Category Archives: Postnatal Fitness

Free Workout Friday: Keep it Simple. 

For the inch-worm to press: Start in forearm plank position, push up to palms, then walk your feet towards your hands to a forward fold position. Grab your weights, come from the from the forward fold to standing and press the weight overhead. Come back down to forward fold, release weights, walk feet back, and lower back to the starting forearm plank position. That’s ONE rep. Pace yourself and give yourself time as you go. 

**Note: always start with a lighter weight and adjust as needed. Can be performed with a dumbbells or kettlebells.

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Free workout Fridays: One Band


**Note: always start with a lighter weight and adjust as needed. Can be performed with a barbell, dumbbells or kettlebells.


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You cannot, logically or physically “miss a Monday”.

As per usual, on this beautiful Monday morning, I’ve seen a few dozen “Never Miss A Monday!” posts on FB and IG. While I understand it’s well-meaning, it does more damage than good. This past Fall, I sparked a little “rah-rah” in the social media world with this post on my personal IG page, and felt like it needed to be dredged up again here (which is why the seasonal references are a bit… dated. But the message is still clear, and it’s IMPORTANT) as it speaks to what VSFF is about at its core.


Let’s talk about that phrase: Never Miss A Monday. Wanna know a, not-so-secret, secret? I hate it. Why? Because you legitimately cannot miss a Monday. Unless you die on a Sunday. Seriously. The whole entire approach is horrible. I get it. You want to tell people Mondays are important.

Guess what? We all know. Monday is a real ass kicker.

Those who don’t have weekend jobs are struggling to get back into the swing of that working thing. Kids up through college are dragging and shuffling to class.

Mondays suck. And they’re often the hardest day to get through.

Why on earth are we making it even worse by telling those who are trying to work on their best self, if you don’t get movement, eat “right”, etc… You failed! Why are we putting that added stress on?

Just stop it. All of it. I didn’t miss Monday. I hauled my exhausted ass that worked all weekend out of bed. I gathered all of my gear, and Moose, and was on the road to my parents house at 6 a.m., 11 miles away from my house, because that’s where Moose hangs out on Mondays. With Nanny and Bampy. Then, I drove the 8 miles to work. That’s right, my Mondays involve me driving 19 miles right off the bat (other work days, it’s just a 5 mile commute into the office). I worked a full 8 hour office day, trained a client, then came home and worked for my day job another two hours. I had a workout planned. I also hoped to get in some yoga since the past three days had been so entirely full that I didn’t do any. (That’s right all of you make time people, there are days when there isn’t time. You have to accept that and stop killing yourself trying to make time out of no time.) But my nephew had his first football game of the season. We had mud puddles in the driveway. I took 20 minutes out of my day to put my boots on, to put Moose’s snazzy new boots on – and go out and splash in the puddles. I pushed yoga aside to spend time jumping in dirty puddles with my child. Then, we packed up and shipped out to football. By the time we left that, made a stop at a store for things we needed, and got home, it was time for a very, very late dinner, quick showers and then bed.

Two things of importance here: don’t skip out on sleep to make time. Your body needs that reset button. Your brain, your heart, all that ooey gooey squishy inside NEEDS sleep. Neglecting it to “never miss a Monday” is only going to cause serious problems in the long run (and issues on the short term too). You are also sabotaging your goals by working out on little sleep, or working out exhausted. If you have weight-loss as a goal, you are messing with that too. So just don’t. At least 6 1/2 hours. Do it. You owe your damn body.

The most important thing: don’t miss moments to make time either. I get it, self-care. It’s important. But, I’m talking something different here. This whole thing of competing to be the busiest, boast the least amount of sleep time, the business of being busy – just quit it. Take the time with your children, your family, friends, loved ones. You need that too. If you’re consistently putting all of that off to the side to “never miss a Monday” you are short changing yourself.

You can makeup a missed workout. You can’t makeup missed time with loved ones.

Life is too damn short, and in the blink of an eye, they can be gone. …and you know what? For every Monday you are able to wake up, you’ve already checked in for your Monday. So, job done.

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Home workouts: Hip Thrust (modified)

Who says you can’t work out at home – affordably?

Most certainly not me. Did you know that I work with all of my clients exclusively in the comfort of their own homes? I do. Not only did I personally ditch the gym, but I’ve found that the home setting works best for my clients.

Most are working on building their own collection of fitness goodies, but some, I do bring bands, weights and balls along with when I work with them.

On this, social media deemed, “Workout Wednesday”, I’m starting a new series specifically focused on exercises that you can do from the comfort of your own home with minimal and universal “equipment” (sometimes you’ll be using that dining room chair and the yoga ball together… just trust me, it’s a good one).

Today’s exercise is the hip thrust. There’s several different ways that you can approach this from using your sofa, a yoga ball or even your child’s ABC puzzlemat pulled apart and stacked.

The hip thrust can be done with a variety of different resistance types. Most commonly seen, is a weight plate on the tops of the thighs. You can perform them with no weights, hold dumbbells or kettlebells at your sides, use a resistance band or a barbell (as seen in the photo below). You can also do them one-legged.

Hip thrust benefits: Hip thrusts target and activate those glute muscles. By building strong glutes, you’re creating a working part of the support system for your lower back which decreases back pain by aligning your pelvis (and during your pregnancy, that alignment is pretty awesome when it comes time to have that baby!). Hip thrusts are also a safe exercise postpartum.

How to: Rest your upper back/shoulder blades on the very front of your sofa or that stack (best to do 2-wide, and tucked up against a wall) of kiddie mat, and bend those knees. If you’re using a yoga ball, make sure it’s against the wall and lean against it with the top half of your back only. Holding the barbell across your lap, below your belly and more at your groin area (if you’re using dumbbells or kettlebells, hold them right at your hips), using your heels as your anchor point, lift your hips by squeezing your glutes until you’re a straight line from those knees all the way up to your shoulders. Do not overextend/rise! Then lower back to your starting position.

How many? Perform three sets of 10 reps with 90-seconds of rest between each set.


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Postnatal Wellness: Diastasis Recti

I posted this earlier on my FB page, but I feel that it needs the attention everywhere. Postnatal care is SO important, but most new moms don’t know where to even begin. The number of women who have never heard of diastasis recti is shocking. And what is even scarier is: the number of people (men can have DR too!) who DO know about DR and just sweep it aside is growing.

Peeing while you workout is not a badge of honor folks. It’s a sign that something serious can be going on inside of you.

What is diastasis recti? DR is abdominal separation. It most often occurs during pregnancy.

What are the effects of DR? The rectus abdominus (your outermost muscles) support the back and organs. When they separate, the connective tissue then becomes the support system for your back and organs. Thin connective tissue, unlike thick muscles, is far from a good support system for the back and organs. Effects of DR are most commonly back pain and displacement of your organs which causes gastrointestinal disturbances such as bloating and constipation. The displacement of organs will also cause poor posture. Umbilical hernia is another effect, and diastasis may also cause pelvic floor problems such as incontinence and prolapses.

diastasis_recti_illustration3Which means: Letting DR go un-rehabbed can be extremely harmful.

Not sure if you have DR? This piece from Girls Gone Strong (found here) is a great way to self-check. Still not sure? Reach out to an area physio/physical therapist who can help. They can check you, evaluate your separation if you have any, and they can also work with you on breathing exercises and moves that will begin the process of repairing.

At VanSpice Fitness, pre and postnatal training is my specialty. If you can’t find a PT in your area to help you out and you want guidance on checking, or if you find you do have DR and are looking for ways to properly repair it, please contact me at

You can also get a better understanding of DR from Mama Lion Strong (found here) with Jennifer’s blog post on the Healthy Habits Happy Moms blog page.

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