Dare to be… YOU

It’s been a while… go figure! But as we approach our 1 year anniversary of AMFstudio, I felt like I wanted to let you in my head and talk about something that I’ve struggled with for a long time– worrying about what other people think.

Now I know you’re all probably thinking either one of two things…

  1. Duh. We all do.
  2. Don’t ever care what people think of you!

I feel there’s really no in between with this.  You either worry about it, or you just go for it.

Well, I’m sure as a lot of you know… I’m in the “worry” category.  And have been since as long as I can remember.   My mom tells the story about how I cried in Sunday School when I was probably 5 because I forgot what number I was after being counted off.  Not like “broke down and cried”, just got really nervous that I didn’t know what to do and everyone else did.  In high school sports I constantly worried about making a mistake and not being “perfect”.  In college I would always make sure I knew exactly where I needed to be, what I needed, and usually brought more to class “just in case”.

So how in the world did I decide to open my own fitness studio? Trust me… I was beyond worried.  I knew that I had “something” different to offer… but were people going to be open to different?  Would people judge that I had pink in my logo? ( In my head: They’re going to think it’s just an “easy place that girls workout”.)  Would people judge because we only have a max of 12 pound weights? Because we use 3 pound weights?  Because we have a class called “dance cardio”?  Because we don’t have any heavy weights/kettlebells/pull up bars/boxing bags etc.?

Yes- this was all happening in my head.

Even once we opened I was constantly feeling like I was “justifying” my style.  Which as a new business owner, you definitely should make sure that your clients are happy and understand what your mission is… but I felt like I was doing it more so out of nervousness.  My style and values are leaps and bounds different then anything offered in the area.  And most all of the people who were coming to try it out were coming from one of those very different styles… more heavy weight, go ’til you puke, bootcamp style OR simply just yoga/Pilates.  And here I am with this totally different approach. Not only is my workout style different, my overall “healthy lifestyle” philosophy is different.  I am a believer in changing habits by eating well and working out daily.  No quick fixes, no products, no promises for drastic weight loss unless you truly work your @$$ off for it.   I knew that was also going to make some people second guess trying it out. Everyone wants the quick fix options,  and my approach is the “take your time, change your habits and work hard” option.  People don’t like to hear that when they have another person telling them “you’ll drop x pounds in just 1 week by taking this supplement, drinking this, eating this, doing this exercise- blahblah”. I don’t believe in 6 weeks, 8 weeks, 3 months, 1 year.  I believe in changing your LIFEstyle.

After about the first month, when people had signed up for packages and were continuing to come and sign up I started to feel a lot better. I knew that I was no where to what I wanted to be, but I felt like I had a good start.  I still felt the need to justify, but was getting better.

Fast forward a few more months- we’ve got waitlists for classes.  That’s when it hit me.  I had stopped being “nervous” and began totally “owning” what I do.  Not that I didn’t believe in it from the get go- I was just hesitant as to what everyone else thought of it, and nervous about being tagged as the “girly workout place”.

At this point- I knew that my different was a good different.  I needed to fully embrace that.  I had to get over the fact that yes, there would be people who might come and try it out and not love it, or people who wouldn’t even come try it because of whatever reason… but that was okay! It just wasn’t their style.  And I was done trying to see if I needed to adjust my style to accommodate those few who didn’t love it.

Now, do I still have my moments where I still want to please everyone.  Yes… all.the.time (that’s just me).  BUT, I have learned that I need to fully embrace being “me” in the role of a fitness professional.  Being my crazy energetic, high pony tail, blonde, dancing, hopping, heart on my sleeve, caring, loving, product free, work hard, pure SELF.  Is that different? Yes. Is it the “best” combo for a business owner? Probably not.  Are there going to be people who don’t love it? YES. But that’s me.

Point of the story– Always stay true to your style, your morals, and your overall self. If you have something that’s different, don’t be afraid to put it out there.  Yes, it’s hard and it always has the potential to fail.  But being scared to be different and scared to fail is not the way to go.  Try it, own it, live it, breathe it.  Always stay true to yourself and rock being “you”.

So now my last shout out- to every single one of you who have supported me in this journey and have let me be myself and do what I love.  Thank you.  Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for trusting me.  Thank you for trying something different.  Without you, I wouldn’t be here.

Much Love,




When you think about giving up- remember why you started!

It’s Monday. It’s rainy. It’s dark when I woke up. I didn’t sleep well last night. I didn’t feel good this morning. It’s Monday. Oh wait, I think I said that already.

These are all things that went through my head this morning when I was woken up by my lovely alarm at 3:50am. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… Even as the Fitness Professional- I have my days where it.is.hard.

So how do I do it? What’s the secret?  There is no secret.  I am a tired, sleep deprived human like most all of us.  But this is now ROUTINE and HABIT. I am also lucky that I don’t really have the option for excuses… I HAVE to be there.

For most, you don’t have to wake up and work out…and that makes it a little more challenging (which is completely understandable).  There’s really no penalty if you don’t show up–so when it’s Monday, raining, dark and dreary you may just opt out.  We need to change that mindset.

This is where that little thing called Internal Motivation comes into play.  You, deep down inside your bones need to want to be better, stronger, healthier, more fit, live longer etc.  In terms of exercise and health, you essentially need to understand how important being healthy is for an overall better life… you’re doing it for you- not just to lose weight, have abs, get a nice butt or to put that you’re working out on social media.  Sure all of these things may happen, but they aren’t your main reason for working out. Internal Motivation is definitely a hard thing to come across, but once you do, it becomes a lot easier.  Getting up just starts to happen- Coming to class every day starts to happen- Enjoying your workouts and pushing yourself to be better happens. It becomes habit and routine.

Another way to look into this would be to look at our TTM stages of change model.   In our stages of change we have: Precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance.  Progressing towards our maintenance stage usually also means progressing towards more Internal Motivation.

Image result for stages of change model

Most of us will get stuck in the action stage and never fully achieve maintenance. Research shows that you need to be in the “Action” stage for at LEAST 6 months to be into the maintenance stage.

6 months! 6 months before you may even begin to enter maintenance stage.  I don’t know about you, but that’s a pretty good hunk of time.  What does this tell you? This shows you that it takes consistency, dedication and TIME to really make something your “norm”.  It’s not going to just be 1 week, 2 weeks, or even 8 weeks.  It’s having something become your every day norm.  Yes, you will have your days that you’re sick, or something comes up where you just can’t get it done… but on a regular day, you get it done.

Now I don’t want to bore you with all of the research and facts behind change and how we get there, but I do want you to gather that it is a PROCESS.  Since it is a process, the faster your begin, the faster you are on your way to a better you. Take it day by day and then don’t look back– keep looking forward.  Set small goals on the way and reward yourself for achieving them.  Yes, this would be “external motivation”, but as I’ve talked about before, it takes external motivation to get to the ultimate goal of internal motivation. Need some ideas for good external motivators? Check out this video for some more ideas.

Every day that you get off track is another day that you are delaying yourself from achieving “maintenance”.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I haven’t really used the word fitness, or exercise for a while…. that’s because this applies to ANYTHING.  So yes, as much as I am here to help you achieve your fitness and health goals, I am also here to help you achieve a better life in general.  This “stage of change” model applies to any changes you are looking to make.

So I will finish where I started… “When you think about giving up, remember why you started”. You have to keep looking forward.  Yes, you can look back to see how far you’ve come, but don’t let yourself slide back to your old ways. Only look back as a motivator to keep pushing further!

Control What You Can

It’s been a LONG while since I’ve got around to getting you a new blog post.  I am not sure why, but I just got the urge to write.

Every now and again I have these moments where I really get reflective on life.  I just sit back and am in amazement of how life can unfold. Life is full of things that we prepare for, work for, and pray for… but in reality, the things that stick out most are those things that we aren’t prepared for.  Those things that come out of know where and you don’t know why they are happening to you.

I have been pretty dang lucky in terms of an overall great life.  But with that being said, I’ve had some of those “bombshells” as well… those things that we aren’t prepared for.

It’s taken a long time for me to process these bombshells, and I don’t know if it’s because we are approaching my little baby girls 1st birthday, or what– but I am just feeling the need to finally get this out there.  Why? Because if I can help one person with my story, then I consider that a “win”. There will also be a health/fitness related moral to this story.. so keep reading!

While my journey with miss Lyla has been anything BUT an easy one (read previous blog posts if you want more back story), now that we are finally past that “bad” stage and approaching her 1st birthday- I am feeling extra emotional and thankful for this sweet, curly headed, silly baby girl.  Our path to get her was a long, stressful, emotional, life changing path.  Lets rewind to August 2014.

Austin and I had been married for almost a year, and we made the choice to just “see what happened” if we tried to have a baby.  To keep it short and sweet- we literally tried ONCE and it happened.  I honestly couldn’t believe it and though I was super shocked that it happened that easy, I also felt like since it happened so easy it was just meant to be. Shortly after taking that positive pregnancy test, I was woken up in the middle of the night by excruciating pain.  Not wanting to over react, I get myself up and head to the bathroom.  The pains continue to get worse, followed by vomiting, shaking and crying because in the back of my head I knew what was happening.  Austin had been so excited about our new news- and I really didn’t want to wake him up with this.. but I knew I had to.  Long story short, we went to the ER at 3am, were there for 3 hours taking tests, and left without a confirmation of what was happening. Since it was so early in the pregnancy, they couldn’t tell if I had actually miscarried or not. So I had to come back in 48 hours to get my HCG levels checked. In early pregnancy, your HCG levels are supposed to double in 48 hours.  Not knowing if you’ve miscarried or not for 48 hours was going to kill me… but I was hopeful I would know soon.  So I head back 2 days later-  My levels had rose, but not doubled… so they were still unsure.  I had to come back 48 hours later to check again. So now we are going on the LONGEST 5 days of my life.  Every hour, every minute, every second was consumed by this unknown. I was on google every free second I had searching anything and everything.. reading message board after message board trying to find a situation like mine with a good ending. On October 12, 2014 (our 1 year wedding anniversary), we lost our first baby by natural miscarriage.

The amount of sadness that comes along with something like that is unexplainable.  Something you will never understand until you go through it.  As heartbreaking as it was, I was confident that having a baby was truly what I wanted and that this bad luck had passed.

December 14th, 2014(I only remember because it’s my sisters birthday), we had another positive pregnancy test.  Shortly after this, we made our move back to Cedar Falls, Iowa from Minneapolis. Though I had that thought in the back of my head about miscarrying again, I was feeling really positive that it wouldn’t happen to me again. Weeks go by, everything is fine.  No pain, no anything… nothing to make me think anything is wrong. Time for our 12 week appointment with an ultra sound.  I express my nervousness to the ultrasound lady and she tells me everything will be fine.  I was hoping so! As soon as the picture came up, I knew something was wrong. It was the second time I had to hear that there would be no baby.  But this time, with even more added bombshells.  They diagnosed me with what’s called a Molar Pregnancy.  Essentially this is where your body is making these abnormal cells in response to your pregnancy, and the “baby” gets bombarded by these cells.  So here I am, coming into this appointment thinking nothing is wrong and then I figure out there will be no baby, and then the words that no one wants to ever hear… “these cells have a tendency to be cancerous”.  I was told if indeed this was confirmed as a molar pregnancy, I would have to come back weekly to check on these cells and potentially have to have chemo. At this point I couldn’t process. I couldn’t speak, I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and I felt like life was over. One of the ways they diagnose these molar pregnancies is by the ultrasound, which is what they were going off from to tell me that they were very certain this is what I had. To be sure, they would need to remove the fetus and get it tested.  2 days later, I get a phone call from the actual doctor.  I knew when it was the doctor and not the nurse calling it was big news. She told me how she wanted to call me personally, because the test came back and it was not a molar pregnancy.  Even the doctor said she really didn’t understand how this could be as the ultrasound seemed clear it was.  She felt terrible that she had made the diagnoses and it ended up being wrong.. but was also thankful it was wrong as it is a pretty rare and severe thing.

So what do I do now.  I have been on a roller-coaster for the last 7 months (emotionally, physically and mentally) and I am ready to give up.  I have never felt more defeated and depressed.  My husband is so great and did his best to get me to a better place… and he did do pretty good. We decided to try again a month later. March comes and goes, nothing.  Then April, nothing. Then May, nothing. Now I’m feeling even more “done”.  I was taking ovulation test EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. Finally, 1 day in June… only ONE DAY, it said I was ovulating.   And our little rainbow baby, Lyla Ann began her journey into this world.

So what’s the point of me telling you this? I am not telling you this to feel bad for me, or anything like that. I’m telling you this in hopes to motivate you to work hard at the things you can control with your body.  I am writing this on my fitness blog is to show that there are so many things that happen to our bodies that are out of your control… those “bombshells”. These things happen regardless of what we hope or pray for.  So let’s control the things that we can. One of those things that WE are in complete control of our fitness regimens.  Don’t take for granted the ability to move and exercise.   Exercise is proven to combat so many diseases and even some cancers. Personally,  I would not want to look back and think “oh I could have prevented this cancer if I wasn’t over weight/unhealthy”.  Exercise truly is medicine, friends.  USE IT. For me,  loosing these babies was out of my control, but being alive and living the best life I can for my little Lyla is completely in my control.

If you are struggling to conceive, or to stay pregnant–  Don’t lose hope.  Keep trying, and stay positive. Yes it is hard to do, and yes you have every right to be sad… but your time will come in one form or another. ❤



“Sometimes your only available mode of transportation is a leap of faith!”

Can you believe it?  FINALLY a new blog post…. whhhew, it only took a couple months!  Sorry guys!  Now that we are officially up and running with AMFstudio, I am hoping to get blogs up on a more regular basis.

Speaking of AMFstudio… today’s blog is going to be all about how the process has went of officially becoming a business owner.  Here we go…

As some of you know, opening my own fitness studio has been my DREAM for a number of years now.  From starting my group fitness instructor journey at an awesome fitness club in college and graduating with my degree in Kinesiology and Health, to working in the corporate fitness setting in Minneapolis, to coming back to Cedar Falls and doing more Personal Training at the Sportsplex, I always knew deep in my gut that “someday” I wanted to try and open my own studio.

After having my baby girl, Lyla, I knew that if I wanted act on this dream, it needed to be now. It was finally “someday”.  As excited as I was to even think about doing this for real, I was also scared.  Doing this was going to be such a big step and for multiple reasons and I was definitely nervous.

I think like with anything that has been a dream, the biggest fear is failure.  Let me tell you, that fear weighed heavy (and honestly still does) when making this decision.  Those of you who know me well, know that I truly enjoy making people happy and strive to do so in all situations…  It’s just in my blood (thanks, Mom 😉 ) Thinking about the fact that people might not “like” this studio, or “like” me really made me nervous about putting myself into this new role because I knew that no matter what, I can’t make everyone happy… that’s just life.

So I pondered… and thought to myself… “So what if you don’t?  What if you don’t take this chance that you have to fulfill your ultimate dream career… then what?”  That’s when I knew I had to do it, and not be left wondering “what if” for the rest of my life.

So fast forward to today….Here we are!

I know that I am only 3 weeks into this journey and that I will have a TON of things to learn and hard times to come, but I have to say that I am so happy I chose to jump. These 3 weeks have been so great and every day I almost have to pinch myself because I am literally living out my dream. I am not going to lie, it is super tough to wake up at 4 am M-F and teach 3 fitness classes/day (with the addition to being a stay at home mom to a “not so easy” 7 month old) but getting the chance to do what I truly love for a living makes those early mornings so worth it!

Now while some people may think I’m going to need to toughen up to be a business owner, you may be right. I do have a soft heart, probably try too hard to make people happy and am not the toughest person on the block… But I’m going to do my best to use that in the most positive way that I can– because ultimately I am doing this because I LOVE teaching group fitness and making others love it too.  I LOVE seeing someone fall in love with fitness and realize that “working out” can actually feel fun.  I LOVE hearing that someone is actually excited to come workout. My LOVE and passion is fitness and helping other people love it… I’m not a “business woman”… I’m a fitness woman who decided to take that leap of faith and follow her heart to fulfill her dreams.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of those who have helped make this dream become a reality.  This thanks especially to those of you who have come to classes already and helped spread the word!  If it wasn’t for you guys coming to my classes, I wouldn’t be here.  Those of you who are thinking about trying… do it!  Your first class is always free and I hope to help you see how great working out can be.

The biggest thank you I want to give, though, is to my wonderful husband.  He literally built me my dream.  He spent hours before and after his normal full time job to build AMFstudio.  Those barn wood walls… are real barn wood doors that took hours to take apart and clean and then more hours to cut and piece together so they looked great.  The paint, the barres, the floor, the desk, the benches and cubbies… all of it was done by him (with some help from my Dad, Mom and Brother… big thanks to them also). With a little baby at home, I wasn’t able to help as much as I would have liked to, and that was really hard… but never once did complain or act like he didn’t want to do it.  So, THANK YOU Austin for building me my dream.

Thank you for reading about my journey, and I hope it has motivated you to follow your dreams and work hard to get where you want to be. Sometimes it just takes that leap!


Drum Roll….

I can barely contain my excitement as I begin to type this blog.  My fingers are literally shaking (could be all the coffee… ;)) as this has been a long time coming.  As some of you may have had a hunch with my recent Facebook posts/surveys– I AM OPENING A BOUTIQUE FITNESS STUDIO right here in Cedar Falls, Iowa! This has been my dream since I started in this career path and I am so excited to finally take the jump to do it.



The studio will be called AMFstudio (ashley maginnis fitness studio) and will be located next to the Subway at the intersection of Hudson Road and 1st street in Cedar Falls (old Digital Dog Pound for those CF locals). Ice cream lovers– a better frame of reference might be across the road and down just a little bit from 4 Queens 😉

For those of you wondering, “what the heck is a boutique fitness studio”?  The best way to describe it is a small, personalized, specialized, female driven, “party feel”, cool place to workout.  Working out in a boutique studio is like the new going out! It’s a fun place to be with friends, get a great workout with great music and have a whole lot of fun!

For our studio, our focus will be on barre, toning and body weight cardio classes (cardio kickboxing, Insanity, cardio dance)… classes catered to areas that women tend to want to focus on. My vision is to have FULL, high energy, party feel classes all the time– Cool lighting, great music, small space and lots of sweaty, happy people! I literally get so excited just thinking about it… it’s going to be great, guys!

Right now, our goal is to open the beginning of October!  Once we get a little further along in our re-model process, we will have a better idea of an exact date. We have ordered a banner to be put out front of the studio, so hopefully you will be seeing that soon!

With this switch from my online focused “Maginnis Fitness” to an actual Studio, I will be switching the name of my current Facebook Page “Maginnis Fitness” to “AMFstudio”.  I want everyone to know that you will still be getting great fitness tips, videos, blogs and EVERYTHING you are getting now from Maginnis Fitness with the new page… it’s literally just a name change! For those of you wondering– I will still have my online videos/membership as well! Please help me spread the word of this new journey by continuing to “like” the Facebook page (or like it if you haven’t ;)) and also telling others. Those of you who know me well, know this is a huge, scary leap for me… so all of the support I can get is greatly appreciated.

Currently in progress– Schedule, pricing and website! We have a decent idea of what the plan is, but will release all of this information when we have it all set it stone!  What I can tell you for sure– there will be a drop in option, a 5 class “punch card”, a 10 class “punch card” and an unlimited monthly membership option. More details will come soon!

Let this new journey begin!


The Dairy Free Life

I just realized it has been a MONTH since I have blogged… oofta! I’m sorry guys.  It’s so crazy how the days–then weeks–then MONTHS can get away from you.

Since blogging about having to go dairy free for Lyla and talking about how it also has helped me a ton, I’ve had a good number of people asking about tips/insight into what my “day to day” eating looks like.  With so much interest, I figured I would blog about some of my daily eats in this dairy free journey!

I will start by saying my eating style is pretty boring! I tend to eat a lot of the same things– but they are all things I really like!

Most every morning I will have 2 eggs and coffee.  If for some reason I am in a rush or don’t have time to make eggs, I will usually have a Lara Bar and banana.

I am a HUGE chicken eater and literally can eat it every day and not get sick of it. Every week, I start a little meal prep by putting  4-6 (depending on size) boneless skinless breasts, season them with lowerys (or your favorite seasoning–I suggest putting a decent amount of seasoning) and then fill the crock pot with water so it almost covers all of the chicken. Cook on low for ~8 hours.  I have found if you shred it and then leave it in there for another 45 minutes or so it stays even more tender! Doing this sets me up to be able to have a quick, easy, delicious and SUPER HEALTHY lunch every day of the week.

To add to the chicken, I will generally roast a bunch of veggies in the oven and place a serving in with each chicken serving. I usually mix up my own honey mustard (literally honey and mustard) and place this over the top.  If I’m looking to change up the flavor a little bit, I will top with guacamole instead. You could also add onions and peppers to your crock pot to make it more of a “shredded chicken fajita”. Here’s what this meal prep ends up looking like…


For dinner, we usually do some kind of meat and veggies.  One of my “go to’s” is my spin on a taco salad. I make a ground beef skillet with orange pepper, onion, garlic and seasoning (cumin, paprika, oregano), then put on lettuce with guacamole and taco sauce. I always make more than we need so that way I can have some leftovers to vary from my chicken intake if I want to 🙂  The biggest thing (at least I think) when doing any kind of clean eating diet is to be prepared! If you end up not having things to eat in your fridge and you get hungry, you WILL end up falling off the wagon! Have things ready and easily accessible in your fridge– this way you have no time to even contemplate getting off track.

To help you with having dairy free snack options, I have compiled a list of my most used/favorite dairy free snack items!  I don’t promote using these as “meal replacements” or to just mindlessly eat… but I do think it’s important to have some snack items on hand!  My biggest “go-to” is fruit. Since it’s summer, watermelon is ALWAYS in my fridge. I also eat a banana pretty much every day. Veggies (carrots, broccoli, snap peas) are also a great snacking option.  Check out the photos below for all of my other favs!

Skinny Pop is so great! It has so many flavor options to cover all the bases: sweet, salty, cheesy!  I was so amazed that there was a white cheddar flavor that was dairy free.

Having chips to dip are also a must.  A lot of tortilla chips (and pretty much all other chips) have dairy in them.  We found these great tortilla chips and I also love sweet potato chips so I’ve gotta have those on hand!

All Lara Bars would be compliant for a dairy free diet. My personal favorites are chocolate brownie and apple pie.

I love my coffee creamer, so finding a good coffee creamer was a must.  Silk almond creamers now have different flavors than just the vanilla (which was still great).  I am loving the caramel flavor!

Those of you who know me, know that I have a mega sweet tooth… Especially when it comes to chocolate. I’ve tried a few different dairy free ice creams and I’ve gotta say this Cashew Milk kind takes the cake.  Cashew milk is a little more creamy than almond milk, so I feel it gives it a little more of “ice cream” taste.

As you may notice, there are only a few “snack” things I posted.  This is because the majority of my diet is coming from REAL food!  Yes, you’ve gotta have some snacks here and there… but the focus needs to be on eating real things. Even if you’re not going dairy free, these are still great concepts to try and implement into your every day diet.

If anyone is looking for any more insight or tips, don’t hesitate to reach out!


Happy Thursday, Friends!

Got Milk? Nope! {{at least not in my diet ;)}}

Being a new Mom has brought the normal challenges that you would think of– limited sleep, no time for yourself, the question of “when did I shower last?”, spit up becomes part of your outfit and all of those types of “new mom” things.  Even though these things are all expected, they are still very challenging!  After 4 months of being a Mom, I’m feeling like I’m starting to get used to those “normal” challenges… but I’ve been faced with a whole different set of challenges that I was not expecting!

Those of you who follow me on Facebook or have read previous blogs have probably read about the need to try and go dairy and soy free for Lyla.  I definitely think this is the culprit, so we are still going strong in keeping this type of diet!  I’m not going to lie– it’s tough– especially during the summer months when there are so many events with all sorts of yummy treats that I can’t eat.  Now, as sucky as it is, it has also been really great… Let me tell you why…

Getting in to the “why” is going to take you back to my past and diet really is crucial.  I’m sure you’ve all heard the quote “Abs are made in the Kitchen” or “You can’t out train a bad diet”.  For the longest time, I was someone who thought you could out train a bad diet… and honestly, I sort of did.  I would teach 2-3 classes/day and then eat crap.  Now, I didn’t eat crap all day every day or all of the time… but I was not eating clean.  I would drink Starbucks or McDonald’s frappes almost daily, I would eat Lean Pockets/Lean Cuisines, toast in the morning, and “treats” galore. I didn’t eat a large volume of food, but what I was eating was not nutritious at all.  While I wasn’t over weight or out of shape (I was actually in great shape), I still wasn’t “healthy”.  I was justifying that I worked out for 3 hours that day so I could have all of those treats.  I had MEGA digestive issues, always felt bloated and never felt like I had as good of abs or muscles as I should have with all of the working out I was doing.  Point being, I was trying to prove the quotes to be untrue.

Jump forward to May of 2014– Austin and I decided to embark of the journey of Whole30.  For those who have never heard or it, it is a 30 day “reset” diet where you can’t consume grains, dairy, sugar, processed foods or alcohol.  I was doing this in hopes to figure out my digestive issues, and I definitely did.  After the 30 days, I felt so much better and my digestive issues had greatly improved!  On top of that, I was much more “cut” in terms of my muscle … which was an extra bonus!  After you complete the 30 days, you are slowly supposed to reintroduce foods one at a time so that you know what was causing the problem.  Well, we had made the 30 days so that it would end on my birthday.  Needless to say, I did NOT reintroduce at all… I ate it all… all of it. Since I did this, I never really got the chance to figure out the source of my problems.  Austin and I kept this style of eating going for about 6 months (we would definitely veer from it for occasions and that type of thing), but then totally fell off. Once we fell off, we still ate healthier than what we had prior to, but at least for myself I know I was back on that sugar/treat train. It’s really hard to keep on that regimen when nothing is “making” you.

Jump forward to a few months ago. Austin and I have been eating pretty dang healthy since I’ve had Lyla.  A big reason is that we eat at home for every meal so the fact that we are cooking leads to eating more healthy. With this being said, I was still having my fair share of “treats”, which again I justified because I was breastfeeding and needed some extra calories.  Since I’m a chocolate/ice cream junkie, that’s where most of my treats were coming from. Though I had been feeling good, I still often felt bloated and just not “good” in the digestive department.

This brings us to present day.  About a month ago is when I really  completely cut out all dairy and soy from my diet.  At the end of May is when I first started no dairy, but had a couple hiccups in there.  Being at it for a solid month, I am feeling AMAZING!  I have rarely felt bloated or had any digestive issues.  Not saying this as “bragging” at all, but simply to point out how crucial diet is when it comes to trying to sculpt and tone muscle… I have the best abs I’ve ever had in my life and I had a baby 4 months ago.  Yes I am working out, but I working out less than HALF of what I used to do.  It truly is my diet.  It’s finding the culprit to my issues and not feeding my body something it doesn’t process well.

Here is a photo of my abs the month before I got pregnant (on the left) vs. my abs now (on the right).  I also want to add that in my current photo, I am sitting down!


Hopefully you can see the difference!  Before, my abs kind of pooched out where as now they are built in and have a defined mid line which I’ve NEVER had before!

SO, as much as it has sucked to “have” to do this for Lyla, it has actually been a blessing for me as well.

Long story short– the quotes are true… You CAN’T out train a bad diet and Abs really are made in the kitchen! So if you are feeling like you just aren’t where you want to be in terms of fitness, take the time to look into your diet. Yes it is hard, but it’s the bigger piece of the puzzle. Not only will it help you look better, but it will probably make you feel a whole lot better too!

Trial and Error

Each day is a new finding! If I hadn’t waited until today to write this, you probably would have a much different blog…

Let’s do a quick catch up since I missed you last week.  To be completely honest, I didn’t write last week because I didn’t want to jinx myself, lol! 2 weeks ago I decided to bite the bullet and take dairy and caffeine out of my diet.  Around this same time, we also started taking Lyla to the chiropractor. 2 weeks ago, Lyla also turned 3 months old. At this point, I didn’t really care that I was doing this all at once– I just wanted SOMETHING to help her.  I was becoming desperate.  By Sunday (just 3 days later), Lyla was a different baby.  She was having way more content time, she smiled and “talked” to me.  Now, those of you who have been reading my blog know that this has happened a couple of times before… so I definitely wasn’t getting my hopes up. A week went by (last Thursday) and she was still doing so great.  I so badly wanted to get on and blog and say how great she was doing, but like I said… I didn’t want to jinx myself!

With all going well, we had a super busy weekend ahead of us.  We were meeting with friends in Ames to have dinner on Friday night on our way to Des Monies for a wedding. Long story short, I totally forgot to mention anything about not eating dairy to our friends that we were having dinner with. I figured I would just bite the bullet and let it be… and it would even be a good test to really pinpoint if it was dairy since we had also been trying other things.  So– Friday night, I ate Lasagna. Talk about dairy overload 😉  I didn’t know about Lyla, but the next day my tummy was hurting!  Lyla seemed just fine like it hadn’t bothered her.  Jump to Saturday night, she’s still doing great.  Those of you who know me know I have a mega sweet tooth and it’s really hard for me to resist treats.  Since she was doing good, I went a head and had a little cupcake at the wedding reception. I don’t know how much dairy is in a cupcake, but I’m sure at least a little something. Let’s head to Sunday… she was still doing good, but a little more fussy then she had been. On our way back from Des Monies we stopped at Starbucks and I got a Soy Latte (you’ll see why I’m mentioning this in a little bit).  Monday, a little more fussy again.  Monday I said, okay, no more dairy! So, Tuesday (this past Tuesday) came and no dairy was had. I’m thinking to myself… “Okay, last time it only took a couple of days, so we’ve just gotta get through it”.  I should add, she still wasn’t being anywhere NEAR as fussy as she used to be.  She was still doing good, but I could tell she had had a set back.

Yesterday she was seeming better again and I was happy for the quick turn around. We had bought some Soy Milk that I hadn’t drank yet, so last night I decided to have some because Austin let me know that it tasted like a vanilla shake (it is the very vanilla kind).  He was right… it was delicious.  I had probably a cup of this yummy soy milk, and was feeling happy that I found something that gave me that “treat” taste.

Here we are today… She’s had not so great day, and a bad night.  Not only is she more fussy again, but I can tell her tummy is hurting her like it was 2 weeks ago.  She is back to the “scream” and the knees up into her chest, not eating well, not sleeping as well, not as happy, uncomfortable girl. This brings me to my next conclusion… SOY!

Just before I started typing this, I was looking up dairy and soy allergy in babies.  Sure enough, they are finding that about 50% of babies that have a dairy protein allergy also have a soy allergy. Ugh…

I’m not feeling bad for myself, but I am feeling terrible for my little peanut.  Just when she starts feeling better, something else puts her back at square one.  Hopefully this will be another quick turn around and we will have her back to feeling better in a couple of days.

On one positive note, having to do all of this is making me eat much more clean! 😉 Cross your fingers for a quick turn around for us! Just one night of feeling like she’s back to her old self is too much for me!


Single Handed

My tiny dictator has given me 45 minutes to give you your Thursday Blog! My apologies in advance for bad grammar and/or typos 😉

Today, I want to go over some things I’ve learned by having a baby that cries and needs to be moved 80% of the time.  Moms that have good, smiley, happy babies (cough, cough..my best friend 😉 ), I envy you more than I can even express. Days are long and exhausting, and every time I think she may be getting better, she proves me wrong. I’m trying my best to just take it day by day… but unfortunately find myself wishing days away as I just want her to grow out of it.  So here’s to the other Moms who have dealt with a constantly fussy baby– hopefully you will find some enjoyment in my list of things I’ve learned by having little Miss Lyla.

  1. The Obvious… Never getting to sit down.  Yessss, she’s finally asleep.. I can sit down.  1 minute later– screaming. Up I go, back to square one.  I’ve learned to only sit down when I am 1,000% certain she is OUT.  And usually even when I am certain she is, I continue to move for at least another 5 minutes for good measure.
  2. Learning to hold your pee like a champ. Walking, bouncing, swaying becomes my norm… and it never fails that the second I actually get her to sleep, I’ve gotta pee– but always decide against it as I don’t want to risk having to start back at square 1.
  3. Always being lightly dressed. Moving all day long calls for tank tops and shorts! The last thing you want is sweating your butt off in a sweatshirt, or wanting to take it off once she’s finally asleep.
  4. Always have your hair up and secure. Again– for all of the movement.  It’s literally like you’re working out!
  5. Never having the baby carrier too far away. This amazing device has been a daily life saver.  It is by far my most frequented outfit.
  6. Leaning to just deal with the constant muscle burn/cramps.  Multiple times I day I find myself saying ” I don’t know how much longer I can do this”… as my hamstrings are burning while I’m on my 100th Lyla Deadlift.  But sure enough, I realize that 15 minutes later I’m still doing the same thing– and that I will continue to do whatever move is working at the moment until she is sound asleep.
  7. Being a champ at doing all things one handed. This is the one that actually made me get the idea for this blog.  A few mornings ago while I was trying to get her calmed down while getting ready for my nephew to come for the day, I thought to myself… Holy Buckets, how many things can you do one handed?!  Here is a list of some things I’ve mastered at doing 100% one handed WHILE holding a screaming baby in the other.
    1. Making coffee
    2. Going to the bathroom
    3. Washing one hand at a time, with soap!
    4. Making/Eating meals
    5. Pick up my 23 pound nephew
    6. Making/warming bottles for nephew
    7. Crawling on my knees searching for Mr.Barretts paci. (It’s literally his favorite game)
    8. Wipe the dogs feet when he comes in from outside
    9. Using the phone/computer
    10. Doing make up/hair

And those are just the daily occurrence ones!

What I’ve learned from this is to embrace any of those moments where she is being good to just sit and look at her.  I’ve realized I don’t just get to look at her very often.  Either shes up on my shoulder, or in her carrier… not giving me many chances to see her pretty little face. Tonight she gave me some peaceful moments… But I had to use them to cut her finger nails!


On another note- We took her to the chiropractor today, so I am hoping that within a few visits she will be feeling better.  I’ve also decided to cut out dairy to see if that does anything.  I eat very minimal dairy to begin with, but have read/been told that if she is truly “allergic” to dairy, even the smallest amounts will make her miserable.  We also will more than likely be taking her back to the doc soon as her acid reflux medicine hasn’t been doing much of anything (if anything) for her. My poor girl is just down right miserable… and I feel helpless! All I can do it hope for one of these “new” things to work! Fingers Crossed!

That’s all I have for now!

Happy Thursday, Friends! Have a great holiday weekend!

Wait…Is This My Child?

Now that we are finally on the upswing (hopefully), I feel like I can really say how I feel (or have felt)… The last few weeks have been super rough!  I hate to say it, because I know it sounds terrible– but I didn’t like my child.  Now, before anyone freaks out… I LOVE Miss Lyla with every ounce of my being and having her is the biggest blessing of my life so far, especially with the struggles Austin and I had to have a baby.  Point being, in no way shape or form am I saying I wish I didn’t have her or that I don’t love her… but for the last few weeks I most definitely didn’t like her. I think of it like any other person in your life that you truly love– there are definitely moments you don’t like them.  But as a brand new Mom, feeling like you don’t like your child is rough.  You aren’t sure if that’s bad, if you’re doing a bad job, if you don’t really have that “mom” instinct and ultimately start to question yourself as a mom.  It’s not easy. I am happy to report that all of that has changed in the last couple of days!

Truth is, Lyla has not been an easy baby… to put it quite bluntly, she was terrible (sorry little babe). She cried 90% of the time that she wasn’t sleeping, she SCREAMED like someone had just shot her and she was in so much pain, she puked all the time,she had to be bounced vigorously if you didn’t want her to scream.. I’m sure you’re getting the picture.  In my gut I felt like something was wrong, and sure enough, I was right! First thing, we figured out she had acid reflux.  We got meds for that and they seemed to maybe help a little, but not the change I was hoping for.  We tried some gas drops to help her tummy… helped a good hunk, but you could tell there was still something going on.

I decided to start looking into cutting dairy out of my diet, as I had heard of other moms having to do that due to their baby being “lactose intolerant” which causes them to be extra fussy if a breastfeeding mom would eat dairy.  I don’t eat a ton of dairy, but I was willing to try about anything at this point. So, as I’m searching I come across this article and I am immediately interested as it sounds just like what Lyla has going on. Now, I’m sure not all of you care to hear about my breastfeeding… but I am putting it out there in case any other breastfeeding moms have struggled with not being able to figure out why your baby is so fussy– Foremilk/Hindmilk imbalance. I won’t get too much into it as you can read to linked article above to learn about it more if you want… But essentially, the milk that comes out first when you are breastfeeding is more like “skim milk”:  really watery, high in lactose and not much fat content. Towards the middle/end, it gets more like “whole milk”: more fatty and filling for your baby.  For this reason, they tell you to always nurse until one breast is empty before moving on to the next. Well, turns out I hadn’t been doing that.  I thought Lyla would be done and I would put her right on the other side to make sure she was eating enough and she would eat about the same amount on both sides… leading her to get the majority of her food in the “skim milk” form.  Since that is high in lactose, and that’s really all she was eating, it was causing all of her tummy issues and not making her really every “satisfied”.

2 days ago I changed how I was feeding her and by the end of that day, she was 100% a different kid.  She would sit and smile at me, “coo” at me, fall asleep and sleep soundly for a lot longer… like a baby should.  I didn’t want to get too excited because I knew it could just be a fluky thing, but I had this feeling that had been the problem.  We are now on day 3 of this different eating pattern and she continues to be a completely different baby. I can finally say I like her… and let me tell you I REALLY REALLY like her 🙂  OH, AND she slept ALL night last night! Seriously, it’s like someone replaced her with her sweet twin!

So mamas or mamas to be… If you feel like something is up with your babies tummy and nothing seems to be helping, test this theory out!

Now I finally have the feelings of awe, amazement and happy tears instead of frustrated tears for my little one.  I now realize it wasn’t really me (well it technically was, but not that I wasn’t a good mom), but it was a totally different issue.  It is such a great change of feelings!

Now, let’s just hope this continues as it only has been a couple of days 🙂

Happy Thursday Friends!  Hopefully your Thursday blog days will start becoming more regular now 😉