"The MomME Files" #2: Work It Out, Work It In


Happy Friday! It’s going to be a beautiful weekend here — officially the start of summer, woo hoo! But seeing how May is Women’s Health Month, I figured a diet and exercise post dedicated to all you moms and busy women out there was definitely in order! 

I am often asked how I got back in shape, post-baby — I’m here to tell you, I have no idea. Kidding! Seriously though, it’s nothing drastic, and forever a work in progress. I ran track and played collegiate soccer so I’ve always been fairly active, but when I hit 30, my metabolism slowed big time. Fast forward “a few” years later, two knee surgeries, a baby, and suddenly I realized: there really isn’t going to be a “perfect” time to take better care of myself, so I might as well start somewhere. What did I/do I do? I’m by no means a personal trainer or nutritionist, but here’s some of what has worked for me… and as always, I’d love to hear what works for you!



“Me” Time
Mom or not, women are busy busy. Taking a break to get to the gym for me is a luxury. I don’t see it as “exercise” but more of a time I get to listen to my fave tunes, clear my head, and bonus: my creativity and energy level increase, making me more productive in general. (Moms, if that makes you feel too selfish, think of it this way: you’re modeling a healthy lifestyle for your kids, and don’t you want to be able to keep up with them throughout life?)

You gotta start somewhere.
I think the biggest hurdle is just getting started. But there comes a point when you have to be honest with yourself: hello, you’re not getting any younger, and no one else is going to look out for you but YOU. Start slowly and build it up over time — it should make you feel good about yourself, not bad!

Anything is better than nothing!
Even if I can only get on the treadmill for 20 minutes before picking up my daughter from school, I know it’s going to make my next workout that much easier. That is motivation enough to get me in there even for a bit, no matter how busy I am. (And I just run a little faster!)



Try a juice cleanse (and get 15% off!)
I’m kick-starting my summer with a juice cleanse from Ritual Wellness! They’re the only USDA certified 100% organic cold-pressed juicing company out there, and I love the fact that you can get 3+ pounds of fresh veggies in just one bottle of their greens juices. I want you to try a cleanse with me! Until June 9th, get 15% off a 3-day Classic or Seasonal Reset Cleanse with code MomMeReader! And add a few Shred workout juices at 15% off while you’re at it…

No diets! This is for life.
A diet implies there’s a beginning and an end, but there just isn’t a quick fix. I think it’s much easier to make small changes that you can live with, for life. Me, I don’t deprive myself or overindulge. Instead, I’ve figured out what works for me: I’m anemic so I do need to eat red meat every 2-3 days, which keeps up my energy level. I don’t buy sweets or white bread products for the house — no temptation there! And throughout the workday I’ll opt for healthy choices, which means for dinners, weekends, events, etc. I don’t really need to worry about it. Kinda nice!

Water water water…and more water.
I’ll be the first to tell you I’m a coffee (a.m.) and wine (p.m.) drinker — my vices! But I fill up a large water bottle and keep it on my desk to hydrate all day long. (I swear I’m not a health freak, I just function better with it!)



Cute outfits (duh)
Lululemon is like a uniform here in the O.C. (is it where you live, too?). I find it to be stupid expensive but actually worth it. Maybe start with just one piece — and then get your other brand name gear on discount sites like 6pm.com.

Invest in good footwear.
I’ve had four knee surgeries (ugh), so good running shoes are critical for me — I’m a big Asics fan. But you can go to a running store and they’ll check your gait, stance, etc. to make sure you’re getting the right type of shoe. And replace your shoes every six months!

Music makes me move!
I cannot workout without good music, and Spotify is the best, seriously! It’s like iTunes and Pandora in one. You can listen to anything and create your own playlists. Download it for free on a computer, but it’s totally worth the $9.99/month to have the ability to listen to anything, anywhere, anytime online, on my phone, at the gym, in the car, while I’m cooking…the best! And be sure to get proper headphones meant for exercise (I love my Yurbuds!).



3x/week, minimum
I’ve heard that this is what you need to maintain. I find this is what I need to make sure I’m moving forward. I can definitely feel an improvement every time, and that is a great feeling. If you can get out more often, even better!

Find fun exercise options that work for you.
After the four knee surgeries, there isn’t much I can do besides running and spinning, and that works for me. But there are sooo many interesting, fun classes out there you can take — indoor and out! Mix it up to keep it interesting — I’d love to hear about them and live vicariously through you!

Don’t forget the weights!
This is especially important for women to prevent osteoporosis later in life. I only hit 5-6 machines — quick, easy, does the trick, for now.



Find your Mommy Muse.
I just picked up a copy of Brooke Burke’s book Naked Mama and discovered her website for moms, ModernMom.com that includes a boatload of articles, tips, exercises, recipes…you name it. (BTW I do not know how that woman has had five kids! That is inspiration enough, right?)

Book a trip.
Putting a real deadline on the calendar always keeps me on task — especially one where I’ll either see a lot of people I know and want to feel my best, and/or I’ll have to get into a bikini! Scare tactics = they do work.

This past year I’ve met two fantastic women who have really inspired me with their “YOLO” mantra – you only live once! So I’m making the most of it. I hope you are too!


What works for you?

And in case you missed it, check out “The MomME Files” #1: Dress to Impress Yourself >

Erika Brechtel

Erika Brechtel

Creative Director

Desiring an online space to explore well-rounded, inspired content in all topics she loves most, Erika created 'The E List' (formerly the Small Shop blog) in 2010. When not enjoying an “occasional" glass of wine and wanderlusting for even warmer climates, Erika can be found sharing laughs with friends and family, and trying her very best to keep up with her 6-year old daughter (yet failing miserably).

  1. Wow can you be my Mommy Muse? What a gorge photo! 🙂
    I need this like you have no idea! It has been a struggle to feel like myself and take the time to focus on me. The mindset motivation is plain common sense but I needed to hear it. Thank you for the inspiration Erika as usual!

  2. Such an inspiring post! I make a commitment to work out, it isn’t only good for my mind and body but good for my relationships too!

  3. I love lululemon but you cannot buy it where I live in Europe. I actually wrote a marketing home assignment about the company which was really interesting too. I love all your ideas, Especially the YOLO part 😉

  4. Love this post! I’m a firm believer in anything is better than nothing, when it comes to exercise – even if it means just 20 pushups before bed or 50 squats before a morning shower.

    It’s funny too, I ended up losing weight when I stopped “dieting” and just making healthier decisions consistently.

    P.S. I’m not a mom and I wish I looked as good as you!! Have a fabulous weekend!

  5. all I can say is ‘WOW’! you look fantastic and I only hope when I have a kid some day I can snap back into shape like you. thnks for the inspo! 🙂

  6. Great post and so inspiring! I’m not a mother but we’re planning to start a family soon and so freaked out about changes to my body. After busting both knees, I couldn’t do much and recently started forcing myself to be more active. I can’t run but have found a combination of intense Barre class, yoga and reformer pilates work best for me.

  7. It’s true that after 30 years old … things become a bit more “complicated”.
    Anyway, thanks for those great advices!
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  8. E! You look amazing! I need to get back into a routine of some sort after the second baby – you can make excuses and excuses but you’re right there comes a point when we have to start already. Thank you for the reminder. xx

  9. Erika, I love your blog! You’re so inspiring. I can’t agree more with the weight training! It’s so important to build muscle and plus, it’s incredibly sexy to have a well toned body! One workout that I love to do is the Spartacus workout in Women’s Health/Men’s Health magazine. The combo of weights and aerobic activity does the trick in only 30 minutes!

  10. Love this. Thank you Erika. I’m seriously printing it out so that I can start once I have this baby. I love how real and practical you are about it. Totally agree about diets and drinking water and knowing that you’ll be able to maintain it!

  11. Thank you for this post!!! Although I’m not a mom, I do need to be better about carving out workouts in the midst of school and work and now wedding planning! You are such an inspiration my dear!

  12. Thank you for the motivation Erika! This article came at the perfect time… I signed up for the 3-day cleanse for next week! ~ can’t wait ~

  13. I couldn’t agree more about having something “booked” that makes you want to look your best. It’s the best motivator there is! 🙂 Also, I’m a retired trackster myself! Mainly sprints- 200, 400, 4×400, etc. I think we never lose that side of ourselves, even when we’re old and gray! Loved this Erika!

    1. No way, my events too, and the 4×100!
      The 400 was my best event, much to my dismay. Many moons ago!

  14. What an inspiration you are and btw’s, you look GREAT! Seriously! Ok, can you share your trips and tricks on how you stayed fit and didn’t become a house while you were preggo??? I’m 14 weeks and always been very active, like you… I ate extremely healthy, always. Now, I just crave the crap!