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Review: JCORE’s 20 minutes 4-day a week workout series, perfect for getting body back after baby

If you just had a baby or are getting ready to, among many other anxieties you may be facing, are worries about getting your body back into pre-pregnancy shape. Considering you will have to care for your baby, perhaps another child in your home, breastfeed and possibly return to work, squeezing in a work out or a trip to the gym may be a tremendous challenge. 
The answer to your woes may be the JCORE Accelerated Body Transformation DVD series. For 20 minutes a day, 4 times a week and only 40 days, celebrity fitness professional and trainer Jay Cardiello promises to help you get your body back in shape. 
The name CORE is key as that is the area women, and especially new mothers need most help in tightening back up: abdominals, buttocks, thighs and hips. 
The system starts with a fit test that you take in the beginning of the program, periodically during the 40 days and at the end. The other five DVDs include a couple that are cardio-focused (Fire Fit and RevUp), one that is all about strength (Cardio Core), a supercharged core challenging one (Hard Core), and a stretch and toning one (Release).
I was super excited to be sent a sample series to test out and so far have been enjoying the experience. My husband and I have gone through a couple series of the Insanity and P90X sets so we could compare. The other two are very popular series but both require a lot of time commitment as each DVD runs from 38 minutes to nearly an hour so we can appreciate JCORE’s 20 minutes per day program.
We do it before getting the kids ready for school and heading out to work. It’s the perfect amount of time and the exercises are concise, focused and efficient to get you max results in the shortest amount of time possible. When you are done each DVD, you feel your muscles are tighter and more toned and you feel like you’ve had a good work out even though it was only for 20 minutes. 
We noticed that recently those other two brands have hopped on the bandwagon and have also offered condensed much shorter versions of their exercise programs.
JCORE is also perfect not just for new moms who have to take it slow in the beginning and essentially may be starting over, it is also ideal for those, like my husband, who have had knee surgery or who suffer with back problems.  There isn’t too much trauma and stress exercises that are tough on the knee as with Insanity. There is no need for weights or a pull up bar or bands or anything extra like with P90X.
success stories from the JCORE website
Just a 4×4 space and that’s it. 
Because each move is concise and requires minimum amount of space, the JCORE DVD series is THE BEST to take on the road if you are on the road often, have to travel often for work and will be confined to a small hotel rooms. And the fact that each DVD is under 20 minutes is perfect in that you can get in a good work out before having to shower for the conference or a morning meeting. 
I also appreciated the fact that the series only requires a 4-day commitment each week. When doing other systems, you essentially end up foregoing any other exercise you may enjoy doing because of the time commitment and/or the daily workouts take so much out of you  that you cannot do anything else. With JCORE you have a couple free days to run, swim, bike, take a ZUMBA class or kickboxing class and get to keep up with your fave exercise. 
Also, some people just don’t feel complete unless they’ve worked out for 45 minutes to an hour or more daily even though you don’t need to under the JCORE system. Nonetheless, a 20 minute workout ensures that even in those days you have to work late, attend an event at the kids’ school, if you miss  your longer workout for the day, you know you would have at least gotten something in if you started the day with JCORE.
The names Jay has for different exercises like “Charlie’s Angels”, “Leaning Tower of Pisa” and “Hip Hop” put a smile on my face and the studio space featured in the DVDs is comforting to look at. The dark basement that Tony Horton has his folks in can get intimidating and just seems so manly and rugged. The big ole gym in Shawn T’s space looks overwhelming at times and there’s just too many people in the background distracting the eye. Lighting and set design really do matter. 
I really am inspired by the super fit and toned women and men that back up Jay. They look pleasant but also show and share how they are being challenged through each exercise.
A Before After photo from the JCORE Facebook page
And that’s another thing, it’s also super cool that each of the different exercises in each DVD is only for 20 to 30 seconds tops. We don’t count reps unless for the fit test DVD.  You can do anything for that short amount of time, but even if you can’t hold on as is common when first starting out, it’s okay to stop and get back into it. There is also one back up exerciser there doing an easier and modified version of the work out for beginners.  
It’s a type of program that the entire family can do. As all of my kids, ages 6 to 11, have started their school track team this Spring, I’ve had a couple of them join me doing the DVDs a few times to add some conditioning to their weekly runs. They  have fun joining mom. 
The system is malleable for kids to join in too
I have not yet completed the 40 days, but I do notice I am  getting toner. I imagine as with any exercise regimen, if you are doing it daily, you should see some semblance of results so long as you are sticking with a sensible diet. The JCORE system includes a diet plan and menu options which if followed should help amplify the results of a 20 minutes alone daily work out. 
I am looking forward to seeing my results when I am done but overall would highly recommend you new moms especially consider adding this system to your exercise DVD library. At $79.99 it could be more effective than paying for a few months of gym membership and would be half the cost. 
Get the upgraded complete system which includes recovery drink, a meal plan and more for $141 at   JCOREBODY.com or the DVD Box set alone.  You can also order it from our partners at  AMAZON.COM or today, mamas! 
Good luck and have fun toning up and trimming down!

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5 Steps to a Fresh, Updated and Chic Maternity Wardrobe

Pregnant women often face challenges in dressing their bump.  Some also have difficulty mixing up their

maternity basics so they are trendy or at least look like their putting in some

effort to not look frumpy.
Fortunately, the maternity wear fashion industry has come a

long way from just a few years ago when there weren’t that many fashionable

options available for moms-to-be.  These

days, many maternity-only wear designers exist and traditional women’s wear

designers and lines are expanding  to

accommodate “the preginistas” among us, and offering their looks in maternity

as well.
It’s not wise, especially if you are on a budget, to splurge

on an expansive maternity wear budget for 9 months. Most pregnant women will

only be pregnant for 3 seasons and it can get easy. There is a simple and less

costly alternative to going overboard and getting carried away.
 Here are 5 steps to keeping

your maternity wardrobe fresh, updated and chic:
Step 1: Start with a basic maternity wardrobe, which usually

should consist of: a. A white collared maternity shirt; b. A pair of yoga

pants; 3. A pair of maternity leggings; 4. A Belted cardigan; 5. Maternity Ts

in long and short sleeves variety and in an assortment of basic solid basic

colors (red, pink, black, blue, pink, yellow); A Black wrap dress (in a variety

of styles); and a pair of comfortable boots, Maryjanes  pumps, or low-heeled platforms ( in a half

size larger to accommodate any growth in shoe size due to swelling or bloat.)
Step 2: Add spunk by accessorizing the basic palette with

playful scarves in bright colors and with geometric patterns and shapes.  Scarves can brighten up your look and mood.
Step 3:  Get trendy by

wearing big chunky rings or statement necklaces to add some wow factor to the

look. Use a corded belt to tie loosely below the breastbone to create and easy

and carefree Empire waist look.  Don

bangles or other ornamental bracelets. Go bold with hoops or super long

double-strand pearls to accentuate the look.
 Wear some cool

aviators, Jackie-O or other fun shades in tortoise shells or another funky

color or design. Or if you are bold, go with a fedora, a newsboy cap, a floppy

hat or a Bohemian knitted cap.
Step 4: Carry a whimsical, structured or colorful tote or

shopper’s style bag that is big enough to hold all your stuff and is useful

when you don’t feel comfortable experimenting in color, patterns and designs. A

monogram clutch or a handbag with brass handles or zippers would work to take a

work look, after -5 or for date-night.
Step 5:  Do the Maryjanes

or comfortable pumps for work, but after five slip on some care-free gladiators

sandals, strappy -low heels with ankle wraps or colorful wedges or espadrilles

in warmer months or climates. In colder temps, go with booties, UGGs like or

wedged boots.
These style tips should last the entire 9 months and help you look fresh, updated and dazzling for the entire 40 weeks. 

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How to prevent varicose veins during pregnancy

Guest Post
Whether it’s your first or your third, pregnancy is an

exciting time for you and your family. There are a lot of changes going on in

your body to prepare it for the delivery of new life. As part of this, your

body has an increased amount of blood flow, which is why you have a higher

chance of developing varicose veins during pregnancy.
However, there are a few things that you can do to prevent

varicose veins during pregnancy:
1. Create healthy

Healthy habits help to prevent varicose veins, and promote

good health all around for you and your baby. Make sure you are eating a

balanced diet with substantial vitamin C, as it helps promote good blood flow.
In addition, exercise each day. Cycling, swimming and

walking are low-impact exercises that help move blood through your veins.
2. Invest in

compression socks.
Compression socks provide constriction to your legs, where

varicose veins are most likely to develop. This tight fit can help to promote

blood flow to prevent blood from pooling in your veins, which causes varicose

veins to form.
3. Dress smart.
While compression socks are recommended, other tight-fitting

clothing is not. Instead, make sure you are wearing loose-fitting apparel.

Wearing high heels while you are pregnant is also not recommended, as it can

result in circulation issues. Avoiding both of these types of clothing will

make you and baby more comfortable during your nine months.
4. Pay attention to

your legs.
Whether you stand or sit for a long period of time, it can

have the same effect on your legs. A stagnant position can lead to blood

pooling in your veins. Make sure you are moving around throughout the day and

spending time elevating your legs as well. Propping your legs on a chair or

stool can help to promote good circulation. Add ankle flexes for extra blood

flow benefits.
5. Avoid heavy

Lifting heavy objects while you are pregnant can be

challenging, resulting in straining. This straining can increase vein

visibility and your chance of forming varicose veins.
After pregnancy, the appearance of varicose veins may

diminish. However, you may want to consider consulting a medical professional

for treatment. There are several treatment options available and a doctor can

help you determine what works best for you. If varicose veins are left

untreated, they can lead to health complications that can be life threatening.

Dr. Yan Katsnelson has more than 20 years of experience in

surgical treatment of cardiovascular diseases and currently practices at
USA Vein

. He specializes in non-surgical treatment of vein disease to

improve and enhance the lives of his patients.

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Review: Get in Pre-Pregnancy Shape and a Dancer’s Body with Ballet Body DVD series

As most people know, the abdominal area is the area of a woman’s body that is THE hardest to return to pre-pregnancy shape. A lot of women suffer from a condition called distastes recti when pregnant which involves a separation of the two segments of the abdominal muscle area as the uterus grows.

Ideally, the abdomnial wall would stay intact and the uterus would grow behind it. Women who have this effect have an even tougher time at getting their tummy back in tip top shape.

I had it and each time I was pregnant I was I could always rely on Pilates to help me get my body back into shape to counter the effects of this condition. Pilates and Ballet are great because they are low-impact yet focus on strengthening one’s core, which includes the abdominal muscles. 
I swear by these exercise formats to  help develop a strong core area, to tone the total body, but especially to help shape and tighten the hips, buttocks and arms (aka the problem areas).

After getting the okay from their doctors, new moms should make sure they include cardio in their post-pregnancy routine, but they should also definitely include strength and core conditioning. They are a must.

This winter, I was offered to test out the Ballet Body series: The Ballet Body Lower Body ($16.99); Ballet Body Upper Body ($16.99); and Ballet Body Core ($16.99) DVD, which is distributed by Acacia Media group, which sells other popular exercise DVDs. 
Oh my! The bomb! Do people still use that term? Amazon.com Widgets
I must say the exercises are rigorous though fitness professional Leah Sarago who designed and stars in each DVD shows viewers plenty of adjustments for their skill level: beginner or intermediate. I could ascertain from going through each of the 40-55 minute DVD in the series that they were well planned and designed to work and tone every muscle in the body. The Ballet Body series is a perfect blend of core and other exercises for the serious woman looking to get fit and toned this summer. 
I have reviewed several different exercise DVDs and programs from dozens of instructors over that past decade, starting from those that came on VHS tapes, and I do believe that Sarago’s is among the top and best in this genre.  
If you stick to it, combine it with a healthy eating regimen, and actually do the DVDs  periodically for a continuous period of time, you are almost guaranteed to see weight melt off, and inches disappear, with muscle replacing fat.

Buy the DVDs or series on Sarago’s website where you can also get digital downloads in lieu of a DVD.

If you do decide to test it out based on my recommendation, I am eager to learn how it works out for you and would appreciate getting a line back at JJ (at) bellyitchblog.com!
Good luck, new moms! Get that body in shape!

Enjoy this sample of the work out for a segment Sarago starred in:

 NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather

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National Wear Red Day is Tomorrow – Tips for Managing Stress & fighting Heart Disease in Women

Tomorrow, Friday, February 7   Go Red for Women  to show your support to fight Heart Disease, the No. 1 killer of women in the United States which claims more lives than all forms of cancer. Recent studies also found that cardiac disease in pregnancy is becoming more common.
For over 10 years, the American Heart Association has sponsored National Wear Red Day® to raise awareness in the fight against heart disease in women.
Practically speaking, you can support by educating yourself and your female friends and loved ones on how to stay heart healthy.
There are 4 simple things you can do to improve your chances of living a healthy life and avoiding heart disease:  1) Quit smoking,  2) Get Consistent exercise,  3) Manage your Stress and Eat healthier including more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, poultry, fish and nuts,  and avoiding red meat, as well as sugary and processed foods and foods that are high in sodium.
40 Red dresses under $100

The Go Red website offers tips for managing stress:

Think ahead

Practicing effective time management is key to lessening stress in the workplace. Jacobs recommends starting projects far ahead of deadlines to guard against scrambling at the last second. Take note of how long tasks or projects take you to complete so you can best manage your own expectations and those of your colleagues. Avoid the stress of being late to meetings by setting your watch five to 10 minutes ahead.

Focus on one thing at a time

Instead of trying to deal with everything at once—answer emails, make calls, organize your desk, finish a report—focus on accomplishing one thing at a time. For example, answer emails for an allotted amount of time, then stop and focus on something else, like the report you need to finish. This helps minimize stress by allowing you to focus on the objective at hand instead of feeling scattered.

Take a break

“We all need to build in rest periods during the day,” Jacobs says. “Working through lunch is a terrible way of managing stress. Try taking 30 to 60 minutes to step away from your desk and decompress. You will come back with a sense of replenishment.”

Adjust your expectations

While it is important to challenge yourself at work, taking on more than you can handle can create a tremendous amount of stress.

“If you have no chance of meeting expectations in the workplace, it can cause feelings of demoralization,” Jacobs says. “Find ways to decrease the demands made upon your self, if that means being less self critical or having a frank conversation with your superior about adjusting your workload.”

Use emergency stress stoppers

Emergency stress stoppers help you deal with stress on the spot. These can be extremely effective in the work environment when you’ve got a lot on your plate, your mind is racing and the stress is mounting. You may need different stress stoppers for different situations and sometimes it helps to combine them.

  • Count to 10 before you speak.
  • Take three to five deep breaths.
  • Ask for time to handle a stressful situation, so you can accomplish it to your liking and on your terms.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Don’t be afraid to say, “I’m sorry,” if you make a mistake.

If you shop at Party City stores nationwide, from  February 2nd through March 1, 2014, it will collect $1, $3 and $5 donations from customers in stores with all proceeds raised to be donated to Go Red For Women.

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10 Tips to protect you & your kids from catching the flu

It’ flu season again.

Kids are back in school and susceptible to coming home with a virus they pick up for a classmate. There are things families can do to try to prevent catching the flu. Dr. Muhammad A. Mirza, Medical Director at the Allied Medical & Diagnostic in Clifton, NJ, offers these flu prevention tips for parents and their children.

  1. Wash your hands—The most effective way to prevent the spread of germs and the flu virus is to constantly wash your hands.  For those occasions where you are unable to wash your hands properly keep a bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 70% isopropyl alcohol or 60% ethyl alcohol) nearby. 
  2. Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing—Rather than into your hands, try sneezing into a tissue (if handy) or into the fold of your elbow. 
  3. Avoid frequently touching nose, eyes & mouth—Even with frequent washing, your hands are still covered in germs, so keep them away from the most common germ entrances  of the body. 
  4. Keep surfaces and objects used daily clean—The flu virus can live and be transferred on a variety of surfaces.  So regularly wipe down desks, phones, tablets, doorknobs, counters, light switches, etc.
  5. Eat right—Help your body fight off flu viruses with a well balanced diet filled with fresh fruits, vegetables and foods that are rich in Vitamin-C.
  6. Stay active—Whether it is taking a quick walk or going to the gym, any type of cardio exercise will activate your body’s infection-fighting defenses and stimulate your immune system. 
  7. Sleep—Let your body recover and fight off any germs that may have gotten into your system by getting plenty of sleep.   
  8. Stay hydrated—Drinking fluids, especially water, is a great way to flush out any toxins that may have found their way into your system
  9. Manage stress—Stress can affect your immune system, reducing your body’s ability to fight off the flu virus or other germs.  Find ways to keep your stress low this winter season.   
  10. Get vaccinated—One of the most effective ways to protect yourself from the flu is to get vaccinated.  So save yourself the misery and visit your doctor and get the shot. 

Hope these are helpful. Stay well!

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4 YouTube Maternity Fashion Videos to inspire your Style

Sydney – The Day Book Blog
Looking for some inspiration on how to dress your bump? YouTube offers wonderful short tutorials and fashion look book, styling tips and more. Here are four videos curated just for you to inspire you this Winter. Happy Styling !
First up, Keisha J from Glam Everything styled one cardigan four ways and shows you how to remix one piece for maximum usage
Cardigan Empire shows how to dress your bump without buying maternity clothes.
This Not Maternity, but the very fashionable The Chic Naturale has THE best video look books and tutorials and in this one, she showcases hot winter 2014 trends, some of which are accessories and can actually be worn by a pregnant woman.
Finally, Cardigan Empire shares some top  maternity brands to explore:

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