Ines Subashka: Introduce yourself.
Lauren Brooks: My name is Lauren Brooks and I’m currently the owner of On The Edge Fitness. I have had a passion for changing peoples lives for the better with fitness and lifestyle changes for over 15 years. I’m a mother of 2 young girls and life has never been the same. I discovered kettlebells in 2005 and have never looked back. My life is centered taking in new information and continually inspiring and motivating people to improve their quality of life.
Ines Subashka: What is your background with sports and nutrition? It is well known that you are pretty much the queen of kettlebells. How did you start working out with them? What are the advantages and disadvantages when working out with kettlebells?
Lauren Brooks:Surprisingly I was not much of an athlete growing up. It wasn’t until my high school years in Houston, Texas that I got in to surfing. Surfing provided me the growth, meditation, and sport that fulfilled my needs at the time. Since then it gave me the confidence to snowboard and wakeboard which are now loves of mine, that I wish I could do more often. With being addicted to moving and improving oneself, I knew that getting my degree in Kinesiology with an Emphasis in Fitness, Nutrition, and Health was the only way to go for me. Later on I also went through a separate program to enhance my nutrition background to become a Certified Clinical Nutritionist.
I blush and get quite embarrassed when people say I’m the “Queen of Kettlebells.” That rumor must have started when I was playing around, just in my mid 20’s, and started my blog kbellqueen.blogspot.com, which I thought no one would ever read. Where here I am more than 5 years later and that’s what people refer me as. So I go with it, but there are many “Kettlebell Queens” in my opinion!
I began working out with kettlebells when a very traditional and conservative gym sent me to a kettlebell workshop strictly for trainers, that Franz Snideman who is now a Senior RKC, held at his gym. It was very intimidating at first since I never saw anything like it. It was different! After opening my mind and giving it a real test, my body and mind fell in love. I knew from then on that this was my calling and everyone needed to know about it. It just was too great to not learn everything about and spread the word to others.
The advantages of using kettlebells are seriously endless. I just released a book discussing about the advantages. Fat Loss, Mental Toughness, Strength, Mobility, and Rehabilitation are just a few that come to mind.
Like any exercise program, kettlebells can be over used. If you only use kettlebells and nothing else imbalances can occur. When used improperly you can easily injure yourself. This is nothing different than any other type of training. There is a small learning curve and most people really should have a private session to ensure they are doing it properly.
Ines Subashka: Did you workout before you got pregnant? How did you modify your workouts when you got pregnant? Give an example for your workout activity before and during pregnancy!
Lauren Brooks: Yes I definitely was working out prior to both my first and second pregnancy. During my pregnancies especially my first pregnancy, I always erred on the cautious side. Risking the health of my baby was not worth it. At this time kettlebells were so new that there wasn’t as many resources of women who had been using kettlebells during their pregnancy. Lisa Shaffer had experience with using kettlebells on her last pregnancy, which gave me some comfort to know that I was on the right track.
My workouts varied throughout each trimester. First trimester I continued with my strength training and used the same weights I was using before. Except if I felt a little light headed or dizzy that day I would go down in weight or stop immediately. During my second trimester I automatically dropped the normal weight I would use. I wasn’t sure if it would be too much strain on the baby so I wouldn’t let myself get too out of breath or force anything. By third trimester, same thing, except my stomach got so large that by the last 2-3 weeks I just walked and continued light body weight exercises such a squats, push-ups, and rows.
After my first pregnancy I had lost a lot of strength from not only taking it a little easier, but recovering from surgery from my C-section. Walking with my baby, then kettlebells and body weight training were my ways of bouncing back. It was a journey but got to where I needed to be and fast.
Ines Subashka: And what about your nutrition? Were you following a nutrition plan before you got pregnant and how that changed during your pregnancy?
Lauren Brooks: My nutrition was relatively healthy before my first pregnancy. I was never following a nutrition plan but just stuck to higher quality foods. The only supplements I was taking was a liquid B Complex that absorbed in your body extremely well and a green powder that naturally had an array of multi-vitamins. I never even took a prenatal since I knew I was going to eat the foods I needed and continue with my B-complex and Greens. The only thing that changed for me when I got pregnancy was feeling hungrier at times and having some unstoppable cravings for unhealthy food. Naturally with the hormones I chose to allow myself to go forth with my cravings from time to time. I was much more lenient during my pregnancy, but still primarily paid attention to healthy food.
Lauren Brooks: Yes, my cravings were out of control at times. It was the first time I almost felt that I had to give in sometimes or else everyone around me better run! During that stage in my life I wasn’t in to gluten free nor practiced primarily a vegetarian lifestyle. I’m sick thinking about my cravings but a couple of them were pizza with jalapenos and chicken wings. I know, disgusting! I only acted upon the chicken wings once during my pregnancy. However the pizza I probably had once or twice a month. I responded to my cravings by acknowledging that they are only cravings and do not need it. I would wait as long as I can. Sometimes a whole week. If they would still be there then I’d act upon it. If it was gone then I was able to get through it! Walking and exercising were huge ways to control my cravings.
Ines Subashka: Did your family support your way of life or were they trying to convince you, you could hurt the baby with this active lifestyle? Share some positive and some negative comments you received from friends and family for your active pregnancy!
Lauren Brooks: Naturally I had family members tell me to be careful during my first pregnancy. Things like “Don’t push yourself” “Rest, you’re pregnant, nows the time to rest”. Or “Are you sure that’s okay for the baby?”. I was assuring my surroundings that I’d never do anything stupid or jeopardize the health of my baby. Once they saw how big and healthy the baby was growing and how healthy I looked and felt, people began to trust and see I was doing what I needed to do. My mother had the worst morning sickness with both of her pregnancies. She had back pain as well. Here and I were sure I was going to be doomed with her experiences. Going in to my pregnancy strong and nourished I feel is what allowed me to have a strong back and no nausea. I’m a firm believer on making sure your Vitamin B stores are not depleted before getting pregnant by supplementing with a non synthetic source.
Ines Subashka: How was the delivery? Did it have some complications or your active lifestyle helped you giving birth to your child?
Lauren Brooks: Unfortunately my delivery wasn’t the way I had planned. My baby was turned the wrong way and was breach. There were too many risks to giving birth to a breach baby so I did what was best for the baby in this situation and had to have a Cesarean. I tried to do everything to avoid it, however that was my only choice. My active lifestyle is what helped me recover very rapidly.
Ines Subashka: Do your kids follow the healthy lifestyle you have? How do you succeed feeding them good food, when the junk is all around them?
Lauren Brooks: My kids definitely follow a healthy lifestyle. Every morning our kids get a fresh breakfast. Whether it’s a smoothie, organic free-range eggs, or fruit we make sure they get as much fresh whole food as possible. With all the junk around it’s impossible to always say no. We choose to allow them to have the junk food at birthday parties and other parties so they don’t feel deprived. They are well aware that it’s junk and not “growing food” but no that it does not come back with us to our home. It’s a challenge but all you can do is your best to provide tasty fun healthy foods for your children.
Ines Subashka: What advice would you give to all the pregnant women that are scared to workout and follow a diet while pregnant?
Lauren Brooks: You and your baby are more at risk for complications if you don’t take care of yourself and eat healthy. Pregnancies that are not in the high risk category and have the green light to exercise, should be continue with a safe strength and conditioning program. If you are scared make sure to reach out to a trainer that specializes in working with pregnant women. Most of all listen to your body and remember a healthy baby starts with a happy and healthy mom!
IS: Make sure to check out Lauren’s new book!