Category Archives: travel

Welcome Back Jen

I promised I would get more consistent on the blog, so here I am.  I am still working on updating the subsequent tabs of the site, but the main thing is – I AM POSTING.  I thought it would be good to reintroduce myself.  What I have been doing over the past two years and what people are reading a lot of on my blog.

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This is me Jen D.  Jenny D.  Jen Duf.  In my former life, I was a college pole vaulter at Virginia Tech.  I moved to Charlotte after getting a graduate degree in Accounting.  I passed my CPA exam and went to work for a large accounting firm before I realized for me to have babies, I physically had to be around my husband.  I traveled for work most weeks Monday through Thursday.  While on the road, maintaining my fitness was extremely difficult.

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As good as corporate America thinks they are at maintaining “wellness” programs for their employees, they are failing.  There is no such thing as work life balance.  I have learned it is all a counter balance.  You simply cannot balance it all.  I left public accounting the week before my wedding.  I started my new job in industry (a 40 hour a week in town job) the Monday after my honeymoon.  I also started my career in fitness a few months later when I joined the Flywheel team.

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My second pregnancy at 23 Weeks.

Long story short, I found out once I was physically in town, getting pregnant wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).  I began hormones to get a normal period before taking Clomid to conceive my first child.  I started my blog in private while I was pregnant with my first child.  I shared with close friends and family once a week.  Each week, someone else wanted to be added to the list. Eventually, I made it public.

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During my second pregnancy, you really got to see the full story.  My first trimester, I suffered a subchorionic hematoma and didn’t leave my couch much for 2 weeks.  We slowly watched the hematoma disappear as the burden of miscarriage passed.  My daughter Morgan is a blessing. To this day her infectious smile shows the joy that she has for life.

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I left full time work to be a mom.  I passed my personal trainer certification.  I started a new hustle. To get started in personal training, I did a few things to learn:

  • I worked at the YMCA for an hourly wage.
  • I taught bootcamps at SmartCore Fitness.
  • I visited everything.
  • I started training myself for various events. Played around with methodologies.
  • I formed Cross Conditioning.
  • I continued to seek out the people that are the best at what they do (and people did’t know them yet).
  • I ALWAYS ask for feedback.  Trust me, you can always get better.

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Through documenting it all, I learned a bunch of cool things, which I will share, but before I do, let me share where I am at now.

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  1. I have three little girls – My angels.  If I can teach these girls anything, it’s how to love themselves.  Be proud.  Work hard.  Treat everyone the same.  If you train with me, you have likely seen them, met them or been entertained by them.
  2. Cross Conditioning is still going strong – I guess I should start posting again on the Instagram site.  You see, what happened is, after I had my third daughter, I decided that my core group would stay my core group with less workouts per month.  No longer would this be an obstacle race training group, but rather a group centered around intentional planned workouts each week both in person and on your own.  I will now admit that running plays a big part in that.   We still meet regularly.  We still compete.  I simply haven’t had a need to market it.

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3.  My personal training business has significantly grown. Both in person and through programming.  Most people need guidance when it comes to exercise.  It isn’t natural to them.  The thought of getting to a gym, figuring out what to do and executing is overwhelming.  I literally spend hours a month doing that for people.  When will you be out of town? Where do you like to workout?  What are your goals?  There is a way to do it.  Most importantly, I hold you accountable through human interaction.

4.  I co-founded a pop up fitness company called EMERGE – Let’s face it, exercise is not in a great place to the mass.  Some trainers are fueled by the appearance of big numbers over the quality of instruction and execution.  Through EMERGE, five fitness gurus in Charlotte look to come together to bridge that gap.  How do you execute effectively, giving participants a safe workout, while also feeling the energy of a big group?  In a few pop up events a month, we give that to you.  Check it out.

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5. I’m still teaching Flywheel. If you know me, I would do any workout that I would give a client.  I am still a hardcore believer in the Flywheel ride in regards to cross training and low impact exercise.  If fulfills a gap that other brands cannot hit.  I also feel the value in being able to provide my clients with that service when I am in the studio. I’m pretty limited to early mornings, but you can catch me subbing in the evening windows once every other month or so.

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6. I am still running a lot.  I love competing.  I don’t chase people.  I know what I want to do and I try to execute it. I don’t make excuses.  I can only learn from each experience.   I want my people to do the same thing.  The next two races on my calendar are the Orthhcarolina 10K and Around the Crown 10K.  Join me for one or both.  I will also be competing in Beers and Burpees in September.

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Grand scheme of things, I’m present.  I love what I do.  Sometimes I’m too much of a people pleaser.  I want everyone to be happy.  I am learning though. I am getting tougher.  what are people reading on my blog these days:

  • A lot about pregnancy – specifically, pregnancy on a bachelorette, my hematoma, postpartum and my weekly logs.
  • ARUBA – my husband and I went on this amazing vacation to Aruba after the birth of my first daughter.  I posted a lot of good tips on Aruba.  Eats, drinks, activities. I also posted a workout on the beach!
  • Race Recaps – obstacle racing, run racing, you name it.  People want to hear about the course and how tos on hydration, obstacles and time.

What have I learned from all of this:

  • Small groups are the best groups.  I love a big crowd.  It looks cool right?  I build long term clients in intimate situations though.  Small groups.  I like talking to people.  I like helping people.  I want to see people feel good about themselves and feel acknowledged.
  • Everything is not what it appears.  Don’t read too much into someone’s social. I know a ton of fitness professionals that are killing the game and never get on Instagram.
  • The fitness hustle is real.  I talk about this a lot.  Most fitness professionals are not set up for retirement.  Hi millennials.  When you decide to pursue your passion understand this, do you want to be teaching cycle classes when you are 60 because you didn’t save money when you were younger?  While all of your friends are retired what will be cool then?  Take a good hard look at that when deciding to go into a profession that doesn’t have insurance, benefits, retirement.  This is my CPA side talking.  Did I tell you I like to help people?

I hope this was an easy to read version of what’s good for my new peeps.  Sorry to reiterate if you already know me.  Like something you read?  Contact me!

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Love, love, love.  Jen

 

 

Week 29 – Round 3

Size of Baby (per “What To Expect”) – Size of a head of cauliflower. Approximately 3 pounds.

Weight Gain – I hit the BIG 2-0 this week.  20 pounds that is.  Baby and belly are growing more each week!

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Movement – There is significant movement that can be seen by the outside eye without touching my belly.  At my doctor’s appointment this week, the doctor confirmed that the baby is head down but rolled over to my right side.

Sleep – Dare I say I am starting to feel better?  With that comes more sleep.  I went to see a sinus doctor on Wednesday.  He proceeded to scope through my nose and into my maxillary sinus (right beside your nose).  Completely uncomfortable.  I started my second round of a 10 day antibiotic to rid my body of the remnants of this sinus infection.

What I miss – An afternoon Diet Dr. Pepper.  I try not to drink diet soda while I am pregnant due to the caffeine and aspartame.  That said, every once in awhile I will sneak in a Sprite Zero.

Best Moments this Week – I passed my one hour glucose test with flying colors!  On top of that, the baby and mom had a good check up (her heart rate was in the 150s).  I am now seeing the doctor every two weeks.

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After taking all of Saturday off, I regained my strength for a trip down to Gastonia with the family to berry pick.  I was hesitant to go given the age of the girls and the hot temperatures.  However, the girls never cease to amaze me with their ability to jump right in to a new activity and the overcast skies kept us pretty cool.

IMG_5258We took bets in the car on the way there on how long we would make it before the girls wanted to go home.  My guess? 20 minutes.  My husband?  40 minutes.  We made it over an hour!  I am so happy that we decided to go.  My oldest daughter was on point.  She wanted to control her own basket, so she could independently fill it to the top with blackberries and strawberries.  She was so proud of herself (and so was I!).

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My youngest was engaged for about a half hour before she decided to take a snack break in the double jogger.  She didn’t move the rest of the time.  She didn’t cry either though, so I can’t complain.  See pictures of our crop above.  If I start to look like a berry by the end of the week, you know why.

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We stopped at Tony’s Ice Cream in downtown Gastonia on the way back to the interstate. As the name implies, we had ice cream.  This hole in the wall has been a local favorite for as long as I have lived in Charlotte.  It was packed.  Line out the door.  Nowhere to sit.  It was also cheap and well worth the wait.

Looking forward to – Meeting our baby girl!  The girls helped me unpack newborn and three month clothes this week.  We washed them and folded them before loading them in the baby’s dresser.  The girls each took one of our two bouncy seats to their room to put their own baby dolls in.

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Cravings – Food.  I feel like I eat/graze all day.

Symptoms – Fatigue!  I woke up Saturday completely exhausted.  I navigated through getting the kids out of bed and helping them eat breakfast until my husband got home from his workout.  I then went back to bed until 11:30AM (even cancelling a training session to get rest).  If you know me, this is so not like me.  I didn’t leave the house the rest of the day.  The rest did my body good.  I was feeling like my old pregnant self again by Sunday.

Workouts – I am slowing down for several reasons:  I’m in the home stretch, I’m bigger and I’m peaking the hump of being sick.  You will notice I skipped my Thursday run group this week and I did not work out at all on Saturday.

  • Monday – I taught my regularly schedule 6:30AM class and came back to teach a 10:45 AM Memorial Day class.
  • Tuesday – Strength work in the garage.  I have no problem backing off cardio, but I do try to fit in two strength training days a week to maintain basic energy to stay mobile and fit for birth.
    • 2 Rounds
      • Run 800m
      • Side Extension with Band x 15 each side
      • Dead Hang Max
      • Deadlift x 15
    • 5 Rounds
      • 5 Pull Ups
      • 10 Pushups
      • 15 Body Weight Squats
    • 2 Rounds
      • Side Crunch Bosu x 25
      • Bicep Curls x 20
      • Heavy KB carry x 25 yards
      • Bulgarian Squat x 15 each
  • Wednesday – After sleeping in, I opted to go to Flywheel for an 11:45 class with Robert.  Some days even a trainer needs someone to motivate them.  Great ride in which I didn’t push too hard.  Total power around 250.
  • Thursday – I took a WALK around the block for 30 minutes before heading to Flywheel to teach my 3:30PM class that afternoon.
  • Friday – Strength work in the garage – see workout below.
    • 2 Rounds
      • Run 400m
      • Single Arm Squat to Overhead Press x 10 each
      • Scapular Pull x 15
      • Single Leg Miniband Hip Hinge x 15 each
    • 3 Rounds
      • Kettlebell Swing x 15
      • Backwards Lunge x 20 each
      • Pushup Roll Out  x 8 each
      • Bicep Curl x 20
    • 2 Rounds
      • Slam Ball x 15
      • Pull Up x 10
      • Squat with Miniband x 25
      • Tricep Extension x 25
  • Saturday – Much needed REST DAY!
  • Sunday – I taught my regularly scheduled 7:30AM class.

 

Week 27 – Round 3

Size of Baby (per “What To Expect”) – Size of an eggplant. Approximately two and a quarter pounds.

Weight Gain – 18 pounds.  Despite taking several days off of exercise and over indulging at times over vacation, my weight stayed steady.  My guess is that I offset lost muscle volume with weight gain in other areas.  We will see once I start strength work again this week.

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Movement – The baby is definitely kicking.  I came back from vacation with a serious sinus infection.  I’m talking severe pain on the left side of my face.  While the pain didn’t seem to affect our vacation, I must have exerted a lot of energy pushing through the discomfort.  I was completely exhausted by the time we pulled into the driveway on Saturday. I slept close to 13 hours that night.  What does this have to do with movement? My low activity level over the weekend allowed me to really feel how much the baby is moving.

Sleep – With the pain on the side of my face, sleeping has been an issue.  Thankfully, it has subsided some at night making sleep a little easier.

What I miss – Not being on medicine?  Not feeling pain in my face?  Completely unrelated to pregnancy.  I have to say it was hard to miss anything this week.  We had such an incredible trip with the family.

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Best Moments this Week – As I mentioned above, vacation could not have gone better.  I even told my husband this trip ranked as one of our best ever (maybe even better than some of the individual trips that we have taken alone).  The amount of unconditional love that these kids share for each other and their family is so warming.

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We rented a home at Wild Dunes on Isle of Palms in South Carolina for 5 days, 4 nights.  While we knew the home would be somewhat dated, we were unprepared for how outdated it actually ended up being.  Upon pulling up to the house, we found the garage door was so rusted out that you couldn’t even manually open or shut it.  I had my husband do a walkthrough prior to calling the rental office to let them know what damages were already present at the home before we arrived.  We opted to stay at the home either way due to location and the anticipation that the kids had upon pulling up out front.

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While the kids loved the “holiday house” (my oldest daughter called it this all week because Peppa Pig calls her vacation, holiday), we vowed to spend as much time outside of the house as we could.  That said, our typical routine was to wake up, hit the beach, eat lunch at the house, finish the afternoon at the pool and head to dinner.

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Last year, we had a hard time getting the kids to spend an hour and a half on the beach.  This year, we were able to squeeze in close to three hours before they were ready to call it a morning.  That’s right.  We were on the beach most days by 9 AM and breaking down the tent around noon.  The key to staying busy?  Lots of toys, snacks and a beach tent that they could break in.

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The pool was a much easier option to prepare for.  We were within walking distance to the main boardwalk pool.  The girls were even able to walk themselves (swimmies and all).  After about an hour in the pool, both girls picked up on how to use the swimmies to maneuver their way around.

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We often caught our youngest (the social butterfly), swimming away from the family to join other groups in the pool.  Absolutely hysterical.

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On Friday, we took a break from the beach to head to the Children’s Museum in Downtown Charleston.  This is such a great experience.  The kids have mock playrooms and a ton of hands on activities, including: a pirate ship, water play room and grocery store among many other things.

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We parked such that we could take a stroll through the market and pick up a Peace Pie before we got back in the car and headed back over the bridge to Wild Dunes.

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Looking forward to – Is it too early to say:  OUR NEXT BEACH TRIP.  November 2017!

Cravings – I’m going to use this section to talk food and restaurants that we visited while on vacation.  NOTE – all of these restaurants are kid friendly to toddlers.  We were able to take both girls to all meals with no technology or toys.  The atmosphere was entertaining and the food came out quick enough that they did not get bored.

  • Acme Low Country Kitchen – Located on Isle of Palms, we arrived shortly after 5PM. Getting to dinner early is imperative to avoid long lines and waiting.  My youngest daughter fell asleep at the table while my oldest enjoyed saltines and talking to us about her day.   Hands down the best meal of our trip. I ordered the grouper special, over top mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables.  IMG_4936-1
  • Taco Boy – Again, we arrived shortly after 5PM.  My kids love Mexican food – rice, guacamole and quesadillas.  We also knew we could get something quick that we could enjoy.  This was one of my personal favorite casual restaurants when I worked in Charleston several months of the year. I ordered a veggie rice bowl with a side of grilled chicken.

     

  • Morgan Creek Grill – Located a few miles from Wild Dunes, this restaurant sits perfectly on the intercostal waterway and hosts live music every Thursday – Sunday.  We chose to go on a Thursday, again arriving early and when we knew music would be playing.  To avoid overindulging in mercury for the week, I picked a lower mercury seafood for dinner.  Crab cakes with a side of grits and collard greens.  Let me note, my oldest daughter had grits for almost every meal.  Her favorite.

     

     

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  • Sea Biscuit Cafe – Breakfast.  Our best breakfast of the week.  I kept it simple with a veggie egg white omelette, some hash browns and a biscuit.  GET THERE EARLY.  While the line moves pretty quick, it gets long FAST.IMG_5140

Symptoms – Feeling like I got punched in the left side of my face.  That’s from the sinus infection though.

Workouts – I started the week strong before taking plenty of rest and relaxation time off the rest of the week.  Granted we were on our feet a decent amount of time while on vacation.

  • Monday – I taught my regularly scheduled 6:30 AM class.
  • Tuesday – I did a strength workout in the garage before hitting the road for our beach trip.
  • Wednesday – Beach day 1 – I did no planned exercise routine.  That said, we walked over 5 miles between moving on the beach and going to the pool.
  • Thursday – In an effort to feel like I did something, I spent some time during lunch doing a super low intensity Tracey Anderson Pregnancy DVD in the house.   It was more so stretching than anything.  Done in 30 minutes.
  •  Friday – Okay, okay, I can only take off so many days now.  I woke up and went for a 30 minute walk/run on Friday.  I caught the most incredible sunrise. Run 10 minutes, jog 5 minutes.  Repeat.

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  • Saturday – I tried to survive the significant pain that I was experiencing in my face.  Hence, I did not workout.
  • Sunday – I rode my bike around the block twice.  Once with each girl.  I sat on the couch ALOT.

Week 25 – Round 3

Size of Baby (per “What To Expect”) – Size of an eggplant (approximately 1.5-1.75 pounds)

Weight Gain – 17 pounds.  Bump keeps growing and growing.  It’s hard to believe we are already this far along!

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Movement – A lot more movement these days.  The movement has started to grow from my lower abdomen up my belly and above my belly button.  I can certainly tell when she stretches out.

Sleep – I got SICK this week.  Just a common cold, accompanied by a lot of coughing and phlegm.  The cough will keep me up at night if I don’t prop my pillows up on top of each other.  I actually pulled back significantly from exercise this week and slept with a humidifier on for one night.  That said, at this point in my pregnancy, I have been able to relieve some of these symptoms with Sudafed, cough drops and nasal spray.

Best Moments this Week – One word.  STAYCATION.  My husband and I love some alone time, but we also love some time with our two girls.  That said, while an extended “baby moon” would have been nice, we spent a night out in Charlotte and opted to take the girls on a beach trip before baby number three gets here.

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It only takes a little bit of time together here and there to make a big difference.  We headed uptown for some relaxing time at the Ritz Carlton pool before heading out for appetizers and drinks (mine a “mocktail”) at Sea Level.  Gotta love hanging at the bar while watching the Kentucky Derby.  We headed out post horse race and enjoyed dinner at BLT.

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How had I never been here?  Have you seen the size of the popover dinner rolls they bring you BEFORE dinner even starts?  Big mama was hungry.  Unfortunately, I fill up very fast given the small amount of space my stomach has left in my midsection.  I couldn’t even eat the whole thing before my steak came out.  I highly recommend the restaurant for food and service, but I caution you in that you may be sitting within eighteen inches of the table beside you on both sides (which can be awkward if another restaurant patron wants to listen to your conversation – as was the case in our situation).

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We were in bed by ten and up by eight.  Even staycation didn’t slow us down.  It is easier to relax knowing the girls are in good hands.  My parents made all the stops Saturday afternoon/evening and even Sunday morning.  The girls absolutely loved the Disney Pixar show at the Belk Theater.

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Looking forward to – I mentioned our upcoming beach trip with the girls, but before we get there, my husband and I will be celebrating our five year anniversary on Friday.  It’s hard to believe it has only been five years.  We have certainly been busy.  I found out I was pregnant with my first child a little less than eight months after we got married.  It’s easy to see how we could already be expecting our third.

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That said, I have been trying to spend some quality time with my youngest daughter in the days leading up to summer vacation and our third child arriving.  Both my husband and I have worked hard to maintain separate relationships with both girls (i.e. individual time in which their real personality can shine without the other dictating).  It’s certainly a special time.  They still describe us as “awesome”, “fun” and “the best”.

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Cravings – I’m loving some good old fashioned hearty meals.  In other words, steak, potatoes, beef broth soup and veggies.  I could still do without the sweets.  I met my husband uptown this week for lunch and enjoyed a spicy soup and noodle combo.

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Symptoms – Congestion, but I’m sick.  Did I mention my belly has gotten bigger?

Workouts – Since I was sick, I did significantly pull back this week.  Listening to my body is key to making sure baby stays happy and healthy (especially at this point).

  • Monday – I taught my regularly scheduled 6:30 AM Flywheel class.
  • Tuesday – I did a short strength workout in the garage before teaching my standard 3:30 PM Flywheel class.
  • Wednesday – what started as a planned 30 minute run turned into a 30 minute walk.  After running for 10 minutes, I started to feel cramping and called it.  It was a beautiful day.  I had purposely parked my car near a nail salon so when I was finished I could get some “me” time in.  I don’t do the whole nail routine often, but I did both a pedicure and manicure post walk.
  • Thursday – whatever cold was developing came on full force Wednesday evening.  I dropped out of my usual run group workout to get some much needed rest to be able to teach my 3:30 PM Flywheel class.
  • Friday – I slept in AGAIN!  Going on three days straight.  A huge rainstorm made a mess of our garage.  While I was moving some things around with my youngest daughter, I snuck in a 38 minute workout.  I got ALOT done with her in the garage and in a short amount of time!  I also maxed out at 8 pull ups in a row.
    • 2 Rounds
      • Jog in place 2 minutes
      • SKLZ single arm roll out x 10 each
      • PVC single leg hip hinge with rotation outwards x 10 each
      • Sandbag Deadlift x 15
    • 3 Rounds
      • Static Squat with Should Mobility x 10 each side
      • Pull ups x 10
      • Goblet Squat x 15
    • 3 Rounds
      • Side crunch on Bosu x 15 each
      • Single Leg Squat with TRX x 10 each
      • Squat Thrust x 15
  • Saturday – After communicating with my doctor Friday night about what over the counter medications I could take, I started to feel a change towards the better by Saturday.  I was invited to the Lululemon Southpark store to test out their newest sports bra – the Enlite Bra.  I warned them in advance that I was pregnant.  They were all game to still have me visit the store.

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I joined several other fitness personalities in Charlotte that I had never met before.  This is why I am glad I decided to go.  Not only did I buy into the bra, but I connected with some absolutely fantastic women.  We bonded over a fitting, a 5k run and some breakfast.  Let’s be serious though, the bra is $98.  I get it.  Mouth drop.  Ladies,  everything at Lululemon is wearable and returnable.  If you are interested, put it on, run in it and see what you think.  I’m sold.  Biggest thing for me was not feeling trapped in the straps.  No chaffing.  No need to take it off immediately post run.

  • Sunday – I swapped my early Sunday class to teach the 2:45 PM class that afternoon.