I am starting to get back to my old level of training. I have really started to push myself again. It has been a long year plus since finding out I was pregnant! One of the most difficult things for me to handle was the way my strength changed. It doesn’t matter how much I worked out while pregnant, the bottom line is, your body changes and with it so does your strength.
After baby arrives you are exhausted. If your child is anything like mine, you spent the first 20 weeks waking up 2+ times a night! Alexander has just very recently started sleeping through the night. When I say recently I mean within the last week! Someone or all of us have been sick once or twice a month since Alexander was born in October. Two bouts of strep. Two strains of Influenza. 5 ear infections. Bronchitis. Several colds. A couple sinus infections. Croup. I was still training throughout all of this. However, I wasn’t pushing myself like I used to. I was just tired. Sometimes sick. But mostly just tired.
Immediately after having Alexander I discovered I could barely do a bridge on my Reformer. I was so frustrated. Bridging is a staple in my training. It is a staple in my teaching. I could bridge until I collapsed. I could have a student bridge until they collapsed. I truly love the way bridging works the entire body. Imagine my complete dismay to discover my core strength was entirely destroyed and I could barely get my tail bone off the mat, let alone keep the carriage at the stopper.
That was then. This is now. Alexander is 20 & 1/2 weeks old. He will officially be 5 months on the 28th. I have started running farther distances. I have started to push myself while doing Pilates. I shake and drip with sweat. Planking is my best friend. I do some kind of plank every single day. My options are abundant with my mat, Reformer, WundaChair, Bosu, and Pilates ball. I could plank all day long if I wanted to.
On Sunday I ran over 4 miles. I haven’t done that since my first trimester of pregnancy. It felt amazing. It felt amazing because I pushed myself to be where I used to be. Yesterday I did an incline program on my treadmill. It had a nice plateau of incline. I smelled like a hockey player when I was done. I have never been happier! I ran 3.2 miles entirely uphill. That is the sweet smell of my fitness returning.
I can be very hard on myself. I pride myself on being and feeling strong. So when I struggle to do exercises that I used to be able to do without blinking, I can really feel defeated. I hear a lot “you just had a baby!” I recently asked my husband “Exactly how long is that excuse applicable? How long do you get to say that? I think you get a couple weeks” He told me I was crazy. Maybe. But I also don’t see anything wrong with expecting more from myself. I don’t see anything wrong with pushing myself to be the best I can be.
Lately I have noticed my strength returning. I am able to bridge much better. I can plank rather well. I can move on my WundaChair with greater ease than right after birth. I have noticed my C-scoop improving. My biceps are looking more toned again. I feel I have a lot of work left to do. My hips. My low belly. It will take time though. I am aware of that. I do feel that as I am getting more rest and making the conscious decision to make sure my workouts really work me out, the strength I want will trickle back in.
It is one of the hardest things in life, growing a baby and birthing it. It really changes you emotionally, mentally, and physically. I have done it twice now. It is not easy. You have to be strong in so many ways. For me, my physical strength and fitness helps keep everything else in my life strong. It is all so intertwined it is hard to see where one thing begins and another thing ends. Feeling strong and being strong keep me happy and significantly less stressed. As I am peeking at the end of the exhaustion tunnel, I can see glimpses of my old life and strength returning. And I am positively giddy about it!