One of the best things that I did for myself for myself this past spring was join Moms on the Run. I didn’t know much about it and I was definitely intimidated, but I can’t tell you how happy that I am that I did it. Not only have I have been able to build endurance, but I have also been able to meet some great people who have similar interests as I do. One of them was Kim – The Moms on the Run Coach. She was kind enough to agree to be our guest blogger this week and she shares everything fitness with us from starting a new fitness routine to some great nutritional tips. I hope you all enjoy reading this blog as much as I did. Thank you Kim for all of the amazing information and for being such a great coach! You push me to my limits every workout!
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family?
My husband, Nathan, and I have been married for 11 years. We currently live in Lakeville with our two children, Addison (7) and Paul (5), and our dog Mia.
Q: How did you decide to pursue a position in fitness?
Fitness has been a big part of my life for almost 25 years. I love the mental and physical challenge of pushing my body’s limits, the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from reaching my goals, and the way a good workout relieves my stress and puts me in a better mood – endorpins are truly a wonderful thing! I discovered at an early age that I really enjoyed sharing my passion with others by encouraging, motivating, and supporting people around me to push their limits and reach their true potential as well. Throughout high school, college, and the the few years beyond, I spent a lot of time coaching in a variety of capacities.
After my husband and I got married and relocated to Minnesota I was finding it hard to continue my coaching passion until I found my solution: Group Fitness Instructor! I had just started taking a fitness class at a local gym and within two months of attending classes, the two instructors that I usually followed were both put on medical leave. I would often show up to the class and there would be no substitute for the day so I would create my own workout. Soon others were joining me, and before I knew it I was leading groups of 10 or more people through unofficial fitness classes. It was so fun and rewarding to be back in a “coaching” role again. I hadn’t even realized how much I had missed it until that point. After a few “unofficial” classes and a lot of encouragement by the people that were taking these unofficial classes from me, I applied to be a group fitness instructor. Within a few weeks, I was on the schedule as an official instructor and started working toward my Ace Group Fitness Certification. Since then have gained certificates in Keiser Cycle, Aquafit, Boot Camp, Body Works, and Silver Sneakers.
Q: What would you tell a new mom who may be intimidated to try exercising for the first time in a long time?
First of all, know that you are not alone – many women feel intimidated in making the return to exercise, but know that you have totally got this! Whether you stayed active throughout the pregnancy, took some time off, or maybe are starting a fitness routine for the first time, you CAN do this! Wherever you are, is the PERFECT place to start! As Arthur Ashe once quoted: “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” I love those words of advice. This is your journey – There is no pace too slow, there is no such thing as too many modifications, there is no timeline you have to follow. Embrace where you are now, visualize where you want to be, make a commitment to yourself, and set forth on your plan. You will be surpassing your goals before you know it!
Here are a few other tips to consider along the way:
- Make time for you: New moms often feel guilty about scheduling time for working out. I struggled with this myself when I first became a mom. I soon realized, however, that working out allows me to be my best self physically, mentally, and emotionally. I am a much happier, more patient, and more productive mom when exercise is a regular part of my life. Remember: “Going for a run isn’t mommy being selfish, it’s mommy being AWESOME!”
- Schedule your workout times: Moms are busy! We run from one activity to the next, always trying to check one more item off of our never-ending “to-do” list. The key is to find a time that works for you and commit to it: whether that is early morning, over lunch, after work, or after the kids go to bed. Evaluate your schedule, put a plan in place, and stay consistent. This is an appointment you have made with yourself – make it a priority to keep that appointment. In the same regard, allow yourself to be flexible and get creative. A workout doesn’t have to be in consecutive chunks. Maybe you can squeeze in 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at lunch, and 10 minutes before bed. If you can’t sneak away for your workout, involve your kids in the workout: pushing them in a running stroller or working out alongside them in the living room or at the park. You might even be able to find some local mom and me exercise programs. And on those extra busy days when a traditional workout just isn’t going to happen, find ways to incorporate a few exercises where you can: take the stairs instead of the elevator, do some squats while brushing your teeth,…every effort adds up!
- Have a plan and make it fun: There are so many options to choose from when selecting an exercise program: running, boot camps, yoga, zumba, cycling, crossfit…the options are endless. Are there local leagues, groups, or classes you can join? It is so much easier (and much more fun) to make it to a class when you know you will have friends waiting for you there. Do you enjoy competition? If so, look for races or tournaments you can compete in. Find something that you enjoy and that you know that you can commit to, then just have fun with it! Put together a training plan and start working toward your goals!
- Be patient and listen to your body: Once you are cleared by your physician to begin/resume an exercise program, take your time in increasing the intensity of the program. For those that were previously active, it can sometimes feel frustrating to not be able to jump right back into activities at the same intensity that you are accustomed to, but it is best to progress the intensity of your exercise program gradually so your body has time to adjust to those workloads. Increasing intensity too soon can quickly result in injury. Set realistic goals for yourself that follow a safe progression, listen to your body, and adjust your efforts accordingly. Remember that every step, no matter how small, is one step closer to your goal. That is something to celebrate!
- Stay positive, be flexible, and keep moving forward: Every workout is an opportunity and a gift. It is a chance to push your limits and test your capabilities. One day you might feel like super mom as you tackle your workout the next day you might feel like you have lead in your feet. Use those “super mom” moments to challenge your physical capabilities and those “lead in your feet” moments to challenge your mental toughness. Stay positive and find a mantra you can repeat to yourself on those tough days (ie: “I’ve got this”, “I am strong”, “I have trained for this”…). Moms are the toughest group of people I know! And if you miss a few days or even a few weeks due to illness, travel, scheduling…whatever it may be – don’t let it side track you. Get right back in there and keep moving forward. Make it a gift to your current and future self.
- Remember, those little eyes are watching too! By committing to an exercise program/goal, you are not only modeling the benefits of an active lifestyle, but also what perseverance, hard work, and dedication can achieve.
Q: If someone has very limited time what would be the most effective workout in the least amount of time?
Compound strength training exercises and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) are two of my favorite exercise formats. Both maximize workloads during the workout and can be easily modified or progressed to accommodate a wide range of fitness levels. They have the added bonus of often leading to a boost in caloric burn post-workout as well. Who doesn’t love to keep burning calories long after you finished your workout?:) Learn more about compound exercise movements.
Q: What’s the one nutrition tip you would give someone who is starting a weight loss program?
Both my mom and aunt are registered dietitians. One piece of weight management advice they give their clients is to find a plan that is realistic and sustainable. Many fad diets/weight loss programs do not work long term. Rather, the most effective long term results tend to come from making lifestyle changes. One example of a lifestyle change is to reduce or eliminate evening snacks. Often after dinner calories are consumed because we see food, smell food, we are bored or we are used to eating/drinking calories while doing certain activities such as having screen time (TV, IPad, etc.) Tricks to help limit your evening snacking habit include brushing your teeth right after supper, chewing sugar-free gum when getting the urge to snack, or drinking a glass of water or sugar free beverage before eating a snack. Consider limiting the locations in the house you allow yourself to eat (ie: just at the kitchen table) and ridding yourself of distractions that might lead to absent mindedly consuming calories (ie: eliminate screen time while eating: T.V./Ipad, etc.). Many people rarely feel a true hunger sensation as they are eating/snacking for other reasons. If you wake up in the morning feeling like you can skip breakfast, you may want to evaluate what you ate the previous evening.
Q: Tell us about Moms on the Run.
Moms on the run is a structured fitness program for women of all ages (not just moms) who want to get in shape and have fun doing so. Our goal is to offer efficient and effective training programs for busy women of all fitness levels, while providing accountability, cultivating new friendships, and having a lot of fun along the way! Year-round programming is often an option, with indoor/outdoor classes offered based on seasons. All programs accommodate a wide range of running experiences, fitness levels, and goals. We aim to create an environment where women feel comfortable asking questions and trying new things, challenged to push their limits, and supported in pursuing their goals. The signature offering through Moms on the Run is an 18 week Interval Training Run program. Classes are led by certified coaches and incorporate strength training, stretching, nutritional challenges, and education. Women can learn to run, stay motivated in their current walking or running program, or improve speed, endurance, and/or form. Additional formats such as boot camp, yoga, endurance training, kids programming and winter running may also be options throughout the year.
The truly unique component of Moms on the Run is the feeling of community. I have been coaching for the program for 3 years, and never cease to be inspired by this amazing group of women! They are truly the most inclusive and supportive group of people I have met. The women do such an incredible job of building one another up, holding each other accountable, challenging and encouraging one another, and celebrating one another’s victories, both in the fitness realm and in life in general. Plus, we just have a ton of fun together! Knowing that we get to see each other at class makes coming to class much easier (after all, the toughest interval is the one between your front door and class). And the camaraderie and social components make the workouts way more enjoyable – time flies when you are having fun! I am SO thankful for these ladies! Life just wouldn’t be the same without them!
Q: Anything you would like to add in terms of inspiration/motivation?
Stay the course and don’t get discouraged – you have got this! Committing to and maintaining a fitness program is hard work! It requires you to push your body past its comfort zone time and time again. But embrace this discomfort, knowing that with discomfort comes change. I often tell my clients that it is never easy, but it is always rewarding. Discomfort is temporary, but satisfaction is lasting. Work for the satisfaction!
One of my favorite quotes of all time is that of Steve PreFontaine, a well known distance runner: “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift”. Your physical capabilities are a true gift. There may come a day when our bodies won’t be able to perform a particular movement, but celebrate that today is not that day and give everything you have to that opportunity. And remember that “Your best” is exactly that: YOUR best. Not anyone else’s. Whether your best is a 15 minute per mile run or a six minute per mile run, if that is lifting a 25 pound dumbbell or lifting gravity,…the only comparison that should be made is the one between your current ability and your current effort. What can you give to that exact movement in that exact time. And from there, just have fun with it! Every step forward, no matter how big or how small, is a step in the right direction! And know that those little eyes that are watching you will also be your biggest cheerleaders along the way. Go get ‘em, mama!
Written by: Kim Burggraaf