312-725-4802 Briana@MightyMomFit.com
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Chicago, IL
312-725-4802 Briana@MightyMomFit.com

The Face & Story Behind Mighty Mom Fit!

 

Hi there! I wanted to share a little insight into who I am and why I created Mighty Mom Fit! Fair warning … this post is looong, but then again I have four little’s! I promise to keep it interesting 🙂 

 

I was always an active person, but never truly into fitness, I just liked to keep busy. When I was younger I was in dance, I dabbled in gymnastics, and I was a cheerleader for 11 years. I had intention to continue cheering in college, or at least I did until I found cute boys and snowboarding which brought on perfecting my 12oz curls at the local bar. Although I was active, I was never really ‘fit’. I didn’t spend time in the gym. I went through periods where I would get “hooked” for a month, maybe two if I was lucky, then one bad hangover and it would ruin me for a week and I’d ‘fall off the wagon’ … which happened a lot!

I graduated college at 21 and my idea of the perfect job was bartending. Fun atmosphere, good friends, beer, cash tips, late nights … who wouldn’t think that’s the ideal job?? Drinking and late nights lead to late night eating and sleeping as much as I could. This became my life for several years. I didn’t work out, I ate McDonald’s or Little Caesar’s at 2am most nights, and my idea of hydrating was the local ‘watering hole’ .. but I had my fun.

When I was 24 years old I landed a desk job working in corporate America, I bought my own condo and I met my now husband. I felt my life was finally starting to settle down. Ha! He was charming, good looking, and he took me to bar almost every night and we lived at the beach every single weekend that summer.  We claimed our spot, we had our cooler, our “ghetto blaster” and we had friends around us. It was the time of my life!

We went to the Blackhawks game on New Year’s Eve. We stayed out all night long drinking and laughing. I still remember what I wore and everywhere we went that night. Eight weeks and several bottles of orange juice (which I never, ever drank) later, we found out I was pregnant. Holy. Shit. 3 … 2 … 1 …. Happy New Year, you’re having a baby.

A what? A baby? I could barely take care of myself, how on earth was I supposed to take care of someone else???

I planned to eat right and stay active during my entire pregnancy. Ha! At least my intentions were there, right?? I did good for the first five months and then I let my ONE cupcake craving get the best of me. I told myself I’d done good so far, I can have just one cupcake from the new bakery in town. That was the end of eating healthy. My sugar cravings went crazy and I literally starting eating for two.

I ate two pop-tarts every morning before leaving for work, I hit the cafeteria when I got there for a banana nut muffin (banana’s are healthy, right?), I ate lunch, had a snack, went home, ate dinner, went to bed and I would wake up and do it all over again the next day. Carbs, on top of carbs, on top of fat. We joined a gym down the street about seven months into my pregnancy. But let me tell you, after being inactive for so long and having gained almost 30 lbs. The last thing on my mind was working out. I’d hit the elliptical for 20 minutes and head home.

My due date finally came, September 30, 2010. I woke up at 3:30am and I felt funny. Nothing hurt … I just felt weird. I went back to bed and woke up again at 4:30am. I stayed up, got ready and went to work. Contractions started coming and I finally left work. Nothing crazy, but they were starting to hurt. There was no way I was going to sit in the hospital, so Aaron and I ran errands in the city instead. What else do you do when you’re in labor?! We finally went home and that’s when I knew it was time to go. It hurt like hell.  When we checked in the nurse told me I had gained 42 pounds. We didn’t find out the gender, so the excitement outweighed my anxiety of my weight gain. I got my epidural and I went to sleep until it was time to push. This labor thing wasn’t so bad after all!

24 hours later, 4:34am on September 30, 2010, we welcome our first little one, Arianna Marie. She was beautiful and she instantly became my best friend.

It took me about four months to lose all of my pregnancy weight. The anxiety and overwhelmingness of being a new mom who had very little experience with newborns made my anxiety skyrocket. I lost my appetite and I had to constantly be on the go. I took my 12 weeks of FMLA and went back to work. I told myself I was going to work, come home to spend time with our little one, and when she went to bed I was going to the gym. I was determined to change my ways. But sleepless nights left me with no energy for the gym. As soon as she went to bed, so did I.

Our oldest just turned one when I got pregnant with baby #2. We planned it this time! I was super determined to have a healthy and active pregnancy. I left my job in Corporate American and became a server / bartender. This was going to be great. I could get a great deal of exercise in walking around and lifting enormous plates of food. While I did get my exercise in, my eating habits got even worse. I craved grilled cheese and french fries with ranch. On the days I worked a double, I ate it twice. Oh, and blue cheese stuffed olives were my go – to snack behind the bar.

When I wasn’t working, I was chasing around a tiny human who had no idea what being exhausted felt like. Sure she napped, but that was my time to play catch up on all the things I didn’t get to: laundry, dishes, making meals, running errands, etc.  On the days I had energy I took her to the playground, the zoo, for walks … then I went to work and walked, and walked, and walked. About six months into this pregnancy, I developed tendonitis in my foot, holy hell. It hurt. But I kept working because it was something that made me feel good about myself, and it was nice to get out and have some adult interaction! But, my time spent with the little one was now spent in doors, on the ground playing. Activity level down + bad eating habits increasing = weight gain.

It was three days before my due date …. the first contraction hit. Shit, this cannot be happening. I am NOT ready. Wait, maybe I am wrong. Ah, nope. The second one came quick.  I told Aaron it was time. But we couldn’t leave just yet … he had to take a shower. Dude, we don’t have time for this … my contractions were close and they were getting stronger. But he took his shower anyway, I called grandma and she was in the shower too. Seriously people?? I am in labor and you need a shower?? Ugh, ok … fine. We’ll bring her to grandma’s, we only lived five minutes away. I couldn’t sit in the truck .. I had to stand. But how was I supposed to do that? I was hunched over with my tush pressed against the window. That had to be a sight to see. Poor guy next to us. Drive faster! I have to push. No, don’t push, we’re almost there. HURRY. I couldn’t walk down the hallway. And of course my room was at the opposite end. What. The. Heck.  I couldn’t lay down I need to stand. No ma’am you need to lay down. Fine just get the epidural. Don’t push, he’s here. What? He’s here. No push him back in, I need an epidural. You’re going to have to push. I don’t want to. You have to. NO! Yes. Ugh, I am NEVER doing this again.

Eight pushes later, Ace Michael arrived in this world. To this day he is still the same, strong willed and arrives when he wants to. I swear he takes after his father.

I went back to work when our little dude was six weeks old. I was feeling great! I couldn’t even look at a grilled cheese with french fries and ranch. Ew. My new thing was a caesar salad with grilled chicken …. Loaded in dressing. A healthier food option, but covered in fat. My only exercise came from work. Walking, walking and more walking. Our child care situation became more difficult which left me working only two night shifts a week. It wasn’t what I wanted, but maybe this time I could really start focusing on me and getting back into shape. Eh, read back up to baby #1. All those excuses came rushing right back. When the kids were awake we played and when they slept, I caught up on everything else.

Despite saying I was never doing this again, 21 months later we decided to add baby #3 to our family. We had just moved to a new house and had an extra bedroom … we had to fill it, right?! This pregnancy was much different than the first two. I was super nauseous the first three months. I was miserable. I found certain things to help me with the nausea but the only food I could really handle was crackers. Being sedentary and eating carbs all day was not a good combination. And having two small kids and not feeling well didn’t make me feel like leaving the house.

Around the third month my cravings went from saltine crackers to fruit and salads. This was great! I thought I would be eating healthy and I tried to motivate myself as much as possible. I took the kids for walks to the library and playground. I tried to chase them around the house as much as possible. I was doing well maintaining my weight and I was happy. When I was six months pregnant, I went through a rough time. I was unhappy with myself, I had a traumatic experience, and I turned into an emotional eater; something I never was.

We tried to have a well thought out birthing plan this time around, since the second one was so quick. My due date came and went. If one more person asked me when I was due, I was going to punch them in the throat. It was a hot summer and I was overdue. Aaron was being nice and planned a date to go car shopping hoping to take my mind off everything. Well, as soon as we got to the first car dealer, my contractions hit. I tried to tough it out but I couldn’t. We headed for the hospital. Since we moved we were about 45 minutes away.  I got to the hospital with contractions two minutes apart, lasting :60 to :90 each, but I was only two centimeters dilated. What the heck. This is not possible. The nurses tried to send me home since I wasn’t “far enough along”. Thankfully Aaron is blunt and spoke up saying we were not leaving. They let us stay. I had to rock back and forth on an exercise ball. My contractions went off the charts. The nurse could not believe it. She started to pick up her pace. She called another nurse in. They got the baby baby station set up, the hooked up my IV’s, called for the anesthesiologist and called my doctor who lived 45 minutes away. I started screaming I have to poop. No way this doctor was making it. Neither did the epidural. I was rolling around in the bed … I had to push. They told me I couldn’t. Ha, who tells a woman in labor she can’t push?? So I did. I have never seen nurses move so fast in my life. Three pushes later, our third amazing, charismatic little man, Aspen Montgomery, arrived.

Funny side story … Since we already had two kids having names starting with ‘A’, my mom said we should pick a name that started with a ‘B’. I said there was no way I could name the first two with an ‘A’ and then have a ‘B’, I needed them to be even and I was dead set on not having another one. So dead set, I got rid of everything. My baby clothes, maternity clothes, baby items…. Everything!

We left the hospital 36 hours later and life continued on. I tried to rest as much as I could but with two small toddlers at home, there was little time for me. I was desperate to start eating healthier and to get my pre-baby body back. Once cleared by my doctor to begin working out again, I started taking boot camp classes at a local studio gym. I would come home covered in sweat, my energy levels were up, and I was happy. My muscles were starting to form. I felt strong and I felt like me again. This was it.  This was my start to getting my body back! I continued taking three classes per week.

About 10 months into my fitness journey, I was asked to start teaching classes. I was beyond excited and flattered. I was doing something that I loved and now I was given the opportunity to help others. I loved it! So I studied and I got my certification to become a Group Fitness Instructor. To help and empower others on their health and fitness journey made me happy! I had no idea at the time, but I truly felt that this is what I was meant to do.

Aaron and I never really had time to do the things a lot of other couples do. We didn’t get to travel together, we didn’t really live together … just us, we didn’t go on a lot of romantic date nights in the city. We didn’t have a lot of time to focus on just us. We partied the first six months we were together and then we started popping out little ones. Once we had time to focus on us, we decided it was time to get married. So on June 6, 2015 we tied the knot at a beautiful 1800’s farm in Wisconsin. It was beautiful and perfect. It was everything I dreamed of when I was a little girl. My life was chaotic, but I felt it was finally starting to settle down. We had a beautiful new home, three amazing littles, and we were both in careers we loved.

But here is something you don’t know about us …. Just as things start to seem to settle down … we like to add more chaos into the mix!

Not long after my brother and sister – in – law welcomed their second baby girl. We were walking out and I could tell something was playing in Aaron’s mind .. and I knew exactly what it was.

Hell. No.  Nuh uh dude. I’m done. Like done, done. Remember?? I got rid of EVERYTHING.

Remember I said Ace is stubborn like his father?? The topic kept coming up and it wasn’t before long we were pregnant with number four. I still taught my boot camp classes and I was working out as much as my body allowed. I felt great. I was eating healthy, working out, getting some great sleep. BAM! My nausea kicked in at exactly six weeks. I was out. I couldn’t move without being nauseous. The only thing I wanted to eat was cinnamon rolls, crackers and pasta. Carbs, carbs, carbs. They were the only things that made me feel better … and sour patch kids. Imagine trying to teach 6am boot camp classes doing jumping jacks, high knees, and jump squats and trying not to throw up everywhere .. especially when no one had any idea you were pregnant.  Every morning when my alarm went off at 5am I desperately wanted to quit. I could not believe I actually made the decision to have another child and go through this again! But I beat that evil voice in my head who told me to give up … and I did it. I was stronger than that and I knew I need this. After all, it was the only hour I actually had to myself without three littles saying “mom” 346394734 time a day.

Clean eating was extremely hard but I found ways around my cravings and I even found some delicious healthy alternatives. I continued to teach my boot camp and pure strength classes which also helped me to keep active. On the days I didn’t get to work out with my classes I made sure to get at least 30 minutes of exercise in, even if it was walking the neighborhood.

Believe it or not, I found that working out actually made me feel better. It kept my nausea to a minimum, it kept my mood in check and it helped in the delivery room.

I don’t have a crazy story with this one … sorry! It was actually the perfect way to go out with a bang! I was three days overdue and I was actually fine with this. I already have three spider monkey’s at home, I could use #4 to stay put just a little longer.  I felt funny that morning, no pain or contractions, so I didn’t say anything. Aaron was thoughtful and asked to take me out for lunch after my scheduled doctor appointment. I was crabby but since he offered to take me to my favorite place, and my mood changed immediately. At my appointment I  found out my fluid was at a 5.5 when my doctor wanted it at 7. She sent me for a stress test where they told me I was in labor. What? There’s no way. I am in no pain and I have lunch plans after this. I am NOT having a baby today. After they convinced me this baby was coming, I opted for an epidural. If I am going to have to sit here for hours on end, I might as well be comfortable, right? Well … hours later wasn’t exactly true. Before I knew it, the doctor was in the room and said it’s time to push. I immediately went into panic mode. I am not ready. I cannot have this baby right now. I have a four year old’s birthday party in four days .. I have to be able to host. What the hell am I supposed to do with another little one? I can’t handle the three I have and the insane amount of chaos that comes with them. HELP!

Push. Push. Push. One more push. Our beautiful, smiling, snuggling baby girl was here. She was perfect in every way. I didn’t know how much I missed the smell of a newborn baby until I held her. She snuggled right into my arms and she hasn’t left them! Ainsley Monroe made us a family of six. Our hearts are full and our family is complete.

I still gained 32 pounds throughout my entire pregnancy. I am grateful that I stuck with clean eating and working out.  It helped speed up my post – partum recovery time. I was back to teaching classes two weeks after Ainsley was born (I didn’t do the workouts), I was going for short distance walks and I was doing light weights (5-8lbs) three weeks after delivery. I lost all of my ‘baby weight’ within six weeks of delivering. I wish I would have known the benefits of working out eat eating healthy during pregnancy the first three times!

I don’t have some crazy background story. I was a little chunky in high school, but I was never  overweight. I didn’t have a ton of excess body fat. I didn’t have out of control eating habits. I wasn’t one of those ‘lucky ones’ who only gained 20-25 lbs during pregnancy and I sure as hell did not leave the hospital in my regular clothes. I didn’t workout the entire time and yes, there were times I ate like I was actually eating for two adult human beings. I was always, and still am, your average person. I am living the life of a regular person … active in high school, living the life at 21, got pregnant …. And now here I am. A mom of four wild, crazy, imaginative spider monkey’s that are my entire world!

My mission is to share my knowledge and expertise with you! I’ve learned and experienced the best ways to keep and stay active during pregnancy, especially on the days where you don’t want to! I have tried dozens of healthy alternative recipes and I kept the ones that are worth it! I have designed workouts that are safe and effective specifically for YOU!

Listen, I totally get it. Life is hard. Throw a kid, or two …. Or four into the mix, now you have complete and total chaos! I know how hard it is to balance everyday life. And I also know how  important it is for you to feel empowered and strong. And that is why I am here!

 

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