10 Ways Having a Newborn is Like Reliving Your College Experience

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From sleepless nights to getting schooled in all sorts of subjects, life with a newborn bears a striking resemblance to those good ol’ glory days of college. So I thought I’d share my top 10 ways having a baby is like starting freshman year all over again.

10. Mounting Expenses. Back then you spent your money on books, meal plan and extracurriculars. Now you’re draining your bank account on books, take-out and just about any gadget and/or invention under the sun that promises to help baby sleep.

9. Boot ‘n’ Rally. Popular among frat boys. Also babies.

8. All Nighters. The only difference? In college, you could sleep in ’til noon the next day to recover. With babies, there’ no sleeping in again. Ever.

7. Roommate Issues. It’s the luck of the draw. Some go with the flow and are easy to get along with. Others? Messy, loud and up at all hours.

6. Weight Gain. Packing it on, freshman-style, is a lot of fun thanks to beer and late-night snacks. With pregnancy, it’s more about the pesky final 15 that seems to linger postpartum.

5. Boobs. They’re endlessly fascinating to both hormone-riddled young men and babies, alike.

4. Knowledge. Talk about theory all you want, but there’s a big difference between book smarts and being able to apply that knowledge in the real world — or with a real human.

3. Hormones. Both teens and pregnant women are vying for front-row seats on the emotional roller-coaster.

2. Life Lessons. Just when we think we’ve got it all figured out, life has a way of showing you that you truly don’t know what you don’t know until you’re in the thick of it.

1. Growing Up. There’s a good chance you’ll be forever changed for the better after each experience.

Anything else you’d add to the list? 

Don’t Fall for These Six Holiday Diet & Exercise Myths

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‘Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry!

But indulging with abandon has a way of backfiring around this time of year — especially when we’re full of reasons for  getting back on track tomorrow.

Only the problem is that ‘tomorrow’ is almost a month from now. 

So to help separate fact from fiction, Marsha Hudnall, president and co-owner of Green Mountain weight management program, shared with me her top five myths about diet and exercise around the holidays.

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Bottom line: It’s cool to partake in all of the festivities, just keep your wits about you!

Myth No. 1: Diet before and during the holiday season.

Reality: Learn to eat mindfully instead (i.e. listen to what your body is telling you and try to be aware of when you are full or satisfied). Make decisions that leave you feeling good about yourself and your choices, even if one of those choices is to have that delicious dessert. It’s not about ‘naughty’ or ‘nice’ foods. It’s about eating in a way that makes you feel satisfied — both while eating and afterwards.

Myth No. 2: Double up on your workout to shed those extra calories.

Reality: Regular physical activities that you enjoy are as beneficial for optimal health as they are for weight management. It’s less about burning calories and more about moving to feel good, which sets you up for making better choices. Exercise in excess is usually not healthy — and even worse, an injury could keep you from feeling less than merry this season.

Myth No. 3: Weigh yourself daily to help control your eating.

Reality: Lets face it — we all fluctuate on a daily basis when it comes to the numbers on the scale. Weighing yourself often only has a negative impact on self-esteem and decreases motivation for self-care. Focusing on how your state of mind and your energy levels helps you make smarter, more sustainable eating choices.

Myth No. 4: With a little planning, you can successfully navigate six holiday parties in one evening.

Reality: Over-committing can cause stress, which often leads to emotional overeating. Try committing to fewer parties and hosting simpler celebrations. Being more relaxed will help you actually enjoy the holidays, which also helps set you up for success in the New Year and beyond.

Myth No. 5: It’s okay to overindulge during holiday celebrations; you can “get back on track” tomorrow.

Reality: Eat what you want to avoid the feelings of deprivation that drive overeating, but try being more of a foodie during the holidays (and year-round!). By being particular about what you eat, you’ll choose only those items that truly delight your taste buds and leave you feeling like you indulged without going overboard.

Myth No. 6: When it comes to leftovers, it’s ‘the more, the merrier!’

Reality: If having extra food or leftovers lying around drives you to eat more than you need, considering donating it to local shelters or giving it away to family members, neighbors, etc. It’s a great way to share the love during the holiday season without packing on those unnecessary pounds.

How do you keep holiday weight gain at bay?

Are We Fitness ‘Fadded’ Out?

From big box gyms to boutique fitness studios. From hot yoga to cold workouts. From barefoot to maximalist running shoes. From quality of life to quantified self.

No matter which way the pendulum seems to swing, we never seem to tire of chasing after the latest fitness fad. And while each new twist on tradition is encouraging — it means that the general population recognizes the importance of being active — I can’t help but think that the more we’re consumed with distracting ourselves from the actual task at hand, the more we’re missing the point.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for keeping fitness fun and mixing up workouts to make things more interesting. But where’s the line between science and marketing, safe and potentially dangerous, effective and inherently counterproductive?

Case in point: ThighMaster, Shake Weight, 8-Minute Abs, Ab Roller (and countless more). ‘Nuff said.

Sure, fads can be fun; I’ve tried my fair share over the years. But when they derail you from legitimately pursuing better fitness, they do more harm than good.

So how do you avoid getting scammed? I’ve got five tips for deciding whether or not you should jump on the bandwagon or throw in the towel when it comes to that next trendy workout:

  1. Don’t believe all the hype. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  2. Take celeb endorsements with a grain of salt. They’re paid to tell you that!
  3. Remind yourself that there’s no quick fix. Real, lasting results take time and effort.
  4. When in doubt, do some digging. Is there scientific proof behind the claims?
  5. Invest only in what works — for you. There’s no silver bullet or one-size-fits-all answer.

As your body evolves so will your fitness program, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for everyone.

The secret to getting fit — for good — is actually a lot more simple than you’d think: Find and do what works best for you.

Are fitness fads our friends or foes? 

Brace Yourself: Title Nine Fit Fest (+ giveaway!)

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If you read my recent piece on the nine things you just shouldn’t wear when working out, you know that one of my pet peeves is unsupportive sports bras. Because the last thing us ladies want to worry about during a workout is painful, sag-inducing bouncing, right?

Ain’t nobody got time for that. 

But who actually enjoys shopping for sports bras?! Most of us are unsure about our size (all the measurements!) and are even more clueless when it comes to how it should fit (strap ’em down or hike ’em up?). And don’t even get me started on the process of trying them on; it takes a Cirque-du-Soleil level of contortionism to wrestle into some of the styles out there.

If you’re anything like me, you emerge a hot, sweaty mess from the dressing room with nothing more than a deflated ego to show for all that effort. So you make an educated guess, hope for the best, shell out some cash and then get the hell out of there with something — anything.

Sound familiar? 

Well, it turns out that bra experts at Title Nine feel our pain — literally — and are making it easier (and more fun) to find the correct sports bra by hosting local “FitFest” events to help every athlete find her perfect fit and get on the road to a more comfortable workout.

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As we all know (or should know), the most important foundation for any workout is a bra designed specifically for each of our unique body types, sizes and activities. Title Nine’s FitFest aims to help ladies address all those pain points — and more — by featuring:

  • Personalized bra fitting advice from a “bravangelist” expert
  • An expanded assortment of bras for every size and shape
  • Bras for different activities: sports, work-to-workout, everyday and date night
  • A “Bounce-ath-a-lon” for people to put bras to the test, with stations like hula hooping, jump roping, running and burpees
  • Snacks and drinks (because, duh, pretty much anything is more fun with a glass of vino in hand)

So when the invitation for Portland’s FitFest landed in my inbox, I knew we were in store for an interesting evening of bonding over…boobs! I’ve never been professionally fit before, and with all the different workouts I do, I figured my Bravengelist would have her work cut out for her.

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Jamie, Tasha, Liz and I met up for happy hour, and then we made our way over to the event to check things out. After mingling with some of Portland’s fittest ladies (bloggers and industry folks), the Bravangelists met with us one-by-one to get down to business.

First, they took personalized measurements and asked a few questions about our preferences, lifestyle and favorite activities. Next, they combed the racks for styles that would be a good match.

My Bravangelist, Jamie, pulled several bras that would be good for high-impact workouts, as well as a wide range of cross-training activities. Basically, I told her I needed the girls to be able to take whatever I throw at ’em, so she went straight for the heavy artillery styles with all kinds of snaps, straps and adjustable pieces.

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As I tried on each style, Jamie came in to check the fit and how well it performed with a variety of bounce tests. Mostly this consisted of me jumping up and down to test the support of each bra.

Normally I grab a cute one, guesstimate my size and try it on to make sure it fits ok, but after going through the FitFest, I see now why it’s so important to try a range of styles at once. Not only does it give you more variety from which to choose, but when you try them on in succession, you also have a much better idea how they perform in comparison to one another.

Also — I’m not a fan of mirror selfies…but in the interest of #keepingitreal,  I’m including one shot of the bra I ended up choosing.

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I picked Moving Comfort’s She Be Fierce Bra in Celery Stripe ($44), which delivers all the features us less-endowed ladies demand without feeling overbuilt, overpadded and overdone. It’s easy on/off, there’s separate encapsulation inside to avoid the dreaded “uniboob,” plus the material’s supposed to dry crazy-fast after the sweatiest of workouts.

And I just love the name, which happens to be based on Shakespeare’s line, “And though she be but little, she is fierce.” Whether he was talking about this bra or the wearers, I’d like to think he was right.

But the best part of the evening? 

Well, if boobs are funny, then boob balloons are funnier. And apparently we’re all 30-something-going-on-13 because we really got a kick out of these things.

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Interested in attending a FitFest in a city near you? Visit TitleNine.com for a full list of participating locations and details.

Or, better yet, CLICK HERE TO ENTER my giveaway for a FREE PERSONALIZED FITTING (either in-store or by-phone, depending on location) and ONE SPORTS BRA! 

Note: Winners within driving distance of a Title Nine store will be asked to redeem their prize at the closest/preferred retail location.

Good luck, and remember to give your girls some support!

You Know You’re 34 When…

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…you thank the doorman, bartender, grocery checkout clerk, literally anyone — sincerely and profusely — when carded

…it takes twice as much time in the gym to see half the results

…you accept that “training” is less about pushing your luck and more about managing your injuries

…your first two questions about nights out include, “Is there a line?” and “Will there be seating?”

…”hitting the bottle” on a Friday night takes on a whole new meaning when all your friends have kids

…it takes half the amount of drinks to feel twice the effects

…the time needed to recover from said drinks doubles

…those college “glory days” stories lose their luster just a bit when you realize they happened more than a decade ago

…you start mispronouncing names of young starlets and new bands (I may never live down “Skillrex”)

…you look through those “at any age” collages of celebs and start identifying with people at the far end of the spectrum

…three words: mysterious aches & pains

…cramming six people into one hotel room on a road trip is no longer adventurous; it’s annoying

…you have no problem spending more on things like good food, wine, beer, furniture and direct flights

…you begrudgingly accept a dinner reservation that starts after 8 p.m….and then pack your purse with TUMS

…you find it increasing difficult to decipher ‘teen talk. What the hell does “on fleek” mean?!

…your shoes start getting sectioned off into “walking” and “non-walking” categories

…shoes of the “non-walking” variety are typically worn on nights when you’ve only got to get from the car to the restaurant

…someone younger teaches you about the existence of “new” technology (thanks, Stacey, for the voice text tutorial)

…girls’ night conversations that used to be about dating now revolve around real estate

…you occasionally need to pause and actually do some math when people ask your age

…the songs you rocked out to in high school are now starting to be played on the “classic rock” channel

…you realize you’re actually ok with all of this, and

…you’re excited to officially enter your mid-thirties tomorrow with a strong sense of self and the ability to not take things too seriously 🙂

9 Things You Just Shouldn’t Wear When Working Out

PERFECT, John Travolta, 1985. ©Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

PERFECT, John Travolta, 1985. ©Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

I was out walking my dogs the other day when a woman jogged past, and I couldn’t help but notice her chest, which happened to be bouncing out of control. Three thoughts immediately ran through my head:

Way to go! I love seeing people putting in work and breaking a sweat. 

Dear God, that looks painful. Does she know what’s happening to those poor ligaments?! 

Huh, having something there to actually bounce must be nice, though…

I’ll spare you the details of the rest of my internal monologue, but the point is that it reminded me of the importance of wearing the right gear — not only to maximize your workouts, but also to minimize any potential nasty side effects, such as said bouncing, chafing, snagging, riding up, falling down, constricting, tripping or worse (injury).

Plus, let’s face it — when you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good, you can give it all you’ve got, whether you’re hitting the gym, running the trails or competing at an event.

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Here are my nine no-no’s when it comes to suiting up for that next sweat session:

1. Unsupportive Sports Bras (or Shorts)

Ladies, did you know that you can do permanent damage to connective tissue over time if you neglect to give your breasts the correct support? And, gentlemen, you’re not immune to the jostling of certain body parts either. So, regardless of gender, do yourself a favor and find something that provides plenty of reinforcement for high-impact activities.

2. 100 Percent Cotton Clothing

It might be the fabric of our lives, but it’s the foe of comfortable workouts. Cotton is wonderfully absorbent, but that’s also it’s downfall; damp, slow-drying shirts tend to bring on chills and irritate skin. Instead, opt for synthetics and moisture-wicking fabrics, which are quick-drying, lightweight and designed for efficient evaporation.

3. Baggy Layers

Tempted to tent that not-quite-beach-ready body in loose-fitting clothing? Little do you know, you’re creating a potential safety hazard. Not only does extra material up your chances of getting snagged on equipment, but it also prevents you from checking form and alignment. Exchange oversized apparel for more form-fitting gear, which doubles as extra incentive to get to the gym!

4. Overly-Constrictive Pieces

Too loose isn’t good, but too tight isn’t any better. Any outfit you have to pour yourself into will only hamper movement, threaten circulation and probably make you feel pretty self-conscious. Instead, find a happy medium with fabrics and cuts that skim your figure and allow for a full range of motion.

5. Past-Their-Prime Shoes 

You maybe tempted to squeeze a few more miles into fraying footwear, but it’s better to ditch your kicks before you put yourself at risk for injury. Worn-out treads and flattened arch support won’t serve you well in the long run — and could actually do some damage during long runs. Replace your sneakers every 500 miles or so, and consider a gait analysis to find the best model for you.

6. Too Much Bling

I may sound old-school, and it’s probably because this was drilled into me early in my high school track & field years, but the only metal objects you should be swinging around at the gym are kettlebells. This will allow you to concentrate on the task at hand, rather than keeping your necklace or earrings from getting caught or damaged.

Rings, especially, should be kept at home or stowed away. You only have to hear one horror story about an engagement bauble getting stolen after being left behind in a gym shower to set you straight on this one. True story.

7. Eau de Poo Poo

An inside joke in my family, this is the nickname we give to stinky perfumes. Whether you’re squeezed into the close quarters of spin class, taking a dip in your gym’s pool or lined up mat-to-mat in yoga, please forgo strong scents. Body heat and sweat only intensify the issue, and the last thing you want is to ruin your classmate’s workout by giving them a stomach-turning headache.

8. Untested Apparel 

You snag a deal on some gear, and then later realize why it was deeply discounted — because it sucks. Yep, been there, done that. It was mid-bootcamp, in fact, when a friend gave me a heads up on my too-thin tights (oops). So take it from me: Use the ‘try before you buy’ rule by jumping around and bending over in the dressing room in order to avoid anything see-through, low-cut or otherwise offensive.

9. Almost Anything Gray

Unless you’re prepared to own some pretty awkwardly-placed post-workout sweat stains, avoid the color gray for super-intense exercise. I learned this the hard way while marathon training in one of my favorite styles of (gray) capris last fall. I still love ’em, but now I just use that pair for less sweaty endeavors, such as restorative yoga, hiking and Pilates classes.

Are there any off-limits outfits you’d add to the list? 

The Best Laid Plans…

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From the looks of the picture above, you’d probably guess that our very first Team LUNA Chix Portland Run workout was a smashing success and went off without a hitch, right?

Well, you’d be wrong.

In the interest of #keepingitreal, I’ll just say: A picture may be worth a thousand words, but there’s quite often a whole other story behind an image that might surprise you.

Yes, the team was out in full force, and yes, we had a fantastic turnout for our first week (thank you, guys!). But then, comically, pretty much everything that kept me up the night before hoping wouldn’t go wrong…did.

We arrived at the track just as ominous clouds rolled in and the wind began to pick up. By the time we did our paperwork and announcements, we hit the track for our much-needed warm-up because everyone was starting to shiver from the cold.

However, two laps in we politely got asked to leave because, even though there were other members of the public working out, our group was too large with the other events going on (although I’d researched the schedule extensively). Plan B was to break up into small groups by pace and do an out-and-back run, but I quickly realized that wouldn’t be a good idea with all the city traffic.

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So, on the fly, we moved on to Plan C. I scrapped our dynamic stretching segment in favor of a second warm-up, which would get us off the track and over to a more “runnable” area a few blocks away.

There was a hill nearby, so we jogged over and I calculated that we had time for about 20 minutes of “repeats.” This is where the ladies would sprint up, jog or walk down and then repeat until the time was up; not necessarily what I wanted for our first workout of “easing” everyone in, but at that point we had to work with what we had available!

Luckily, these ladies are nothing if not flexible, resilient, and game for anything. They charged up the hill as I ran around snapping pictures, playing music on my iPhone and shouting words of encouragement.

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And then the heavens opened up. And it started pouring.

By this point, all we could do is laugh. Normally, a run in the rain is something most of us will try to avoid, but we were out there — together — making the most of what had become a hilarious situation.

And, suddenly, it hit me — we were right where we needed to be.

I watched as all 14 women powered through the 20 minutes, and we regrouped at the top of the hill…sweaty and rain-soaked, but smiling and joking around. What started off as something precariously close to spinning out of control became a true bonding experience.

We rolled with the punches. We didn’t take ourselves too seriously. We took it all in stride.

We’re already becoming a team.

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Now, I just hope everyone comes back next week!

If you’d like to join us for an upcoming (much more well-organized) workout, check out our Facebook page for details!  

We meet Monday nights are are proud to welcome women of all ages and abilities for workouts in a supportive, non-competitive environment. Come run with us!