May 20

Every Kid IS Different BUT They ALL Like Vegetables (6 things parents screw up when their kids are born)

As children our taste buds are more sensitive, and so many foods are new in flavor and texture for little ones.

They have every reason to be hesitant around new foods while they are learning and growing. However, this is not an excuse to give up on a seemingly picky eater. Children do need time to accept new foods, but by 2 or 3 years old if you are introducing a variety of good foods repeatedly and choosing good foods yourself they will like a good variety of foods.

They may not like everything, but they will like a lot more than you might have thought. If your children won’t eat ANY vegetables there is a good chance there were things you should have done differently when they were growing up. . . . and you can start doing some of these things now to reverse their tastes.

Taz first impression of vegetables was not favorable. Now, 3 years later he loves them!

Taz first impression of vegetables was not favorable. Now, 3 years later he loves them!

  1. Introduce vegetables before you introduce fruit. When you are first introducing solids to a 4 to 6 month old start with vegetables first. Let them try all the vegetables before you start adding fruit to the diet. If they only take a couple bites then start spitting it out, don’t force it. Try some more vegetables, and continue to re-introduce the one they didn’t like. There is no reason to worry about quantity of food or to rush this process. You will still be either nursing or giving formula at this time so they will be getting all the nutrients they need.
  2. Offer baby foods multiple times. If there are certain vegetables that they aren’t as interested in as infants continue to offer the vegetable over and over. Don’t ever give up and black ball a food. Just because they don’t like a food initially doesn’t mean they won’t with time. Mix with fruit or rice cereal and continue to introduce. Do not force, but continue to introduce each week.
  3. Offer whole vegetable multiple times. If your baby didn’t like sweet potatoes from a jar no matter how many times you tried, still try a sweet potato when baby graduates to whole foods. Just as you offered baby food over and over, the same process needs to be followed when introducing the actual vegetable. Textures will be completely new, and they may love pureed peas but hate the actual pea because the texture is new.
  4. Offer at least 10 times, in the same way! A food needs to be introduced upwards of 10 times before you give up. It is very important that it is offered the same way each time, and not mixed in a casserole or other form etc. New foods take time to get used to and kids are learning about the entire food world all at once. You do not need to force a child to try the food item every time, but have it at the table and put some on your child’s plate.
  5.  Model behavior. If you won’t eat it they won’t either. It is very important that you are offering fruits and vegetables with every meal. They need to see you eating the foods on the table. If you never eat them they will pick up on your food aversions. If you don’t eat vegetables then the first place to start is with yourself. Allow yourself to try some vegetables you haven’t tried in years. Try the food several times, and try preparing a different way then you had it as a child.
  6. Don’t tell your children they must finish everything on their plate. You can ask them to try everything at least once, but food shouldn’t be forced. Parents should choose the WHAT, WHEN, and WHERE of meal times and food. Children should choose HOW MUCH and IF. Follow this rule and your children will have a great nutrition start. Young children naturally eat the number of calories they need each day. As they grow and are distracted with TV and forced to finish everything on their plate they quickly learn to ignore internal cues for satiety (the full feeling). Once we get good at ignoring the full feeling, it is so easy to overeat.

Children are so impressionable when they are young, and they roll we play in the first few years has lasting impacts. Help your children start with a strong nutritional foundation. Helping them like a variety of foods will make easy for them to eat a diet full of all the vitamins and minerals they need. It is never too late to start. If your children are older, focus on the last three suggestions to help them expand their food preferences. And most importantly, if you are a picky eater… start with yourself!

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May 19

How I Got Fat, And Why I Blamed My Kids

I don’t like fat people.  At least I used to be very prejudice against fat people . . .  then, I got fat.

At the time I was working out a minimum of 4 days a week for 2-4 hours a day.  It became a sort of obsession, or at least a habit that I was unwilling to give up.  From 4pm to about 7 pm every day I was at the track running laps, running bleachers, swimming, or biking.

Life was pretty simple.  Sandi (my wife) and I had just gotten married and moved to a small town in Oklahoma. She worked at a hospital that was only 1/2 mile from our house, and I was a stay at home husband.

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I spent my time trying to decide what to do with my life.  I was 25 and sort of a late bloomer career wise.   I flipped houses for  awhile (read: I lost money on two ghetto homes), I did some roofing with a brother in law, I didn’t go to a couple job interviews, I started college twice.  For the most part my time was spent researching workouts and marathon training techniques, when I wasn’t researching workouts, I was developing spreadsheets with target running times or planning our next road trip to an upcoming marathon.

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Sandi was only working about 30-40 hours a week, but it was a pretty laid back job, so we would have breakfast and lunch together.  And she was always home by 4pm at the latest.

Like I said, life was pretty good!

At the same time we started to become obsessed with diet and nutrition (Sandi is actually a Dietitian by trade) and we developed a pretty restrictive diet plan that included almost no saturated fat and tons of fruits and veggies.  Not only was health important to us, but we had the time, money, and support to make health and fitness work.  This coupled with the fact that we lived in a town where the nearest movie theater was 120 miles away created the perfect atmosphere for us to focus an intense amount of energy on working out.

Fast Forward 5 Years

Over the last 5 years life has changed significantly for our family.  To make a long story short we have lived in 10 homes/apartments, had two kids, I have had 3 full time jobs, we have started two businesses, and I have completed 2 Bachelors degrees. . . . Oh, and we have had we have had two kids.

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I now weigh 195 pounds, for a 5’8″ male (like myself) that makes my BMI 29.6, 30 is obese which means if I gain two pounds my BMI will say that I am obese. To be fair, even when I was 4% body fat my BMI was still 26, so its not the best description of physic.

What Happened Over the Last 5 Years

When you don’t have a “real” job and no kids, your time is yours.  I was able to do whatever I wanted with my time and this allowed for very intense workouts . . . when I had the energy to do intense workouts.  Now days I have two kids on top of the fact that I work nights.  When I get home from work at 8am the kids are crying, they are hungry, cranky, loud, and I don’t have the energy to deal with it.

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All I really want to do is to go to sleep. But I stay awake for a couple hours to get some play time in with the kiddos or to eat breakfast with the family.

Generally, I am balancing trying to stay awake during the day time and just the shear challenges of parenting that every other parent faces and generally speaking I am too tired to workout.

When meal time comes I often given in to the enticing of Ronald McDonald because it will entertain the kids for a couple hours and it won’t make a mess in the house. His damn Siren song is just too much to ignore on some days (ba da ba ba ba!).

Each night I go to bed thinking “tomorrow will be the day that I wake up early”, but I usually stay up to late each night so that I can have a few hours of quiet time after the kids are in bed.  Then, at 2am Taz, my 3 year old boy, comes into our room and climbs up into our bed shoving us out of his way.

On the rare occasion that my energy levels lines up with my ambition and I do end up on a jog where I have to push 60 pounds of kid and stroller while also trying to carry my extra 30 pounds of weight that has built up over the last 5 years.

I am generally a pretty selfish guy (if you hadn’t noticed by now) and I have come to realize in the last three years of parenting how precious time is . . . better put, how precious MY time is.  When the stars align and I have a moment of quiet time all I want to do is sip on a root beer, crack open a bag of chips and watch re-runs of the Office . . . its my way of feeling sorry for myself because I am such an amazing dad!

What Really Happened Over the Last 5 Years

As mentioned above we have moved a lot and done a lot over the last few years. I have used the choices I have made as excuses for failure in other areas of life rather than realigning my priorities or fessing up to my failures.

I chose to attend school, I chose to work nights, I chose to eat at McDonalds, I chose to start businesses . . . etc. the list goes on and on.  Rather than accept my choices and organize my life accordingly I have used my kids as scapegoats for my shortcomings.

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In the same amount of time as it has taken me to gain 30 pounds, Sandi has run two marathons . . . and had two babies. She is just 5 pounds away from her pre marriage weight.

The moment I made the decision to stop working out, the past 5 years where already decided.  That ONE day that I didn’t go jogging for whatever reason – – – my destiny was decided.  A new habit had been created and I had erased 26 years of good habits.

The day I decided to take Taz to McDonald’s for the first time I had made my decision that someone else was going to be responsible for feeding my kids.  Someone else was going to make nutrition decisions for my kids.  Why? Because I thought it would be easier.

I remember the first time I EVER felt fat.

It was at my corporate job (desk job) I was typing away on the computer and I felt my man boobs touch my stomach!  I couldn’t believe it.  Rather than use this as motivation to make drastic changes, I used it as a sign that “it was too late”.  I was now one of the “fat people” that I hated.  Getting back in shape was now out of my reach.  This was BEFORE we even had kids.  What I mean is, clearly my decision to be out of shape was independent of children.  I had already made that decision . . . having kids only gave me an excuse.

As a nurse who works nights I get to have breakfast and dinner with my kids 7 days a week.  Generally speaking I am pretty tired after an over night shift. But I have an amazing chance to be at every meal with my kids . . what habits and traits can I teach them?  I am there a minimum of 2 meals a day, 7 days a week.  Very few men have that advantage. I have 4 days off per week, I live across the street from an enormous park, I have a wife and children who love the outdoors . . . yet I am not working out.

What positive impact would doing short HITT workouts while my kids take naps make in my outlook on life and overall energy level?  What would the difference be if I ate healthy snacks rather than cokes and cookies while I was working?

Parenting does change the way in which you are able to use your time.  It does make an enormous difference in how much personal time you have.  But health is not simply how much time you spend running.  Health is a way of life.  It is not required that you be 4% body fat and run 200 miles a week to reap the benefits of working out.  Simply walking more, jogging around the block, telling Ronald McDonald to screw himself, or eating an apple are all healthy choices that will result in fantastic health changes of in turn improve my entire outlook on life.

The moment I fess up to MY failures and faults and stop blaming those who love me and look up to me (my kids), in that moment can I start making changes that will impact my life and my children’s lives.

What are my children feeling now whether consciously or subconsciously knowing that I am putting all the blame for my current health state on them?  No doubt they can feel my frustrations.  By removing that blame and placing it where it belongs I will create a more peaceful home and allow myself to begin living a healthy life again.

I don’t hate fat people.  I realize that we all struggle with different things.  I understand now more than ever the mental blocks to start the process of working out or eating right.  I know how it feels to know that you don’t love your body.

By alienating my family and blaming them for my choices I have driven a wedge, hidden or not, into the most precious relationships possible in life.  I am missing out on enjoying life to the fullest.

Moving forward life will be sweet.  Family will be cherished.  Health will be embraced.

Have you had an experience or paradigm shift that helped you change you health goals?  Share your thoughts below in the comments.

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May 15

12 Food Hacks For a Healthy Family (How to Cut Calories Over 60% Without Your Family Noticing)

Feeding a family is a difficult job!  Coming up with a meal idea each night, shopping for the food, and dealing with the spills and complaints about the food.  Add to that trying to feed your family “healthy” food and you make the job just that much harder. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a challenge!  In fact, your family doesn’t even have to know.

A few years ago Sandi and I went on a hard core low fat diet.  The problem was that we were both sugar and junk food addicts. So we had to think outside the box . . . we weren’t really willing to give up our favorite foods.  While doing this we found several alternatives to some of our favorite snacks that allowed us to indulge and loose weight all at the same time. The best part?  Most of these food hacks don’t cost any more than the “regular” alternative.

So sit back and check out these awesome food hacks that will reduce your fat intake and overall calorie intake without restricting you to salad and lemon cleanse drinks! All of these foods are available at a small neighborhood Wal-Mart within walking distance to our home.

1. Fiber One Fruit Snacks

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This is a pretty new product.  In fact I just noticed it on the shelves a couple weeks ago.  These fruit snacks have 3 grams of fiber per little pack, that’s about 10% of the recommend daily intake  . . . and believe it or not the flavor is actually not that bad at all.  I started taking a pack to work each night and couldn’t really tell any difference in the flavor from regular fruit snacks.  Taz (our 3 year old son) however wanted the “fun fruit snacks” but when he was given these over the others he couldn’t really tell a difference either.

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2. Fat Free Sour Cream

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I love sour cream!  I love it on my burritos (which I eat a lot of – – – read below), it love to add it as a thickener for sauces, as a substitute for oil in cake mixes, and as a dip.  Mix some of this fat free sour cream with some baked tortilla chips (or fat free potatoe chips – – watch out for the olestra) and you have an awesome snack. Wal-Mart also makes a generic fat free sour cream that is actually really good.  Kroger makes one too, but it is pretty liquidy and I would not suggest it, it just wasn’t as good as the Wal-Mart generic.  When you buy the WalMart brand, it is actually no more expensive than the ones with more fat.

 3. Fat Free Cheese

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This is a wonderful product from Kraft.  Sandi and I found this several years ago and started using it more and more.  We never switched to using it exclusively however because it just really doesn’t melt like the fattier cheese.  We do use 2% milk fat cheese for things like enchiladas or lasagna.  One thing we were able to do was to do like 70% regular cheese and 30% fat free cheese on things like that.  This does work great for burritos (told I love burritos) or as a simple topping. Using fat free cheese can really cut out a TON of fat and calories from your diet if you eat half as much cheese as we do!

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4. Egg Whites

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The truth is these are really no more than just egg whites . . . hence the name “100% Egg Whites”.  They do have a little bit of coloring added for color.  These are a fantastic product because eggs are loaded with fat and cholesterol.  These egg whites can be used in direct substitution of eggs.  You could just make these at home by buying a dozen eggs and then just cooking only the egg white, but these little boxes are much more handy. A little box like this would cost about $5 and is equivalent to about a dozen eggs.

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5. Hawaiian Punch – Singles to Go

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So here’s the deal with these little drink mixes. . .I am not a fan of low calorie drinks, I hate the taste of Splenda, and other artificial sweeteners.  These little drink mixes are actually really good and they do not have any sugar in them.  I actually buy them for myself, but they would make an excellent substitute for regular Hawaiian Punch which is loaded with sugars and corn syrup.  For just $1 you get six drink packs.  The flavor is actually really strong too so I usually only mix in half a packet with an entire glass of water.

6. Dr. Pepper Ten

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As you are probably starting to see, I am a huge drink fan.  I don’t drink alcohol, but I am addicted to sodas (this is my biggest struggle with eating healthy).  Dr. Pepper recently came out with Ten calorie sodas .  What they have done is leave a small portion of the corn syrup in there to lessen the “diet flavor”.  While this still isn’t the ideal beverage, it makes a great substitute for a soda junkie like myself.

You can still tell that it isn’t the full flavor soda, but the flavor is much closer to the original.  The A&W and 7Up flavors are actually almost spot on in my opinion.  The flavors that are sold at my local WalMart are Sunkist, Dr Pepper, Canada Dry, 7Up, and A&W.

7. Fat Free Refried Beans

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Once again, I am a big burrito eater!  Refried beans can contain a fair amount of excess fat but many companies make a fat free version.  WalMart makes one, Rosarita makes one, but one that I really like is the Gebhardt brand.  They only cost $0.78 per can and a single can is enough to make enchiladas for our family of four.  You really don’t have to sacrifice very much with flavor when it comes to fat free refried beans.

Another product option for the fat free beans is this one that I found last year and really love.

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The Mexican Rose refried beans are the most authentic beans I have found.  They come in a little bag as dehydrated bean flakes.  You just add a cup or two of water and microwave for like 5 minutes and you have authentic beans.  These beans are the closest to restaurant style beans in my opinion.  Sandi doesn’t like making them as much as I do and they do take a minute longer to make, but I think that the flavor is superior.  They cost a couple buck a bag and each bag is probably two or three cans worth of beans.

8. Fat FREE Hot Dogs – Yeah, I just said that

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When I met Sandi I quickly found out that her favorite food was . . . Hot Dogs!  Yeah, a dietitian who’s favorite food was hot dogs right?  So we tend to have hot dogs in our refrigerator pretty consistently. When we started trying to decrease our fat intake we spent a fair amount of time trying to find a better solution for hot dogs.

Well BallPark makes a fat free turkey hot dog.  They are great!  I don’t think you have to sacrifice any real flavor with these either. I mean how much flavor do hot dogs have in the first place.  This is also a great product to give to your kids.

We throw these in our macaroni and cheese or just give them to the kids as a meal or snack.  A great meal is:

  • Fat free hotdogs
  • Fat free chili
  • Fat free cheese

Voila, you have a fat free chili dog!  Can’t beat that.

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9. Turkey Breast

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Okay so maybe this one isn’t revolutionary, but using turkey breast instead of other meats can really reduce saturated fat and overall fat intake significantly.  Often you can even find fat free turkey.

10. Fat Free Cream Cheese

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WalMart makes a fat free cream cheese that is actually cheaper than other cream cheese brands.  We use this when making frosting, dips, and basically for anything you would make with regular cream cheese.  You can throw this in with some fat free cottage cheese and fat free mozzarella cheese to make a significantly reduced fat lasagna that is still cheese and creamy.

If you mix this with some sugar and vanilla it will make a frosting for cupcakes or cake.  It isn’t nearly as creamy and light and a frosting made with Crisco, but it works if you are really just trying to cut out the fat.  You really have to play around with consistency to get it just right with frosting.

11. 96% Lean 4% Fat Meat

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So this is an obvious choice.  It will cost you a bit more at the register, but buying the lean meat drastically reduces your saturated fat intake over regular meat.  Without even looking at the packaging you can tell how lean a meat is by how red it is.  Fatter meats will look pink while lean meat will appear red.  The 4% fat meat has just 1.5 grams of saturated fat.  This meat can be used in direct substitution for fatter meats without sacrificing on flavor.

12. Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies

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So we saved the best for last.  These brownies by Betty Crocker are not marketed as low fat or healthy or anything. In fact they contain less fat than the low fat Betty Crocker brownies. The Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies contain just 1 gram of TOTAL fat per serving and 0 saturated fat (before mixing)

Check out the screenshot below from the WalMart website with the nutrition facts:

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Needless to say, these little guys have become a staple dessert in our home.  You can also buy some fat free ice cream or frozen yogurt to add to the top to complete the ensemble or just eat the brownies as is for a surprisingly low fat dessert.

You can make these lower fat when mixing by using egg whites and apple sauce instead of whole eggs and oil.  Just mix in equal parts of egg whites and apple sauce instead of the eggs and oil respectively.

What Nutrition Hacks Do You Have?

Do you have some nutrition tips to avoid fat and “trick” your family into eating healthier?  Share them below in the comments for everyone to share.

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May 14

8 Moms Who Run Marathons (they are pretty DAMN fast too)

There are a couple of things I am pretty sure I will never do in my life.

  1. Run a sub 3:00 marathon
  2. Have a baby

I am pretty confident the baby thing will never happen, unless Arnold Schwarzenegger was on to something in Junior.  I know I will never run a sub 3:00 marathon.  I have tried and my best was only a 3:24.  So my mind is always blown away by a mom who can run a marathon after having a baby.

So lets introduce our 8 Elite Marathon Moms.   To be completely honest, I have included a few triathletes in our list, but to be fair these moms not only run a marathon, but also swim 2 miles and bike 100 miles before the marathon, so I felt they more than qualified.

  1. Paula Radcliffe
  2. Kara Goucher
  3. Deena Kastor
  4. Jessica Jacobs
  5. Emma Gerrard
  6. Sara Gross
  7. Heather Gollnick
  8. Michelle Andres

Paula Radcliffe

2 Children, 2:15:38 Womens Marathon World Record Holder

CC Copyright fergie lancealot

CC Copyright fergie lancealot

Not only is Paula a mother of two children, but she holds the current world record in the marathon, is a 3 time London Marathon winner, 3 time New York Marathon winner (the year she had her baby, and the year after), and a one time Chicago Marathon winner.  She has also won countless awards and accolades for her running accomplishments.

Oh, and did I mention that she has asthma? Oh, and anemia.

Paula is truly an inspiration to mom and athletes everywhere. On training while pregnant Paula has said“The minute you find out you are pregnant, your priorities change, and of course I slowed down.  I ran for health and pleasure, not for competitive reasons”.    Of course just 12 days after having her baby she was back out training, but later admitted that 3 weeks may have been better.

She won the 2007 New York Marathon just 10 months after having her baby.

Never set limits, go after your dreams, don’t be afraid to push the boundaries. And laugh a lot – it’s good for you!

Paula Radcliffe

CC Lisence Flickr user Alan Cordova

CC Lisence Flickr user Alan Cordova

Kara Goucher

1 child, 2008, 2012 Olympics, 3 Time NCAA Champion

Flicker User Stewart Dawson

Flicker User Stewart Dawson

Kara burst onto the marathon scene in 2008 by finishing 3rd at the Boston Marathon.  She gave birth to her son in 2010, in 2011 she placed 5th at the Boston Marathon with a time of 2:24:52 a PR by more than a minute and beating her 2009 (pre baby) Boston time by 7 1/2 minutes.  Shortly after that she was on her way to the 2012 London Olympics.

She has won many other races and events since having a child and has proven her strength as a runner in recent years.

Acknowledge all of your small victories. They will eventually add up to something great.

Kara Goucher

Deena Kastor

1 chlid, US Record holder in Marathon, Half-Marathon, 15k, 8k, 5k

Photo take by: Ambio

Photo take by: Ambio

Deena gave birth to her first child in February 2011, eleven months later she ran a 2:30:40 marathon to place 6th at the age of 39. Since then she has gone on to place 3rd at the LA Marathon and 9th at the world championships at the age of 40.

Deena is truly an athlete that takes excuses away from the regular folk like you and I.  Despite being a mother and “over the hill” she continues to compete on the world stage as an elite marathoner. In 2006 she was named the top womens marathoner in the world.

When you have the enthusiasm and the passion, you end up figuring how to excel.

Deena Kastor

 

Jessica Jacobs

1 child, 2012 Kona IronMan World Championships 26th place (11:38:39)

Jessica began racing triathlons in 2011 and quickly became hooked on the sport.  Despite a frustrating first  race she returned for more races and qualified for the 2012 IronMan World Championships where she placed 26.  In 2013 she completed 5 Half IronMan races (70.3) and 2 Full IronMan races never placing below 14th. Her IronMan PR is a stellar 8:55:10, good enough for a 1st place finish at the 2011 Florida IronMan. . . All this while raising a daughter!

Emma Garrard

1 child, Multiple top finished in XTERRA Championships and Winter Triathlon Championships

Emma is a serious competitor and a very busy woman. On top of training for XTERRA and Winter Triathlon races, she is a mom, a photographer, and she coaches various athletic programs. In 2011 alone, she ran 11 organized races. Most recently she placed 2nd in the 2014 XTERRA West Championships just weeks after being bedridden with sickness.  This was her best finish in a pro race. . . EVER. All this just months after having a baby.

She keeps a very fun and inspring blog at EMMAGARRARD.com outlining her workouts, family time, and races.  If you ever wanted to get an inside look at racing and training with kids, this is probably the best blog to read from a professional athlete.

Smart preparation in not-ideal circumstances can only get you far, good results also require consistent specific training.

Emma Garrard

Sara Gross

2 Chlidren, Professional Triathlete

In 2013 Sara completed 11 triathlon races, completing the Zurich Ironman in 9:55 and placing in the top 3 in 6 of those races.  Yes, that is with two children.  In 2011 she finished 2nd in the Calgary 70.3 just 7 months after having a baby.  Oh, did I mention she also hold a PhD from the University of Edinburgh.

When I get home from training I quickly shift from athlete-mode to mom-mode  . . .

I think that all women should get in the habit of taking care of themselves for at least an hour or two a day.

Sara Gross

As for working out while pregnant, Sara says that she averaged 1-1.5 hours of exercise a day.  Running until week 32, biking until week 37, and swimming up until the day before her baby was born.

Sara confesses that her training has changed since having children.  She no longer is able to plan her training as much as before and must work around her babies schedules. To follow Sara online visit her website at www.saragross.ca.

Heather Gollnick

3 Children, 5X Ironman Champion

Heather is 44 years old a mother of three children and has over 100 podium finishes as a professional triathlete.  In fact if you check out her website at HeatherGollnick.com you will see that those top finishes just keep rolling in at nearly every race she enters.

We had a third child and ever since it has been complete madness with my husband and I being out numbered. Training is not the number one thing but I can still get out there and mix it up and love it!

Also remember training will always be there, your little ones get so big so fast.

Heather Gollnick

Heather states that she has no intention of slowing down any time soon and loves the thrill of racing and competing on a professional level.  She is the author of Triathlon EQ which states that endurance sports are as much a test of emotional endurance as physical stamina.

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To top it all off, Heather also provides triathlon coaching and is a public speaker.  Find out more about her coaching here.

Michelle Andres

5 children, full time teacher, 3rd Age Group Finisher Kona Ironman Championships

Michelle is an example of a “regular” mom who set her mind on a goal and made it happen.  She has a full time job as a teacher, she is the mother of 5 children, yet she still finds time to train and compete on a very high level.  She is 36 years old and holds the Minnesota state record for the Ironman Triathlon.  Her Ironman time at Kona was 9:50 which was good enough to earn her the #3 spot in her age group. She did all of this with no coach and most of her training was done in her basement on a stationary bike and treadmill.

If its important to you, you’ll find a way, if its not important, you’ll find an excuse. We all have more time in our day than what we think, we just waste a lot of time on things that are not important.

Michelle Andres

She now has her sites set on qualifying for the Olympic trials in the marathon.

Are You a Marathon Mom?

While all of these women have amazing stories to share and have all accomplished a lot professionally in terms of running, they all say the same thing: running after having a baby is not easy, but with planning and determination it is doable.

You may not be trying to win a triathlon or qualify for the Olympic trials, but you can reach your goals with running and weight loss.  You can accomplish what you set your mind to.

Are you a mom who continues to run?  Do you have tips for running with children?  Share your thoughts below in the comments.

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Half IronMan Family Challenge – October 26, 2014

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2014 marks our 7 year anniversary.  In 7 years we have lived in 3 states and moved 8 times.  We have two children and now both have full time jobs.

This site is meant to create a REVOLUTION.  To be the only website DEDICATED to family fitness.

– Created by a family for families –

Our goal is to run a Half IronMan together while working full time jobs and being parents to two wonderful little children.  We will document our entire process including the struggles, joys, food, and workouts that we are doing to reach this goal.  We will also share tips, workouts, and recipes that families can use to be healthy at home, be a parent, have a job, and live a happy – healthy life!

What will you do this year with your family?

So much healthy information out there is created by professional athletes with no kids . . . let’s get real.  What about the rest of us?  Join our movement to create healthy homes!

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Oct 20

Warming Up

Before you begin any workout it is important that you properly warm up. This is especially true before a bleacher or stair workout This is a topic that many people, including experienced runners may not correctly understand.  There are two basic forms of stretching; dynamic (not to be confused with ballistic) and static, both of which serve very different purposes. Dynamic involves moving body parts in a controlled manner as you reach the limits of your range of motion.  Static stretching on the other hand involves stretching the body to its furthest reach and then holding that position.  Dynamic stretching should be done prior to exercising and static should be done after exercising.  Do not confuse this point.  This article from Runners World is a helpful resource concerning stretching.

Examples of dynamic stretches include high knees, butt kicks, running backwards, swinging you leg in a running motion etc.

For further examples of proper warming up for running bleachers Aurora Sports Med has a fantastic video on You Tube.

Just imagine your muscles as rubber bands, as they sit still during the day they contract and become cold.  Stretching the muscles puts strain on them and pulls them to their max, doing this with cold muscles will cause damage.  As you perform dynamic stretches you are putting your muscles slowly through the same types of motion that they will perform during the workout while running bleachers.  Static stretches can be done as part of your cool down and actually will help to improve flexibility, increase speed, and prevent injury.

In my experience new runners either under prepare or over prepare for for workouts.  If your muscles  are cold and tight they will not be able to expand and putting them through a workout will only cause harm. Dynamic stretching mimics the movements of the workout that you will do in a slow manner slowly progressing the body part (muscle) to the full range of motion. Once the muscle is able to reach the full range of motion or close to it the muscle is prepared for a workout.

After running bleachers and the workout has been completed the muscle is warm and loose and is at a point where you can improve flexibility. It is at this time that static stretching will pay off high dividends. You should spend fifteen to twenty minutes statically stretching the muscle to its fullest point. Resistance will be felt and it is important to meet this resistance and hold the stretch and push past this point a bit. The runner will notice during future workouts that they are slowly able to increase their flexibility.

Improved flexibility will aid in the reduction of injuries and improve speed. Legs will have an increased range of motion and be able to improve stride. As muscles and tendons strengthen and achieve increased flexibility you will notice that stretching in the proper manner has paid off and running bleachers will become fun and not a chore.