Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Working on my fitness

Generally, I devote myself to exercise for two main reasons. Training for races, and, let's be honest, not being a fatty. Theoretically, the best reason to exercise is to maintain good health. In practice though, that one just isn't as big of a motivator as a marathon PR or eating dessert every night without having to buy new pants.

A PR PLUS ice cream - best motivator ever

Being pregnant pretty much takes both of those off the table. I guess I could work towards a "pregnancy PR" or something, but that's stupid.

My one and only pregnancy double digit run at 8 weeks along

Exercise can definitely help you be less fat, or contain the fat to being exclusively baby related, but that's hard to really measure, and you can easily just call it all pregnancy and no one will question you to your face. That means you are left with only "being healthy" as a motivator. I have had many people promise me that exercise = short, easy labor, but unfortunately I don't believe in that at all, so that's not working for me. Which is a shame, because if I did, you would totally see me on Instagram rocking my marathon medal in my "Running for 2 NOT A FATTY" tank top.

Since I can't claim lack of time as a problem in the summer, I'm forced to come clean and admit that it's a real issue to get motivated for exercise these days. You know how sometimes you really don't want to do a workout and you start coming up with all sorts of excuses why you can't possibly do it that day? Well, for 9 months, you have a perfect, legitimate excuse every single day. Hello, I am CREATING A HUMAN. That's exercise enough. And if I can convince myself it's not, huffing and puffing through putting on my sneakers definitely is.

Two weeks ago, I had an awesome week where I was like "I'M TOTALLY NAILING EXERCISE". Then last week I didn't even get a workout in that lasted more than 30 minutes until Saturday. Once school begins and definitely once the baby arrives I'll be happy with 30 minutes, but when I really have no other responsibilities, its just pathetic. On Wednesday and Friday, my workout was getting up and stretching my back when I finally got too uncomfortable sitting.

On Saturday, I pulled myself together and went to Body Pump. I used to attend this class several times a week before my love affair with running began, but I've still dabbled here and there. I've never been to this particular session, and I got in a huge fight with the instructor. (Please note: 99.8% of the time when I claim to get in a "fight", the majority of my dialogue takes place in my head while outwardly I'm like "ok thanks!".)

She stopped class to come over and inform me I couldn't do the chest press on my back. Pregnant women not being allowed to lay on their back is, according to my research, an outdated concept that, if true, probably would have led to the end of the human race by now. Supposedly it can lead to reduced blood flow. I discuss my exercise with my doctor at most appointments and she just advised me not to use common sense and if lying on my back didn't feel right, get up, but she didn't see any problem with it.

So far I haven't had any issues, and since I do a lot of interval type workout classes, I'm lying on my back for like, 4 minutes max. I told the instructor that I had my doctor's clearance (I actually did say that out loud) but she insisted I elevate myself. That didn't seem like that big of a deal but then she was on my case throughout the rest of the class, and actually just told me to sit down during certain things. Then I got up and just started packing up to leave, and she was like "oh no wait you can do this next one!". She also insisted I just do plank throughout the entire ab section, because I can totally do a 5 minute plank with 93 extra pounds on me. I thanked her for her recommendations because of course, we all realize that being an instructor at the YMCA makes her much more knowledgeable than my OB.

Deep down, I must believe that continuing to "run" will help me return to running faster post partum, because I can't fathom why else I would do it when it feels terrible. Since this is my first pregnancy, there's really no way to measure that or not, so I can just claim to be right regardless of what happens. At 33 weeks, run has to be in quotation marks, because it's more like "walk/slowly jog a 5k on the treadmill". The humidity was making running outside impossible, meaning it caused pain/contractions that my doctor advised me not to run through. I'm only running maybe twice a week, because low impact exercise is just so much more comfortable. I tried to run two days in a row this week and it felt approximately 99 times more terrible than normal, so I cried uncle and did the elliptical.

On a positive note, in some ways I feel like I'm in a better place with fitness because limiting running means I actually do strength and cross training. Also it makes my running shoes last forever, which is good since I no longer get a sweet discount.

I didn't really expect to make it this far with running, and now it seems like there's a possibility of being able to continue to run until pretty much D-day, which I never would have expected. I'm not that hopeful though because dehydration seems to be my biggest issue (it causes Braxton Hicks contractions) and once school begins, it's an uphill battle. I'm always insanely dehydrated the first month of teaching and that's without trying to hydrate me and a fetus. Why I have any expectations about pregnant running having never had any experience with it? No idea.

That's where I am with 7 weeks until my due date. I'm hoping that I can at least keep up doing something, even walking, until the bitter end.

What's your main exercise motivation? Does everyone understand what I mean with the trying to invent excuses for yourself when you don't feel like it, or is that just me?


  1. I have been listening to Runner Girls podcast and it feels like all they do is make excuses for why they can't do all their training runs. so annoying. I think I shall have to quit that podcast. I quit running about 16 weeks into each pregnancy simply because I didn't like the way a bouncing fetus felt. I did do the elliptical all the way through. I would have been so annoyed at the Bodypump instructor.

  2. That instructor would have seriously pissed me off.

    I'm living proof that running during pregnancy does not make for a quick and easy labor. I do think it helped me get back to running though, but that could also just all be in my head.

  3. I've kept hiking since it's my favorite thing in the world and am walking or doing some form of strength training after every meal to keep my gestational diabeetus in check (no running for me thanks to SPD). Staying active throughout the day has made me more energetic now than I was in the second trimester, so that's my motivation right there...and while I don't think exercising now will help my labor experience, I do hope that it will make it easier to get out for longish walks postpartum, which will be my main fight against PPD in the bleak Seattle winter.

  4. I would have slapped that instructor. Kudos to you for having patience.

  5. I've dealt with one instructor like that since my back surgery and I've learned to never tell them why you need modifications, just make up your own shit do and avoid eye contact with the instructor. They freak out if they think anyone is going to get hurt or die in their class, but I don't really get that. I'd be proud of that as an instructor. "My class is SO HARD that you MAY DIE" would be my slogan.

    1. Or "BABY KILLING HARD WORKOUT" is also catchy

  6. That instructor sounds awful! Plus, she probably thought she was being extra concerned when she was really just embarrassing you. Argh. Side note-- I can't believe you're due in 7 weeks!!

  7. I would have given that instructor my favorite finger. (It's the middle one. Just thought I'd clarify.)

    My only motivation for working out is not being a fatty. Although, I do crossfit so one day maybe I'll have Michelle Obama arms.

  8. My motivation to exercise is solely based on my love for eating a lot of food. It really has nothing to do with being healthy, I just really love food. That instructor sounds like a huge beyotch, I would have slapped her. But, I'm sure all that YMCA training has made her super knowledgeable, especially if she's anything like the instructors at my Y.


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