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Fitness & Motherhood

Exercise for a Cause

Spring is finally here and that hopefully means nice weather! All winter we have been itching to get outside and now we can. The outdoors have so many exercise options; riding bikes with the family, playing t-ball in the front yard or running around the neighborhood. All of these are great ways to have fun and stay fit but have you thought of joining a charity walk or run in the area? This is a great way to not only exercise but to raise awareness and money for local causes and groups.

This April Stroller Strides of Fredericksburg will be taking part in Walk MS in Fredericksburg. This walk is very close to our heart. We will be walking in support of a fellow Stroller Strider who was diagnosed last May with MS. She has been so strong through everything and it is our goal to raise awareness and money for this debilitating disease. Taking part in this walk is a great way to exercise, give back to our community and support an amazing friend!

Do you have a cause close to your heart? Do you love helping others? Do you like to get fresh air? Do you love to exercise? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions then participating in a charity walk or run is for you! I have compiled a list of local walks and races that you can join to help make a difference.

HeartChase Fredericksburg March 23, 2013
Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K April 13, 2013
Walk MS Fredericksburg April 20, 2013
Richmond Arthritis Walk April 20, 2013
March of Dimes April 20, 2013
Walk to Cure Diabetes April 27, 2013
AVON Walk for Breast Cancer May 4 & 5, 2013
Relay for Life June 1, 2013
Run for the River June 16, 2013
Walk to End Alzheimer's September 28, 2013

Did you find an event that you and some friends would like to participate in? I hope so! All of us at Stroller Strides are so excited to give back to the community and show support for a dear friend by walking in Walk MS. Just think that if everyone in our community was involved in one of these events whether walking or donating, the awareness we could raise for our fellow neighbors in need! Get out there and start walking and spreading the word!

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Shuffle it Up, Deck of Cards Workout

cards suitsI am too tired, it's too cold outside or I have to give the baby a bath. We have all used these excuses when it's time to exercise. Everyone has an extra 20-30 minutes a day, so why not use that time to get a fast paced workout? All you need is a deck of cards!

The Deck of Cards workout can be done right in your living room; grab a partner to have a little more fun! Many of us are used to doing the same workout with the same exercises and the same amount of reps and sets. It's time to mix it up a little and use the cards to get an amazing workout. The great thing about the cards is that you can decide what four exercises you want to do and each time you use the cards you can choose different exercises and you will get a different workout.

We had a Deck of Cards Specialty class at Stroller Strides last week. It was one of our more challenging, fast-paced workouts and it was so much fun! To get started pick four exercises and assign each of them a suit. When we performed the workout the hearts were Burpees, diamonds were push-ups, spades were squats and clubs were crunches. The suit of the cards determines the exercise while the value of the card determines your reps. We did a total of 85 of each exercise, face cards are ten and an Ace was a rest card. We were definitely in need of a rest after 85 reps!

There are many positive aspects of the Deck of Cards workout! It's a workout that only requires cards so it can be done in the living room or on the go. You can personalize the workout each time. You can pick four exercises that work your entire body or you can focus on certain parts of the body. Below are two sample workouts that can be used with a deck of cards.

Hearts-Jumping Jacks
Clubs-Reverse Crunches

Hearts-Calf Raises
Diamonds-Tricep Dips
Clubs-Jump Squats

Grab a deck of cards and mix up your workout! It's a lot of fun and you never know what card you will flip over next, keeps you on your toes, literally!

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2013-A Better You!

Happy New Year! Have you made a resolution or maybe two or three? In America 88% of people make a New Year's resolution. If you are like the majority of people your resolution is probably related to health and fitness. The new year is a great time to start fresh and get healthy! Many of us know that it can be hard to keep up with your resolutions all year. Below are some tips on how to be successful in meeting your goals this year.

  • Choose an obtainable goal. Picking a resolution that you can attain will keep you on track. We might all want to look like super models but realistically a goal of physical activity every day is more realistic.
  •  Avoid choosing a resolution that you have been unsuccessful at achieving in the past. If you are tempted to make the same goal you've made before just alter it. For example instead of a goal of losing 30 pounds try to eat healthier and exercise.
  •  Write down your goals. Write down your resolutions and revisit them monthly. A written goal makes you even more accountable.
  • Limit the number of resolutions. Don't spread yourself to thin or you might not be successful at any of your goals.

On average only about 20% of us keep our New Year's resolutions. Don't let this statistic keep you down, use the above tips to keep you on the right track for 2013!

Here is a full body workout that can be done in your home to achieve your fitness goals for 2013. Good luck and I hope that 2013 is a happy and healthy year for you and your family!

50 Jumping Jacks
10 Push-Ups
40 Sit-Ups
20 Lunges (each leg)
20 Squats
10 Tricep Dips
10 Push-Ups
50 Jumping Jacks



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Holiday Destressing Workout

It's hard to believe that the holidays are right around the corner! Everyone loves the excitement of food, family and friends during the holidays, but the holiday season can also be overwhelming. With gift buying and wrapping, in-law visits and the baking of dozens of Christmas cookies there are also plenty of reasons to stress. As mom's we always seem to have a million things going on and the holidays are no different.

To keep the holidays enjoyable and tension free follow this 15 minute workout that can be done anywhere. The great thing about this workout is that it can be done multiple times during the day or week, whenever the stress starts sneaking up on you. Once you complete your workout not only does your body feel great but your mind is refreshed.

Before starting this workout do your best to clear your mind and relax.

3 Minute Brisk Walk or Cardio Warm-Up (Jumping Jacks, Mountain Climbers, Squats)
2 Minute Down Dog Pose
2 Minute Up-Dog Pose
1 Minute Plank
2 Minute Tree Pose (1 minute on each side)
1 Minute Toe Touch Pose
2 Minute Child's Pose
2 Minute Deep Breathing (Close your eyes and concentrate on each cleansing breath)

Always remember the holidays are a joyful and amazing time and when things get too crazy allow yourself 15 minutes to rejuvenate. Your body, mind and family will thank you!

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Halloween Haunts (We're talking about the candy!)

Ghosts, witches, mummies and vampires are lurking right around the corner. Halloween has arrived! The first thought of Halloween is dressing the kiddos up in adorable Halloween costumes but the aftermath of those cute costumes is buckets of leftover Halloween candy sitting in the kitchen. We all know it is so hard to walk past the bags of candy without grabbing one or two, which can quickly turn into ten!

You have been busy keeping up with your exercise routine so don't let a few snack sized Snickers bars derail your progress. Below is a detailed list of your Halloween favorites from Men's Fitness and how much time you'll have to spend to get yourself back in shape after you indulge. After reading this surprising list I know I will think twice before grabbing the leftover candy!

Candy                                                     Calories        Running           Cycling            Lifting

5 Reeses Miniature Peanut Butter Cups      220              17 minutes       39 minutes      26 minutes

2 Fun Sized Butterfingers                         170               13 minutes       12 minutes      20 minutes

2 Fun Sized Snickers                                160               12 minutes      11 minutes      19 minutes

19 Pieces of Candy Corn                           140               10 minutes       9 minutes       15 minutes

5 Tootsie Rolls                                         117                9 minutes        8 minutes       14 minutes

1 Pack of Fun-Sized Peanut M&M's              90                 8 minutes       6 minutes       11 minutes

No one expects anyone to not be tempted by the delicious bucket of treats, I know my husband and I will be raiding my son's candy for all of the peanut butter candy due to his peanut allergy. If you do help yourself to the candy here is a fun game you can play with your spouse to keep you accountable for the tasty treats.

For every piece of chocolate you eat do 20 push-ups. For every piece of fruity candy you eat do 20 squats. For the miscellaneous candy do 20 jumping jacks. We know that this won't burn off all the candy but it's a great start! Happy Halloween!

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Kid At Heart (Playground Workout)

Who says playgrounds are just for kids? Most people do but who says you can't use the playground to play with your kids and get a great workout at the same time! Enjoy the great weather and fresh air and get a great workout using body resistance exercises while feeling like a kid again.

School is back in session which means a much more hectic schedule compared to the lazy days of summer. As moms we know how hard it is to find some time to yourself, nevertheless time to work out. A great way to spend time with the kids and get fit is to head over to your local playground. Below you will see a workout routine that you should do three to four days a week to see great results.

You might get a few funny looks as other moms and kids are at the playground but just know you are on your way to a fitter you, who knows you might meet some other moms who want to join in!

Always start your workout with a warm up to prevent injuries, you can try chasing the kids around the playground for a few minutes. The goal for this workout is to complete each circuit three times for maximum results. Have fun and when you finish you will feel like the queen of the playground!

Exercise 1: Alternating Step Ups (10 each leg)- Find a stable bench to perform step ups. Step up on the bench with one leg bringing the opposite knee up. Step back down and switch legs.

Exercise 2: Push Ups (20 reps)- Find a solid surface to place your hands for push-ups, for example a bench or base of a slide. Keep your core tight and elbows at your side while performing this exercise.

Exercise 3: Body Rows (10 reps)- Look for a bar that's low enough, for example a ladder rung or there might be a bar that is perfect height. While holding the bar with an underhand grip make your body into a tight plank and use your arms to pull yourself up.

Exercise 4: Tricep Dips (15 reps)- Using a bench, end of the slide or playground platform and perform tricep dips. The farther your feet are from your butt the harder the set will be.

Exercise 5: Lunges (15 reps on each leg)- Place your back leg on a stable inclined surface, for example the stairs to the slide or to test your balance a swing. Perform 15 lunges on each leg, beware one legged inclined lunges are tricky!

Exercise 6: Abs (20 reps)- Jump onto the monkey bars and hang from one of the bars while flexing your abs. Use your core to pull your knees up into your chest.

Great job, you just completed the Playground Workout! Now have a nice cool down and stretching session with the kids. After this workout you will never look at a park bench the same, no more sitting and watching the kids play it's your turn to get active too!

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Family Olympic Fun

The Olympics are right around the corner and my family and many others are looking forward to watching the world's greatest athletes compete. Whether you are a casual viewer of the Olympics or a die-hard fan you can organize your own family Olympic competition and get the whole family moving. Grab your red, white and blue shorts and t-shirts and have a little friendly competition!

To get the kids excited let them help you make a schedule of the events and games they want to participate in. The Olympics last for about three weeks so you can spread out the fun too! My son loves playing sports and introducing him to some new Olympic events will be really fun for him. Who knows this little introduction might land him on the awards podium in 15 years!

Here are some great events to incorporate into your family Olympics.

• Relay Races

• Obstacle Course

• High and Long Jump

• Discuss Throw with a Frisbee

• Basketball

• Swimming Races

• Water Polo

• Gymnastics

• Tennis or Ping Pong matches

• Running Hurdles-Jump over Cones

• Shot-put Throw with a wiffle ball

Once your Summer Games are complete don't forget your Awards Ceremony. Award each participant with their own medal. Have your kids create their own medal or the local party store sells medals and trophies that can be passed out.

Have fun and take advantage of the Olympic fun, it only happens every four years! Have fun and go USA!

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Beat the Heat!

Beat the Heat!

We all know that sticking to a workout routine is hard to do but take 100 degree heat and it makes it that much harder! With all of the heat and humidity it can be miserable to just walk to the mailbox every afternoon but with beach trips and dips in the pool we definitely want to stay in shape!

Of course you can work out inside to get a great workout but why not use the heat outside to burn some extra calories and work up a big sweat? Remember being healthy requires work and sometimes a little discomfort, grab your tennis shoes and get the most out of your summer workout!

If you are working out outside during the summer it is best to start early or work out in the evening when there is a little relief from the sun and high temperatures. This is also a great time to incorporate a workout with your little one; they need a little fresh air too!

Here are some great tips for an outdoor summer workout with your baby:

• Sunscreen for both mom and baby. They make many different sport sunscreens so you won't sweat it off.

• A great product to keep baby cool in the stroller are Chilly Pads that can be purchased at or on Amazon. You might be working up a sweat but baby will stay cool!

• There are clip on fans that can be attached to the shade of your stroller to give baby a little relief.

• If you have an older child in the stroller grab a spray bottle and fill with water, give them a few spritzes throughout the workout, they love it!

• A water bottle filled with ice, a refreshing drink for both mom and child.

Follow this 30 minute cardio and strength workout that can be done in your neighborhood or park. Do three sets of the following and in between each set walk or run for five minutes.

10 Push Ups

20 Sit Ups

25 Squats

50 Jumping Jacks

30 Calf Raises

20 Lunges (10 on each leg)

***Neal Family Update***-I am so happy to announce that we added a baby girl, Elle to our family on May 16. The entire family is doing great and adjusting well to the new arrival. Having a second child is much easier than I thought it would be, the major change I have noticed so far is that we can never get out of the house in a reasonable amount of time making us later than we usually are!! I guess we have the rest of the summer to work on some time management skills!

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Body Back After Baby

In a few days/weeks our family will be adding a new addition!  The house is ready, the tiny
clothes are washed and put away and big brother Cooper has taken his big brother class, but are we actually ready? Going from one child to two makes me even more nervous than having just one.  Luckily I have a great husband and family who will be there to help in any way possible.  I will be away from the blog for a few weeks, but when I am back you will definitely get the full update on our transition!

I know that all through pregnancy women worry about their changing bodies and growing stomach and wonder how their body will ever return to normal.  We have all seen the covers
of all the gossip magazines that show celebrities days after having their babies looking perfectly fit and happy. We know that is not reality but it is still disheartening when you work
out and the results aren't seen as quickly as you had hoped.

Below are some great tips on starting your postnatal fitness routine, remember before you start an intense or new workout post baby you should have permission from your doctor at your six week check-up.

  • Did you know that very shortly after giving birth you can start some light exercising? Start out with a mix of gentle stretching, Kegel exercises and walking.  Listen to your body, if you have any bleeding or soreness it's time to relax a little longer.
  • If you worked out prior and during your pregnancy you can slowly return to your workout routine six weeks after giving birth to your baby.  Just remember to take it easy, it will take a little while to get back to your pre-baby fitness level.
  • Don't get frustrated if you don't see the results you want right away, remember it took you nine months to create this new amazing life and it will take more than a few workouts to get your old body back!
  • Incorporate your baby into your workouts.  Put baby in a front carrier or a stroller to enjoy workouts side by side.  Join a workout group like Stroller Strides that will allow you to work out with your baby and meet other moms in the area that are going through the same challenges that you are.
  • The most important tip:  Enjoy your baby!  Don't stress over getting that six pack right away, you just went through a life changing experience and you deserve a little
    rest between those seemingly hourly feedings!
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About Alison

Alison Neal is the owner of Stroller Strides of Fredericksburg. Stroller Strides is a total body workout that is done alongside your baby. Each instructor modifies the workouts for all fitness levels. As a mother, Alison knows it is hard to fit workouts into a busy schedule, but follow her blog right here for great fitness and healthy living tips! You can also learn more about Stroller Strides by visiting her website.


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