Functional Fitness: Local moms' group tries new workout

On Thursday night, my hubby and I got another chance to share our passion for fitness and wellness with a group of local mamas. Our church hosts a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group twice a month and they invited us to speak and lead a workout for the 50-some moms who attend. We had the chance to speak at a different MOPS group last year and it was a lot of fun so we jumped on the opportunity.

As I shared with the moms on Thursday, my goal is always to be an encouragement to other women on the journey. It's so easy to get caught up in the world of comparing our bodies. Sometimes we set the bar so high that all we can ever achieve is failure. I know for myself that I need baby steps on this road to overall health and wellness. I also know that I want to honor God with my body. He created me; I want to embrace that. A good workout (even a short one) is a great stress relief for me. A workout helps me feel better about myself, and ensures I will be strong for the future for my kids and grandkids.

As a mom who has been through two pregnancies and births, I have experienced lots of changes in sizes and the shape of my body. During my first pregnancy, I gained more than 40 pounds and I had a rude awakening after the birth and those pounds didn't just melt away. I had the desire to exercise and get back in shape but my body had two months of recovery after a difficult birthing process so I couldn't exactly jump out there and start running or going to kickboxing classes again. I would stand in front of my closet and cry, knowing my pre-pregancy clothes were not going to fit for a long time - if ever. I went through a kind of depression that a lot of first-time mothers experience in that post partem period.

When my second daughter Giada was born almost 21 months ago, I knew I wanted to be a little more intentional about many things. I knew I wanted to eat healthier, drink more water and get more exercise during the pregnancy. After I had Giada, I begged my personal trainer hubby to help me come up with some workouts I could do at home in a short amount of time. Now with two kids (and providing childcare for two more) I knew I had to forego long cardio workouts. That's how we came up with the idea of the "Go, Mama Workout." At the time, my husband was really getting into CrossFit and the theory behind doing workouts that work on both strength and cardio at the same time. Ericlee used his knowledge of CrossFit and functional movements and wrote up a workout plan for me. I've been doing these workouts for almost two years now.

The basic idea is to make my workout "functional." In other words, I don't waste time trying to do exercises that aren't going to really benefit me as a mom. Why in the world would I sit on a machine at the gym and do a butterfly with my arms when that is something I will never do in real life. I'd rather do a squat, which is something I do every day when I pick up a baby. I want to learn how to do that properly and be strong so I don't injure myself.

On Thursday, Ericlee led the group of mamas in a basic 10-minute workout using some of the concepts of CrossFit. The great part of this workout is that no expensive equipment or gym membership is required. It's something you can do right at home. We had a lot of fun laughing together and spurring each other on to finish.

We did:
-5 pushups
-5 situps
-5 squats

We had to do it for 10 minutes straight without stopping but you could go at your own pace, depending on your level. Ericlee also offered some modifications for doing these basic movements. For example, pushups could be done against the wall, on your knees or traditional-style. Also, several pregnant mamas opted to do "dips" on a chair instead of pushups to avoid bumping their bellies on the floor.

Ten minutes doesn't sound to bad, eh? Try it. If you talk to any of my mama friends who worked it Thursday night you will hear testimony after testimony that this is a very intense workout. And that's my favorite part - it's short and intense. The reality is: I'm a busy mama. I don't have time for the 60-90 minute classes I used to take at the gym. (That doesn't include all the time it takes to pack up the kids and get them over there to the childcare and the money you pay each month.)

Wondering where to begin? Here are some tips Ericlee wrote up to keep in mind. You can create your own workouts or use some of ours for free. You might also want to read my initial blog on the Go, Mama Workout and check out the first workouts. If you like to take classes, Ericlee also coaches at Fresno's Speed Sports Performance/CrossFit Combat Fitness gym on Shaw and Cedar. (His Boot Camp class at 5:30 a.m. on Mondays costs $3 and you don't need a gym membership to participate.)

“Go Mama” Workout Tips:

• Keep the workout short and speedy so it combines cardio and strength training.

• Constantly change it up because your body adapts to a stimulus.

• Focus on the gymnastic exercises (body weight) first and then move to weight lifting exercises.

• All exercises can be done anywhere – you do not need expensive equipment.

• Plan to do the workout two days a week to start and work up to five days a week.

• Repetitions and rounds should always be different.

• Compete against yourself for motivation. (How long does it take or how many rounds can you finish?)

• Consider putting 2-3 gymnastics together and that could be your workout or add one from each of the following categories.

• Remember it is about intensity and duration. If you want it easier, then lower intensity and duration. If not, then raise it.

Mix and match the following exercises: You can pick two, three, or even four exercises.  You can pick all exercises from one category or one from each category (gymnastics, weights, cardio).  You can pick 3-5 rounds or how many rounds in 10-20 minutes.  Be creative everyday.




-Air squats




Weight lifting:

-Shoulder press

-Chest press

-Bicep Curl

-Tricep Extension


-Medicine ball


-Jumping Jacks


-Box jumps

-Jump Rope




For Example:
1.     How many rounds in 10 minutes
                        (G) Pushups x 5
                        (G) Situps x 10
                        (G) Squats x 15
                        (C) Jumping Jacks x 20
2.     Time 5 rounds
                        (G) Air Squats x 30
                        (W)Shoulder Press x 10
                        (C) Jump Rope x 50
3.     Time 3 rounds
                        (C) Burpees x 10           
                        (G) Dips x 20
                        (G) Situps x 30

Any questions? Leave a comment. We'd love to share more. If you're in Fresno, we might just start a "Go, Mama Workout" meet-up if there's enough interest. Kids would be welcome!


Jennifer (a.k.a. Mom, Mrs. L, Auntie J.) said...

This is a great article. I can't remember how I found your blog but I'm really interested in the CrossFit idea.

I just came off training for (and completing) a sprint triathlon. It was a blast and I wish I could do it all the time, but the reality is I don't have time! I like to run, bike and indoor row (concept2) but even those seem to take a lot of time.

Can you explain to me how these short 10-20 min. workouts can replace a 30-40 min. run, bike or row? Or maybe replace isn't the right word... I'm having trouble understanding how this short workout could be "enough."


The Gilmores said...

The concept is interval training. Aerobics have some value: increased cardio and decreased body fat. But Anaerobics has all the benefits of aerobics plus it is less time, and your strength increases (which is great for your metabolism), unlike aerobics. When you execute a workout at high intensities you body changes both neurologically and physically. We have been lied to about long and slow cardio is the best workout. So in summary short intense interval training will improve your body more than long, less intense workouts.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...