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How Four Walls Changed My Heart

Not all seasons of life end up looking like what we hoped for or dreamed of.

11 years ago I married Troy and we started to build a life together with very little money.

I moved to Canada from the US 5 weeks before we got married, with no work permit, and Troy was a drummer in a band.

Although Troy owned a small condo, we were unable to live in it due to our lack of funds and decided it would be best to live with his parents as we got on our feet in the early stages of marriage. Looking back at those days I can’t help but reflect on the grace, patience, and love of his parents. We were 22 & 24, immature, and doing the first season of marriage in front of his family…literally everything. (cringe)

Let’s just say when we were finally able to move out on our own a year and a half into marriage, I was beyond thankful for that 600sqft condo that allowed us to have our own space. Having the Canadian dream of a white picket fence and security was actually never a dream of mine (or so I thought) hence why I married a touring musician, but somewhere along the way I developed this mindset that homes, cars and things represented security, happiness and a stamp on my life that said “we had made it.”

Maybe it was because we didn’t have a lot of money, maybe it was because I grew up in a home that was always financially stretched, I’m not sure. But what I do know is these things held a bigger place in my heart then I ever intended.

Fast forward 9 years into marriage….

We built two beautiful homes, Troy had a very successful job, we had three children and we were very secure where we are at.

And then we feel a call to the lower mainland to help plant a church. That’s a whole other blog post, but what I want to focus on in this post is the beauty that comes out of our discomfort and the growth that happens when we allow God to take the plans and dreams we had for our lives and build something far greater then we could have ever imagined.

As I write this I’m gazing around the 1200sqft condo that 2 years ago I would have never imagined our family could live in. When we moved from Kelowna we came from a 2800 sqft dream house with a big beautiful yard that we thought we would be in forever. But the reality is our lives were small. It’s so humbling when I look back at that big house and think of the countless ways we could have used it to bless people, to fill its spaces with friends and how we could have lived with so much less. It’s been 2 years since we have moved to the coast to answer a call to serve and love a city of people we did not know.

In this process there have been countless situations and experiences that have challenged and pressed us. One of them being letting go of what we felt we needed in order for our capacity to grow. Maybe 1200sqft for you represents a whole lot of space and in this very moment you could be thinking #firstworldproblems, and I get that. But I think one of the most amazing things about God is that He meets “us” at a personal level. God knew what a challenge it would be for me to let go of my beautiful home, the security of owning, and all the love I had put into those 4 walls. But He also knew the beauty and learning that would come out of a pressing season that included selling my beautiful furniture, downsizing our lives, and learning that four walls do not determine our success nor the capacity of our heart.

 

Over these past 2 years of letting go what has physically taken up space in my life, I have seen the walls of my heart explode for people, my capacity expand and my world get larger than I could have ever imagined.

Don’t ever despise your small seasons. Although my heart still at times longs for a home that can hold huge parties and host friends from out of town, I do believe God is going to make a way for us to have that one day. But for now, learning to live in a small space has really taught me to get creative with less, that the walls of my home do seem larger when they are filled with more love, and life doesn’t need to be perfect for you to make space for others. This condo has really taught me in countless ways that God always knows what’s best for us and sometimes he needs to make our physical spaces smaller and less cluttered in order for us to grow.

 

It was never about four walls. All along it was about learning to be content, thankful, and at peace in whatever state I’m in. This 1200sqft has hosted some of the richest conversations with friends, become a resting spot of our kids as we invest in their life, and along the way God taught us to take our eyes off ourselves and shifts them to a city that doesn’t need you to have large space for you to do life with them.

God shows up in our small beginnings, and sometimes he needs to make the process very physical in order for us to see that.

 

I want to say a special thank you to Urban Walls and their creative team. Our landlords had asked that we keep our walls white (which I love) but our kids needed some life, fun and creativity added to their rooms. Danielle and her team did a fantastic job of helping us select the perfect style for our home, installing them and creating the perfect to add something special but also respect your landlord;)

Also a huge thank you to Curated Tribe. You brought the perfect vintage-bohemian flare into our home with your beautiful rattan furniture pieces. We are such a huge fan of yours and will forever be stocking your Instagram page for new inspiration.

This condo has become one of my favourite projects to decorate and has become the perfect home for our family in this season.

Enjoy these beautiful photos by the incredible Brit Gill

Staying Active And Summer Styles With Iris

Vancouver is blowing us away this summer with glorious temperatures and blue skies. If you have ever been to Vancouver in the summer, you’ll know there is nothing like it! And when the weather is good, this city turns into a fitness junky’s dream!

Breath taking hiking, beautiful beaches, and some of the greatest fitness studios you will find in North America. Finding an activity will never be a problem in Vancouver, but choosing which one probably will be;)

This summer’s activities have looked a little different from most years for me.

In the past I would have stuck with my normal fitness routine of Pilates, weight-lifting, and hitting up as many classes as possible. Since transitioning to a rainier city fall through spring, I have learned to really appreciate the drier summer months. These days I find myself picking up my long board, throwing on some running shoes and getting creative with my outdoor workouts.

These countless hours in the sun have been amazing and have added a sunny glow to my skin, but I am also becoming more and more aware of the amount of time my eyes are now in the sun. Last week after my eye exam at Iris, I spent some time with the optometrist going over a few ways to protect my eyes from the loss of pigmentation.  In the past, I viewed sunglasses as an accessory that I’d only wear if it matched my outfit, or felt necessary if I was at the beach all day. It’s amazing how a little bit of education can completely change your perspective, especially when it’s dealing with something as important as being able to see!

After trying on a few new styles of sunglasses from the Iris summer collection, I was even more bought in. Whether you’re biking around the city, hitting the hiking trails or spending hours on a beach volleyball court, Iris has a ton of options that will fit your summer pastimes. 

Here a list of some of my favourite styles from the Iris summer collection

Enjoy!

Maui Jim-Mavericks 
Ray Ban 3536
Coach HC 7078
Michael Kors 6003
Photography By: Megan Bustard 

Vegan Chocolate Protein Brownies

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These brownies are one of our current go to breakfast options. They are simple, delicious and also add a little bit of extra protein into your day. Recently I started doubling the recipe and using them as dessert served with Earnest Ice Creams vegan “strawberry toasted coconut ice cream”. Earnest Ice Cream has some of the most delicious flavours of vegan ice cream and has become one of our favourite spots for date night with the kids.

I hope you guys enjoy this delicious and healthier treat;)

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Vegan Protein Brownies:

  • 1 TBSP Flax meal
  • 3 TBSP water
  • 1 Cup Gluten free perfect blend baking mix from Natures Fare Market
  • 1 TSP baking soda
  • 3 Very ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 1/3 Cup coconut oil melted
  • 3/4 Cup coconut sugar
  • 1 TSP Vanilla extract
  • 3/4 Cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 2-3 (Depending on how much protein you want to add)
  • Scoops Genuine health chocolate protein powder

Directions:

Mix flax seed & water together and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes to form a egg like substance.

Once the flax seed has set, mix all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.

Spray a 8×11 pan with coconut oil and pour mixture into pan.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Enjoy with vegan ice cream or yogurt for a breakfast option.

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Elsa Parties And Making Memories

I wish these warm summer days and endless hours at the beach would last forever!

I’m trying my best to savour these moments with the kids and really use the extra hours I get with them this summer to connect with their hearts. I’m going to try do my best to journal and document the little memories as we make our way through another epic summer together.

One of my favourite memories this summer was Adelaide’s Elsa birthday party! For months this little lady had planned and dreamed of her perfect day. We were asked countless times if the real Elsa was going to come and spend the day with her, so we enlisted the help of Crowned Princess Entertainment to help us make her dreams come to life. And Elsa did not disappoint!!

Surrounded by friends in their favourite princess dresses, this day could not have been more special for Adelaide or I. There is something so magical about seeing your little girl stunned by the presence of their real life hero. I felt like my heart was going to burst the entire party and then Elsa broke into “Let It Go” surrounded by little girls dancing to every movement and knowing every word. The tears flowed from this Mom and Adelaide officially dubbed this day the best day of her life.

Thank you Crowned Princess for making this day possible and making Adelaide’s dreams come true. Elsa, you were one of the sweetest people we have ever met! Thank you for sitting with the girls in your gorgeous dress painting snowflakes, reading stories, and belting out their favourite Frozen songs!

Also, a very special thank you to my friend Stacie at Sugar Love Cookie Design for creating the most beautiful Frozen-inspired cookies for our party favours. Stacie, you are incredibly talented, your cookies were delicious, and we are so thankful you were a part of Adelaide’s special day.

 

 

The Heart Behind Dailyroutinefitness

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In 2007 I married the man of my dreams, and with much excitement, started my journey as a wife. Quickly I realized in marriage it’s harder to hide the skeletons and dark secrets I kept hidden for so long. After a couple of months of marriage, Troy realized there were some deep issues in my relationship with food, and lots of damaged areas when it came to my self-worth. At the time we had no idea counselling was a good option, where to go for help, and where to even start. We prayed, spoke life into the dark places, cried, fought, and survived.


Fast forward 4 years into marriage and I give birth to our first-born McCarthy. I start the journey of motherhood, which included losing the baby weight, and facing some old demons. I was healthier at this point, but still fighting the up hill mental game. I was determined to some how find health and balance in my pain, because my love for Troy and McCarthy was so deep, I needed this for me and them.
Jump ahead, McCarthy is 20 months and I give birth to a perfect little dark-haired boy named Bennett. As soon as they handed him to me, I knew my heart has just grown in size.


After having both McCarthy and Bennett, I battled anxiety and depression, but did my best to hide it.  I would cry in the tub alone asking God to give me the strength to get through the day and do the amazing job of mothering I loved one minute and felt was choking me out the next. When Bennett was 4 months old, I still remember the exact moment I made a decision to launch DailyRoutineFitness. This story has many other details, and there are tons of little moments I want to include in this post, but will save for it for an IGTV story 😉 What I’m going to give you here is a snapshot of the heart behind what I do, and why I so passionately pursue what I feel I have been called to.


In the process of mothering 2 babies, trying to lose the baby weight, struggling with eating disorder demons, depression and anxiety, I was desperately looking for a fellow Mom who would inspire me to fight for my health, remind me how strong I was, and tell me I could love babies and still care for myself. One night I decided I needed to be my own voice of confidence, and as I found my voice I decided I wanted to some how, some way create a space online where Moms could get inspired, be vulnerable and find their strength again.


When I launched DRF,  I was still in the mindset that booty shorts, bra tops, and the perfect face is what would take the fitness Industry by storm. Then I started to actually work with Moms and woman who told me their stories, and over the course of 4 years, I have been broken and rebuilt…and I’m still in process. The investment made by my clients into my life by being honest with their struggles, stories, and victories, has changed me forever. My heart is softer, I see beauty I have never seen before, I love myself more, and daily I’m humbled and honoured to hold space for them.

When Adelaide was born, my world changed forever. My priorities changed, the love for my curves changed. I couldn’t believe that I had been blessed with a daughter. Empowering woman through short shorts, bra tops and the right angles suddenly felt so empty. I knew Adelaide would learn to find her confidence, feminine beauty, and worth by watching her mother love herself. So we did something that either makes or breaks a a company…we re-branded! We took down many of the images that I initially thought would connect with and inspire my audience. Instead, I replaced them with the real, raw moments the have shaped my body, my health and my soul as a woman and mother.


A fellow mom recently texted me saying “I haven’t eaten carbs in days! I desperately need to drop this baby weight.” This text is one of many that reminds me my work is far from done. Moms still need someone to teach them to be strong, to love themselves again, and inspire them to look deeper than the surface. When we focus on what’s happening behind the milk stained shirts, dark circles, forced smiles, and desperate eyes, we create something beautiful that pushes itself from the inside out. Launching a lifestyle/fitness blog and training clients was birthed out of a place of pain, brokenness and insecurity. When I realized that there was a world full of women who were waiting for someone to rise up and believe in them, I dug my heels in, got healthy, and started to speak words of life.

This is DailyRoutineFitness.

Improving Your Health From The Inside Out With Sproos

All it takes is one big injury to forcibly regain focus on the health of one’s body. These past few months have been an intense battle with inflammation, stomach issues and to top it all off, a bulging disc! The reality is injury is not only caused by the stress we place on our bodies in our workout, but also the stress we hold in our bodies. There have been many areas I have focused on healing over these past few months, but one of my main focuses has been my gut. So much of what is happening to us emotionally stems from our gut and our ability to process foods correctly, as well as flush toxins from our body. Giving our body the proper support it needs to recover from workouts, carry our children around and clean our homes is essential!

Collagen was something I started to introduce into my diet after doing some research on the benefits of its anti-inflammatory properties. When comparing collagen brands, Sproos quickly rose to the top of my list. While sourcing the highest quality ingredients, Sproos has a simple approach to health that doesn’t include all types of pills and confusing labels. It’s literally one scoop, once a day…and you’re done! High quality collagen has the ability to restore the balance in our digestive tract, which is a major player in reducing inflammation in our bodies. When we reduce inflammation, we can recover at a quicker rate from our workouts, digest food properly leading to increased nutritional benefits, and reduce the risk of injury and disease.

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Collagen is one of the most common proteins in the body, but due to the cultural shift to eating leaner meats or plant-based diets, we often miss the benefits of the collagen that comes from more dense bones and fattier meats. While collagen helps to improve our hair, skin and nails, collagen also contains glycine, an amino acid with proven anti-inflammatory and immune boosting  effects which works below the surface of our skin as well.

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Some additional benefits of collagen:
•plays an important role in maintaining skin elasticity
•connective tissue flexibility
•bone strength.
.
This green smoothie recipe is my current gut jump start! Check out Sproos and their wide variety of collagen products.

  • 1 Cup none dairy milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 tbsp raw almond butter
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  • 1 scoop Sproos collagen
  • 1 scoop vegan protein powder

Blend with ice and enjoy!

Summer Adventures With Iris Visual

Little do they know, while taking these photos, we are secretly planning our first family surf trip to California, and this photo shoot is the first step in documenting our trip! Troy and I have been planning, saving and dreaming about this trip for years.  Surfing together is one of our favorite activities to do as a couple, and knowing we get to include our children this time, is a dream come true for me!

What I love about travelling with Troy is that he would rather rent a condo and have us cook for ourselves, than do the hotel/restaurant thing. When we travel together, we are always keeping active, so it’s important for both of us to keep our bodies properly fuelled and healthy as we explore.

As I have been prepping our travel shopping lists with important items to bring, I’ve started to think not only about keeping our kids skin protected, but also their eyes. Protecting our kid’s eyes has honestly not been something that I have thought a whole lot about in the past, but the team at IRIS walked us through the potential dangers for kids who do not use proper eye protection, and helped us understand how to keep our eyes healthy in each stage of life. The last time we went surfing I remember getting an intense headache that lasted 48 hours from squinting (no sunglasses) as my eyes adjusted to the California sun (which I love so much), which is NOT gonna happen this year!

Whether you’re heading out on a family vacation, or basking in some local sunshine, make sunglasses a priority for your whole family!

 

Before heading to California, we took the kids to IRIS and had them pick out their favourite style for the trip. If you have kids like mine, ownership and options are very important factors in having them keep things like sunglasses and hats on. Letting them choose their color and style is a game-changer! No longer are we convincing them to put sunglasses on, instead they are asking for them as soon as we leave the house and keeping them on while we are out and about!

McCarthy’s top pick was the Ray-Ban 2132. Bennett and Adelaide both choose IRIS’ kids polarized sunglasses which you can purchase in store! The Ray-Ban RB4259 is my current favorite, and

Troy’s pick is the Maui Jim Red Sands 432.

Head over to IRIS and check out their newest Spring/Summer collection and start planning for another beautiful Summer!

Photography By: Jamala Mya

Fighting inflammation and reducing fatigue is one of the best ways to not only improve our health but also our performance during workouts. Having a consistent workout routine plays such a huge part in eliminating mental stress and increasing positive endorphins to the body, but on the flip side, it also puts stress on our muscles and increases lactic acid buildup. If we aren’t fuelling our body correctly, our workouts can start to break our body down instead of supporting it.

When our bodies don’t have the proper nutrition for the demand we place on our systems during workouts we risk fatigue, injury and potential damage to our hormones. I’m sure you’ve heard the term “You can’t out-work a poor diet.” In a lot of ways this statement is very true. When it comes to fitness and health, we always want to approach our plan of action with the mindset of setting ourselves up for longevity, not a quick fix. If we approach our food and fitness thinking long term we will not only feel better physically and mentally, we will also reap the long term benefits of less aches, body breakdown and inflammation.

I often get asked about pre and post workout drinks. If I use them? What would I recommend?

Although I have used different forms of stimulants in the past, I totally stay away from them for many reasons now! The boost of a stimulant is a short term gain which typically results in a very negative long term result. Whether it’s caffeine or another form of stimulant you’re using before your workouts, these energy boosting products often lead to damaged adrenal systems, anxiety, mood swings, poor skin and gut issues. So what are some delicious, natural ways of boosting our energy pre and post workout.

When I started weaning myself off stimulants, I decided instead of focusing on what I was going to have to give up, I would get excited about what I would get to put into my body! I decided in order to kick things like coffee, I would actually have to totally give up warm drinks for a season to re-train my body to crave fresh water and juices in the morning. In order to change our habits, we need to change our mindsets and avoid the pleasure traps we have created for ourselves. This process worked surprisingly well for me, and also inspired me to really focus on what I was giving my body for energy pre and post workout.

Juicing is one the best ways to quickly get nutrition into our muscles and blood stream. It’s also a great way to personalize exactly what your body needs for the season you are in. Whether you are long distance running, weight training or going through a period of light workouts for detoxing, There is a juice for you.

 

So what juices should you be drinking pre and post workout?

Before we workout we want to give our body a little bit of sugar for energy but also combine the natural sugars with fiber and vegetables that help our body to fight inflammation.

This anti-inflammation juice recipe from Blender Girl is one of my current favorites for my pre-workout drink. It’s the perfect combination of greens, a little zest from the ginger and just the right amount of sweet.

 

  • 1 pear, cored
  • 1 green apple, cored
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1/2 lemon, peeled
  • 2 1/2 cups romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1-inch knob ginger root, plus more to taste

Try to purchase organic produce if possible. This way you can get the extra fiber from the skin being left on. If they are not organic, make sure to peel your vegetables and fruit.

 

Directions:

Wash all items before juicing and enjoy immediately to get the most nutrition out of the juice.

 

 

For post workout, I love juices that are packed with tons of vitamins and minerals to re-fuel my body from the stress that has been placed on my system.

Things like celery hearts are amazing for reducing post workout inflammation and beets have nitrates to help bring more oxygen to the blood aiding in quicker recovery.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 large organic beet peeled and quartered
  • 2 organic celery hearts – rinsed with ends cut
  • 2 organic romaine lettuce hearts
  • 8 organic carrots

Spring & Summer Style With IRIS

In this season of our life, we are constantly in transition. One week it’s potty training, the next week we’re planning “scientist of the day” projects and then on top of it all, organizing summer sports to keep the energy levels of three children at bay.  I feel like in these transition seasons it’s so easy to forget about our personal style and what really makes us unique. The transition into Motherhood, I feel, can often leave us desperately trying to find our footing in many areas of life, including our own personal style. Let’s be honest, there are days we need to succumb to the milk stained t-shirts and over-sized sweats. But there are also days we just want to feel human again and long for the countless hours of freedom we once had to shave both legs and actually plan what to wear.

Along the rather bumpy road of Motherhood, I have come up with little tricks to help me hold onto myself, my love for fashion and ways to find just the right amount of detail to add to my Mom-style.

 The hats I wear constantly change, from Mother, to Personal Trainer, to wife, friend, coach….Janitor…I know I’m not alone in this, and many other women can relate to the ever changing roles we play in our day.

Little things like adding a few sunglass styles to your spring/summer wardrobe help to not only protect your eyes, but can also add the perfect detail to update your Spring/Summer look.

For me, throwing on the perfect pair of sunglasses helps me feel confident, whether I’m sporting tired Mom eyes from a long night with the kids or needing a last minute detail before heading out for date night or a drink with friends.

IRIS offers a large variety of brands and styles and I love experimenting with new looks. I’m a classic old school aviator lover, but recently have started adding some new styles to my Spring / Summer looks.  The new Coach HC7078 and Maui Jim Wiki Wiki are currently two of my favorite styles and the perfect transition accessory as I move through my day

Need a little Spring/Summer update? Check out the current IRIS line here or head into your local IRIS store.

 

Staying Active And Raising Children

One of the most common questions I get asked is how to stay active while raising young children. For many moms and dads, childcare, gym memberships, even 5 minutes alone can feel unattainable. So how do we put time and energy into our health, goals and mental stability when life seems unstable? How do you show up for yourself when you have little ones who you always seem to show up for first?

As parents, we live in the tension of what is best for me, and what is best for my family, and often time we think we need to choose one over the other. My hope is that these next few thoughts give you some ideas on how to include your kids in your fitness journey, which I believe with all my heart, will make you a better version of you and a better parent as well. These are some things that have helped me along the way. Some may resonate with you, other idea may not work. The goal is to share openly and honestly the journey with each other,  so we all grow and feel supported along the way.

1) Get the kids involved with your goals.

They don’t need to love it, they don’t even need to like it, and they may even fight you on it for a period of time. Change is hard for kids to adjust to especially when it comes to boundaries around our time with them. One of the things that has worked for me is getting the kids involved with my plan for the day. If I know I’m going to have to get a workout in with them, I explain what I’ll be doing, ask them to be a part of it and continually express to them how important it is for Mommy to sweat it out and feel strong. 90% of the time the kids are doing the workout with me for the first 10 minutes and then move on to building Lego right next to me. This didn’t happen overnight, but by consistently communicating my goals with them and how they can help, I’ve seen a positive change in their reaction to my workout times.

2) Start small

Don’t jump into the workout process with kids expecting to get 30 minutes or even 5 minutes in without tears or melt downs. Maybe your kids will rock it, but mine literarily see me move out of the snack prep area of the kitchen or notice I’ve shifted my attention away from them for 2 minutes and someone is clinging to my leg, asking for a snack or tackling a sibling. I focus on small wins. 10 minutes a day has the ability to change your body, improve your health and boost your healthy hormones. In the beginning, I would celebrate 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes during nap time (add it together and its 10) Anything above 10 minutes is a bonus!

3) Make it fun.

I have “my” workout music and I have “mommy” workout music. “My” workout music typically consists of heavy rap (it really helps me work through that last set haha) and my “Mommy” playlists consists of happy songs to get the kids involved and excited to move their bodies in any possible way that will make time for me to get one more set of push-ups in. They love to pick the songs and I find that by allowing them to help me plan my workout programs they feel ownership and excitement over what I’m doing in my workouts.

4) Celebrate together.

Hitting a new personal best in my workout or running faster than I have before gets me so pumped up, and I want my kids to understand and feel the excitement of these achievement. Because of this, our family is constantly celebrating together!  Whether it’s trying a new donut place, hitting up a new climbing gym or planning a special movie night, when I hit my goals it’s an achievement for the whole Doell team. This has taught our kids that being strong and healthy can be fun, exciting and rewarding.

 

I hope these few thoughts spark some of your own ideas that you can implement in your own house. And if you just pulled out your calendar and are trying to find a day that will be good to start some of these things, burn your calendar and start today. No day will every feel like the right day to start, and every day will have its different challenges that make it easy to push this to the next day. Often times the biggest challenge is just overcoming the fear of starting something. Here’s your next step. Put this magazine down, grab your kids, put some music on, and start moving your body!!

 

This workout is one of my favourites to do with the kids. I recommend a fun playlist and an open dance floor.

  • 1 minute high knees
  • 15 push ups
  • 1 minute squats
  • 30 jumping jacks
  • 1 minute jumping lunges
  • 15 triceps dips (on chair or bench)
  • 30 seconds-1 minute burpies
  • Finish with a plank hold for 1 minute
  • (You most likely will end up with a child on your back.)

If you can get all the way through this set, start it all over again for 1-2 more times!

Photography By: Brit Gill

Outfit By: GirlFriend