I met Amy Haley Hoehn at a class I took recently at Staccato Barre in Saratoga. We are both mama’s with a passion for weightlifting and fitness in general and I was especially excited that she wanted to share some of her knowledge with me and with us! Welcome Amy to the SaratogaMama blog…
I once described fitness as Fitness. As in, the body-builder’s version of looking toned and lean in spandex and acrylic nails. I trained long hours in the gym and attacked deltoids, quads, hamstrings from multiple angles, countless reps, drop-sets, pause-sets, concentrations… As a gambler wagers his last dollar on a long shot I would give my last ragged breath to complete the final rep. I’d go home spent and fatigued the remainder of the night, sipping BCAA’s and protein shakes.
I probably would have been content to stay on this routine but something happened with my toddler. He suddenly wasn’t a toddler anymore. He wanted to chat with Mama and play tag and crouch on the floor to look at beetles. And I was finding I didn’t have the energy for him. I found myself asking over and again “Why can’t he sit still??” and then realizing the question was: “Why can’t I keep up with him”? As well as “Why can’t I get down to the floor to sit with Luca”?
The answer was pretty clear. I was overtraining and had significant loss of mobility. This may not resonate with everyone; it may be a lack of exercise that is zapping energy levels. We all know how long hours at the office or commuting can exhausting and limit mobility.
However, the simple answer may be appropriate for all of us: less time at the gym, more time working on flexibility, and incorporating activity into the home. Changing the concept of fitness to encompass being parents and athletes (and professionals!) can make us better at both.
My first step was incorporating circuit training into my routine. These offer high yield benefits in a short time frame. Circuit training is terrific because it can fatigue multiple muscle groups without requiring rest between sets. The real key is to work different muscles or body parts back to back to allow one to rest while the other is busy. I will typically include a cross-fit workout or a strength- speed split at least twice a week.
Secondly, I brought my gym home. Exercising where the little ones can see is terrific incentive for them to be active; plus they love to brag about their strong or fast Mums and Dads. My son joins me for sprints, stair climbs, agility ladders, and when I dig out my Olympic bar he uses a broomstick or PVC pipe. He loves to add resistance to my pushups by hopping on my back! Ugh, that’s when the work part of the workout begins. If you don’t have basement space for a full gym, resistance bands are a great option for the home.
The final point I would like to make is on mobility. Hydration has a huge impact on muscle health and elasticity. Dehydrated tissue loses its ability to stretch and there by inhibits necessary function. Try classes you are unfamiliar with, get outside your comfort zone! Barre classes isolate the glutes and hamstrings, which really allow elongation of the hip flexors. Yoga’s active stretching has worked wonders to open my chest and relax my upper back. Working on mobility in the home is simple. Join in kids’ activities. Spend a few minutes a day squatting, move the chairs out of the way for tea parties. Incorporate relaxing stretches as part of the bedtime routine. Children love to learn about their own bodies!
So, what is my description of fitness today? As, you can guess it has much to do with my Luca.
Fitness is my ability to be an engaged mom and a healthy role model, allowing life to surprise me and preparing my body for the unexpected.
And remembering to leave my ego at the door, cause it’s usually a David that topples Goliath.
Ways To Get Motivated:
Listen To This:
“Katy Bowman is a master’s level Biomechanist and the only human physics scientist that has focused her expertise to address our country’s epidemic-level health crisis and the mechanical causes of disease.” Mobility matters, alignment matters.
“How Being Fit can Keep You Safe and Improve Your Day” by Amy D. Hester
Do This Circuit Workout:
Beginners: 5 Times Through
Advanced: 10 Times Through
10 Push Ups
20 Air Squats
300 Meter Run
Amy Haley Hoehn is a mother, N.A.S.M Certified Personal Trainer, Cross Fit L1 Trainer, and graduate of the Center for Natural Wellness and Massage Therapy. Her cross training and body sculpting program HardBalance is available at Staccato Barre in Downtown Saratoga. Please visit www.staccatobarre.com to schedule a class.