fitfluential

Back to the Blog - a Restart

yesterday morning at Cohasset Harbor. Ahhh...

It's been quiet over here, hasn't it? I guess having a baby will do that to a blog sometimes. Now that things are settling down on the home front (getting the hang of parenting, baby settling into a quasi-routine, the dog back up and walking), I've been thinking a lot about what I'd like things to look like going forward. One thing I definitely would like to get back into on a regular basis is blogging.

I love the communities that develop with blogs and how people within those communities can turn to each other for advice and inspiration. I've been using blogs for years to learn more about so many different topics - photography, eating clean, parenting, etc - and I would love it if I could help others do the same. Going forward I hope to cover a variety of things including:

-fitness photography: what I'm doing in my work and also featuring other photographers
-FitMomTalks: readers are loving this series and I'm excited to keep it going!
-my own fitness goals: I'm restarting my own personal fitness regimen and I would love to use this blog to help stay accountable
-ETC: parenting challenges, what I'm learning alone the way, South Shore living, *travel*... all the other things going on in life!

So how does that sound? Will you join me? 


#FitMom Talks: Julianna Curtis of The Energy Barre

New month, new FitMom! Get ready for this one - there's a lot of good info here... I've worked with Julianna Curtis a bunch of times now and loved each photo shoot we've done. From pre-baby, to "maternity fitness shoot," to post, this lady is killing it no matter what stage of life she's in. She's got a lot to say too so grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine, settle in, and read on!

Tell us a little about yourself and your business: My name is Julianna Curtis, I've got a lot of spunk, a big heart, a lot of dreams and a long to do list. I respond to a lot of names such as Wife, J, and Queen...but my favorite name is Mama. I became a mom on March 25, 2015 when my husband and I welcomed our son Lennon Patrick to this world!
photos courtesy of Julianna Curtis
To be entirely honest, I wasn't sure I was meant to be a mom. Before the baby there was never a moment when my husband and I felt incomplete as a party of two, we had each other and our love was BIG. In the months waiting for our baby we shared "fear of the unknown" feelings and wondered how our party of two would function as a party of three. EVERYBODY told us that once the baby arrived we would wonder how we ever lived without him. Well, in many ways they were right. Our baby boy was made for us. He is our greatest love, our greatest adventure and our greatest blessing. Watching my hubby become a father has made my heart grow to a size I did not know was possible and I thank God for those two boys everyday. Just looking at my son's face fills me with so much pride, I truly could not imagine our life without him. 

But becoming a mama sure does change EVERYTHING! I wouldn't wish it away, I wouldn't change it if I could...I would simply ask the universe for more time in each day, so that I could spend adequate time playing with my son and teaching him to love life and take risks, being a wife and showing my husband how grateful I am to have him for myself and as my partner in parenting, being a daughter, a sister, an aunt and a friend, following my professional dreams and taking care of myself. Since I am sure that women have been wishing for more hours in a day since the beginning of time, I will just focus on doing the best I can and giving my all to this very full life, especially to the boy who changed it all, Lennon.

Before I became a mom, my life was still incredibly full! If you had asked me about myself and my life, I would have divulged a little bit more about the individual "me" and boasted about my cute hubby before telling you all about my passion and my calling: I am the proud owner of The Energy Barre, a fitness and lifestyle studio specializing in barre and matte style classes that promise to tighten, tone and strengthen, while restoring balance to the body. That key word - balance - is what makes our technique so unique, effective and addicting. Not only do our workouts deliver aesthetic results, but they also encourage reengineering to the internal workings of the body. We develop incredible tension through our lives daily activity...it feels good to have that released! Our clients, or EB Babes, come to class and work incredibly hard, yet when they leave they feel refreshed rather than drained...they make our instructors feel like miracle workers, but it's just a smart workout with passionate delivery! It still blows my mind when I say that my team is made up of over 30 women. 

When I first opened The Energy Barre, with three girls by my side, it was my goal to create a place where any woman, any shape, any size, any fitness level could come and get a great workout, feel challenged yet supported and leave feeling good about themselves. I attribute the studios ability to stay true to this goal to The Energy Barre Girls. Our team is irreplaceable because each girl has made my mission their own. It's really rewarding and humbling to watch these girls in action. I can also thank these girls for my nickname, "the queen." Let the record show: I shamelessly dubbed myself The Queen of EB, but when you've got such a loyal group of girls working to build a dream that was once just your own, how could you not feel like a Queen?

Currently I own and operate three locations: EB Beverly, EB Medford and EB Stoneham. I have big goals to continue to grow! In The Energy Barre's three short years, I have learned that my passion for fitness falls within a greater passion: connecting with and supporting women. I am lucky to have found a career that supports my desire to love, that challenges me to be a better person and inspires me to do more. My professional life will be dedicated to encouraging women to admire their own greatness and to nurture the greatness of others. I want to see women love themselves so truly that any jealousy of another could be turned into true admiration: imagine how much more energy we would have to give to things that matter!? I am not quite sure where this road will take me, but I know it will be a trip worth taking. I can promise additional Energy Barre locations in the future....I also hope to build an online presence in some capacity, and to turn my newly launched, amateur blog "the diary of a queen" into a powerful resource for women. If you can dream it, you can do it...right?

How long of a maternity leave were you able to take before you started to work (and workout!) again?
Thanks to my team, I was able to pretty much unplug without concern for our entire hospital stay (Lennon spent some time in the special care unit). Once we were home, I was eager to reconnect with the behind the scenes work, and babies nap quite a bit... so I plugged back in and being involved made me feel human! Lennon's ten days in the hospital forced me to truly sit still, rest and recover. 

Immediately upon settling into life at home with I baby I committed to moving my body every day. I did not dive into rigorous exercise by any means, but my body craved movement and I made that happen daily, while honoring my physical limitations. I returned to teaching on May 4th, about five weeks after giving birth. Taking an extended break from teaching was something that I COULD have done, because our team is so supportive, but it was not something that I wanted to do. I taught my last class on the day my water broke and once Lennon was home from the hospital and I looked forward to my body giving me the green light to get into the studio again. I remember hearing songs on the drive to and from the hospital and making notes because I could not wait to use them in classes. Many moms dread the return to work because it means five extended days away from their new baby. I cannot imagine how that must feel. I was fortunate to be able to look forward to my return to work, knowing that it only meant a couple of hours away from my son.

How did that schedule/routine look different from before baby? Oh gosh! It was different in so many ways! Different from what it was before, and different from what I planned for it to be!

Professionally: Pre-baby I was teaching 14-15 classes each week...when I made my return in May I took it slowly, starting with 3 classes per week and gradually building from there. I took it slow, worked my schedule to manage extra long summer weekends at the lake and I limited the amount of days I had to be anywhere before 11am. As I took on more I quickly developed a bottomless well of respect and admiration for the moms who do it all so gracefully, and then of course for those (like me) who make it all happen, just not so gracefully. Those early months of motherhood taught me how to be happy about showing up without looking perfect, because to get out of the house on time has always been hard for me, nevermind with a baby! I look back on those dark circle, breast milk stained, disheveled days with pride... I can say I've been there with a smile (and maybe a couple of tears). 

Now, almost a year into motherhood, I teach 10 classes per week and I don't really plan to commit to many more regularly scheduled classes. I add on special classes and pop up offerings to fill my desire to teach more, and that has been working great! This schedule allows me to feel balanced, like I am home with my family and at the studio with my favorite ladies JUST enough! I will always wish I had more time for both...but like I said I'm just going to focus on giving all that I can with what I've got!

Did your fitness outlook and goals change after becoming a mom? If so, how? 
Personally: My own fitness routine was DRASTICALLY different than I had anticipated! To be 100% honest, from the outset, pregnancy gave me a great amount of anxiety because I am a fitness professional. I use my body to do my job, and through years of work I had developed a body that I was comfortable in and proud of, and having that change was terrifying. I had strong expectations of myself and I was scared to meet my new mom body....but what I didn't know was what the expectations would be of my clients, and what they would think of my new mom body. I think that is a fear that everyone in this industry has at some point, and it can be hard to put to words. Once I had accepted that this change was going to happen, I coped by promising myself a celebrity-style comeback. I anticipated vigorous workouts, a clean diet and a daily commitment to studio time for ME! 

Well, Lennon had other plans, and thank God for that! Instead of focusing on my transformation, I committed to taking my time, being kind to myself, and moving my body everyday so that I could be the best mom, the best wife, the best boss babe, and the best me on any given day. This commitment in itself was enough of a challenge so again, thank goodness I was able to let go of that celebrity-style comeback! Still, I was constantly faced by challenges. Owning a fitness studio, I thought it would be easy to sneak a class in everyday, but there isn't always a sitter, there is always work to do, and some days I did not want to leave my son's side. So, in honoring the commitment that I had made to myself, I began to develop tricks and methods of motivation to achieve active movement everyday without seriously dropping the ball in the other aspects of my life. 

My favorite trick is the three or thirty commitment, which you can read about in my blog here. But what I would really like to say here is how much my view of fitness has changed. I believe that my relationship with my body and with exercise has been very healthy and balanced for a long time...I have always loved french fries and ice cream and I have always loved running and pushing my limits physically...so I struck a balance pretty naturally. But something has shifted in this year as a mom...I still make a daily commitment to move, I love to see my body change shape and develop strength, but I am kinder to myself and although my body is different than it used to be, I have never felt better.
What is the biggest challenge you've found in running a business and being a mom? The biggest challenge I have faced is striking a balance. On the weeks that I feel like I am crushing it professionally I usually miss a few more bed times, have piles of dirty laundry and a screen full of unopened text messages. On the weeks that I feel that I have given my family and home all of the attention that it deserves I've got unanswered emails and a lengthy boss babe to-do list. But it flows. I am at least getting better at acknowledging when one side is slipping and making an effort to tip the scale back before one has totally dropped. Knowing myself, I will never truly overcome this challenge...but I will become a master manager of my own life and find the best balance...maybe by the time Lennon is TWO!

What is your favorite fitness-related activity to do with your son? I just love to involve him! When it's just him and I, it's a thirty minute workout, and I feel like he enjoys it as much as I do: he cheers me on and I make him laugh! Some days he is in the high chair with some Cheerios while I run on the treadmill and sing to him. Some days he is my big 25 pound weight of resistance. Some days my movements are dictated by where he has crawled to and what toys he is playing with. We have fun. He smiles, I sweat, we're both better for it!


Thanks so much to Julianna for sharing her story! 

More info on Julianna and the Energy Barre:

locations: 5 Central Square, Stoneham, MA 02180
181 Elliott Street, Beverly, MA 01915
269 Middlesex Avenue, Medford, MA 02155

Twitter: @TheEnergyBarre
instagram: @the_energy_barre
Facebook: facebook.com/theenergybarre

To read more of my #FitMomTalks, click here!

#BostonMarathon Runner Story: Lauren Delaney for Massachusetts Fallen Heroes

I only photographed one Boston Marathon runner this year so I thought it was fitting to post her story today, Marathon Monday! Meet Lauren, who I met up with at Forge Pond Park in Hanover, MA. Lauren is running with the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes team and has already raised over $25,000 this year. Amazing!
Name: Lauren Delaney
Location: Hanover, MA
Occupation: Campaign Management Manager 
Number of Marathons Run (including 2016): 5
Boston Marathons Run (including 2016): 4
Why I Run: In general I run to stay in shape and to run for a purpose. I run for charities because it combines my passion for giving back and philanthropy with health and fitness. This year I am running to raise money for Massachusetts Fallen Heroes in memory of my "cousin-in-law," LCpl William J. Donovan, Jr. U.S.M.C. Will was a two time Purple Heart recipient who served in Afghanistan in 2011. He died in a tragic motorcycle accident in September.  I wanted to carry on his legacy by running in his memory and raising money for an organization that meant so much to him and now our family. Through this, I am also hoping to raise more awareness about MFH and the amazing work they do!


Nice job Lauren and good luck today!!!
To read more Boston Marathon runners' stories, visit my website: www.luciewickerphotography.com/bostonmarathon

#FitMom Talks: Kerri Thomas of Orangetheory Fitness

It's the beginning of the month and I have another awesome FitMom to share with you (to see more from this series, click here)! And now - meet Kerri!
Tell us a little about yourself and your business: 
My name is Kerri Thomas and I am the Regional Fitness Director and Trainer for Orangetheory Fitness. My husband and I are working on starting a stroller run club in the greater Boston area starting this May! More information to follow. Nevin is our son and he will be 7 months on April 20.
photo courtesy of Kerri Thomas
How long of a maternity leave were you able to take before you started to work (and workout!) again? 
I took 12 weeks off for my leave, starting 1 week before I delivered. I stopped training classes 2 weeks before my due date and worked out up to the day before I delivered.

I had a quick and relatively easy delivery so I started going for 2+ mile walks the day after we came home from the hospital, and then started with shorter body weight circuits at home around 4 weeks postpartum. At 6 weeks I tried to do a box jump (not smart) and nearly face planted as my hips were still separated and the pain I felt was a big eye opener that slowly getting back into things was needed even for me.

Also, I was a pretty avid runner before, and that was the only thing that was too uncomfortable for me to do while I was pregnant. I had awful ligament pains in my lower abdominal area, so it's been TOUGH running again after almost a year!

How did that schedule/routine look different from before baby?Well... My schedule was jam packed with working out before Nevin! Work and working out were basically my top two priorities as I was about to start training for a marathon the week I found out I was pregnant. 
Did your fitness outlook and goals change after becoming a mom? If so, how?
Absolutely! Your whole life and priorities shift or change after you have a baby, or at least mine did. I'm a HUGE goals person, and the goals I had before Nevin were more personal when it came to my health and fitness. Now, my fitness and health goals take on a whole new meaning as I want to be a role model for my son, not just a "fit mom". A very important goal of mine working in fitness is to inspire every person I meet to be the strongest and healthiest version of themselves, my son will be one of those people!

What is the biggest challenge you've found in working and being a mom?When you love what you do, your "work/life balance" doesn't seem to be an issue, right? This was me! I was always working and didn't really think about it twice. Now, time management is something I am working on a lot. When I'm at work I'm working more efficiently and I'm minimizing the amount of work I do on my days off, other than when Nevin is sleeping. So, most of my emails go out after 9PM :) I still work full-time, with some days being at 2+ locations or some weeks working some part of every day, but I feel as though I am home much more and when I am home it's quality time.

The real challenge I found when going back to work is not so much my work/mom balance, but the work/working out or going out/mom balance. When I was on maternity leave, I didn't feel guilty and craved getting out to get a workout done or go out with friends. Now working, I have a hard time being away from Nevin for personal time as I'm already away for work. It's something I'm sure all working parents face, and have started to put a schedule together that has helped me figure this out and not miss his face too much!

What is your favorite fitness-related activity to do with your son (either one-on-one or as a family)?In the fall, Mike and I used to go for longer walks with Nevin and then stop at the HS track or a big hill to do a workout with Nevin typically sleeping. The winter has been tough to incorporate Nevin into our workout routines but we've taught him some great pushup and sit-up to stand exercises! But what's been really great as the weather is getting warmer and Nevin has now developed strong enough head and body control, is we are starting to jog with him in the stroller (if you are a runner you need a BOB stroller). We are excited to get some hikes done as a family this spring!

To follow Kerri on her adventures in fitness and motherhood, check her out on instagram at @kjfitchick. Thanks for chatting with me, Kerri! 

#FitMomTalks: Gina Fay of DanceFIT Studio

I'm so excited to share a new feature on the blog with you! When I found out I was expecting my first baby this spring, I immediately turned to my mom friends for any and all wisdom they had to share. I realized I'm lucky to know so many moms in the fitness community who are kicking ass at their jobs, some even owning their own businesses, and figuring out how to be super moms as well.

I thought it would be fun (and hopefully inspiring!) to share their stories and any advice they have on the blog in a regular feature called "FitMoms." Our first FitMom is Gina Fay, business owner and mom of three, who I've known and admired for years. Here's what she had to share:
Tell us a little about yourself and your business: 
Hi! Lucie, thank you for asking me to be a part of this special blog series! I am Gina, the owner/founder of danceFIT Studio with locations in Brookline, Natick and a virtual fitness studio which I started 6 years ago.

A little bit about danceFIT, without turning this blog into a marketing piece, but my business is first and foremost a very special dance studio for children. We present classical ballet & technique in a friendly welcoming environment. Second, my Natick studio offers a variety of adult barre and fitness classes like pound, zumba, balletFIT, bootcamp, pilates with props, deep stretch and our very popular class hot barre (which you got to experience!) 6 years ago, I launched a virtual fitness studio from my living room. I taught from home and my clients stayed home. It seemed so strange at first, but the community grew and grew and grew, and now we offer 20+ group virtual fitness classes per week, and we have had clients from 5 countries and 23 states. I am also co-founder of bvirtualstudio in which I train other boutique barre, yoga and pilates studios how to β€œbvirtual.”

My hubby and I live in Wayland MA, a suburb west of Boston. We have three amazing children, Joey (6), Tommy (5) and Maggie (6 months). The boys love baseball, football, walkie talkies, ninjas, legos and playing outside. Maggie loves crinkly paper, peas, cuddling with daddy, stuffed animals and watching her crazy brothers.
photo courtesy of Gina Fay
How long of a maternity leave were you able to take before you started to work (and workout!) again?
I taught up until I went into labor, 3 days after my due date [with Maggie]. I kept a pretty full teaching schedule, but the last month teaching balletFIT cardio was just impossible. The amount of pas de chats, chasses and stamina needed for the class just wasn’t working with the big belly ;) I loved teaching pregnant, though....I even scheduled a virtual class on my due date called "labor inducing danceFIT," haha. I still couldn’t dance her out! I put myself back on the schedule 3 weeks after Maggie arrived. I think it was similar after the boys were born too. I started working out and dancing when my body felt ready; I couldn’t wait for the first workout, which was very humbling, ha. I started by teaching virtual classes and then finally was back in the studio at 6 weeks.
How did that schedule/routine look different from before baby?
I am actually trying to think back more than 6 years ago to my workout routines before kids- that feels forever ago! I taught 5+ classes a day, 7 days a week. Chris (my hubby) and I would spend our β€œfree” time being active...walking around the city, running, and riding our bikes. Now our β€œfree” time is collapsed on the couch, drinking coffee, meal prepping, grocery shopping, fun trips with the kids, sporting events and family walks. Thank goodness for our virtual studio which allows me to make dinner, nurse Maggie, tuck everyone in, teach class from my living room and then relax on the couch after.

Did your fitness outlook and goals change after becoming a mom? If so, how?
Before kids, I would workout and dance to lose weight, flatten my tummy, get ready for summer, etc. Now I workout to de-stress, sweat and stretch. Growing a baby, having a baby and caring for a baby definitely changed the shape of my body. I can try tirelessly to get it back, or I can embrace the new shape & stretch marks and get as fit and strong as I can with the minimal time I have left for me at the end of the day. I treat my workouts as a β€œbreak” and really enjoy them. I love the feeling of being drenched in sweat from ballet jumps and sequences, my legs shaking like jello from an intense balletFIT class and my abs sore from pilates!
What is the biggest challenge you've found in running a business and being a mom?
This is such a good question because owning a business has actually been one of the best things about being a mom. I am able to make my own schedule to work around my kids schedules. The biggest challenge though is not being able to β€œturn work off.” I am trying to disconnect more and be more present at home, but there are so many things to think about when you own a business. I love when I can bring my kids to work. At DanceFIT, I host infant/ mom playdates, baby wearing balletFIT and kids dance and yoga nights for the boys and their friends! We have more fun events like this coming up.

What is your favorite fitness-related activity to do with your kids (either one-on-one or as a family)?
We love water sports! Water skiing (which I am bad at, but love!), paddle boarding, swimming. We also love going on walks.

Thank you Gina!

More info about Gina and her studios - 
locations: 25 monmouth street, brookline ma 02446 | 721 worcester street, natick ma 01760
twitter: @dFITstudio
instagram: @dancefitstudio

Recap: My First #Triathlon Experience!

Last Sunday I competed in my first sprint triathlon, the Marshfield-Duxbury Tri, - 1/4 mile swim, 11 mile bike ride, 3 mile run. I had done a lot of training leading up to the day and felt as prepared as I could be which helped my confidence but I didn't sleep that well the night before (damn subconscious anxiety!). I had packed everything I was going to bring the night before which was super helpful. Luckily I still got up on time and made it to the beach by 6:30am. The transition area was already packed with bikes and gear:


The swim was a triangle route where we swam straight out, keeping the buoys on our left and then swam back. Even with the practice, the swim was tough for me but it turns out it was my strongest leg. I even came in the top half for my age group.
You can't tell how slow I'm going! Photo courtesy of Gameface Media
The bike was 11 miles and while I felt totally prepared and confident, it was my weakest event. I came in almost dead last. This made the ride pretty disheartening, watching so many people wiz by. If I heard one more "passing on your left" I thought I'd explode. I'm definitely going to work on biking more and also investigating a better racing bike since mine is just a hybrid/hand-me-down. Better than nothing for my first tri of course!
Photo courtesy of Gameface Media
The run was... well, it went fine but it was 3 miles entirely on the beach. I've never run that far on the beach and even with the packed sand, it was a totally different experience than I'm used to. I always try to pick it up at the end and it was just not possible - the sand was so loose at the finish line, I was tripping all over my feet and just trying not to fall! It was gorgeous and sunny and, I would say, visually entertaining to run on the beach but my time definitely suffered. I refused to walk however, no matter how tempting it was at times.
Throwing myself across that finish line. Photo courtesy of Gameface Media
My overall time was 1:37:42.8, 336 out of 374 overall, and 24 out of 34 in my age division. Like always, somewhere in the first third of the race, I swore to myself "never again" and now I'm already thinking ahead to the next tri I could do. I've heard these things are addictive! Overall, it was a really fun, exhilarating, well-run event (thanks to Streamline Events for this) and I would highly recommend signing up for one if you get a chance.

Next post: prepping, what I wore, and race day advice, coming soon.

Have you ever done a triathlon? What did you think?