The Newest Bar(re) Addiction


If you’ve been reading my blog, then you know that I am a big fan of barre-based workouts.  When I lived in Chicago, I was addicted to going to Bar Method.  Even though the workout was challenging every single time and my legs shook like crazy, I loved the way it made me feel after.  I also loved it because I lost inches and toned up.

When I moved back to Wisconsin, I found a barre workout class at Danceworks-it was good but it didn’t really compare, especially for the price ($18 a class!)  Since then I’ve been on a mission to add more barre style workout DVDs to my collection.

I first read about Physique 57 on Gina‘s blog.  I didn’t think too much of it at the time because I was really into Bar Method and I just figured it was the same workout.  Well after a few weeks of doing the same Bar Method DVD, I was starting to get bored.  I needed a change of scenery, so when my grandma decided to send some birthday money my way, I knew just where I wanted to spend it.

When you log onto their website and read about the workout, it pretty much boasts the same thing that bar method does: small, isometric movements, a “lifted seat”, muscle burning and lengthening, etc.  Both P57 & Bar Method originated from the Lotte Berk Method, so the general idea of them are the same.  To start out, I ordered the Complete Physique 57 Kit Volume 1.  What’s nice about P57 is that they offer a free 30 day trial.  If for some reason you aren’t happy with the DVDs, you can send them back within the 30 days and you aren’t charged for them.  The kit came with an exercise ball & 3 DVDs (classic 57 min full-body workout, express 30 min full body workout, and Arm/Ab booster 30 minute workout).

As far as a workout DVD goes, I found Physique 57 so much more challenging than my Bar Method DVD. (I’d love to be able to compare in-class versions!) Instead of using 2 & 3 lb. weights that I would with Bar Method, I used 3 & 5 lb. weights.  My arms felt like noodles at the end of the “warm up”.  The thigh and seat section of the DVD is no joke.  I tried to keep telling myself that if I could make it through a natural birth, I could make it through this thigh set-it didn’t work…I had to stop and shake out my legs.  The music with P57 is more upbeat and I also liked how the DVDs seemed a little bit more up to date than the bar method DVDs.

The 30 minute full body DVD is a good one for when you don’t have an hour to dedicate to working out.  The arm portion isn’t as intense, but your legs, butt and abs still get an awesome workout (I was pretty sweaty 15 minutes into it).  The arms/abs booster is a good one to pair up with cardio.  Yesterday, I did some Zumba on the xbox and did the arms portion of the DVD.  I can still feel it in my arms today.

The reason I enjoy barre strengthening over other types of strength training is because it can be done at home (during Madelyn’s nap time), the weights you use are light but extremely effective, and it’s the only workout where I’ve seen a noticeable difference in my body.  I’ve taken body pump classes before at the gym, and although it’s a good workout I don’t find them as enjoyable.

Next fall, I hope to run the Chicago Marathon (EEK!)  and my goal for 2013 is to remain injury free.  In order to do this, I will need to make sure that I have to have a strong core, and thighs to help keep hips, knees and ankles in place.  So along with my regular running workouts, I’ll be incorporating barre more into my weekly workouts.  I’m excited and nervous about training for the full.  I think I’m more nervous about how I’m going to balance my time with a new baby than I am about the distance.  The good thing is, that by spring she will be old enough to go for runs in the jogging stroller and not just walks, so I can bring her with me on the easier days.  The long run days will be reserved for daughter/daddy time 🙂 I also have a BFF who wants to run it too!!! It’ll be nice to have someone to run with and to keep me motivated.

Anyone else have any 2013 fitness related goals? I’m not big of resolutions…only on how I’m going to make 2013 a better year than the one before.  2012 will be tough to beat though!


Dear Pregnant Self

Last year, during Christmas, we announced to our families that we were expecting a baby.  I had just taken a pregnancy test a few days before and was shocked with the results.  It was a little earlier than planned and I was nervous/scared that we weren’t ready for this and all the changes that come along with a baby.  I realize now that it was silly to feel that way.  My pregnancy went by so quickly (even though at the end I thought it was never going to end) and looking back there are some things that I wish someone would’ve told me.
Dear Pregnant Self-
I know this isn’t in the intial life plans right now, but remember that God’s plans are always greater than our own.  As you go about the next 9 months try to always keep these things in the back of your head:
It is totally normal to feel scared, freaked out etc…This is all brand new to you and it’s the fear of the unknown.  You can read as many baby books as you want (or don’t read them at all), nothing will prepare you for motherhood the way having a newborn will…and guess what? You’ll know exactly what to do.
When pregnant and given the option, always choose sleep.  The dog can wait to be walked, the gym workout can be done at a later time, the laundry can wait to be folded.  Sleep is your friend in the early months of pregnancy.  You’re tired all the time anyway…go with it.  Your body is truly telling you to rest before you can’t anymore.  When you’re at your biggest and sleeping on your stomach is no longer an option and that little baby decides she wants to put her feet in your ribcage at 1am, you will have wished you chose sleep.  Not to mention all the late night visits to the bathroom.
You’re going to gain weight.  There’s no way around this.  This is actually a GOOD thing.  It means that your little baby is getting healthier and stronger.  You can continue to remain as active as you want-this will actually help offset the fatigue.  The number on the scale doesn’t define who you are and your baby isn’t going to care how much you weigh.  And the good news?  You will lose a lot of this weight shortly after delivery.
You’re not a celebrity so don’t hold yourself to such standards.  The “baby weight” will not fall off overnight And THAT’S OKAY.  In real life, there are no nannies, personal chefs or trainers.  It’s just you, that baby and your husband.
Labor.  It will be intense.  It will be fast.  Physically, it will be the hardest thing you ever do.  But it will be worth 110% worth it.

before things really started to kick offYou think you love that baby now?  Oh man just you wait.  Words can’t even describe-so I’m not going to try.  There is no love like the love you have for your child.  Once that baby is born, you will finally understand the true meaning of “unconditional love”.  It’s a different kind of love than what you have for anyone else-even your husband…

 Speaking of the love for your husband.  It will triple once you see him become a father to your baby girl.  You will see a whole new side of him and it will make you fall in love all over again.
Remember that these next 9 months go by fast so cherish every single moment.  Both the good and the bad.  Remember at the end when all you wanted is for the baby to just come out?  After the baby has arrived, you will be in the grocery store, see a pregnant lady and say to yourself, “I miss that.”  Just you wait.

Rolly Polly

Happy 4 months of life to my blue-eyed beauty.  The girl LOVES to smile at her mama, but as soon as the camera is in front of her face, she does this:4 mo

Time seems to fly even faster when you have a child.  This past weekend, I was putting away all of her clothes that she’s outgrown and I couldn’t believe how small she started out.  When I look at her now, it’s hard to remember her as a 7 pounder.  We took her to her 4 month check up and all is well.  She’s in the 80th percentile for weight and 70th for height.

Sleep.  Since baby girl’s been 3 months she’s been averaging about 10 hours of sleep a night.  This is great, except the new bed time has moved from 9:30-10pm to 8 pm.  What does this mean for mama?  Getting up at about 6:30 am on my days off.  It’s hard to be mad about it when you’re waking up to the happiest baby ever.

Eat.   Two weeks ago, I gave her formula for the first time because I didn’t have enough breast milk stored up.  We gave her a milk-based formula and the daycare lady told me that she had been unusually gassy.  For the most part, I try to stay away from dairy because it’s pretty hard on my stomach, so she hasn’t gotten a lot of exposure to it.  I told the nurse about the gas and she said it could be the dairy in the formula.  I try to breastfeed and pump as much as I can on the weekends to help increase my supply for the week.  Even though she’s intrigued by the act of sitting down and eating dinner, our doctor told us to hold off giving her solids until she’s at least 6 months.  The longer I keep her on just milk, the better.  She said that if she’s sleeping fine and seems satisfied after eating, there’s no need to rush it.  I was happy to hear this.  On one hand, I’m really looking forward to that stage and watching her have fun with food, but on the other hand it’s just a reminder on how quickly she’s growing up.

Play.  Madelyn loves rolling over from her front to her back.  I’m still waiting for the feet in the mouth moment.  She knows that they’re there, but she hasn’t made the connection.  She’s a really good supported sitter and can hold herself up pretty well before she falls over. She prefers to stand and can pull herself up like a champ.  Madelyn is a little mover and a shaker.  When she is put on her stomach, she tries so hard to crawl and clearly gets frustrated when she doesn’t go anywhere.  I have a feeling that when she does start crawling we’re going to get a run for our money.

What she loves. She still can’t get enough of those fingers.  Her Winnie the Pooh activity bouncer-we put her in it for the first time yesterday and even though she’s still not tall enough (we prop her feet with a pillow), she has a blast in that thing.  She even knows how to turn herself around in it.

Another big love?  The Christmas tree lights!  Here’s a video of her babbling away when I laid her under the tree for a photo sesh 🙂 This is pretty much how she is every single day. My heart melts.

Happy 4 months to my baby girl! I love you more than you’ll ever know.



It’s been a while since I posted, and initially I came on here to post a recipe for the vegan/gluten free chocolate chip cookies that I baked this morning that were pretty awesome, but my head and my heart just aren’t there right now.

Madelyn woke me up this morning at 6:30.  Normally on a Saturday, I would lay there and listen to her on the monitor and pray that she would fall back asleep for just a little bit longer.  That was not the case today.  I sleepily stumbled to where my girl was singing away and smiling in her crib.  I brought her back to my bed to feed her, cuddle with her and just be.  I laid there and listened to her sing me songs and tell me stories-it was the best morning I’ve had in a long time.

I refuse to turn on the TV today.  I prayed that when I woke up this morning, that yesterday’s events had been just a bad dream.  I was in 8th grade when the Columbine shooting happened.  I remember watching it on TV and thinking why would someone do this?  Throughout my years in middle and high school we had a few bomb scares, where we’d have to evacuate the building and after the first few, it just became an inconvenience and I thought nothing of it.

I was at work when a coworker came and told me that there was a shooting at an elementary school.  I honestly thought nothing of it.  We figured it was an angry boyfriend/husband situation.  It wasn’t until I sat down at my computer and saw what was actually happening.  I sat on the internet and watched the news sites report an increasing death count of children.  Young, innocent children and my heart sank. I started to feel sick to my stomach.  I called Madelyn’s daycare just to see how she was doing.  She got her shots yesterday, so I just asked how she was doing with those but in reality I just wanted to hear that she was okay.  I spent the rest of my day watching the clock go by.

When I picked her up from daycare, I sat there and hugged her for a really long time and gave her a million kisses.  The daycare lady gave me a sympathetic look, she knew.  When we got home Larry had the news on and I couldn’t help but break down and cry.  I cried for those poor innocent children whose lives were taken before they even began.  I cried for those parents who went home without their child and whose lives will never be the same.  The parents who have to spend this Christmas without their little one.   And I cried for our country and the future of this country that my daughter will grow up in.  As a society we’ve become so numb to this sort of thing.  It wasn’t until it happened to group of innocent children that I truly felt something.

I’ve only been a mother for 4 months and I can’t even begin to imagine what those parents are going through right now.  And I pray to God that I never will.  This tragedy is just another reminder that every breath we take, every day that passes, is a gift and can be taken away at anytime.  Don’t take it for granted.  Live in the moment and love to the fullest everyday.



A few weeks ago I posted about my lack of discipline with tracking Weight Watchers points just via E-Tools and I blogged about whether or not I would just switch back to MyFitnessPal because it’s FREE and it does work.  I tried it for about a week, and yes I did lose some weight but I also noticed that my milk supply was decreasing.  Instead of just giving up on the weight loss effort altogether, I quit doing Weight Watchers just online and I joined their weekly meetings + e-tools.  My first week was actually the week of Thanksgiving (what was I thinking?!)  I did end up gaining, but only .4lbs.  When I went last week, I was down 3lbs.  Success.  I also noticed that my milk supply was back to normal.

With Weight Watchers I get a daily points allowance of 44.  That includes the 14 extra that they give moms who are exclusively breastfeeding.  When Madelyn starts eating solids (which might be any day now), I will subtract 7 points from that total, because I will be breastfeeding but supplementing.  When I plan out my meals, the 44 points is more than enough.  One evening, I had 15 points leftover so hubs ran to DQ and got me a carmel sundae.  Probably not the smartest way to spend 12 points, but I really wanted ice cream and I could have it without sabotaging my efforts.

I attend the meetings every Monday morning with a bunch of older grandma types, and I really enjoy it.  Last week, I brought Madelyn with me and everyone just loved her 🙂 One of the topics of last week’s meeting was creating Safe Spaces.  They focused on home, work, dining out, etc. I carry apple slices in my purse and in my kitchen I’ve gone through all of our packaged stuff (yogurt, nut butters, hummus, trail mix etc) and I’ve written the points value on everything that I possible can. The most important thing I learned was how big of a deal planning is. You are allowed 49 “extra” points throughout the week.  You can choose not to use them or use them as you need them.  We are going out for my father in-law’s birthday dinner tomorrow and I will probably dip into my extra points for the meal.  I have decided yet if I’m going to treat it as a normal meal or a treat for myself.  I’ve been pretty good this week so I’m leaning towards treat 🙂

The meetings keep me accountable with weekly weigh-ins, provide great support and awesome advice from other members.  One of my biggest problems is that I really like to come home from work and snack on random stuff in the kitchen or snack on things as I’m cooking or baking.  And because I’m picking here and there I don’t count points, which I should because those bites count for something.  So now, when I come home from work I try to remember to stick a piece of gum in my mouth so that I won’t snack or I grab an apple or some veggies and hummus from the refrigerator.

Weekly Weight Watchers meetings are also a great source for new, healthy recipes.  I bought their salted carmel smoothie mix because it sounded heavenly, and my leader told me about smoothie pancakes-a pack of the salted carmel mix with 3 egg whites and a teeny bit of water just to thin it out.

smoothie pancakes

You prepare and cook them like pancakes and they turn out similar to the consistency of crepes.  With the salted carmel smoothie mix, no syrup is necessary because they’re already sweet and you’ve got 3-4 smoothie pancakes for a total of 3 points.  Add a banana or apple and you’ve got yourself a nice little breakfast 🙂 I’ve made them the night before and I reheat them at work the next day in the microwave and they’re just as good-creating safe spaces at work!

I’m off to earn some activity points-today we’re moving my mom into her new house 🙂 Have a great weekend!