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Weight lifting IS for Women!

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12370705 10153724420488076 2605730730360459348 oI was at the gym a few weeks ago and a thought occurred to me, which I’ve always known, but never realized on a conscious level. Very rarely do I see another female lifting weights. I go up to the cardio room and there’s an even mixture of men and women on the various machines, running, biking, walking, or rowing, but the weight room is always dominated by men. Now, this is a smaller gym, the exercise facility is for company employees and their families only. But I have to wonder; where are all the women? Do females think that they aren’t supposed to lift weights? Or that they don’t need to?

As a high school athlete, I was taught proper form and expected to lift twice a week with my team when we were in season. How hard we actually worked in the weight room varied greatly, and we were never pushing ourselves to get stronger. We didn’t have a strength coach, our workouts were supervised by our volleyball coach, and she often didn’t show up until the end of our session.

However, at the high school where I now work as an athletic trainer, our boys and our girls get in the weight room everyday (in season and out of season) and work hard to get bigger, faster, and stronger with their sport coaches plus a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS). These girls don’t just go through the motions, either. They are breaking school records, winning championships, and challenging the notion that women shouldn’t lift.

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Staying Active During Pregnancy

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pregnant 4I wanted to take this opportunity to connect with my fellow women who are currently pregnant, and let you know that you are not alone. I am speaking specifically to those who have historically always been very active and are now finding themselves forced to slow down due to the immensely wonderful and yet altogether difficult task of growing another human being.

What an amazing process! The way a woman’s body will change and adapt to this new tiny life that has taken up residence on the inside. It knows exactly what to do to support that life (even if you don’t have a clue!) and give the little one exactly what it needs to survive until it is able to survive (with lots of help) on the outside of our bodies. The unfortunate part is that this amazing and difficult experience is not always a pleasant one for the mommies.

My pregnancy started as many do… nauseous, hungry and fatigued beyond anything I had ever comprehended. Within the first 3 months, it was all I could do to get through a day at work. When I finally made it home in the afternoons, I would down some very bland foods (ie, eggs, toast, and breakfast cereals) I found my pjs and climbed into bed, praying my dinner would not make a second appearance.

And getting a workout in? Forget it! The thought alone of moving more than I had to made me want to throw up. Now that I am out of that dreaded first trimester, I am feeling better (week 23). However, as hard as I have tried, I have not been able to keep up with my pre-pregnancy workout schedule.

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The Protein Bar

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RS1966 shutterstock 189234521When it comes to a quick on the go snack that can keep your energy up and stave off cravings, the protein bar is the way to go.  There are many over the counter options but often if you are not looking at what is put into them they can be loaded full of sugar and unnecessary additives.  Some are even comparable to eating a candy bar! 

Here are ten quick and easy recipes that can be made at home with fresh ingredients and quickly added to lunch boxes, gym bags and purses to help you and your family get through the day!

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RS2733 iStock 000003176288XLargeIf you are at all interested in looking into what can be beneficial for assisting in good health, the use of probiotics is a hot topic as of late.  A probiotic is“good for you” bacteria as well as specific yeast found in some foods and supplements.  Research has been identifying these bacteria and yeasts as highly helpful in reducing a wide range of disorders, from GI distress to allergies, ulcerative colitis to bloating.  These bacteria also help to assist replenishing intestinal flora following a round of antibiotic usage.

Is the use of probiotics right for you?  Here are four things you may not know about the world of good bacteria:

  1. The collection of microorganisms in the gut is ENORMOUS!  Some estimates are as many as 500 to 1,000 species of bacteria.  The amount of microorganisms number 10 to 1 to the cells in our body.
  1. The strain does matter.  Probiotics are bacteria that are helpful to the body when either swallowed OR applied to it.   Most probiotics will be identified by three names, their genus, species and strain.  The Food and Drug Administration does not currently require manufacturers to disclose their strains on food or supplements
  1. Probiotics should be taken frequently but may not be needed every day.  Unless you are having a specific issue with your digestive system where you would use a strain specific probiotic shown to assist with a specific symptom.
  1. Most major brands have been shown to contain what they claim.

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