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Staying Motivated in the Winter: 8 Wellness Ideas for Moms

The weather has been so bitterly cold lately and that makes it really hard to stay motivated with your fitness goals. But, let’s be honest, we’re moms and nothing can stop us! Not even Mother Nature…Connie, our resident fitness guru here at iFamilyKC has got 8 great ideas for staying motivated this winter. Take a look…

staying motivated

Staying Motivated in the Winter: 8 Wellness Ideas for Moms

I hate Winter.  I hate being cold.  I hate being even slightly chilled if I’m being honest.  I hate how gray it is outside.  I hate that it gets dark at 4pm.  I hate Winter.  And I know I am not alone in that.  But even if you don’t share my strong feelings about the season, it is true that winter is a challenging time for people and motivation.  Personally, Winter makes me want to curl up on my couch in sweats with a blanket and stay there until Spring comes.  How do I get past this complete motivation suck?  Here are few tips to staying motivated this winter:

#1 Start Early

I get up every morning during the week before my children at the ghastly hour of 5am.  And there are many days that I don’t want to do it.  My bed is so warm and comfortable and my kids won’t be up for at least 2 hours.  But I get up.  I have to.  If I don’t get up early and start moving, I don’t ever get moving.  I can’t find my groove.  I get up and I hit the gym because that is what motivates me for the rest of the day.  I feel energized, and I feel like I got something accomplished.  I fell centered and ready to tackle the day.  Working out early isn’t for everyone, and I understand that.  So get up early and have a cup of coffee, check your Facebook, read your favorite blog (I heard iFamilyKC is a pretty great one) and just get going.  Don’t let lackluster energy outside invade your morning.

#2 Have a Project or a Goal

I have to constantly repeat to myself (as incredibly annoying as it is) the fitness cliché “Summer bodies are made in the winter.” Winter means sweaters and hoodies and long pants and the ability to hide seasonal weight gain under layers of warm clothes.  It means that I have 6 months before I have to worry about putting on a swimsuit.  It means pale legs and lazy days.  But I can’t let it mean that.  Every winter I try to add something new to my fitness routine.  I either try a new class, or start a new weightlifting program or set a new cardio goal for myself.  I have to have something I am working toward or I get lost in the routine and I lose motivation.

#3 Update Your Playlist

This is my go to when I need a pick me up.  I don’t always have to find brand new songs, it can be my jams from back in middle school as long as its something that I haven’t heard in a while that adds new energy to my workout.  I get excited every time I add new music to my playlist.

#4 Drink Lots of Water

Since we don’t break a sweat as much in the winter, its easy to find yourself not feeling as thirsty as you do during the Spring and Summer.  When winter grayness has me feeling tired and unmotivated, I typically reach for a tea or soda.  Anything with caffeine.  But we need just as much water in the winter as we do any other time.

#5 Get Your Heart Pumping

Get in and do some kicking intervals on the wall.  Anything that gets your blood pumping and your heart rate up is going to provide all day motivation.  Take the kiddos and make it a family activity.  Race the kids around the pool.  Challenge them to a splash fight.  Make it fun and get some of their energy out while increasing your own.

#6 Take Some Time for Self-Care

Motivation and wellness doesn’t just pertain to fitness goals, but to your overall health and happiness.  Take a time out to treat yourself to something that makes you feel good about yourself, whether that be a manicure, or a coffee date with friends, or a glass of your favorite wine.  Winter is hard.  Do what you have to do to take care of you.  I tend to be much crankier during the winter, and that ends up carrying over into my interactions with my kids.  I always find I am far less cranky after I do something for myself.  I take 20 minutes and sit and read a book, or I go get a manicure or paint my nails at home.  I take a walk around my favorite store and window shop.  Anything that allows me a minute to unwind tends to improve my overall mood and motivation.

#7 Dance It Out

Meredith and Cristina used this as their way to survive anything life threw at them.  I know Grey’s Anatomy isn’t real, but I have found this bit of it to be solid advice.  Turn on some music and dance it out.  It doesn’t have to be in public, it can be in your own bedroom, after the kids are at school or in bed.  But there is just something liberating and energizing about an all-out, I don’t care who’s watching, dance party.  Even if its just one song and you just sway a little bit.  Turn on something that elevates your mood and move to it.  Trust me, you’ll feel better.

#8 Plan Fun Activities

Winter doesn’t have to mean that you are stuck at home.  You can bundle up and head outside for a brisk winter walk.  Go ice skating as a family.  Or explore indoor attractions such as a museum or a trampoline park.  Find something to go do that excites you and makes you want to get up and get out and be productive.

Winter is the worst.  Winter means cold and flu season and stir crazy children and stuffy houses from furnaces running for months on end.  But it also means Christmas and New Years and family time and that spring is coming.  It means that we have to make sure we keep the winter blues away so that we don’t become overwhelmed by them.

From iFamily to Yours,

Starting Exercise-Routines: A Gym Guide for Newbies! 

 Heading to the gym for your new fitness routinue?! You’re not alone! Many of us are starting (or re-starting) our workout exercise-routinues after a heavy holiday season. If you’re feeling a litle overwhelmed, this post is for you! Connie, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, is here with some great tips for newbies! Take a look…

  Starting Exercise-Routines: A Gym Guide for Newbies!

January means full gyms.  It just does.  And while that makes my heart happy as a fitness instructor, as a gym regular it fills me with dread.  Not that I don’t welcome new gym friends and wish for their success, but I want to be able to do my work out without tripping over someone who doesn’t know how to put their weights away or waiting for someone who sits on a weight machine while they respond to text messages and take a call from their mother.  And I was new once too.  I hated being the one getting in other people’s way and taking more time than I needed to get through my sets.  So here’s some common gym courtesy guidelines and tips to help make the new gym transition a smooth one.

#1 Clean Up After Yourself

Whether you are using a treadmill or a weight bench, clean up when you are done.  Wipe down the bench or the machine before moving on.  Its cold and flu season, and germs are everywhere.

#2 Bring a Towel With You

Gyms are made for getting sweaty, but it keeps things much less, well, wet if you have a towel with you to wipe your face and hands when things start getting particularly taxing.

#3 Don’t Make Assumptions

People can’t hear you when they have earbuds in. I say this because people are often mistaken for rude or standoffish because they don’t respond to a greeting or question while they are working out with earbuds in.  It could be that they just didn’t hear you.  On the other side of that, some people wear earbuds when they work out because they aren’t there to socialize.  They have a work out to get through and they don’t want to chat.

#4 Be Efficient

Some exercises require more time than others.  Some workout programs call for more reps.  But when the gym is crowded, be efficient in your workout.  Get on your machine and do what you need to do and then move on.  Don’t respond to 20 text messages in between sets while other people are waiting for the machine.  Don’t take a 5 minute break between sets and stare off into space.

#5 Share the Machines

Allow other people to work in in between your sets. If you are doing a circuit and doing more than one exercise per round, let someone hop in on a machine you’re using in between sets.

#6 Ask First

Ask before jumping on a machine you just saw someone using. Just because they stepped away for a second doesn’t necessarily mean that they are done.  Generally people take at least 45 seconds to a minute in between sets on weight machines.

#7 Clean Up After Yourself

Rerack your weights when you are done using them. If you are using a machine where you add weight plates before you do your reps, put those weight plates back when you are done.  Odds are that the person using the machine after you probably doesn’t use the same weight you do, and they shouldn’t have to rerack your weights before they can set their own.

#8 Ask Questions

If you have no idea how to use a machine, ask someone.  Ask someone who works at the gym or someone who appears to know what they are doing.  I would much rather someone ask me how to use something than hurt themselves or break a piece of equipment doing something the wrong way.

#9 Try Not to be Intimidated

Yes, you’re the new kid.  Yes, being the new kid sucks.  But regulars can smell fear.  Go in there and act like you belong.  Everyone will respect you for it.  All the new equipment, new people, new routines, it can all be very overwhelming and intimidating.  I promise it will get better the more you go.

#10 Don’t Let the “Regulars” Make You Feel Unwelcome

I would love to tell you that gyms, just like schools or jobs are all sunshine and rainbows and everyone is welcoming and excited to have you there.  And there will be loads of people that are excited that you are there.  There will also be people who think that a certain elliptical is their elliptical machine every morning at exactly 7:30 am and they will be annoyed that you didn’t just know that.  Guess what—they don’t own that machine, or that gym and you have just as much right to be using the equipment as they do.  Be respectful and polite of course, but if you were there first, you have every right to finish your workout whether they are used to using that machine or not.

#11 Try it All

If you are brand new to the gym scene, there is no way to know what you are going to like and what you will dread unless you try it all.  Use the elliptical and the stair climber and the treadmill and the crossover machine.  Try lifting free weights and using weight machines.  Try group classes.  If you try something and hate it, there are tons of other options.  Don’t give up.

#12 Remember That You Won’t Be New Forever

As both and instructor and a regular, I see so many people quit because they get tired of being new.  They get tired of feeling like they don’t know what they are doing or they are in the way.  You’ll get through that awkward new gym stage.  Soon you will be the one who thinks of the elliptical as theirs and you’ll be rolling your eyes at the new person on their phone on a weight machine.  Stick it out.

From iFamily to Yours,




Work It Wednesday: 5 Ways to Prevent Over Training

Some signs of overtraining are obvious, while others you might not notice right away—muscle fatigue, persistent soreness, depression, elevated resting heart rate, loss of appetite, injury and insomnia are just a few of the warning signs. Luckily overtraining can be easily solved.  Connie, from our iFamily Mom & Dad Squad shares some tips on how you can prevent over training.  Take a look!

prevent over training

5 Ways to Prevent Over Training

I work out for a living.  It’s my job, it’s my passion, and it’s what keeps me sane.  But it is also something that I tend to do too much of.  There most definitely is too much of a good thing.  Working out too much or too hard can lead to injury, metabolism issues, and burn out.  It can cause fatigue.  You can make yourself sick. The dictionary states, “Overtraining is a common problem in weight training, but it can also be experienced by runners and other athletes. It occurs when the volume and intensity of the exercise exceeds an individual’s recovery capacity. They cease making progress, and can even begin to lose strength and fitness.”

It is easy, especially if you are focused on a weight loss or muscle mass goal or a race, to lose sight of your need to rest.  Your body needs time to recover from a hard workout, rebuild itself and rejuvenate.  How much rest you need definitely varies from person to person.  Certainly, the better shape you are in, the easier the more intense workouts seem, and then it seems logical to think that you need less rest.  But that is not the case.  All fitness levels, body types, etc. need rest to recover.

Take a rest day or two 

Training 5-6 days a week can produce great results, but you will see even better results when you allow yourself to rest at least one-two days a week.  Take a break from the gym and let your muscles recover.  Go back refreshed, refocused and ready to take on a hard workout.

Vary your training

If you are lifting weights, change up the muscles you are working every day.  If you lift chest and biceps Monday, move on to triceps and back Tuesday and then legs on Wednesday.  Continue rotating and that will allow your muscles to recover from a tough workout.

Make sure you are eating enough 

Proper calorie intake can make or break a workout routine.  You have to take in enough calories to support your body through your tough workouts.  If you are trying to cut weight, you still have to eat to keep your metabolism revved and your body nourished.  It’s when you are not eating enough that your body starts to stress and hold on to what little fat and calories it is getting, leading to weight gain and a sluggish metabolism.

Foam rollers and stretching 

Roll out some of your soreness using a foam roller.  This helps relieve the soreness and tightness of overtraining.  Make sure to stretch—muscles tend to get tight after a tough workout, leading to prolonged soreness and loss of flexibility.

Take a break 

If you are really starting to feel fatigued and rest days aren’t helping, there is nothing wrong with taking some time off.  Stay away from the gym for a week.  Or if you have been doing cardio, lighten it to just walking for a week.  Put down the weights and take up jogging for a week.  Just give yourself a break.  Let your muscles recover.  Let yourself relax.  The gym will still be there when you are ready to come back.

Overtraining is a hard topic for me.  I tend to do too much all the time.  Between teaching classes, trying to get in the weight lifting I want to everyday and then getting in my cardio, I am working out sometimes two and three times a day.  And I am the worst injured person you will ever meet.  I do not do well with being injured or sick, as both take me out of my routine.  I have to remind myself that while exercise is good for me and what I enjoy, my body also needs rest.

Taking a rest day will not cause me to lose all my muscle mass.   If I miss one run or one stair stepper session I will not lose my cardio endurance .  I have to constantly tell myself to give it a rest and let myself recover.  I can’t teach when I am injured and I’m not a very good instructor if I am overly tired, so I am learning to find the balance there.

From iFamily to Yours,


Amplify Your Workout With These 15 Songs to Get You Moving!

What’s rhymes with workout?…  Playlist!  Well, not really.  But the two definitely go hand in hand.  Connie, From the iFamily Mom & Dad Squad is here with some Workout Wednesday motivation and a new playlist for you!

workout songs

Amplify Your Workout With These 15 Songs to Get You Moving!

When it comes to working out, there is one thing I can’t do without and that is a good playlist.  I was running one day and my iPod died.  And then I almost died.  My motivation definitely did anyway.  There is nothing better than a solid playlist ringing in my ears to get me pumped up and ready to go.  For the sake of genuine honesty, I wanted to let you all get a glimpse inside my iPod.

Now I am warning you, my taste in music can best be described by some as eclectic. Others may describe it as old lady/pop princess and still others may say I have no taste at all.  But, to that I say, to each her own.  I am going to set my iPod to shuffle and without any editing, I will tell you the first 15 songs that come up.

Give these a whirl on your next workout!

#1 Bill Medley-The Time of my Life from the Dirty Dancing Soundtrack

#2 Pitbull—Don’t Stop the Party

#3 Flo Rida—I Don’t Like It, I Love it

#4 Beach Boys—Kokomo

#5 Wheatus—Teenage Dirtbag

#6 Meghan Trainor—All About that Bass

#7 Corinne Bailey Rae—Put Your Records On

#8 Nate Dogg and Warren G—Regulators

#9 Brad Paisley—Beat this Summer

#10 Train—Play that Song

#11 Tech N9ne—The Waitress

#12 Jake Owen—Beachin’

#13 Lady Antebellum—Compass

#14 Abba—Waterloo

#15 Eli Young Band—Saltwater Gospel

Now, there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to this list, no set genre, no set era, no set anything.  And to me, that is the beauty of it.  And also the fun.  As I have learned from experience, it keeps me motivated and on my toes if my music is always changing.  So I update a lot and try to add things to my iPod that aren’t constantly overplayed on the radio.  And I know, some of you reading think I’m super out of touch for still having an iPod, but again, to each his own.  I don’t like to rely on Wi-Fi and cell phone signal to stream my music.  Besides, what Pandora station is going to play this variety for me?

My point is simply this:  Music is Motivating.

And you can’t count on your gym to play good overhead workout music, because, well, let’s just face it, what I think is good may not be what the next person enjoys.  Listen to what motivates and moves you!

Turn it up and get your sweat on!

From iFamily to Yours,


Gearing Up For Working Out: Affordable Ways To Stock Up And Save Big

Whether you’re working out daily or a few times a week, most of us struggle with stocking up on clothes and accessories for the gym that are comfortable and functional. Connie, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, tackles the issue in this week’s Work It Wednesdays. Take a look…

Work It Wednesdays working out

Gearing Up For Working Out

Affordable Ways To Stock Up And Save Big

Alright all, I am a gym rat and I am proud of it.  But when I workout two and three times a day, that also means I change clothes at least that many times a day.  Since laundry is not my favorite chore, I needed to find some good workout gear that didn’t break my budget.  Here are some of my favorite options:


Scheels in Overland Park truly is a one stop shop for just about everything you could need for working out, spending time outdoors, or playing sports. And they have fudge (it’s all about balance, right?!). One of the best things, as a mom, about shopping there is that they’ve got activities (Ferris Wheel, mini bowling, indoor playground) for the kids so I can take my time picking out the right items to fit my workout needs.


Believe it or not, they have some great workout clothes!  And they are super budget friendly!  I’m talking workout leggings for $13 a pair and tanks for as little as $5.  I like their Danskin brand leggings, as well as the Avia leggings.  There are tons of fun prints and different fabrics to choose from.  They have recently started carrying workout tanks and shirts from Athletic Gear.  At just $4.96, and with tons of colors and fun sayings, you can’t go wrong.


Their C9 line of workout clothes are reasonably priced (more expensive than Walmart, but not insanely high) and the styles are constantly changing.  They offer sports bras in several different impact levels, along with leggings, shorts, capris and tops.  Their sports bras are some of my favorites.  They are comfortable while providing enough support for even my high impact workouts during the week.  Watch their ads for special sales or check the Cartwheel app.

Fitness Tee Co

This is my favorite find yet!  It’s a little company based out of Colorado and they make a ton of cute and fun workout tops.  They have two styles of tank tops, plus t shirts, all with fun sayings.  There are tons of colors to choose from.  They usually run weekly specials with tanks as low as $6.99.  They do make the shirts to order, so make sure to allow a couple weeks for your order to show up.  I usually order from these guys once a month or so.

Old Navy

I get texts from Old Navy, guys.  It’s a problem.  They have a great line of athletic gear as well.  I love the variety of fits and fabrics they offer in their leggings and capris.  They are always getting new prints and colors as well.  They have high waisted workout capris for those of us who feel the need to have more coverage, as well as some compression crops that make sure everything stays in place while you workout.  Make sure you try things on just to see what style you like best.  And again, Old Navy usually runs pretty frequent sales, so watch for those and stock up when they come around.

Academy Sports

I can almost always find a pair of shoes for $50 or under, depending on what brand I want, and I love their BCG line of clothing.  Prices are comparable to that of Target, and again, there is a ton of variety in the prints and colors they come out with.  They have tops, bras and capris that won’t break the budget.

I probably own more workout gear than one person should ever have, but I always make sure I keep it in my budget and that I find gear that will last.  In general, I never dry any of my workout tanks, just because they do tend to pill after being in the dryer. Oh, and I use a ton of the Downy Unstoppables and several other brands of laundry scent bead, just to help keep my workout gear fresh.

From iFamily to Yours,


Work It Wednesdays: The Ugly Truth About Fitness

Happy Wednesday, Kansas City!

We are so excited to share today’s Work It Wednesdays post with you because, like many of you, we each struggle with finding the motivation to get to the gym (or out for a neighborhood walk, or downstairs to hop on the treadmill) on a regular basis. Connie, from our Mom Squad team, is sharing the ugly truth about fitness and heading to the gym with you this morning on the blog because, guess what?! You’re not alone. Take a look…


work it wednesdays

Work It Wednesdays: The Ugly Truth About Fitness

I go on and on about how much I love working out, how great I feel after I get a good sweat on, and how centered and calm I feel when I’m ready to face the day.  But let’s be real.  The gym, my fitness journey, working out, all of it is not always sunshine and rainbows.  Some days are just plain hard.  There are times when I feel defeated.  Some mornings it’s the last thing I want to do.  Now, while these days are few and far between for me now, they are definitely still there and should be addressed and talked about.

Sometimes I’m tired.

I get up between 5:00 and 5:30 every morning to get a workout in before my family wakes up and needs me to Mommy.  And most mornings I wake up before the alarm even goes off.  I am ready to get my day started and get my sweat on. And then there are those mornings every 3 weeks or so when I audibly groan when my alarm goes off.  I hit snooze three times and it’s not enough because I am tired and don’t want to leave the warm comfort of my bed and my pillow.  My head feels cloudy and I don’t want to get up.

Sometimes my body is tired.

I work out twice a day 5 days a week.  Some days I work out three times in a day between my own workouts and teaching classes.  And then I teach on a 6th day during the week.  Which leaves Sunday as my rest day.  And I love it. But I’m not 20 anymore.  My 35 year old body desperately wants to be 20 again, but it’s just not.  So sometimes my body is done.

Sometimes I just want to be lazy.

I feel fine physically, I got enough sleep the night before, but I just want to be lazy.  Lay in bed all morning (and by all morning I mean until 7 or so when my kids get up) and then lounge around with them on the couch all day watching cartoons.  I want to be a human slug.

Sometimes, I just need a change.

I get annoyed with someone or something at the gym and I just need a change.  I need to not see that person or do that thing that is annoying me for just a bit.  Just long enough to get over the irritation.

Sometimes the weather makes me want to curl up in a ball and stay under the blankets all day.  I hate cold, so winter is especially hard for me, but I am also not a huge fan of rain.  Dreary days seem to dampen my energy and often times my mood, which can make it hard to get motivated to get done what I need to do.

The Solution

What’s the solution (and the point of this post), you ask?  Well, the answer varies.  Sometimes I give in to whatever excuse I have that day.  If I am exhausted and need sleep, I take the day and I sleep in.  I can always hit up the gym later in the day when I am feeling more rested.

If my body is really tired and telling me it needs a break, I listen then too.  I can’t afford to injure myself, not to mention, I am a horrible patient and just basically loathe being sidelined.  If it is just a lazy day, I try to make myself go anyway.  Once I get there I always feel better and shake off the urge to be a slug.  Or I can go home and slug it up after I’ve burned some calories at the gym.  When I need a change, I find a new workout or try some new machines, or a new class.

Luckily I have a membership to multiple gyms just because I am on the staff, so I can move around if I need to.  And the weather issue, that one is tough.  We live in the Midwest, so winter and rain are inevitable.  I try to prepare myself with fun winter workout gear, and remote start on my car for those cold winter mornings.  And I remind myself that the rain doesn’t have to drain me.  In fact, a couple of friends and I finished our outside run the other morning in the rain.  It was fun.

Sometimes I just have to get out of my own head.

Working out is something I love and yet I still sometimes struggle to stay motivated.  What I will not allow to happen again is my lack of motivation for a day or two to turn into a week or two and then into quitting.  I take my rest days, I listen to my body, but I don’t quit.

I’ve quit too many times before and starting all over is the hardest part.  I can’t go there again, so I keep going.  And I remind myself that I don’t have to be perfect and get every workout in to be fit.  I can give myself a little grace and a little space to get my head right on the days it doesn’t feel like what I want to do.  I don’t ever want to let a day of feeling defeated completely throw me off track.  So in your own routines, when you find yourself feeling like giving up, or being tired or sore or just plain over it, embrace that feeling, take that day, make whatever change you need to and then get back at it.  You’ll be glad you did.

From iFamily to Yours,


8 Reasons Why Gym Friends are the Best of Friends for Mamas

Happy Wednesday, Kansas City! We’re back at it with another Work It Wednesday from our Mom Squad Ambassador, Connie. This week she’s giving us the inside look in why gym friends are the best friends to have. So, get ready to get active and find your tribe. Take a look!

8 Reasons Why Gym Friends are the Best of Friends for Mamas


8 Reasons Why Gym Friends are the
Best of Friends for Mamas


Alright guys, if you’ve been reading my posts, you already know that I spend lots of time in the gym.  And sometimes lots of time in the gym can mean being away from friends and family.  But I am lucky enough to have made some incredible friends at the gym, and they not only make my workouts worth it, but they have become a huge part of my life.  I am not sure where I would be without them.  Here are some reasons why they are the best.

#1 They see you at your worst—and they love you anyway.

I mean, seriously, who looks good at the gym?  Who looks good sweating it out and pushing themselves until their arms shake and they can’t do anymore reps?  Well, I guess some people do.  I am definitely not one of them.  I sweat like a pig, I have a terrible lifting face, and while I love workout clothes, they’re not what I wear when I am dressing to impress.  And yet these amazing people still talk to me.

#2 They support you, even when you don’t want them to.

I can’t begin to tell you how many of my gym friends have offered support, not just during a tough class, or when I was training for half marathons, but in real life situations.  I had thyroid surgery and they were all checking on me.  I was struggling with some stressors and they offered to help.  I didn’t want to go run one day and they dragged me out there and reminded me that we always run on Mondays.  I didn’t want them to support me at that moment, but I am so glad they did.


#3 They make you want to come to the gym.

Not feeling your workout today, but dying to chat with your friend about what happened on Dancing with the Stars last night?  Better get your butt to the gym and talk about it.  They’ll be glad to see you.


#4 They push you to do better.

I used to be a stuck in a rut, boring workout person.  I went to the gym daily, did 40 minutes on the elliptical machine and then went home.  Until one fateful Saturday when my now dear friend Larry approached me and said, in his amazing, unfiltered way “aren’t you ever going to do anything else?”  Then he walked me through 3 other cardio machines that morning.  I woke up so sore the next day and completely in love with my new routine.  Then he started challenging me to come try some classes.  I was hooked.  So in a sense, I owe a lot of my fitness passion to him.


#5 They keep you sane.

My gym time is my calm time, my sane time.  These people are my friends and we vent and we destress and we take out our frustrations on some weights.  We shake away our stress in a Zumba class.  We laugh until we cry when one of us makes a clutsy move during class.


#6 We aren’t just gym friends.

These amazing people have become part of my life.  We talk outside of the gym.  We have girls nights and playdates and park time and we are a part of each other’s every day.  I am so blessed to have these people and know that they have my back.


#7 They become the voices inside your head.

When I am out running by myself and I want to quit, I can hear them in my head telling me that I can’t give up yet.  When I hear one of our favorite workout songs on the radio I hear them all singing along.  When I think about skipping a class or not going because it looks too challenging, I hear them telling me to suck it up and just go.


#8 They just get it.

There is something about pushing through a tough class with a room full of people that bonds you, whether you like it or not.  There’s a comradery that comes from working out together.  You can look at each other in the middle of a particularly tough class and just know that they get it.  The struggle is real.  And you’re not alone in it.

8 Reasons Why Gym Friends are the Best of Friends for Mamas


Now these people aren’t just limited to people I take classes with.  I have friends from the gym who don’t take classes.  Who I started chatting with because they lift at the same time I do on weekday mornings.  People who I stopped to ask questions when I was first starting, or who asked me some when they were new.  Somehow seeing someone every day and not at least saying hello seems strange to me.

I have a fantastic group of gym friends that I wouldn’t trade for the world.  They have become some of my best friends and the people I talk to the most.  They are my tribe.   I just hope they all know how much I appreciate them.

From iFamily to Yours,





Work It Wednesdays: Why You Should Consider Working Out on Vacation

Hello, Kansas City! Once you get in a regular workout routine, it can be difficult to figure out how to handle it on vacation. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Connie, is back with another great Work It Wednesday post, and let’s just say — it’s all about balance. Take a look!

Work It Wednesdays: Why You Should Consider Working Out on Vacation


Work It Wednesdays: Why You Should Consider
Working Out on Vacation

So I was a little nervous about going on vacation. I had never left my kids for longer than 48 hours. I wasn’t sure how many clothes to pack. Did I need a hair dryer or would there be one in the room? Is 4 swimsuits enough for a 10 day cruise? Do I have everything the kids need ready to go? It was the best kind of stress I had had in years. I also worried about whether or not to pack workout clothes. Working out is what I do. Its what I love, its my job, its my sanity, its my me time. But I was going on vacation. For the first time in 8 years. And I was determined to enjoy every minute.
I thought back to my last vacation, also a cruise, which happened to be my honeymoon. My husband and I had done Weight Watchers and worked out 5 times a week in preparation for the wedding and we both agreed that we were not taking workout clothes on our honeymoon. We were just going to relax and enjoy and get back at it when we got home. And it was fabulous. We had a fantastic trip. We ate too much, drank too much, and napped daily. It was fantastic.
The more I debated, the more I got frustrated with myself. I knew that 10 days was not going to make or break me. I knew that if I took the time off I would be fine. I knew that my body could use the time to recover and it might actually be good for me.
I also knew that my workout time is my calming time. It’s the time that I spend processing my day, destressing, and basically just getting my mind right. And I feel so much better when I am done. I take a rest day at least one day a week, and then have one lighter day as well. And I have noticed that while my body needs that rest day to recoup and renew, I also drag a little bit. Working out is my coffee and my pick me up. I was worried that without it, on top of eating too much and drinking too much, I was going to be a mess by the end of the trip. So I decided to pack 7 workout outfits. I would not set an alarm to make it to the gym early. It was vacation. I would also not miss out on any excursions so that I could go to the gym. Again, vacation priorities. But I would workout anytime I felt myself dragging. Or anytime we had a late start or a day at sea. I would just listen to my body and go from there.
I ended up using all 7 workout outfits. I slept in when I was tired, I shortened my workout to accommodate an excursion. I did longer workouts on our days at sea. And I took rest days. I enjoyed my vacation, my unlimited drink package, and the desert they offered with dinner every night. And vacation was fantastic. I returned feeling rested and renewed and relaxed. I didn’t stress about not working out enough, or working out too much and missing out on all the fun. For me, it was the perfect balance.
Taking a break, or backing off a bit like I did, are both totally acceptable options. Listen to your body and do what works for you. I have a feeling I would have been miserable (bloated, irritable, feeling unbalanced) had I not taken the time to at least get a little bit of a workout in while I was gone. But I never felt that way on our honeymoon. My point is, relax. Its vacation. Its not like giving up your routine permanently. Life is too short. Miss the gym for an ATV tour on a gorgeous island, or go sweat it out for a quick 30 minutes when you’re feeling bloated and tired. Just don’t stress! Health is always about balance.


From iFamily to Yours,







Fitness Clichés that Actually Ring True, and a Few that Don’t

Happy Hump Day, Kansas City! We’re back with a great Work It Wednesday post from our Mom Squad Ambassador, Connie. This time she’s tackling fitness cliches — some being true, and some…not so much. If you’re trying to stay fit and need a little extra motivation, she’s got it for you below. Take a look!

Fitness Clichés that Actually Ring True, and a Few that Don’t

Fitness clichés that actually ring true…and a few that don’t.


#1 Fit is not a destination, it’s a way of life.

I talked about this in my previous post. Fit is a process. Enjoy the journey. Make it a part of your lifestyle. You can’t workout for a while and then stop and expect the health to stay. You have to make it a way of life.


#2 What you eat in private, you wear in public.

Unfortunately, this one is true. But who hasn’t eaten a cookie in the corner of your kitchen with your back turned so the kids can’t see and then told yourself it didn’t count because no one saw it?!? One cookie won’t kill you, but consistently eating badly will quickly curb those health goals and gains.


#3 The act of getting strong doesn’t start in the gym, it starts in your head.

You have to be mentally strong and positive regardless of what happens in the gym. You have to be able to tell yourself to keep going and that you are doing great, even when you feel like you don’t want to keep going and that you are the least healthy person on the planet. Get it done mentally so you can get it done physically.


#4 Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.

There are so many doubts, so many negative thoughts, so many misconceptions that can keep you from achieving your goals and sticking to a healthier lifestyle. You have to overcome all of those doubts and fears in order to come out on the other side, stronger and healthier. So tackle what scares you head on. Do a workout that you don’t think you can do. Once it is done, you’ll feel like the strongest person alive.


#5 Once you see results, it becomes an addiction.

I feel like this one could go either way. Some people see results and think ‘yay! I’m done! Goal reached!’ and they quit. Guess what? It doesn’t work that way. You have to work to maintain. But there are many people who are very motivated by results. It keeps them wanting more and pushing themselves harder. It makes them gym rats. It makes them healthy.

#6 You can’t out train a bad diet.

Again, sadly, this one is true. Weight is 80% diet, 20% working out. And oh how I wish those numbers were reversed. I would be the thinnest woman alive if they were. Winning in the kitchen is the hardest part of weight loss.


#7 You don’t have to go fast, you just have to go.

Unless a bear is chasing you, then you should probably go fast.


#8 The only bad workout is the one you didn’t do.

Not true! I have had some really bad workouts. Painful, struggle filled, daunting workouts. Workouts that made me want to cry. (Mostly running on a treadmill—that’s just pure torture!) But the end result is good. The end result is strong. The end result is ‘yes I did do that!’

#9 If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

If you are always doing the same workout or the same weight or the same level, you will see results for a bit, but then your body becomes used to that workout and that movement or weight and it stops changing you. Change your routine up, push yourself a little harder sometimes, try something new. Keep challenging yourself and the results will come.


#10 One of the greatest moments in life is realizing that two weeks ago, your body couldn’t do what it just did.

I’m not saying it’s not a great moment. It is a great moment. It’s a great motivational tool. But nothing will compare to the day my kids were born, the day I got married, the day my kids walked for the first time, etc. Those moments, at least for me, will always top physical achievements as great moments. But physical achievements do feel pretty dang good.


#11 Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

What?!?!? That just can’t happen. Once I’m comfortable being uncomfortable, I’m not uncomfortable anymore. I know, too literal an interpretation. This one falls in line with the challenge/change line from above.


#12 Summer bodies are made in the winter.

While this one is probably true, I would LOVE to know when I can start working on my winter body. When does that happen exactly?


From iFamily to Yours,





Work It Wednesdays: Appreciating Your Fitness Journey

Happy Hump Day, Kansas City! It’s been a gloomy few days here in the metro, but we are back to bring you the next installment of Work it Wednesdays with our Mom Squad Ambassador, Connie. Today, Connie gives us some helpful advice on how to appreciate the fitness journey we’re on – regardless of where we might be. Take a look…


Work It Wednesdays: Appreciating Your Fitness Journey

Work It Wednesdays: Appreciating Your Fitness Journey


I was approached by one of my people after class last week and she asked me “when can I expect to see results?” She had been coming to my class for a few weeks and always working very hard, and she was getting frustrated because she wasn’t seeing the physical changes she would have liked to have been seeing. I feel like this is such a common hang up for people when it comes to fitness and working out. I can’t tell you the number of times I have started a new workout routine or a new machine at the gym and immediately started checking the mirror for changes. And I know better than that.

We have become so ingrained with the need for instant gratification that it becomes daunting to have to work really hard for something on a consistent basis for a long period of time. It is one of the most common reasons I see people quitting their routines. But here’s the thing, anything worth having is worth working for. And, I believe fitness is about more than a change in your appearance. Its about a change in the way you feel, and a change in the way you see yourself. And that’s what I want to focus on.

There is a cliché saying in the fitness world: It takes 4 weeks for you to notice a change. It takes 8 weeks for your friends to notice. It takes 12 weeks for the rest of the world to notice a change. It takes one day to decide that you are enough. 4 weeks is a long time to stick with something without seeing results. It’s a long time to tell yourself that its worth it and the work is paying off, when you can’t see it. But it takes one day for you to decide that you are worth the effort. Your health is important enough for you to take the time to make the effort to be better. To be healthier than the person you were yesterday. It’s a one day, one step at a time journey. It is daunting at first. It is miserable feeling like you are never going to be as in shape as the person next to you. It is discouraging to think that you are never going to get to your weight goal or your fitness goal. But guess what, you can get there.

A huge part of making the journey less daunting is noticing the small changes. Notice when you can go one minute longer on the elliptical machine than you could yesterday. Notice when you can push yourself through a 10 minute mile on the treadmill instead of a 10:20. Notice when you choose to eat grilled chicken instead of a burger and veggies instead of fries. Notice when lifting 12 pound dumbbells becomes 15 pound dumbbells. And notice how you feel. Notice when you wake up with more energy than you had a week ago. Notice that you sleep better at night once you get into a workout routine and stick with it. Notice that you no longer run out of breath chasing your kids around the yard. Notice those small changes and celebrate them, even if its just to do a little victory dance in your head.

After a while you will start to see yourself differently. We all tend to be our own worst critics. If you can focus on the small changes and the small victories, all of the sudden that voice inside your head starts becoming a positive one. Instead of saying ‘you are so out of shape,’ you now say ‘I can do 20 minutes of cardio now instead of just 15,’ or ‘I am stronger than I was 3 weeks ago.’ Once we can convince ourselves to be kind to ourselves, suddenly it becomes a whole lot easier to stay motivated and focused.

We tend to focus on the huge goals. The long term, big, scary, life changing goals. But fitness is a journey, not a destination. There is so much to see and enjoy along the way. So embrace the journey. Embrace the small stuff, and the big stuff will come. Stay consistent, stay dedicated and stay enthusiastic. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to enjoy what you are doing to be healthy. Enjoy walking your dog or riding your bike, or taking a dip in your pool. Enjoy your 15 mile training run if that’s what you’re into. Enjoy trying new healthy recipes that you aren’t sure about and discovering new foods you love. Just embrace the ride.


From iFamily to Yours,