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“The MomME Files” #2: Work It Out, Work It In

By Erika Brechtel @smallshopstudio

  “The MomME Files” #2: Work It Out, Work It In
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Happy Friday! It’s going to be a beautiful weekend here — officially the start of summer, woo hoo! But seeing how May is Women’s Health Month, I figured a diet and exercise post dedicated to all you moms and busy women out there was definitely in order! 

I am often asked how I got back in shape, post-baby — I’m here to tell you, I have no idea. Kidding! Seriously though, it’s nothing drastic, and forever a work in progress. I ran track and played collegiate soccer so I’ve always been fairly active, but when I hit 30, my metabolism slowed big time. Fast forward “a few” years later, two knee surgeries, a baby, and suddenly I realized: there really isn’t going to be a “perfect” time to take better care of myself, so I might as well start somewhere. What did I/do I do? I’m by no means a personal trainer or nutritionist, but here’s some of what has worked for me… and as always, I’d love to hear what works for you!



“Me” Time
Mom or not, women are busy busy. Taking a break to get to the gym for me is a luxury. I don’t see it as “exercise” but more of a time I get to listen to my fave tunes, clear my head, and bonus: my creativity and energy level increase, making me more productive in general. (Moms, if that makes you feel too selfish, think of it this way: you’re modeling a healthy lifestyle for your kids, and don’t you want to be able to keep up with them throughout life?)

You gotta start somewhere.
I think the biggest hurdle is just getting started. But there comes a point when you have to be honest with yourself: hello, you’re not getting any younger, and no one else is going to look out for you but YOU. Start slowly and build it up over time — it should make you feel good about yourself, not bad!

Anything is better than nothing!
Even if I can only get on the treadmill for 20 minutes before picking up my daughter from school, I know it’s going to make my next workout that much easier. That is motivation enough to get me in there even for a bit, no matter how busy I am. (And I just run a little faster!)



Try a juice cleanse (and get 15% off!)
I’m kick-starting my summer with a juice cleanse from Ritual Wellness! They’re the only USDA certified 100% organic cold-pressed juicing company out there, and I love the fact that you can get 3+ pounds of fresh veggies in just one bottle of their greens juices. I want you to try a cleanse with me! Until June 9th, get 15% off a 3-day Classic or Seasonal Reset Cleanse with code MomMeReader! And add a few Shred workout juices at 15% off while you’re at it…

No diets! This is for life.
A diet implies there’s a beginning and an end, but there just isn’t a quick fix. I think it’s much easier to make small changes that you can live with, for life. Me, I don’t deprive myself or overindulge. Instead, I’ve figured out what works for me: I’m anemic so I do need to eat red meat every 2-3 days, which keeps up my energy level. I don’t buy sweets or white bread products for the house — no temptation there! And throughout the workday I’ll opt for healthy choices, which means for dinners, weekends, events, etc. I don’t really need to worry about it. Kinda nice!

Water water water…and more water.
I’ll be the first to tell you I’m a coffee (a.m.) and wine (p.m.) drinker — my vices! But I fill up a large water bottle and keep it on my desk to hydrate all day long. (I swear I’m not a health freak, I just function better with it!)



Cute outfits (duh)
Lululemon is like a uniform here in the O.C. (is it where you live, too?). I find it to be stupid expensive but actually worth it. Maybe start with just one piece — and then get your other brand name gear on discount sites like

Invest in good footwear.
I’ve had four knee surgeries (ugh), so good running shoes are critical for me — I’m a big Asics fan. But you can go to a running store and they’ll check your gait, stance, etc. to make sure you’re getting the right type of shoe. And replace your shoes every six months!

Music makes me move!
I cannot workout without good music, and Spotify is the best, seriously! It’s like iTunes and Pandora in one. You can listen to anything and create your own playlists. Download it for free on a computer, but it’s totally worth the $9.99/month to have the ability to listen to anything, anywhere, anytime online, on my phone, at the gym, in the car, while I’m cooking…the best! And be sure to get proper headphones meant for exercise (I love my Yurbuds!).



3x/week, minimum
I’ve heard that this is what you need to maintain. I find this is what I need to make sure I’m moving forward. I can definitely feel an improvement every time, and that is a great feeling. If you can get out more often, even better!

Find fun exercise options that work for you.
After the four knee surgeries, there isn’t much I can do besides running and spinning, and that works for me. But there are sooo many interesting, fun classes out there you can take — indoor and out! Mix it up to keep it interesting — I’d love to hear about them and live vicariously through you!

Don’t forget the weights!
This is especially important for women to prevent osteoporosis later in life. I only hit 5-6 machines — quick, easy, does the trick, for now.



Find your Mommy Muse.
I just picked up a copy of Brooke Burke’s book Naked Mama and discovered her website for moms, that includes a boatload of articles, tips, exercises, recipes…you name it. (BTW I do not know how that woman has had five kids! That is inspiration enough, right?)

Book a trip.
Putting a real deadline on the calendar always keeps me on task — especially one where I’ll either see a lot of people I know and want to feel my best, and/or I’ll have to get into a bikini! Scare tactics = they do work.

This past year I’ve met two fantastic women who have really inspired me with their “YOLO” mantra – you only live once! So I’m making the most of it. I hope you are too!


What works for you?

And in case you missed it, check out “The MomME Files” #1: Dress to Impress Yourself >

“The MomME Files” #2: Work It Out, Work It In

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“The MomME Files” #2: Work It Out, Work It In

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