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Dear Facebook,

It’s not you, it’s me. No, really.

You have been a good pal, a way for me to deal with my anxiety, something to stare at while I’m having trouble falling asleep. But lately, the outrage du jour, the political hand wringing, the way you allow people to use a screen to block off their sense of common decency, all is coming together to leave me with a constant sense of overwhelm.

I love that 90% of moms with children under 5 have Facebook accounts that they access at least daily. You have provided me with a great way for me to connect with my friends, my family, and people who I have loved going back to my childhood.

I love that I can learn more about my dad’s Parkinson’s through an online support group—you are GREAT for support groups. I know more about what my dad is going through, even though he will never talk to me about it.

But I don’t love that people seem to forget that they are talking to other human beings. People have so much anger, and when they aren’t looking at a face or body language, they don’t need to think about how...

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Today, I'd like to say Thank You to McDonald's.

Right after Stroller Strides class, I took my 3 year old son in to his pediatrician so we could get some kind of action plan for his asthma. He has been having more and more really acute episodes, and it was time to deal with it.

HOWEVER....

They found something shoved into his tiny little ear. It was hard and bright green. The pediatrician stuck a curette into his ear to try to get it out. The nurses did an ear lavage with a massive syringe, and nothing worked. By the end, he was sobbing and yelling "Owie!!" and I was promising ice cream. They gave me the number for the ENT, saying it could wait a couple of days, and we left.

If you're not from here, there's a joke. Minnesota has 2 seasons. Winter and Road Construction! hahahahahaha....sigh.

I loaded him back into the car, and started driving down Excelsior Boulevard, which was only moving in the direction I was headed, because there was no northbound on ramp to the highway the road crosses. I decided to call the ENT on my way home to get the...

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Today, I taught a Stroller Strides class barefoot.

Take a second to let that sink in.

I got back from a trip last night at 9pm, solo with 2 kids, one of whom got sick on the plane before we even took off.

He has asthma, and we arrived at the airport with him in active asthma attack. Because of what is going on with TSA, the ticket agent basically told me that if we treated him before we went through security, we could miss our flight.

She was so amazing and ZIPPED us through security with nebulizer in tow and got us a ride to the gate, where the driver of the cart kicked a guy out of the seats with the outlet next to them so I could give my 3 year old his albuterol.

We all boarded and the door was closed, and I was sighing a breath of relief when we were alerted that our plane was 25th in line to take off. My son suddenly spiked a fever, and fell asleep. I woke him up to see if he could drink some water, and he promptly threw up. Those little bags? You have to be prepared for sudden weight or you might miss some. Yes, we...

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What’s YOUR story?

My challenge to you is to listen CAREFULLY to your story and decide if it’s serving you.

Let me illustrate my point with a couple of anecdotes.

My mother has always had arthritis for as far back as I can remember. It was one of those things we knew. She couldn’t do a certain thing because she had arthritis. She knitted not only because she was good at it, but because it was also good for the arthritis. But it became MY story too. A couple of years before I turned 40, I mentioned that when it was cool and rainy, I had a hard time feeling warm. I would wear many layers, socks, slippers, etc, drink hot tea, etc. “Maybe you’re starting to get arthritis.” She said. That’s all it took. I watched my fingers for any sign of ache. I would get cold when it rained, just WAITING to get one of those magic weather forecasting joints (you always hear from the guy who broke his leg 20 years ago, “my leg aches when it’s going to rain”).

Then, last year, my mother mentioned in passing that she had had rheumatic fever when she was a kid, and...

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Chances are, if you're reading this, you're a mom.

You have put your time in nursing, you have cuddled, rocked, swayed, bounced your baby to sleep, your children come into your bed for morning snuggles, sit on your lap while you eat, ask you to read when you're folding clothes, yell at you about the yogurt while you're on a call to your boss, etc. You have shared your body with them. You're a good mom. But now it's time to get your body back. It's going to be yours for a long time.

10. You get to have Mom's Night (or morning) Out TWICE A WEEK. Yes, it's a workout, but it's also some great "me" time.

9. It's already in your schedule, so you know how you're going to fit your workout in. You can choose either a morning or an evening session to fit YOUR busy schedule. Once you book, you know where you're going to be, every Tuesday and Thursday, for just 8 weeks.

8. When you feel like giving up, you have someone to cheer you on! The program is run by an experienced and empathetic coach who has BEEN THERE.

7. Who wants to diet? Why not eat...

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I recently introduced myself to another fitness professional and told her I own FIT4MOM Twin Cities. She pointed to her stomach and said “We could all use some fit mom action!” My response was the “Oh STOP” that you do. I mostly just wanted to sit her down and pick her brain about her work life balance. She’s beautiful, vibrant and successful, and the last thing I noticed was her stomach.

Which brings me to the “I’m a fitness pro, and I feel a lot of pressure to look better than everyone else” part of the program. Many years ago, I saw a New York Times article (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/01/fashion/thursdaystyles/new-breed-of-trainers-are-proving-fat-is-fit.html?_r=0) about heavier fitness instructors. I had always thought that only skinny bubbly people went into fitness. The woman I had talked to was in NO WAY heavy, but she wasn’t sporting a 6 pack. She looked like a normal human being.

It turns out that people who teach fitness...

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I have this problem. I have a really hard time when people who LOVE the thing they love act like you're bad or wrong if you don't.

Why is this such a problem? I own a Fit4Mom franchise. I love the people who run this business dearly, and I BELIEVE in their idea that moms do better when we work out together, lean on one another for support, and are better mothers when we take time for ourselves. I quote Lisa Druxman, the founder, and Farel Hruska, the Fitness Director, to my clients. What they say makes sense to me.

However, I will not tell someone that Lisa’s way is the only way. If you are a mom, and you get more out of getting on a treadmill when the kids are still asleep, or doing Cross Fit or Zumba, FINE. If you come to my class and decide that no, you would REALLY prefer to check your kid into child care and get some alone time, FINE. My way is NOT the only way.

What is the only way? YOUR WAY. As someone who cares for a child, you deserve the following:

  • To take care of yourself.
  • To feel like care-giving isn’t taking everything...
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So the tagline of Fit4Mom is “helping moms make strides in fitness, motherhood, and life,” and while I generally stay away from motherhood topics, I wanted to share my point of view.

There have been some conflicting articles about playground time. One side says “don’t help my kid out because you remove her ability to do things herself”, and the other side says “Get off your smartphone and spend 5 minutes with your kid.” I’m going to present a 3rd argument. Safety first. But not the way you think.

Yesterday, my family was at the playground, and the equipment was slightly too advanced for my 2 year old. He is a VERY TALL 2 year old. Like 99th percentile. But his dad is 6’6”, so we accept that our kids are big. He also has a 7 year old sister, who has been extremely good at her gross motor skills from a very young age—climbing before walking, sliding face first down big kid slides at 10 months, etc. She taught him how to do big kid movement from the beginning.

My 2 year old son was playing with a 4 year old boy (he was slumming it because his sister was...

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Love yourself first!

Valentine’s Day is coming up fast, and my husband will be working all weekend, so it got me thinking about what I’d do for the kids so they’d see it as a fun time rather than about couples.

I mean, Valentine’s is all about sharing some special time with the one you love, right? St Valentine was actually a Roman era priest who helped Roman soldiers get married even though they were forbidden to do so. So okay, forbidden but blessed love at the same time. Way cool.

I actually had written a whole post about getting some self-love just by letting the chips fall while you lock the bathroom door for 2 minutes of peeing alone.

But then I started listening to Lisa Druxman’s Motivating Mom podcast. Lisa is a truth teller. I had heard her story, but she digs down and gets to the point of things. It made me really sit and think about what I was prioritizing. And it got me onto a whole other train of thought. (After I wiped the tears from my face, that is.)

Her point in her...

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I recently had a conversation with a client about Crossfit. I admit I know nothing about it. But what I do know is that ZILLIONS (I counted) of people are getting incredibly strong and fit going to their local CrossFit gyms.

Here’s the thing. She said she didn’t care for it when people acted like it was the ONLY way to get healthier. And I responded that I didn’t care for any fitness group that acted like their way was the ONLY way. Everyone has to find THEIR THING. Do you have A THING? Is it yoga? Is it running? Is it Zumba? Great. Do that. It will keep you wanting to do it.

Sure, I’d love it if your thing was one of MY classes, but I actually don’t think that stroller fitness IS for everyone. And that’s okay. Maybe that’s not going to get me rich, but then that wasn’t my goal going into this.

What I really want is for more people to LOVE fitness. For them to LOVE setting goals for themselves and CRUSHING THEM. I wouldn’t mind helping out with that, but I’m not going to shame you or tell you you’re WRONG for not coming to me. And you...

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Restarting an exercise regimen

So you had your baby, you waited 6 weeks (here’s a handy guide if you’re still waiting!) before restarting your workout regimen, and now you’re ready to go!! Good for you!

But WAIT!!!

Does this mean you get to go do bootcamp classes 4 times a week and run the other 3 days? NO. (Even elite athletes take one rest day, but that’s another post)

This just means that your body is ready to RESUME exercise. Not that you are ready to step right back to being a high level athlete.

How does this look? Everyone is different. But if this is your first baby, and you’re feeling really frustrated at the fact that you can’t fit into your prebaby jeans yet, just remember to be patient with yourself. First, if you are breastfeeding, EAT. It’s OKAY. Just eat nutritious foods that fuel your body and your baby.

Here’s what you can expect. And it’s all NORMAL. So don’t be too hard on yourself if...

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I recently got a chance to go to the movie “Into the Woods,” which I had seen on the stage as a teenager. This time, I saw it in a WHOLE new way.

What got me this time was Meryl Streep’s performance of “Stay With Me,” a song from a mother to a child (Rapunzel) who wants to grow up. The mother, the witch, says to her growing daughter, don’t grow up, stay with me. Okay. We all feel this way sometimes, but there is so much going on here.

First, are you a mother who loves her child? Check. Listen to this song with that in mind, and maybe you’ll see why I had tears just flowing down my face. I TOTALLY feel this way, ALL THE TIME. If I could just record this moment…If I could touch skin that felt like this in 20 years so I could remember how these babies were. If I could bottle the smell of this little head…You get the idea.

However, there’s a hitch to this song. The witch is a mother who is so overprotective she puts her kid in a tower and can’t let her grow up.

As a mother, you are...

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This was the January 2nd Friday Fitness with Farel blog post from our corporate FIT4MOM blog. This spoke to me so loud and clear that I wanted to share it here. Many thanks to Farel for permission to re-use!!

FRIDAY FITNESS WITH FAREL: "WHEN IT MATTERS ENOUGH TO YOU...YOU WILL"!

JANUARY 2, 2015

FAREL B. HRUSKA

Today is my mom's birthday. For my entire life, she has been a tremendous source of strength, love and levity for me. It seemed fitting for today's Friday Fitness blog post to be about one of the greatest phrases my mom ever told me. Whenever I was struggling with something or not gaining the level of accomplishment that I wanted, she would calmly and lovingly say, "Farel, when it matters enough to you...you will". It wasn't always the easiest thing to hear but like so many things our moms say, she was right!

So, here's my question to you: Do you goals matter enough to you? Where do you want to take your health and fitness this year? Dig deep when creating these goals. Find your REALLY BIG WHY when deciding what you want. Why does it matter...

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Like me, you’re probably noticing that almost every self-help or fitness blog is about New Year, New You right now. Well hey. Why break the mold?

But in my case, I’m thinking about some of the things we talk about in Body Back. At the beginning of each session, we set goals. We set 3 goals that we want to accomplish in 8 weeks, and 3 goals we want to accomplish in 1 year. There are loads of articles on reaching your goals, so I will not recap. I promise.

I set my own 2015 goals in the middle of 2014. A personal one was to compete in and complete a ½ marathon—scary because the last time I did this I competed on a sprain and wound up in physical therapy—I’m still licking the wounds of poor judgment 10 years later. A couple were business related: offer classes farther west, and to have a regular classtime for our prenatal fitness program, Fit4Baby.

Here’s where this gets more complicated. How do you translate goals into action?

What is your goal? Is it fitness related? What are the elements that will go into that goal? If your goal is “start...

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You make ALL the difference.