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Reader Questions…Yoga Mats, Postpartum Fitness, TV Shows and More!

Hope it was a good Monday! It’s spring break here in Charlotte so I am teaching a LOT of yoga this week due to sub needs…14 hot classes…it’s going to be a long, sweaty week. πŸ™‚

I have received quite a few reader questions lately that I thought would be beneficial and fun to answer for everyone.

Yoga Mat Recommendations…

I was hoping you could recommend a good mat that I won’t slide around on? I started out with a cheap mat and then invested in an Aurorae mat, which has sort of a carpet-like texture and got good reviews online, but I’m finding that I’m still sliding around in poses like down dog and triangle. I know you’re very busy, but if you could point me in the right direction, I’d be so grateful. – Sara

I was searching through the blog to see if you’ve ever posted any yoga mat recommendations. Or if not, do you have some favorites you could share? – Kelsey

manduka Yoga MatI love my Manduka PRO yoga mat. I got it five years ago and it’s as good as new. It feels like home when I roll it out and practice on it. I love the Manduka PRO mats because they’re thick and cushioned. I have the original black mat but they now come in so many fun colors. Regarding the slip factor, most yoga mats will get slippery if you’re heavily sweating but unless I’m really, really sweaty I can get away with just using a hand towel under my hands with the Manduka PRO.


If you find that slipping is a constant problem with your yoga mat, I recommend investing in a Yogitoes mat towel. They are a bit pricy but invaluable for hot yoga! Note, you can usually get a nice discount on them on Amazon.


I get asked a lot about Lululemon’s “The Mat.” It’s designed to be super grippy and non-slip even through heavy sweating. I have quite a few students who use the mat…most end up using a Yogitoes if it’s a really hot class. It’s not a bad mat but I have practiced on them a few times and the two negatives I have are 1) the smell. They’re made of natural rubber and don’t smell great. And 2) they don’t stay flat on the floor for me when moving through some more advanced poses…like they will bunch up on the floor sometimes.

Some people love them though so I can’t tell you not to try it!

Postpartum Fitness

Hello! I read your blog daily and have learned so much about fitness and motivation! Thank you! I was wondering if you could give some tips on post partum fitness. I had twins a year ago, via c section. I lost all the weight plus some fairly easily. However, I cannot get rid of a little pouch I now have! I work out daily. I wondered if you could recommend specific exercises to target this area! Any help is greatly appreciated. – Natalie

First, congrats on the twins Natalie! If you’ve lost all the weight and you’re working out…you’ve done all you can do. Carrying a child (especially twins!) can slightly change the curve of the spine and the tilt of the pelvis. It’s not uncommon for some women to develop an anterior pelvic tilt/”sway back” after pregnancy. This can give the appearance of a stomach “pouch.”


Personally, I haven’t had a child and I already have a crazy anterior pelvic tilt! The good news is that there are exercises you can do to correct it. Check out this article. (And I need to write a post on this topic soon!)

Half Marathon Training

I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years now, and I’m always inspired by your cooking and your fitness goals, and I wish to ask your advice about training for for a half-marathon? I wish to compete in a half-marathon in July, but I’m wondering if you followed a certain program, or if you made your own? I’ve had a quick google on a number of programs, but I don’t know what are considered to be credible or not. If there is a program you recommend, please let me know, I’d love to check it out. – Haley

I always recommend the following when it comes to half marathon training plans…

TV Entertainment!

Hi, I recently started watching Suits because you mentioned it on your blog and I was hooked immediately. I finished the whole set of 4 seasons. Are there any other shows that you could recommend? – Alyssa

So first things first…if you haven’t watched Suits…get on it. It comes on USA which is random but don’t judge the show for that.

Harvey-SpecterYou’ll get hooked on Harvey Specter…and the entire show and storyline. It has some of the best writing and character development I’ve seen on TV in years.

I have a few other TV recommendations…

– Scandal
– The Walking Dead
– House of Cards
– Mad Men
– Orange is the New Black
– Breaking Bad (if you never watched that series)
– Homeland

And that’s all I’ve got for you. Let me know if you have questions you’d like for me to answer. I’d also LOVE to hear your TV show recommendations if you have anything you love outside of what I mentioned above.

Have a great week!

{ 50 comments… add one }
  • Katie April 6, 2015, 10:15 pm

    Have you tried The Americans on FX? I watch all the shows you mentioned except Homeland and Suits (both on my ‘to watch’ list!

    • Jen April 6, 2015, 10:20 pm

      No! Thanks for suggestion! πŸ™‚

  • Sarah @ SarahRuns26 April 6, 2015, 10:38 pm

    USA has some great shows! They had Monk, Psych and Covert Affairs and Suits is one of my favorites! I always look forward to their original shows because their character development is so good. I also really love Madam Secretary. Really good show and there is a strong marriage in it, which I really appreciate!

    • Jen April 8, 2015, 4:35 pm

      agreed on the character development. and my parents recommended madam secretary as well…will have to check it out!

  • Cassie April 6, 2015, 11:27 pm

    I really need to get a yoga mat. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • JennyV April 6, 2015, 11:30 pm

    My husband surprised me with a purple lulu mat for Easter so I appreciate the feedback. I think I’ll keep it because he recognized my favorite color and the fact that I needed a new one (had been using a cheapo) and I feel bad returning. πŸ˜‰ I do have a yogitoes towel though so that should help.

    • Jen April 8, 2015, 4:39 pm

      awwww! how sweet! read the suggestions here about cleaning it with vinegar and hanging it outside to get rid of the initial smell! enjoy your new pretty mat! πŸ™‚

  • Liv @ Healthy Liv April 6, 2015, 11:57 pm

    LOVE Scandal! Suits sounds really good, too.

    I also love the Mindy Project πŸ™‚ And Parenthood’s awesome, too, if you haven’t seen that yet.

    • Jen April 8, 2015, 4:40 pm

      i have seen the mindy project but not parenthood…and i’ve heard such good things about it!

  • Haley April 7, 2015, 12:39 am

    Thanks so much for the info about half-marathon training, Jen. Those websites will definitely help! πŸ™‚

    • Jen April 8, 2015, 4:40 pm

      you are very welcome!

  • Katie April 7, 2015, 12:48 am

    The only shows I haven’t watched on your rec list are Suits & The Walking Dead. Other shows that I swear by are:

    How To Get Away With Murder (ABC)
    Sons of Anarchy (was on FX, available on Netflix)
    Broad City (Comedy Central)
    True Detective (HBO)
    Veep (HBO)
    Masters of Sex (Showtime)
    Better Call Saul (AMC)
    Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce (it’s soapy & cute ala Sex & The City) (Bravo)
    Silicon Valley (HBO)

    I am hearing great things about Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix but haven’t checked it out yet. And The Jinx miniseries on HBO is insanely addicting… the hype is real.

    I swear the only reason my list is this long is because I worked in TV for the past three years… don’t judge me!

    • Jen April 8, 2015, 4:41 pm

      haha! no judgement here! i just appreciate you taking the time to give me suggestions! πŸ™‚

  • Shannon April 7, 2015, 7:04 am

    I love Suits!!! Modern Family and New Girl are also great, quick, funny shows when you have 20 minutes and want a good laugh.
    With regards to your half-marathon training suggestions I’ve heard of all those and I also read a book “Run Less, Run Faster” since I can’t do the volume of running I’ve done in the past. They have training plans for 10k and half-marathon. You run three days a week but make the workouts “count” instead of racking up mileage and running just to run (which is totally fine, but I can’t run every day). They’re difficult (one long run, one tempo day, one interval day) but it totally works for me! I’ve even incorporated your running-circuit workouts into them occasionally. Thanks for this post, and all the variety you post on the blog!

    • Jen April 8, 2015, 4:42 pm

      i shannon! i LOVE three day a week training plans so thanks for the suggestion! i think they’re perfect for those who are injury prone and/or short on time!

  • Emily @ My Healthyish Life April 7, 2015, 8:35 am

    My new favorite show is The Blacklist on NBC! I agree with what you said about the Lululemon mats…I have one and I love it, but it definitely smells.

    • Jen April 8, 2015, 4:42 pm

      thanks for the suggestion on blacklist!

  • Juile @ Running in a Skirt April 7, 2015, 9:40 am

    Thanks for the yoga mat recommendation. Mind slips too!
    My fav show right now is Nashville.

    • Jen April 8, 2015, 4:43 pm

      heard so much about it…never seen it!

  • elizabeth April 7, 2015, 9:41 am

    I bought an ex-long manduka mat about 5 yrs and like it. I only do yoga at home and have never used any other mat, before I bought it, I just did yoga on the carpet, what a difference a mat makes!
    What do you clean your mat with?

    • Jen April 8, 2015, 4:43 pm

      yes, mats definitely help improve the practice experience over carpet! i either spray mine down with alcohol or use manduka’s mat cleaner.

  • elizabeth April 7, 2015, 9:43 am

    I like my extra long Manduka.
    What do you use to clean your mat?

  • Paula April 7, 2015, 10:23 am

    Broad City has been a favorite in our house when we need a quick dose of laughter. It can get pretty raunchy, so it’s not for the faint of heart; but it’s probably the best female-centric comedy ever televised…after I Love Lucy. Also, I’ve been using the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training program for my current half marathon training, and I’ve loved it. I mix running with crossfit, so a three-day-a-week program is perfect and has still been pretty rigorous.

    • Jen April 8, 2015, 4:44 pm

      definitely not faint of heart over here so thanks for the suggestion! πŸ™‚

      i used the furman training program for my first half marathon! i also loved training three days a week!

  • Parita @ myinnershakti April 7, 2015, 10:57 am

    I would add How to Get Away with Murder to that list of TV shows! And as far as comedies are concerned, New Girl, The Mindy Project, Modern Family, and Big Bang Theory are some of my favorites!

    • Jen April 8, 2015, 4:45 pm

      love big bang! πŸ™‚

      thank you for the how to get away with murder rec. i think i watched the pilot but haven’t picked it back up!

  • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine April 7, 2015, 12:24 pm

    The Walking Dead! And I finally succumbed to boredom and started watching Breaking Bad on Netflix this weekend. I’m only 5 episodes in, but so far so good!

  • H April 7, 2015, 1:48 pm

    I slip so much on the manduka pro, even if the room is just warm! Just got the lulu and excited to try it. Also, I think Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (spin-off of the Avengers movies) is the best show ever created!! πŸ™‚

    • Jen April 8, 2015, 4:47 pm

      thanks for the recommendation! πŸ™‚

  • She Rocks Fitness April 7, 2015, 1:53 pm

    Oh how I LOVE Suits…Harry is so darn good looking! Mad Men started up again this past weekend…and I’m also a HUGE Bravo junkie…My addiction is for real…LOL!

    • Jen April 8, 2015, 4:47 pm

      i love bravo too! please tell me you watched southern charm? and i will forever love top chef!

  • ErikaMC April 7, 2015, 2:30 pm

    I love Suits!

    I started watching Empire and am now hooked on it and I also like How to Get Away with Murder.

    • Jen April 8, 2015, 4:48 pm

      thank you! i will check out empire.

  • Genevieve M April 7, 2015, 2:39 pm

    Thanks for the recommendations! I have a Manduka pro-lite, which I love, but I’ve been wanting to upgrade to the Pro for the extra cushion. I’ve found that that the yogitoes towel slides around on my mat because the surface is smoother than other mats and that the Manduka Equa towel works much better. Have you tried the Manduka towel on your mat?

    • Jen April 8, 2015, 4:49 pm

      yes, i’ve tried all of them! we have them all at the studio and i just grab whatever is available! πŸ™‚ i think the pro is a major good upgrade from the lite.

  • Hayley April 7, 2015, 4:20 pm

    Harvey Specter <3<3 love. We have the same taste in shows – those are all my faves. I just started watching Silicon Valley too which is so awkward and hilarious.

    • Jen April 8, 2015, 4:50 pm

      i will check it out! thank you!

  • Anne April 7, 2015, 5:00 pm

    I wonder if the stomach question could be diastatis recti. I had the same issue after giving birth (back to my normal birth weight and normal fitness level but still had a little stomach) until I finally realized I had a slight ab separation. I just found different exercises to help close it. I’m not a fitness professional but that’s what seemed to help me!

    • Jen April 8, 2015, 4:51 pm

      anne – great point and definitely something that ALL pp women should check for.

  • Fiona @ Get Fit Fiona April 7, 2015, 5:43 pm

    I’m still in denial that Mad Men is coming to an end. I’m going to miss it. You should give Silicon Valley a try. It’s so funny. The second season is starting next weekend.

    • Jen April 8, 2015, 4:51 pm

      i know but every time i watch it i get a little fired up and end up repeating, “don draper is such an asshole.” πŸ™‚

  • Liz April 7, 2015, 8:26 pm

    I have the lululemon mat. I washed it with water and vinegar and hung it outside to dry/air out multiple times in a row and it lost the foul smell. Now I love it

    • Jen April 8, 2015, 4:52 pm

      thank you for that tip! so super helpful!

  • Nikita April 7, 2015, 8:57 pm

    I lovelovelove my lululemon The Mat! I find the Manduka mats to be too stiff for me. I use a towel for floor work in hot class, but mainly because I end up with a body imprint of sweat otherwise LOL! If you clean The Mat properly and deep clean once in a while, the grip is awesome!!

    • Jen April 8, 2015, 4:53 pm

      i think one of the two works for everyone…depending on what you like!

  • Kristen April 8, 2015, 10:43 am

    Saw on the Charlotte Yoga site that you are having a Level I inversions class next weekend — SO SAD that I’ll be missing it! Your Hot Vinyasa is my favorite class. Hope ya’ll will do something similar soon…I’m beginnerish but dying to get some [guided] inversion practice!

    • Jen April 8, 2015, 4:53 pm

      hey kristen…yes, i am! but there will be more at other studios around town soon. i will be sure to keep everyone posted! πŸ™‚

  • Mary Beth April 8, 2015, 9:29 pm

    I think the stomach thing is specific to c-sections. I have had three and the little pouch above the incision won’t go away even with diet and core exercise. I think it may have to do with the way we are “sewn back up”. I would love to know if you come up with any ways to shrink it!

  • Alyssa May 2, 2015, 4:50 pm

    Jen – Thanks for the reply! I found two good ones: Younger on TV Land and Secrets and Lies on ABC. Younger is a cute show with short episodes, easy to breeze through. Secrets and Lies’ title basically sums it up, lots of twists and turns in the plot, and it has Ryan Phillippe. πŸ™‚

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