Category: Work Out

We all know that having kids can take a toll on our bodies. We’ll likely never have the same bods as we did in high school or college, which in my opinion is a beautiful mark of being a momma. However, breaking a sweat does so much more than help us to lose baby weight. More importantly it releases endorphins that can keep us feeling calm and sexy! When we feel good, we exude confidence. We can use that confidence to love on our families!

Magic Bullet Giveaway Winner

I’m popping in to announce the winner of the Magic Bullet from Fairlife Milk!

The winner is Alison Lambert! Congratulations, Alison! I’ll be emailing you shortly with details on how to claim your prize!

Thank you to everybody who entered!

XOXO,

Amber

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Tiny Togs Giveaway Winner & A Guest Post

I’m excited to announce that the winner of the Tiny Togs giveaway is Kimberly Milless! Look for an email from me on instructions for how to claim your prize. Thank you to everybody who entered! If you didn’t win, please consider heading over to the Toasty Togs Etsy shop and buying one of these adorable and practical outfits for the babies in your life!

In other news, I’m guest posting at Wild Ruffle today! I met Cate through Twin Cities Moms Blog. We’re both contributors, as well as twin moms! Her blog is so fabulous. I just know you’re going to love it as much as I do. It’s definitely one I check everyday!

You can check out my guest post here: WR Fitness Series: Mommy’s Me Time

Have a wonderful night!

Amber

 

 

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Healthy Snack Idea: Banana Nut Salad

IMG_0274Jake and I are a day and a half into our Whole30 challenge and so far I’m enjoying the process of teaching my mind to be more intentional about the food choices I make. What I’ve come to realize is that I was doing quite a bit of mindless snacking through the day. Mostly when I was feeding the kids. I hardly ever run to the pantry to find a snack for myself, but when I gave the girls some Cheerios, I’d usually sneak a handful for myself. Or when Baylen had a few bites of his meal left, I’d finish it off for him. Or if I saw a sleeve of opened crackers on the counter I’d grab a couple. Yesterday I actually had to spit out a bite of Bay’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich because I didn’t realize it was in my mouth until Jake called me out on it!

I like the fact that I’m forcing my brain to put forth actual effort now when I want something to eat instead of munching on what’s convenient. I don’t know if I’ll document our meals every day, but here’s what we had yesterday to give you an idea of what we’re up to. It doesn’t feel restricting at all. We are able to eat as much as we want, but we’re eating quality food!

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with red and green peppers

Lunch: Mixed green salad with shaved turkey breast, kalamata olives, green olives, red onions, and italian vinaigrette.

Dinner: Meatballs and a side of broccoli

Our meals were delicious, but when night came I was craving my usual sweet bedtime snack. I simply couldn’t go to bed without something, so I whipped up this Banana Nut Salad. It was so tasty, and since I thought there may be more of you out there looking for healthy snacks to get the new year started off on the right foot, here it is!LIxjRO1388695447

Banana Nut Salad

-1 banana, sliced

-a small handful of cashews and almonds

-sprinkle of cinnamon

-sprinkle of unsweetened shredded coconut

Happy HEALTHY snacking!

Amber

Question: What are your go-to healthy snacks?

 

 

 

 

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Bikini After Babies

SwingsMany of us have probably heard it said that we should give ourselves as much time to get rid of the baby weight as it took to put it on. Well friends, that means my time is up. Last week I reached the milestone when Emersyn and Mckinley have officially been out of my belly longer than they were in it. They’re nine months old!

Ironically, on the day they turned nine months, I was on the beach wearing my swimsuit. There’s nothing like putting on a bathing suit in the dead of winter to awaken some internal struggles about postpartum body image. Let me tell you, since the girls were born, it has been an uphill battle fighting for perspective to see myself as beautiful despite my forever changed body. There have been weeks when I feel pretty good with my progress, and other ones when I hide underneath oversized sweatshirts and yoga pants.Pina ColadaIt’s been one heck of a journey, but I’m thankful to be able to say that I’m gradually settling into a healthy body image. I’ve learned things about myself that have brought me to a place where I feel confident in my postpartum body. I’ve learned that it’s much more than a number on a scale. Technically, I lost the baby weight fairly quickly in just a matter of weeks after the twins were born, but toning up and retraining my muscles was a long process and it took months of hard work before I felt like myself again. Even now, I know my body will never be the same. My stomach will probably always have a little pouch that will be tough to get rid of, my belly button will most likely be an outie from here on, and my short experience being well endowed thanks to breastfeeding has disappeared forever. But instead of letting those things make me feel insecure, I consider them my “mommy beauty marks”. They remind me of the miraculous transformation my body was able to make to form my precious children.SwingingDuring my twin pregnancy, I wasn’t sure I’d ever want to put on another two piece swimsuit. My body stretched in ways I never thought were possible, so I didn’t have any expectations. However, thanks to the active lifestyle I was able to maintain before and after they were born, I bounced back. Wearing my two piece isn’t so much about caring how others see me, but it’s about how I see myself. Being a mom doesn’t mean I need to look at my body and feel stale and run down.amber bikiniSo yes, nine months after I gave birth to my gorgeous baby girls, I wore a bikini. In Cancun, Mexico. In front of my husband’s colleagues. It was something I never imagined I’d be comfortable doing after having three kids, but I’m proud of myself for going for it. It reminded me that I’m still me, and that I didn’t leave my identity on the delivery table.  In fact, in order to take the best care of my little ones, it’s all the more important for me to take care of myself and feel confident. When I feel my best, I give them my best.

XOXO,

Amber

P.S. A few more pics from our trip…Mexico Hibachi DateMexico Jake and AmberGroup picGroup drinks

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our Family Gym Membership

Working out has always been important to me. While obviously it’s good for my physical health, I’m actually more motivated to do it because of how it makes me feel emotionally. Breaking a good sweat is an amazing stress reliever and gives me a sense of calm. It gets rid of my negative energy and replaces it with the confident positive kind. In fact, when I don’t work out for a couple days, I become a crabby self-centered brat. That’s the truth…just ask Jake. He’s the one who gets the brunt of it when I don’t have an outlet for my stress, and understands how important it is for me to have “me time” at the gym.

After Baylen was born it became harder to find time to prioritize working out. He was born in October and the cold weather meant it wasn’t as easy as just taking him out in the jogging stroller. For a while Jake and I would take turns going to the gym. He’d go in the morning, and I’d go after Baylen was in bed for the night. But after a few months we realized that we hardly got to see each other, so we looked into our options. We converted to a family gym membership, and it was awesome. I could bring Baylen during the day if I needed a break, or I could wait for Jake to get done with work and we’d meet him there.

After the girls came along we took a break for a couple months and eventually decided to get a family gym membership again, mostly for my sanity. I love it. I can bring the kids along, drop them off at the childcare center, break a sweat, shower if I want to, and pick them up feeling like a whole new woman. It’s ah-mazing! Honestly it was a game changer for me. Having the ability to get out of the house with three kids and actually be able to go somewhere with them has been such a blessing. It’s a little bit of a process to pack everybody up, drive there, get out the stroller, and wheel them in, but it is so worth it every single time. The kids love it because they get to play with other people besides me, and I always pick them up being in a much better mood.

We don’t spend much money on entertainment these days, so that’s what we label our monthly dues. Afterall, Jake and I will meet in the evenings to work out sometimes and it totally feels like we get to go on a little date! Plus, it really isn’t that expensive when I think about how much it would cost if we had a babysitter watch them. It’s pennies compared to that, and so worth it for this momma. Some days I just need a break, and it gives me peace of mind knowing that if I need one, it’s only a 10 minute drive away.

If you’ve ever considered getting a family gym membership, I would HIGHLY recommend it! I can’t imagine life without it now. I realize these aren’t available in some small towns, which makes me SO sad. I truly wish it was an option for all families who like to prioritize fitness.

I took the kids to the gym last night, and while I was running I was listening to praise music while I thanked the Lord for the ability to worship Him even on the treadmill. I love how God knows what we need and provides for us, even if it’s in the form of a gym membership. I was honestly on the brink of a meltdown before I had a place to escape for a break, and thanks to Him and the wonderful people who take care of my kids while I work out and Jake works a 12 hour day, I get to take time for myself which makes me a much better mommy!

Thank you Lord, for our gym! Thank you for the women who love on our kids and have developed relationships with them. Thank you that I feel completely comfortable dropping them off and thank you that I have the opportunity to connect with other moms there too! You are so good God, even in the most practical of ways you are there for us. Thank you! 

Love,

Amber

*This post is part of a 31 Day Challenge to write about Seeing God in Ordinary Moments. Visit my landing page here for links to all the posts.

 

 

 

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Running With Precious Cargo

photo-148Yesterday was a perfect Autumn day here in Minnesota. It was one of those days when I just had to be outside as much as possible! Knowing that snow could be only weeks away, I have to take advantage of nice weather while I can. We went for a mid-day walk to the park, but I still had an urge to break a good sweat. Normally I would have gone for a run by myself after Jake got home, but he worked a long day, leaving before the kids got up, and home after they went to bed. SO, I strapped the kids in the triple stroller and off we went for a jog. In my mind I had a goal of 4 miles, but tried not to be too glued to that plan since I didn’t know how the kids would fare.

We set out, had Pandora blasting from my phone speaker, and everybody was super chill. There are quite a few hills in our neighborhood and it was real windy, so pushing those three was the best workout I’ve had in a while. As I was huffing and puffing, I thought about how they had no idea how hard I was working to push them. They were simply along for the ride and didn’t have a care in the world. They can’t even fathom how sweaty and tired I was, or how I wanted to throw in the towel so many times and walk.

As I was running, I prayed that God would show himself to me. Oftentimes I feel closest to the Lord when I work out because I have time to think and talk with Him. Soon instead of feeling sorry for myself about how tough the run was, my thoughts shifted to thinking about how I have no idea either how much effort goes into God “pushing” me through this journey of life. I can’t comprehend how much He’s done for me, how difficult it was for Christ to die for me, or how much He fights for me on a daily basis. Just like my kids, I’m able to enjoy the ride because He has laid it all down, including His own life.

As I was thinking all this, what song comes on but In Christ Alone. God’s so awesome like that.  

I’m thankful God reminded me yesterday of how much work He does so I can have the life I do. I want to do a better job of remembering His sacrifice daily. I don’t want the Word of God to become Christian jargon that goes in one ear and out the other, but I must let it to sink into the depths of my soul. I want to appreciate HIM, never taking for granted that I can move and breathe and live eternally because He covered me with His grace.

By that same grace, we ended up pounding out 4 miles last night, and I did get a little reward for pushing my littles. Lots of payment in giggles at the park afterward. Seeing their joy made it all worth it!photo-149

Do you know all about God’s sacrifice for youIf not, I would love to share more and chat with you. Email me at any point if you have questions or want to learn about being saved by His grace! (ambermkuiper@gmail.com)

Love,

Amber

*This post is part of a 31 Day Challenge to write about Seeing God in Ordinary Moments. Visit my landing page here for links to all the posts.

 

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Summer Fitness Challenge Recap

I wanted to thank everybody who joined me in the Mommy Needs to Move fitness challenge this summer, and for hanging with me despite my lack of update posts during the second half!

With three days until summer is officially over, we have collectively moved 3,189 miles, which means we made it from coast to coast, and then some! You guys rock.

Thank you for inspiring me to get moving! I hope to host more fitness challenges in the future, perhaps at a point when I have time to do more consistent updates and encouragement along the way.

Until then, fitness related posts will probably be more related to what I DO have time for and how I make working out a priority during this crazy baby stage.

Thank you again for joining me and encouraging me to get moving this summer. I’m thankful I took advantage of the nice weather and got out as much as I did, because I know we have a long Winter a comin’!

Blessings on your Wednesday!

Amber

 

 

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Where To Buy Cute & Affordable Workout Clothes + Week 6 Update

I can’t believe we’ve already reached Thursday again! The week has gotten away from me a bit!

Okay, so before I play catch up and share the weekly mileage update for Mommy Needs to MOVE, I wanted to take a minute and chat about workout gear. For me, a quality workout starts with me feeling confident in what I’m wearing. When I’m wearing something that’s comfortable and somewhat cute, I usually follow through with a decent sweat session. On the flip side, if I throw on something baggy and frumpy, it’s much more tempting for me to cut the workout short.

While it’s important for me to feel good about myself while I work out, it’s also important for me not to spend a lot of money on said clothes. In fact, I’m confident that none of my workout clothes were purchased for full price.

So, here’s where I’ve had luck finding cute clothes for a fraction of the price:

Shoes: I’m a New Balance girl. Ever since switching to them a few years ago, I haven’t had any knee issues. The best prices for New Balance I have found are at Sport Authority (clearance rack), Kohl’s, or Nordstrom Rack.

Socks: I buy all my workout socks at Marshall’s/TJ Maxx. They have so many different name brands for half of what you’d paid at most stores.

Shorts/Capris/Pants: I find almost all of these at Old Navy, Target, or Marshall’s/TJ Maxx. Oh, except I must include my favorite running shorts right now, which are these Reebok ones that I purchased on sale at Dick’s.

Tanks/T-shirts/Long Sleeves: Nike Outlet, Target, Marshall’s/TJ Maxx

Headbands: I love these Goody stay put headbands which I get at Target!

Question for you: Are your workouts affected by what you wear? Where do like to buy your workout clothes?

Mommy Needs to MOVE Week 6 Update:photoWe have officially logged over 2,000 miles together this summer! Another 276 this week! Way to go! Let’s keep logging our miles!

Have a wonderful Thursday evening!

Amber

 

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Balanced Eating Tips & Healthy Snack Ideas (Guest Post by Amber of Three Ladies and Their Gent)

I am beyond excited about the guest post I get to share with you today! As we continue on the journey of logging miles for our fitness challenge, Mommy Needs To MOVE, it is equally important to focus on the foods we are feeding our bodies. When I was thinking of someone who would have great advice and tips for us, I immediately thought of my fellow twin mom friend, Amber Massey, who is the sweet southern belle voice behind the most adorable and down to earth blog, Three Ladies and Their Gent. Not only is she busy raising her precious little ladies, but she also wears the hat of a registered dietician and knows all sorts of ways to encourage us to make healthy choices throughout our busy days.

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Jordan and Amber

My name is Amber from Three Ladies and Their Gent.  I am so excited to share with Mommy’s Me Time readers as I am new to the motherhood community and I love connecting with other mom’s, too!   I am a mom to 7 1/2 month old twins and loving every minute of it.  When I’m not being a mom to my girls, Parker and Jolie, I’m helping individuals with their personal nutrition issues and goals as a registered dietitian.  I’ve found that as a new mom, my personal health has become short changed and even though I preach proper nutrition all day long, all that seems to fly out the window once I walk through the door at home in the afternoons.  I have to remind myself that a balanced diet is a cornerstone of health and if I’m not healthy, how can I take care of my sweet babies!

Parker and Jolie

Eating Right – A few things to remember when seeking nutritional balance:

Women should enjoy a variety of foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, low-fat dairy and lean protein. Nutrient-rich foods provide energy for women’s busy lives and help to prevent disease.

A healthy daily diet includes:

•At least three one-ounce servings of whole grains such as whole-grain bread, cereal, pasta, brown rice or oats.

•Three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products such as low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt or cheese.

•Five to six ounces of protein such as lean meat, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, beans or peas and nuts.

•Two cups of fruits, fresh, frozen or canned without added sugar.

•Two-and-a-half cups of colorful vegetables, fresh, frozen or canned without added salt.

Iron-rich Foods

Iron is one of the keys to good health and energy levels in women. Being a mom of two babies under the age of one, I really focus on getting these in everyday.  Iron-rich food sources include red meat, chicken, turkey, pork, fish, kale, spinach, beans, lentils and fortified breads and cereals. Plant-based sources of iron are more easily absorbed by your body when eaten with vitamin C-rich foods. So eat fortified cereal with strawberries on top, spinach salad with mandarin orange slices or add tomatoes to lentil soup.

Foods to Limit

To keep weight in check at any age, women should avoid a lot of excess calories from added sugars, fat and alcohol.

•Limit regular soft drinks, sugar-sweetened beverages, candy, baked goods and fried foods.

•Limit alcohol intake to one drink per day. One drink is equal to 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor.

•Opt for low-fat dairy and meat products instead of their full-fat counterparts.

Eat fewer foods that are high in saturated fat—the kind found in fatty meats, sausages, cheese and full-fat dairy products, baked goods and pizza.  This is not only good for your waistline, but really great for your heart health.

Balancing Calories Throughout Your Day

Snack time isn’t just for kids.  It’s for grown-ups, too, and can be an important part of a healthy diet.  Snacks get such a bad rap, but really it is beneficial to have about three meals and one or two healthy snacks every day.  Having one or two healthy snacks in your day may help you get through that late afternoon slump and prevent you from eating too much at your next meal.  And healthy snacks can be really colorful and tasty, too!

Eating fruits and vegetables with snacks is always recommended because these are food groups most of us don’t get enough of, and they are the lowest calorie food groups, so we can eat a lot of them.  But did you know that you can mix and match healthy foods from any of the five food groups?  Worried about overdoing it?  Just keep your snacks to under 200 calories each.  So get creative with those lonely baby carrots—what else can you eat with them that you love?  Hummus, low-fat yogurt dip, nuts, mango salsa, wheat crackers, bean dip?  Any of these choices are winning snacks that will taste great.

Some important healthy snacking rules to remember:

-One or two healthy snacks that are carefully planned in your day may help keep you from overeating at your next meal and provide you with valuable nutrients if you choose wisely. Consider having at least one food group for a snack, if not two.  For example, consider having a fruit and a protein for a snack, such as applesauce and pistachio nuts.  Combining nutrients this way helps that snack to do it’s job as a mini meal.   The carbohydrates will give you immediate energy while the protein takes longer to digest- keeping us satisfied until our next meal time.  Please don’t mistake healthy snacking for grazing throughout the day, which is not recommended.

-Eat snacks that are under 200 calories.  This fits for most adults, but you may need more or fewer calories for snacks based on your physical activity level and how your calories are divided into your other meals.

Healthy snacks are limited only by your imagination.  Many meal items in small portions make great snacks, too, such as a ½ sandwich or cup of soup.  And a piece of whole fruit, handful of nuts, or a slice of veggie pizza makes quick snacks.

We have become a very mobile society.  You may feel like you spend half your life in a car just trying to get from one place to another.  It makes the trip a LOT longer if you are hungry.  Keeping portable snacks with you helps curb the need to go through a drive thru.  Nuts, granola bars, bottled water, crackers, etc. are all great snacks to keep in the glove compartment to bring out when you are hungry.  Portable snacks are snacks that don’t need refrigeration, don’t expire quickly, don’t squish or smash easily, and fit in a bag or container well.

Here are a few quick ideas for healthy snacks to get you through your busy day.

Healthy Snack Ideas:

(Click to enlarge)

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Click here for a printable PDF: Healthy Snack Ideas

Life is so busy, but it makes it so much easier to manage when I’m properly nourished and feeling good!  Our families are important, no doubt, but making time for taking care of ourself should be at the top of that list of daily to-do’s!

 

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For more great ideas from Amber, check our her foodie blog, Broccoli-Chocolate! It’s pretty great!

Week 5 Summer Fitness Challenge Update:

We logged another 318 miles this week, and are now at a total of 1,725 miles! Keep up the great work ladies! Let’s push a little extra this week to log even more miles! It’s amazing how even a simple walk to the park with the kids can give you a fresh outlook on the day!

Mommy Needs to Move Week 5

Enjoy the rest of your Wednesday!

Happy Snacking!

Amber

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Making Time for Fitness While Raising A Baby or Toddler (Guest Post by Giselle of My Healthy Happy Home) & Week 4 Update

Happy Wednesday! I can hardly believe we are through another week and have already completed almost four weeks of the summer fitness challenge! Continuing on with a series of guest posts to keep us motivated to MOVE this summer, I am so excited that Giselle from My Healthy Happy Home graciously agreed to share some awesome tips with us about how to make time for fitness while raising our babies! I’ve been following her blog for quite a while now, and she is an amazing inspiration to me. Not only is she a true example of what it means to be healthy and active, but she also has a little guy that is a bit older than Baylen, and I love all the cute ideas she has to keep him busy. On top of that, I consider her one of the most creative party planners I’ve ever seen. If you’re looking to throw a party for a toddler or a shower, check our her create page! Thanks so much for sharing today, Giselle!

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Making Time for Fitness While Raising a Baby or Toddler

Hi there! My name is Giselle and I blog over at My Healthy Happy Home. I was so honored when Amber asked me to guest post because I love her blog and her adorable little family. Also, I am super passionate about health and fitness so any opportunity to share my passion with others I jump at!
First, a little about me.
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I’m a thirty something stay at home mom to my little Love Nugget, wife to my wonderful husband and healthy living blogger. I love to cook, bake, exercise, travel and spend time with my family outdoors as often as possible.
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Health and fitness has always been a part of my life but it wasn’t until after having my son and quiting my job, that I became much more passionate (some would say obsessed) with maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Unfortunately with a two year old it’s gotten a little harder for me to find time to workout as often as I’d like. In the past two years I’ve learned some pretty good tricks to ensure I’m getting in my daily fitness for my health and for my sanity!
1. Workout when the baby/kids are sleeping –
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We always hear, “Oh you should sleep when the baby is sleeping.” for me, that never worked. My mind was always racing with what I needed to get done, or what to do when the baby woke up. So since I knew I wouldn’t be able to do much sleeping, I made good use of that time and got in a workout. From early on when my son went down to nap, I would hop on my elliptical, head out to the garage for a quick circuit, or pop in a workout DVD for a fast 30 minutes of yoga. It helped to clear my mind, relieve stress and I was much happier when he woke up. I’m dreading the day my son gives up his naps as there are still days when I hop on my elliptical while he’s snoozing away.
2. Find a local moms workout group and join it -
There are tons of national fitness organizations that are mom based and kid friendly. When my son was 7 months we joined the local Stroller Strides group and loved being able to get out of the house, meet other moms and get in a good workout. We still go at least once a week to socialize, workout and usually play afterwards.
3. Find a gym with a daycare –
I was so hesitant on taking my son to daycare for the longest time. I was a first time mom, worried about germs, other kids, someone not watching him, him missing me… I could keep going (crazy first time mom!) When I finally took him in around a year, he did cry as I left for a few weeks. However, as soon as I was gone, he was just as happy as could be. Now we go several times a week and he LOVES to go play at the gym. Works out perfect for me as I’m able to get in a workout while he’s learning social skills :-)
4. Learn to love TABATA and HIIT training –
Tabawhat!?! TABATA has become my saving grace for those days when I’ve only got a few minutes to squeeze in a workout. Basically it’s high intensity training followed by short spurts of rest. 20 seconds of work with 10 seconds of rest for as short as 4 minutes. HIIT training is along the same lines but for longer time increments and usually about 20 minutes rather than the shorter duration TABATA. There are tons of resource and sample workouts on the web but a few of my favorites are here, here, and here!
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Check out Myhealthyhappyhome.com for lots more time saving workouts!
5. Make it a family affair –
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The Love Nugget and I before our family 5k race last year
Luckily I married a man that is just as passionate about fitness as I am. This helps in so many different ways as he understands how important it is for me to get in my workouts and will happily join in as well! Last August, we ran a half marathon together which entailed many miles of training most done with our son in the stroller. As a family, we love to get outdoors and go for walks, jogs, and hikes which is such a great way to get in a little exercise, while modeling how a healthy lifestyle for your kids. We also like to sneak away from our little man and enjoy some fit activities as a date instead of just going to dinner or a movie. It’s a fun way to connect and get in some exercise as well!
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My Hubby and I after finishing a Mud Run
Those are just a few things that work for me but definitely find whatever works for you!
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Mommy Needs to Move Week 4 Update: photo-63Our total mileage is at 1,407! We added another 277 miles this week! Keep up the great work…get out there and MOVE! I promise you’ll be glad you did!
As an added incentive, if you are participating, or if you join and you log miles either today or tomorrow, you are eligible for another entry in the LOFT Gift Card Giveaway! Claim your entry using Rafflecopter on the giveaway post.
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