Fitness for Mom, Part One

For the past few years many media outlets are beginning to stress the importance of over all health. We have learned so much with all the new technology and data.

As a fact, I know working out is good for you. I feel so much better after a work out or movement of some sort. Getting off the couch and driving to the gym takes motivation (a mental argument with myself) but once I am there, I feel good. And once I’ve worked out, I feel even better.

Joel Arias, Certified Personal Trainer and owner of a private gym, Strength Solutions, LLC, has been in the fitness industry for ten years and knows all about excuses and missing motivation.

“Make a commitment. More specifically, make a financial commitment so that you have to go. People who exercise and eat well have a higher quality of life,” says Arias.

Movement is a way of life for him (I have personally seen him doing down dogs at the airport). Arias began his health and fitness journey working at L.A. Fitness in Atlanta. He wanted to finish schooling (UMD, Kinesiology)  so he moved back to Maryland where he grew up. After working at three gyms in M.d., he decided to open his own training business and a private gym. Joel has no trouble getting clients because of his positive attitude and problem-solving skills. He specializes in injury and recovery and there is no shortage of that.220

I was lucky enough to get time with Arias at home to ask him some questions. Oh, did I mention he is my husband? I could rant and rave about him for days and I am not the only one. His clients appreciate his services everyday. He is a true expert in his field and loves to learn. I have learned more from him than any biology class. Many of his clients moved with him through four gyms in the last  five years! You guys, he knows what he is doing. Plus he is full of fun facts, loves jokes, and easy on the eyes…maybe that’s just me…


Anyways, Arias is truly a problem solver and believes in the power of the body and mindset.

Biggest Problem with Working Out

Exercise is vital for general health and fitness. Food, weight training, stretching, and cardio are the top things you need to achieve overall health. But Arias believes there are two big problems in the land of exercise and I totally agree.

“People exercise to lose weight but it’s not a good strategy to lose weight,” he says.

GASP! WHAT!? Okay, this is something that took me a long time to realize. But it’s true!

Arias says that if someone is in shape and works out vigorously for an hour they may burn 300- 400 calories.

As an example, average a person can burn 400 calories jogging for one hour, says Cosmopolitan Magazine. Um, who jogs for an entire hour?! Props if you do but not this girl.

So what do you do after that jog? I know I need a snack. One snack later, you have put those calories right back in!

It is more scientific than that, but you get what he is saying. Weight loss is 80% food and 20% workout. Think about that next time you are in the kitchen or grocery store.

The second issue Arias sees with workouts is that people do not research how to do their exercises correctly. It’s like if your child brings home some common core math, will you just wing it?! No. If this is new to you then you’ll YouTube or google it. Maybe even ask an older sibling. Then you can help your child correctly. Same as your job. Would you just go in knowing nothing? Of course not. You will be educated and trained to handle the job proficiently. It is the same with working out! Don’t just wing it.

IMG_7030When people are exercising without proper education and form, they may not see the results they wanted or even worse, they may injure themselves.

After an injury or no results, you may lose motivation and be right back where you started, but now with a strained bicep.

Arias recommends watching some YouTube videos before you go to the gym and remember the key points in the videos, like posture and body position.  I  keep a notebook with me to help me stay on track and remember cues. Do you ever do core and you don’t feel it… You are missing a specific cue. Take out the back arch, tuck your pelvis, elongate your spine, and engage your core! Write this down!

 Trainer vs. No Trainer

I am sure at this point you understand the importance of working out in a safe and effective manner. You can certainly workout without a trainer. It can be done with the proper research and planning. But having a trainer is a nice way to learn the basics.

Arias says to be careful when picking a trainer. A lot of times a trainer is just someone who is passionate about exercise, for them self. It is not necessarily someone who is knowledgeable about movement. But many trainers have specific certifications, like training pregnant women, weight loss, strong man competitions, etc. When choosing a trainer, check if they have any specific specialties that match what you need.

A lot of trainers are not equip to work with clients who have injuries. This is important because your injury needs to be handled with knowledge and care or it could potentially get worse. If you are dealing with a frozen shoulder or recovering from ACL surgery, ask the trainer how they will handle your injury. If they don’t know, keep looking.

IMG_7022Many people can’t afford to work with a trainer 3-4 times a week. So you should use a trainer who can make you a plan, teach you the skills, and then encourage you to workout a few days on your own. They should always have a plan for you during the work out and for long term, as well.

Picking the right person is important. Make sure you are getting good vibes and feel comfortable (as comfortable as you can be discussing your body fat and fear of the gym). It should be a positive and encouraging experience. They need to keep in touch with you on a weekly basis. It is important to have someone hold you accountable. If you are missing sessions or not doing workouts on your own, they should talk to you about it.

“If you aren’t meeting your goals, they will kick you in the butt. Sometimes you need a little kick in the butt,” Arias says.

As I said before, it is not necessary to have a trainer. The internet is a fantastic source for workouts. Plus, there are countless fun, free and simple apps you can download if you need some ideas (Fitstar, Nike, Sworkit). Just do your research.

Arias says, “Your body is the only thing you truly own so keeping it in pristine condition should be your top priority.”

Mom Body Issues

Arias has worked with many women who are pregnant and who have just given birth (after the doctor has cleared them to work out). He sees a lot of similar injuries and issues. He says that many women with small children suffer from general back pain and tightness in their neck. Neck and back pain can be attributed to always carrying multiple things and it can be made worse, especially when carrying heavy things with their arms bent (like a baby carrier resting on the inside of the arm). When women carry things with their arm bent, it makes their biceps really tight which leads to neck and shoulder pain, insists Arias. He encourages women to work on developing their grip. Your body is IMG_7023one big chain and something all the way down at your feet can be affecting your hip. Grip strength and movement  is important for your arms, shoulders, and neck.

Women also struggle from lower back pain which he attributes to their ab wall and pelvic floor getting stretched out during pregnancy.

He says, “It is of the utmost importance to regain core and pelvic floor strength. Many mothers will lose bladder control when jumping. Laughing can make them pee, too.”

He deals with it all.

Arias has some solutions for these problems which moms face.

For neck and shoulder issues, he suggests Windmills to stretch the muscles out.

He also has a stretch to relieve lower back pain.

You can see a Pelvic Floor Specialist (yes, that is a real thing) but if the issue is not that serious, you can also practice a Pelvic Tilt and do these other exercises at home.


Okay, not really a conclusion because this is a Two Part-er! I thought you could use a post all about you! If you aren’t taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally, then how can you take care of those who depend on you? My husband is a sea of knowledge and loves to share with anyone who will listen. Next week, we will explore food and also, health standards for children.

Follow Joel Arias @StrengthSolutionsLLC and on YouTube at Strength Solutions.

Email him directly at StrengthSolutionsLLC@gmail.com.

Featured Image and Fitness model, Kelli Inskeep. Follow @plant.joy on Instagram. Kelli, certified trainer and IMG_7021bikini competitor, posts exercises you can follow and healthy yet delicious recipes.
















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