Why I stopped showing my abs on social media.

I have been into fitness and health for the past three years. Of those three years, I have spent the entire time connected and sharing my story on social media.

I shared a lot too, right out the gate. My workouts, my struggles, my meals, stuff about my kids, and my progress with my body post baby.

I wasn’t a woman who had a lot of weight to lose but I did struggle with feeling comfortable in my skin and learning to love my body after kids was a struggle for me at first.

I soon got into a groove though; lifting weights, doing HIIT workouts, eating well. I was seeing amazing results with my body and I wanted to show them to anyone who would look.

My ab photos were frequent and honestly, didn’t have much substance behind them other than “look at me!”. At the time, I thought I was inspiring other women, but now I think differently.

I look back at those super frequent pictures of myself with just a sports bra, showing off my stomach and they are seriously a huge turn off and quite embarrassing .

So why did I change my mind about showing off my midsection/abs so much?

Honestly, it all started with me thinking “why the hell does this even matter?”. I had one of those light bulb type moments but instead of it being an “ah-ha!” it was more of a “I want to break everything and start over”. Like, I could not believe I was doing it this way for so long and thinking it was ok to just flaunt my midsection to other moms who might be having a hard time with body image. Heck, I was having a hard time with body image most days, the pictures I shared and the likes I got were almost like a justification that I looked “ok” , I needed it more than anyone I was sharing with needed it.

After that initial moment where I wanted to break everything and start over, I started thinking about my message more and more. I want moms to create healthy habits first and foremost and abs might or might not be a a part of this, and I definitely don’t want women trying to achieve flat stomachs through unhealthy methods.

We, as moms, need to think about sustainable and healthy ways of eating, movement, and stress prevention and the way our bodies look is a side effect of these practices.

So, needless to say, I am done showing women my body because my body is NOT the body you should strive for. Your body, eating healthfully, moving nutritiously, addressing  stress in a mature way, and being part of a supportive community, is the body that you want to strive for. I (or anyone else for that matter) do not have your perfect body but I do want to inspire you and motivate you as a trainer and fellow mom. I think I am doing a better job of this now and I am always working to improve my message, as I believe, we are never done improving ourselves.

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The post workout routine that takes 5 minutes.

Confession time: I don’t always shower right after a workout. Gasp! I know. But seriously, I usually don’t have the time to.

Whether it is tending to the needs of my kids. . .hell, it is ALWAYS my kids, I have to keep my workouts short and sweet and because of this I rarely if ever have the opportunity to “freshen” after any of my workouts.

Because of this, I started implementing a quick little routine that left me feeling fresh without having the kids banging on the bathroom door demanding snacks, shows, and more snacks.

This routine takes me all of 5 minutes and does not involve getting in and out of the shower OR having wet hair.

Here’s what I do: First I want to say that I do this whole routine at home. If you are doing it at a gym bring a clean change of clothes as part of the routine. If you are at home, obviously, your clothes are there already.

  1. First I wash and exfoliate my face with a gentle exfoliant like the apricot scrub used above. Then pat dry face.
  2. Wash armpits. Yep! I just do it in the sink with some mild soap. I then dry them up and apply my favorite deodorant.
  3. I then wipe down any sweaty areas with these flushable body wipes. I love this brand and I carry them every where I go, they are seriously a life saver.
  4. I then get a new change of clothes on.
  5. Put my hair up in a mom bun.
  6. Then spritz a light scent on my face and hair. 

Boom. Done.

This has pretty much kept me from feeling like a disgusting slob while I go about my day because I usually can’t get to the shower until after the kids go to bed. 

I know it truly isn’t ideal. . .but a mama has to do what a mama has to do.

What are your tips and tricks for freshening up quickly after a workout?

Sometimes you have to dig deeper.

Sometimes you win and sometimes your win is disguised and you just have to dig a little deeper.

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We got all the way to the doctor’s office to find out that we actually did NOT have an appointment.🙄 Mom brain in full effect.

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Anyway, I kicked myself for getting the girls rushed out of the house so early on a cold, no school morning. But then we got home and the girls had a snack and just started playing nicely in their room.

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I think that if we hadn’t had that change of scenery early in the day, the girls would be fighting at this point. So my mistake is ALL of our win because now our late morning is going extremely well.

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Remember that some wins are easy and we love for these because they give us that automatic rush of “yes! I got this!”

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Sometimes though, the wins aren’t so clearly marked. We have to dig deeper to find them and maybe the digging can get frustrating because you are just like “why can’t this be easy?!”😩But then you find what you were looking for, your win! Maybe it took more effort but it these harder to find wins are just as (if not more) rewarding than the easy ones.

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If you haven’t found that easy win, do not give up! Definitely dig deep because you got this!

Moderation and balance don’t exist for me.

You want to know what I think is the biggest load of crap that I think is being shoveled out to women?

That we can live in this beautiful world of “moderation” and “balance”.

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Yep, I said it. I don’t believe in moderation and balance.

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What???

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Let me explain.

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I should preface this with saying that I think moderation and balance DO work for some people. I feel though, that the people it works really well for shout it from the roof tops that if it works for them it must work for you too because moderation and balance are “normal” and “healthy” and if you don’t practice them and embrace them then you haven’t quite arrived yet.

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I won’t say that these moderation/balance folks are the only ones who want you to join their party, I mean, everyone swears by the way they eat & exercise, but I’m focusing my time, in this post, on the moderation/balance folks because it is this group that I feel most inadequate around.

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Yeah, who would think that the people pushing moderation and balance would make someone feel like less of a person?

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When you have spent most of you teens and early adult years addicted to all things sweet and realized that the only way to really do life is without the junk foods. . . hearing that moderation is so great makes me feel “less than” because I don’t partake. .

Trust me, I have tried, but I just end up hiding a bag of cookies in my purse and eating them in my car. . .by myself, in a parking lot. Yeah, I have been there.

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So when I hear that moderation and balance works for you, great! But, it does not and will not work for me. My body and mind do not work that way.

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This, however, does not mean, I am not a normal and healthy eater. I am an extremely normal and healthy eater, I’m normal and healthy for me.

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Bottom line, we need to do what works for US and realize that the most “normal’ things to us might not work for others.

Get through the overwhelm.

Overwhelm: When you make the unhelpful decision to stop breathing, lose perspective, and forget you’re in control of your life.
 
Thank you Jen Sincero for this.
 
I talk about overwhelm a lot and I truly believe it a big reason why a lot of us just don’t take action.
 
Its pretty easy to see why, with the definition that Sincero gives.
 
My goal is to help women ditch the overwhelm so that they CAN take action.
 
We can do this first and foremost by just breathing. Slow down and figure out what you are truly feeling. Sit with your feelings and be okay with where you are right now.
 
Next, don’t lose perspective! You are doing the best you possibly can and the fact that you are even thinking of change puts you ahead of the curve. Remember, don’t compare your chapter 1 to another woman’s chapter 20. . .it is all relative.
 
Last, don’t ever forget that you are in control. You are the only one that can take the first step. Stop waiting for the perfect time, by doing this you are releasing control and you and I know damn well that perfect is never going to come.
 
Let’s kill overwhelm!
 
Breathe, don’t lose perspective, and remember you are in control!

Exercise Intensity–When to give more energy and effort, and when to lay back.

So you have a program and you are ready to hit the (home) gym.

But, though you know how to do each of the exercises, including reps and sets, you don’t know how much effort to give it.
So what to do?
Follow the exercise intensity scale and apply it to your workouts according to the type of exercise/session you are doing.

1: Little or no activity – like sitting on the couch, reading, surfing the internet
2-3: Light activity- a very slow walk where it is easy to hold a conversation because breathing is not heavy.
4-6: Moderate activity- Feels like you could keep doing this type of activity for a long time but you are breathing heavy so conversation would be difficult to have. Think, jogging for long distances.
7-8: Vigorous activity- On the verge of becoming uncomfortable. Only a short sentence or a few words at a time, heavy breathing, and activity can only be sustained for a short period.
9: Very hard activity.- Very hard to sustain. Breathing is heavy and labored. You can barely say a word let alone string together a very short phrase without taking a heavy breath.
10: Maximal activity- Almost impossible to keep going. You can hardly breathe and you can not speak.
Now, how do you know when to apply each exertion level to your programming?
First off, a good program will include a range of exercise intensity. You should NOT be doing between a 7-8 every day. Somedays should be a 7-8 while others should be a 4-6 or 2-3 and you might even want to add a 9 in there somewhere as well.
The same program is not going to be the same exertion level for every person. Someone just starting out might have a higher exertion rate than someone who is well trained.
With those things said, there are some general rules to follow:
When lifting in a moderate rep range (what I have most of my clients do most often) of 3-4 sets and about 6-12 reps, your effort should feel like a six or seven. This kind of training is called hypertrophy and is the type of training that is usually done for growing muscle size.  
This is also the type of training I create most of my clients’ programming around.
Next, if you are lifting in a higher rep range, 2-4 sets and about 12-15 reps, your effort will probably be a little lower, between 5-6. This kind of training is more of an endurance training and even though it is done with weights, you will probably be able to do it for longer periods of time than programming that uses heavier weights and lower reps. 
Lastly, if you are doing high intensity interval training (HIIT), your intensity and effort should be maybe an 8-9. The main thing about HIIT is that the high effort you are putting in, is in short bursts and not a steady state. I usually don’t program in HIIT unless clients are looking for a quick “cardio” type session. Side note: I don’t think beginners should be doing HIIT, it is definitely a form of exercise that if done wrong can cause injury. If you are just starting out I recommend walking, hiking, swimming, and cycling before introducing HIIT.
I hope this give you a better idea as to the effort you should be putting in to different workouts. Remember, when you first start out, your effort might be a little bit more than if you are training all the time. Just know the intensity/effort you are striving for and work towards it.  
(The number ratings and descriptions are taken from the Moms Gone Strong Manual)

Hi! & What I Do.

Hi!
I’m Stephanie.
I’m a trainer who helps mamas get fit, gain energy, and get over the confusion that surrounds health and fitness.
I’m also a mom of two young girls. I spend my days potty training a stubborn 2 year old, helping a 5 year old with her writing skills, cooking *mostly* healthy meals, and doing laundry. . .LOTS of laundry.
What I’m trying to get at is that I understand that your time is limited and that when you do have a free moment, you want to make the most of it.
So, if you are going to commit to a workout program and bettering your nutrition, why would you waste time driving too and from a gym?
Working out at home can be just as, if not more effective, than working out at a gym. And with a trainer that you can talk to almost any time of day who will create a personalized program JUST FOR YOU, then it really seems like a no brainer.
I train via the internet because I want to help mamas who feel stuck.
I know so many women who feel stuck in the place they are because they can’t get to a gym or can’t make time for better nutrition.
No mama should feel stuck and that’s why I am here to be your guide through the sludge, to get you on track with a simple weight training program and nutrition plan that YOU can stick with.
I work together with you to figure out small habits that you can start applying now, we figure out where you stand with your fitness and start with a program that makes sense for you, that you can work on progressing in.
We will look at your nutrition and eating habits together and look at healthy foods that you can add. I will never recommend a trendy diet or strange supplements to you because whole food nutrition is where its at.
Most importantly, I will have patience and be kind, and I hope you will too. This is a journey NOT a magic pill.
If you are interested in working with me find me on Facebook (here) and let’s talk!