Finding Fitness: Shannon from Tough Mom Fitness

Hey everyone! I am so excited to bring back my Finding Fitness series after missing last month! Let me introduce you to Shannon from Tough Mom Fitness. I love her story and her focus on showing a healthy lifestyle to her kids!

Looking for some inspiration on your own fitness journey? Then check out Shannon's story on this month's Finding Fitness!

Background: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? I help moms find their fabulous. With short, but efficient, workouts and practical nutrition advice I work with moms so they can reach their goals without sacrificing precious family time. I’m a personal trainer and I’m also certified as a health coach. I’m an aspiring entrepreneur working on starting up a 1-on-1 online coaching business along with partnerships in my local community. On the personal side of things, I was born and raised in western Massachusetts. I married a [now former] Marine and we’ve lived in all corners of the US over the course of the last 10 years. We’re currently living in a small town near Savannah, GA. We have 3 daughters under the age of 8 and a lazy rescue dog. I live for coffee & running and I have a serious sweet tooth. I love reading and being outdoors.

 

How did your fitness journey start? What motivated the change? Along with that, what has kept you interested? After my first daughter was born I found myself carrying 25 extra pounds. I went back and forth with diets and exercise but didn’t stick with anything long enough to see results. That same weight was hanging around after my second daughter was born. By the time she was 2.5 years old I’d had enough with what I saw in the mirror. My husband deployed and I got to work on loving myself and making changes. Of course, he came home from deployment and I got pregnant again! After she was born I got to work losing the baby weight as soon as I was cleared to do so. The biggest thing that keeps me motivated is the love I have for myself. I don’t ever want to be back in that unhealthy spot – not in my mind or in my body. My girls also keep me motivated because they all mimic everything I do. Finally, my desire to enjoy my future with my husband is another motivator.

Finding-Fitness

What has been your biggest challenge in your fitness journey and how have you dealt with it? Three months after our 3rd daughter was born my husband deployed for about 7 months. I was working full time at a non-profit at the time and the kids were 3 months old, 3 years old, and 5 years old. I had to figure out how to reach my fitness goals when my life was in chaos. I did it though. I lost 30lbs through home workouts. I had to get up before the kids to get my workouts in (I still do!). I also learned the importance of meal prep so I could make sure that I was eating right.

 

Have you had any setbacks since starting your fitness journey? If so, how did you deal with them? We’ve moved 3 times in just over 2 years. Each move brings plenty of stress and I’m an emotional eater. With each of the moves I give myself the grace to do what I need to do in order to keep my sanity. Then I get right back on track as soon as I can. Usually I don’t stray far. At this point, eating well and working out are so engrained in my life that I can’t get off track for too long. But by allowing myself grace instead of beating myself up I’m in a much better place mentally.

 

What achievement are you the most proud of? Having the courage to step away from a job I was unhappy in and studying to become a certified personal trainer. That was 14 months ago and there’s no way I could have imagined that at this point we’d be living in another state and I’d be starting my own business. Many positive changes have come from that one decision. Oh wait, can I have 2? Back in November I ran a half marathon. By myself – not in a race – just to prove to myself that I could do it.

 

Outside of the physical, what have been some significant changes brought on by your fitness journey? The shift in my mindset. I’m happier now. I love myself now – flaws and all. I have more energy. I have a positive outlook on life. After going through the changes myself I now talk about the importance of mindset all the time.

Finding-Fitness

What are you working towards now? What are your goals and dreams, fitness-wise? Right now I’m working on building my butt. It’s always been flat so I’m working on giving it some definition! Other than that I’d like to run a half marathon again, but this time in a real race.

 

What does a typical training week look like? I workout 6 days a week. Some days have more training than others. I do resistance/strength training 4 days a week. Usually 1 day focuses on my upper body, 1 day on my lower body, and 2 days on full body. Then 2 days a week I do HIIT workouts. Finally, I run 5 days a week. The mileage varies depending on if the older kids are in school or if they’re riding their bikes with me.

Finding-Fitness

What does an average day of eating look like for you? I start the day with a full bottle of water after my workout. My breakfast is either overnight oats or eggs & veggies of some sort with coffee. I drink a protein shake around mid-morning because we’re usually on the go. Lunch is whatever I’ve prepped for the week. I try to keep it interesting so I change it weekly. In the afternoon I eat Greek yogurt and fruit with my coffee. Dinners vary but always contain a protein + starch + veggie.

 

Do you take any supplements? If so, could you tell us a little about what ones and why? If not, why not? I try to take supplements that add to or enhance what I eat, not replace it. With that said, I take the following supplements. Cranberry pills for recurring UTI issues. Probiotics for gut health. Biotin for hair, skin, and nails. Calcium because I don’t drink milk and want to be sure my intake is adequate.

 

What is your favorite exercise? Your least favorite? Running is my favorite by far. Least favorite would have to be balance exercises because I’m really not good at them.

Finding-Fitness

What do you do if you find your motivation lacking? I remind myself of my “why” – the reason(s) that I’m doing this. I also look to see if I need to switch up my workouts due to boredom or my body adapting.

 

How do you balance fitness with work/life/social/etc? How do you “find the time” to workout? I workout in the morning before anyone else in my house is awake. This not only helps me fit it in, but it helps me start the day with a clear mind. My workouts only take 30 minutes so it’s really not that difficult to fit in. When I run it’s typically only for 30-45 minutes as well. That’s a total of an hour – totally doable. For me, if I’m not exercising and eating right then my life isn’t balanced. I’m a stay at home mom and I’m trying to start a business from home. I give of myself all day long so not taking time for myself isn’t an option.

Finding-Fitness

What are your top 3 tips for someone just starting their fitness journey? I actually have a post that outlines the 5 Steps to Creating Healthy Habits. From this, my top 3 are:

  1. Focus on one change at a time. When we decide that it’s time to change we often want to go all in. That’s absolutely the wrong way to approach it. While it may work for a few weeks you’re really just setting yourself up for failure. Without easing into a new life you’re going to get overwhelmed and burn yourself out.
  2. At the end of each week take a look back at what you did. What worked? What didn’t? What should you keep doing and what should you stop? Did you stress-eat ice cream 3 times this week? Then you should probably find a way to combat stress that doesn’t involve food. By doing this weekly you’re able to stay on top of your habits.
  3. Give yourself a month. Changes don’t happen overnight. We live in a world where everyone wants results yesterday. There is no magic pill or shake to make the weight drop quickly and stay off. Losing weight, getting fit, changing your nutrition…it all takes time. This is supposed to be a lifestyle.

 

Anything else you want to share? I’m most active on Instagram and share a lot on Instagram Stories. I’ve recently started a group on Facebook for like-minded women to gather for support, accountability, and advice. I generally cater to moms but any woman is welcome to join us! We’re just getting started and building the group so if you’re interested you can request to join the Tough Mom Tribe.

Sara here again: Thank you Shannon for sharing your story! I hope you all found it as inspiring as I did!

Shannon Dombkowski helps moms find their fabulous. She’s a certified health coach, personal trainer, wellness educator, mom of 3 girls + one lazy dog, blogger and the girlboss behind Tough Mom Fitness. Her passion is helping moms adopt and sustain a healthy lifestyle by making time for moving and nourishing their bodies while improving their mindset. She shares her tips on her blog and various social media sites. You can follow along on her blog, Instagram, and Facebook.

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links i love 8/26/16

Hey everyone! Happy Friday! Looking for some fun reading for your weekend? Here are some links I love that you may have missed this week!

Enjoy!

Recipes

My Go-to Avocado Toast by Minimalist Baker

Balsamic Chicken Skillet by Budget Bytes

Garlic Grilled Broccoli by Slender Kitchen

Homemade Peanut Butter Protein Bars by Jar Of Lemons

Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas by Gimme Some Oven

One Pot Cauliflower Piccata Pasta by Slender Kitchen

Garlic Basil Barramundi Skillet with Tomato Butter Sauce by Pinch of Yum

Family and Life

How to Deal With Being Overwhemed by A Fresh Start on a Budget – This is a great post! We all get overwhelmed…I know I do. And when you feel that way it can be hard to get anything done, much less everything! I know I can just kinda freeze up. This has some great tips for getting past the overwhelmed feeling and moving forward, plus making sure to take time for self-care. And we all know how important I think self-care is!

Is Wealth Just About Changing Your Mindset by Our Freaking Budget – I love this! And past a certain point, like being unsure if you can afford groceries or bills, I would have to say they are right! Mindset makes such a huge difference!

21 Books I Loved, 5 I Liked and 3 I Wouldn’t Recommend by Design Darling – Great list! I can’t wait to check out some of these! I have my own “new book goal” on my own 101 Things in 1001 Days list and this will help me get there! Plus a few that she read are ones I read for my list too! (Also, this gives me a post idea….maybe do my own book list halfway through or something?)

Things I Know for Sure at 28: Outstanding People, the Comparison Trap and Standards by Eat, Spin, Run, Repeat – I love this! It sounds a lot like the things I learned around that time! It amazes me just how much we learned in our late 20s….makes me excited to see what we learn in our 30s!

Art and DIY

Unique {and Cheap} DIY Fall Decorating Ideas by Re-fabbed – I love fall and I especially love making fall decor! These are some seriously cute ideas and I can’t wait to make a few of them for our home!

Industrial Dog Bowl Feeder Stand by Pretty Handy Girl – This is great. I have wanted to build or buy something like this for a while, but hadn’t seen anything that seemed like it could stand up to Achilles-level slobber (gotta love mastiffs haha!). This one might actually do it!

Health and Fitness

Trying New Fitness Adventures by Gettin’ My Healthy On – Yes! I love trying new things and having been focusing a lot on getting outside of my comfort zone lately. I actually decided just this week that I am FINALLY getting a gym membership and I can’t wait to attend some fitness classes! Plus I have a few other things I want to try too!

Hair and Beauty

Waterfall Braid Tutorial + the Fix for Dry, Damaged Hair by Hair Romance – Yet again another great post from Christina! The waterfall braid is one I love but haven’t tried yet. (I mostly stick to my Dutch and Fishtail Braids) I can’t wait to try after this video! And my curly hair gets dried out so easily, so I will definitely be trying some new products she suggests to see if I can’t get it back to health!

Blogging and Business

How to Design Blog Post Graphics That Convert (With Before + After Examples!) by Melyssa Griffin – Wonderful post! This is something I struggle with, so I am definitely going to be trying out her tips!

That’s it for the links I love this week! Did you have something you loved or something you published? I would love to check it out, so please leave a link below!

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sunday meal prep 8/21/16

Hey everyone! I hope you all are having a lovely weekend! I have had a wonderful weekend, with the first ever Iowa BBG Meet-up, an easy meal prep (remember my posts are staggered by one week 🙂 ), a home movie-date with Draz and a lot of time working on my Etsy store!

Over the past few weeks I have been preparing for a weekend where things will be very off-schedule and I don’t know how much time I will have for meal prep. With a little planning though, we will still have awesome healthy food with very little to do that week! This week was the last of my prep for that upcoming week…. I added in some extra snacks and breakfast burritos for the freezer. And you can be sure that my freezer is pretty packed now!

One of the big advantages of meal prep to me is that I’m already thinking ahead to the coming week. So thinking a little farther ahead and looking at weeks that are going to be extra busy fits right in! Now, instead of looking at the coming weekend with stress about  my routine being all crazy and unknown, I know I am prepared. I can just be excited! This is a pretty big change for me, since I am very routine-based. It’s amazing how being organized can actually make you feel more free and flexible! Do you have any things like this that you do?

Anyways, this won’t be the last time you see me doing extra prep for a future event. This one has gone so well that I think I will be doing something similar for an even bigger event I have coming up next month! I will be attending my first blogging conference, so there will be very little time to meal prep all weekend! Plus I’m going to want to have some healthy food options to take with me for snacks and such, so that will be added in too. I’m so excited!

But now, on to this week’s meal prep! Enjoy!

How to use meal prep to plan ahead - Eat healthy, tasty food all week, You can even add in a bit extra to freeze for those future busy week's too!

For the snacks and treats, I tried a couple new recipes this week. Double Chocolate Dairy-free Ice Cream is a “nice” cream with only four ingredients! It was super easy to make! While Draz and I both say that this doesn’t taste like ice cream to us, we both thought it was pretty tasty! I will definitely be making it again 🙂 It’s a nice dessert that’s still healthy! Plus the fact that it’s made out of things that we always have on hand. (I have SO MANY bananas in the freezer!)protein-balls-sweet-potato-banana-bites-chocolate-nice-cream

The other new recipe was No Bake Maple Vanilla Latte Protein Balls, with a few small changes. I used whole wheat flour instead of almond meal and our protein powder is chocolate, not vanilla. I did add in the vanilla essence that was suggested as optional in the recipe as well. You might be shocked, but I think these might actually replace the Cookie Dough Protein Balls as our favorites! Draz seems to really like them and I love them!chocolate-nice-cream-protein-balls-mini-banana-muffins

Of course, I had to make up our favorites too! One batch of Cookie Dough Protein Balls, putting around half in the freezer to take out next week. Some Sweet Potato Banana Bites for me and I gotta tell you, I am loving the new change I made to this recipe! I was originally adding in Special Dark Chocolate Chips into the mix right before spooning it into the muffin tins. The last couple times I have been taking a square of unsweetened baking chocolate and chopping it up and adding that in instead. It’s not a huge change, but it has made a noticeable difference and I really like it!breakfast-burritos-grapes-cheese-mason-jar-salads

Our salads were pretty much our basic this week, though I did add a few cherry tomatoes into each of mine 🙂 They are tasty! Another two weeks of breakfast burritos and my grapes and cheese for the week were the same as always and just as tasty as ever!healthy-meal-prep-main-dishes

For our main dishes, I tried to keep things pretty basic this week, but I did try one new recipe: Butter Chicken Curry! I have to say, I loved this mild and saucy curry! I picked up some garlic naan to go with it and it was delicious! This will definitely be made again! That being said, we are still on the search for our favorite curry recipe. Draz like this one, but it wasn’t his favorite so far. Any suggestions?

Our other dishes were repeats for us: Thai Peanut Chicken Pasta (anyone surprised? :-p) and Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls. Both turned out wonderful! I did use some extra turkey in the Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls, just based on how the packages were weighed out. I really like how the Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls turned out, though I think I will try to spice it up a bit more next time.

So that’s it for this week! Do you have any events coming up soon where some meal prep in advance could make things easier? Have you ever tried that before? I love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

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links i love 8/12/16

Happy Friday! I hope you are all having a wonderful week. Things have been a little off here, but are getting back on track now. I had a pretty bad headache for a few days, so I haven’t been working out much this week or getting as much done as I would like. But my head is doing better and I’m getting back to normal productivity! No workout today, but hopefully tomorrow that will be back on track too!

Anyways, I found some links I love this week for your weekend reading pleasure! Enjoy!Read More

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links i love 7/22/16

Hey everyone! I hope you are all having a wonderful Friday! It’s been a pretty busy week here, but in the best way possible! I hope your week went well too! I’ve got some great links for you to enjoy over your weekend, so we will get right to it! Enjoy!

seen-in-iowa
My favorite picture from this week! I saw this while I was on my bike ride yesterday and just loved it!

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links i love

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic week! 🙂

In case you missed them, here are some awesome posts that went out this week!

To start off, I’m doing things a little different this week. There are two posts that I think you should really read. The #BlackLivesMatter movement, the recent murders of black men by police, the murders of police officers themselves; they all need to be thought about. This needs to be discussed. I have a lot of great articles for you this week, but I think these two are the most important. Please read them. Think about these matters and discuss them with others. The violence and hate needs to end.

What You Should Know About St. Paul Right Now by Pinch of Yum – The last few weeks our news and media outlets have been filled with grief, confusion, anger and fear, just to name a few emotions. The murders of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the 5 police officers in Dallas has had many of us rightfully upset. This post talks about being at the intersection where Philandro was killed and the people that are gathering there. Most importantly, this post talks about the LOVE and PEACE that is being displayed and shared at that intersection. We should be upset by these deaths. That does not mean that we should hate. I love that this truth is being shared there, and that Lindsay has shared it with us.

Use Your White Privilege to End Your White Privilege by Uncustomary – Yes. Just Yes. Everything about this. White privilege exists. I am a white woman who grew up middle-class in a mostly white town. I went to a mostly white school (excluding one year in high school). I don’t know that I would have understood the reality of white privilege when I was younger. That being said, I understand it now. Let’s put an end to white privilege.Read More

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links I love 7/8/16

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all had a great week! I know I did! It was a kind of busy and weird week here…my focus felt really off, so I switched things up a bit when it comes to what things I was working on. That seemed to help at least! One exciting thing for me is that my back issues seem to be under control for now, so I’ve been back on my full workout schedule for 2 weeks now! More on that next week. But now to share a few posts that I found this week that I’m loving!

Enjoy!

breakfast-burrito-cinnamon-bread-coffee-cottage-cheese
Completely random for my favorite photo from the week, but I really like how this shot turned out!

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links I love 7/1/16

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic week and have an exciting weekend ahead of you! We don’t have much for weekend plans here, but we did have a fantastic week! As you might have seen, I launched my Etsy store this week! (Want to check it out? Click the “Shop” tab on the top menu!) It’s something I was working on for a long time and I’m so happy to have finally taken that next step! That was most of my focus for the week, but I did have some excitement even outside of that. One of my best friends came to visit, so we got to get some breakfast and go for a hike! She lives out of state, so I only get to see her a couple times a year. We had a great time!

Enjoy!

friends-outdoors-hike
My favorite picture of the week! Tammy and I on our hike together 🙂

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links I love 6/24/16

Happy Friday everyone! Did you have a fantastic week? Any exciting plans for the weekend? I know that I had a MUCH better week this week than last week…not being sick can do that 🙂 After spending 4 days pretty much sleeping and laying around, it feels so good to be up and active again! Plus I have been getting a bunch of things sorted out here for the blog and for the upcoming Etsy store (we are talking in the next week or so people! Just finishing up the last few details.) so I am pretty happy overall. And right now, I’m happy to be sharing the links I love this week with you!

Enjoy!

glass-fusion-pendant-copper-wire-wrapped
My favorite pic of the week! I am so in love with how this new pendant turned out!

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