Badass Mother | Andrea de la Garza

2018-07-24_0002.jpg

Meet Andrea, inspiring personal trainer, Barre babe and badass mother. When she isn’t at the gym, she is enjoying the outdoors with her sweet boy. Andrea exemplifies what it is to be a nurturing, engaging and supportive mother while somehow rocking the fitness world too. I love keeping up with her mother-son adventures on Instagram. She is truly an inspiration!

Scroll down for some wise words from Andrea.

2018-07-24_0001.jpg

Cheryl: What is your favorite way to sweat?

Andrea: My favorite way to sweat is a Barre workout! I love Dance, gymnastics and yoga! Barre incorporates movements from those three activities.

2018-07-24_0006.jpg

What keeps you motivated to stay fit?

I’m inspired to stay fit for my job, to motivate my clients and fellow women and to feel amazing!

I struggled with an eating disorder for 18 years and now I love that I am healthy and thriving; I love and appreciate my body! I have become so strong and done things I never thought I could do. I hope to inspire women in that way! We have control of our bodies and our minds. Also, my family has a lot obesity within and my father raised us to aspire to a healthy way of life.

2018-07-24_0007.jpgLet’s talk about self care.

Being a mother of a kid with Down syndrome and a single mom to boot, self care can be a challenge. I get as much sleep as possible. I eat really healthy and I remind myself that it is ok to take breaks. I love to sneak in acupuncture when I can!

Amen sister, take those breaks!

2018-07-24_0005.jpg

How did you create a career in fitness?

I have been in fitness since 2009. I started as a spin instructor, then expanded to Barre, weightlifting and cardio, group fitness administration then became a personal trainer in 2017. I grew up a dancer, a gymnast and a runner. Movement has always been a passion of mine. I also have an orthopedic exercise certification and I am a licensed CNA.

2018-07-24_0003.jpg

Do you have a favorite indulgence?

My favorite indulgence is chocolate and wine! I can never get enough!

 

Badass Mother | Heather Lorince Harrington

One day, I dropped in to take a Yoga Sculpt class at the club, not knowing who this Heather chick was… but 15 minutes into class I had developed a love-hate relationship with her. I love a fitness instructor who you think of the next day when all those little muscles are aching that you didn’t know existed. You know what I mean?!

Let’s get straight to the point- this woman is an inspiration! There’s something in the way she guides you through the hardest workout of your life with a sense of humor and that innocent look on her face…like it’s no big deal.

My first impression was that she just spent like 8 hours a day working out and spent the rest of her time munching on kale. Come to find out she balances her love of fitness with motherhood, a real estate gig, and margaritas!

Here are some words of wisdom from this amazing fitness guru:

CS: Why is fitness important to you?
HLH: Fitness has always been a huge part of my life.  Growing up on a farm, living 10 miles from the nearest town…I did a lot of running on dirt roads.  I also had nothing else to do but play sports.  And volleyball paid my way through college and still pays me – as I play on the beach volleyball circuit competitively.  I found yoga after I was done playing collegiate sports and that paved the way to learn and teach lots of other fun styles and modalities.  I love to move and I love to connect with other people…fitness has allowed me to do both.  I also have a 2 year old I have to keep up with…so I have to be in shape because she’s crazy.

heather-favs-20_WEB-1.jpgHow do you stay inspired?
I stay inspired by always being a student and always learning.  I’m inspired by other teachers, I’m inspired by my students and their fitness journeys and I’m inspired by my family.  My daughter and husband make me always want to do better and be better, as do the people I teach on the daily.
heather-favs-3_WEB-1.jpg

Do you have any advice for busy moms?! How do you stay so strong and healthy?
My best piece of advice is always make time for you…whether it’s a workout at home or finding an hour to go take a class even when it doesn’t make sense in your schedule.  You can’t take care of others on an empty tank so you have to fill yourself up and create joy for yourself…and a workout class can be just what the doctor ordered even when you’re exhausted.
I stay healthy by doing everything in moderation and I don’t freak out on the scale.  I know what my body craves and I listen to it.  I don’t deprive myself and I don’t over exercise.  I keep my brain as active as my body and I have a great group of friends who love to workout together.
heather-favs-6_WEB-1.jpgWhat’s your favorite way to sweat? 

I love a variety of workouts…I love heavy weights one day, sand volleyball doubles the next, a body weight pilates or yoga class, mixed in with a boxing class or cardio class.  I have workout ADD and I can’t just do one style.  Which is why I’m opening a studio called Compass Fitness — where you can  take a variety of fun classes throughout the week and find your direction.
heather-favs-13_WEB-1.jpg

Do you have a self-care routine?
Self care…yes!!  I love to take baths…it’s normally with a 2 year old, but whatever.  It’s still nice at the end of the day.  I also get regular massage and facials.  And pedicures.  And blow-outs.  And anything I can do to not feel disgusting after teaching 20 classes a week.  I also like to buy myself flowers.  Because – why not?
heather-favs-11_WEB-2.jpg

What is your favorite indulgence?
Margaritas and chips and salsa…and more margaritas.

Amen.

Tell us about your new fitness venture.
We are opening June 2nd…Compass Fitness is on Broadway and Evans and we will be offering a variety of fun class to challenge your body in ALL the ways you want to be challenged.  We want you to find a new direction and know that there are so many fun ways you can take your fitness journey.  We will partner with other studios throughout Denver and offer events with all of these great teachers – because we can.  We have 7000 square feet to work with and we love our fitness friends!  And we love teaching.  We will offer boxing, HIIT, pilates/yoga based classes, cardio dance classes, heavy lifting classes, upper/lower/and full body focused classes as well as offering childcare in our space!  It’s a win win!

You can find out more at: www.compassfitnessdenver.com

Badass Mother | Jamaica Cooke

Meet Jamaica Cooke, entrepreneur, badass mother and super fit chick! Jamaica used to juggle a corporate desk job with a side of fitness classes, but soon realized that she was much happier when leading a group through a music-driven sweat session rather than twirling around in her office chair. So…she left the desk and never looked back. Now, a few years & two kids later…she is ready to bring Denver the newest in kickboxing technology.

So how did I meet Jamaica? Well, I’m glad you asked. After trekking through the sweltering Costa Rican jungle with 3 kids on the humid July day, the pool was calling my name. I swam up to the bar to order a few fruity frozen drinks just as another family arrived. Our kids starting splashing around together and become instant BFF’s! After the usual small talk, we discovered that we live approximately 8 minutes from each other back in Denver. What are the odds?! We had just one day left in paradise…so we vowed to reconnect back in Denver. The rest is history…

FLYkickboxFAVS-18_WEB.jpg

Here are some inspiring words from my interview with Jamaica:

What inspires you to stay fit?
My kids and my family! I want to be active with them. As a family, we run 5k’s, we jump on the trampoline and we don’t watch much TV or use electronics. I make it a priority to be fit and healthy for my kids.

Any advice for busy moms?
If you take that one hour for yourself, you are a better mother for the day. You might feel like you are being selfish, but you’ll have better energy to share with your kids.

What is your favorite way to sweat?
Kickboxing. It’s been a prime way to stay fit and reduce stress. I get lost in the music…it’s always been my preferred method of exercise. The class never gets dull or easy because my technique gets better. I can push harder and go faster. I love the variation.

FLYkickboxFAVS-11_WEB.jpg

Tell me more about how you ended up here
I moved to California to help a family member open a restaurant, then I worked a corporate desk job. I realized my part-time gig as a kickboxing instructor could be a satisfying full time job. I’ve wanted to open a studio for a long time, but we were moving often for my husband’s military job. Now that we are settled in Denver, I’m creating exactly the type of place I love to workout.

I started teaching 17 years ago and I see the difference in can make in peoples lives. I have worked with people who are professional athletes and some with disabilities like cerebral palsy…to see how they can all benefit is inspiring.

So, how do you stay fit as s business owner with young children?
We intentionally built a small studio because I want to oversee the whole group. When I teach, I workout with them. It’s motivating. We work hard together.

FLYkickboxFAVS-9_WEB.jpg

I imagine you and your family do a lot of physical activities together, what are your favorites?
We take bike rides, have races around the block, we all jump on the trampoline together. I don’t like to sit and watch while my kids do activities, we do them together. The kids think it’s hilarious when I get on the trampoline and do toe touches. That gives me the greatest joy, doing activities with them that they love.

Tell us a little more about the new studio.
Kickboxing and technology collide for an intense workout with heavy bags. It’s great for all levels because the workout intensity is controlled by you. You can compete with yourself, set goals for the day, week and month. Classes are set to upbeat music, we have fun…so that hour goes quickly. We include core work and add variety to the class with medicine balls and gliders. My background as a personal trainer has given me the expertise to help everyone get results.

Get more information about FLY here: flykickbox.com

Badass Mother – Jess Kos Birney

I met Jessica a lifetime ago (before marriage & motherhood) at a fitness workshop. I was immediately drawn to her. She has this positive energy and confidence that inspires the people around her. While I was training to become a yoga teacher, I attended her classes religiously! She became my guide and mentor. My teaching style was strongly influenced by her guidance. It’s inspiring to see how yoga has influenced her parenting style. Toddlers are tough, but Jessica approaches her children with laughter, love and loads of patience!

I enjoyed chatting with her about motherhood and fitness. I find her honesty refreshing and I adore her sense of humor. I hope you will too.

2017-jessica-a-5_WEB.jpg

Here is what she has to say:

My name is Jess Kos Birney and I’m a wife, mamma, & yogi. I have one amazing husband, Marcus, and two amazing children: Halsten (3) and Selma (1). I have worked in the fitness/yoga industry for ten years and recently, with the birth of Selma, I became a full-time stay-at-home mom. It’s been an interesting transition to go from juggling 8 million things, including people …to managing my home and caring for my children. The hardest part of that transition has been the move away from technology and the desire to check email every 15 minutes. Because, let’s face it… no one emails me anymore. (Cue sigh of relief). You know, I really enjoy connecting with people. Whether it’s a student in my yoga class or a mom at the park, it’s nice to talk with someone about their challenges, successes and of course failures. I’m a firm believer that it does take a village and the more we can surround ourselves with support, the better overall we will all be.

2017-jessica-a-2_WEB.jpg

Tell us about a typical day

A day in the life includes basic functions first! Cuddles, food, and clothes. Then we head out. Fresh air is a necessity. There is nothing that smells better in this world than my babies smelling like the outdoors. I love it. It grounds me. We walk, a lot. Luckily, we are situated in an amazing part of Centennial where we are surrounded on three sides with amazing playgrounds and the Highline Canal. We play a lot of “I spy” and “what can we find today”. My son loves to pick-up rocks. My daughter loves to eat them. Sure we struggle. That’s the age they are in, right? Everything in the mouth. Where’s the closest restroom? Please put your shoes back on. No, really. Shoes on. Shoes. When we are outside, the basic functions seem less urgent and life ensues. It’s beautiful. After we get home, basic functions take over yet again. We are working on basics: how to share, how to speak without shouting or whining, how to manage as a unit. It’s working. We are thriving (most days). We love to turn up the music and dance like crazy people. We love to run around our enormous strange circle driveway. We love to run after our crazy puppy. We love cheese, any kind of cheese.

2017-jessica-f-2_WEB.jpg

What motivates you to stay fit?

Definitely my little people. I know that, like it or not, I am their role model. I believe that being fit and fitness needs to be incorporated in all aspects of life and isn’t necessarily defined as time in the gym or studio. There’s so much you can do around the house, at the playground, and while walking around the block. I’m a firm believer that the easier it is to do and the more fun it is, the more success you will have.

What is you favorite type of workout?

It will always be a yoga class. Something preferably in the Hot Vinyasa Fusion family. My body, my mind, and my spirit truly appreciates the flow, the heat and the space to breathe. When I’m on my mat I feel all the things that on most days, I don’t have time for. I feel strong, beautiful and most of all I FEEL me.

2017-jessica-a-1_WEB.jpg

How do you stay fit while you are constantly taking care of your family?

We walk. We walk everywhere. We work to be active all day, every day. And if the kids can’t come… more than likely it’s not happening. I’m a firm believer that if everyone can do it, we will all be happier and healthier.

Why is health important to you?

Health improves your life and the life of those around you. Do you want to be more energetic? Positive? Strong or flexible? Patient with your children? Yeah, me too. It all comes down to your health. For me, food has always been a struggle. I’ve done lots of work in this area and I definitely have some more work to be done. During one of my nutrition programs I heard, “your body isn’t hungry, it’s STARVING for nutrients.” I think about that every day, and it definitely helps me make better choices when on the go or feeding my family. I take great pride in placing well balanced plates in front of hungry people full of color and tastes.

There was this one day, I think pre-kids… that I had just finished doing a whole foods cleanse (remove all processed food, dairy, coffee, etc) and my husband, Marcus, kept bringinghome big bags of produce. The produce started going bad; I couldn’t keep up with it. Exasperated, I yelled, “why are you bringing these bags of produce home just to go bad!” And his response was, “well… you’re just so much happier when you eat this stuff that I was trying to help.” And drop the mic. Food impacts my mood, my energy, my outlook on life. It’s huge.

2017-jessica-f-7_WEB.jpg

Do you have any advice for mothers who want to be active?

Lace up your running shoes and get out of the house! Start by going around the block… then start to venture further. Yes, your stroller will look like you brought your whole house. Yes, it can be stressful and sometimes not fun at all. Make it a habit, part of your routine and everyone will flourish.

Are you working toward any fitness goals right now?

(Lol). No, but I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m day dreaming about getting up to take 6am yoga classes (I currently do teach a 6am at CPY Littleton), and I’d like to somehow obtain a treadmill so that I can walk, or hey, maybe run, during naps. My long term goal is to run a marathon, something that I never imagined I could ever accomplish. I tell my students all the time that you can do your pose… that it doesn’t have to look like the person next to you… so I’m trying to take my own advice. I’m going to do a marathon and it’s going to look like me, all the way.

Besides personal fitness goals, I am also launching a 95-hour Children’s Yoga Teacher Training (Yoga Alliance approved) that starts this fall and also has smaller weekend workshops this summer.  Children are my future, obviously.  And they could be part of yours.  Regardless, there should be more teachers to share yoga and mindfulness tools with our children.  I see it really as the way that I’ll continue to give back, grow, and serve.  My partners in this endeavor, Suzanne and Jessica, are excited to share their knowledge, too!  To learn more, you can go to www.youngyokes.org.

2017-jessica-f-9_WEB.jpg

Your kids brain on exercise

2017-ivivva-soundoff-arts-4_WEB.jpg

As humans, we are meant to be physically active throughout the day. But as a society we are training our kids to “sit still” and pay attention. This is not only detrimental to their health and their bodies, but it is taking a toll on their developing brains too.

What does movement do for the brain? Well, I’m glad you asked…

-stimulates new neuron formation and neuron growth
-increases blood flow to the brain (nourishment and oxygen…yes, your brain needs those!)
-acts as a natural anti-depressant and anti-anxiety solution (hello serotonin and endorphins!)
-increases retention of new information
-improves memory
-improves white matter integrity

And guess what?! Kids who are physically fit have higher test scores. Read more about brain benefits here.

Movement & homework

After years of homework with girls, I was surprised to find how frustrating homework became when our son started school. Yes, there is definitely a difference between raising boys and girls, but there is also a difference in personalities and learning style among all 3 kids. After struggling to get through homework with my son, we did a little investigating. Turns out sitting at school for 7 hours then coming home to sit at the table was a terrible idea, but I just wanted to get it out of the way! Now we make sure he gets a solid hour to run and play before we even attempt to start homework. Wow! What a difference it made! We also incorporate movement into the homework.

Ideas for winning the evening homework battle:

  • Take movement breaks: the duration and quantity will depend on the age, but let your child take a break to run a lap around the house or hop on one leg between math problems
  • Brain fatigue? Help your child do a handstand. It’s a great way to flood the brain with nutrients to help you think clearly and concentrate. Have them try it against a wall so they an hold the position! It’s invigorating.
  • Kick around a ball while you practice spelling new words out loud
  • Use a large white board on the wall to practice math or spelling so they can stand and wiggle, or even better, stand on a cushion to challenge their balance
  • Use concrete objects such as an abacus, beads on a string, or blocks to help reinforce math concepts
  • Play hopscotch to practice sight words- call out a word and they hop on it
  • Make a giant number line with sidewalk chalk and let them practice addition or subtraction by walking the line
  • Play Simon Says: For example, practice directions by saying Simon Says point South. Or learn colors and shapes- Simon says pick up an object that is round or Simon Says touch something that is yellow. Get creative!
  • Go outside– take a walk around your yard or neighborhood and talk about what you see. Maybe your child is studying insects, birds, the water cycle, plants or seasons…go outside and explore! See if they can make connections between their environment and what they’ve learned in school. They are more likely to retain information if they can make a connection.

Movement at school

A high school near Chicago found that students academic progress increased when students started the day with PE class. Read more on that here. I hope that with evidence like this, more and more teachers will build their daily schedule and lessons around movement. Now, I’d rather not see children acting like caged hamsters with those silly “cycling desks” because there are so many more effective and natural solutions, so let’s get creative!

If you are a teacher, read more about the positive effects of integrating movement into the classroom here. I love the example in this article of acting out a math word problem. Brilliant!

Be a responsible parent

As parents, we need to take ownership of our children’s health. So, put away that tablet…give your child more opportunities to move, grow and learn!

Brains also need rest and good nutrition, but that’s another topic for another day…stay tuned.

2017-ivivva-soundoff-arts-1_WEB.jpg

p.s. Thank you Arts and Minds for inviting me to your class to capture these photos, thank you Soundoff Colorado for supplying the awesome headphones and thank you Ivivva- Cherry Creek for outfitting the kids!

Badass Mother – Jill Sterner

As a busy mother myself, I’m always looking to other moms for ideas on how to keep healthy & strong while still kicking ass at this mom gig…so each month I’ll be sharing a little advice from another mother!

Let me introduce this month’s Badass Mother, Jillian Sterner. She cruises the north Denver ‘burbs in her “swagger wagon” (aka minivan) teaching adult and children’s fitness classes. Jill is admired for her infectious smile and contagious optimism. I connected with her several years ago while nursing our boys after BYOB yoga…that’s bring your own baby, in case there was some confusion. She has been a role model and friend ever since.

2017-jill-s-12_WEB.jpg

Here are a few wise words from Jill’s interview:

What inspires you to stay fit?

Staying fit and building workouts is a creative outlet for me. When I work out in the morning it clears my mind and gets me ready for a more productive day.

How do you stay fit as a business owner with young children?

I make it a priority to get up early 3 or 4 days per week. If it’s the first thing I do in the morning everything else falls into place. It doesn’t affect anyone else’s schedule and my husband & kids hardly notice I’m gone.

Can you share some advice for busy moms?

Figure out if you’re a morning person or night person and work with that! Do your workouts before your kids get up or right after they go to bed! If you are dreading your workouts change it up. Find something that inspires you and is fun! It’s different for everyone so ask yourself how can I look forward to this?

2017-jill-s-31_WEB.jpg

What’s your favorite way to sweat?

I had hip surgery several years ago which changed my style of workouts. I needed something that was high intensity as well as low-impact. I started training in barre, but wanted something unique so I combined it with tabata. I call this fusion, BARATA! It’s amazing for tightening and toning where women need it the most. The kicker is we workout barefoot on padded floors made for mixed martial arts/wrestling. Not only does this absorb the impact on our joints but it creates more instability so we can develop balance and strength. A side benefit is superstrong feet and ankles which is incredibly helpful as we age.

What are your favorite ways to be active with your kids?

I like doing yoga and Stretch-n-Grow with my kids! We also enjoy riding bikes, having dance parties, hide and go seek, swimming, running around the park, playing football, building forts, hiking, cooking, etc…being active is a great way for us to stay present together!

2017-jill-s-35_WEB.jpg

How do you inspire your kids to be healthy too?

I lead by example. We eat healthy 80% of the time and keep active together. I also try to get them involved in the recipe process, grocery shopping, and cooking! It’s fun to have them pick out a new vegetable or fruit to try. It encourages them to make healthier choices.

 

Check out her awesome kids programs here: www.sngofcolorado.com

The better I treat myself…

“The better I treat myself, the better my life becomes” -Spirit JunkieIt’s Saturday and not quite sunrise. I kiss my sleeping family goodbye. I enjoy the peace of sitting in the airport with a book and nobody to look after. I already feel relaxed. I snag myself a window seat on the plane (my favorite) and watch the houses get tinier & tinier as we ascend. The mountains seems to shrink below me and I get some refreshing perspective on how big the world is…and I’m not even out of Colorado. It inspires me to start planning my next adventure!

I arrive at the Shambala Petit Hotel, feel my feet sink into the sand, throw down my bags and jump into my swimsuit. I skip into the salty ocean waves to rinse away the stress (and sweat) of traveling. Refreshing!

I have to admit, as other women arrive I feel intimidated. I don’t know any of these obnoxiously fit people whom I was about to workout with for the week. Maybe I can’t keep up?! What did I get myself into?! As we settle in and begin chatting, my intimidation turns to inspiration. These ladies are positive, caring and nonjudgemental…and each awesome in a unique way. As women, we are all caretakers in some way. We are here to take a break from our jobs as mothers, business owners, doctors and executives. I begin to realize how much we all have in common and we arrive with the same goal: refresh, renew, relax!

Over 7 days, these strangers become my friends. We connect and encourage each other. We share meals and lively conversations. We soak up the sunshine and sweat together (a lot). We do a little salsa dancing and tequila tasting. We ride bikes, sail in a catamaran, explore Mayan ruins and swim in a cenote. Laughter is abundant!

I leave Tulum feeling energized, ready to take on the real world that awaits me back in Denver. Ready to inspire others to live well. Ready to take care of my family.

Gratitude. Gratitude. Gratitude. My heart is full of gratitude. I am thankful for my strong, healthy body. I am thankful for all of the people who made this trip possible, family members who took care of my kids and my husband who took on extra duties for the week. I am especially thankful for Teddi B for organizing this amazing experience. I am thankful for the beautiful balance between fitness, relaxation, exploration and cultural experiences. I am thankful for this unique and inspiring adventure!

Until next year,

Cheryl

See what Hot Mamas is all about: hotmamasexercise.com