5 Tips for Back Pain Relief


Did you know that back pain affects sixty to eighty percent of Americans at some point in their life! Life as a mom has back pain written all over it – pregnancy, breastfeeding, carrying wiggly kids and lots of stuff, picking up toys, limited time to workout, etc.

It can be lessened by strengthening your deep core muscles, improving posture and staying active throughout your day! Here are 5 tips that could help you prevent and aid in getting rid of that annoying lower back pain:


1. Move!  Overall strengthening can promote improvements in functional movements. If work requires you to be seated for the majority of the day, plan small breaks to go for a brief walk. Stretch out those stiff muscles and keep moving! Try this back extension exercise to strengthen your low back muscles.


 Back Extension Exercise:

{this is NOT a pregnancy exercise, if you are currently pregnant try this exercise instead}

Step One: Lay on your stomach on a stability ball with your elbows bent and hands placed gently behind your ears.

Step Two: While drawing your abdominals in and upward, engaging your core muscles, contract your low back muscles and glutes to extend your spine, lifting your torso off the ball.

Step Three: Hold for 3 seconds and gently return to start. Repeat 12-20 repetitions.


2. Foam Rolling – Try this wiggle stretch {a favorite among my clients pregnant and not} to help release tension around your sacrum and low back. If you don’t have a foam roller handy be sure to read tip #3!


3. Gluteal Release with Tennis Ball  – Grab a tennis ball and place it in your upper glute area and slowly roll around on the ball. This is a form of self-myofascial release that you can do on your own to target specific trigger points that are holding tension in the muscle. When released can help relieve back pain.{as long as this feels good for you, you can do this release exercise during pregnancy}




4. Epsom Salt Bath  {I recommend to AVOID warm/hot baths during pregnancy} However when you aren’t preggers enjoy an epsom salt bath at the end of the day. They help the body feel calm, allow the muscles to relax and will get you ready to go straight to bed! {Add about 1 cup of epsom salts to a warm bath}


5. Improve Posture! Improving your posture is a tiny tweak that can lead to big changes – say bye-bye low back pain. Correct posture is very important in order to have a healthy spine and an absolute MUST during pregnancy too! Remind yourself throughout the day to stand up tall lifting through the top of your head with your core engaged, relax your shoulders, and breathe deeply- remember to “show your heart”!



Thanks Kim for her wonderful testimonial:

BIG thank you to Erica for all of her tips and tricks on back pain relief. I pinched a nerve in my back and while my own home remedy’s were making my situation worse, I finally turned to her Healthy Lifestyle for the Busy Mom Program and her foam rolling videos and INSTANTLY started to feel relief from all of her recommendations. I could even stand up straight without pain the very next morning! Thanks Erica!”

~Kim F. {busy working mom}

Give these powerful tips a try if you are experiencing that annoying low back pain. Be sure to discuss with your physician prior to beginning any exercise program or new exercises. And always listen to your body!


Sex After Baby: Real Moms Talk!


Just when you thought your body could go back to normal, you realize your postpartum hormones have something different planned! Sex after baby can be a big change for you and your partner. Even when you finally find the time and feel physically ready, your body might not get the message– so we asked 200 moms about their postpartum sex lives, and they shared it all!

Depending on your delivery experience, you could be ready to resume sex sooner (or later) than you had expected, which can be confusing for new moms. Often, postpartum hormonal changes can affect your sex drive, and even your physical ability to enjoy sex, but rest assured, this can be normal– especially if you had a traumatic delivery or required a c-section. Health experts agree that issues like pain, dryness, emotional or physical discomfort, and even feelings of anxiety about sex after baby can be completely normal, and should be addressed with your doctor, and your partner, to help you safely overcome these challenges. Additionally, many moms feel great shortly after delivery, and if that’s you– just be sure your doctor confirms you’re all healed to reduce your risk of complications.
To show you just how different postpartum sex is for each individual, here are a few things real moms had to say about sex after baby!
“After having two babies back-to-back, my sex drive has disappeared. I mentioned it to my midwife and she says its normal and due to hormones — mother nature’s birth control!”


“I had a pretty traumatic delivery and it took a few months to heal totally, then I had a lot of anxiety about sex being painful. After talking it out and having my doctor check everything, I’m slowly starting to enjoy sex again.”

“We had sex 5 weeks after I had our first, and 3 weeks after our second and it was great! Our sex life surprisingly got better after having our second (I had a low lying placenta and wasn’t allowed to have sex from 15-34 weeks).”

“Once I healed well enough from giving birth, my sex drive is back and better than ever!”

“I had ZERO sex drive my entire pregnancy! We started trying again around 5 weeks, and it was kind of painful but the more i did it the better it got. Now I think my sex drive is even better then it was pre-pregnancy.”

“I had a pretty quick delivery with very little tearing (no stitches). I felt great after my postpartum check-up and was ready to have sex… when we can find the time.”

Whether you’re ready to jump back into your sex life soon after delivery, or it takes you several weeks to feel ready– remember it’s most important that you feel comfortable, your doctor says you’re physically healed, and you listen to your body!

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May Mama’s Giveaway!



It’s May and that means Mother’s Day and Pregnancy Awareness Month. So I thought it time to do a BIG giveaway! These products are some of my favorites and I know you will love them too!


Cake Lingerie – Orange Zest Sports Bra {$79.90} & Black Cotton Candy Luxury Seamless Bra + Matching Brief {$49.90, $24.90}
Cake Lingerie finds the feminine in you within the practical world of pregnancy and breastfeeding. From our flexible wire bras that mold perfectly to your changing body, to technically constructed soft cups and seamless transition bras, each piece is as intricately unique as the different stages of your changing body.

Aden + Anais – Bamboo Daydream Blanket {$149.95}
A luxurious blanket that is perfect for adults, our classic daydream blanket is made of four layers of 100% cotton muslin and love. Cozy up with the daydream blanket during quiet nights at home or use as an added home accent.

Me2Roo – Scarlet Waterfall Wrap & Piper Capri Leggings {$48.00, $62.00}
Me2Roo presents a collection of effortlessly chic and stylish activewear designed to transition and embrace the body through all stages of pregnancy. Me2Roo’s clothing line aims to inspire women who exercise to feel positive about themselves and the changes their bodies experience before, during and after pregnancy.

Bikini Mama’s Maternity Swimwear – Pink Pushup Nursing Top + Matching Bikini Bottoms {$79.99, $29.99}
At Bikini Mama’s, our goal is to design and manufacture a line of sexy-looking, durable swimsuits, incorporating the latest styles, colors and patterns.  We also ensure that our swimwear is comfortable to wear, easy to use and take care of, and provides your body optimum support, during and after pregnancy.

Knocked-Up Fitness – Pre/Postnatal Fitness Program {$79.00}  Includes Prenatal 2 DVD set, After Baby 2 DVD set and The Knocked-Up Fitness Guide to Pregnancy Book. Knocked-Up Fitness is designed to be an effective and fun way for expecting moms to stay active and in shape throughout pregnancy. The best time to start getting your body back after baby is during pregnancy with exercises that are designed to create strong deep core muscles that will leave you feeling strong during and after pregnancy.

The Twistband – Hello Specialty Pack + Anchor Specialty Pack + The Perfect Little Dish {$13.00, $13.00, $24.00}
While normal elastic bands tug on hair, cause headaches and can leave dents in your hair when you take it down, the Twistband eliminates these problems. Twistbands are ponybands and headbands made of elastic trim. They stretch to support any hairstyle, yet are slim and sleek enough to wear on your wrist when you want to let your hair down.

Chewbeads – Necklack & Bracelet Set {$50.50}
Most babies love to put all things, good and bad, in their mouths. Inspired by this, Chewbeads aims to create safe, non-toxic teethers and toys that babies and parents can enjoy and feel good about.

Bamboobies – Nursing Pads (Multi-pack 3 pair regular + 1 pair overnight) + Nipple Balm {$29.99, $12.99}
Bamboobies is all about the nursing mom – along with Bamboobies unique ultra-soft nursing pads, which don’t show through or leak through like other washable pads, you can protect yourself and your newborn from sore and cracked nipples with a non-toxic, organic nipple balm (that doesn’t need to be washed off before feeding like Lanolin does).

Undercover Mama – Slimming Top {$34.99}
The Undercover Mama attaches to any bra to create a nursing shirt you can wear with anything. The Slim Mama smoothes and shapes your belly, sides and back and gives them coverage you want without constricting your chest or interfering with breastfeeding. Make any shirt, a nursing shirt with Undercover Mama.


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Bump & Beyond Booty Sculpting Workout {Video}


You are going to love my new “Bump & Beyond Booty Sculpting Workout” video! I get requests for more butt exercises all the time and many women feel like they lose their butt or it flattens during and after pregnancy – so stop right now and get your booty moving with over 20 minutes of tightening and toning exercises that you can do throughout your pregnancy, and after baby too. There are also some modifications so be sure to follow those–especially if you are in your 2nd or 3rd trimester and not comfortable on your back.
Now what are you waiting for – get moving you hot mama!

Click here to get started!

*Always be sure to have your physicians approval to exercise both during pregnancy and again after baby*



Keep up that awesome hard work and it is ok to take time out for yourself to take care of “you”!



Julia’s Birth Story: Welcome Baby Ezra!

Ezra was evicted January 14th, 2014 and much like my first 2 sons, it was a pretty relaxed and easy delivery. I say evicted because at 39 weeks and 2 days I went in for a scheduled induction, out of fear of having a jumbo baby. They were concerned that he would be too large to labor naturally.
When I went to my midwife a week prior with contractions, we agreed that if by that time next week he hadn’t come on his own we would politely ask him to leave. Sure enough, despite contracting all week, by Tuesday the 14th at 7:30am he was still snug as a bug in a rug!
At 10 am they started me on Pitocin, by 1pm I hadn’t made much progress and was still terribly comfortable so they broke my water. Oh and terribly hungry at this point, I mean if I’m gonna drink my lunch I’d prefer it be a smoothie not beef broth and lime jello.YUCK! I didn’t start having contractions that were uncomfortable until around 5pm at that point I was still only 4-5cm dilated. Thanks to all the prenatal exercise I was able to be up and walking for most of my delivery, even did a little dancing! I had informed the fabulous nurses and my amazing midwife that I usually am really comfortable until about 7cm dilated and then I go from 7-10 FAST! A sure sign I’m in transition is I throw up, once that happens we have about 15 mins until go time. And sure enough at around 7:45 I puked and informed my husband it was time for me to get in the bed and he to go get some nurses.
The next 25 mins was a bit of a blur. When the midwife came to check me, baby was already in the birth canal and ready to roll. And roll he did, he came so quickly that I had to call for someone to come catch him, cause he was coming whether I pushed or not! I am so glad I had been squatting and stretching because with not so much as a Tylenol and minimal effort out came an 8lb 12oz handsome little man. Seriously I mean he is so handsome, its stupid.
He just turned 3 weeks today and is a happy, healthy, chunky baby. His brothers love him and always want to help. I’m feeling really good and itching to start working out again!

Don’t forget to sign up for the Knocked-Up Fitness Newsletter to stay updated!

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7 Tips for Effective After-Baby Exercise


Giving your body time to heal after pregnancy and delivery is a key part of achieving your postpartum fitness goals.  By starting out slowly and listening to your body, you can effectively progress into an exercise routine that gets you the results you want– starting right after delivery!




1. Start your kegels ASAP– no really, I mean as soon as baby is out!  Working on your pelvic floor muscles is pretty easy, and its imperative to your total-body fitness!

2. Begin light walking if the doctor gives permission.

3. Wait for your postpartum visit (usually 6 weeks) before starting any challenging routine. Your body needs time to heal safely!

4. Avoid crunches until at least 8 to 10 weeks (longer if you had a C-section) & be sure to check for abdominal separation (Diastasis Recti) before progressing to more challenging ad exercises but wait until at least 6 to 10 weeks postpartum before you check.



5. Avoid over stretching! Just like during pregnancy, in the weeks following delivery the relaxin hormone may stay present for around 8 weeks postpartum, this makes you more susceptible to injury and can actually further postpone your ability to intensify your exercise routine!

6. Avoid inner thigh stretches if you had a vaginal delivery until you feel everything has healed properly ‘down there’. Choosing to wait until your postpartum exam if you experienced a severe tear or had an episiotomy might be ideal, to be sure scar tissue has minimized.

7. Work your way backwards. Start back into strength and cardio training with the level of intensity you were comfortable with towards the end of your pregnancy. After each workout you can guage how much more (or less) your body is ready for at this time. Slowly increase the intensity and duration by listening to your body.

General Postpartum Guidelines:
* Aim to workout 30 minutes most days of the week
* A short workout , even just 10 minutes is better then no workout
* Strength train 2 to 4 times per week. Yes–that includes pilates, yoga and weight training!

* Keep up those healthy habits with The Healthy Lifestyle for the Busy Mom 21-day program.

Here are 2 workouts to get you started!
Pregnancy & Newborn 6 week fitness series: week 1 & week 2

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Julianna’s Birth Story: Welcome Baby Lincoln!


We are so happy to announce that our second little boy, Lincoln, joined mommy, daddy, and big brother Weston on January 10th! He is doing amazing– passing all his check-ups with flying colors, and I’m feeling pretty much back to normal just two weeks after delivery.


After nearly two weeks of contractions that got as close as 3 minutes apart, I was almost positive that I would never go into labor– at 38 weeks I figured I’d be having contractions for a few more weeks, and hopefully that meant my body would be ready to get baby out! At my 38 week appointment, 38 weeks 4 days pregnant, my doctor checked to see if all the contractions had made any progress from the 2cm I was dilated a week and a half before– (if you read my 37 week update, this was when I went to the hospital with contractions!). He estimated I was around 3cm, which to me didn’t sound like much progress, but he assured me that things can change in a minute– and he was right!

After my appointment that afternoon, I went home and carried on with my normal routine; getting organized from working that morning. When I went to bed I felt exactly the same as every other day.

At 3:00am I woke up with contractions, which at this point was nothing new for me– it had been going on almost two weeks. But, by about 10am it was starting to get pretty uncomfortable, still contracting around 3 minutes apart, I called my husband to give him the heads up, since for the previous weeks I was managing contractions on an exercise ball, and it was getting too uncomfortable to sit.
Within 2 hours we were packed up and arrived at the hospital– with our three year old. I didn’t want to leave him with the sitter, because I honestly believed it would just be unprogressive contractions again. When we got to the hospital I was 4cm dilated, and they immediately admitted me, and we had no idea what to do with our 3 year old. Luckily, all those ‘practice’ contractions and pregnancy exercises must have paid off– by the time my husband and son went to get some lunch and came back (about an hour) I was 6cm, and the AMAZING nurse who was taking care of me said, “By the way you’re laboring– it’s going to be fast and by the time you want something for pain, it’s going to be time!”

She must have helped deliver a lot of babies, because within another hour I was at 9.5cm, and ready for baby to be OUT! I made it all the way through labor walking around the room, and bouncing on an exercise ball– just like with my first baby– and I was so happy to have avoided an epidural again! My water had to be broken at 10cm so I could push– and within 3 pushes our perfect little 7lb 8oz guy was here at 2:53 pm!
I still can’t believe how fast the whole thing happened! I had been planning on going into work at 4pm, and would never have thought I would have a baby before then– even the delivering doctor commented on how quick it was. We were so fortunate that the labor and delivery receptionist wasn’t swamped that day– my 3 year old was just two rooms down from me my entire labor, watching some shows and snacking on his lunch! As soon as baby was put on my chest, my first boy came in and got to meet his little brother, and they already love each other so much! I couldn’t ever thank her enough for making it possible for him to be there safely so my husband could be there during the delivery!

Thank you all for following my baby journey! We are only a week out from delivery, but I will definitely keep you updated on my after baby exercise adventure!


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Lose the Baby Weight with Erica Ziel


Whether you’ve just had a baby or it’s been many years, these workouts (10 of them!) are designed to get you feeling great and looking amazing!  From Knocked-Up to Knock Out workouts focus on toning, sculpting, and conditioning your entire body, with an emphasis on strengthening your pelvic floor and deep core muscles.


With over 2 hours of workouts, you can mix and match your favorites and go from Knocked Up to Knock Out!

Including beginner and intermediate workouts with core exercises that focus on kegels, not crunches. Tone your whole body with workouts that include arm sculpting, functional squats and full-body, Pilates-infused exercises.

Once you are ready, you will be motivated to move onto the intermediate and advanced workouts. Challenge your core while rebuilding your abdominal strength with workouts that include: butt and leg sculpting, plyo exercises, cardio intervals, and advanced full-body, Pilates-infused exercises.

A Bonus Workout Booklet (downloadable printout with digital purchase) includes 18 ways you can mix and match the workouts to form your own custom beginner, intermediate, or advanced workouts plus Erica’s best tips on going from Knocked-up to Knock Out!”

Available in a 2 DVD set & Digital Streaming!

As always, be sure to consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program and be sure to sign up for the

Knocked-Up Fitness Newsletter to stay updated!

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