Laid-back Fitness

Labor of Love (and a little pain)

Now that I have done the “knocked up” and the “pregnancy recap” posts, I figured I should post about the big day – the day that I gave birth to the most amazing little boy named Luke Donato McGowan!

The day after my official due date, Ryan and I chatted about how it could be a while and we agreed not to stress about our baby’s arrival.  I went to bed around 11 pm that night but couldn’t fall asleep.  About 90 minutes later I started having contractions.  Right away they were 4 minutes apart lasting about a minute.  We stayed in bed for the first couple hours and then moved downstairs for the rest of the night.  We walked around the house and moved in all kinds of positions to manage the contractions.  I tried laying down but that did not help at all, what did help was when Ryan squeezed my hips – a technique we learned in one of our classes.

I went through a period in between contractions where I would get the shivers because I was so cold, but then would get hot and start having convulsions – they SUCKED!  Oh yeah and to make things even worse I got sick a couple times! :) Eventually that all passed and around 7 am I decided that we needed to get to the hospital!  As soon as we got into the car the song “Best Day of My Life” by the American Authors came on!! :) Things became surreal and intense!  I told Ryan that we had waited wayyyy tooo long!!! (In other words, I was in “transition!”)  As I walked into triage my contractions were about 2 minutes apart!

After checking in, I was asked if I still wanted to go to the Alternative Birthing Center.  Here is where I paused. I knew in my head that I wanted to do the ABC but if I was only a few centimeters and I was experiencing this much pain, then there was no way in hell that I was going to go through with it. BUT if I was further along then I would go for it.  When the nurse examined me she announced that I was 8 cm!!!  “Whoa!” or “Holy Sh*t!”  Not sure what I said…“Call my mom!” I told Ryan.

It felt great that we stuck to our plan of laboring at home for as long as we did. Now in the ABC I was checked again and measured at 9 cm at 7:45 am! I was so excited and thought “ha this kid is going to be pushed out of me in no time!”  WRONG!!!! I then stalled to the point where my contractions were up to 10 minutes apart. Until about 10 am I was in the most pain I had ever experienced in my entire life. I screamed and yelled and prayed. I asked for an epidural, drugs of any kind, and then for a c-section, because I didn’t care how he came out at this point I was just in so much pain! Lucky for me I had a great nurse who never coddled me.  She gave it to me straight: if I did get any medication, it would either slow things down or might not even kick in before birth.  So medically I received nothing, just a lot of encouragement and support.

Finally it was GO time! After 1.5 hours of pushing harder than any kettlebell workout imaginable, Luke came into this world!  The funny part here was as his head (finally) emerged, his eyes were open and he was facing Ryan.  At this moment Ryan was supposed to help with the delivery but froze in awe and had to be reminded of his duties by the midwife.  I wish we got a picture of his face at that moment!  Luke was placed on my chest immediately.  At that moment I felt only love, absolutely no pain at all!


I am proud of myself for getting though it (even though there were times I didn’t think I could) and am SO PROUD of my husband!  With the love and support Ryan gave me I was able to deliver our child. I honestly could not have done it without him!

As I mentioned in the previous post, I feel the classes Ryan and I took with Kaeli Sutton were the best thing that we could have done. As she stressed in class, it was my/our birth and we should decide how things were handled.  While her class helped prepare me mentally, I believe that staying active in my pregnancy enabled my body to deliver naturally.  Now 2 weeks postpartum I feel great!  I have tons of energy and our little man is eating and sleeping like a champ!  I’m hopefully not speaking too soon because we will never know what Luke has in store for us! All I do know is that we are very lucky!

Thank you everyone again for all of your help, support, and most of all the outpouring of love that we have received!  We are truly blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing people like all of you!

-Much Love
First Laidy!



Pregnancy Recap!

Where did the time go? It seems like I just posted that I was “knocked up” and now I am about to pop!  The last 39 weeks have been awesome and I cannot wait to meet our little one!  I just want to know if it’s a boy who will be climbing anything/everything and lifting heavy things or a little girl, who I’m sure will take on some of the heavy lifting and climbing, but hopefully want to do her hair and nails too! :)

I want to share what this whole experience has been like for me and what I did to keep myself sane, in shape, and most important, happy! First I feel extremely blessed with how my pregnancy has turned out!  I never got sick and for the most part kept doing what I do on a normal every day basis. Before getting pregnant I worked 50ish hours on my feet, worked out twice a week, got a massage and acupuncture once a month, saw the chiropractor once a week, and took my juice plus everyday. I am still doing all of this except the working out thing, which is now more like once a week… and when I do I am still lifting and swinging!
25 Weeks

25 Weeks

The “Pregnant Kettlebell Complex” at 30 weeks!
38 Weeks

38 Weeks

I passed on the pre-natal vitamins and went with Juice Plus, Cod Liver Oil and a iron supplement (from whole foods).  I also started to introduce a B-complex and Isotonix OPC-3 based on Ryan’s recommendations after I was dealing with some back pain.  I have noticed that I have a lot more energy and the pain went away!  I always take them in the morning before breakfast which is usually a cup of Ezekial or sprouted grain/flax cereal and a little whole milk (raw when we can smuggle it).  I’ve also been doing raspberry leaf tea at night in the hopes that it strengthens my uterus, among other benefits.

As far as skin care, I’ve been using coconut oil to keep my skin supple.  My belly is definitely out there at the moment but stretch-mark-free:).  The uses of coconut oil for mom and baby require a separate post altogether.  Stay tuned!

As far as education, the books that I liked the best were: Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth (a great break-down on the birthing process as told by well-respected midwife, Ina May Gaskin, Thanks Lynn!), Baby Wise (sleep training, Thanks Rick!) and Baby Bargains  (compares every friggen baby product known to man kind and lets you know which is the best for your money, Thanks Gina!).

Reading is great, but we also wanted some practice.  My midwife gave me Kaeli Sutton’s name.  Kaeli is a Duola, a massage therapist, and yoga instructor who teaches a unique birthing class to help prepare couples for what lies ahead. We took three semi private classes with her and I think it’s the best thing Ryan and I could have done!  We feel as confident and ready as we can to get this whole birth thing under way. She taught us about the different stages of labor and what the mother goes through, breathing techniques, and different positions for the mother to labor in to help manage the contractions.

We hope to stay at home as long as possible while I labor and then go to the Alternative Birthing Center at Women and Infants.  Who knows what will happen?  One of the take-home messages from working with Kaeli was that this is my birth!  Come back to the breath during challenging moments and ultimately do what I feel is best for me and the baby!  So no matter what happens, I hope to walk away feeling like I did my best and I (or we) was the one making the decisions.

I also want to say thank you to everyone for all of the well wishes and kind words!  It means so much to us to have you all in our lives!  We will keep you posted!


Our legal department has advised me to make the following statement: do not try this at home!  All of the pictures and videos seen above were conducted by trained professionals in a controlled setting.  None of the moves done during my pregnancy were “first attempts” and therefore I do not find them to be irresponsible.  That being said, I do not recommend rope climbing, turkish getups, or swinging from anything while pregnant if you do not have experience doing these activities before you got pregnant.  Please be smart, but you can still have fun!

Let’s Move Like Kids and Eat Like Adults!

Another post for the simple not easy archives!  With an exorbitant amount of information concerning diet and exercise, it’s easy to be confused/frustrated/apathetic/etc.  We’re here to simplify things for you.  The latest LbF guide to healthy living is detailed below:

Move like Kids!

When did you move the most in your life?  When did you enjoy moving the most in your life?  For most of us, these questions conjure up fond memories of recess, making forts or obstacle courses, or playing until the street lights came on.  Why do we get away from that?  Why do we always complicate things?  Kids are the best movers around and they don’t even think about it!  They move fluidly, intuitively, and often.  Let’s be like them!

  • Use our surroundings to create a workout.  Even better, let’s not think of it as a workout, let’s just move and challenge our bodies for a while.  Great natural exercise equipment includes: rocks and logs for lifting and carrying, hills and trees for climbing, fallen trees for balancing, small bushes or low fences for hurdling, soft grass or sand for crawling or tumbling.

Snowy Oso Carry

  • Move naturally.  I loathe the term “functional training.” Doing unilateral-hyper-reverse-power-lunges on a bosu ball may be impressive but what function does it serve?  Kids just run, crawl, climb, jump, etc.  Let’s try to match them!  Notice their posture, tempo, and how they use gravity and momentum to their advantage.


  • Play outside.  We simply feel better after moving outside.  The air’s fresh.  The sunlight warms our skin (and is much quieter than fluorescent bulbs).  Wind provides natural resistance.  Terrain with rocks, roots, ups and downs require more skill and awareness than the belt of a treadmill.  Think you’re fit?  Try to keep up with a kid on a playground for 30 minutes!

Thurs Oso (1)

  • Do it with friends.  Kids are masters at making up games and ad hoc rules.  Let’s emulate them, or have them design the workout!  Plus friends act as accountability partners.

Osos Sand Dunes

Eat like Adults!

Usually I’m against “growing up” but in this case it’s called for.  We all know food is the most significant factor in our overall health, yet so many of us eat like we’re still in the elementary school cafeteria.  We don’t have a 9 year old’s metabolism and by now our digestive system has some wear and tear.  Let’s do as we say kids should do:

  • Eat vegetables and some fruit – preferably local, seasonal, and organic whenever possible.
  • Properly prepare nuts/seeds/grains/etc. by soaking or fermenting them.  It’s easier than you think!
  • Don’t fear the fat!  High quality olive oil, coconut oil, and real butter contain important fat-soluble vitamins.  Terms such as “cold-pressed”, “extra virgin”, and “unrefined” are typically good.  Avoid products that are “hydrogenated”, “hydrolyzed”, “refined”, or sound like it took a serious science project to process them.  
  • Do your homework.  Choose products from happy animals.  Back in the day you probably just bought “eggs“.  Now you have to figure out whether you want “free range“, “cage free”, “vegetarian fed”, “omega-3″, etc.  Unfortunately “natural” doesn’t really mean anything these days.  Look for “organic”, “pastured”, “grass fed (and finished)”, etc.
  • Indulge sensibly.  Except for the holidays, Superbowl, and maybe Halloween, choose treats that contain some beneficial health properties (e.g. red wine, dark chocolate, 1-2 beers, whiskey, high quality cheese, etc.).
  • Or simply put, eat food that contains LIFE!  It requires some preparation, cooking, and explaining to people who eat “normal”, but it’s worth it!  This video gives some perspective starting at 2:30 but especially at 7:10.

Bold r Dash on the Beach Training!

We had a blast last year at Misquamicut Beach!  This year we’re going to Scarborough!  To get Team Laid-back Bizness ready for Bold r Dash on the Beach, we are heading to our own beach on Saturday mornings at 0930.  Here are the details:

8 Weeks of Sand and Skills to get you Ready for

Bold r Dash on the Beach 5/3/14

3/8/14 – 4/26/14

Saturdays 0930 at LbF

(meet at the studio before a short run to the beach)

$99 includes T-shirt

$75 for previous Laid-back Bizness members!

Refer a friend for a 10% discount!

Sign up now!



Is That All You Got, Winter?

At this point in the year, everyone I talk to is “all set” with Winter.  Our skin longs for the sun on these cold and short days, we’ve gotten our fill of shoveling and ice scraping, and we’re tired of all those people on the roads who “don’t know how to drive.”  We just want to open up the windows and air out our homes and spirits!

Well, this weekend, I woke up determined not to let this season slow me down.  In fact, this is why I train HOW I train

After a 6″ dusting, I shoveled out my walkways and driveway before heading to the Sand Dunes with Los Neuty Osos.  While shoveling, I applied my raw deadlift strength + kettlebell skills + MovNat mindfulness to get the job done quickly and efficiently.

I was already feeling pretty accomplished and excited by the time the group met at the Park and Ride.  After shuttling to the dunes we hiked in the deep snow and charged up the frozen sand hills.  From the tops we descended via sled or snowboard.  The temps didn’t reach the 30′s but we were all sweating and soaking up the rays of the bright Winter Sun!  It was challenging and fun!  Sound familiar?

Osos Sand Dunes

After an hour and a half of work and play, a small group of hearty Osos and one Frozen Clam, drove out to Goddard Park to rinse off.  We gathered about 3 minutes before noon, stripped down, sprinted into the high tide (thankfully significantly higher than on 1/1/14), and dried off on the cold sand.  The brisk wind assisted in our drying efforts and motivated us to change quickly!

Goddard Feb Plunge

So that’s right, Winter, I now declare you my bitch!  I shoveled, sledded, snowboarded, and swam on a beautiful February Day!

Who Wants to be A Frozen Clam?

The Frozen Clam plunge comes but once a year.  However, we’re starting a group for people who want to share the experience on a monthly basis!  The following dates are set for our monthly dip.  We will meet at Goddard Park Beach:

  • February 16th at 12:00pm
  • March 16th at 12:00pm
  • April 13th at 12:00pm
  • May 11th at 12:00pm
  • October 19th at 12:00pm
  • November 16th at 12:00pm
  • December 14th at 12:00pm

These are subject to change but mark your calendars now!  The plunges will be “all-business” but for those who’d like to keep the party going, we will arrange a post-plunge rendezvous while at the beach.

In 2013 I plunged every month.  Here’s what February looked and sounded like (went with the front flip technique since the tide was nice and high):

Strength + Skill Block

Many years ago, this blog started as a place for me to post my workouts.  I came up with a silly little name and put some stuff out there for folks to enjoy.  Since I didn’t like my job that much, I spent lots of time researching and experimenting to provide material for the blog.  Anyway, a few years later, it’s predominately for business and gets way more hits when my lovely lady provides the content.

Here’s an old-school style post to recap what I’ve been working on, based on my goal of getting stronger and more skilled.  Before getting into this, it’s important to note that my goal for this block was to improve my strength while keeping my skills sharp.  Whenever programming my workouts, or whenever I’m programming my clients’ workouts, goals are set to train with purpose.

I chose back squats and weighted pullups because I’m trying to catch up to my deadlift (410×3 last month) and chinups (been a while but always way stronger than pullups).  All workotus were done barefoot.  My feet were surprisingly sore after the squat sessions.

Week #1:

A). Strength

Skill/CNS Primer – broad jumps at varying distances/intensities.  Built up to 8.5′ but my sweet spot for practicing this skill is about 7′.

Back squat sets of 3 @ 135, 185, 225, 235, 245, 255, 265, 275, 285, 295.  All reps full range of motion so femur breaks parallel to floor (that kinda sounds bad but you know what I mean).  I set the catches on my cage to the appropriate level and tap both sides of the bar ala World’s Strongest Men Competitors.

Weighted pullups sets of 3 @ bw, 8kg, 10kg, 12kg, 16kg, 20kg, 24kg x 4.  All reps chest to bar except 4th rep of last set went Adam’s apple to bar.

Fallouts: 3 sets of 10.

B + C). Skill

MovNat Advanced MODs dated 1/1/14 and 12/11/13.  Note: I substituted jump rope with my 2″ rope for sprinting since at the time I was still avoiding running.

D). KB/Sprint

New KB complex @ 32kg x 5 reps/side.  Video below shows the F.L. doing 3 reps/side at  8kg:

Recap – 4 workouts @ 2 hours total.  I also did the Salmon Ladder once on Saturday (this time with much longer hair on scalp + face).

Week #2:

A). Strength

Skill/CNS – vertical jump tests.  Most were around 23″ but hit 24″ in between squat sets.

Back squat – 295×5, 275×7.

Weighted pullups – 28kgx3, 24kg x 5.

Long cycle at 24kg x 27.

B). LbF Mod

Skill – DL @255 x 20 reps (sets of 7,7,6 with form emphasis)

Main – 3 continuous rounds of:

broad-hurdle jumps (for distance over a 24″ hurdle) x 16

Inv crawl to foot-hand crawl x 100′

Lat swing throw/catch with 30# med ball x 8 each side

Balance x 48′

C). Similar Mod

3 continuous rounds of:

Sloth-shoulder x 4 (sloth is our 155# Atlas Stone)

Inv crawl to fh crawl x 100′

Box/depth jumps @ 30″ x 6

Balance x 48′

Lat swing throw/catch @30# x 8 ea.

D). Kettlebell

Wednesday’s Kettlebell class with Kettlebella was a ball-buster with lots of pressing/shoulder activity.

Recap – 4 workouts @ 2.5 hours total.

Week #3

A). Strength

Skill/CNS – vertical tests.  Most were around 22.5″ but hit 23″ in between sets.  I wasn’t feeling quite as springy on this day.

Back squat – 135×5, 275×5, 5, 5, 5, 5.

Wt pullups – bwx5, 12kgx5, 5, 5, 5, 6.

B). Skill

Advanced MOD dated 1/15/14.  Used sloth for the deadlits.  Only did 3 rounds.

C). Hill/sprint

Winter Tough Mudder Training Session #1!

Recap – 3 workouts @ 2 hours total.  I also did the Salmon Ladder and Peg Traverse on Saturday.

Week #4 – Rest week!

My favorite!  This week I’ll still lead the team at Neuty on Thursday and Sunday but won’t be doing anything strenuous at the studio.  My plan is to do 1-2 MovNat beginner Mods at an easy pace to keep the skills going.  I’ll likely hold back on Thursday to get a full 7 days of recovery.

Recap – 2-ish workouts @ 2 easy hours total.

That’s an honest look at a month’s worth of training.  I got stronger but have work to do.  If you notice, I played around with my workout programming.  Using the Anaconda Protocol in week #1 gave me a reference for a reverse pyramid in week #2, which helped me choose the weights for the 5×5 in week #3.  Some hardcore strength guys may poo-poo this strategy but I found it to be fresh and effective!  Plus, I’m a MovNatter first.  Strength is a secondary goal.

Sausage, Kale & Sweet Potato Soup!

I love pinterest and I am always on it looking for new recipes, things for my house, and now things for the baby!  I came upon a great recipe that looked easy to make and sounded yummy but just had to change a few things so my caveman would eat it!!  Lucky for this stormy weather and being knocked up I had no need to go outside and not much else to do so instead of eggs and bacon for lunch a really nice soup has been on the stove pretty much all morning!  I made mine on the stove but the woman who I stole the idea from made it in her Dutch oven and I am sure you could also put it in the crock pot all day too!

1 lb. sausage removed from casings

 1 large sweet potato cut up into small bite sized pieces

1 large onion, chopped

 3 strips of bacon

 3 cups chopped kale

 32oz. stock –I used and organic veggie stock

 2 cups water

 1 cup heavy cream

 salt and pepper

I started by cooking the bacon in a large cast iron skillet, once fully cook place off to the side for later use. Then I cooked the sausage in the bacon fat, while this was cooking I chopped up the onion and sweet potato and tossed it in with the sausage. The fat from the bacon was pretty much sucked up so I put a bit of the stock into the skillet and covered it. In a large soup pan I put in the rest of the stock, water and cream (so glad I had some left over from making homemade Irish cream!!).  I took everything that was in the skillet and put it into the pan. For the kale I then chopped up a bunch and put it in the skillet to wilt down and then placed that in the pan as well! Added some salt and pepper and let it sit for a good 4 hours on the stove. Delish!!

Sausage Kale Soup

2014 Winter Tough Mudder Training!

It’s back!  Although all of our classes are awesome, this program is my personal favorite!


18 Weeks of Hills and Skills Get You Ready for Probably the Toughest Event on the Planet!

Tough Mudder New England Sunday 6/1/14

password “neuty”


Neutaconkanut Hill and the Sand Dunes

Neuty Snow

Winter Neuty Beauty

Sand dunes

Crawling the Big Dune

1/26/14 – 5/29/14

1 workout/week – $285 (includes t-shirt)
2 workouts/week – $465 (includes t-shirt)

Special Rates for Current Osos:
1 workout/week – $235
2 workouts/week – $395


If you do this training, you will be in the best shape of your life!

TM NE 2013 Finish

Don’t think you can handle this?  Explain why to this guy!

2nd Annual New Year’s Primal Challenge!

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
-Albert Einstein
Although some of the events we do may be a little insane, our unconventional approach to a healthy lifestyle is practical and effective!  Counting calories and watching what we eat are all good, but this year make your overall physical and mental health a top priority!  
The Primal Challenge works!  In fact, just about everyone who’s participated in this challenge continues to follow the Primal way!  Check out some of the testimonials for the program!
The Primal Challenge starts on Monday January 6th with presentations at 4:30pm and 7:30pm!

The 21 Day Primal Challenge is not a weight loss challenge (although chances are you will shed a few). The goals of these three weeks are to:

  • Eat well to feel well
  • Exercise to develop skill and improve conditioning – not operate machinery
  • Walk to improve physical and mental health
  • Play to be a kid
  • Rest because you earned it
  • Get some sun (it’s still out there!)

Participants in the challenge will receive:

  • 10-15 minute presentation explaining the goals and methods of the challenge
  • Weight + measurements
  • Daily Meal Guide
  • 21 Day “checklist” to log all your essential primal activities
  • E-mail support (tips, tricks, success stories, etc.)
  • Approved Primal Shopping list
  • Special class and personal training session rates!

Program Options:

  • Free for current Personal Training Clients!
  • Entry + 1 class per week – $69
  • Entry + 2 classes per week – $85
  • Entry + 3 personal training sessions – $179
climbing results not typical

climbing results not typical


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