Tag Archives: Weight Loss for Moms

Magic Five Workout – Exercises for Busy Moms

Five moves you can do on even the busiest of days!

My clients are busy moms like you with almost zero personal time.

I’m often asked, “What are the best exercises to do when I can’t fit in a full workout?”

I’m happy to share some speedy actions you can take to improve your fitness, even when you’re juggling all the responsibilities of motherhood and beyond.

Magic Five Exercises:  I recommend these moves for maximum calorie burn as they hit major muscle groups, keeping your heart rate up.

Wall Squat: works quads, glutes, hamstrings

  • Back against wall, arms up in goal post, lower down so legs are at 90 degree angle, weight in heels.
  • Hold for 30-60 seconds
  • Advanced: Lift 1 foot off ground and straighten leg out (30 sec)
  • Both feet on ground (30 sec)
  • Lift other foot off ground (30 sec)
  • Both feet on ground for final push – how long can you hold it?

Push-Ups: works chest, arms, core

  • On toes, knees or even on the wall, complete as many as you can to fatigue

Lunges: works legs, butt

  • Stand with one leg forward, put weight on the front foot
  • Bend knees keeping front knee over the ankle
  • Repeat bend and straighten for up to 15 reps – you can add a static hold in the bent position for more challenge
  • Rest 30-60 sec. then complete reps on the other side

Plank:  works core

  • Lie on belly, place forearms on floor and lift body off the floor so you’re in a straight line from head to toe
  • Keep knees on floor to make it easier
  • Hold for as long as you can, aiming for 30-60 sec.

Bird Dog: works core

  • On hands & knees, R arm extended + L leg extended & hold for 20 seconds.  Switch sides. Repeat each side again.
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10 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

10 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

  1. Moderation – the first 2 bites taste the best. Control portions & leave some food on your plate
  2. Budget calories for indulgences – if you know there are special treats you want to enjoy, try to cut back on portions or eat lighter for some of your other meals that day
  3. Keep fuelled with healthy snacks – don’t let yourself get too hungry, as you’re more likely to overeat when your blood sugar is low. Eating small amounts every 3-4 hours keeps your metabolism humming
  4. Limit “tastes” while cooking – those extra nibbles add up
  5. Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water to stay satiated & keep your metabolism fired up
  6. Divert your attention – there’s more to a party than food! Focus on great conversation & connecting with friends
  7. Schedule in your workout – so you’re sure to fit it in. 20 minutes will be over in a flash!
  8. Bring nutritious and calorie-wise fare to social events – you’ll know exactly what you’re noshing
  9. Limit alcohol – when we drink we’re more likely to lose control of what we’re putting in our mouths. Sip water or club soda instead
  10. Build in fun movement – head outdoors for a walk or playing in the snow with family
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Small Steps Get Big Results: How can you step up to Career & Fitness Success?

Step Back from the everyday details of your life and look at the big picture. 

What does winning at weight loss or career transition feel like?  What has worked for you in the past?  How will you overcome any obstacles you’re facing?

Step Forward into each new day. 

Accomplish one task in your job search whether it is researching opportunities, networking or writing a resume.  Act upon one daily weight loss strategy such as portion control, keeping a food/exercise diary or moving more.

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone with support.

Making life changes is tough.  I lost 90 pounds, but it didn’t happen overnight and I still struggle to maintain my weight.  When my twins were born I decided not to return to my career in Human Resources.  Instead I started CareerFit Mom. I now help other moms achieve their dreams for a better body and a more fulfilling career.

It took commitment, planning and time to safely lose the weight I gained during pregnancy and to create my comeback career.  Structuring my goals into simple steps made it easier to achieve lasting changes.

You can meet your goals by taking small, manageable steps.  Allow setbacks by learning from them and moving forward.  Forgive yourself for lapses and re-lapses – they happen to everyone.  Both weight loss and job search can be incredibly isolating and disheartening so make sure you engage your family and friends in your plan.  You’ll need their support as you hit bumps along the way. 

Keep taking small steps and you’ll be sure to find success.  I believe in you!

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Spring Tune Up 20-Minute Workout

  • Warm-up for 3 minutes before starting the workout.
  • Do 10-15 reps of each muscle conditioning move.
  • Move quickly to your cardio boosts between muscle conditioning moves to keep heart rate elevated.
  • Cool down and stretch for at least 3 minutes at the end of the workout.

1. Wall Squat: works legs

  • Arms in goalpost position, stand against wall
  • Walk legs out so you’re in a sitting position, pressing back against wall, knees bent at 90 degree angle
  • 30 sec. (option to add: lift R leg 30 sec. + lift L leg 30 sec. + 30 sec. both legs on floor)
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2. Cardio Boost: Jumping Jacks (30-60 seconds)

3. Lunge & Power Glute Lift: works legs, glutes

  • R leg forward in lunge position, keeping knee at 90 degree angle over ankle
  • Lower into lunge, pulse at bottom x3 then push off front foot, extending back leg & squeezing glute
  • Lower back leg to floor and move back into low lunge/pulse • Complete R side then L
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 4. Cardio Boost: Kick Bum Run (30-60 seconds)

 5. Push-up Series: works chest & cardio endurance

  • 8 push-ups + 30 sec. plank jacks
  • 8 push-ups + 30 sec. mountain climbers
  • 8 push-ups + 30 sec. squat thrusts
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 6. Cardio Boost: Jump Twists (feet jump corner to corner while arms swing opp. way) (30-60 seconds)

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 7. Side Tri Push-up: works back of arm

  • Lie on side, hips stacked, top arm 90 degree angle at chest height, pushing palm into floor
  • Bottom arm reaches under to hold top tricep
  • Push-up on bottom hand to lengthen arm and lift torso off floor. Release.  Do reps then switch sides.
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 8. Cardio Boost: Knees Up (30-60 seconds)

 9. Inner Thigh Squat with Scapula Squeeze: works legs, upper back & shoulders

  • Wide stance, toes pointed out, push knees to back wall
  • Arms out to side
  • Bend knees, lowering into squat, bring arms into body, squeezing shoulder blades together
  • Release out of squat, moving arms back to side
  • 2 counts down & 2 counts up (option w/ tube or weights)
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 10.  Cardio Boost: Frog Jumps – Inner thigh squat low, jump forward 2 x’s and back 2 x’s, staying low in squat.  Take off and land on balls of feet (30-60 seconds)

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 11.  All 4’s Boost:  works arms, legs & core

  • Start on all 4’s, lift knees so shins off ground
  • Straighten legs as if moving into downward dog, while lifting R leg off ground & pushing up to ceiling
  • Head comes between arms and hips are lifting to the sky. Do reps and repeat L
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 12.  Scissors: works core

  • Lie on back, hands under low back to support. Lift straight legs off ground a few inches
  • Alternate crossing feet at ankles and pushing legs out into wide V, while keeping legs straight & off ground
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 13.  Bicycles: works abs – Lie on back, crunch knee into opposite shoulder.  L & R = 1 rep.

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14.  Stretch

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Eat Healthy 80% of the Time…

In our Weight Loss Group Fit session this week we talked about perfection – and how it isn’t possible! For healthy eating, the 80/20 rule is a good one to help you see results on the scale but not feel deprived.

Tracking your calories will help you budget for those small indulgences – one member eats a small Dove chocolate each day as it has only 1 Weight Watchers Point. Overall, consistent calorie-deficits will contribute to your weight loss. Create that deficit by eating smaller portions, choosing fruits and vegetables more often, staying away from processed foods. Don’t un-do all the hard work you’re putting into exercising. It is easy to think “Oh, I worked out hard today, I can eat this huge, calorie-laden treat!” If you consistently go overboard with what you’re eating, you won’t see progress on the scale, despite working out. Most experts agree that weight loss is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. There’s that 80/20 rule again!

To Try This Week:

Eat only while sitting down.  This can be tough, especially as moms we’re always rushing around and multi-tasking.  Eating at the table and looking at all the wonderful food you’re about to enjoy will help you feel satiated.  Give it a try for one day and see if it helps you stay mindful.

Weekly Challenge:  Frog Jumps!  Go and do 20 of them!

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Weight Loss Group Fit – Eat, Track & Be Merry!

The most meaningful things are never quick and easy, but they end up being the most gratifying!

I want to inspire you to commit to your weight loss goals.  See success for yourself and visualize what that looks like, how your body, mind and soul will feel.  Anticipate your feeling of accomplishment as you see the scale drop each week.

It will be tough, but you can do it!  You’ll have to focus each day and push past mental and physical discomfort.  Know in your heart that you really want to make these changes and you can overcome any obstacle.  Be prepared for small setbacks, because we all know that Life Happens.  You may be faced with unbeatable cravings, you or your kids could catch the flu and suddlenly you can’t make your workout.  If the weight doesn’t budge one week, don’t give up – just start back up again with renewed vigour.

To Try This Week: tracking your food.  Studies show that people have more success with weight loss when they log what they’re eating.  It will keep you accountable and show you where you need to make changes – scaling back portions or adding more fruits and vegetables, for example.  Write down what you eat and when, as well as any exercise you do each day.  Some tracking techniques:

  • Use a notebook you can take with you or an online system that provides more info (nutritional breakdown of food and approximate calories consumed through different types of exercise)
  • The Weight Watchers Points program is easy to follow and gives you a guideline of your points “budget” for the day so you know exactly how much you can eat in order to lose weight.  I’ve had great success following the Points program, as have many of my clients.  They also have a paid subscription-based online food diary.
  • My Plate on www.livestrong.com is a free online food diary.  After you’ve used it a few times, it starts to remember the foods you eat a lot and it becomes faster to click and add them to your daily log.  You can easily add custom foods/meals and the database is full of every product imaginable (Supperworks entrees!  President’s Choice!)  It also has an exercise tracker, graphs and a water counter.  One of my clients downloads her tracking into excel and emails it to me to help her stay on track.
  • www.eatracker.ca is a free food and exercise log that is produced by the Dieticians of Canada.
  • www.myfooddiary.com is a subscription based log that another one of my clients loves.  It costs $9 US/month.
  • www.myvictoryplan.com is a complete program including shakes, supplements and a armband (like a Body Bugg that they use on the Biggest Loser TV show) that tracks your calorie expenditure.
  • A heart rate monitor is great to help you track how many calories you burn during your workouts.  I love my Polar monitor.

Other Tips Discussed at today’s Weight Loss Group Fit Session:

  • Doing workout videos at home is very convenient if you’re finding it hard to get out of the house to exercise (baby’s sleep schedule, picking up older kids from pre-school, etc., etc.!)  You can borrow them for free from the Toronto Public Library – go to www.torontopubliclibrary.ca and search for fitness videos, place them on hold and they’ll call you when they come in.  You can also borrow and swap with friends or check used stores for older titles.  I love Jillian Michaels’ “30 Day Shred” video because it has 3 different 25 minute workouts.  They’re intense, but you don’t have to spend an hour exercising and you get great results.  www.amazon.ca sells them for as low as $9.99.
  • You can do my Fitness In A Flash 20-minute workout on your computer – click here!
  • Rogers on Demand has some free videos – yoga was suggested.
  • Eating voluminous foods that are low in calories will help you fill up.  Try cabbage (make a slaw with a little light dressing/mustard/chopped apple/sprinkle of raisins/seeds), soup (Today’s Menu on Gerrard, Knorr and PC Blue Menu were recommended) Chili (PC Blue Menu brand is good).  Drink water before every meal and snack.

Weekly Challenge: Mountain Climbers – 30 seconds everyday

See you next Tuesday morning (6:30-7:30 am) for the Weight Loss Group Fit session: weigh-in, group meeting and 30 minute power workout!  Now go do your Weekly Challenge!

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Mom of the Month

Transitioning to motherhood can be so overwhelming. 

For Shannon, finding time to exercise was a priority, despite the changes she was facing as a new mom. 

Shannon - Mom of the Month

Shannon - Mom of the Month

Shannon joined my Stroller Group Fit classes this past summer and loved how the class eased her back into exercise after giving birth to her daughter in April.   “It is great that the workout varies from week to week so I never get bored.  I also appreciate that I’ve met other moms in my neighbourhood,” she says.  “The drop-in approach with Class Passes makes it easy to attend when I can.”  She is definitely a regular attendee – Shannon even brought her mom and a friend (who live out of town) to the Stroller Group Fit class to join her in her weekly sweat session!

Finding a fitness pro who is sensitive to the needs of post-partum women was important to Shannon. Taking into consideration a new mom’s pelvic wall strength, possible abdominal separation (diastasis recti), hormonal shifts and sleep deprivation – fitness needs to be modified for a range of abilities.  Says Shannon, “I went to one mom & baby fitness class where they did so many quad exercises on my first day that I could honestly barely make it down the stairs with my daughter for the next couple of days.   She was so new and tricky to carry then that I was scared to walk down the stairs on a good day with her!”  Returning to gentle exercise and then continually increasing your efforts as you get stronger is a healthy way to shed baby fat and return to pre-pregnancy weight.

I really respect Shannon’s ability to try new things and take on new challenges.  When I recommended a push-up program to my participants, Shannon quickly signed herself (and her husband!) up.  It wasn’t long before she was pumping out more and more push-ups, reaching an all-time high of 25 full push-ups in a row.  Shannon also committed to doing my Weekly Challenge moves, incorporating tough exercises like Wall Squats and Tricep Dips into her at-home routine.  She even managed to fit in my 20-minute “Fitness in a Flash” workout over the holidays!

“Beth is really good at incorporating exercises that can be modified which made it more comfortable to ease back into exercising at first.  Now I can make the exercises more challenging since my fitness has steadily improved,” Shannon says.

Shannon’s arms are looking really buff and she has toned up all over.  She gained 45 pounds during pregnancy and lost the first 20 fairly quickly after her daughter was born.  She has worked hard to lose an additional 13 pounds since the fall.  Shannon will be joining my Weight Loss Program on Tuesday mornings to help keep her on track to lose the final few pounds.  The Weight Loss Program includes a weigh-in, group meeting and 30-minute power workout.  As Shannon says, “this is just what I need at this stage post-partum!”

“Beth’s approach to fitness and style of instructing has made working out with a baby very easy and enjoyable.  I love going to Career Fit Mom exercise classes during the day; it feels like a total luxury.  This is the life I would love to continue living if I didn’t have to go back to work after my maternity leave!”

I’m so happy to have Shannon and her daughter at my classes each week and I look forward to her participating in my early morning and evening classes when she heads back to work.  Her commitment to exercise and enthusiasm is motivating and encouraging for all new moms!



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Fitness In A Flash – 20 Minutes to Feeling Great Over the Holidays

  • Warm-up for 3 minutes before starting the workout.
  • Do 10-15 reps of each muscle conditioning move.
  • Move quickly to your cardio boosts between muscle conditioning moves to keep heart rate elevated.
  • Cool down and stretch for at least 3 minutes at the end of the workout.

1. Ballet Squat & Scapula Squeeze: works legs, glutes, back, shoulders
• Wide stance, toes pointed out, push knees back, arms out to side
• Bend knees, lowering into squat. Squeeze arms into body, shoulder blades together, elbows behind back
• Release out of squat, moving arms back to side. 2 counts down & 2 counts up (option w/ tube or weights)

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2. Cardio Boost: Jumping Jacks (30 seconds)

3. Squat with Side Leg Lift: works legs, glutes
• Lower into squat & lift R leg to side as you straighten up.
• Repeat, lifting L leg to side = 1 rep (option step on tube, hip width apart)

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4. Cardio Boost: Jump Rope (30 seconds)

5. Lunge & Torso Twist: works legs, glutes, obliques
• R leg forward in lunge position, keeping knee at 90 degree angle over ankle
• Lower into lunge, pause and twist torso to R side
• Release twist and push through front leg to standing. Complete R side then L

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6. Cardio Boost: Side Glides – big & low step touch, arms arc overhead (30 seconds)

7. Push-ups: works chest, shoulders, arms

8. Cardio Boost: Squat & Kick Front (30 seconds)

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9. Tricep Dips: works back of arms
• Sit on edge sturdy chair or stairs, hands at hips
• Lower hips below chair by bending at elbows. Keep elbows tucked in
• Push hips back up and repeat

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10. Cardio Boost: Repeater Knee – arms reach & pull down. On R leg 15 seconds then L leg

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11. Bridge & Leg Extension: works glutes, hamstrings, quads, core
• Lie down on back, feet planted on floor and push hips up. Hold for 30 seconds
• Advanced: Lift 1 leg off ground & hold parallel with supporting leg, while continuing to push hips up. Switch legs

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12. Cardio Boost: Mountain Climbers – plank position on hands, bring alternating knees into chest as quickly as possible (30 seconds)

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13. Superwoman: works core
• Lie face-down, hands stretched overhead
• Lift chest & feet off the ground and hold 4 counts, feeling back muscles engage. Release and repeat

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14. Plank: works core
• Lie face-down, lift body into table top position on forearms. Hold for 30 seconds on toes or knees

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15. Seated Pikes: works abs
• Sit on floor, place hands behind your back, lean backwards to engage abs.
• Bring knees up and into chest, crunching abs. Next, lengthen legs out (keep off floor) while leaning backwards.

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Mom of the Month – December 2009

“Stroller Group Fit toned me up, big time!” 

As one of my most dedicated and motivated Group Fit participants, Marta has greatly improved her level of fitness and self-care over the last few months. Marta Mom of the Month December 2009_2

We were both having “one of those days” when I met Marta for the first time.  I personally needed a bit of a break and the local, family-friendly café seemed like a good place to rest and refuel. While my girls eagerly played with ponies in the café, I sat down in the air conditioned coolness and noticed Marta giving her three-year-old daughter and nine-month son a snack too.

Our conversation quickly turned to fitness.  Marta was passionate about playing rugby and was very involved in the sport before she got pregnant with her first child.  “I hadn’t done much physical activity since my rugby days and my body, mind and spirit definitely were in withdrawal”, she says.  “I missed the team camaraderie, the incredible work-outs and pushing myself on the field.”

“With a pre-schooler and a baby I found it so difficult to find time and motivation to exercise,” Marta says.  Like many of us, incorporating our children into our workouts is the only way to carve out that time.  Stroller Group Fit seemed like a possible solution for Marta – she could bring both kids along for the ride while she exercised with them at the park.

Marta dropped into her first class and participated with great intensity.  “It was tough those first few times,” she says.  “Beth gave options to make the moves easier or harder, but I was used to pushing myself in rugby and tried to give it my all.  I think I pushed myself a little too hard in those initial classes!”

It can be disheartening when we come back to fitness after a break.  Your mind remembers your previous abilities, but your body doesn’t.  Marta had the spirit and intention to kick up the intensity of her workouts, but she had to ease into it and re-build her conditioning again.

She started by incorporating Stroller Group Fit into her weeks with the kids.  It wasn’t long before she added my Saturday Morning Group Fit to her routine, while her husband was home on weekends.  Marta is willing to give anything a try, which I greatly admire.  “I’m not a big fan of dance aerobics, but Beth even had me coming out to her Baby Boogie class!” 

Marta now attends my indoor Stroller Circuit and Thursday night Group Fit classes.  Her cardiovascular ability has improved and she powers through sprints, plyometrics and cardio drills like nobody’s business.  “I’m much stronger now,” Marta says.  “I can do way more full push-ups and tricep dips than before.  I’m also noticing my everyday activities are so much easier.  Carrying my son, pushing the stroller, running after my daughter and getting around without the use of a car on a day-to-day basis are no longer a struggle.  I have energy to burn!”

She looks great, too!  Marta’s body has toned up and she’s seeing definition in her muscles that wasn’t there before.  “I’m really happy with how I look and feel,” she says.  “But mostly, I’m grateful to have found a solution that works for me, as a busy mom.  I wasn’t taking time for myself and my own needs, until I started attending Group Fit classes.  I’m really happy with the results of my efforts!”

Marta will be returning to work as an accountant in February and it will take a bit of adjusting.  She’s committed to continuing working out in the evenings at Group Fit classes.  I’m confident that her renewed enthusiasm for exercise will help her manage the transition back to work, giving her energy to juggle the daily challenges of being a working mom. 

Marta – I’m so glad we met that fateful day in the café!  I’m very proud of you and admire you as a strong woman and as a great mom!

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Mom of the Month – November 2009

Have you ever stepped on the scale and wondered how your weight crept up seemingly overnight? 

For Juli, a regular participant in my Group Fit classes, it was a wake up call when she realized she’d regained almost all the weight she’d lost after her pregnancy.  She was getting close to being back up to her pre-natal weight and her daughter was now two years old. 

“It was 18 months of not being mindful,” says Juli.  “I had a lot going on in my life, including trying to get pregnant again with baby number two.  I was only working out once per week (at MumNet) and was eating a lot more treats than usual.” Juli Langhorne Nov 25 2009_full hot body_resized

Juli hit the brakes and re-set her attitude this summer.  She’s still trying to get pregnant, but decided to take action on her weight loss now.  Her renewed focus on her health includes a revamped fitness routine with lots of cross-training at Group Fit classes.  Because the workouts change every week, Juli is challenging her body in new ways.  This method keeps her body guessing to avoid weight loss plateaus. 

Juli was a regular throughout the fall at my outdoor sessions and is now participating in the Early Riser’s Group Fit class.  “I love the flexibility of the pass system, so I can attend classes when it is convenient for me”, she says.  “Getting my workout done first thing in the morning is a real gift – I walk around the rest of the day feeling like I’ve accomplished so much!”  Juli even drops-in to the Baby & Mom Group Fit class on Wednesday afternoons when her daughter is in pre-school.  “Beth modifies the workout for me so I can get a good sweat, even without a baby carrier.  Plus, I love being around all the new moms and their little ones.”

Regular exercise and tracking her meals using the Weight Watchers method has helped Juli lose 25 pounds.  She is keeping momentum on her weight loss objective by setting mini-goals and keeping a positive mindset.  While she is extremely busy with her three year old daughter, her husband and her business as a skincare and nutrition consultant, she is aware of her own self-care needs.  “Scheduling my workouts into my calendar helps me create time for exercise and I’m less likely to blow it off when I get overwhelmed by my ‘to do’ list,” says Juli.

“The group dynamic in the classes is incredibly powerful.  The women I’ve met through Beth’s classes are really encouraging.  We share our stories, tips and lots of laughs,” remarks Juli.  She feels an extra push of accountability to attend Group Fit classes because the other participants are expecting her!

As women and mothJuli Langhorne Nov 25 2009_thumbs up_resizeders we have so many demands on our time and energy.  I believe that by giving back to yourself through exercise, nutrition and goal setting, is so important.  When we’re working towards something, we’re self-improving, getting stronger and healthier.  That gives us more to share with our families, co-workers, friends and neighbours.  Juli’s new mantra pretty much sums it up: “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better!”  Keep it up, Juli!  Your positive energy is inspirational!

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  • Testimonials

    “CareerFit Mom get's the job done! Beth's classes are fun, supportive, social - and I'm as fit as I've ever been - even before kids! Thanks Beth! - Susie”
  • Mom of the Month

    Erin’s baby was only three months old when she saw a poster for CareerFit Mom in her neighbourhood.

    “I didn’t have any numerical goals – just wanted to kickstart a healthy and active routine in my life,” she says. Finding CareerFit Mom was the key. The exercise classes available were created with a new mom in mind ... More