Tom and I are thrilled to introduce our FIT readers to our newest FIT-family member, Lev! Lev means “heart” in Hebrew and he has certainly stolen ours…


Lev announcement

Lev did not come into this world the way I was expecting him to and it got me thinking about managing expectations.

The fact is, people love to offer advice to pregnant women. Whether it be about the level of activity that is advisable (I got a lot of grief about working too hard/exercising too much…I was not doing either), what you should or shouldn’t be eating (as is true for non-pregnancy, healthy whole foods are advisable whether you are pregnant or not), how you should be prepping for your new arrival, how much weight you should be gaining, and, of course, the BIRTH PLAN. So many people asked me about my “birth plan” and I always answered the same way. “My plan is to get the baby out in the safest way possible for both the baby and for me”.

Thank goodness that was my mentality throughout the pregnancy because whatever ideal birth plan I had in the back of my mind certainly went out the window.

I ended up having to have a pretty drama-free C-section because my baby’s heart rate dropped every time I would contract. He was never in danger. He was being monitored the whole time. But after several hours of watching this trend, my OBGYN advised us to consider a C-section. He would have let me labor longer, but said the trend was consistent and in his medical opinion, I could labor longer and we would either be in an emergency C-section situation if the baby’s heart rate dropped and didn’t recover, or that I would labor for so long and exhaust myself so much that they would recommend a C-section anyways (just 24 hours of labor and no sleep later…) We trusted him and we were right to. The cord was wrapped so when I would have those small contractions, I was strangling him for a second. Instead of putting my son in danger, he came out perfect and healthy.

Here were some things I heard about why C-sections were the worst: Your child won’t latch. They are less healthy. They don’t bond because you can’t do skin to skin contact immediately. The recovery from a C-section is awful.

My son latched immediately. My husband got to hold him right after he was born so he got plenty of loving asap. His apgar score was a 9 – which I have since learned is rare and about as high as a kid can get. And yes – this recovery is unpleasant and I am frustratingly immobile, but I don’t think there is a great way to get these babies out. All roads lead to recovery. Basically, he was healthy and I was healthy. Exactly the outcome I was looking for, right? Just not in the form I was expecting.

What does this have to do with you (unless you are pregnant)? Kind of everything…

Managing expectations is HUGELY important to your health journey. When I start with a new client and they have set unrealistic goals, I always try to re-frame the conversation. Instead of “I need to lose 10 lbs in 2 weeks” (which is very unlikely, and basically impossible unless you go to unhealthy and extreme measures to achieve it), we try to talk about feeling stronger, what healthy and sustainable weight loss looks like, and what they can expect to see within 4-6 weeks if they put in the work (like monitoring eating habits, switching to all whole foods, removing as many sugars as possible, moving EVERY DAY and exerting yourself at least 4-5 times per week, etc). If they start with a trainer, or join a gym and expect to see massive changes within a short period of time, they are going to give up when they don’t see those changes. But 6 months down the line, if you have achieved the ultimate goal, do you really care if it took 3 months or 4 months to get there? Particularly when you have maintained that goal weight, or are pushing yourself much harder in your workouts 6 months later? No – because you got what you were looking for.

I could have fought the Dr. on the C-section and tried to labor. I could have been upset after the inevitable C-section was upon me. Or I could focus on the healthy baby.

As I start this journey into motherhood, I am hoping to continue to manage my expectations because creating a world of unrealistic expectations for not only Lev, but my recovery, will just lead to frustration. I hope you will try to stay present, and take every day as it comes with me. It is a much healthier place to be in – mentally and physically.


Exercise and Cancer

If you have been dragging your feet about starting an exercise program, here is a little inspiration: Exercise may lower your cancer risk.

According to an article in The New York Times, “Exercise is strongly associated with lowered risks for many types of cancer. In epidemiological studies, people who regularly exercise generally prove to be much less likely to develop or die from the disease than people who do not…a new study (published this month in Cell Metabolism) in mice…suggests that exercise may change how the immune system deals with cancer by boosting adrenaline, certain immune cells and other chemicals that, together, can reduce the severity of cancer or fight it off altogether.”

The study is pretty fascinating so we suggest checking the article out…but basically:

Exercise = Good

Sedentary = Bad

Check out the video links we have provided on the blog, join your local gym, get out for a walk (when it is not pouring…), sign up for a class and commit, start training for a small race, or call the FitTrition team today and get started on a customized workout program. There is no time like the present!


Keeping Your Zen While the City Cleans Up…(Slowly)

We hope all our FIT readers survived the snowfall of the century! Is there anyone still waiting to get plowed out?

Assuming you have been freed, you will need to practice patience out there on the roads as the entire DMV area is still quite the mess. Three lane roads down to one, icy conditions, road closures…the list of traffic headaches goes on and on.

As a mobile training company, our trainers spend a lot of time in the car so they have picked up a few tips on avoiding road rage and driving in sub-optimal conditions.

Need some zen in the car? Make sure you have something to listen to that interests you – be it music, a good podcast, the news, etc. Won’t seem so bad to be “stuck in the car” if you feel engaged and interested.

Also, remember that other drivers are HUMAN BEINGS. Louis C.K. puts it best…(WARNING: may not be safe for work or with young kiddos around…)

Still need a good laugh/some real advice? Read these tips on how to drive your car in the snow…I think people in this area need this little lesson.

If none of these tips work, try to relax and unwind with a delicious, nutritious and hearty meal after a frustrating day on the road. Spring can’t be that far away…can it?

In honor of soup-week for all of the East Coast, check out this recipe:

Spicy Grain Soup (courtesy of Food and Wine Magazine)

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  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • Water
  • 1/2 cup short-grain brown rice
  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • 1 tablespoon light olive oil
  • 3 ancho or dried mulato chiles—stemmed, seeded and broken into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, halved
  • 2 quarts vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups canned diced tomatoes
  • 6 cilantro sprigs, plus 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps thinly sliced
  • One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium carrot, finely diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, finely diced
  • 1 medium parsnip, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup salted roasted pumpkin seeds
  1. In a medium saucepan, cover the barley with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until tender, about 35 minutes; drain. Return the barley to the pan and cover. In another medium saucepan, cover the brown rice with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until tender, about 35 minutes. Drain the brown rice and add to the barley.
  2. In a medium bowl, cover the bulgur with 1 cup of hot water. Cover and let stand until the water is absorbed, 10 minutes.
  3. In a large, heavy pot, heat the olive oil. Add the chiles, onion and garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes, cilantro sprigs and allspice and season with 1 tablespoon of salt and a pinch of pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes. Let cool slightly. Puree the soup in a blender and return to the pan.
  4. Add the mushrooms, black beans, carrot, zucchini and parsnip to the pureed soup and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Add the barley, rice and bulgur and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and chopped cilantro and serve.