Mother Essentials: Alysia Montano
Written by Erin Feher
No hyperbole needed—today’s Mother Essentials star is the best. An Olympian and seven-time USA champion, runner Alysia Montano knows a thing or two about staying active throughout pregnancy and motherhood. The Queens, New York, native has been a standout athlete all her life, but committed to running in college, attending the University of California Berkeley and smashing records left and right (winning both the indoor and outdoor NCAA titles, as well as her first USA Championship title in the 800-meter dash). She represented the USA at the 2012 Olympics, but it was two years later when the world really went wild for her. She was 34 weeks pregnant with her first child when she decided to take advantage of her qualifying standard and enter into the 2014 Outdoor USA Championships. She became known as “the pregnant runner” and went on to win some of her biggest races as early as six months postpartum. But while Alysia is an advocate for staying fit and active during pregnancy, she has also been a vocal activist for maternity support (and paid leave) for professional athletes. In a powerful video and op-ed for The New York Times last year, she called out her former sponsor, Nike, for its shameful policies regarding athletes and motherhood (watch it!). Now a mom of two, with her third due any day now, she knows better than anyone which fitness products are the real deal when it comes to supporting mamas through all their changes. Below, she shares the 19 Mother Essentials that keep her moving, bump and all.
Kindle. “I am a reader. It helps to quiet my mind; sometimes I step away and read a chapter and it resets my brain, so I am ready to fire on all cylinders. The Kindle is a great way to carry my book collection with me—I can easily pull inspo or gain some quick peace of mind from the ‘pages’ within.” Kindle Paperwhite, $129.99, Amazon.
Top-Notch Shoes. “Footwear is one of the single most important items for me in terms of self-care, because I’m always on the go and I know the transfer of energy starts from the bottom up on the physical front. I want the best footwear to help me carry the load of my daily tasks.” Altrarunning Shoes, $110, Altra.
Hydration Help. “Hydration is key and the best way to hydrate is to include electrolytes with your water. I use Nuun Sport during high sweat days, Nuun Immunity during travel, high intensity days, or cold seasons, Nuun Vitamins daily, and Nuun Rest when I need to kickstart my body’s system to optimize rest and recovery!” Nuun Active Hydration Tabs, $13–$24, Amazon.
Koala Clip. “As a mom-on-the-go, I need to have my phone with me all the time. I also love music when I workout, and that’s all on my phone, too. The Koala Clip is a fitness sports bra pocket and is essential for keeping it comfortably on me through all of my movements, and helping me keep my music and my contacts close at all times.” Koala Clip, $28.99, Koala Clip.
Hair Flower. “Flower Power! It helps me remember to be bold and courageous, and it reminds me of my strength.” Peony Flower Hair Clip, $6.99, Amazon.
Sweet Smelling Natural Deodorant. “I do my best to use natural products on my body, and that includes deodorants. But often, natural deodorants don’t last in the fresh-smell department for the duration of my day, but this one does! I am a huge fan, as it keeps stench at bay, even with my go-go-go lifestyle.” Love Beauty & Planet Deodorant, $6.49, Amazon.
Picky Bars Blueberry Boomdizzle. “One: I am on this bar! Two: Blueberries and vanilla with protein and carbs that satisfy my energy needs with real food, all in a bar! SOLD!” Picky Bars Blueberry Boomdizzle Real Food Energy Bars, $29.99 (10-pack), Amazon.
Laptop Computer. “Work, werk, work, werk, work!!!” MacBook Air, starting at $1099, Apple.
Timex Stop Watch. “Having been a professional runner for over a decade, perfecting my craft is completely dependent on time being nailed to a T. So, naturally I am in the habit of timing things, and I like to get splits for nearly everything I do (weird, I know).” Timex Ironman Classic Resin Strap Watch, $26.99, Amazon.
All-Natural Lip Shine. “I love a little tint on my lips, as well moisture. I care about what goes in my body, and because lip products are likely ingested a bit, I want my products to be natural, organic, and stay on. This one does the trick.” Burt’s Bees Lip Shine, $5.99, Amazon.
Nivea Lotion. “In my opinion, one can never be too moisturized—I can’t stand that dry-skin feeling. That’s why I hydrate from within and make sure my lotion does the hydrating on the outside, keeping my skin soft and feeling good.” Nivea Essentially Enriched Body Lotion, $5.48, Amazon.
Maternity FitSplint. “With my first pregnancy I didn’t use support as I worked out or went about my day, and so I had to do double duty to restore my core on the back end after having my daughter. I found Celeste at ReCore almost two years after having my daughter, and I was bummed I hadn’t found her sooner. The second I started using her ReCore program I saw great progress in my core strength. When I became pregnant with my second, my son Aster, I knew I needed to keep up with a routine, and so post-birth my core was in much better shape than it was after having my daughter, and I returned to a healthier state much quicker. Now with my third, I follow a ReCore routine and I wear the FitSplint almost the entire day—not just for exercise—and it is a game changer!” Maternity FitSplint, $49.95, ReCore Fitness.
iPhone. “Interestingly enough, I actually hate having my phone on me, but I use my phone for so many things, especially as a life line as a mother. I create my own schedule and have to be able to have business meetings on the fly. Much of my weekly planning is done in advance and my days are packed, so being able to return a quick email, hop on a call, or make a quick edit to the multiple projects I am working on is crucial.” iPhone 11, $699, Best Buy.
Hi-Tech Maternity Activewear. “I love my Cadenshae maternity activewear. We all know how comfortable pregnancy can be—or not be—and it’s important to do all I can to feel my best. Fitness is a part of my everyday, and I love the benefits exercise gives me and baby. To be sure I feel my best, I need activewear that works with my pregnant body. Even better, Cadenshae activewear actually evolves with me throughout multiple stages of motherhood, both during and after pregnancy!” Cadenshae Maternity Activewear, Cadenshae.
Bose Audio Sunglasses. “I spend much of my life outdoors, and as much as I strive to protect my skin, I also want to protect my eyes, so I try to keep sunglasses on me at all times. And because I am very much inspired by music, I love that with these Bose shades, I can wear my music on my eyes as I head out for my workouts—win, win!” Bose Frames Rondo Audio Sunglasses, $199.99, Nordstrom.
Sporty Girls Canteen. “I am very diligent about my water intake, so I always have my water bottle on me.” Corckcicles Sports Girls Canteen, $34.95, Paper Source.
A Better Gummy Bear. “I like gummy bears…enough said. But a nutritionist told me that gelatin from gummy bears actually helps remove heavy metals from the body. I didn’t do the research, but I am sold!” Black Forest Organic Gummy Bears, $14.99, Amazon.
Compression Socks. “I am on my feet all the time, hopping from meeting to meeting in between workouts and playing with the kids—and traveling, too! I need to reduce fatigue in my feet, so I can get the best out of myself during training.” Futuro Revitalizing Women’s Trouser Socks, $13.63, Amazon.
Dried Figs and Dates. “Food is essential to life, but good food is the key. I love my dried fruits—I can easily pack them with me and take them on-the-go. Not to mention, dates are high in potassium, which helps prevent muscle fatigue—a need for me!” United With Earth Organic Dried Figs and Dates, $49.95, Amazon.
For more Mother Essentials, peep our past columns with designers Anna Wallack, Cynthia Rowley, Rebecca Atwood, Dana Haim, Rachel Zoe, and Taylor Jay, Wiley Body founder Vanessa Wade, Partake founder Denise Woodard, model and muse Slick Woods, children’s author Serena Minott, clean living expert Kristian Henderson, June & January founder Amy Richardson-Golia, Bubbsi founder Sweta Doshi, Oakland retail queen Sherri McMullen, Shahidah Zareef of Bossmom Nation, Joanne Encarnacion, LaTonya Yvette, Morgan Walker of Make.do, Iguehi James, and more!
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