren’t thinking about kids at all - your body will immediately thank you for making these changes.

1) Remove processed foods from your diet

If you only do one thing, this should be it. Frozen dinners, meal replacement bars, cereal, and pretty much anything that comes pre-packaged, can have a scary amount of ingredients including brain altering chemicals, added sugar, salt and other things you can’t pronounce. A good rule of thumb is that if you don’t recognize an ingredient, your body won’t either and will treat it as a toxin, which puts stress on your digestive system and can cause inflammation. Aim for foods that don’t come in any kind of packaging (i.e fruits and vegetables) and pair with organic or hormone free meats and whole grains which will help balance your hormones, keep your internal systems working properly and manage your weight.

2. Pick your protein wisely

I’ll be honest, it took me awhile to get on the “organic” train and I’m still not 100% there, but one area in which I have committed to buying organic is meat, eggs and dairy. Make sure what you’re buying is labeled “organic” or at least “hormone free” to avoid ingesting a significant amount of synthetic hormones, which if you’re a woman, can seriously mess up your monthly cycle (think heavier periods, mood swings and even ovarian cysts).

3. Reconsider dairy

This one is not for everyone, some people can’t live without their milk or yogurt and I get that. However, dairy can be a major contributor to your monthly cyclical imbalance since it’s a mucus causing food (not a pleasant thought) and thereby causes issues with your digestive system. There are plenty of dairy alternatives these days such as almond milk, coconut milk, etc. but experiment and see what you like and what works for you.

4. Eat the rainbow

Not Skittles (unfortunately), but foods rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants play a huge role in all body systems by neutralizing the effects of what are called “free-radicals.” Free-radicals are naturally created in the body as food is digested, but they’re also created from external factors such as environmental pollutants, smoking and alcohol and their goal is to damage healthy cells - including those essential for reproduction and protecting egg and sperm health. Antioxidants are most commonly found in fruits and vegetables and the rule of thumb is the more colorful the food, the more it contains. Berries, oranges, plums, pomegranates, leafy greens, broccoli, beets and red peppers are a few of the most well-known sources so eat up!

5. Get moving

This may seem like a no-brainer and I know you know that you need to partake in some regular form of physical activity to truly be healthy. But the truth is, a lot of people are intimidated by starting an exercise routine and have trouble sticking to one once they have. It’s easy to associate exercise with joining a gym, having to drag yourself there after work when you are tired and a little hangry, and often times not really knowing what to do when you get there. This is something I will dive deeper on in a later post because it’s hugely important, but the one big take-away if you aren’t already active is to just start moving your body more. Even 10 minute increments throughout the day have shown to have enormous benefits. So make a killer playlist or find an addicting podcast and try taking a walk around the block, having a dance party with your girlfriends, or walking to work instead of taking the subway - all of your senses will thank you for that one! Little adjustments can have big results.

Snacks on Snacks

Having grown up in New England, fall is by far my favorite season. Summer is a very close second - especially with winters as cold as they are - but there is just something about sunny, cool, fall day that is hard to beat. I feel super fortunate that my final months of my pregnancy have taken place in September and October because I felt great all summer long, and now I can just do some nesting in my leggings, with my crock pot, and sweat half as much as I did just 3 months ago.

With just a few days to go until Baby Tallents’ arrival, I’ve been trying to make a few things that I can either freeze for the first week we’re home or - let’s be honest - that I can eat now. Baby T has dropped and is sitting low, so I have a little more room in my stomach and I’m back to wanting to eat 17 times a day. I’ve done my best to keep healthy snacks in the house so I can stick to eating unprocessed foods that are high in the nutrients I need. I’ve always been a huge sucker for fall recipes and will try anything pumpkin, so I have a few go-to snack recipes that are filled with protein, healthy fats and fiber, as well as essential nutrients for fertility, pregnancy and beyond, such as folate (for healthy brain and spinal cord development), calcium, manganese and beta-carotene (for healthy bone growth) and iron (for increased blood supply and baby’s blood development). Not to mention, they have under 5 main ingredients, are super easy and adjustable and are made using real, whole foods.

Pumpkin Hummus - A Fall take on the classic       What you need:    ¼ cup pumpkin    2 cups of chickpeas (equivalent to 1 can)    ¼ cup Tahini    ⅛ cup Olive Oil    1-2 cloves of garlic    Water, lemon, salt and pepper to taste (add water at the end only if its a little too thick for you)    Optional: Sprinkle a little paprika on top of the finished product to be fancy       Throw all ingredients into a magic mix/food processor or blender until smooth. Serve with whole grain crackers, carrots or sliced red pepper.

Pumpkin Hummus - A Fall take on the classic

 

What you need:

¼ cup pumpkin

2 cups of chickpeas (equivalent to 1 can)

¼ cup Tahini

⅛ cup Olive Oil

1-2 cloves of garlic

Water, lemon, salt and pepper to taste (add water at the end only if its a little too thick for you)

Optional: Sprinkle a little paprika on top of the finished product to be fancy

 

Throw all ingredients into a magic mix/food processor or blender until smooth. Serve with whole grain crackers, carrots or sliced red pepper.

Pumpkin Energy Bites - Great for fertility, pregnancy and post-baby snacking    What you need:    2 bananas (the riper the better)    2 ½  cups of rolled oats     ½ cup pumpkin     2 tablespoons coconut flakes    2 tablespoons ground flax    Cinnamon, cloves and allspice to taste    Optional: any natural sweetener such as honey or maple syrup to taste    Optional: pumpkin seeds, raisins, chocolate chips, goji berries, or any other additive    Mash up all ingredients in a mixing bowl and the batter should be almost like a paste. Adjust the amount of banana and oats to get the right consistency. Bake on 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Consume warm (my personal favorite way to eat them), put in a container for later or freeze.

Pumpkin Energy Bites - Great for fertility, pregnancy and post-baby snacking

What you need:

2 bananas (the riper the better)

2 ½  cups of rolled oats

½ cup pumpkin

2 tablespoons coconut flakes

2 tablespoons ground flax

Cinnamon, cloves and allspice to taste

Optional: any natural sweetener such as honey or maple syrup to taste

Optional: pumpkin seeds, raisins, chocolate chips, goji berries, or any other additive

Mash up all ingredients in a mixing bowl and the batter should be almost like a paste. Adjust the amount of banana and oats to get the right consistency. Bake on 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Consume warm (my personal favorite way to eat them), put in a container for later or freeze.

Embrace the Journey

Hello everyone!

I’m so so happy you’re here. Welcome to the CLT Wellness blog where I’ll discuss anything and everything related to health and wellness, especially when it comes to fertility, pregnancy and motherhood. If there is anything top of mind you’d like to hear about please feel free to reach out to me at Carolyn@CLTWellness.com. Suggestions always welcome!

You may have read a bit of my story on the “About CLT” section of the site so quick summary: I am a former corporate marketing director who took a leap and decided to turn her passion for living a healthy lifestyle into a career. It’s still amazing to me to see that summed up perfectly in one sentence, a lot of ups and downs contributed to making it a reality. Leaving the corporate environment, learning entirely new skill sets and starting up a biz - a pure roller-coaster of emotions let me tell you. Especially when you do it all while pregnant. Yes, my husband is a very patient man. But here I am now, a certified health coach and personal trainer with a week left to go ‘til my due date! Let’s hope Baby Tallents inherits his parents’ obsession with punctuality.

My pregnancy journey has taught me more than I ever could have imagined both personally and professionally. I first started my new career with the intention of helping people achieve their health goals through diet and lifestyle changes. But after struggling for over a year with fertility issues, including a devastating miscarriage, and now having spent the past 9 months growing a human, I’ve learned so much about the body during this phase of life that it has became the specialty of my business. I want to help women in all stages of their own pregnancy journey feel empowered when it comes to their health and wellness. There is SO much information out there - often times conflicting - about what you should/shouldn’t do/eat while trying to conceive, or while pregnant or after having had a baby, that it’s hard to feel confident in your choices. Let’s change that!

So enough about me. I’m here to help YOU. Stay tuned for topics such as fertility boosting foods, what “eating for two” really means and workouts safe for any stage of pregnancy. Talk soon!

xoxo