Food and Fitness Friday 4

Human beings are creatures of habit. We like routine; we resist change; and we want to count on things staying the same. For those of you as methodical (OCD) as I am, not only do you like to repeat the same jogging distance, but you want to jog the same course at the same time and at the same intensity- all the time! You even have a set landmark finishing spot, and you absolutely have to hit that mark to feel complete. It’s your thing and you dig it.

From a fitness transformation standpoint, that doesn’t work. (Can you get really skinny, repeating that same jog over and over again, multiple times a day? Yes. But who has that kind of time on their hands? And wouldn’t you rather be fit than skinny?) The FITT Principle says that, in order to keep seeing fitness gains, you must change the Frequency, Intensity, Time, or Type of workout you’re doing.

Let me backtrack a bit and say if you are just getting started exercising, you don’t need to worry about the FITT Principle. You need to build an aerobic base (capacity of your heart and lungs to do somewhat tough work for a sustained period of time). A slow trek where you just keep going for 20-minutes or longer is a great place to start. You have to build that aerobic base before you can do anything else. Plus, initially, you will see changes from doing nothing to doing something. It’s just after you have been doing that a while, you’ll need to change things up to keep seeing results. (From a purely heart healthy standpoint, if this was all you ever did, it beats the heck out of doing nothing!)

For those of you who already have an established aerobic base, I’m not saying a workout should never be jogging a slow, steady pace in 70-degree breezy weather while singing along to Wilson Philips (“Hold on for one more day”)… These easy workouts enable you to get cardio and wellness benefits. They channel the parasympathetic nervous system. If you’re always doing very hard, strenuous workouts, your body will constantly feel under stress. The sympathetic nervous system will work overtime in “fight or flight” mode. Who wants to live in a catabolic state? (No one). So, occasional low-intensity workouts most certainly have their place. But if getting into serious shape is your pursuit, slow and steady cannot be your one trick pony.

There are plenty of ways you can spruce up the old jog. One is to, once or twice a week, do hill sprint repeats.

If you usually jog for distance, it may disappoint you that on these days, you won’t be logging as many miles as you do on long jogs. That’s not the point! Try to get that urge to always hit a certain mileage out of your head. The key with hill sprints is working very hard (all out!) during the on periods, recovering, then doing it all over again.

Okay, so find a hill! Search for a hill in your community that’s 200 meters long (half the length of one time around a track) and about 4-6% grade. If you aren’t quite sure what that looks like, try this workout first on a treadmill to get a feel for it. 6% grade for 200 meters is not always easy to find! Fortunately, if you’re reading this and live in central Texas, I have a few suggestions:

Georgetown- on Rabbit Hill Road, just north of Celebration Church, there’s a 200M incline at 6% grade.  I have named it “Lucifer.”
Round Rock- in Teravista, on Teravista Parkway. Begin at the rectangular concrete slab on the east side of the street; end at the speed limit sign. You’ll pass the nature trail about halfway up.
Taylor- in the Mustang Ridge neighborhood (around FM 973 and the Loop). Around the middle of the community, there’s a 200 meter hill at 6% grade.
Austin- there are plenty of these in the Jester area. (I mean, there’s even a road named Great Hills). *Some will be steeper than 6% grade… if you couldn’t run it, all the way up, it’s probably too steep for this.

Wherever you live, find that sweet 200M, 4-6% incline… then here’s the plan!

Bring a digital stopwatch (or use the stopwatch on your smartphone). Do a light jog to the landmark so that you are warmed up.

Sprint with all your might up the 200M hill. (pump your arms big and brisk- it’ll help). Acknowledge your time.

Take two to three times the duration of your sprint to catch your breath, walk back down, and get your mind and body ready to do it again.

Be sure to time your sprint every time. If you’re used to steady state jogs, you’ll be tempted to just jog the hill with no pressure of performance by a stopwatch. Remember: this workout is about performance! You’ll have your days to jog without care of time. But this one is about bettering your best, and you do that by using the clock!

With training, most of you will be able to sprint the 200M in about 1-minute. (Yes, it depends some on how steep the hill is you selected within that range, but that’s doable for most people on 4-6% with training). If it takes you 1:00 to sprint up, stop the watch at the top and being counting the 2:00 to 3:00 time until you go again. The time you take to catch your breath and hydrate should all fit within that time, as well as your walk or jog back down the hill.

Repeat the hill sprint 5-10 times. When finished, as a recovery, jog slowly back to wherever you came (maybe singing along to Wilson Philips :-).

 

If you’re just getting started, 5 hill sprint repeats will be plenty. I would recommend, for most of you, starting with 5 repeats and doing that workout twice a week for two weeks. Then bump it up to 6 repeats. Spend two weeks there before raising it to 7.  At this recommendation, it’ll take you 12 weeks to complete this program (2 d/wk, 2 wks with 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, then 10 hill sprint repeats, respectively). After those 12 weeks, it may be time to find a new hill!

May your gams and glutes feel burn they have not felt in a while (or ever!) and may you shock your body and see results from adding these hill sprints into your program!

 

 

FOOD

There’s something new on the freezer aisle that’s changed the game of convenient healthy eating since the birth of my first child. I am not compensated in any way for this endorsement. This marvel in “TV dinners” is called Cafe Simply Steamers by Healthy Choice. Read the label! It is “simply” veggies, protein, and good-for-you carbs without any added fat, sodium, or flavoring of any kind. Underneath that is a healthy sauce. Because they’re separated, you can use as much or as little of the sauce as you’d like. Now, most of these dinners are in the 250 kcal range, which isn’t sufficient enough to make a meal for a nursing mother.

So, I add a few quick and easy (& super simple) homemade ingredients…

I boil a few red potatoes for about 15-minutes. I then turn off the heat and toss raw broccoli, mushrooms, and red bell pepper in the starchy water for about 5-minutes. I cook some chicken tenderloins in olive oil, salt, and pepper on the stovetop or grill while the veggies cook. Last, I chop up the chicken, drain the veggies, and add to the Cafe Simply Steamers. This more than doubles the volume of food! I use all of the sauce from the bottom compartment of the Simply Steamer- but you don’t have to! It’s so easy, so healthy, and so delicious!

 

Photographed is the Cafe Simply Steamers by Healthy Choice grilled chicken pesto & vegetables… plus my homemade steamed red potatoes, mushrooms, red bp, and grilled chicken.

IMG_9193 I also very highly recommend the Unwrapped Burrito Bowl- it’s my favorite!!

Posted in Fit Pro Advice, Fitness, Strength, & Conditioning, Mamabear by BB, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Food and Fitness Friday 3

If I’m working out from home, I often turn to workout videos.  They entertain and motivate me- and I’m not just talking about other people’s workout videos.  I do my own workout videos all the time!  Here’s one I’m particularly fond of because it blends athletic conditioning with a little choreography.  It’s 30-minutes, total running time, and includes abs at the end.  If you don’t have a GoFit 12″ plyo box, just use an aerobic bench with some risers.  If you are on carpet, you probably won’t need the mat for abs- but it’s always nice!  This is my WOD (workout of the day).  Hope to hear you enjoy it, too!!

As for food, it’s time we talk about the incredible edible egg.  Many of you are still only eating egg whites and discarding the yolk.  You are missing many of the nutrients and a great deal of protein.  Here’s why you should consider eating the whole egg.  Have you ever tried a soft boiled egg?  Check out this to-die-for Skinnytaste recipe for soft boiled egg with steamed asparagus.

Posted in Fitness, Strength, & Conditioning, Mamabear by BB, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Food and Fitness Friday 2

Three years ago, I personal trained a postnatal client to strengthen her core and tone her upper body after baby with a series of push-ups, planks, and V-ups, crisscrosses, and double leg stretches.  To support and encourage her, I committed to doing a similar workout, myself.  5 days a week, I did 60 push-ups per day.  I kept that up for over two years- until my recent pregnancy made it too challenging to push my body weight up.  Those 60 PUs/d are the singular thing I pinpoint as what made remarkable improvement in my core endurance and got my upper body more toned than ever before.  Sisterbear was my second pregnancy.  I had absolutely zero lower back pain with her pregnancy.  I absolutely attribute that to the core strength and endurance that I had built through those years of daily push-ups!

IMG_6365Back then, I started with 3 sets of 20 push-ups on my toes.  Oh man, I would struggle towards the end!  That’s a good thing- you want to hit a point where it’s dreadfully difficult to continue, but you can… quivering… but you can!  With consistency in training, I was able to do more before hitting that “OMG this is so hard” point.  So, I extended the set.  By summer 2016, I was up to 2 sets of 30 push-ups on my toes.  The key is to be sure your number of reps and your body position deliver a challenge by the end that is very hard to push through, but you can- and with proper form.

Now, at <4 weeks postpartum, my form is crummy with push-ups on the toes.  Push-ups on my knees are far better suited for me right now.  How can you tell which option is best for you?  If your body (from shoulder-to hip-to heel) looks like a perfectly straight sloping line that you can maintain from top-to-bottom-to-top of a push-up, do your push-ups on your toes!  If your hips droop or pop up at any part of that movement phase, try it on your knees, instead.  If, still, you cannot maintain alignment from shoulder-to hip-to knee, a simpler option yet may be to perform modified push-ups in quadruped position (on “all 4s”), just keeping your boo-tay up and dropping your chest to the ground.

The song “Cupid’s Chokehold” has a great beat for an endurance workout.  {The lyric “Take a Look at my Girlfriend” that’s repeated throughout also felt appropriate for my uhh-session with sweet, gentle, beautiful, teeny tiny Sisterbear}.  From top-to-finish, this push-ups workout will take you 4-minutes.  I opted for push-ups on the knees, but ballers out there can amp it up to push-ups on the toes, or newbies to fitness can ease it up with quadruped position!  Pick the position that will challenge YOU by the end of 4-minutes… that may mean starting out with one option, then changing to an easier option midway through.  That’s A-ok!!

4-minutes Upper Body & Core Workout from Brook Benten on Vimeo.

I hope, by the end, you’re super fatigued… maybe plummet down and almost swear- as I did in this video!!

For a quick protein-packed snack or dessert, try my healthy banana pudding.  You will be shocked at how easy and delicious this is!  Plus, if you’re like me, you always end up buying too many bananas than you can use before they turn brown… here’s your solution for what to do with those!

4-ingredient super healthy banana pudding (2-mins total time!)
Great post-workout snack or dessert
1. nonfat cottage cheese 2. overripe banana 3. vanilla whey protein 4. cinnamon BLEND!

 

 

Posted in Fitness, Strength, & Conditioning, Mamabear by BB, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Food and Fitness Friday 1

When I give you a recipe, you can trust it will be easy and it will not include weird ingredients, like Stevia or coconut flour. I’m originally a Mississippi girl; we eat food that tastes good. Here’s the breakfast that started my day today (if you read “12 Days of Sisterbear,” FYI, I ran out of those croissants and can’t bring myself to go to the bakery with two littles, so I’ve moved on). This recipe is ridiculously easy, but so yummy and- surprisingly- healthy!

BB’s Breakfast Casserole

INGREDIENTS

1/2lb Lean Turkey Sausage

1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped

1 c chopped white or Cremini mushrooms

1/2 bag Fresh chopped spinach

12 eggs

1/2 c low fat cottage cheese

1/3 c flour

1 t Baking powder

Dash of salt

3 oz Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese

BB's Breakfast Casserole

BB’s Breakfast Casserole

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400. Cook the turkey sausage in a skillet. Drain fat through a collendar and rinse. Combine in a large bowl with chopped red bell pepper and mushrooms. Add chopped spinach (it’ll look like a ton of spinach, but don’t worry- it cools down with baking). Set aside.

In a blender, combine mostly 12 egg whites, but include a few yolks. (Many of the nutrients and much of the protein in an egg comes from the yolk, so nutritionists no longer advise discarding the yolk. A few yolks in this casserole won’t pose a problem for your cholesterol. The health benefits make it good idea to keep some yolks!) Add cottage cheese, flour, baking powder, and salt. Blend!

Stir the egg mixture into the sausage/veggie bowl. Mix well.

Spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray. Pour contents in the casserole dish. Shred cheese on top. (I like Extra Sharp Cheddar, because it’s very flavorful, so it doesn’t take as much of it as it would with other cheeses to add quite a bit of flavor. That being said, it is a high fat cheese, so be mindful of that).

Bake for 15-minutes, uncovered, at 400. Without opening the oven, drop the temperature to 350 and bake for another 25-minutes.

Voila!! Try to wait for it to cool a bit before diving in, but it’ll smell so scrumptious it will be tough! (I, for one, dug my fork in straight out of the oven).

 

After your brekkie has settled (I washed mine down with two cups of coffee!), pull out a plyo box, 12-18kg (26-40 pound) kettlebell, pull up bar with strength band assistance, and resist-a-cuff bands. Here was my #FridayFeeling workout. Maybe you make it yours, too!

BB’s Strength & Cardio Workout

Part 1

IMG_858320 kettlebell snatches, followed by 10 Burpee box jumps. It’s the same as the demo in this video, but add a push-up to make it a full Burpee prior to the bench jump.

Repeat 5x

Strength Band Assisted Pull-Ups (mama needs assistance!)

Strength Band Assisted Pull-Ups (mama needs assistance!)

 

 

 

Part 2

20 Pull Ups

5x 10 reps of various Resist-a-Cuff glute exercises

IMG_8634Repeat 2x

 

 

Part 3

IMG_86621.5 mile jog

(I got both kids in the Double BOB jogging stroller for this. Now that Brotherbear is out of school for the summer, gone are my days of just pushing feather-light Sisterbear. The two of them in this massive stroller make for a different experience altogether.  It felt like I pushed John Goodman through a mile and a half jog, uphill in my neighborhood at the end of this workout!)

Posted in Fitness, Strength, & Conditioning, Mamabear by BB, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FitMom

"An able body is a gift. Don't run because you have to; run because you can." BrookBenten Instagram 6/1/17

“An able body is a gift. Don’t run because you have to; run because you can.” BrookBenten Instagram 6/1/17

I love to run. Better said, I love to “jog.” Running for speed/time is an all-consuming, exhausting experience- what I love is trekking along at a sustainable pace that I can occasionally sing along with my soundtrack that’s booming out of my iPhone speakers. (Earbuds just don’t stay in my ears, so I play my music right from the device. My husband calls me “the traveling DJ.”) To keep it simple, I call that running, although I recognize the better qualifier is jogging.

Most baby mamas heed doctor’s orders of waiting 6-weeks after giving birth before exercising with any intensity. I believe 6-weeks is a little bit excessive. A week and a half was too soon; I had broken lady parts that hadn’t healed enough to run without… problems. But I waited and just walked a few more days and by 2-weeks postpartum, I was ready to give it another try. Those few extra days of healing were game changers. I did a 5-minute jog, 1-minute walk, 40-minute interval workout at 2-weeks postpartum. I did the Murph Challenge (see previous blog post) at 15-days postpartum, and did a 4-mile endurance jog today.

Getting back to the jog has nothing to do with a nagging feeling that running is a chore I “have” to do, or a desire to “bounce back” my body to pre-pregnancy figure. Jogging, to me, has everything to do with joy. Jogging makes me so happy. I have this able body that’s fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), and it is designed to move! The joy I feel while pushing the BOB stroller and looking at sweet Sisterbear dosing off in the infant seat can only be described as transcendent. For her birthing experience (see three blogs back), I had created a “birthing playlist.” Nowadays, I listen to that birthing playlist (some of my favorite ’90s Country jams. See playlist below) as I do my jogs. It takes me back to that wonderful day she was born. The whole trifecta- of jogging outdoors, pushing the baby stroller and looking at baby, and listening to my favorite songs- make jogging a true source of joy in my life. It behooved me to get back to it sooner than 6-weeks! Really and truly, it has nothing to do with the weight. If weight loss is your motivation, you’re missing the whole point. An able body is a gift. Don’t use it because you have to (i.e. to lose weight); use it because you can! And if running (jogging) isn’t the cat’s meow for you, there are thousands of other ways you can move your body— pick one! {walking, cycling, or dancing… or maybe try one of my kettlebell DVDs, on deep clearance sale at the bottom of the brookbenten.com merchandise page!}

Okay, let’s address the elephant in the room: body after baby. Yes, I left the hospital with visible abs. But NO, I do not have my pre-baby body back. The fitter you were before baby, the more you realize it takes time to get back that tightness. I anticipate it’ll be 7-months before I’ve “bounced back,” as they say. But I love my body, as it is; I’ll love it then, too. I’m 15-pounds heavier in the black-and-white picture, shot today, than I was in the pink sports bra picture when I was newly pregnant.

Brook Benten (+ Brotherbear), gearing up to run, very newly pregnant. 08/2016

Brook Benten (+ Brotherbear), gearing up to run, very newly pregnant. 08/2016

I am not ashamed of my body, as it looks today, but much less important than the image is the strength, stamina, and resilience that this body represents. So, I live inside it with confidence and appreciation to my Maker.

Here’s the birthing soundtrack that welcomed Sisterbear into the world and sets the tunes for my jogs now:

1. Goodbye Says It All (BlackHawk) 2. This Time (Sawyer Brown) 3. My Maria (Brooks & Dunn) 4. Every Once In a While (BlackHawk) 5. Party Crowd (David Lee Murphy) 6. I Sure Can Smell the Rain (BlackHawk) 7. Six Days on the Road (Sawyer Brown) 8. Almost a Memory Now (BlackHawk) 9. Indian Outlaw (Tim McGraw) 10. There You Have It (BlackHawk) 11. John Deere Green (Joe Diffie) 12. Like there Ain’t no Yesterday (BlackHawk) 13. Learning as You Go (Rick Trevino- this is the song I had on repeat the day our beloved dog passed, 2 years and 1 month before Sisterbear’s birth- such a sad day!) 14. Down In flames (BlackHawk) 15. My Second Home (Tracy Lawrence) 16. If Bubba Can Dance (Shenandoah) 17. Better Man, Better Off (Tracy Lawrence) 18. Good Times (Charlie Robison- the ringtone on my phone!) 19. Lucky 4 You Tonight I’m Just Me (SheDaisy) 20. Blue Clear Sky (George Strait) 21. Here for a Good Time (George Strait) 22. I’m In (Radney Foster) 23. Roll On (Alabama) 24. The Fireman (George Strait)

 

Posted in Mamabear by BB | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mama and the Murph

15 days postpartum, doing the Murph workout.

15 days postpartum, doing the Murph workout.

On Memorial Day, we remember fallen soldiers, like US Navy Seal, Michael P Murphy, of whom we dedicate the “Murph” workout. (Murphy received the highest US military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his service to our country in Afghanistan).

The MURPH consists of 1-mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 squats, and another 1-mile run.

Trust me, if I can do this with my broken lady parts, you can do this! The key is breaking it up into manageable pieces- and modifying where necessary.*

I did the first mile, no problem (I was videotaping a message for my Instagram story- it makes time fly by… if you don’t trip and fall from distracted jogging!)

Next, I planned on breaking up the strength up to five sets of 20 pull-ups, 40 push ups, and 60 squats. I got through three sets and the heat and humidity in my garage paired with the boredom of counting out all those squats made me decide it was time to go ahead and do the other mile run.

Mom boobs pose a running challenge. I ran the second Murph mile like this!

Mom boobs pose a running challenge. I ran the second Murph mile like this!

That mile at the end is no joke! You could cut the Texas humidity today with a knife. I struggled, especially having “new mom boobs.” These things are going to take some getting used to! I ran this whole mile, feebly trying to hold my girls in place.

I was a wet mop at the end of this workout! But it feels amazing, especially knowing that thousands of others in the Land of the Free and the Brave are giving the best of their strength and endurance to do this very thing today.

*I performed the pull-ups with heavy strength band assistance, push ups on the knees, and squats with body weight only.

**I returned later in the day, at two different times, to knock out the remaining sets of 20/40/60 pull-ups, push ups, squats.

IMG_8456

Post-Murph!

Post-Murph!

Posted in Mamabear by BB | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

12 Days of Sisterbear

SIMG_8369isterbear eats well, sleeps well, coos sweetly, and doesn’t cry much. If she could just stay this way- uh, you know… forever- that would be excellent.

Mamabear Medusa

Mamabear Medusa

I’m doing well! I look a mess- like Medusa, but instead of snakes coming out of my head, I have a ratty half-bun. But that’s just because I spend time on important stuff, like making coffee, playing on Instagram, and kissing all over little baby.

Speaking of coffee, you know what it pairs really well with? A warm butter croissant with Creme Fraiche. I told myself that after pregnancy, this had to stop, but it’s too good. I can’t, just yet. I also dice red bell pepper, mushrooms, and spinach and throw an egg over easy on top… so, that’s breakfast. The way I see it, the fiber and protein in the veggies and egg counter all the carbs and fat in the croissant with French cream. As a new mom who spends 4 hours a night breastfeeding while the world is sleeping, I refuse to feel guilty about my indulgence. Mmmmm! It’s so good. Can’t wait for breakfast to come again tomorrow.

The rest of the day pretty much rushes by with baby feedings, preschooler negotiations, dishes, laundry, making snacks Brotherbear will refuse to eat, and visiting with company. So I couldn’t tell you what I eat for lunch or dinner. It’s a blur, but there’s usually good wine. I’m not drinking much, so I’m shelling out the dough for the yummy stuff. (My faves are The Prisioner if I’m drinking red, or Blindfold if I’m drinking white. Both are blends. It’s some of the best wine you’ll ever have).

Another part of my daily routine: a 4-mile leisurely walk, pushing a stroller. Trust me, this is sloooow. I actually waited four days after giving birth to even attempt a walking workout. On Wednesday, at 10 days postpartum, I was feeling good and thought I’d attempt a run. I went for half an hour at 7-minutes jog, 1-minute walk intervals. It was too much, too soon. My undercarriage had started to heal and that run set me back. So I took yesterday off, altogether, and, today, got back to the 4-mile granny-paced walk.

Yesterday, I had a great meeting with Austin’s own Trigger Point and TRX master trainer, Britny Fowler. We have a filming project in the works for mid-June.

This is how Austin, TX  fitmoms do business meetings.

This is how Austin, TX fitmoms do business meetings.

We also both have kids, so our business meetings look like this.

My body won’t be as taunt, strong, or powerful as it will eventually be, but that’s not the point. I’ll be able to limp by and hopefully deliver education that will make a difference in helping people train smart, safe, and effectively. The filming will be in Austin, which is good, but just know when the videos come out, my mind was (will be) 60% on whatever fitness exercise I’m teaching and 40% on hoping whoever is watching Sisterbear is able to get her to take a bottle, treating Brotherbear and her lovingly, and not buried in her iPhone the whole time she’s babysitting.

11 days postpartum body after baby- full disclosure

11 days postpartum body after baby- full disclosure

11 days postpartum body after baby- full disclosure

11 days postpartum body after baby- full disclosure

Posted in Mamabear by BB | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sisterbear Enters the World on Mother’s Day

IMG_8122-2

Happy Mother’s Day, BB!

Over a week past my due date, I went to bed on Saturday night with my Sunday (Mother’s Day) planned.  I would get up, go on my favorite 4-mile jog route, go to church, then had a few afternoon errands to run.  Baby had other plans.  Around 2:30am, I woke up and felt some mild cramping.  Being that it was the wee small hours of the morning, I thought I was just tired and delirious, wishing and willing the baby would come.  ”Brush it off,” I thought.  ”Go back to sleep.”  I couldn’t.  I was keenly aware of this tiny tinge of discomfort that kept coming about every five or six minutes.  Better safe than sorry, I surmised.  I called my mother at 3am to come over, emphasizing it’s probably a false labor alarm and to take her time.  ”I’LL BE RIGHT THERE!”  She enthusiastically replied.  (She rear ended into another car in her driveway in hot pursuit to make good on that promise!)  My husband and I both showered, shaved, and I even considered flat ironing my hair, but hubs gave me the “c’mon, BB” look, so I grabbed my bag to hit the road.  We went to the hospital where they pulled out a wheelchair to take me up to L&D.  At this point, I could have done walking lunges all the way to L&D, but I do like special treatment- so I made my tush comfy in the wheelchair and took the ride to a delivery room.

First smile

First smile

“On a scale from 1-10, where would you rate your pain?” Asked the nurse.  ”A one,” I replied, proud of warrior-like strength.  Unprovoked, I also offered that I would NOT be requiring an epidural.  ”Ok,” said the nurse, but also mentioned that the anesthesiologist was not at the hospital and would need to be called to come in, if I changed my mind.  I assured her I would not be changing my mind.  At this point, they had checked me and I was dilated to 6cm and 100% effaced; I was in labor.  This was going to happen!  I was giddy with excitement.  I grabbed my iPhone and began my birthing playlist.  As a 90s Country fanatic, I had faves like Joe Diffie’s “John Deere Green” and David Lee Murphy’s “Party Crowd” pumping through the speakers, rocking that hospital room!  We weren’t halfway through the second song on the playlist when labor got REAL!  Real, real!!  The contraction pain went from null to “crap, crap, crap, crappety crap, crap” very quickly.  Those little devils stockpiled on each other, too.  Not only was I in mind-blowing pain, but as soon as one would end, another would begin.  No one should ever have to endure this kind of pain- EVER!  ”Epidural!  Please!”  I gasped between breaths.  Oh yeah, there was that thing about needing to give anesthesiologist time to get to the hospital from wherever his home was.  I’m convinced he, too, must have chosen to take a bath, shave, and flat iron his hair.  No pain meds, my water had broken, and the head was coming out.  ”Don’t push if you want an epidural,” said the nurse.  She checked my dilation, and I was now beyond the 1-10cm scale.  I was at a +1.  The baby was coming, ready or not.  At this point, the contractions were so strong that pushing wasn’t something I could hold back.  Involuntarily, my body was pushing that head out.  Bloody murder was I in pain!!!  Unspeakable pain!!  I had wanted this.  It was exactly the birthing story I had hoped for, and at 5:56am, the baby arrived.  We found out the gender: it was a girl!  Welcome to the world, baby Julie Anna!!

Rest, beautiful baby

Rest, beautiful baby

Oh my goodness, I loved her- and love her deeper each passing moment.  But a GIRL!  The world can be so tough on girls.  Mothers can be so tough on girls.  Life can be so tough on girls.  I’m pretty sure I’ll have to volunteer as a Middle School coach, just so she’ll have backup to handle all the cliquish little bitches.  In high school, if any pimple-faced boy thinks he’s going to steal my daughter’s innocence, I will beat him with what we in the kettlebell world know as a “beast.”  A 105.6 pound kettlebell is a beast.  I will go after him with the anger of Mamabear, armed with the ammo of a beast.

 

I may now have a spending problem on all things "pink."

I may now have a spending problem on all things “pink.”

After school, when she’s trying to live her dream, I want her to make the world better in whatever way she feels gifted and called, but, Lord, don’t let her be a fitness model.  I love my work as a fitness educator, journalist, and spokesperson.  I am blessed by all of my opportunities to help show people what’s possibly by adhering to a fit lifestyle.  Image is always going to be a part of that.  The dehumanizing part happens when the photograph of a physically fit female is not seen as a fit woman or inspirational human being.  The person, herself, is reduced to a sex symbol.  I hope to take jobs and project my image, socially, in ways that inspire people but keeps my humanity, and, indeed, promote fitness and change lives.  Mamabear has learned how to brush off objectification, but should anyone dare ogle Sisterbear, claws are going to have to come out.  (I see now why Nanabear had her own reservations over my choice to walk this path.  It comes from a place of protection).  IF little Julie Anna decides she wants to positively impact the world through some other trade or industry, I would take a sigh of relief.

I want to wake up like this every morning, forever!

I want to wake up like this every morning, forever!

I hope I raise her right.  I hope I protect her.  I hope she knows she can come to me with anything.  I hope she knows I’m on her side.  I hope she knows my pride in her goes beyond her wildest dreams.  I hope she will talk to me when she has problems.  I hope I can be the mother she deserves.  Thank you, Lord, for the blessing you have trusted me with in giving me Sisterbear: 6lb 9.6oz, 18″ Julie Anna on Sunday, May 14 at 5:56am.  I am truly overcome and enveloped with gratitude.

Papabear, Daniel; Brotherbear, Hayes; Julie Anna and I are all doing great!

Posted in Mamabear by BB | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Another At-Home Workout In 10

One just wasn’t enough!  Here’s the SISTER workout to compliment the one from yesterday.  The Express Workout in yesterday’s post was predominantly pushing and power.  This one is predominantly pulling and agility.  Together, they’ll morph you into a metabolically fit machine!!!!

Today is my due date… sure wish this workout would have induced labor!  Baby seems to be enjoying just taking part in the fitness regime in my belly.  Mamabear coming soon!

Posted in Fitness, Strength, & Conditioning, Mamabear by BB | Leave a comment

At-Home Workout in 10

Got 10-minutes, a kettlebell, and a plyo box? Here’s an express workout, sure to challenge every fitness level. It sure showed me, at 40-weeks pregnant, my own strength!

Here’s to the gift of an able body and the determination to use it to its full potential!

20 kettlebell snatches; 10 incline plank to bench jumps. x5.

10-minute Kettlebell & Plyo Box workout from Brook Benten on Vimeo.

Posted in Fitness, Strength, & Conditioning, Mamabear by BB | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment