Healthy and Fit Mama: Every Little Bit Counts!

This week we’re checking in with our favorite healthy and fit mama, Francina, to see how she’s adjusted her workout routine through the second trimester, and how she’s making an extra effort to maintain her health and fitness.

Francina 20 Weeks

Well, I’m officially 20 weeks! Time is flying by and I can’t believe I’m already half way through my pregnancy. I took a much needed vacation last week, got lots of rest and was spoiled by my family. This week, it’s back to my normal schedule. I’ve been feeling a little more fatigued, and it’s a little harder to move around, but I still feel great. Everyone says I look really happy and I am. :)

An update on my workout routine: I’m still on my normal workout schedule, although I am noticing that I’m getting a little more winded during my indoor cycling classes. To adjust, I take a few more breaks to catch my breath. I’ve also been experiencing a lot of foot and leg cramps. As my Riders witnessed during one of my classes, both of my feet completely cramped up. Once I got home and took my potassium supplements, the foot cramps completely disappeared. I take a daily potassium supplement now and have far fewer foot and leg cramps. Lesson learned!

I’ve also done research on target heart rates for pregnant women and learned that there is no one “target” heart rate that is right for every pregnant woman. Most experts now rely on the RPE, or rate of perceived exertion as a guide, and that’s the standard I’ve been using anyway. I was very active before getting pregnant and sometimes it was actually difficult to get my heart rate up to a good working zone. I haven’t been too concerned about my heart rate getting too high, especially since I’ve significantly reduced the intensity of my workouts.

For the remainder of my second trimester and for the third, I feel the right approach is to slowly wean myself off of my higher impact cardio and focus more on strengthening my core through either barre classes, Pilates, yoga, and/or weight lifting, and concentrating on great nutrition. Indoor cycling and walking will be my primary cardio since I feel that my balance has been a little bit off with the extra weight gain, and the jumping and lateral moves in Zumba make me off balance.

Early this year, I purchased a Fitbit, a fancy activity pedometer that tracks your daily number of steps, sleep patterns and how many stairs you climb. You log on to the Fitbit website and Facebook and connect with friends who are also using it to see how everyone is doing with their daily step challenge. At Revolve, I have several Riders/friends who use the Fitbit and we challenge each other every day. I definitely make it a point to get extra steps in so I’m not in last place! It’s a great and fun way to stay active.

Fitbit Dashboard

That’s all for now – we need a nap!

Healthy and Fit Mama: Working Out While Pregnant

We’ve got exciting news – Francina is on her way to becoming a mama for the first time! We wanted to share the experience with our Riders, so we’ve asked Francina to host a mini-series on the blog about how to stay on track as a healthy and fit mama.

IMG_20130811_164226

I’m so glad Revolve asked me to do this blog series on my first pregnancy. Ever since I found out I was pregnant, I’ve been thinking about reviving my personal blog as a way to remember this incredible experience.

I’m happy and honored to share my journey with you and answer any questions. One of the most asked questions I get is how I’m staying healthy and fit through my pregnancy, how pregnancy has affected my regular workout routine, and what adjustments I’ve made so far.

HOW I’M STAYING A HEALTHY AND FIT MAMA

I’ve been on a consistent workout schedule for years, and my OB-GYN is fully supportive of me staying active through the pregnancy as long as I listen to my body, properly hydrate and eat nutritious foods to fuel my workouts. Eliminating that activity would actually be an abrupt change in my normal schedule, possibly causing excess weight gain, a more difficult labor and a tougher time taking off the weight after birth.

Many of my OB-GYN’s patients have run marathons, teach classes like I do and stay very active during their pregnancies. He completely assured me that there is nothing to worry about and I’m taking all precautions necessary to make sure everything is safe for my baby and me.

TRAINING FOR TWO

IMG_20130811_164304

I’ve kept my normal workout schedule so far, teaching five indoor cycling classes and three Zumba classes a week. Indoor cycling is non-impact and very easy on my joints, which makes it a fantastic exercise to do while pregnant. The only thing I’ve needed to adjust is the handlebar height to accommodate for my growing belly.

When I teach indoor cycling, I take frequent breaks because it’s become a little harder for me to catch my breath and talk into the microphone while I cycle. When I’m riding as a participant, I don’t feel the need to take as many breaks.

Zumba is a bit more challenging. I’m eliminating high impact moves and trying to learn how to teach my classes without much dancing. That’s been more difficult because participants usually need more guidance and visual cueing in Zumba, but I’m trying my best. One or two days a week during my mornings off, I also do some fairly easy incline walking on the treadmill and light weight-lifting and stretching.

ADDING PRENATAL YOGA TO THE MIX

I’ve also started prenatal yoga and I absolutely love it. I haven’t been a big fan of yoga because of my lack of flexibility, but prenatal yoga is slower and focuses on stretching muscles that we need to prepare us for birth, especially in the hips and lower back. We also focus on meditative breathing. I walk out of my class feeling like a million bucks and it feels great being in a class full of pregnant ladies. :) I take classes at Mind the Mat once a week and hope to add more classes in the future.

I’ll also be providing more frequent updates on my own blog about my fitness journey through pregnancy, so check there for more updates!

Featured Revolve Rider: 31 Days of Sweat Finalist, Katie

Katie was not only DC’s runner-up in last month’s 31 Days of Sweat Challenge, but when we first reached out to her, we were incredibly humbled by how inspirational and motivating her fitness journey has been.

527028_10100302150963915_1951926531_n

1.      As one of our Top 10 31 Days Riders, what made you excited to participate? What were your personal goals for the month of May?

I’d only been riding at Revolve for a few weeks before the challenge began, but I had already fallen in love. The challenge was an added bonus since I was already going two times a day on average. When I saw the ultimate prize for a bike, I knew I had to try averaging three classes a day.

I volunteer and cook meals at the Fisher House DC – which is where families of wounded warriors stay while their loved ones are having surgery and recuperating at Walter Reed.  I met an amazing Army Lt. Col. who lost both legs above his knees and used cycling in his physical therapy, something I could relate to. Due to his prosthetics, he couldn’t use a male bike  so I gave him my female bike without hesitating for a second.  It was the least I could do for a man who served our country and almost died doing so.  I’m now in the process of saving up money to buy another bike.

2.      What kept you motivated day after day?

I am being completely honest when I say that the prizes were not my main motivation – not at all.  Getting healthier and stronger has and will remain my number one motivator.  What also really kept me going were the friends I was making as well as the enthusiasm and guidance I received daily from the instructors.  It didn’t hurt either when riders I did not even know would come up to me and ask, are you Katie?  Then they would proceed to tell me how they loved my tweets and/or hoped I’d win the bike.  It meant a lot that folks were paying attention and that definitely pushed me, especially when I wanted to hit that snooze button.

Finally, during the month of May I led a DietBet game, where you have to lose four percent of your body weight in 28 days, and you win money! I’m happy to report that by adding Revolve to my exercise routine I went beyond the four percent and actually lost just over six percent in a month’s time!

3.      How did 31 Days change your relationship with Revolve? With your health/fitness/working out? Did you learn anything new about yourself or the Revolve community during the challenge?

I’ve never been a runner – ever – but I am a “Walker” after all 😉  I’ve tried everything to get into running, including taking expensive running lessons from professional coaches. I wanted to find a workout that was tough, that made me sweat, lose weight, and go distances that I never thought possible.

So one day a friend invited me to her gym to try cycling and after my butt recovered (cause there’s no way around it, those seats make you sore) I was like, this isn’t so bad.  Then I remember Francina, who until then was just my awesome Zumba teacher, telling me a local news channel would be featuring her  Barre Ride.  I grew up dancing and I liked that one indoor-cycling class – so after watching the segment, it just clicked and I went in and bought a monthly package at Revolve.  I started with just the Barre Ride once a week, and then bought the monthly intro package, then went all out and purchased a yearly membership.

Image

Francina and Katie after a tough Barre Ride

I learned that it’s ok that I can still be an athlete even if I’m not a runner.  After a few months at Revolve, I am proud to say I’m a cyclist.

4.      What physical/mental/emotional outcomes did you notice after participating in the challenge?

This is a little bit of a long story, but it really explains how far I’ve come physically, mentally, and emotionally in my life.  I will be celebrating the third anniversary of surviving a terrible car crash in India this upcoming June 25.  I was on my way to see the Taj Mahal. The accident shattered both of my legs in multiple places, so I had to have rods put in during surgery.  My left lung collapsed, I broke ribs and my nose and had weird burn marks all over my stomach and arms.  The worst discovery would be finding out I sustained a traumatic brain injury – the neurological ramifications that I’ll be living with for the rest of my life.

I was on complete bed rest for four and half months.  I’ve gone through multiple physical therapy sessions, neurological rehabilitation, and counseling to deal with depression.

There were many times I thought how much better it would have been if I had just died during that accident, it would have been better than the physical, mental, and emotional toll the accident took on me.  Then I thought about the people who have overcome more than I have and I knew that part of becoming healthy again meant being active both physically and mentally.  I used to be a “the glass is half-empty” kind of person before the accident, but today I’m just happy to get a sip of water.

5.      How will you continue to sweat hard?

After the accident, along with some other hard things that happened in my life, I gained 70 pounds in two and a half years. Since October 2012, when I was finally cleared by all my doctors to start working out again, I’ve lost 40 pounds, including 12 during May’s 31 Days of Sweat Challenge!!  I still have about 40-50 pounds more I’d like to lose.  In addition to Revolve classes, I have continued to take Zumba classes, do lap swimming, and take long walks on the Custis and Mt. Vernon Trails.  Recently, I’ve taken up tennis lessons and joined a doubles tennis league.  My endurance on the court has skyrocketed since I started Revolve.  I’m also looking forward to using one of my prizes – a month-long MyBootcamp membership with Revolve instructor, Grant.

Katie and Patrick - Tennis

Katie and her doubles partner, Patrick, two and a half weeks post Challenge.

6.      What tips do you have for other people facing down challenges in and out of the studio?

It’s really quite simple. LIVE YOUR LIFE ONE DAY AT A TIME.  While it’s good to have long-term goals, it can be especially daunting if you don’t celebrate small victories, whether it’s a few ounces of weight lost to increasing the resistance on your bike.  We all have bad days – from eating what we shouldn’t to not getting any exercise in. That doesn’t mean you quit your journey all together, it just means the next day you vow you’ll get back on track.

A Day in the Life of Francina Segbefia

Former figure competitor (think bodybuilding) turned indoor cycling and Zumba queen, Revolve DC instructor Francina Segbefia is also a lawyer-by-day extraordinaire. She’s of Portuguese and Ghanaian descent, speaks Portuguese and some French, and dreams of someday living on a sunny farm. Fascinating, right?  Check out Francina’s typical day.

9139_10101794424286194_1645881885_n

5AM: Rise, Shine and Sweat

On weekdays, I’m up by 5AM either to teach an early morning indoor cycling class, workout with my trainer, or on my own. I’m a big fan of early morning workouts. On the weekends, I get up around 6 or 7AM to meditate and do yoga.

Many people don’t know this about me, but I struggled with my weight for many years.  One day, I hired a nutritionist and personal trainer to help me train for my first figure competition. I’ve now competed in three competitions, and while I’m glad I did it, I don’t have plans to compete again anytime soon. It’s an extreme lifestyle!

15863_691494652064_5827176_n

9AM: Attorney Segbefia

I love my job as as a full-time lawyer (I’m a judicial law clerk for the federal government), but it can be hectic. Between conference calls, writing legal documents, attending hearings, and traveling, I grab every opportunity to brainstorming playlists for my weekly classes. Music helps me relax and focus, and I’ve been caught dancing in my chair plenty of times at work!

Clean Eats

I’m a big believer in finding a diet that works for you because I used to obsess over it. Once I learned to relax and listen to my body, I realized that it naturally tells me what it needs. I’ve kept the excess weight off for almost five years just by learning how to listen to my body!  Here’s a typical day of eats for me:

Breakfast: Boiled or scrambled egg whites, oatmeal (or grilled red potato hash), coffee and fruit

Lunch: Soup and a HUGE salad

Dinner: A HUGE salad with lean proteins and tons of veggies. If I have time, I’ll sauté a bag of spinach, kale, or roast some veggies.

I probably stop at Trader Joe’s in Clarendon at least 3-4 times a week. Weekend treats include a visit to Bakeshop (I have a major sweet tooth) and sushi with my girlfriends.

 5:30PM: Sweatin’ Pretty

On weeknights, I either teach an evening Zumba or indoor cycling class, and typically teach between 8-10 classes a week.

From sparkly headbands, and fun/funky fitness clothes, to eyelash and hair extensions, I’m all about lookin’ good while working out hard.  Someday, I’d love to create a natural makeup line for women who work out that gives you that pretty workout glow and won’t damage your skin. I’d call it “Sporty Girl” – you heard it here first!

10PM: Lights Out!

I wind down by watching TV (Biggest Loser, Dancing with the Stars, American Idol and Judge Judy) and get to bed as early as possible. I’ve been known to fall asleep as early as 7PM. I need my rest to keep up my schedule!

But on the weekends, I let loose!  One of my go-to spots in DC is Cuba Libre. I go early for dinner and then stay until it becomes a Latin Dance club. My friends and I will dance for hours into the night if you let us! For a few more of my favorite spots in DC, check out this Pinterest board.

Check out Francina’s Revolve classes and read all the DC fitness blogger love.

For more Francina in your life, like her page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Anatomy of the Ride: Barre Ride

Curious about Revolve’s Barre Ride? Created by Christianne Phillips, the Barre Ride is a revolutionary hybrid workout that’s gained popularity in DC and was recently featured on ABC7.

Dorothy Beatty, Francina Segbefia and Grant Hill are DC’s Barre Ride experts. Christianne, Dorothy and Francina gave us the inside scoop on the Barre Ride and why this unique combination benefits our Riders.

Dorothy Beatty, Revolve DC Instructor Francina Segbefia, Revolve DC Instructor

Barre Ride Instructors: Dorothy Beatty and Francina Segbefia

Q: Where did the idea of creating a hybrid barre/cycle class come from? Why do these workouts go together? 

CP: While creating classes for the DC studio, I wanted one of the rides to uniquely combine cardio and strength in one hour. As a former dancer and avid cyclist, I realized that fusing cycling and barre into one class would be a home run.

Barre is full body: your body is constantly working and engaging in multi-muscle movement. Our barre movements also incorporate a lot of stretching, and allow you to reset your posture.

FS: If a rider cycles for hours and hours, week after week, year after year, their muscles get very accustomed to the riding position. A rider needs cross-training exercises, and the barre exercises do a great job of creating muscle balance.

Q: What was the Barre Ride designed to do for Riders? What impact does it have on their bodies and how is that different from other cycling classes?

DB: Barre Ride strengthens our cardiovascular system and improves our body’s ability to effectively use oxygen and fuel. Our barre work strengthens muscles that assist cycling, and lengthen muscles that get overworked while riding.

FS: Think about the cycling posture. Most riders get tired after time, which often sacrifices cycling form. Barre exercises open up your chest, back and hip muscles that have been in a contracted position during cycling, and activate different muscle fibers that are not necessarily used in the same way while riding.

IMG_0406

Christianne teaching Barre Ride at Revolve DC

Q: What are your best tips for improving our Barre Ride?

DB: On the bike, Barre Ride is a great opportunity to push to new levels. It’s a shorter ride, so go for a bit more intensity – add more resistance than you normally would!

Off the bike, think big and full ranges of motion. Challenge yourself to go a little deeper or lower than last time; your body will adapt. PLEASE ask us questions, and watch your form in the mirror.

FS: If it’s your first Barre Ride, take frequent breaks and stretch. Most first-time Barre Riders have a difficult time completing every repetition. Be patient with yourself. Strength comes with time.

Attending Barre Ride regularly will strengthen the muscles we use in class. As your muscles get stronger and the exercises become easier, a Rider should focus more on form, contracting and flexing muscles a little tighter to continue to strengthen the muscles.

Q: What habits should we create and maintain to continue our lean muscle build once we leave the studio?

DB: The best thing you can do off the bike is eat a clean, balanced diet and drink a TON of water. Fuel your body with protein, veggies, and some fruit, as well as some smartly selected grains/carbs on our very intense workout days (e.g. brown rice or sweet potatoes). And, obviously, eat lots of kale to get Kira’s Kale Abs… 😉

FS: Refueling with the right combination of lean protein and carbohydrates post-workout is critical to building muscle. I teach Barre Ride in the morning, so my regular breakfast is usually egg whites, fruit and oatmeal. Eat protein throughout the entire day because your body is constantly rebuilding muscle. Finally, stretch and strength-train outside of the studio!

For more fitness and cycling tips, follow Dorothy and Francina on Twitter and like them on Facebook: Dorothy B Fit and Cycling with Francina.

Ready for a Barre Ride? Reserve your bike now and then mark your calendars for April 18: Dorothy’s teaching a special Beach Booty Barre Ride to get Riders ready for summer!

SpooktaculaRide!

Maybe you’re having a spandex-infused roadblock picking out a costume for SpooktaculaRide. It’s tough to figure out something that qualifies as a costume but gives you the ability and comfort to sweat bullets (Angel and Francina are teaching this class so you will sweat). Need some inspiration? Well, Angel wore a sequin bikini top for our 4th of July rides so you could wear a bikini and call yourself Cycle Barbie. But if that’s a little too “Never Been Kissed” throwback for you here are a few ideas (we’re giving prizes for the best costumes!)…

-Wear regular cycle crops and sports bra and cut the neck of an old cotton T-shirt to wear offside 80s style. Your boyfriend won’t miss his old frat shirt anyway.

-Any sexy bunny, sexy nurse, sexy [insert occupation here] outfit will do over your regular spin gear! Most of them are made out of synthetic material it’s easy to sweat in.

-Guys: don a cape and call yourselves a Workout Warrior (shirts optional). If you wear a onesie you’re pretty much guaranteed a prize.

-Use this as an excuse to get those bright, crazy colored or patterned workout crops you’ve been eyeing, and call yourself Rainbow Brite.

-Tutus. Everyone loves tutus.

-Since this is DC and it is an election year, go political! Strap a binder to your back or ride with a bayonet.

There are some of our ideas and inspirations for you. Make sure you’ve got your spot reserved for the ride and have a great Halloween weekend, riders.

Image