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#FitMom Talks: Jennifer Phelan of @JPPilates

Need an insight into life as a popular fitness instructor and mom of two young kiddos? You're in luck because my latest Fit Mom Talk is with my old friend (and the first fitness model I ever photographed!) Jennifer Phelan. Jenn has learned a lot since becoming a mom and she is more than happy to share her experiences in hopes of helping other expecting and new moms. She's always impressed me as a fitness expert and now as a super mom too:


Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Jennifer Phelan and I am the founder of JPPilates, a brand that centers around training, motivating and influencing clients through my group Pilates classes in Boston, private instruction and social media. And I'm also a Mom to two little boys! I have a three-year-old named Grayson and a four-month-old named Max. Oh and I can't forget my 6 year old crazy Siberian Husky dog Noelle.
photo credit: April K Photography
How long of a maternity leave were you able to take before you started to work (and workout!) again?
With my first son Grayson I took a solid four months off from teaching and also from exercising. Grayson was a terrible sleeper. At night he work up every 1-2 hours. The sleep deprivation took a real toll on me and as much as I wanted to get back into the swing of teaching and working out, I simply couldn't. Caring for my child took every ounce of energy I had. I'd say around six months was when I really found my stride but it wasn't until he was one that I truly lost all of the baby weigh and had a full teaching schedule again.

The second time around has been much different. I think already having a toddler running around left me not much time to 'recover.' By the time Max was two months old I was itching to get back to teaching. Not that I don't love being home all the time with my boys but the escape from whining, crying, nagging and needing was much needed. My students and places of employment (North End Yoga and Equinox) looked like a shinning beacon of escape. In no way does teaching feel like work.

Even now people seem surprised that I returned back to teaching so soon after giving birth. I get a lot of questions asking why I didn't take a longer maternity leave and enjoy it. To set the record straight I'm not really teaching that much. Currently I only have 5 group classes on my schedule. The rest of time I'm home with my kids. I LOVE that I'm able to do both. Is it easy? No way! But I've learned to be flexible, go with the flow and keep myself open to what comes my way. I can't get too set in my ways about scheduling because things with kids are always changing!

My workouts this time around have been slow going. I'm being much kinder to myself as I strive to lose the last ten pounds and work to get fitter. I'm not as worried because I know that I did this once before and I know I can do it again. And even though I may not have my Nike Trainer, Fitness Instructor body back just yet, I try to remind myself that I am actually strong and my body is doing different yet amazing things. I breastfeed my baby. I carry around a 19lb infant every day. I wear him on my body in an Ergo carrier. I push a stroller up and down the hills of Charlestown with a 30lb toddler, baby, car seat and often groceries. That alone is an amazing yet non conventional workout. I know that in time I will have hours to myself to train and take classes but right now there's no place I'd rather be than with my family... well most days :)

How did your routine look different from before baby?
Before kids I taught 35+ hours a week between private clients and classes. I had tons of time to take group fitness classes all over Boston and I could be super relaxed about when I choose to workout. Often I'd make game day decisions on what time I wanted to exercise and what I was going to do.

Now my life is very scripted and planned. I have to coordinate with my husband if I want to take a week night class. He has to come home from work a little early in order for me to leave and make a 7:15pm class. That means that he walks in the door and I tag out- leaving him with dinner, bath time and bedtime duties for both kids. Plus he has to take the dog out and make dinner for us. That's a lot just so I can exercise. I often feel guilty when I choose to leave during the week. Luckily he's an amazing man and he reminds me that it's important I do these things for me. It's in the best interest of our entire family that I'm healthy and feel my best. I'm a much better wife and mom when I workout.

Right now with such a young baby I'm still trying to figure out my workout plan. I tend to do mat Pilates at home during the day whenever I can fit it in. I'm making it to classes probably twice a week and in classes I teach I'm down on the ground with my students working out with them. As my youngest gets older I know this will shift and I will be able to create a different routine with each month that passes.

Did your fitness outlook and goals change after becoming a mom? If so, how?
Prior to kids I cared about the number on the scale a lot. Now I don't even weigh myself. I honestly don't care. I'm sure it will be a different story once I'm done breastfeeding but for now the number isn't really a goal.

Before I used to compare myself to what other instructors were doing; how many classes they taught and what companies they worked with. I can honestly say that my love for teaching has actually grown since becoming a mom. It's taken on a whole new meaning to me. I adore the time I get to spend with my students and while I still stay on top of what other people are doing, I don't find the need to compare as much. My life is just different now.

Instead of only influencing young people to be fit and healthy I have a new crowd I've grown to love working with - New Moms! I want new moms to know that we are all in it together. That it's not easy but you can live a healthy active lifestyle. If I can do, so can you. I'm no different. And we can do it together. Prior to kids I wouldn't have had the first idea of how to connect with these women but I must say, it's been an honor getting to do so.

What is the biggest challenge you've found in working/running a business and being a mom?
Ah, there are just so many challenges. Lack of time and energy are a few to start. Some days it feels like I can do it all. Usually those are the days I drink two pots (yes, pots) of coffee. And other days I fall into bed with anxiety questioning why I'm even trying to work because motherhood is obviously a full time job and beyond. Overall my biggest challenge is remaining patient with the process. I have so many projects I want to jump up and do. So many ideas. But I have to accept that right now I can't do it all. Usually when I'm snuggling with my boys, in the quiet moments, are the times that I find peace with where I'm at. It's a work in progress, every single day.

What is your favorite fitness-related activity to do with your sons (either one-on-one or as a family)?Since we have a large, active dog we do lots of family walks around the city. Grayson is a toddler expert on his Micro Mini Scooter and often times it's a workout for us all to just keep up with him. I love practicing yoga and Pilates with Grayson. When he was two, we took about 10 months of toddler yoga together. It was hands down the best class I've ever taken him to. We take a lot of the techniques from classes (focusing on breathe, slowing down, mindfulness, and of course the poses) and apply them together at home. He's working on his Pilates Hundreds and Roll-Ups too but still needs some help on his core strength :) 

I also love adding Max into my workouts! We do everything from push ups, planks and ab work together. I get right down on the mat with him. Both boys when they were little are the inspiration for the Mom and Baby classes I teach. It's so fun to be able to create with them and share with other Boston and Charlestown Moms!

Thanks to Jenn for sharing her story! 
You will always inspire me and so many others as well :)

Instagram: @JPPilates1
Twitter: @JPPilates

To read more #FitMomTalks, click here!

Save the Date - July 31st - #SummerPopupShoot at the Arboretum

Model Credit: Jacqui Mimno
We had so much fun last time we're doing it again - another summer pop-up photo shoot, this time at the Arboretum in Jamaica Plain! This is one of my favorite places to shoot in Boston; it's quiet, serene, and so full of natural beauty all year round. When you're there, it's hard to believe you're actually in the middle of the city. I could shoot there all day! If you've been there, you know what I mean. If you haven't, you will love it, I promise.

Ready for more details and/or to sign-up?! Yay! We've got a few slots left so visit our website: 
Model Credit: Jacqui Mimno

Promo Photos for @JPPilates Stroller Camp and Safety1st in Charlestown, MA

Talk about a new spin! I recently teamed up again with Jenn Phelan who I've shot many times but this shoot was a little different since she brought her 15-month-old son along! She was teaching some "Stroller Camp" classes for the Safety1st pop-up store in Faneuil Hall and they needed some promo photos to advertise it. We had a blast and baby Grayson was a perfect model (with much help from stylist Keely Witkowski/b.fetching and Jenn's husband Ryan).

Here's the one that made the cut (and a few others we liked!):



Styled by: b.fetching
Jenn's Clothes: Nike
Grayon's Clothes: babyGap

New! Fitness Photography + Web Design

If you follow me on Facebook, you may have already seen this but I wanted to announce it on the blog here too! I've recently partnered with the fantastic team at patientMoon Web Design to offer a new service to our friends in the fitness industry. We've created three packages to help individual instructors and trainers market themselves; each package offers a variety of services but all three include a brand new website and a photo session with me! Sweet!

We designed these packages with busy fitness professionals in mind- we take care of your website and photos, you focus on your teaching and training. Sounds pretty good, right?

If you're ready for more info, just visit our website or send me an email with any questions or comments you have. I'd love to hear from you!


Free Fitness Classes in Boston this Summer!

Summer is almost here and you know what that means- Boston is full of fun free fitness. Here are a few you will not want to miss...
Jennifer Phelan Pilates
Pilates superstar, Jenn Phelan, is back from maternity leave and kicking spring off with her "Bikini & Bellini" series in partnership with Sterling's in Faneuil Hall. The class is a bootcamp-style Pilates workout and runs EVERY Saturday from 9:30 to 10:15am in May and June, every other Saturday in July and August, and then every Saturday in September. Since it's outside, be sure to check out Jenn's Facebook page for any weather-related cancellations.
Photo by Matt Teuten/New Balance
Ladies who love to run? New Balance just started a series called Girls Night Out from their Boylston Street location (read all about it on Healthy Chicks' blog). The evening starts with a fun run and winds down with stretching, live music, guest speakers by local fitness experts, cocktails and apps. I went to the first one on May 15th and had a blast!
Move Sweat Love with Ali
Another bootcamp to try is Ali Baldassare's cardio Pilates bootcamp on the Rose Kennedy Greenway in the North End. The series will take place on Mondays throughout the summer starting with June 9th and 23rd from 6:30 to 7:15pm.
Lena Andrade of the Z Spot
Good news for Zumba fans- the Z Spot will be back (but this time in Christopher Columbus Park) every Monday starting June 2nd! Their crew is so much fun to watch and even more fun to dance with. Follow their fan page for more details.

Leventhal Park in Post Office Square will be offering 8 free weekly classes for the second summer in a row weekday mornings as well as after work from June through September. Check their calendar and Facebook page for a full schedule and updates.

And finally - the 2nd Annual NEWHBA Fest! The North End Waterfront Health & Beauty Alliance will be hosting an all day affair on June 21st including live music, health and beauty vendors, and free fitness classes scheduled throughout the day. I'll be there taking photos so come say hi!

Need more free fitness? Check out this calendar on the Little Miss Runshine blog to stay updated all summer. Also, sign up for the Sweetgreen passport offering free classes all over the city every month (not just in the summer!). Have an event to share? Please leave the info in the comments below, I'd love to learn about it!

Fitness + Pilates Photography: Meg Scannell at Exhale Battery Wharf

I realize that I've strayed a bit from highlighting images from my fitness shoots... so I'm bringing it back! Starting with a shoot I did last summer with the lovely, strong and oh-so-flexible Meg, a fitness instructor who teaches at Exhale Battery Wharf and Barry's Bootcamp. Meg wanted to do her shoot on location at Exhale and I'm so glad we did- the light was soft and pretty and the studio is a beautiful space. Even after all this time, I still love looking at these photos-

I mean, for real?! 

Instagram Round-up: February

And what a long cold month it was! The freezing temps and snow were clearly reflected in my posts for February, there was just no letting up. As much as I dislike the cold, it can be beautiful sometimes! I've also been pretty busy photographing fitness instructors and marathon runners too. Looking forward to some warmer posts soon, how have you been distracting yourself from the cold this winter?!

Fitness and Dance Photography: Move Sweat Love with Ali


 Here's Ali! You may remember her from a shoot I did last year outside on the Greenway. This year she wanted something different so we took it inside and got these fitness and dance portraits (that I particularly love in black & white!). Styled by b.fetching, hair & make-up by Jordan Wells:
 
Thanks again, Ali! You're a rockstar! See you in class :)

Fitness in Boston: The Studio Empower

Always looking for new fun exercise classes in Boston, I had the chance to try out one recently at The Studio Empower in Newton, MA. Taught by Bobby, the class was conducted almost entirely on the Megaformer M3, a souped-up Pilates reformer type contraption with that works with a system of springs and body weight resistance.

I was a bit intimidated by the machine at first but we were led through a series of exercises and learned quickly how it worked. On thing that challenged me, somewhat surprisingly, was going slow- each exercise is done on counts of 4 for a set amount of time, as opposed to fitting in as many reps as possible. This turned out to be even tougher than doing many quick reps, in my opinion, but it felt good and was even kind of relaxing.

For a low-impact class, I definitely felt worked by the end and a bit sore the next day (in a good way!) especially in the chest and shoulder area. I could see the benefit of going on a regular basis; even after one session I felt stronger and more toned.

Conveniently located in Newton Centre, the studio is directly across from the Newton Centre Green Line stop. They offer both private and group classes at reasonable rates so why don't you give them a try? Tell them I sent you!

81 Union Street
Newton Centre, MA
02459

Yoga Photography: Jacqui

I was so happy when Jacqui said she wanted to do our yoga shoot at the Arnold Arboretum, one of my favorite places since childhood AND just an overall fantastic place to for photos. Jacqui is a yoga and Pilates instructor and she was very interested in a shoot that had a nature element to it. The arbs was the perfect place and we agreed that shooting in the evening was the perfect time: 
Thanks again Jacqui!

Fitness in Boston: Free Summer Classes

The Boston fitness scene is booming! One of the major perks of working with fitness professionals in Boston has been learning about all the cool fitness-related events going on in the city. I decided to start a new feature on my blog to share them with you all, sound good??

First post! There are so many *free* fitness happenings going on all summer long that are definitely worth taking advantage of. Here are a few coming up in the next few weeks to check out:

6/21: Yoga and Pilates instructor Jacqui Mimno will be teaching a free Summer Solstice Shape-up class outside of Equinox Franklin Street on Friday, June 21 at 11:45am.

6/22: The North End Health and Beauty Alliance is having its first annual NEWHBA-fest 2013 on Saturday, June 22 at Christopher Columbus Park. There will be several fitness classes, exhibitors and performers throughout the day.

The W Hotel is hosting a series of free classes on Monday evenings in June called TURN UP THE BEAT: Cardio Pilates Bootcamp with Ali Baldassare. Guaranteed to make you sweat (I've taken this class, it's intense)!

Norman B. Leventhal Park is offering a summer series of classes in PO Square including yoga with Kendall Covitz (On an Inhale). Check out their Facebook page for a complete schedule.

Crossfit at the Greenway: Every Wednesday in June from 6:00-7:00pm, City Sports is sponsoring free CrossFit sessions led by an instructors from Reebok Crossfit Back Bay.

Spectacle Island: this Boston Harbor Island is hosting a variety of fitness events throughout the summer including Let's Move! Fitness Programs and Island Yoga. For a complete schedule of activities, click here.

Did I miss any? Let me know!

What are you doing to stay fit this summer?

Putting Photos to Work

I thought it might be interesting to do a post on some of the ways my clients are using the images we create together. Generally they are looking for photos for marketing purposes- websites, flyers, postcards, blogs, Facebook fan pages, etc. Here are a few examples of how some of the photos are getting put to work!

Last fall I did a shoot for activewear company, DA Active. This is a preview of their Fall 2013 line which they showed at the Surf Expo in Orlando, FL.

 Pilates guru, Jennifer Phelan, used the images to advertise Pilates events she was teaching around the city, including one sponsored by Zico Coconut Water.

 Websites! Most of my clients are looking for quality photos for their websites and here are a few examples! From top left: www.alibaldassare.com, www.laurastevensonpilates.com, www.jeannieyoga.com, www.jenniferphelan.com.

A little inspiration can go a long way. Lauren of Sweat with Lauren Hefez used this photo and quote to inspire her followers on instagram.

Do you need photos too?? Let me know! www.luciewickerphotography.com/fitness-form.html

Pilates Photography: Sarah Ruback of Sync Pilates Studio


Meet Sarah Ruback. Sarah owns a classical Pilates studio in Brookline called Sync Pilates and needed some photos for her website. We decided the best way to show off her Pilates skills and personality would be to do a shoot in a big bright studio just filled with light. My wonderful friend and mentor, Jim Scherer, was kind enough to loan us his space which was perfect for executing our vision. With the help of stylist Keely Witkowski of B. Fetching, the shoot was a big success. I love working with such a talented team! :)











For more information on Sarah's studio, visit her website and Facebook fanpage.

Shoot Credits
Stylist: B. Fetching
Hair/Make-up: Jordan Wells
Clothing: lululemon althletica
Location: Scherer Studio

Photo Show at Lululemon Newbury St Recap


Here's a little photo recap of the photo show's kick-off event at Lululemon on Newbury Street last Sunday. It was a blast! We had a lot of people show up, including most of the models who were actually in the photos included in the show! Thanks to everyone who came out, it was such an awesome day and I'm so grateful for my wonderful friends. 





In the Studio: Yoga Photography with Jeannie


When Wellseley-based yoga teacher Jeannie Goldstone contacted me about photos for her new website, I couldn't wait to get her in the studio. She was looking for simple, clean, black and white photos of yoga poses which I love to shoot. Jeannie only wanted to do poses that her potential clients wouldn't find too "intimidating" and here are a few of my favs-



Fitness Photography: Move Sweat Love with Ali Baldassare

 
This spring I did a fitness photo shoot with Ali Baldassare of Move Sweat Love with Ali. Ali teaches several different fitness classes, from Zumba to spinning to Pilates, all over the city. The shoot took place in a few different spots on the Rose Kennedy Greenway on a bright, sunny morning. The result- lots of color and energy! Which is what Ali is all about. Here are a few faves-

 
 


Thanks again Ali!

Fitness and Fashion with Jennifer Phelan Pilates

 Last month I had the change to work with the fabulous Jenn of Jennifer Phelan Pilates. I did a shoot with Jenn last summer and was psyched to work with her again; she loves to bring the drama and glamour (which I love too)! Her stylist, Keely Witkowski of B. Fetching, makes sure that even in workout attire, she is still fashionable and she was great to have on set. Here are a few of my favorites:



Model: Jenn Phelan
Stylist: B. Fetching

Fitness Photo Shoot with Laura Stevenson Pilates

Last week I did a shoot with Laura of Laura Stevenson Pilates at a park in Charlestown. We had a cloudy day which provided some nice even lighting and cool dramatic backgrounds. Laura has been doing Pilates for years and was able to hold some crazy hard poses long enough for me to get the shots I needed (which was greatly appreciated). I guessed early on that she had a background in ballet; the way she carried herself and her graceful movements made her a fantastic model!


And my favorite of the day:
For more information about Laura, visit her website and Facebook fan page. If you or anyone you know would like to schedule a fitness photo session with me, please send me an email or fill out the form on my contact page.