Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fit 4 Two tank tops now available

Healthy, fit, mother, strong, beautiful, role model, active, able, informed, inspirational, powerful! 
Do these words describe you?
We believe they do.
Our 2012 Fit 4 Two tank top has been a huge hit locally and we are pleased to announce that they are now for sale within Canada and the USA. Visit the Fit 4 Two shop.

Pre and Postnatal Posture Part One

What do you spend most of your day doing?  Sitting at a computer?  Driving?  Holding your child?  Chances are you spend a big chunk of your day with your spine in kyphosis.  In other words, rounding your upper back and jutting your chin forward as you lean over your lap top or steering wheel.  

Due to postural changes during pregnancy, this kyphosis often becomes excessive.  Enter baby, the kyphosis almost always becomes excessive.  Holding, carrying and feeding baby required hours spend in a hunched over position and a lot of that time you are also carrying an every growing load i.e. baby. 

The result? headaches, neck pain, back pain, sleeplessness and well....poor posture.  We all look and feel more attractive and more energized when we stand tall.

One of my favourite exercises for preventing and managing excessive kyphosis is the low row.  I like to use a resistance band because it can be used almost anywhere. 

Once you have the green light from your healthcare provider, begin with 1-2 sets of 10 reps 2-3 days a week.  Progress to 1-3 sets of 10-20 reps 2-3 days a week.  Stand with a staggered athletic stance.  Relax your jaw and neck.  As you exhale, squeeze your shoulder blades together.  Choose a good quality band so that the resistance is challenging enough to achieve results.  Fit 4 Two uses Ripcords because they have great tension and a lifetime warranty. They are for sale in the Fit 4 Two Shop 

Questions or comments welcome.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dear Gymnasts, Dancers, Waitresses, Horseback Riders

If you are or were a gymnast, dancer, waitress or horseback rider, chances are you have heard horror stories about how difficult your birth is going to be. I am sorry that you have had to endure these fear-enhancing comments.  I believe that you can have an amazing birth experience. Let me explain.

Women who have spent many years with perfect posture and strong core muscles will benefit from this during pregnancy and childbirth.  The number one complaint of pregnancy is low back pain.  A strong core is one of the best ways to prevent and manage back pain.  One of the top fears women have about childbirth is tearing of their pelvic floor and perineum.  A toned pelvic floor is more elastic than a low toned pelvic floor.  This means that your pelvic floor can stretch out of the way more effectively as baby passes through the vaginal canal.

So why do some women with these backgrounds have a difficult birth experience.  First of all, there are many factors that effect how your labour will progress.  In other words, both fit and unfit women can have an ‘easy’ or ‘difficult’ birth experience. Most have a birth experience somewhere in between.  Second, it’s not the strength of one’s core that may make things difficult; it is the inability to release one’s core.  If you are a dancer for example, you may have spent years with your core muscles continuously on.  Then when in labour, it may be difficult to turn them off.

So what can you do to increase your chances of an optimal birth experience?  Add some pelvic floor relaxation exercises into your fitness routine.  When you do your Kegels, put equal or more emphasis on the release of the contraction.  Practice letting go of your core muscles on demand. Lastly, do not allow the negative predictions of others to creep into your mind during labour.  When those thought and fears arise, use a mantra to bring yourself back to realty.  You can say this mantra out loud or in your head.  Here are a few suggestions.

“I was made to do this”

“My body knows what to do”

“I am soft.  I am open”

Friday, February 10, 2012

Our New Fit 4 Two Tank Top Design has been a HUGE hit.  As soon as our main shipment arrives we'll be selling them at http://www.fit4two.ca/ In the mean time, you can enter to win one on your local Fit 4 Two Facebook Page.

I created this design late one night when my children were fast asleep.  I wanted a tank top that I felt excited to wear and that would inspire others.  It looks like it's working.  

Sunday, February 5, 2012

5 Reasons Pregnant Women Need a Strong Pelvic Floor

  1. To prevent urinary incontinence.  A strong pelvic floor prevents embarrassing accidents before and after birth.
  2. To avoid tearing or the need for episiotomy during the pushing stage of labour.  Toned pelvic floor muscles are more elastic and able to stretch out of the way so baby can pass through.
  3. To prevent back pain and injuries.  Your pelvic floor is part of your core.  In fact, it is the centre of your core.  It needs to be activated for your core to work 100%.  A strong core prevents back pain and injuries.
  4. To prevent prolapse.  Women with toned pelvic floor muscles have a lower risk of prolapsed organs (ex. Uterus) during labour.
  5. To rehabilitate your core postpartum.  If you know where those muscles are now, it will be much easier to find them after baby arrives.
All Fit 4 Two® Classes include information and exercises that will help you strengthen your pelvic floor. 

Questions and comments welcome

Finding it difficult to stay disciplined with your pelvic floor exercises on your own? Feeling like you need more instruction and cues? You're in luck...there's an app for that! Download the Fit 4 Two-approved Pelvic Floor Trainer App and enjoy both visual and audio routines at your fingertips. 

Ready to try a Fit 4 Two class?  Contact your local Fit 4 Two Instructor for a pass to try a FREE class.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Winter Workouts

The sun finally graced us here in Vancouver. For those who are not aware, Vancouver is famous for grey, rainy winters...so when the sun shines....we get outdoors.  The sea wall and parks were packed with Vancouverites enjoying everything from cycling to ball hockey. 

My friend and colleague Dee from Fit 4 Two Vancouver Westside and I started the day off with some snowshoeing up at Grouse Mountain.  Just a 20 minute drive away, it is a good reminder of why Vancouver is such a great city to live in.

In the afternoon I snuck in a strength training workout with resistance bands at the park while my children played.  The highlight was teaching some fellow parents how to use the resistance bands too.  Perhaps we'll end up with a weekly workout while the kiddies play.  

What do you do for exercise in the winter?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Prenatal Cardio – How often? How hard? How long? What’s safe?

The SOGC (Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada) and CSEP (Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology) recommend that all healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies do regular cardiovascular exercise. 

Because research shows that regular cardiovascular exercise may prevent gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension (high blood pressure), loss of cardiovascular fitness, excessive weight gain, varicose veins, low back pain and more.  In nine years experience teaching prenatal fitness classes, I would add further benefits such as increased energy, reduced nausea, improved mental health as well as stamina for labour.

THE SOGC/CSEP guidelines are as follows:

Frequency: Up to 4 days a week
Intensity: Use a combination of
(a)  The Talk Test - You should be able to produce short sentences
(b)  RPE (rate of perceived exertion) – Listen to your body
(c)   Heart Rate checks – Use the Target Heart Rate chart in the PARmed-X for Pregnancy form
Time: 15-30 minutes not including warm up or cool down
Type: Low impact endurance exercise using large muscle groups (ex walking, stationary bike, swimming aqua fitness, low impact aerobics).  Avoid activities that put you in danger of falling, collisions or flying projectiles. If you were previously doing impact exercise like running and it still feels good, then it is ok to continue running.  Just be sure to stay within the guidelines for frequency, intensity and time.

Questions and comments welcome.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pregnancy & Exercise Awareness Month

Let’s debunk the myths and encourage all healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies to benefit from an active lifestyle!  Fit 4 Two is celebrating Pregnancy & Exercise Awareness month with Facebook contests, prenatal information sessions and more. We are also asking prenatal healthcare providers to promote regular cardiovascular and strength exercise. 

We believe that Pregnancy is not an illness…it is a state of wellness!  Help us raise awareness by taking the poll on the right.  Do you believe that exercise is an illness or a state of wellness?