Breast Cancer Surviver Shares her Story

October is breast cancer awareness month, and while having a whole month dedicated to teaching, learning, and getting ourselves checked is great – there are still 11 other months of the year where self checks are JUST as important.

Since launching Fit Mom Strong Mom I have “met” some of the most amazing women from around the world – many who have been through some of the hardest and most challenging times. These women are moms, wives, business owners – they all love fitness – they all have a story.

The following interview is with Fit Mom Strong Mom Ambassador, Lisa Marquez – Breast Cancer SURVIVOR who so open and honestly shared her story with me, in hopes that we can help, educate, and inspire other moms on this very important topic.

FMSM: Can you share when the first time you thought there might be a problem and how you knew you needed further testing? Was it through a self breast exam? Was it at a doctor visit? How old were you?

LM: I had NO idea –  none whatsoever, that I had breast cancer! No pain, no redness. Nothing. It was crazy how I found it! Bear with me.

So, Back in 2012, (my last amazing running year) I had a groin injury/lower abdomen pain which for the next year and half went without diagnosis. Doctors could not pin point what was wrong with me, only guess, because even on my MRI’s, nothing showed.

Finally, (jump to February 2014) after trying everything (including rest), I saw yet another doctor who said that clinically I was showing all the signs for a sports hernia. He recommended a laparoscopic surgery to go in and see wth was going on. At this point, I was desperate and agreed.

This photo is that time I went to get my hair chopped off to prepare for losing it in just a few short weeks

The night before this surgery, I was lying in bed and said to my husband, totally joking, “What if they open me up and its cancer!?” He said, “Is that how you think!?!” lol. I was like, “well shoot, who knows at this point!” Anyway, in that moment, I said well, let me do a self check and that’s when I found the lump! My husband said, “Don’t go freaking out!” I wasn’t freaking out at all -I was simply annoyed that I had to, yet again, deal with another issue ( that I didn’t think would lead to anything).  All I wanted was to run pain free again.

A week after my surgery (which it turns out I had a tear in my abdomen) I went to my OB/GYN to get the lump checked. She said it was probably nothing, but lets get it checked anyway.

On February 10th, I went in for my first ever mammogram and ultrasound. Ouch! I knew as I laid on the table for the ultrasound, that something was wrong. I felt it in my gut. They immediately read my results and the radiologist came in and said “I’m highly concerned it’s breast cancer.” I was 39 years old.

FMSM: Do you have any family history or were you the first in your family to experience this?

LM: No family history…I was the first. 

FMSM: Can you walk me through the process of treatment? Were you given options? How did you cope with it? (Running? Praying? Support group? Spreading awareness?)

LM:Everyone’s treatment process is different depending on the cancer and size. My tumor was 7 cm, which is pretty big, so the doctor recommended doing chemo first to shrink it as much as possible, then do surgery to have whatever was left, removed.

August 2014 – Having some fun, but scared $h!tless

That is exactly what I did, but  let me say this…you ALWAYS have options and don’t ever let a doctor tell you other wise. Do your research. In the beginning, it was so new and unfamiliar, that I mostly put my trust in my doctors. I was fortunate enough to have an excellent oncologist, but I interviewed/visited a couple of facilities before deciding on this doctor/facility.

So my process went like this:
a. mammogram/ulstrasound
b. biopsy (results 2 days later confirming breast cancer)
c. Oncology doctor to discuss options. 
d. cut my hair shorter into a bob
e. find a wig
f. Chemo- 5 months from March until July
g. August-Surgery to remove last little bit of tumor and to get expanders (to stretch skin for implants…I opted for full bilateral mastectomy removing about 98% of my breast tissue)
h. Then Surgery again in October to get actual implants.
i. December/January- Radiation for 6 weeks. 
Finally I was done. 
2014 – Right after my husband and kids helped me shave my head for the first time

Coping:

Everyday what got me through this was the simple phrase I said to myself, “At least cancer happened to me and not my children.” I’m in tears now. It’s still so difficult for me to talk about. I would take this on again and again if it meant it was me and not my babies! 

FMSM: How has life changed for you since?

LM:I found a stronger version of me. Cancer literally stripped me down to nothing. It’s quite humbling. You think you know yourself, but then I realized I didn’t at all. I learned a lot about myself during this time and while it was such a tough time, in a way I think, this was my path to the me that I am now. I was so fragile and vulnerable post cancer –  I was an emotional mess and had to work everyday to rebuild myself and find my way again. 

Now, I try to spread awareness by sharing bits of my story on Instagram. I know there is something “more” I want to do – something bigger to spread awareness – but it hasn’t come together yet. I know it will in its right time. 

FMSM: What advice can you offer women about how important breast health is? What advice can you offer someone newly diagnosed? Someone currently going through treatment?

LM:The best thing you can do is to just check yourself at least once a month. Do it in the shower, or when you lay down to go to sleep. Check Instagram again before going to bed (you know you do it! lol) and then check those boobies! 

If you’re newly diagnosed, try to stay calm until you get all the details. I know it will be hard, but once you have a plan, you will fall into “fight” mode. It can all be overwhelming at first. So much terminology and so much to take in, so what I recommend for this is to buy yourself a little notebook and document EVERYTHING. I would write the date and take notes on how I felt and I would document all of my doctors visits and what they told me. I made  a separate section for Q&A for my doctors or things I wanted to research. You will forget things so I feel this is SO important. WRITE IT ALL DOWN. After cancer, I was able to help a friend, newly diagnosed, (who I’ve yet to meet) because I was able to reference my notes. 

FMSM: Please share something exciting going on with you now! Anything! Brag away! ANYTHING!

LM:Well, the biggest most exciting thing for me right now is my new business (www.getonyourmarq.com). To have finally made this dream come true has been so rewarding! I don’t know how many times I’ve talked myself out of starting, but I finally said “If not now, then when!?!” Life really is too short and can be snatched away from you in the blink of an eye, so, take the time to snatch up your goals and dreams NOW. The minute I said YES, it was SUCCESS in my book. 

Remember, Life can be as exciting as you make it, so find something to be excited about each day!

Lisa Marquez, Breast Cancer Survivor

If you would like to connect with Lisa you can find her here:

      www.instgram.com/getonyourmarq (business)
Twitter: www.twitter.com/_onyourmarq (personal)
             www.twitter.com/getonyourmarq (business)
 

Virtual 5k Cupcake Run & Cake Walk to raise funds for Special Olympics NJ

Registration for the first EVER VIRTUAL RUN hosted by Fit Mom Strong Mom and Lizziecakes Custom Creations is NOW OPEN!

For as long as I can remember I always wanted to host a road race. In college I was on the Student Entertainment Council where we put together all of the major entertainment events and activities for the campus – For a few years I worked in advertising and marketing at a radio station where we hosted numerous events from expos to concerts. Having a background in cross country, track and field and Obstacle Course Races I’ve participated in a number of events and always thought it would be so fun to put something like that together – and attach it to a good cause.

Every year for the last 7 years this crazy girl jumps into freezing cold water for the Polar Plunge in order to raise funds for Special Olympics New Jersey – (if you know me, you know I don’t even go in the ocean when it’s 100 degrees out so the least I could do was help her raise funds since I’m a big fat baby when it comes to the ocean!)

Fit Mom Strong Mom Ambassador Liz Demato (LizzieCakes) first came into contact with SONJ the summer of 2008 when she was able to witness firsthand how sports positively impacted three children with autism that she had been treating. In collaboration with a football coach who donated his time to the day program she was working at, she witnessed how becoming engaged in football drills, soccer games and even dodge ball, translated over to the classroom. The children exhibited more focus, motivation and overall had a better sense of pride in themselves. She decided to raise money for SONJ upon hearing that the organization solely survived on donations. She has been participating in the Polar Bear Plunge and has raised over $15,000 since 2011 with her team Chilly Willies.

How does it work?

Register and complete your run/walk anytime between October 1st-November 30th. This is a virtual event, meaning you can do your run/walk anywhere you want! Outdoors at a park, along the boardwalk at the ocean, in the trails, or on the treadmill at the gym! Proceeds from this Virtual event will be benefiting the Special Olympics of New Jersey. All participants will get a freaking ADORABLE medal (just wait until you see this thing!!!) ANNNND there WILL be a few prize categories as well!

Prizes? Did you say Prizes?

Yes! Here are the categories where prizes will be awarded:

  1. One winner who posts their after “race” photo on Facebook and/or Instagram with the hashtag #FMSMVirtualRun. Please make sure your profile is set to public so we can see your submission – or you can post it directly to the Fit Mom Strong Mom Facebook page wall.
  2. One winner who refers the most people to the virtual event. Simply ask your friends and family to include your name in the “Referred by” field on the registration form.

*Prizes will include a gift card and Fit Mom Strong Mom Apparel – prizes are subject to change without notice based on availability. Thank you for understanding.

What now?

Sign up! We are ready to support you through your training and can’t wait to see your post run photos! Run/Walk solo, grab a friend, or start a group! The more the merrier! Thanks to donors like you, more than 25,000 SONJ athletes will continue to have opportunities to participate in year round sports!

You will be asked to create a user name a password during registration. This username and password will grant you access to the Event Info page which will include free training tips and facts about Special Olympics New Jersey.

Celebrate National Women’s Health and Fitness Day

For many of us, women’s health and fitness day is EVERYDAY! But, that doesn’t make it any less cool that it has a special day all its own – the last Wednesday of September.

I mean is it a coincidence that it also happens to fall on “Workout Wednesday?” I think not.

So, in an attempt to inspire other moms out there to make health and fitness a priority, I asked my Ambassadors how THEY will be celebrating this year and this is what some of them said:

“Wednesdays are kettlebells and more at the Training Room with the baby tucked in a corner and while my toddler is in preschool!” Anita

“I will wake up, do my daily 30 burpees, have a healthy breakfast (egg and spinach sprinkled with chia and flax, Avocado, water, coffee) and take my little girls to gymnastics so they can have fun and get strong and healthy!”Stefanie

“Working on couch to 5k and slowly easing back into powerlifting!”Jessica

“Well. Now that I’m aware of it. Dance party.”Sara

“I think I’ll run on the boardwalk instead of around my block when the sun’s rising and then just stretch looking at the water. Recenter before the day begins.”Liz

“This is my husbands birthday but I will be doing one of the coaching club workouts before we celebrate!”- Madeleine

“A trail run!!!” –Cindy 

“I will be going to my Crossfit box for the 9 or 10 am workout. My 15 year old daughter is joining me this time so it’s so awesome to see her getting strong. She’s way better than this old momma and I am so proud. Then it’s either eating a leftover meal or getting a burrito kind of lunch.” –Rose

“I will most likely go for a run!”Wendy

I’ll be teaching a Bootcamp in the AM and HIIT in the PM!” Danielle

“I’ve got one of my senior clients, so I’ll be doing his workout alongside him. If it’s as nice as it’s been these past few days here though… that’s the ONLY thing I’ll be doing. It’ll be a beach day after if it’s nice out! (Because it’ll probably be the last one of the season.)” Holly

“I’m on the last week of an 18 week training plan for a half I’m running this weekend so I’ll be running 5 easy miles.” Laura

“A little strength workout and cardio.”Sarah

“At 39 1/2 weeks pregnant, I’m going to go for a swim and cook my favorite dinner….make your own (vegetarian) Buddha bowls!” Amanda

“My birthday! I’m taking a rest day for my health. Trying to fight a viral infection that may turn into a respiratory infection and I have my first Full Marathon Saturday!” –Krista

 “CrossFit WOD!” Jaime

“Still in marathon training mode & Wednesday is 5 miles with 5 X 30 second fast pace strides. Since it’s also Women’s Health & Fitness Day I will invite some of my local running tribe to join me & treat them to coffee after.” Steph

So how will YOU be celebrating National Women’s Health and Fitness Day?



What’s Up with Those Carb/Fat Blockers?

So, here we are a week away from the first day of Fall and everything pumpkin, apple, and comfort.

This is my FAVORITE time of year but you know what that means? The diet industry pretending to be the “hero” again with all of these great “supplements” to help off set all of that comfort food we will be eating…the Thanksgiving dinners, the Christmas cookies (and whatever you eat for Hanukkah…sorry, I’m not Jewish‍.)

You’ll see posts and ads on social media for carb blockers, and fat blockers, and diet teas.

Can we all just save our money? Like really….PLEASE – if you’re going to eat the sweet potatoes and sugar cookies and pumpkin pie then just eat them and enjoy them…and move on.

Buying carb/fat blockers, why? So you can “have more” or “not gain weight?” Guess what? Having one meal where you overindulge isn’t going to put 10lbs on your a** over night.

There is a bigger problem at hand and hiring professional help to assist you in changing your habits is much more beneficial to you than spending $25 on a bottle of pills peddled by an old high school classmate who tries to convince you with anecdotal evidence.

Supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA so most of the time, do we really know what we are buying?

Supplement companies sell you a story – a vision of what you *could* look like if you used their products.

Let’s look at a few alternate solutions to the carb/fat blockers.

  1. you could choose to eat more complex carbs (complex carbs have less sugar and more fiber than “white” carbs helping your blood sugar to remain stable and help you feel fuller for  longer)
  2. you could increase your fiber intake (greens, veggies, fruit, whole grains – again to help stabilize blood sugar and feeling satiated)
  3. You could avoid fried foods and opt for baked instead
  4. You could include more healthy fats in your diet like avocado, nut butters, or fish.
  5. you could make exercise a regular part of your daily routine. You don’t even need a gym or equipment – just get outside and walk!
  6. you could do all or any combination of the above

The side effects often associated with these non-regulated supplements are usually worse or more uncomfortable than the guilt you feel after over indulging. Including – but not limited to: bloating, gastrointestinal issues (including sh*tting your pants…Alli, anyone?)

So this fall and upcoming holiday season find a local or online group (like this one!) who can support you and help you through your challenges and ignore those posts and ads for magical pills and potions. No matter how much we want to believe leprechauns and unicorns are real…they don’t exist.

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Why 30 Day Squat Challenges are Stupid

I know you’ve seen them -posts on Facebook that look like this: “Hey! I’m thinking about doing this 30 day squat/plank/pushup/(insert some other exercise here) challenge! Who wants to join me!?”

Maybe you even posted something like this yourself.

I’m all for someone wanting to get fit – and any activity is better than no activity, right?

Not really. Here’s my beef:

  1. Who’s writing these? Like who said by Day 30 you should be doing 250 squats? Are these body weight squats? With weights? Are you doing them all together at one time? Breaking them into sets? Done throughout the day? Does anyone really know? 
  2. Most of these challenges are “pinned” or posted/shared by people who aren’t active on a regular basis…at least as seen in my news feed. 50 squats for Day 1 is a lot for someone who might be just starting out – and what if the person doesn’t know proper form? They are going to be doing 30 days of incorrect form leading to…
  3. Injury. Performing high repetitions of any movement over and over again for a long period of time isn’t good for you. You need to change up movement patterns and work all planes of the body to really benefit your over all fitness.
  4. They feed the need to chase perfection. What happens if you don’t keep up with it? You feel like a failure…or if you miss a day, now you are trying to play catch up and end up doing MORE squats because you are doubling up on days you missed – the numbers are already insanely high to being with, playing catch up is just going to lead to…
  5. Injury – oh wait…I already covered that in #3.

If you are looking to participate in a free fitness challenge, please be sure to sign up with someone who is a fitness professional – a certified personal trainer, certified fitness instructor, physical therapist, or someone with an exercise science or kinesiology degree – someone who knows the human body and how to safely and properly write programs. I run free challenges at least 3 times a year – to be the first to hear about when my next free challenge starts sign up for my email list here!

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The Reason Fitness Pros Won’t DM You to Solicit Their Services

We’ve all been there – an old “friend” from high school sends us a direct message on Facebook or Instagram  – or better yet a complete stranger – first the small talk – then the outpouring of compliments – and then the bomb –

A real message I received

“Have you ever thought about becoming a beachbody coach? You’d be so good at it!”

Or

“You should join my next challenge group!”

No – just stop.

Beachbody coach 1: “I had such great results using the program myself so that’s why I became a coach. I wanted to help others get the same results I did.”

A real message I received

Beachbody coach 2: “I wanted to make some extra money, and I love working out so I became a coach. I get paid to workout!” (Insert eye roll here)

Guess what? I taught my son how to count to 10 but I’m not going around calling myself a teacher and reaching out to friends seeing if they want me to tutor their kids now.

I know it sounds like I’m beating up on Beachbody – ok, well I guess I am. But here’s my point.

Those of us who have put in the long hours of studying and learning about the body and how it works, earning CEUs year after year to make sure we stay up to date on best practices – we don’t HAVE to solicit and blindly reach out to “old friends” and strangers.

Why?

Because our income doesn’t depend on whether we sell a “challenge pack” or monthly Shakeology autoship.

Our purpose truly IS to help people – educate people – share helpful information and attract our tribe. People find US.

A real message I received

Some people take the free info we share and run with it and get great results on their own – while others need more – so they hire us.

There are millions of fitness professionals out there – did you ever notice that some of those people annoy the hell out of you while others you can’t get enough of and you follow them on every social media platform, subscribe to all of their emails, read their blogs, and visit their YouTube channels?

There’s a place for everyone. You just have to find “your person.”

Maybe you are someone who LOVES doing workout videos at home. Well then, guess what? Beachbody might be your thing!

But

Maybe you love running-

Maybe you want to get stronger –

Maybe you want to lose weight-

Maybe you want a fitness professional who is a mom or a runner or strength & conditioning coach.

The most important thing is finding someone who gets you – who speaks your language – who makes you say, “OMG – Me too!”

That might be me – or that might not be me. In any case, you’ll know when you find the right fitness professional for you – and when you do find them – great things will happen for you!

If you like focusing on the positive – focusing on what your body is capable of – if you’d rather be strong than skinny – join my tribe!

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“Must have” equipment to #TrainLikeAnAthlete

SPRI.com
One question that comes up a lot is “What equipment do I need for a home gym?” The answer is  not much…but as you start to set, achieve (and CRUSH) your fitness PRs you are going to need access to more equipment to take it to the next level.

Everyone’s fitness goals are different – and maybe getting a set of 10 consecutive pushups is your #1 fitness goal – in that case, no equipment is needed. But if you want to be able to do unassisted pull ups or deadlift your bodyweight – you’re going to need a few things.

Obviously, budget and space is going to come into play, but if you start off with just a few items that you need you can always add to it later –  this list is MY recommendations on what you should include to #TrainLikeAnAthlete. These items can be purchased in various locations, however I have included links for your convenience.

1. Pull up Bar –  Iron Gym Total Body Workout Bar

2. Various Tension Resistance Bands – Black Mountain Products Strength Loop Resistance Exercise Bands and Theraband Resistance Band Loops

3. Adjustable Dumbbells (5-50lbs) Great option if you don’t have a ton of space – Stairmaster TwistLock Adjustable Dumbbells Pair

4. Olympic Plates (for Olympic and heavy lifts like cleans, deadlifts, etc) – XM-3377-BAL-65 XMark Rubber Coated Tri-grip Olympic Plate Weight Packages

5. Olympic Bar Bell – STEELBODY 7 ft. Olympic Weight Bar

6. Adjustable Bench/Step or PlyoBox – Golds Gym Xtreme Plyometric Jump Box

7. Stability Ball – GoFit GF-65BALL Exercise Ball With Pump (65 Cm; White)

8. Yoga Mat – Gaiam Print Yoga Mat

9. Foam Roller (for recovery) – Valeo Foam Roller

10. Kettlebell – GoFit Premium Kettlebell

Are you a mom who was once a competitive athlete? Maybe in high school – maybe in college – but now you spend more time chasing kids around than opponents on the field or track…but you miss that athlete and want to find her again?

Join my next FREE Fitness challenge for moms. 🏋 Workouts and meals will be quick to complete but will be highly effective and get you back to that athlete you miss. LET’S GOOO! Sign up now!!!

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Healthy Bodies Repair Faster

So, last week I was preparing a salad for my husband to have with his dinner. My mom had given me a mandolin for Christmas a few years ago and I found it to be super helpful and efficient when chopping vegetables. EVERY time I pulled it out to use it I would hear my mom in the back of my head, “be very careful! It’s very, very sharp and you don’t want to cut yourself!”

I bet you can see where I’m going with this.

There I am chopping away at the carrots when, “gasp!” I pull my finger away and look…whew! That was close…I must have just missed….oh, shoot…nope…here comes the blood.

Ok, stay calm..it’s just a cut…run it under water (ouch!), get some paper towels, apply pressure.

3 mins, 5 mins, 10 mins, 15 mins go by and it’s still bleeding through…let me look again…”OH MY GOD THERE IS A CHUNK MISSING!”

I took a few deep breaths and tried to stay calm. Do I need to go to the ER? No…all they are going to do is clean and wrap up my finger and then charge me a $250 co-pay…I can do this!

A few bandaids, neosporin, and some white medical tape and the bleeding finally stopped.

I was diligent in keeping the cut clean and dry by changing the dressing at least twice a day and used a cleaning spray and neosporin every time.

The healing process AMAZED ME. I was sure I was going to have a hole in my finger for at least a few months. Here it is day 9 and it almost looks normal again!

This got me thinking…the human body is incredible! A nurse friend of mine said to me, “protein is the building blocks of cells, and I know you’ve got that covered. Plus, you’re healthy, so it’s healing nicely.”

You know what…SHE’S RIGHT!

We often equate health with a clothing size or a certain number we see on the scale because that is what the diet industry tells us. But really health means having clear skin from drinking enough water and eating your fruits and vegetables. Health is having strong muscles because you eat quality protein. Health is not smoking, or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol or consuming massive amounts of refined sugar.

Tying health directly to vanity and not to how the body functions is what’s wrong with society. If I told you, you could save yourself hundreds or even thousands of dollars on medical procedures, vanity procedures and products and “quick fix” wraps, pills, and powders…get sick less and heal more quickly if you just ate clean well balanced whole foods, drank water, and moved your body…would you do it?

If you liked this post and want to stay connected sign up for my Fit Mom Strong Mom mailing list and receive occasional messages of inspiration as well as workouts and recipes for busy moms!

5 Reasons Why You Ate Like Crap Today

How many times have you made it to the end of the day and thought to yourself, “I ate like complete crap today” but then couldn’t figure out where you went wrong?

Well, I’m here to tell you, you are not alone! Here are the 5 most common reasons for why we eat like crap.

Stress – the big ‘ol elephant in the room. Let’s talk about it. The list of things that stress us out as moms is a mile long…including: Am I producing enough breast milk? Why is my baby still crying? Are we going to be late to xyz appointment…again? What bill is this and why is it so much? Soccer practice is scheduled at the same time as gymnastics and CCD and Girl Scouts?! You get the point. When we are stressed our cortisol levels increase making us crave sugary, fatty foods. When we are stressed we want pizza not salad…we want ice cream not fruit. So, if at the end of the day you are waving the white flag in surrender – accept defeat and move on. You can’t re-do today so let’s focus on tomorrow. New day – clean slate – calories start at 0 again.

Too many carbohydrates – as mentioned above when we are stressed we grab sugary foods – or if we are not prepared carbs are an easy and quick thing to grab: a bagel, a muffin, a pretzel, granola bar, etc. If we’ve gone too long between meals, say if we are working on a project or dealing with the kids – a bowl of cereal is quick and easy and doesn’t require pots and pans and multiple ingredients. When we are hungry and have 5 minutes to ourselves, cereal works just fine. The problem is, when we eat too many carbohydrates- especially on their own- they spike our blood sugar and then after about 20 mins or so we feel hungry again because it then crashes. So what do we do? Go get another handful of pretzels, chips, or grab a donut. The cycle is vicious and can be easily avoided with a little bit of planning.

Not enough protein – I’m talking quality lean meats, eggs, and the vegan/vegetarian complete protein equivalents. A chicken breast has 0 carbohydrates so it will not effect your blood sugar – it digests slowly and keeps you satiated. Chances are after eating a grilled chicken salad you won’t be feeling hungry 20 mins later like after eating a donut.

Didn’t drink enough water – when we don’t consume enough water our body gets confused and thinks we are hungry rather than thursty, so we grab a snack. Drinking water regularly throughout the day will keep the munchies away – a good rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 150lbs you would drink 75oz of water per day.

Didn’t exercise – most often when we exercise regularly we are making a conscious effort to live a healthy lifestyle – sure there may be a time or two after a 5k or Spartan Race you down a few beers and burger with some friends, but more often than not we will consciously choose to eat the grilled chicken or fish with the veggies and baked potato. Think about a snow or rainy day when you are stuck inside all day. If you don’t have the luxury of having a home gym or some fitness equipment chances are you aren’t getting out of your pajamas all day and will be parked on the couch watching movies and eating appetizers like weiner dogs and pizza bagels. (Confession…I have a home gym and still have chosen the PJ’s and couch option on a snow day!)

So, the next time you make it to the end of the day and wonder “what the hell happened?” run through this list and see if you missed the mark anywhere and then just make an effort the next day to do better. That’s all we can do – what’s done is done so let’s move forward and make tomorrow a better day.

If you liked this post and want to stay connected sign up for my Fit Mom Strong Mom mailing list and receive occasional messages of inspiration as well as workouts and recipes for busy moms!

I’m a Mom and I Crossfit

For as long as I can remember I have been obsessed with being strong. When I was a child I never wanted to do push ups on my knees in Karate class (no matter how much I wanted to – I couldn’t let the boys see me as “weak!”) When I did cheerleading I was always the “base” lifting up my teammates overhead (and not because I was one of the “bigger” girls, but because I was strong.)

I had first heard about Crossfit when I was working at a store that sold high end fitness equipment. A guy came in looking for an Olympic bar and started telling me about this new workout he was doing. It sounded like all the things I loved to do already – lift heavy weights, run, gymnastics…but it was still so “new” at the time, that I forgot about it for a few years.

It wasn’t until my husband and I were ready to start trying for our first baby that I decided to join the local Crossfit box. You’re probably wondering, “Why would you sign up for Crossfit when you were trying to get pregnant?” Well, I was SOOOO stressed out by NOT getting pregnant month after month that a friend and client of mine suggested I continue to pursue my goals and when it was the right time I would get pregnant. So, I listened to her – And exactly 1 month after my first Crossfit competition, I found out I was pregnant!

So, while my experience with Crossfit may have happened BEFORE I became a mom, the Fit Mom Strong Mom community is FILLED with moms who do Crossfit…and I wanted to know why they chose that as their workout of choice when there are so many other things out there to do. Here is what they told me:

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“I Crossfit because it makes me stronger all around in everyday life .. I found Crossfit 5 years ago and I am doing things ( push ups pull ups) that I never thought I could . It makes me confident in more ways than one. I am healthier for my 2 babies and I am more well rounded than I have ever been.. Crossfit changed my life!”

Keri, 37 year old mom of 3 – Florida

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“My interest for CrossFit piqued a few years ago. I was about to turn 40 and had completed a year that included nine obstacle course races, a year of at home workouts, trail running, road running and pretty much blindly finding my way through fitness. My husband and I sold our home and were moving into a smaller one with not as much outdoor space. We had to pack up our small at home obstacle course, that the whole family played on every night. I found myself home alone a lot with the kids (since my husband was building our new home nights and weekends, and still is!), and little time or space for at home workouts. My commute time home tripled since our move and I knew I had to do something! I was gaining weight and driving myself crazy. My husband was the one that suggested I join our local CrossFit gym. I was so intimidated, everything I knew about CrossFit seemed impossible!! But, I knew I needed a change. I wanted a change and also a challenge. I wanted to get stronger, but wasn’t sure about the correct way to go about it. I will never forget my first “on-ramp” class. That was a HUGE eye opener and humbling experience. I knew I had a lot of work to do and was finally ready and willing to do it. This May will be my one year anniversary with my box. I plan to be there as long as my body lets me.

The main point I want to get across is this: I no longer care about that damn scale. It doesn’t mean shit. My body is already changing and molding so completely differently than it ever has. What matters is how much stronger I am getting. What matters is hitting PR’s for weight I never dreamed I could hit (with coaches and other athletes cheering me on telling me I can do it!). What matters is the sense of community that happens all around you. Having trained dedicated coaches right there with you through every workout is priceless. You are being watched like a hawk to make sure every move you make is SAFE for your body and skill level.

CrossFit is not for everyone, I thought it was crazy! Until I stepped in and experienced it for myself.”

Jaime, 40 year old mom of 2 – Maine

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“I started CrossFit 3.5 years ago. I had gone to the doctor for being underweight. They did tests and nothing came up so his suggestion was to “eat more bread”. I wasn’t happy with that answer so I started researching myself. The only healthy method I came across over and over again was to put on muscle. Round about the same time, my cousin had posted on Facebook that a CrossFit class just kicked her butt. Super curious, I looked it up and was instantly intrigued. I had some weights and started following Main site with substitutions where I could and gathered more equipment. Worried about my form, I signed up for an OnRamp course. I finished the instruction but got sick before I could finish the intro weeks. Come to find out, I have a sensitivity to FODMAPs. I wasn’t able to join again between the cost and hiring a sitter at 5:15 in the morning. Instead my dad built me a squat rack and now I dutifully write my own WODs over two week periods following the template and added in Starting Strength to increase my strength even more. I went from 134 pounds to 156, healthy weight gain. It’s not a dramatic story of any kind, but it’s a top priority in my life and I don’t know what kind of person I’d be without it. I’ve simultaneously started a business and will pitch my plan to a bank within the year. I wouldn’t have the confidence to do that without making it through some of the mind shit you hit when you’re under a bar or 10 sprints in or 5 more rounds to go. It’s powerful.”

Carolyn, 36 year old mom of 3- Nebraska

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“I have been an athlete and a lover of fitness my entire life. High school and college athlete turned personal trainer and engulfed in a career in the industry. From machines. To kettlebells. To half marathons. To strength training. My phases and crazes within fitness have always changed.

A year of massive changes (Divorce. Moving. Career change) my fitness needed a change too. I needed more social interaction. Motivation. Fun. And a community. I was bored working out alone. Had no drive. Or goals.

I knew I would love crossfit but was nervous I wouldn’t go often enough or try. BOY WAS I WRONG. Since the day I joined I go a minimum of 5 days a week. Met some amazing friends. Learned so much. Gained strength. Opened my eyes to an endless amount of Goals to reach.

It has satisfied my need for change and busted through my plateaus. Encouraged me to set big goals. Allowed me to meet more woman. More moms. More single moms like myself. It’s an amazing community….  A FAMILY. that I wish I had been a part of sooner.”

Jaime, 36 year old mom of 1 – Massachusetts 

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“I am a 33 year old mother of 3 (Brandon 8, Natalie 6 & Derrick 4).  My husband, Byron introduced me to Crossfit just over 2 years ago.  I was looking for a different fitness program.  I had previously belonged to a traditional gym with machines and free weights, but I often didn’t know what to do and it was difficult to get there regularly.  I had also tried DVD programs at home which was great because I could do them almost anytime but I was bored easily.  I also tried to run a few days a week but I have never found a love for running.  So Byron invited me to a bring a friend fundraiser at Crossfit Apex where he had been attending classes and we completed a partner WOD together.  I loved it!  Crossfit has taught me to focus on what my body can do instead of how it looks.  I am much less concerned about my body weight and more concerned about lifting more weight and learning more difficult skills.  The sense of community at Apex is exceptional!  There is support from all of the members and the last athlete to finish receives the loudest cheers.  We all push one another to be better athletes.  Our box also offers a family atmosphere.  Byron & I can work out together while our children attend kids or tots class.  I love tackling a WOD side by side with my husband.  He always pushes me to improve and he reminds me of how much I’ve accomplished. In addition to Byron and I enjoying Crossfit, our kids love it too and they enjoy cheering us on.  Being a positive example to them is so important to me.  I’m especially proud to be raising a daughter who is learning the importance of finding her strength, building her skills and living a healthy lifestyle.”

Melissa, 33 year old mom of 3 – Pennsylvania

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“I do CrossFit because it makes me feel more like myself. I am competitive by nature, hard-working, I love a challenge and am never satisfied if there is room for improvement. CrossFit allows me to take the time, in an hour or less, to feel all of those things and re-center myself. I come out less stressed and feel like I can be a better parent. It is only one hour- something I can justify I deserve away from my family and job- where improvement can happen physically if you work hard enough. I do CrossFit because I want my daughter to see that women can be what they want and who they want and don’t need to depend on anyone. I am strong enough to carry in all the groceries and my child. I am mentally stronger and more confident after what I have done in the gym. I wear my muscle and callused hands with pride. To be competitive in the sport it is a lifestyle- I love that she wants to help me in the kitchen and knows that food does not come from a box. I love that she wants to be “strong like mommy” and comments that she can tell boys from girls because “girls lift” breaking all the clichés and boundaries I don’t want placed on her. Even on my worst day looks at me like the greatest hero in the world and I don’t want her hero to ever quit.”

Ashley, 32 year old mom of 1 (and 1 on the way!) – Michigan

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In late 2015, I was almost two years postpartum.  I went to a friend’s wedding and felt glamorous.  When my friend sent me the pictures from her wedding, I hardly recognized myself.  I was at least twice as big as I thought I was and felt I was.  It was the moment I decided to change my life.  I started slowing with yoga to stretch out muscles that hadn’t been used in a long time and to try to get some core stability – something my c-section had taken away completely.  

After I lost 20 pounds, I needed more.  I decided to try a local gym that did nothing for me.  The day after my trial, a patient walked into my chiropractic office and told me she owned a CrossFit gym and to come check it out.  I was PETRIFIED.  I follow enough people on social media to see how hard and challenging CrossFit was.  I eventually called her and went to my first class March 28, 2016.  I WAS HOOKED.  

Every workout is different.  We work our entire bodies the whole workout.  It incorporates weights and cardio – which is a great combination for weight loss and overall health.  I also love that all workouts can be modified for whatever level of fitness you are at.  Over time, all the people I envied as I watched them workout, became my friends.  I love going to the gym and seeing my people – the ones that never make me feel less than, encourage me, and push me to do things I didn’t think my body could do any more.  

Since I joined CrossFit, I have lost an additional 40+ pounds, gained muscle, made new friends, and most importantly made myself healthier to be a better mom and role model to my little girl.

Kerry, 35 year old mom of 1 – New Jersey

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“I started attending the bootcamps at the Crossfit box because I liked the class atmosphere and having a coach to give me instruction and motivation.  Then I got intrigued with the weightlifting part and decided to sign up for Crossfit.  The workouts were extremely challenging in the beginning and it made me doubt if I can do them.  But over time with the coaching and encouragement from my coach and friends I made at the box, I began to develop mental toughness and believe that I can.  I never felt judged when I am unable to do certain movements.  No one compares with each other because each one of us is putting out their best effort.  I thrive on the high fives, the cheers, and the look of pride from my coach even when I am sometimes the last one still doing burpees or the last to arrive back from a 400m run.  I feel a sense of accomplishment after completing the WOD and it’s great to achieve a new PR.  

Crossfit challenged me and pushed me to surpass goals in fitness I never thought possible.  It’s great to be in a positive environment where the motivation is to be better, healthier, and stronger for life.”

Rose, 53 year old mom of 2 – California

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Last Friday night, as do many CrossFit boxes around the world, I gathered with my community of athletes to complete the 17.3 Open workout. I brought my two kids along, and they happily skipped off to the back room to play with the small group of other kids whose parents had also dragged them along to watch. As a coach, I spent the first half of the evening judging other athletes as they challenged themselves through the pull ups and snatches. I watched as two women who, before that night, had never snatched more than an empty 35 pound bar both achieve a 65 pound snatch. I reveled in the looks of joy and excitement on their faces, cheering them on. Out of the corner of my eye, I also watched my daughter, who had made her way to the front gym. But she wasn’t watching the athletes, absorbing this feat of female strength. She was stacking foam rollers and playing with a bucket of mobility balls.

I dream about going to a CrossFit competition or Open workout and having my kids enthralled by the action, watching me work out. I want us to be captured in that moment as I swing from the pull up bar and they are there behind me cheering. But by the time I was prepping to complete 17.3 myself, my son had found my cell phone and was off playing a video game, and my daughter was wandering around the gym looking like she might pass out from boredom. She did wander over to me as I completed my second round of pull ups, but quickly moved on when she discovered the whiteboards and dry erase markers on the wall behind her. I know the day will come once they grow a little older and slightly longer attention spans (they are only 6 and 4) when they will sit and watch me. But making sure they watch me workout is not really why I CrossFit. I CrossFit because of the daily work you have to put in. Because sometimes I fail miserably at it. Because it’s not easy. Because it makes me strong. Because it empowers me. Because it brings me self-confidence and self-efficacy for doing things I never thought I could do before. And those things, ultimately, are what I want to teach my children, even if they never actually watch me do it.

Heidi, 36 year old mom of 2 – Minnesota 

If you are looking for an online community of fit moms, where there is no judgement, tons of encouragement, and a bunch of fitness professionals at your disposal to answer your health & fitness related questions I encourage you to join the private Fit Mom Strong Mom Ambassador group on Facebook. (Sorry…just moms and moms to be…no dudes!)

Coming SOON! The next FREE challenge group for MOMS who just don’t have TIME. Maybe you work full time AND have to “mom.” Maybe you stay at home but you have tiny humans consuming most of your time…all day…everyday. You LOVE being mom, but you need to exercise too or else someone’s gonna get it! (Too dramatic?) Get on the list NOW and be the FIRST to hear when this FREE challenge group launches!

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