My New Workout Partner {I Had a Baby!}

It’s been a very long time since my last post, but all for good reasons. I’d found out I was pregnant!

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Me and my little bump (24 weeks)

While I probably *should* have been here on this site documenting my pregnancy month to month, I found myself (as many new moms do) Googling the heck out of anything and everything prenatal and baby related. My nose was buried deep in books about childbirth, and meanwhile I was still teaching my Zumba and barre classes and training clients at the gym. Any leftover time was spent sleeping and lazing around with my big belly. 🙂

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Me and my big bump (39 weeks). The look on my face says it all!

With every intention of working until the minute I went into labor (no, seriously – I had visions of my water breaking as I jumped up and down in front of my Zumba class), I made it to week 37 before I had to take my leave. (The story is long enough to tell in a separate post.) I always knew to expect the unexpected and that anything can happen, but I guess I didn’t think it would *really* happen that way. In fact, because of my family history, I was so sure Little Mook would arrive late.

Ian was born on February 15 – four days before my due date (so we made it to week 39, at least). 6 lbs 7 oz and 20.5″ long. Other than the jaundice we had to take care of a few days after his birth, he is super healthy and just so adorable.

dana mook, baby, personal trainer, charlottesville
At one month old

Life is very different now, to say the least! I’m back at work, but even working part time is a balancing act between taking care of his needs, and taking care of classes and clients at the club. But I am over the moon to have my little boy as well as a wonderful place to work. Everyone at ACAC has been so supportive of me, both during the pregnancy and afterwards. Life is good!

dana mook, personal trainer, charlottesville, acac, prenatal, postpartum, fitness, group exercise, zumba class, barre class
Back at work, 10 weeks postpartum

{P.S. – Pregnancy left me with a LOT to talk about, so I’ll be recapping each trimester and some postpartum stuff in future blog posts. From the physical to the emotional, I’m eager to share my experience in the hopes that it will help other women, too. (At the least, give them a story with which they might identify.)}

See you at the gym!

 

Seven Ways to Do a Wall Squat

I love working the stability ball into a client’s workout. It’s a neat piece of equipment you can use for several purposes, from classic core work, to postural guidance, to stability and balance challenges and more.

Wall squats are a good way to strengthen the back, butt, and legs, and with the stability ball in place, you can also work on posture – holding your spine tall in a neutral pelvic position (drawing the navel in) while pressing the shoulder blades into the ball.

Here are some variations on the wall squat. There are sooo many possibilities – these are just a few. Have a medicine ball handy for upper body work and to add to your body weight during squat holds.


Not included in the video, you can also take a small inflatable ball and put it between the inner thighs to add a new element of stability challenge. You can maintain a constant, light squeeze as you squat and hold, or you can actively squeeze (pulsing) as you hold the squat.

Your turn: Which variation will you try? How do you like to work out with the stability ball?

Barre Sequence for Strong + Lean Legs

Becoming a barre is seriously one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. I grew up dancing and although that didn’t translate into a career as a pro dancer, that didn’t stop me from keeping it in my life.

dana mook, barre instructor, personal trainer, charlottesville virginia
Barre side kick – see the sequence below for this and more moves…

Besides the joy of dancing, barre has done wonders to help strengthen and shape my body. Those tricky areas (saddlebags, inner thighs, the booty) have all strengthened and trimmed down since I began taking (and eventually teaching) the classes.

Notice I use the word “strengthen” a lot – it’s because I want to set the right expectations here. Many people assume or have been told that exercises that target a certain muscle will burn the fat at that area, which is not exactly true. Everyone’s body is unique, and your body will decide where to lose fat first. That being said, building muscle in your “target” areas will help your metabolism along so that fat will burn more easily. So, strength workouts are important – incorporate them into your weekly routine!

Barre is great low-impact method that uses a fusion of ballet, pilates, and yoga moves to strengthen your body, as well as to improve posture and add flexibility. Check out this four-move sequence below to get a taste of what barre is about. Click on the picture to start the video. You can try this sequence at home with a chair or using the wall. Or better yet, try my class at ACAC Albemarle Square! Every Tuesday at 9:20 am.

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