When I came to Shape It Up, I was in a very sad place. My third son was nearing his second birthday, and I had not yet lost all of the baby weight. I thought that “Cool Sculpting” was my only hope, so I went for a consultation and learned that it would take approximately $9,000 to make a dent in my midsection, with no results guaranteed. After crying in my car for about an hour, I decided it was time to call in a professional. If anything else in my house were to break, I’d call someone who actually knew how to fix it. I had a realization that perhaps my body was no different.
Nicole was a godsend. She pushed me when I needed pushing and gave me space to heal when I needed that too. I loved having workouts loaded into the app for days we weren’t meeting in person, so that I could fit workouts into my hectic schedule and remain accountable. Through Nicole’s patience and encouragement, I’m down to a weight that I hadn’t seen on the scale since before having children. Having surpassed my original goal, it’s an amazing feeling to know that it’s within my ability to go even further. In many ways, I’m stronger than I’ve been at any other point in my life.
Looking into a mirror used to be a depressing task, but now I feel pretty okay about what I see. There’s no way to put a price tag on regaining confidence, but I definitely feel that my time with Nicole has been worth the investment. It’s hard to realize how much seemingly little things like reluctance to join my kids in the pool or wear shorts in public were holding me back, but having that weight lifted is so incredibly freeing. The best part is that it didn’t feel like some magic trick I surrendered to. Nicole helped me to understand my body and trust the process in a way I feel I can carry on going forward. I can’t thank her enough for all that she’s given me.
Raisin Nut Pumpkin Muffins
- 1/4 Cups Brown Sugar
- 1/8 Cups Coconut Sugar
- 1/8 Cups Sugar
- 4 oz Unsweetened Applesauce
- 2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp Ginger, ground
- 1/2 tsp Cloves
- 1 tsp Baking powder
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 4 egg Whites
- 15 oz Pumpkin (Libby’s) **Not pumpkin pie filling.
- 2 Cups Oat Flour
- 2 scoops of Protein Powder
- 1/2 Cup unsweetened Almond Milk
- 1/3 Cup Walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 Cup Raisins
- Heat oven to 350 F.
- Line muffin tins with cupcake liners or spray with non-stick spray.
- Combine sugars, applesauce, spices, baking powder and soda, salt, vanilla extract and pumpkin in large bowl.
- Mix well.
- In separate bowl, mix the flour, protein powder and milk.
- Then add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until combined.
- Pour about 14 cup of batter into each muffin tin.
- Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean of the center.
Makes about 16 muffins.
Serving size is 2 muffins.
How To Stop and Possibly Avoid Shin Splints
- Shin splints are a pain which runs down the front of your shin.
- There maybe swelling in the lower part of your leg.
- You may feel shin splint pain while you are exercising and then the pain may go away or vice versa.
- You might be working out and then you feel the tenderness in your shin later on.
- If it’s really chronic and flared up, you are going feel it all the time.
- If you do not treat shin splints, it is very possible it will become chronic. *Always make sure you get checked by your doctor.
What Causes Shin Splints?
Shin splints can be caused by repetitive stress on the shin bone and the muscles around it.
Tight calf muscle may cause shin splints.
Learn how to stretch out your calves and shins HERE.
Beginning A New Workout
Shin splints might be caused after taking up running or if you haven’t run in a long time.
Too Advanced Of A Workout
If you are doing a program which is too advanced for your body you may get shin splints. (Sometimes our minds are way ahead of what our body can actually do so it is always best to start off a little bit slower and work your way up, especially if you are a woman over 40. We are not the same as we were in our 20’s, so we have to be a little bit nicer to our bodies.)
Intensity Too High
Shin splints can happen if you have recently bumped up the intensity of your workout. This is mainly impact-type workouts such as calisthenics, HIIT training, tabata… anything where you are providing impact on your body and you have just cranked it up a notch.
Shin splints can happen if you are working out on uneven terrain. If you are a trail runner or workout outside, try to use as even terrain as you possibly can.
Cement is probably the worst thing you can workout on. If you have an at-home gym in your basement, make sure you have a mat or something which has good cushion to it. This will provide a little bit more buffer for impact exercises so you can possibly prevent shin splints.
Shin splints could be caused by the structure of your feet. If you have a flat arch or a high arch, a lot of times the impact on the foot will cause pain up through your shins. Also, depending on how you are landing through your foot as you walk or run. Learn more about ankle position by clicking here.
How Do You Avoid Shin Splints?
Get Your Foot Analyzed
- See a podiatrist to analyze your gait or your foot/ankle posture.
- You can also check out this Shape It Up video on Ankle Posture by clicking here.
- Your gait is how you walk or run. A podiatrist can give you recommendations whether you need orthotics or a certain type of shoe which may help.
- There are running companies who offer gait analysis. There is a great local running company called The Mullica Hill Running Company. (The Running Company has stores in Mullica Hill, Haddonfield, Moorestown and Medford, NJ. Learn more about them by clicking here). They offer a gait analysis and can recommend what shoe would fit best for your foot.
*Shape It Up is not affiliated with any of the business mentioned in this post. I have used their products/services and only promote business I believe will help you. I do not get a kickback or anything for mentioning these companies to you.
Always make sure you warm up your calves and shins before starting your workout. A lot of times we focus on the bigger muscles (your chest, back and legs) when you go to warm up. Which is important. But you need to make sure you are addressing your smaller muscles. Your smaller muscles such as calves and shins need to be warmed up especially if you are going to run or do an impact workout. Check out this Shape It Up video on great warms up for calves and shins.
Get The Correct Program For You
Make sure your workout program is designed for you. This is why I recommend hiring a certified professional personal trainer to design a fitness program for you. Make sure you are getting something tailored for you. There are a ton of programs online but they may not be the best one for you. If you are a beginner, just started running or restarting to workout again after a lapse….Especially if you are over 40 (sorry ladies, we are not the same as we were when we were in our 20’s) I HIGHLY recommend hiring a personal trainer to get the best fitness program for you. I am not just saying that because I’m a trainer and I offer that service…but it is important to make sure that you are getting what you need for your results and to make sure you stay injury-free. Want to check out Shape It Up’s services click here to learn more.
Make sure you get the correct sneaker for your foot. I’m not sure they are still calling them sneakers nowadays – I know sometimes they call them “kicks”, but if you are over 40, we call them sneakers. I digress…Make sure you have a supportive pair of sneakers. There are many different styles and brands of sneakers which you can purchase. Sometimes they are good for your feet, sometimes they are not so good. I personally wear Asics. I love the brand and have never had a problem with them. They work fabulously with my feet. I also have orthotics so again, it’s a good balance for me. I’ve tried different shoes but Asics is the one that I like best. I am not affiliated with Asics, I’m just sharing that with you because that is a product I like. Learn more about Asics here.
Consider arch support. If your insurance covers it, I highly recommend you take advantage of it and go see a podiatrist. I know a great podiatrist if you are in my area. His name is Dr. Lee S. Cohen. He works with the Philadelphia Eagles (Go Eagles!) Click here to check out his services. He is located in Philly and in Cherry Hill.
*I’m not affiliated with Dr. Cohen either. I have worked with him and he is a wonderful doctor. He helped me when I could barely walk because I was in so much pain. Again, disclaimer – I am not going to get a kick back or anything for mentioning any of these suppliers or people.
Go to your podiatrist and get your feet evaluated. They will do a gait analysis on you. The doctor will check your feet and possibly take x-rays. If you need orthotics, they will take a molding of your foot. Totally worth it. Again, especially if you have insurance that covers it. I highly recommend you go that route.
If you are looking for a budget-friendly option (this might not be the best option), you can get arch supports in the drugstore. Again, it is not going to be customized to your foot but it might be a starting point for you. If they work, go with the drugstore inserts. If they don’t work, go see your local podiatrist.
You have to, have to, have to stretch out your calves and your shins. Click here for Shape It Up exercises that you can do to stretch out your calves and your shins.
Slow and Steady
Ladies, if you are over 40… close to 40, or if you are a beginner, always…always… always start off slow and work your way up. I cannot stress enough you need to be slow and steady in your progress and in your workouts. There are many 12-week online programs that claim you are going to be in fabulous shape. Well, I have news for you, you may kill yourself to get there but you are not going to stay there. It’s better to think of fitness as a lifelong lifestyle change. Health and fitness is a marathon, not a sprint…. and lastly be nice to your body. Make sure you start off nice and slow and acclimate as you are ready.
Q-Angle may be hindering your workouts! Click here to read.
Remember to Get Fit, to Be Fierce and Have No Limits.
Relief from Tight Calves and Shins
The Anatomy of Calves
The calves are made up of two muscles. The gastrocnemius and the soleus muscles. The gastrocnemius are the two muscles we generally see on the calf when we are looking at a persons lower leg. You cannot see the soleus as it lies underneath the gastrocnemius muscles. The soleus muscle runs up between the two gastrocnemius muscles.
To stretch the gastrocnemius, you need to flex (or bend) the ankle while keeping your knee straight. To stretch the soleus, you need to flex the ankle and bend the knee. (See video above for more details).
4 Dynamic Warm Up Exercises For Relief from Tight Calves and Shins
Before you do any kind of stretches, always make sure you warm up.
Here are some dynamic exercises to warm up your calves and shins:
- Start with feet together.
- Lift your heels up off the ground.
- Lower back to starting position.
- Repeat about 15-20 times.
- (Hold onto a sturdy chair if you have balance issues.)
- Start with feet together.
- Lift up toes on one foot keeping your heel on the floor.
- Lower foot to floor.
- Repeat about 15-20 times.
- Then do the same for other foot.
Light Bounces In Place
- Start with feet together.
- Bend knees slightly.
- Push off of the floor and complete a tiny jump.
- Repeat about 15-20 times.
- Again we are not doing crazy jumps, you are just jumping and clearing the floor just a little bit.
- Start standing.
- Extend your leg out in front of you.
- Bring your toes up towards your shin (flex your ankle).
- Lower toes back to floor.
- Repeat about 15-20 times then do other foot.
- This one is really working shin muscle.
- Make sure your hands are on your bent leg and not on the straight leg because people tend to push on the knee. This causes additional pressure on the knee. Keep hands on your bent knee or on your hips.
4 Unique Stretches For Relief from Tight Calves and Shins
In general, whenever you are stretching, you want to hold a minimum of 30 seconds. You can hold up to a minute or even longer.
Single Leg Calf Stretch Off A Step
This is probably one of my favorite stretches for your calves.
- Start standing with just your toes on a box or stair step.
- Drop one heel down.
- Hold stretch for 30-60 seconds.
- Repeat on other leg.
- Do one leg at a time. You can do two but I feel like you get a better stretch if you’re doing one leg at a time and then switch.
Long Sitting Ankle Stretch
This next stretch brings back fond memories of being a ballet dancer. We used to do this stretch a lot.
- Sit on floor with legs extended in front of you.
- Extend (or point) your feet towards the floor.
- Gently push down on the metatarsal/ankle of your foot.
- You will feel it up the leg and you might feel it in your ankle too, depending on your flexibility.
- Keep working at it and you will feel the stretch through the front of your leg.
Kneeling Shin Stretch
The next stretch will stretch out the front of your shins. It can be a little bit intense so use your discretion on how you approach this stretch. I like to have a mat folded up under my feet to add a little extra cushion.
- Kneeling, place your feet on the mat and sit down on your heels.
- While leaving ankles on the floor, raise up your knee.
- Hold for 30-60 seconds. Switch legs to do the other side.
- You should feel the stretch in the front of the ankle and shins.
- If you are having knee issues with this stretch, you can either put a towel or another mat underneath of your tush to raise you up and take some pressure off the knees. If it’s really bothering you, just skip it entirely and go back to the long sitting ankle stretch (above)
Ankles Rolling?? Ankle Position For A Better Workout
Your workout maybe suffering because on your ankle position (rolling in or rolling out). Imagine the Jenga game. If the bottom piece is not lined up correctly the whole thing will not be supported and will fall. This is the same way your body works. If your ankle position is off it can affect how you translate with your ankles, hips, back …all the way up to your head. Make sure your ankle position is aligned correctly and you will “save” your joints, muscles and body as you get older.
What To Look For In Correct Ankle Position
Things you want to watch for in ankle posture is:
The shape of your ankle when you are standing on it. Is your ankle rolling in (pronating) or is it (rolling out) supinating.
Correct Ankle Position
You want to make sure your foot is flat and your foot is in line with your leg and shin bone.
When you are standing, make sure your feet are evenly supported. You do not want to be rolling on your ankle. You want to make sure everything is even and lined up and equal pressure on all the toes.
From the side view, you do not want the arch to disappear (pronating) and you do not want to see it too much of the arch (supinating). You want to have even distribution of weight on all of your toes and ankle.
Next time you are in bare feet, go ahead and take a look at your tootsies. See if your ankles are rolling in or rolling out.
If you have a topic that you would like me to cover in another video, please put it in the comment section down below. Remember to Get Fit, Be Fierce and Have No Limits.
How Can You Prevent Overeating at a Restaurant?
These are just a few of the tips that I use and I also pass along to my clients to prevent overeating at restaurants.
Tip # 1 to Prevent Overeating at a Restaurant:
Order what you want.
Did you think a personal trainer would say that to you???
When you order your food, what I would like you to do is ask the waiter or waitress for a to-go box when your food comes. If you are at a pasta style place, (you know those pasta portions are about 10 servings) figure out exactly what you need to eat.
It is probably about the size of your fist.
Whatever does not fit in your fist area, you need to put it in that to-go container and take it home. You probably have four other meals that you can eat throughout the week so you are getting a deal when you order something like that and you can spread it out over the week.
If you are ordering in a non-Italian restaurant, eat until you are comfortably full and then put the rest in the to-go box. The problem with that is, if you wait until you are done eating and you are waiting for the waitress to bring the to-go box, you might be nibbling a little bit more than you probably need to. So get that to-go box as soon as your food comes out, slide the food in there and take it home.
Tip #2 to Prevent Overeating at a Restaurant:
You can order an appetizer as an entree. Appetizers typically are pretty small in comparison to entrees. Some of them may be higher in fats and calories so just be careful as to what you are choosing for your appetizer. You could do a side salad and an appetizer and that could be your meal. You would probably be amazed at how full you will become just eating that.
Tip #3 to Prevent Overeating at a Restaurant:
Desserts. Share with a buddy. Sharing is caring! Dessert can be challenging depending on what type of dessert you order, what mood you are in and what emotions you are going through at that time. If you do order a dessert, share it with a buddy or go back to tip No. 1 and get a container to take it home.
Bonus Tips to Prevent Overeating at a Restaurant:
I have three mini tips for desserts –
- Use the to-go box suggestion above 😉
- Make sure you grab your waitress and tell her to take it away. If you have eaten a portion of the dessert and you really do not want to eat the rest and you do not want to take it home, make sure you grab that server or any of the waitstaff and ask them to take it away quickly. Less temptation sitting in front of you.
- One of my favorite tips, from Jillian Michaels, is pour salt all over the dessert. I love this tip because once you dump that salt all over, you are not going to want to eat it and if you do, we need to talk! You can dump sugar on it or put some oregano on it – use whatever is on that table. Make sure that dessert gets enough stuff so you do not want to eat it and you are not picking at it.
Personally, I know if I go out to eat with a friend and we are chit-chatting and desserts arrive and we are enjoying the conversation and we are eating and not really paying attention to when our body is saying it is full (especially with desserts), you might eat the entire thing and if you find yourself at the Cheesecake Factory, that’s a good 1,000 calories for one slice of cheesecake!!
If you have tried any of these tips, please leave it in the comment section below or if you have a tip of your own I would love to hear it as well.
Create A Habit For Great Night’s Sleep
If you create a habit that you do every night, you will be signaling your body that it is time for bed. I hate to say it but it is very much like Pavlov’s dog. It is important you create a habit that fit’s your individual style. These are just some suggestions on how you can create a habit for a great night’s sleep.
- Listen to soothing music
- Write in a journal
- Read a relaxing book (you really want to fall asleep quick…read a dictionary! Try it! I promise you’ll be out in no time).
- Take a hot bath…more tips like this here.
- Close your eyes and go over all the positive things that happened in your life that day
- Go over what didn’t go as planned and think of ways to make things smoother if that situation should come up again
- Do some yoga moves or light stretches
- Meditate or pray
- Use these Relaxation Techniques
- Practice slow, deep breathing
- Day (or should I say “night”) dream – let your mind wander
of tips you can use to get a great night’s sleep.
Check them out here.
…whatever it is you decide to do keep it in the same order so your body knows the signals that it’s time for sleep. It’s kinda like when you have kids. Typically, they have the same bedtime routine so they know that sleep time is coming.
Side note: There are medications you can take to help you sleep but I highly recommend trying the above suggestions and leave the medicines as a last resort. **Always consult with your physician before taking any supplements or medications.
So I hope you will be able to get some zzz’s using some of the tips above. Maybe you have some you would like to share? You can share them below in the comment box. Sweet dreams!
It’s rare if I can’t sleep….Typically, I Get A Great Night’s Sleep
These relaxation techniques are not based in science (per se) but more of things I have learned over the years that have worked for me. I have been known to fall asleep at a moments notice (lol) …read more about that here…Maybe these relaxation techniques will help you have the same experience?
Relaxation Techniques For Great Night’s Sleep #1
while laying down in bed, tense up your feet, hold it then release. Then do your feet and legs (contract, hold and release). Then do your feet, legs and hips. Keep adding body parts as you continue up the body. (Don’t forget to scrunch up your face :-). When you get to tensing your whole body and releasing you should feel very relaxed. [Side note: DO NOT hold your breath at any point of this relaxation technique.]
Relaxation Techniques For Great Night’s Sleep #2
This is another technique I use to get to sleep: While lying down with my eyes closed, I think of blackness. Like an incredibly dark room where you can’t see your hand in front of your face. I just focus on the darkness. This technique helps me not think about other things. It might take a couple of tries so don’t dismiss this one right away if it doesn’t work for you the first time.
17 Tips To Get A Great Night’s SleepI know you want a great night’s sleep!!
Here are 17 tips to get a great night’s sleep nighttime tips… so you’ll never have to utter the word “I can’t sleep” again.
I know not everyone falls asleep so easily so these are my top 17 tips to help you get your zzz’s:
- Limit your caffeine. I know I can’t have coffee after 4pm unless I want to stay up til midnight.
- Limit your alcohol. Avoid excessive consumption before bedtime (if you are trying to get a lean body alcohol should not be in your “diet”).
- Quit smoking already! Nicotine is a stimulant…need I give you more reasons to quit because I am sure you know them already.
- Limit television viewing before bed. This one doesn’t seem to bother me unless it’s a thriller type show.
- Lower the thermostat. The body sleeps better in cooler temperatures.
- Take a hot bath 1-2 hours before bed. If you have kids, take the bath whenever you can! 🙂
- Do NOT work in your bed. Consider your bed your private oasis for sleeping, reading and other “extra curricular activities” but not work.
- If you need to nap, do so earlier in the day (if you even need to take one).
- Avoid having a large meal right before bed. I know I don’t like to go to bed starving or wake up hungry in the night, so have a light meal if you need it. Don’t believe that you have to stop eating at 6pm to lose weight. Typically, I will eat at 9:00 or 9:30PM and then go to bed at 10PM without any problems losing weight.
- Block out additional light and noise. If you aren’t a sound sleeper earplugs or a sleep mask (covers your eyes) will help you get a good night’s sleep.
- After lying down, if you find you are still awake 30 minutes later, get up and do something like read a book, write or even yoga/meditate.
- Use blackout curtains or shades to block light.
- Invest in a good pillow and a comfy mattress.
- Have a reliable alarm. You will never get a good night’s sleep if you are anxious that your alarm will not wake you.
- Prepare all your things you need for the morning the night before. Learn more about creating habits for good night’s sleep here.
- Leave a note pad on your nightstand that way if you do think of something you need to do you can write it down and forget about it until morning.
- Get a great workout in! When you do intense workouts you can’t wait to go to sleep. If you are just starting out, build up the intensity slowly over time.