A Busy Mom’s Practical Guide to Strength Training

Maggie Batten – Fit Mom to Four Children

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, designated in 1983 by the President’s Council on Fitness to promote healthy lifestyles among all Americans and improve our quality of life.[1] The World Health Organization recommends that the average person get 2.5 hours of moderate or 1.5 hours of intense exercise every week, but with gyms and recreation facilities closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many Americans might be puzzled as to how to maintain their health and fitness.

One of the best activities that we can do for our bodies is strength training. Lifting weights in essential in combating lower abdominal fat, reducing cancer risks, strengthening mental health, and boosting brain health, among many other benefits.2 In addition to strength training, aerobic exercise is also important as it improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps to regulate blood sugar, reduces asthma symptoms and chronic pain, as well as aids in sleep.

Maggie Batten and her family

So how can we work, care for our kids and their schoolwork, cook, clean, and stay motivated? Maggie Batten is a brand ambassador, completed certifications in spin instruction and fitness, and mom to four kids (two of which are under two!). She knows the struggle all too well! Here are her tips to keep you motivated and on track:

  1. Be prepared. I try to prepare my meals in advance. Obviously, I don’t prepare everything and I am flexible for “life.” I try to have my breakfast and lunches ready so I can just grab them and go. Having kids makes it harder to make sure you are getting your proper nutrition, so by preparing, it is like my magic key to being healthy.
  2. Be ok with putting yourself first. This took me awhile to learn. The laundry, house cleaning, dishes, yard work, emails, etc….it can all wait. When my two babies napped I would try to get everything in and have no time for me. I’ve started using that small amount of time to do things for myself. That right now is working out for me and our schedules.
  3. Don’t mind the people that don’t understand your fitness or health journey. It’s not about anyone else but you. It’s a lifestyle and not everyone gets it. Keep doing it! There are so many wonderful friendships I’ve made on social media through fitness. Seek out positive vibes.
  4. Be patient. I’ve been through four pregnancies, three surgeries, depression, and a lot of hardships. I know our bodies can be amazing, stubborn, and very difficult. It is also very capable. Give yourself time. Change will happen. Maybe change takes longer than you want, but you will get there!
  5. Take progress pictures. I know not everyone does this but I think it’s a good idea to do it. No matter what your fitness goals are I recommend taking pictures of your starting point for yourself to look back on. You will be amazed as you go along in your journey to health.
Maggie Batten

Some states are slowly starting to open back up from quarantine, but things are definitely not how they were, and more than likely, may never be the same. So here are my tips for working out from home during quarantine:

  1. Find a program. My favorite app right now is the Tone It Up app. I love the quick workouts, recipes, and how each day it is different. I love variety and each day is new and different! In the past I used a DVD program through a popular fitness company and used that as my guide. Once I completed it a few times, I was able to skip watching the videos and follow the written plan with the workout schedule. There are also a myriad of gyms and fitness companies offering free workouts online and on social media while the quarantine is happening. In addition to these free programs, there are a lot of popular fitness DVDs available online, too.
  2. Don’t skip more than three days in a row. I personally have noticed that if I skip one or two days in a row, it’s ok! However, if I skip three days in a row, I am likely to fall of the proverbial wagon. I aim to only skip one day, every couple of days, or workout 5 days in a row with one rest day. 
  3. Involve your children! Do a push-up challenge with the whole family, see who can curl canned goods the most, compete in a plank challenge, do standing calf-raises to music, ride bikes as a family, go on a walk/run. Be creative and find new ways to workout together and make it fun!
I competed ONCE, a long time ago…back in my heyday! Terrified, but proud that I got up on that stage!

Whatever you do, make it enjoyable! You are more prone to stick to a program that you like, so make it fun, change it up and include the family.

What are you doing to stay active during these uncertain times? Share below! I love reading your comments and can always use more ideas!! And don’t forget to subscribe!

Make sure to visit Maggie Batten on Instagram:

You might also like:


[1] https://www.active.com/fitness/articles/national-physical-fitness-and-sports-month

[2] https://www.yahoo.com/news/11-benefits-strength-training-nothing-muscle-size-142928464.html


A Note on Mother’s Day

Today is a day we celebrate the mothers in our lives. For some, this day is filled with joy and laughter and love, and for others, its full of mixed emotions, sadness, grief, loss, and sorrow.

Today, I feel both.

I lost my mother when I was 13 years old. She stuggled with a lot of emotional scars and substance abuse. Ultimately it took her life and took her from me.

For years I struggled with her loss. It took ten years to finally release a lot of sorrow and emotions that were wrapped up in the loss of my mother. Now, I am able to think of her without crying and filled with pleasant memories, instead of the last moment I had with her, which was seeing her on life-support.

Losing my mother was incredibly difficult and no one can ever replace your mom. However, God has blessed me with so many amazing, caring, loving moms in my life since.

These two mommas have been instrumental in my life.

My grandmother has been there for me for so many difficult and challenging events and relationships throughout my life. She always points me to God. Whenever I feel overwhelmed or down, she is quick to give me scripture and guide me through life’s challenging times. She planted a seed in me when I was a teen that started to bloom, and later as an adult, I accepted Christ. She never gave up on me. She just continued to love me and pour the love of Christ over me. What a blessing she has been!

My mother-in-love is so incredible. She loves us so well and showers love on our boys so much! She goes out of her way to visit, send cards, gifts, and selflessley cares for others. My husband was so lucky to have such a marvelous Christian women to raise him. I am so blessed to have a mom in my life that loves me like her own and welcomed me with open arms. She is a mother-in-law that many could only wish for. Thank you, Mom, for being a remarkable mom and grandmother!

In addition to these two amazing women, my great-grandmother was also someone I admired and loved dearly. When my mom lost our apartment, my great-grandmother opened her doors to us and cared for me like I was her own daughter. Even when I got older, I would drive to her apartment and stay the weekend with her. She was so much fun and I loved her dearly.

Now as a mother, I think back to when my children were born and the immense never-ending love you immediately have for your child. I love my boys with everything I have and I am so grateful that God blessed us with these two crazy boys. They are full of life, love, and curiosity. I am blessed to be their mom.

This day bring a lot of joy. But again, a lot of sorrow. My heart aches for the women who desperately want to be a mother. For those that have lost children. To those who have miscarried. To those who have lost their own mothers.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 (ESV)

Wherever you are today, however you are feeling, be it happiness or sorrow, joy or grief, remember that you are loved. You are a daughter to the Most High. He loves you so much!

May this day be a blessing to you, may you notice the remarkable gift that the Lord has given us this day. Be inspired. Be grateful. Find the joy in the day. The sun, the warmth, flowers, all the little moments. Feel blessed and loved, because God made this day for you. May we rejoice and be glad in it!

Love you all! Happy Mother’s Day!


Five Tips for Going Blonde with Top Knot Stylist, Kortnee VanCleave

Kortnee VanCleave, Owner of Top Knot Stylist

Meet Miss Kortnee! She is my incredible stylist, who loves what she does and you can tell it in her work. She spends hours upon hours learning, studying, and continuing her education to keep up with the latest trends and to craft her skill.

– Before –

I met Kortnee through a mutual friend in the fall of 2018. Before I went all in with lightening up my hair, I wanted to try balayage to test the waters.

– First Balayage –

I loved it and wanted to keep the process going, so did another round of balayage:

– Second Balayage –

I was hooked and decided it was time to dive in and go blonde!! I loved all of Kortnee’s blonde looks that she posted on Instagram and knew it was time to go blonde!

After just two sessions, here is what it looked like:

LOOOOVEEEEE!!!
Then went a little icier for winter and LOVED it!

I asked Kortnee to share 5 tips for going blonde, and here’s her best pro tips:

Pro Tip #1

Blonde takes time. It doesn’t normally only take 1 or 2 appointments to get there, so be patient and know it will take a few months and each appointment will take anywhere from 3-5 hours, so plan accordingly and maybe pack a snack. 😉

Pro Tip #2

Find a stylist who is really good with blonde and knows what they’re doing! You’ll know a good stylist by their website or social media page. There should be a lot of beautiful HEALTHY blonde pictures posted. In this industry you get what you pay for so if you want cheap hair, that’s exactly what you’ll get.

Pro Tip #3

Listen to your stylists product recommendations! They aren’t just trying to up your service bill to make a quick buck; they’re trying to help you keep your hair healthy and extend the life of your color appointment. You’re already investing time and money in getting the service done, so don’t strip, clog and ruin your hair by using the cheap stuff from your grocery store. Your stylist will know more about your hair journey than the consultant at a local beauty supply store.

Pro Tip #4

Moisture, moisture, moisture! When you put lightener on your hair it will feel dry so be sure you’re doing some sort of either reparative or moisture mask/treatment. Your stylist will know what to recommend. (I’m a big fan of Olapex and Kenra!)

Pro Tip #5

There are about a million shades of blonde and there is a shade for everyone! If you get to being blonde and you don’t like it, ask your stylist what shade would look best with your skin tone. It’s most likely a quick and easy fix with a toner.

Happy blond-ing, ladies!

Kortnee

You can find Kortnee on Instagram, Facebook, and on her website at TopKnotStylist.com.

Have you ever wanted to go blonde but haven’t taken the plunge?

Share below! I’d love to read!!


What is True?

Plandemic or pandemic? 
More to it or not?
What is truth and what is fake?

These days it is really hard to decipher what is real and what is not, what is true and what is fake. There is a lot of information flowing around online and distinguishing what is real is almost impossible. Is there more to this pandemic? Or is it as is seems? Are we not being told things? Is Big Pharma involved or not? Is there more to this than meets the eye?

I honestly don’t know what media form to trust anymore. But there is one that I trust and can fully depend on.

God. 

John 14:27 states, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” God is with us always. He is our Comforter. He goes before us and is stability in a world that is full of chaos. It seems as though we can’t trust what we read or what we see. But you can trust in what you cannot see. In John, we read about Thomas, one of the twelve disciples. The other disciples told him that they saw the Risen Lord, but Thomas said, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Days later, Thomas was with the disciples inside, the door was locked, and Jesus came and stood and said to them, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Even though I cannot see, I believe. Even though I cannot trust the world, I can trust my God. Even though I feel confused and not sure what to believe, I can believe in God. 

So regardless of what we read, what we see, what we are told in the news and media, remember that you can believe in the Lord. He is our only truth, His Word is the same today, tomorrow, and forever, and is always beneficial. So if you are feeling lost, confused, angry, hopeless, turn to God. Give your fears and concerns to Him and feel the power of peace that only God can provide.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)

If you don’t know God and want to know more, I am always here. ❤