A pain in the back? Ways to ease back pain from pregnancy.


Many pregnant women have back pain due to thier changing bodies. As the uterus and the baby grow your center of mass(the point where all of your weight is concentrated) shifts. The additional body weight and weaker abdominal muscles also can contribute to the low back pain. Another cause of low back pain could be due to the hormone, relaxin which relaxes the joints and tissues. Activities such as rolling incorrectly out of bed (you should always lay on your side, let your feet slide to the floor, then use your arms to assist you up), lifting heavy objects or too much, twisting, climbing stairs, and running or walking can bring on the back pain or make it worse. 

There are two types of back pain associated with pregnancy:

1. Lumbar Back Pain is usually around the waist in the center of the back. This usually occurs when you spend too long in a certain position or activity. It also may feel worse at the end of the day. Sometimes the pain can radiate to your leg. This called be Sciatica. Sciatica occurs in very few pregnant women. It is mostly associated with hernia or a bulging disk in the lower part of the spine. If you feel tingling, weakness, or loss of sensation you should call your doctor.

2. Posterior Pelvic Pain is felt at the back of your pelvis around or below your waist. This is the most frequent type of back pain for pregnant women. You may feel it in your buttocks and/or the backs of your thighs. This is a deeper pain that doesn’t always go away with rest and you may feel it more in the morning.

Here are a few ways to alleviate back pain:

1. Cardio Exercise (you knew I was going to say that didn’t you?). Walking and swimming are a great way to get low impact cardio. Be sure you have supportive and comfortable sneakers and socks.

2. Strengthen. Strengthening exercises for the back, hamstrings, and transverse abdominals. Bridges, Pelvic tilts, Kegels, and wall squats are great exercises to do daily!

3. Stretch. It is important to stretch after you exercise. Stretch the hamstrings, chest, and hips.

4. Check your posture. When we are pregnant we are constantly adapting to our changing bodies. We tend to slump our shoulders forward and arch our backs. Get those shoulders back ladies!

5. Use a Pillow. Putting a pillow between your knees when you sleep supports your lower back by keeping your hips level. You can also use a pillow or wedge to support your belly.

6. Get a Prenatal Massage. I indulged in a monthly massage when I was pregnant. It’s so helpful in loosening and relaxing the body. Bonus- the pregnancy pillow that supports you lying on your belly during the massage is FABULOUS.


Abdominal Separation Basics

Abdominal separation or Diastasis Recti can happen to a pregnant woman. Sounds scary right? It’s mother nature doing what she needs to accommodate a growing uterus for your growing baby. This abdominal separation isn’t just for pregnant mamas! People who are overweight or have very weak abdominal/back muscles can also end up with a separation. Whats worse is that certain exercises can make the separation bigger! Many postpartum women don’t even know they have diastasis recti. It is not something most doctors check for in your postpartum check up. Here’s a basic run down of diastasis recti and how to help close the separation. For more information I highly recommend checking out the Tupler Technique and reading, “Lose Your Mummy Tummy,” by Julie Tupler.

The actual definition of Diastasis Recti according to Wikipedia is “ (also known as abdominal separation) defined as a separation of the rectus abdominis muscle into right and left halves.” It is the separation of the outermost abdominal muscles or your “six-pack” abs. The separation can cause low back pain, a permanent “mummy tummy” (as Tupler refers to it), and a weak pelvic floor. 

How do you know if you have Diastasis Recti?

1. Lay down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.

2. Place one hand behind your head and the other hand will go on your belly. Place your fingers at just above your belly button, press down, and lift your head off the floor.

3. Check above and below your belly button.

If you fill an opening between the muscles that is 2 fingers or more than it is most likely diastasis recti.

Exercises to Avoid

1. Traditional crunches

2. Bicycle crunches

3. Roll-ups/Roll- Downs

4. Triangle Pose

5. Back Bends

6. Ab exercises on a stability ball

7. Exercises that have you lift your head, as in Pilates. (Stick with me though because these can be modified and VERY helpful if done correctly!)

Well, that’s a bummer! So, how do I get my abs back?

It IS possible to close the separation. Sometimes it just happens naturally. For others you need to help it along.

1. Wrap or Sling. I laughed at the idea of an abdominal wrap after pregnancy thinking it was just a silly thing postpartum women did. However, this is your first step to helping the separation. The wrap or sling will remind you to sit/ stand tall and use your deeper abdominals called your Transverse Abs. It is also supportive for your lower back with all the new movements you will be doing holding that cute little baby! It is a great idea to wear the wrap when you start to exercise as it will continue to remind you to use the correct abdominals.

2. Transverse Abs. Ladies, I talk about these guys CONSTANTLY in classes. Here is a quick anatomy lesson. Your transverse abs are your deepest layer of muscle that wrap around your body like a corset below the belly button, on top of those, or in the middle is your internal and external obliques, the top layer is then the rectus abdominis or “six-pack” (these are the muscles that separate). Your transverse abs need to become your best friend.

(Quick Exercise) Take your hand right now and put it below your belly button. Now take a deep breath in, feel that expansion? It’s your transverse abs. Now EXHALE and try to pull your abs away from your hand. Remember this because I want you to do it A LOT! As in every time you perform an ab exercise. If you are doing Pilates I want you to do this every movement! It is called belly breathing. Some Classical Pilates instructors may be shaking their heads at me but for you pregnant and new mamas its one of the best things you can do for those abs.

3. Keep your head down. You need to work on stabilizing your abs (transverse that is) and not worry so much about the “six-pack”. Stop lifting your head/neck/shoulders when you do abdominal exercises. Instead, put one had on your belly, inhale, then exhale and pull your abdominals away from your hand. If you can keep doing this and add in the leg movements (such as scissor legs) then keep going. If you cannot contract those transverse abs, then bend your knees, feet on the floor and repeat the breath/pull abs in sequence. *Side note- many of you may benefit from doing the belly breath while seated with back support, instead of lying down.

Remember this is just the basics ladies. I am not a doctor nor really a Diastasis Recti expert. As I said in the introduction check out the Tupler Technique for more information.

In health,




DetoxFIT at Athleta- How exercise detoxifies your body

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There is so much talk about the ways food can detoxify your body. My favorite food detoxifiers are a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar, drinking lemon water, and adding cayenne to anything I can! Beyond our food, exercise is a great way to detoxify your body after too much indulgence.  Certain exercises can also be a great way to detoxify and rejuvenate after a particularly grueling workout session!

Our bodies naturally detoxify pollutants, bacteria, and other waste from our organs. We cleanse our kidneys and colon by going to the bathroom, we cleanse our skin by sweating, and we breathe in oxygen and circulate our blood to get rid of toxins in the lungs.

When we exercise we breathe deeper allowing more oxygen in to help circulate blood quicker, thereby helping the detox process. We also sweat which detoxifies the skin. Exercise helps to ignite our digestion system and “get things moving” in there, helping us to detox our liver a little faster. Another bonus to exercise is that you are drinking more water. The extra water helps detox every organ in the body.

Ready to get moving and detox? Join me and Aimee Rancer, and Shika la mode at Athleta on Fillmore in San Francisco tomorrow morning at 8:30am as we sweat, breathe, and stretch your way to feeling fabulous! I will combine Pilates, Yoga, and Barre exercises that help detox the body after a vigorous run or a week of indulgence! Class is suitable for all levels.

A great workout, great food, and a great time! See you there!

Cauliflower Steaks


I have recently been addicted to Cauliflower. It came out of nowhere. Cauliflower is so versatile you can roast it, mash it, and even substitute it for rice. JB made these Cauliflower steaks one night and I’ve had them every week since. cauli


Ingredients Serves 1-3 depending on how many vegetarians you have.

1 Cauliflower- wash, and cut into 1.5-2 inch slices, remove only a little bit of the center, you will want that to help hold it together.

2 lemons Cut into slices

4 tablespoons of Olive Oil

Dash of Salt/Pepper

Dash of Red Pepper flakes optional if you like a little heat!

Any other spices you happen to love.

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Take a baking sheet and cover with foil.

3. In a small bowl stir together olive oil and spices.

4. Place cauliflower on baking sheet. Use a cooking brush to coat cauliflower with olive oil/spice mix.

5. Take one of your lemons, sliced and squeeze lemon juice over cauliflower.

6. Place rest of lemon slices on top of cauliflower.

7. Roast in oven for 30 minutes until you can push a fork easily through cauliflower. They are easy to overcook and then will get too squishy.

Serve them with a side salad listed on my SunshineFIT Foods Page and you have an amazing, healthy meal!



Sweat Pink #noexcuses Challenge!

To kick off our #NoExcuses Challenge today, the whole team is doing mad lib posts!

Copy the questions below
Fill in the blanks with your own answers
Tag 3 friends to share how they’ll make 2015 the year of #NoExcuses!
I’m making 2015 the year of #NoExcuses! Join me for Monday MadLibs!

Hey 2015, it’s me, SunshineFIT!

This year I would like to__be in great shape for my wedding, run a race over 10 miles, travel somewhere new, and teach cycling!___

It would also be super duper awesome if I also __took SunshineFIT by Tricia to the next level this year__. It’s not a resolution, though, just a reminder to myself to try and have the best year yet because I’m not getting any younger, dammit!

The thing I am looking forward to most this year is__ our wedding!!!__

I’ll use the one thing that truly gets me out of bed in the morning which is __COFFEE__ to help me get up, get moving, and get after my #NoExcuses 2015.Speaking of excuses (ahem), my very favorite excuse is __im so tired! __and I have used it to get out of doing exercise and everything sweaty on more than __10 bazillion__ (number) occasions.I vow to move my body and be more healthy this year even if it means I have to __take afternoon naps__
Even if my alarm clock gets eaten by the dog in the middle of the night, I’ll still__get up and go__!

I will stop blaming the __hungry monster__ [ex: kids, dog, husband] for eating the rest of the __epi bread and cheese__insert delicious bread name here when everyone knows it was really me.

My _lack of sleep__ [job, hair, car, husband, kids] are not the reason I make excuses. I will show my__self__ [same as before] who’s boss this year and get my __sunshine booty__ [type of sweaty activity] on
I know that any kind of __workout [type of workout] is better than sitting on my arse eating __cheese and drinking bubbles__. [noun]

I will reward myself by sneaking a few bites of __rice Krispie treats__.

#NoExcuses 2015 has just begun and already I am imagining myself a winner. I can’t wait to rock __prima studio leggings__ (article of clothing). I can’t wait till my sweaty friends are jealous of how fresh, clean and __glowing__(adj) I am between workouts with help from ShowerPill body wipes.

I can see myself rocking burpees [yoga pose / workout move] in new Rock the Course Leggings [article of clothing from Actio926] from Actio926 and looking fit and fly while doing it.

And of course, I’ll be taking my workouts to the next level and improving my abs [noun] with my new ActivMotion Bar to help me train for my next Broad Street Rin [distance] race with Sasquatch Racing.

Oh, and let’s not forget how amazing my tank top [article of clothing] will smell in my / during my race [favorite type of workout] after washing with some WIN Detergent.

And lastly, I’ll keep rocking my 2015 with clean eats and nutrition from Beaming with Health!

Tag, Tweet, shout-out, call, text, fax or email 3 friends to take this survey and share how they will have a #NoExcuses 2015.

SunshineFIT New Year’s Resolution and Gigabody

January 2015 has come and my New Year’s Resolutions this year are:

1. Exercise for 40 minutes a day or 4 miles a day.

2. Drink more water. And more bubbles, because life is short.

3. Cherish living in the present.

4. Stop looking down at my phone when I’m in line somewhere.

5. Let it go if it doesn’t make me happy, make me smile, or make me excited.


My first and second resolution is well under way. I’m already a daily exerciser, I live for the endorphins, and the sweat! But exercising every day calls for some serious variety! I have my favorite workouts like Running, Spinning, Pilates, Barre classes, and Circuits but with a 6 month old getting out to take class is not always easy! Enter GIGABODY. For only $8.99 a month Gigabody gives me access to a variety of workouts that I can do while Cade is napping! I started out with their free 14 day trial to make sure I loved the workouts that they offered!

I traveled home from San Francisco to Pennsylvania for the holidays. With Gigabody I was able to workout even on days that it was freezing outside by using my phone to watch the videos. Gigabody is a MUST try if you need convenience and variety, and who doesn’t need more of that in their life?



Check out my review of just a few of the Gigabody videos:

1. 30-Minutes to Fitness: Plateau Buster: Workout 1 This is how I love to exercise! Circuits of cardio and strength with a repeat so that your body has a chance to remember the moves and do the even more effectively the second time around! A great workout.

2. Take 20 Cardio Kickboxing 2: This workout was easy to follow yet made me sweat! The choreography and sequences are simple and build on each other. The cueing was perfect. I used to Kickbox back in the days when Tae Bo first started and haven’t done it much since. This workout reignited my love for it and how great it feels!

3. Sweat Sexy: I don’t love dance workouts (except barre!) only because y body never feels right doing them so I don’t feel like I’m getting a good workout. Enter Sweat Sexy! I loved how the instructor split the workouts into segments building one to the next!

4. Take 20 Upper Body: Loving these Take 20 workouts when my baby is sleeping. I can get a quick workout in and feel great the rest of the day!

5. 30 Minutes to Fitness Start Here, workout 1: I loved the cardio portion of the workout! Great traditional moves that get the heart rate up!

6. 30 minutes to Fitness Plateau Buster Workout 2: Full body circuit with cardio mixed in. Did I mention this is my favorite way to workout?

Check out Gigabody and get your first 14 days free!!!! You will be so glad you did!

On the 6th Day of Christmas! SunshineFIT’s 6 Fitness Faves

2014 was an especially different year for me as far as fitness goals. The first half of the year I was pregnant and trying to maintain my strength and endurance as much as I could. Then baby Cade came and I was nursing myself back to shape with a healing C-section and losing baby weight. It’s really amazing what the female body is capable of (go us!). With each new goal came new fitness gear to keep me motivated at get me through it! I fell in love with these SunshineFIT fitness faves! They are the perfect holiday gifts for the fitness enthusiasts in your life!

1. For Two Fitness Tanks and Pants– Not only are they ridiculously adorable, they are super comfy! sale happening now! IMG_5808

2. Sparkly Soul Headbands– There are a must for your gym bag! They stay in place, keep your hair out of your face, and come in fabulous colors.


3. Prima Studio Dancer Legging– I spotted these when I was pregnant vowing to get them after Cade was born. I love the color, the fit, and that they look cute from Barre Class to Brunch. (Photo Courtesy of Prima Studio Website)


4. Lets Get Sweaty Tank from FitApproach– Because, really, lets get sweaty (and SWEAT PINK!) and look cute doing it! (Photo Courtesy of FitApproach Website)


5. Spotify- It’s a super easy way to make playlists whenever you are in the mood for whatever mood you are in!

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6. Gliding Discs– These little discs may be the simplest way to make your workout more challenging. You can get them for either carpet or wood floors.