Bedtime Yoga Sequence with Cathy Calandriello 

Bedtime Yoga Sequence with Cathy Calandriello 

After long lovely days at the beach, at the ballpark, on the playground and running around the neighborhood, kids tend to remain wired when heading to bed.  Unless of course a calming activity is deliberately infused into the routine leading up to bedtime.

Yoga before bedtime works like a miracle. Your kids can do yoga for better sleep, but some poses may energize them more, especially if your kids are already wound up from a stimulating day. These eight yoga poses will calm them before bedtime and make the transition to sleep easier. The purpose of yoga is to prepare the body for meditation and increase mindfulness. So after you do bedtime yoga, take the opportunity to teach your kids to meditate. The yoga-meditation power duo will be your new bedtime superhero.

A good night’s rest will affect how your kids relate to the world. It will decrease anxiety, depression, blood pressure, and heart rate. Great sleep will increase your child’s ability to handle stress and give them a more positive outlook. They’ll have a better memory and an increased ability to problem solve.

This bedtime yoga session will take you roughly 30 minutes depending on how long you hold each pose. 30 to 60 minutes before bed is the ideal time for your kids to do their bedtime yoga. When the yoga starts to feel too easy, do each pose twice.

 

  1. Sea Turtle Pose start on all fours (table top), sink hips back over feet, arms stretch out long
    Also known as Child’s Pose, Sea Turtle mimics the rounded hump of a Sea Turtle’s back. It relieves stress and gently stretches hips, back, thighs and ankles. This pose also helps with insomnia and makes falling asleep easier.
  1. Cat Pose Table top, arching back, dropping head
    Cat pose mimics a cat arching its back, so it’s easy for kids to learn and have fun with. This pose will stretch the muscles in your back and neck. It also helps to relax the mind, which can help reduce anxiety and ADHD symptoms.
  1. Rabbit Pose From cat, tuck toes, drop head. Crown of head to the floor.  Hands reaching back to feet
    Rabbit Pose is a relaxing posture that also alleviates depression and anxiety. It stretches back and neck muscles. Kids love this pose and can easily get into the full expression of the posture. Rabbit calms the mind and relieves tension around the neck and upper back, making sleep easier.
  1. SAILBOAT: Seated twist. One knee bent.  Twist over knee.  Do both sides
    Child will twist around the straight spine, which has a neutral effect on the nervous system.
  1. HALF BUTTERFLY: One leg in.  Forward fold over straight leg.  Do both sides
    Forward folds have a calming effect on the nervous system and the one bent leg opening up the hip adds to the calming effect.
  1. FISH POSE: Legs in butterfly. Hands under tailbone.  Crown of head on floor
    Fish pose is a lovely night time yoga pose to add to our sequence.  We tend to hold stress in our hips, so allowing our legs to relax out to the sides enhances the relaxation effect.  Open up the chest and allow your head to relax back and look behind you (slightly different than the picture). This multifaceted pose works beautifully to continue the calming effect.
  1. BRIDGE: Hips up, hands reaching for feet
    Bridge pose is an inversion well known for its calming effect on the nervous system.  This kids’ yoga pose can also be used anytime you have an extra minute during your day to give your child an extra sense of calm. Great, of course, for moms and dads too!
  1. DEADBUG: On back.  Arms and legs up
    Deadbug pose adds a final dose of a calming response before the big finale! Your child can even add the hum of the bug to enhance the relaxation. Hearing the humming sound within one’s own head can also double the calm for some children.
  1. SAVASANA WITH MEDITATION
    Savasana is the final yoga pose in this series and the granddaddy of the relaxation poses.  Encourage your child to lie flat on his or her back and close the eyes. For preparing for bedtime, it can also be helpful for your child to do savasana right in their bed and then allow themselves to drift softly into dreamland!  The purpose of Savasana is to lie flat on your back and do nothing but breathe, which is harder than it sounds. Savasana shifts you into your parasympathetic nervous system, which is necessary for restorative sleep. You may find that your kids fall asleep before they are finished with meditation. They won’t even remember trying to fall asleep.

The following bedtime meditation for kids combines relaxation and visualisation techniques to encourage kids to calm themselves before sleep. Before you try it, carry out your usual bedtime routine, tuck them in and turn out the light.

Meditation can literally make your brain bigger. A study by Harvard neuroscientists found that just eight weeks of regular meditation causes an increase in grey matter. These scientists are confirming what ancient Eastern traditions have known for millennia, and the info is also useful for our kids. Kids who practice mindfulness or meditation experience increased attention, better mental health, and improved self-regulation and self-awareness. It can enhance empathy, make them feel more connected and less stressed, boost creativity and, interestingly, help them fall asleep faster.

As you take them through the guided meditation, keep your voice low and soothing. Use repetition and rhythm, elongate pauses and gradually slow your words down to lull your kids into a state of relaxation. Let them know that they just need to listen and imagine the things you’re talking about—that’s all. It may take a few times before they get on board, but persist, make it part of the nightly routine, and soon bedtime will be a much calmer experience for everyone.

 

 

 

 

Bedtime Meditation for kids:

Lie on your back with your hands on your belly. Make sure you’re comfortable. Close your eyes and take three deep breaths. As you breathe in, notice how your hands lift as your belly rises, and then sink down again when you breathe out. If you like, you can imagine you are sniffing a beautiful flower, breathing in its lovely smell. Feel how your whole body relaxes each time you breathe out …

That’s it. Now take your hands off your tummy and let your arms lie by your sides and we’re going to imagine that instead of your bed, you are lying on a cloud. A beautiful, fluffy cloud that is so soft and comfortable to lie on. The cloud is a golden pink colour, like the clouds you see in the sky at sunset, and it floats gently up into the sky, up to the stars, carrying you safely, up and up.

As you lie on this golden, glowing cloud, your whole body feels very warm and heavy. Notice how your feet feel warm and heavy, and your legs feel warm and heavy. This lovely, relaxing feeling travels up your body into your hips and tummy. Your arms and your hands and your fingers feel warm and heavy. Your chest and your neck and your head are now warm and heavy. Let your whole body go loose and limp and sink into the softness of the cloud. Its colour glows all around you. You feel so comfortable, safe and calm floating on your cloud, so comfortable that you don’t want to move. 

It feels wonderful to rest your body. Now that your body is relaxed, you can relax your mind, too. It feels wonderful to rest your mind. Imagine that the thoughts or worries you have in your mind turn into clouds too. Watch them drift up and away, and notice how peaceful it feels floating on your own special cloud. Take a deep breath and imagine that you are breathing in the golden pink light of your cloud. Let it fill you up with that peaceful feeling. Let it fill your whole body and let it fill your mind, too.

This feeling is the way you feel when you’re going to sleep, and that’s what we’re going to do now. Keep your eyes closed, and keep on breathing in that peaceful feeling and drift off to sleep on your soft, safe cloud, knowing that you are safe and you are loved. Goodnight.

**Information for this article taken from the following sources:   singsongyoga.com  ;    discoverbrillia.com   and

hellolunchlady.com

-Cathy

Cathy was a Special Education teacher from 1984-2019 and holds a Master’s Degree in Special Education, along with several teaching certifications.  She first became a practicing yogi in January, 2009 as part of a New Year’s resolution to try new things.  While Cathy soon fell in love with the physical aspects of yoga, it was not until she began to share her yoga practice with her students that she noticed the benefits that extend beyond the mat.  Cathy became certified as a ChildLight Yoga instructor in 2014 and has since taken several courses through ChildLight in teaching yoga to persons with special needs and disorders. 
Cathy was trained in Vinyasa Flow in 2016 through Happy Love Yoga RYS with Sarah Jones and is a RYT-200 with Yoga Alliance. Cathy also received her Yoga Therapy Certification through Breathing Deeply in August, 2019 Master Reiki Certification in October, 2019.   Cathy hopes to continue and expand her practice of yoga and alternative therapies to improve the lives of people of all abilities.  Cathy believes in the power of yoga to increase focus, attention and self-esteem and to bring an awareness to all of the good in the world in which we live.  Cathy’s desire when teaching a yoga class is to bring a complete experience…physical, spiritual and mental… to all participants.

Exercising with Small Children at Home

 

Nicole and children getting their workouts in!
How do we fit in a workout without childcare during these times? 
 
If two parents are home, one great option is each spending 30 minutes to an hour by ourselves to get that workout in. But for many right now who might be working from home, possibly with older children remote learning or those who have partners who are essential workers, this may not be an option. 
 
So here’s a few tips for getting in your workout when you have small children at home:
 
1) Wake up early 
 
If you can get your workout in first thing in the morning you will feel accomplished for the rest of the day. It may not be appealing to set that alarm clock an hour earlier but you will be glad you did. 
 
2) Break up your Workouts
 
Small children generally have small attention spans and may not give you a full 30, 45 or 60 minutes straight to workout. So instead think about breaking up your planned workout into 15 minute chunks to get it done. For example: Your workout plan called for 3 sets of 15 repetitions of 5 exercises. Try to get set 1 done in one chunk of time,  set 2 in during someone’s nap,  ect…
 
3) Be Dressed and Ready 
 
If you have to break up your workout during the day, or if you are planning on trying to fit it in during a nap time then make sure you are ready to workout before that time so you don’t have to waste that precious workout time preparing. This can also mean pulling out any weights you might need, unrolling the yoga mat and having water ready. I suggest planning your space either the night before or first thing in the morning.
 
4) Involve the Kids 
 
Sometimes this is the only option. Young children and babies may not be sleeping through the night so setting your alarm early may not be feasible and that precious nap hour (if it exists) maybe better used prepping or preparing a meal, attending a Zoom meeting for work or for another pressing task. So think about ways you might be able to include your kids in your workout safely. I tend to do Reverse Lunges when I am pushing the kids in their swings. My three year old likes to climb on my back during pushups (I can safely handle her weight so it is safe). What ways might you get your workouts in with your children and what workouts do you need to use one of the other tips to get them done?
 
5) Be Flexible 
 
Right now with a spouse who is an essential worker and not home very much I try to use all these tips and still sometimes it just doesn’t work out as planned. My three mile run might turn into a family walk with the dog. I may have had my workout heart set on Corrine’s Body Weight Strength class but we end up doing Stacey’s Kids Zumba. It’s still movement and we are still living a healthy lifestyle even during these atypical exercise times. Be flexible and go with it!
 
Works Training Academy Personal Trainer and Coach 
 

Top 9 “Stay at Home” Habits From Coach Carrie- What’s your Top 9?!

Carrie’s Top 9 Quarantine Habits

Coach Carrie from our Works Training Academy is a Trainer and Coaches a variety of classes at The Works, including our Youth Training Academy Program! 

Here are her top habits keeping her in a routine and happy while at home!

Now it’s your turn!

What are your #TOP9?

Go to our Facebook page and share with your Top 9 using hashtag: #worksTOP9!

  1. Make your bed

I know there are some people out there who do this every day and others that are like why bother. Starting your day this way has already made you productive whether you are unable to work right now or you are an essential worker. I know at least my cat enjoys a well-made bed!

  1. Eat Breakfast

Maybe you’re not a big breakfast person but there is no better way to fuel your day than a hearty breakfast. My go to is toast with scrambled eggs and berries.

  1. Get moving

I’m fortunate to have a large selection of workout equipment at home. I go into my workouts with a plan knowing what my workout will be before I start. We hope you are taking advantage of all our wonderful workout content on The WorkS-Out Facebook page!

  1. Prioritize your day

Where are my To Do List makers at??? If you are anything like me, well then you are highly organized and love making lists just so you can check things off. And well, if you are not like me then give it a try, it may make you feel that more productive. P.S. if you have to work at a desk, get yourself a set-up where you can stand!

  1. Get outside

Obviously as a personal trainer I spend much of my day on my feet but what happens when I can’t work? I found myself sitting more frequently at the start of all this so I started incorporating daily walks into my routine. This goes back to the whole get moving bullet point. It doesn’t have to be a hard core workout to count as movement. A simple walk/run/bike ride outside can be a huge mood changer.

  1. Track food/Meal prep

How many of you are finding that you are making endless trips to the kitchen? Snacking here and there sometimes not even realizing it. Tracking what you eat and even going as far as prepping the meals I’m going to eat has been a life saver. Not only that, if you plan or meals ahead of time you can hopefully make fewer trips to the grocery store and not pack on that quarantine fifteen!

  1. Got to bed/Get up at the same time

Ugh..do I have to, it’s not like I have anywhere to be tomorrow? Yes! Keeping myself on a regular sleep cycle has been a lifesaver. I’m more productive and my workouts get everything I have. And I’m hoping once we return to a somewhat normal routine I will be able to jump right back into my early morning routine. (I’m usually up at 4:15am on work days!)

  1. Stay in touch with family and friends

This is so important especially for those social butterflies out there. Speaking with loved ones whether over the phone or on video calls has been a life saver. My girlfriends and I do a weekly virtual happy hour and my family does a virtual get together bringing us together from four different states. (Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and North Carolina)

  1. And lastly, hydrate!

I drink so much water throughout the day and you should too. Just think, the more you drink the more trips to the bathroom. It’s a two for one, not only do you keep yourself hydrated but you get your steps in too! 

Follow our Workouts and Classes by visiting our Facebook group here!

Cognitive Restructuring: Changing Negative Thoughts and Reframing To Positive Thoughts

The Works Wellness Center offers some thoughts on changing negative thoughts and reframing to positive thoughts this week. These are times where this may be very useful! 

Cognitive restructuring is a way of changing negative thoughts and reframing them to positive thoughts. It is a way of rewiring your brain and pathways to change a negative or hard to deal with situation spin it into something optimistic. By doing this reframing, we are changing our affect and mood which trickles into everything we do. 

Follow this guide to start restructuring your thoughts for positivity:

Let’s say you have an initial thought of “The coronavirus outbreak is never going to end.”

  1. Hit the pause button – we as humans act on instinct to deal with strong emotions. Thinking the outbreak will never end may bring out anger which causes us to lash out. Or it may cause anxiety which makes us hide. Hit the pause button to briefly remove yourself from the situation to ask what’s actually going on.
  1. Identify the trigger – what caused the strong emotion to that initial thought? Was it the stress of being your child’s remote-learning coordinator? Was is the outlook of your financial future? Was it being cooped up inside with nowhere to go?
  1. Notice your automatic thoughts – automatic thoughts are thoughts that just happen to us instinctually – we didn’t choose them. For example, getting frustrated with simultaneously being your child’s “teacher” and parent may make you think “I can’t do this, I can’t handle this schedule, and it’s going to go on forever.” Or being cooped up inside may make you think “All the fitness milestones I hit are gone, and I’m back to where I started.” We all have automatic thoughts, and it’s important to notice what yours are so you can start to change them.
  1. Identify your emotional reaction and how strong it is – The type of emotions and how strong they are depend almost entirely of what type of thinking we engage in. If your automatic thought of not being able to handle being your child’s teacher and parent is “I can’t do this!” You’re likely going to feel anger and hopelessness. Likewise, if your automatic thought of staying inside all day is “I worked so hard at the gym, and now I’m worse off than before!” You’re probably going to feel a mixture of anxiety and fear. Try to notice how strong those emotions are.
  1. Generate alternative positive thoughts – Once you’ve identified the trigger, examined your automatic thoughts, and rated your emotional response, the next step is replacing your thoughts with something positive. Instead of thinking “I can’t do it,” maybe replace that with “I never realized how talented in school my kid is,” or “The scheduling tools I’m forced to learn now are really going to help me in the future.” Or instead of thinking “All my fitness has been lost,” think “This is a great time to seek out new ways to exercise. I am going to have so many backup plans to exercise when the gym opens up again!”
  1. Re-rate the intensity of your emotional response – After coming up with (hopefully multiple) alternative thoughts, see what emotions you’re feeling instead. You’re probably not as angry or frustrated, and instead are feeling hopeful and motivated. Noting these positive emotions will help fuel the cycle to continue cognitive restructuring new habits.

-Shared by Kendall Vaughan, Health Coach / Personal Trainer Works Wellness Center 

Welcome Erika! Inspirational Thoughts On Food.

 
When you approach food, think about how it is going to nourish you.
 
Ask about where the food came from and what it took to get to your plate. Appreciate the flavors and the textures and make it an experience in wholesomeness rather than a chore.
 
Move your body in the way that moves you so that it is enjoyable and it’s something that you want to incorporate into your weekly routine.
 
Try to eat as many meals as you can with your family, food has a way of bringing people together, creating memories, nostalgia, anticipation.
 
Develop a good relationship with food and your body so that it takes care of you for years to come.
 
One of my favorite quotes, “Be careful of your thoughts, your thoughts become your words. Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions. Be careful of your actions, your actions become your habits. Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character. Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.”
 

Erika has always had a passion for health and nutrition. She believes that nutrition and exercise go hand-in-hand to increase well-being and an approach to food with a balanced mindset (dark chocolate please!) She loves hiking and running 5ks and has also ran a half-marathon where she trained with her 3 year old daughter in a stroller. She went to the University of New Hampshire and received her Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics with classes in EcoGastronomy. She loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors.

Email: Erika.Behrmann@WDHospital.org

 


A Day in the Life of a Dietitian

Once again we share “a day in the life” of what Dietitian, Holley Samuel ate one day, during this week.
Of course it’s been a whirlwind of change for everyone this week but we thought it may be fun to see what she was up to!

Breakfast

Oats with frozen blueberries, cinnamon, a splash of whole milk and 88 Acres Dark Chocolate Sunflower Seed butter and 30oz water with a splash of limeade (my favorite way to hydrate!) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next was a cold brew with oat milk from Adelle’s in Dover- my favorite coffee place! they made coffees to go today before closing for a while due to the COVID-19 situation. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making sure to stay hydrated with 30oz bottle #2 with a splash of limeade mid-morning! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Lunch

Lunch was a salad with Little Leaf Farms lettuce (it’s the best- trust me), a mini cucumber, 1 chopped carrot, 1/2 a small apple, walnuts, hemp seeds, cheddar cheese, a Starkist Tuna packet and Bolthouse Farms dressing. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About 45 minutes after lunch, I broke out Trader Joe’s 72% cocoa dark chocolate (which Hazel wanted to be part of!). Don’t let the picture fool you- I had 3 squares, not 1 and I DID NOT SHARE! 😉 

Hazel NOT eating dark chocolate!

Mid-afternoon I had a 12oz of GTS Synergy Kombucha. I love purchasing these larger bottles to save money, since my husband and I both enjoy drinking kombucha a few times a week, each. Probiotics help support your immune system by boosting the good bacteria in your gut, which is the gatekeeper to your immune system! I want that gate to be mighty strong in times like these, especially! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Dinner

Dinner was everything but the kitchen sink, in bowl form.

We made sautéed peppers and onions with leftover white rice, low sodium canned chick peas (the store was out of black bean, which I would have preferred for this Mexican themed dish… but that’s ok!), salsa, 1 wholly Guacamole packet, and some sprinkle cheddar cheese on top.

I also drank one more 30oz water bottle with dinner!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stress has been running a little high these days and my schedule is nothing like it normally is (in some ways this is helpful while in others it is not), so I have been making an effort to keep my meals pretty similar to what they typically are when there is no coronavirus pandemic! 

I hope this full day of eating helps give you some ideas of quick meals to make and allowed you to pause and think about how you can nourish yourself and practice self care next chance you get. -Holley 

 

Today we say farewell to Holley as she embarks on another adventure in in North Carolina! We will miss you, Holley! Thank you for leaving us with this great insight into your day!

Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Healthy Futures During School Closure

Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Healthy Futures During School Closure

By Jenny Brown

The no school quarantine memes and videos will without a doubt make you LOL but there is also some truth to them. Thus far my favorite is the dad who hears his daughter yelling for him and quickly grabs a background to camouflage himself into the couch. Raise your hand if this is you already on Day 5 of quarantine/remote learning? Whether you’ve gone from CEO to 3rd grade teacher or personal trainer to now 2nd AND 7th grade teacher, the struggle is real for all of us. How am I ever going to survive home school and this new quarantined lifestyle? This is the question we are all asking ourselves multiple times a day. 

Well, we will survive this and life will go back to our new normal, but until then let me share some secrets to creating the least restrictive, productive home school environment to ensure your littles continue to develop Healthy minds, Healthy Bodies, and Healthy Futures

Having taught Kindergarten and First Grade for many years, I have a few insights and resources to share with you all that I hope will be added to your “2020 Corona Home School Survival Guide”.

  A child’s school day is very predictable:  snack, math, writing, lunch, recess, they all occur relatively around the same time every day and or your child begins to memorize Monday-Friday’s schedule. Help your child adjust to this new school at home lifestyle by having them create, with assistance if needed, their own schedule. The more ownership they have over their schedule the easier it may be to follow. I realize life is nothing but a fluid situation right now, but the quicker we can create structure and predictability for your child, the more successful quarantine and remote learning will be for you and them! 

Learning can and should be fun. We realize you are not a teacher, nor have you ever had to make memorizing sight words entertaining. Don’t panic, there are many resources to help make these chunks of learning time enjoyable for both you and your child. Keep their brains engaged while offering out of the box lesson ideas to ensure healthy minds, healthy bodies and healthy futures and keep those quarantine blues away. Check out some indoor/outdoor lesson enhancements below. Please keep in mind these can all be differentiated to appropriate grade level and or subject. Get creative…have fun! 

Routines and fun can go hand-in-hand! 

Healthy Minds:

  • Create a daily challenge, for example have them collect objects from outside to spell out their name, sight words, or spelling words. 
  • Create a search for different household or outside objects that resemble shapes.
  • Instead of using paper, have them do their math with dry erase markers on windows or patio doors.
  • Bake or cook together to practice order or sequence with younger kiddos or fractions with older ones. 
  • Build a fort to read in.
  • Create building challenges inside or outside.

Don’t forget to offer lots of brain and sensory breaks for your child. If your child appears antsy, offer some yoga or stretching poses. If your children appear to be losing focus offer an active break of simon says, or jumping jacks. 

 

Healthy Bodies:

Student learning is never done all day sitting at a desk. The more you try and create the least restrictive environment for your child to learn the more successful you may be. Allow your child to design a small space they feel will allow them to work at their highest level. It’s ok for a child to work sitting on an exercise ball, with a lap desk, or even just standing. It’s ok that a few stuffed animals make pretend classmates. It is also extremely important to make sure your child keeps moving throughout the day. Remember each time they transition in school an active moment of some sort is experienced whether its walking to the lunch room, or standing up and putting supplies away.. Check out the resources listed below to help you keep your kiddo happy and moving. 

Cosmos Kids yoga – https://www.youtube.com/user/CosmicKidsYoga

Go Noodle – https://family.gonoodle.com/ Koo Koo Kangaroo and Moosetube are known favorites.

 

Lastly there are an incredible amount of virtual resources available from storytelling to animal exhibits at zoos. Check out the resources below to help create a fun, engaging, memory making Covid-19 remote learning experience for you and your family. 

 

Wildlife Encounters Facebook Live videos

https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html

 

Mo Willems Lunch Doodles

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmzjCPQv3y8

 

San Diego Zoo Live Cameras

https://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/live-cams

 

Fluency and Fitness

https://fluencyandfitness.com/register/school-closures/

 

Ranger Rick Magazines

https://rangerrick.org/stuck-indoors/

 

Healthy Futures:

Everything we do right now for our kiddo’s during this trying time will create resilience within them that will last for the years to come.

Jennifer Brown, Youth Program Manager at The Works!
Jenny is a graduate of The University of Southern Maine with a Bachelors in Social Work and a Masters of Science in Education. She has previously taught Kindergarten and First grade in two local elementary schools. She also brings past experiences in youth programming as both a Summer Camp Director and a Program Director.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chasing Goals With a Newborn

By Beth Janelle

I’ve always set different goals in life, wanting that success, no matter what the process to reach that goal was. Growing up as an athlete, I focused on competitive soccer, basketball, swimming, tennis, hiking 4000 Footers, and once I was in my 20s, I took up running half and full marathon road races. I threw a couple long-distance obstacle course races in the mix too. Pounding the pavement turned into dodging trees in the woods on trail runs with my dog. Individual trail racing turned into ultra relay races up mountains with friends. I loved pushing my body to the limit to see what I could actually achieve with hard work and whatever elements were thrown at me!

Speaking of “pushing”, in April 2019, I went through a drug-free childbirth, which HAD to be my limit, right? Once I was fully recovered from the labor and delivery, I felt like I could do almost anything! I spent some time dreaming up a new challenge to take on. Finally, I could see it. I would complete a Triathlon.

Completing a Triathlon was always on my radar growing up: I was a competitive swimmer, a marathon runner, and who doesn’t know how to ride a bike?! It was my next challenge, with plenty of roadblocks. Not only did I have to set up a grueling fitness program to be able to swim, bike, and run all back-to-back-to-back, but I wanted to train for this while caring for a 6 week old breastfed baby. Would I have time? Would I have the energy? Would I be so out of shape after being pregnant for the past 9 months?

In May 2019, I decided to jump right in and see what would happen. I signed up for a Sprint Distance Triathlon, just to get my feet wet, to see if I liked the sport. I knew I could swim the 500 yards, bike the 12 miles, and run 3.2 miles as long as I could find the time to train. Even though I was pregnant for the past 9 months, I still exercised during the entire pregnancy. I made sure to adjust my workouts so I was only doing what I could handle and what was healthy for my baby. I did several days of strength training per week, yoga, walking, lap swimming, and even jogging every couple of days. I felt amazing during those 9 months, and I trained this way until the day before my son was born. I was able to get back into exercising so quickly at an advanced level because I retained my fitness throughout my pregnancy!

First I created my own training program which included 5-6 days of workouts, with a mix of short runs, longer bike rides, one day in the pool, and a few strength and High Intensity Interval Training days. I was able to complete most of the workouts while my baby was napping (luckily he was a great sleeper most of the time), or after my husband got home from work. Times proved to be tough though, and sometimes I just wanted to lie on the couch snuggling with my newborn! And even though sometimes that’s what I did for part of the day, my son would cheerfully play with his toys next to me as I finished a run on the Craigslist-purchased treadmill in our basement. I would count my reps with him while I used weights! Pushups with kisses were his favorite. Training for this race with a baby was actually doable…and fun!

In September I was ready for the Sprint Triathlon, but the competition was looking stiff! Everyone had fancy bikes, aerodynamic helmets, and expensive wetsuits. My bike was Used off Amazon and I borrowed my wetsuit from a friend. I felt a little embarrassed, but that was pushing me harder to prove that I didn’t need all the fancy gear. I was fast, and I was going to trust my training. Afterall, if I could go through childbirth, this should be a cakewalk!

That day I finished the 500yd swim, 12mile bike, and 3.2 mile run with a time of 1:26:58, and I literally sprinted the whole time! I felt amazingly strong and powerful through every leg of the race. I finished 1st in my age group (30-34 female) and 6th female overall! I was so happy with the outcome, and I was craving more! However, Triathlon racing season was over for the New England area, so I had to look South! I found a Triathlon in Sarasota, Florida on January 5th which was a longer (but flatter) course than the Sprint race I had just done. I would compete in the Olympic Distance race, an exhausting 1 mile swim, 27 mile bike, and 7 mile run. The distances didn’t scare me, but the plane ride with a 9 month old baby did!

I signed up for the race and got back to my training. I upped by distances and just took it day by day, trying to figure out when I could squeeze in a workout between entertaining my baby and scooting off to work for a few hours. The holidays quickly flew by, much faster than some of those workouts (especially on days where I had a back-to-back bike and running session which regularly took over two hours). With the help and support of my friends and family, I was ready for my Olympic Triathlon!

I arrived in Florida with my husband and son just a couple days before the race so we could get acclimated. Everything was lining up perfectly; the weather was supposed to be ideal, my rental bike was all set to go, and none of our luggage got lost! However, I got little sleep the night before the race, not because of nerves, but because of a teething baby, sick with a cold, who could not stop crying. My husband ended up driving around with the poor baby at 3am just so I could get a couple hours of sleep before I had to wake up for race day!

When my alarm went off at 6am, the last thing in the world I wanted to do was a Triathlon. But after watching some Tom Brady Motivational Speeches on YouTube, my adrenaline was pumping, and I was ready to crush the competition! The weeks of training paid off, and even though I was sleep deprived and also sick with that same cold my son had, I went as fast as I possibly could have on each leg of the race, all while feeling indestructible! I finished the run strong, and crossed the finish line with a time of 2:47:30, and literally breastfed my baby on the ground immediately after.

I was so depleted, but my Mommy Superpowers were kickin’ and after all that, I still needed to feed my son!

I ended up placing 3rd for Females overall, and 1st place in my Age Group.

To say I was feeling accomplished is an understatement. I was on top of the world! Not only was I able to piece together a multi-sport training schedule in between caring for an infant son and working part-time, but I finished the race feeling so strong, so tough, and now so overjoyed to get back out there and do another one! It all just reaffirms that if you set a goal, you can figure out a way to make it happen for yourself, and if there’s a will, there’s a way!

Challenging myself to see what I’m capable of has always been something that I’m passionate about, and I will continue to dream up something new and crazier than what might seem possible. Another Triathlon? An Ironman Race? Giving birth to Twins? Who knows what my next challenge will be!

 

Please note that if you are considering any fitness goals before, during or after pregnancy, reach out to your physician to get the all clear and then to a trainer to assist you in your journey! 

 

 

By Beth Janelle

Personal Training/Fitness & Wellness Consultant 

 

Phone: 603-742-2163  x801
Email: Elizabeth.Janelle@wdhospital.org

Education: NASM Certified Personal Trainer NASM Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist First Aid/CPR/AED Certified

Learn more about Beth here!

 

The Gift of Movement This Valentine’s Day

Feeling a bit hesitant on covering the kitchen counter with candy hearts, chocolate flowers, and an explosion of pink confetti for the family? Why not keep it simple and give the gift of movement? 

Valentine’s Day is the day of spreading love. Many say love and happiness go hand in hand, so how will you spark that love and happiness in your life and your families this Valentine’s Day? How will you spoil yourself and them, not only on this holiday but throughout the future? 

Stop for a moment and recall your last experience with movement of your body. Did you walk the dog, crawl around the house on all fours with your child on your back, go for a run after a stressful day, or attend a group fitness class with a friend? No matter what the movement was, take a moment to recall how your body felt after completing this movement. Not just physically but emotionally as well. 

We are all aware science has proven that exercise and movement release endorphins and feel good brain chemicals. It’s also been said to reduce the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline in the body. We’ve all heard this many times, but have you actually stopped and reflected on how you really felt from the top of your head to the tips of your toes post movement? Did you feel like you could keep going for another mile, did you feel a sense of accomplishment Rocky Balboa famous climb style, did you feel so energized you came home from Zumba that you left your music on and danced around the kitchen making dinner. Was there a sense of happiness or uplifting energy? 

We all want to experience happiness as often as possible correct? We all want that feeling of content, joy, and gratitude. There are many methods in which we can seek this feeling and it varies from person to person. You can eat that Valentine’s Day chocolate heart and you will experience content and joy for about 8 seconds, but taking that jog before your significant other takes you out to a romantic Valentine’s dinner, or before your Galentine’s brunch, will leave you with more than just a euphoria of your tastebuds. It will leave you stronger, more confident, mentally clearer, and provide the opportunity for you to give your best self and that creates a love of yourself. When your self love game is strong, it shows. Friends take notice, significant others take notice, but most of all, your children take notice. You’re setting strong examples for them to follow. You’re not only ensuring your own healthy body, mind, and future but you’re offering them a chance at their own healthy body, healthy mind, and a healthy future. These all-in return create the sense of  joy and contentment we all constantly strive for, otherwise known as happiness. Give yourself and your family the gift of love and happiness this Valentine’s Day with movement. 

 

 

Jennifer Brown
Youth Programs Manager 

Jenny is a graduate of The University of Southern Maine with a Bachelors in Social Work and a Masters of Science in Education. She has previously taught Kindergarten and First Grade in two local elementary schools. She also brings experience in youth programming as both a Summer Camp Director and a Program Director.

Healthy Minds. Healthy Bodies. Healthy Futures. 

 

Looking for some new ideas today to get moving together? We’ve got plenty! Try one of our Challenges: Myzone MEPS Challenge or our Lap Pool “Swim Le Marathon De Paris”.  Enjoy some Group Fitness Classes while your children check out the Fitspot, Supervised Programs or take a swim together! Visit us at 23 Works Way in Somersworth or online at www.theworkhealthclub.com 😍❤️

Turn Resolutions into SMART Goals!

The decorations have been put away, the kids are back in school, and you are feeling motivated to start the new year ahead. January 1st rolls around every year and, like clockwork, you find yourself setting a handful of New Year Resolutions. “Get back into the gym”, “clean up my diet”, and “lose weight” are three resolutions that always seem to make their way to the top of the popularity list. While the intentions behind these resolutions are absolutely fantastic, there is one major adjustment that can be made that will aid in turning these resolutions into realistic goals. ­

That is specificity.

Did you know that people start falling off their New Year Resolutions right around January 12th?

Another eye-opening statistic according to a study by the University of Scranton states that only 8% of people actually achieve their New Year Resolutions! Two of the biggest explanations for why people fall off their resolutions are setting both unrealistic expectations and vague goals. When setting goals (at any point during the year) you should always ask yourself “Is this a SMART goal?”A SMART goal is a technique used to aid in creating and achieving both short and long term goals Your goals are considered SMART if you can check all of these boxes:

  • Is it SPECIFIC? Simply stating “get healthier” is not specific enough to hold you accountable. Are you looking to lose a certain amount of weight? Are you trying to get into a new exercise routine?
  • Is it MEASUREABLE? How are you going to measure the outcome of your goal? Are you shooting to drop 3% body fat? Are you aiming to increase your cardio frequency to 3-4 days per week?
  • Is it ATTAINABLE? Is this something that can be accomplished, or is it a lofty goal? Setting a weight loss goal of 50 lbs in 2 months would be unattainable and unrealistic. Getting to the gym 6 days per week may not be reasonable for your schedule.
  • Is it RELEVANT? Is this something that you really want to do? If you hate running and have ongoing joint pain, it would be silly to set a goal of “run a half marathon”. Your goals should be based on what you want!
  • Is it TIMELY? If your goal doesn’t have a deadline, how do you expect to reach this goal?

With all of this considered, let’s take our initial goal of “get healthier” and turn it into a SMART goal: By June 30th, I want to lose 10-15 lbs by cutting back on added sugars and getting 30 minutes of cardio 3 days per week. This is much more reasonable and gives you some wiggle room to indulge in your favorite sweets every once in a while instead of opting to cut out sugar completely.

Now that we are nearing the end of January, some of you may have trickled away from your resolutions or have fallen off track a little bit. What I am about to say might surprise you a little bit, but… THAT’S OKAY! You are human! We all fall off track more than we like to admit. There is no reason whatsoever that you should beat yourself up over that. Instead of allowing yourself to totally derail after you have gone off course, cut yourself some slack and do a mental check-in. Put pen to paper and map out the following sequence to get yourself back on board:

  • What was your goal? Was it SMART? Was it too lofty?
  • If you determine you set your expectations too high, readjust! Make it more specific, change up the time frame or the measurements.
  • Where did you go wrong? Did you set a weight loss goal of 10 lbs in 3 months but only lost 8? Maybe your workouts started to slack during the last month. How can you switch this goal up in the future to make it more attainable?
  • Write out a list of all the things you have accomplished. If you only lost 8 lbs instead of 10, honor that 8 lb weight loss! You earned it. Give yourself a break and pat yourself on the back for the things you DID do. You can’t climb a flight of stairs without taking the first step.
  • What is your inner voice telling you? You spend the most time with your own thoughts – you better make sure those are positive ones. Thank your body for all of its hard work and instead of telling yourself “I did what I said I wasn’t going to do. I am a failure”, tell yourself “I can do this. I have already done xyz”.

If you’re still going strong with your New Year Resolutions – that’s amazing and you should be very proud of yourself! If you have fallen off – tomorrow is a new day. Collect yourself, reset new goals for tomorrow, crush them, and then repeat the next day. Sometimes the biggest successes come from falling off a little bit and recognizing where you went wrong. Brush off the dust and get back on the horse! Happy Goal Setting!

-Jessica Machaby, MS, Certified Health Coach

Learn more about setting SMART goals and other wellness opportunities at The Works by visiting our website today.