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Reader Questions Answered: Cauli Rice, Yoga & Pregnancy, Sleep Schedules, Group Ex and More!

Happiest of Thursdays to you guys! I hope your day is off to a great start. I frequently receive emails and messages from readers with questions about a whole range of topics. I often feel it would be relevant and useful to many if I answered some of them on a larger scale. I’ve themed quite a few posts around some of your individual questions but I think I’ll sprinkle in more of a round-up kind “your questions answered” kind of post once a month or so.

I’ve got a big cup of coffee so let’s dive in!

Hi, I love your blog and page. It’s always interesting and honest. Thanks for the exercise ideas and recipes. I would like to know what video and photo editing program you use for your exercise posts. – Karen

I use a combination of tools. If I’m shooting a video on my iPhone and posting to Instagram (example), I typically shoot the video and then go in and crop smaller clips. I use the app VideoMixer (pro version) to combine the clips. If I want to speed it up a little, I use the app SpeedPro to do that. If I’m shooting one long video (like a yoga flow) that I want to speed up, I shoot it using the app Hyperlapse instead of the normal camera. If I want to overlay music, I use the app VideoSound.

If I’m shooting to post a workout video on my blog, I typically just edit in iMovie (example) and upload to YouTube. And for the graphics I use PicMonkey. I have a pro account and use it for just about everything blog related.

I have seen you whip up cauliflower rice a few times on your blog as a side dish and was wondering if you could share your best way of preparing it and what you like to pair it with! I just got some at Costco and thought I’d give it try after seeing it on your blog so many times! Thanks for your help! – Colleen

I typically heat a little bit of olive oil in a skillet and sautee it lightly until heated through and “al dente.” You want it to soften up a bit but not get mushy. As far as what to pair it with…you can pretty much use it as a substitute for rice. That being said, I like to use it for dishes where you put something over rice rather than just eating it plain on its own as a side dish. Some of my favorites are butter chicken, three ingredient pot roast, red coconut curry and salsa chicken.

You can also just make a big rice bowl out of it and throw whatever toppings on it that you have on hand. Great for using up leftovers!

Hey Jen! I love your blog, your pups are the cutest! I was just wondering if you’ve ever spoken about your sleep schedule, and how you manage to get to bed later, wake up earlier and still be productive? I’m in graduate school right now, so trying to juggle work, school, relationship, and a pup are leaving me wondering if i could get more hours out of the day by waking up a little earlier. Just wondering! Thanks so much for reading my comment! Hope you have a lovely day. Best, Gabriella

LOVE this one! Getting adequate rest and sleep is something that I have actively been working to improve over the last couple of years. There was a season of my life where I either taught yoga or trained clients at 5:30-6 a.m. Monday-Friday in addition to teaching yoga at 7:45 a.m. on Saturday and 9:30 a.m. on Sunday. There was literally not one morning of the week that I didn’t have to be somewhere. It was not sustainable! I’ve worked slowly to give up the early morning commitments so that now I’m down to only two early mornings of teaching at 6 a.m. each week.

I know myself and I’m just not an early to bed person. We usually don’t eat dinner until around 9 p.m. and then we watch a show before heading to bed. That’s usually between 10:30-11 p.m. After the getting ready for bed process and reading for a bit, I usually am trying to fall asleep between 11-11:30. On the mornings that I don’t have to teach, I now sleep until somewhere between 7-7:30, depending on the day. I am not a super early morning riser by choice. I can do it but my preference is to work a little later in the evenings and sleep a little later in the mornings. I have definitely learned that I feel best when I get 7-8 hours of sleep most days of the week even though it’s easy for me to function on 5-6.

Alternatively, my friend Brittany is earlier to bed and gets up at 5 a.m. to work for a couple hours before her kids get up. My friend Winnie is also earlier to bed and up before 5 a.m. every day to get her workout in before having to be at her desk around 7 a.m. for a full workday. I think you have to figure out what works best for you and your body.

Hi Jen, I just read your post on Whole30 and loved all the feedback you provided. I was wondering what kind of workouts did you do when on the program? My friend and I are planning on starting the program and wanted to pick your brain a little. I recently found out that I have a torn labrum in my hip, hip dyspepsia and arthritis, so I had to stop running and high impact workouts bc of the inflammation and pain. My Dr. recommended spin/cycling classes as well as keeping up with my weight programs (T25/21 day fix extreme, but doing modifications). During all of that my husband just got home from a 7 month deployment, so, needless to say there has been a lot of eating and drinking. I feel like my life style and body needs a change and have read wonderful things about Whole30, so any further feedback would be awesome! Thanks! – Jennifer

I did not do anything differently when it came to workouts during the Whole30! Many people think that they need to scale back but you don’t! Remember, you’re not depriving yourself on the Whole30. I was eating the same amount of calories (if not more) while on Whole30 and I found my energy to be good and never felt lethargic during workouts. I think a big key is to make sure you’re getting extra carbohydrates in if you exercise a lot. My daily sweet potato breakfast bowls helped with this. I will say that I think that Whole30 is a great time to amp up strength work.

Hi Jen! I love your blog! It is my go to for some good yoga tips and general fitness advice. I just found out I am pregnant! We are so excited and I would love to do more yoga classes. I have been doing the Aaptiv app that you recommend and do love their classes. Can you let me know if there are any contraindications and poses that I should not be doing now that I am pregnant! I am probably an intermediate/advanced yogi. Thanks! – Lisa

First, big congrats! My #1 answer to this is to listen to your body. If it doesn’t feel good or right, don’t do it. In my experience with my students, everyone is SO different! I have some students backbending and inverting far into pregnancy and others avoid. I have some students that maintain a hot practice and feel good and others who can’t tolerate the heat pregnant. I’m doing a prenatal certification in June so I’ll be able to share deeper info after that but here are the general contraindications for yoga and pregnancy.

  • Avoid deep twisting – gentle is okay but you don’t want to compress the abdomen
  • Avoid lying on your belly as you get further along (poses like sphynx, bow, salabasana, cobra)
  • Avoid deep backbending as you get further along
  • Avoid overstretching (during pregnancy your body produces the hormone relaxin, making it easier for you to pull muscles and overstretch ligaments)
  • Avoid intense core work as your belly grows, I recommend my pregnant ladies do a bunch of bird dog/spinal balancing in place of things like boat pose
  • Listen to your body when it comes to lying on your back

Again…listen to your body! I’m not kidding when I say that each of my pregnant students have had such a different experience with pregnancy and their practice!

Hi Jen – I saw your article about becoming a group instructor and am very interested in finding out what the process is. I came upon Group Power over 10 years ago and was hooked right from the start. It was exactly the type of workout I loved and the changes to my body were unbelievable. However, although I’ve taken many, many classes, I still don’t understand the choreography behind the moves. Like you, I am very uncoordinated when it comes to anything like dance or workout routines (I was always the one in the back of the class just flapping my arms around, trying to keep up) so I’m worried that I won’t be able to learn how to teach. How did you find the instructor training? Is it possible for someone as uncoordinated as me to learn it? Please be honest with me 🙂 Thank you, Sarka

My first advice is GO FOR IT! Yes, it is absolutely possible for you to learn it! I felt so uncertain of myself for many of the reasons you listed above when it came to signing up for BodyPump instructor training. I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone but I’m so glad I did. Regarding the choreography, the benefit of teaching classes like BodyPump and GroupPower is that they aren’t “dancy” and don’t really require that much coordination! 🙂

Teaching group exercise taught me so much about believing in myself and helped me gain self-confidence. It’s also just really, really fun! Teaching group ex is still one of my favorite things to do!

The instructor training will teach you the basics of how to teach. Beyond that, it’s practice, practice, practice! Teach as much as you can whether it’s to friends or subbing or picking up permanent classes when they’re available. You’ll get more and more comfortable and confident with every class. You’ll never know until you try and having that inner urge and desire to do it is all the reason you need! As far as finding the certifications, Group Power is a MOSSA format. Here is the info.

What is your preferred sleep schedule? Any recommendations for Gabriella?

Feel free to leave questions in the comments for the next round of Q&A or shoot me an email!


{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Colleen April 20, 2017, 1:11 pm

    Thank you so much for answering my question!!! Hah…I thought it never got to you 🙂 I can’t wait to try your method next time I try it!

    • Jen April 27, 2017, 9:18 am

      Sometimes I just get a little behind! 😉

  • Kat April 20, 2017, 1:29 pm

    When are you going to update us on wedding plans?????

    • Jen April 27, 2017, 9:17 am

      As soon as we have something that is a little more firm! I promise I won’t hold back from you guys!

  • Mary Morgan April 20, 2017, 1:36 pm

    Would you be able to share Jennifer’s email with me? I also had a torn labrum in my hip several years ago and after trying everything I have found what exercise- and amount- is best (for me) following surgery for the rear. I would love to share with her if it could be helpful!

    • Jen April 27, 2017, 9:14 am

      let me ask her if it’s okay to share her email and i’ll connect you two if so!

  • Juliette @ Namastay Traveling April 20, 2017, 2:23 pm

    Love reading these Q&A, especially the inspiration to be a group fitness instructor! I LOVE bodypump but always felt that teaching it was out of my reach. Perhaps I need to reconsider! Thanks for your honesty and insights!

    • Jen April 27, 2017, 9:13 am

      YES – absolutely reconsider. If nothing else, the Les Mills trainings are awesome and will help you with teaching yoga too!

  • Stephanie April 20, 2017, 10:04 pm

    I thought for sure your wedding plans would be in this post:-) I LOVE this format and can’t wait to see these types of q&a’s again. Thanks!

    • Jen April 27, 2017, 9:12 am

      Glad to hear you liked the format! RE: wedding…you guys will know as soon as we set more firm plans. We’re getting there. I promise I won’t hold back! 😉

  • Nikki April 22, 2017, 7:38 am

    I teach Group Centergy, something I NEVER thought I would do, all because someone encouraged me to do it! I’ve always felt more comfortable being part of the group and not the leader, but becoming an instructor definitely changed that! It’s opened up doors for me to teach other classes and I’m so much more confident in front of other people at the gym and in my job now. I can’t imagine not teaching. I’d tell her to go for it!! I had no prior experience before instructor training.

    • Jen April 27, 2017, 9:05 am

      Nikki – thank you so much for sharing this! 🙂 It’s very encouraging for others!

  • Mariela April 23, 2017, 11:44 am

    So sorry to butt in… I am an RYT 200 and currently pregnant. (Not trained in prenatal). I love hot yoga and was told I absolutely could not do it in the first trimester. You do not want your body temp getting too high, for it could cause a miscarriage. I have since avoided it through out my pregnancy. Yoga, in general, is wonderful during pregnancy for you and baby! Just be careful adivising hot yoga during preganancy with out saying check with you doctor first.

    • Jen April 27, 2017, 9:04 am

      I’m so glad you did butt in! Your advice to talk to your doctor is spot on. It’s WILD how much the opinions and recommendations vary from doctor to doctor re: hot yoga and pregnancy. I think it comes down to how the individual feels along with their doctor’s recommendation.

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