Round up of reader questions 2: staying motivated, healthy living, Orangetheory, and kids

October 28, 2016
A Fit Mess

Heyyyy. How did your week turn out? Everyone ready for the weekend festivities?! We have a parade and Halloween party on the horizon and I’ll be sweating it out at a class once or twice.


Today I wanted to answer a few reader questions. This is a mishmash of topics. Some of these I may have already answered via email or Facebook, but I thought it would be helpful to share my responses with you. If you have additional questions, please feel free to comment below or contact me directly.


Round up of reader questions 2


How do you stay motivated to exercise after having children?

Time and energy are two things you have very little of when you become a parent. My routine has changed significantly since having my kids. Now that I have others who depend on me, I can no longer spend as much time as I want at the gym or on a run…or anywhere, really. My workouts have to be planned and they have to be smart. Once I stopped thinking about exercise in the “traditional” sense (i.e., 60+ minutes running on the treadmill), I began to understand that there are better, faster, and more effective ways to train. Strength training, high intensity intervals, and body weight workouts got me in better shape than I was before having children. And it was easier to motivate myself to workout when I knew it would only take 20-30 minutes. Check out my workouts page for more of these exercises.


Other things that have helped me stay motivated include: putting my workouts on my calendar as if they were a real meeting, planning my workouts in advance, signing up for group classes, packing my gym bag the night before and leaving it by the door. I addressed some of these tips in this post.


How can I get my whole family on board with a healthier lifestyle?

I have to admit – I’ve never had to deal with this concern. Matt and I have always been on the same page when it comes to healthy eating habits (of course, we didn’t always eat the same things when I was a vegetarian). That being said, I often hear from others that their spouse won’t go along with a healthier meal plan or their kids will revolt if they try and feed them vegetables. This is where I think you need to take a tough love approach. If you are shopping/buying the groceries then YOU control what is going to be kept in the house.

Similarly, if you are preparing the meals then what you serve is what’s for dinner. This is really more for those of us with young kids. My kids throw a fit when I serve them certain veggies or even eggs (their preferences change by the hour). I try to be firm and tell them that that’s what we are having and they can take it or leave it. Sometimes they will eat it, other times they won’t, but at least they know our house isn’t restaurant. 🙂


Is diet or exercise more important?

I used to think it was exercise, but I also had a very different view of what activity actually constituted as exercise. Today, I believe that getting movement in every day is essential. That includes common activities like taking a walk, working in your garden, or playing in the yard with your kids. That being said, when it comes to living well and maintaining good health, your diet is more important. As the saying goes, “You can’t out train a bad diet.” If you aren’t nourishing your body well then all that effort you put into exercise is lost. You might want to read this interview with Matt. He addresses many of these things, too. You can’t always make it to the gym, but you do have control over what you eat each day.


Why don’t your children eat dairy?

Both my husband and I have issues digesting dairy. I’m lactose-intolerant and Matthew just avoids it in general. So we suspected the girls may have issues with it, too. We discovered very early on that Madison would have an eczema outbreak if she consumed dairy. Numerous times this would need to be treated with a prescription from her doctor. Both girls get mild digestive symptoms when they consume dairy so we avoid everything except yogurt and goat or sheep’s cheese. They seem to do fine with these items.


You manage to take Orangetheory classes regularly. How do you find the time to go?

I regularly make it to at least two classes per week. I take one evening class during the work week and one early morning class on the weekend. I wish I could go to more classes, but I don’t have the time in my schedule. I’ve already worked out my weekly evening class with Matt so he knows he is on kid-duty that night. And Saturday morning I go to their earliest class (7 AM) so I can get in and out before Matt leaves for work at 8:30 AM.


Are your twins fraternal or identical?



Where do you shop for your kids?

I get a lot of hand-me-downs from my sister (love you, sis!) who was thoughtful enough to save her kids’ clothing for me. Our nanny, my mother-in-law, and friends also give the girls many darling outfits. My favorite places to shop include Old Navy, Target, and ThredUP. I find Old Navy clothing to be good quality and stylish. They are constantly having sales, too, which can really save you big. I also love Target’s clothing section and the seasonal outfits it offers. We started using ThredUP a few month

s ago and I love getting the girls’ apparel there. I’ve purchased tops, bottoms, and shoes so far. Everything is in excellent or new condition. If you are interested in trying ThredUP, please use my affiliate link.

Roundup of reader questions

July 22, 2016
A Fit Mess

Hey, hey! How’s it going?


Today I want to tackle a few questions I’ve received from readers. Since I’m not totally sure how long it will take me to answer these I’m only going to address a few. As always, please feel free to email me your questions, send me a Facebook message, or comment below. Chances are others may have the same questions! And I encourage you to share your opinions on these, too. We can all learn from each other.


Roundup of reader questions


1.  I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to strength training and it shows. How can I get started with lifting weights?

This is a concern that I know a lot of people share. Being new to strength training isn’t something to feel embarrassed about. We all have to start somewhere! And in the same way that I have NO clue how to fix…well, anything in my house, if you aren’t used to doing something or have no experience with it then you are bound to have questions. I should also clarify that this isn’t something only women feel. Men have also shared with me that they feel a bit out of place in the weight room.


I will always recommend starting with a professional. A personal trainer or other qualified fitness specialist will work with you to understand your needs, identify any structural/mobility issues, and come up with your best plan of action. He or she can provide one-on-one training to review equipment, assess and correct form, and design programs specifically for you. It’s also a good idea to check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.


If hiring a trainer is not in your means, you could also look into taking a group fitness class that involves strength and body work. This is a great way to learn some basic movements, become familiar with different exercise techniques, and get to know other people.


My last recommendation is to take advantage of the numerous (free) online resources. YouTube is a great place to watch video demos and learn about proper form. I also really love the website because they have awesome videos, illustrations, and sample programs for just about anyone. There are over 20,000 articles and nearly 1 billion members worldwide.


2.  I feel uncomfortable in the weight room by myself. How do you workout in a room full of men?

I became way more comfortable in the gym when I learned what I was doing. I felt intimidated in the beginning mostly because I was worried I looked like I didn’t know what I was doing (which was true!). However, as I became more familiar with the equipment and proper form, I became less and less aware of those around me. And that’s when I realized that people really aren’t looking at you – they are focused on themselves. And that’s the way it should be. If you are working out alone then you should be concentrating on yourself and only yourself. If you need other ideas, try wearing headphones and listening to some music. Or go to the gym during a slower period to avoid maneuvering around a large crowd.



3.  If I am trying to lose fat and gain muscle, am I sabotaging myself by doing cardio?

No, but make sure you are clear on your goals. Conditioning work is essential for fat loss. Try incorporating interval training. This is a very effective way to lose body fat and increase strength. By performing intense intervals your body will continue to burn calories 2-4 hours after your workout has ended. Plus, when you gain muscle you begin to burn more calories (even at rest) due to the increase in your metabolism. For more information about the best ways to lose body fat, read this post.


Pay attention to the amount of time you spend on conditioning work. Studies show if you want to lose fat and increase your metabolism, then you should keep your conditioning work short (20 – 30 minutes). Once you start doing extended amounts of cardio then you begin to breakdown muscle tissue. Plus, it raises your cortisol levels which can interfere with your metabolism.


4.  Working out at lunch is possible for me, but how do I get rid of the sweat and go back to work looking normal?

This question came up on Facebook after my recent post 5 tips for making the most of your time in the gym. I briefly answered it on my page, but I thought it would be helpful to share my response and provide further details.

A Fit Mess

If you are concerned about looking like you just worked out then be sure to stick with strength training over cardio since you will sweat less. Instead, save cardio for a day when you have more time to shower and cool down. Alternatively, you could try taking your “lunch break” towards the end of the day to minimize the amount of time you will need to spend at the office after your workout.


Here are some suggestions to tackle post-workout messiness:

  • Shower or use wipes (I like the Yes To Cucumber ones) after your workout.
  • Use bobby pins to hold your hair back or try putting it into a small bun afterwards.
  • Wear waterproof makeup  so you don’t end up with mascara under your eyes. It will also stay put better than regular makeup.
  • Drink lots of really cold water to cool your body’s core temperature down.
  • Try minimizing your wardrobe on gym days and stick with work clothes that you can slip back on, like a dress.


I’d love to know if  you have anything to add to these answers. Feel free to comment below. And have a great weekend!