This post is all about nutrition and wellness. It’s time. Three babies later I must admit that my body feels like it’s gone 5 rounds in the ring with a heavyweight boxer. My back aches, things are saggy where they shouldn’t be, my stomach muscles suffer from diastasis, and my bladder, well, let’s just leave that one up to your imagination.
When I got pregnant with my third I promised myself I would really work on healing (not just losing weight) my body after the baby arrived. That being said, I’ve mentioned before that I don’t have a lot of willpower. I knew that if I was going to be committed to fixing my core and strengthening my back I would need to call in a professional. Enter in Mike Christie. He is the best. I have blogged about him before here when I was training for the Greenwich Sprint Triathlon. Back then he gave me some tips about swimming in the open water. This time around it’s not about the triathlon but rather hiring Mike as trainer to work with me over the next few months and fix what ails me. I am committed to working out with Mike once a week and then doing routines that he sends to me via a super-cool app called Trainerizer twice on my own. The workouts are under 30 minutes each and detailed videos make it very easy to make sure you are doing the drills correctly on your own. 4 weeks later I can really say it is working. If I were braver I would send you the “before” photos that Mike and I took in my leggings and sports bra. It feels a little funny to blast them out on the web so I may hold them until I have some good “after” shots and we can really do the infomercial style before/after combo pack. Ha!
As I mentioned Mike works with a great program called Trainerize and his site/app helps you to track what you are doing and give you gentle reminder to stay true to your workouts. The best part about Mike is his attitude. He is a gentle kind person who is so committed to helping people be their best physical selves. I love our time together despite the fact the he is really pushing me with intense workouts. OH and how could I have neglected to tell you the best part. He comes to your home! Yes, that’s right you can workout with him in the privacy of your own home. No need to brush your hair – he is very non-judgemental. You can even sneak it in while your baby naps. He needs very little space (no home gym required) as most of what you do can be done on a yoga mat with nothing more than resistance bands (that he brings with him). And my husband is working out with Mike too. While he focuses on fixing post-natal bodies he also has a ton of experience training men. He’s a hard-core Ironman athlete and that tends to appeal to men who are aspiring to be in great shape.
To help you get to know Mike I have included a little Q&A below. Give him a ring and he’ll give you two free sessions (one an in depth interview and one a 1-hour preliminary work-out) so you can test the waters and see if he is the right fit for you. No strings attached.
Q&A with Mike Christie, Certified Personal Trainer
What is your background on the fitness front?
That depends on whether you look at my background going back to my childhood as compared to my background at the present. I’ve always been very active. When growing up I was a nationally ranked swimmer and had an opportunity to train for the Olympics, but chose to live a normal life. I played lacrosse in high school and was recruited to play at Ohio Wesleyan. After college I started running. I ran several 10K and half marathons. At the age of 35, I stopped running for fear of what it might be doing to my hips and knees. I picked it up again at age 50 when I needed to lose weight. That led to getting back into the game of competing. I started running races and eventually ran marathons. My wife Sarah suggested one day that I give a triathlon a try which I did. Because of my background in swimming, I was able to do quite well as an age group triathlete. Eventually that led to competing in Ironman and going to the world championship in Kona twice.
On the professional fitness front, I have been a certified personal trainer for the past three years. My first job was with Equinox in Greenwich. I also spent a year and a half working at EHS in Old Greenwich where I was able to learn about the clinical side of physical therapy and how that relates to personal training. I am now training clients on my own both in-home, online, and in studio. In addition to being certified as a personal trainer, I have special training in postnatal exercise physiology. This has allowed me the opportunity to work with women who have both recently given birth as well as women who are postnatal but have never received any type of physiotherapy or postnatal exercise training. Two other certifications that are worth noting – I am certified as a nutritional counselor as well as a functional movement specialists. My certification in nutritional counseling includes a significant amount of training in both pregnant and postnatal nutrition.
How does being an Iron Man participant help you in your work?
Being an Ironman helps me in my work in several ways. First, it helps to be physically fit when you are training clients. Clients tell me all the time that the fact that I am an Ironman really does inspire them to work hard and stay disciplined to meet their fitness goals. Secondly, as an Ironman I have to walk my talk every single day. It’s great motivation for me to make sure that I get up every day to do my training, to eat the way that I need to eat, and to do the things that I’m asking my clients to do every single day. This year, I will be competing in Lake Placid, which is to take place at the end of July.
What is the Trainerize system and how does it work?
The Trainerize system is an online personal training platform that allows my clients to train on their own either at home or in the gym with my direction. I do all of their exercise programming based on their fitness goals, and enter their daily workouts on their calendar to follow. So, they receive an email from me when it’s time to work out. When they go to the gym or are at home all they need to do is open the app on their phone and follow the workout. All of the exercises have video demonstrations that show proper form so that they know how to do it right. The benefit to this type of training is that it allows my clients to have complete and total flexibility when it comes to training. For the busy executive who travels all week this is a perfect way for them to hit the road with their workout gear and get their strength training sessions in in the hotel gyms. Also, for moms and dads who are too busy to get to the gym on a regular basis, my program allows them to work out when they want, where they want, and always have an appropriate strength training workout.
Who is your ideal client?
My ideal client is a woman who has recently given birth and is in need of postnatal exercise training. Specifically, strengthening of the pelvic floor and core. In addition, moms who have never received any type of postnatal physiotherapy or postnatal exercise training are ideal clients for me. Without the right kind of postnatal exercise training, most women will experience problems down the road, which can include pelvic floor pain, incontinence, as well as lower back pain. I really love this style of training because I feel that I can really make a difference in a woman’s life by helping them to get strong and be more active.
Do you focus on diet as well as workout?
For most people who come to me for personal training, their number one fitness goal is to lose weight. I have an expression that I repeat several times each day, and it goes “you come to me to get strong, and you go to the kitchen to lose weight”. The reality of strength training is that it will help to make you strong and build lean muscle mass but it is not a means by which to lose weight. When I discovered this, I decided to become certified as a nutritional counselor. So diet, or nutrition, is a significant part of my personal training focus. Without proper nutrition, it is very difficult to see results from strength training. So, I make it a huge focus for everyone that I train.
How can people sign up to work with you? (App? In person? Both?)
The best way for people to sign up to work with me is to contact me directly. My cell phone number is 203-249-8381. My email address is [email protected]. Because I am usually training clients during the day, the best thing to do is to either text to me or email me and I’ll get back to you right away. They can also follow me on Facebook here.
Do they need to have a home gym to work with you?
Most of my training with clients can be done in their homes, no gym needed. For those who do not have a gym ad don’t want to do it in their home, I have a gym in Greenwich where I can train them. The name of the facility is Greenwich Fitness and is located in Bruce Park. This is a gym that caters to independent personal trainers like myself. There is no membership to belong, and the gym is available seven days a week 24 hours a day.
Why is it important that moms focus on their core after having babies?
There are many reasons why it is important for new moms to focus on their core after having babies, but perhaps the most important is pelvic floor pain, incontinence, and lower back pain. The muscles that make up the pelvic floor and core have pretty much been shut down since giving birth. The changes inside a woman’s body as a result of pregnancy and childbirth are extraordinary. Without the right kind of postnatal exercise training, the pelvic floor and core will never be restored to its pre-pregnancy state. Many women who have older children in their teens and 20s complain of groin pain, incontinence, and lower back pain as a result of doing everyday activities. In fact, what first got me interested in postnatal fitness training was to try and help my female clients who had given birth and were experiencing these issues. Most women when I meet them for the first time feel that this is just what they have to live with as a result of bearing children. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is a way to restore the strength and stability in your pelvic floor and core to alleviate pain and prevent incontinence.
What exercises thin out bodies?
Exercise alone doesn’t thin out a body. The only way that you can reduce the size of your legs, hips, belly, and arms is to adopt the right nutrition strategy that focuses on reducing fat. This takes a very specific approach towards macronutrient balance between proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. We need to teach your body how to use fat as an energy source. Once your body has learned how to tap into its vast resources of stored energy in the form of fat, you can literally see the fat melting off of your body. This is not to say that exercise doesn’t help. But doing endless cardio and spending all day in the gym lifting weights isn’t going to help thin out those problem areas without the right diet.
Does lifting weight bulk muscles?
Lifting weight can create bulk. I think this is very big concern for women when they start training. But in order to build bulk you have to lift extremely heavy loads with very low repetitions and be in the gym seven days a week. If you train with moderate to heavy weights three times a week and focus on high repetitions then you will develop lean muscle mass as opposed the bulk. This is typically what women want to do, develop lean muscle mass.
Can a flabby backside be lifted after age 30?
Absolutely. With the right nutrition and exercise program a women can replace a flabby backside with strong shapely glutes. All it takes is a commitment to eat the right foods and to train with the right program consistently over time.
What combo of cardio/resistance training is best?
It is best to do strength training at least three times per week. Cardio can be done every single day. In fact, I recommend to my clients that they get at least 45 minutes two an hour of cardio per day. Now that can be in the form of walking, running, swimming, riding a bike, elliptical machine, you get the point. Cardio training is important to keep your heart strong and to give you aerobic endurance. Strength training will allow you to produce lean muscle mass that increases your metabolic rate and helps you to burn fat. The combination of the two will give you the best opportunity to lose weight and develop a ripped body.