Thursday, January 18, 2018

Mom Bod Transitions and Facing your Fears 2018

Oh hi! Happy New Year and thanks for stopping by my blog that I haven't written in for A YEAR. I seriously didn't even realize it had been that long until I went back to revisit and did the math. Declan was 5 months old when I wrote the last blog and now he's 17 months. 12 months ago?! F'real??! F'real. It's true when "they" say that when you have kids, the days are long but the years are short. I mean sort of true. That first year was a DOOZY. It did not feel short. But there definitely is a time suck of sorts. Okay, Natalie, I think we are done with hearing about the passage of time here....okay, I'm done...

But the passage of time in this post is important because I want to fill you in on the progress I've made physically since my son was born. At 5 months postpartum, I had made a lot of change in what seemed a relatively short period of time. From 2 months pp to 5 months pp I had lost 2 inches in my waist, 2 inches around my belly button and 2 inches in my hips (check out my previous blog post--a year ago--for more details). A year after that,  I have lost 3.75  inches in my waist, 3.75 inches around my belly button and 3.5 inches in my hips. I'm also back to my pre-pregnancy weight, something that seemed like a Herculean task almost 1.5 years ago. My body's measurements have shifted a bit before pregnancy and that's okay with me. I mean, it's not "ideal" but hey! My body made a huge baby and it stretched and made way for A HUMAN BEING. How miraculous is that?!

I'm definitely not the type of person who "bounced back" easily. It took a lot of work for me to feel good in my skin again. I stayed dedicated to my workouts because it wasn't just about the measurements, it was about the control it provided in my life during a chaotic time. It gave me the ability to know I had command over something in my life, even if it was only 30 minutes of my day. It also helped me stay strong in mind and body when I was facing times when there was very little strength left. You guys, having a baby is the hardest thing I have done but I'm lucky I was healthy to be able to turn to my workouts to keep me sane(r).

How many times have you read about mom transitions? Are you bored? Be honest. I just feel like I have to touch on this because going through all of the physical craziness of making a human is so wild. To watch your body change and grow and stretch and shift and live in that...there really are no words. Then you have the mental challenge that follows. And the exhaustion of both the mental and the physical on top of raising a child. How do we do it? Seriously, how do we do it?

I really don't know how I have done it, but I do know that it has made me realize that I am capable of doing things I truly never thought possible. The year after Declan was born, I didn't have a whole lot of space in my mind, body or soul to do much else other than take care of that little baby. I wanted to so badly. I wanted myself back again, but there wasn't really much room for me. My heart and soul shifted to Declan and there it lived for a year. It still does but I'm slowly getting parts of it back.

After all of that soul shifting, and a piece of it forever with Declan, I have decided I need to face my fears to do what I need to do for me. So each day, I'm putting myself out there in ways I normally wouldn't and I've made 2018 "YEAR WITHOUT FEAR." Today it's this blog post and facing the fear of sharing these thoughts in hopes that it resonates with others. It's also facing the fear of sharing pictures of my transition and the judgement that potentially comes with it. Even though my body isn't perfect, I'm proud of the progress I've made and I'm lucky that it supports me in ways I never thought possible. It wakes up at ungodly hours, carries a big, healthy boy around as he wiggles in my embrace (I can't believe the strength that takes over when he is pushing out of my arms but my arms pull him back), it keeps going when I think I'm too tired to push through my extremely long days, and it allows me to exercise through it all--giving me bursts of energy after a HIIT workout, yoga class, or strength training session. It is amazing, and I'm grateful for it. So here I am after losing 11 inches total in just my waist, belly, and hips. Not sure of the total if I had tracked the rest of my body, too.

Here's to you and all of the transitions you want to make and to facing your own fears in 2018. Fingers crossed that I don't let another year slip by without blogging!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Postpartum Fitness Life and My Small Group Fitness Class

Hello from a long time in blog post Siberia! I am currently typing whilst sitting criss-cross applesauce on the floor, with a baby sitting in my lap, drooling all over a rattle. This is my new normal after giving birth to my son 5-months ago. I hope this explains my long hiatus from, but I know it's not much of an excuse. I could have written so many posts on pregnancy, pregnancy exercises, prenatal body changes, prenatal nutrition, anything pregnancy related but I just couldn't get it together for some reason.

I guess there was just too much going on in my mind, body and heart for me to adequately document it. It just seemed like way too big of an event to marginalize with something like, "5 Ways to Stay Fit While Pregnant!" Or maybe I was just "pregnant lazy" and sitting on the couch watching "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" seemed more appealing. It's probably a combo of those things. 

So, going from pregnant lazy to postpartum lazy, first I'm going to share this article with you that I really connected with days after giving birth to my son, without having to explain it myself. I think it summed up what I was going through at the time. As far as the rest of this post, I've decided to only share my fitness journey. This is a fitness blog after all! 

Pre-baby, my workouts had just started slowing down a little bit because I was dealing with an injury. But mainly, I was doing HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts mixed in with some yoga and strength training. I was never lifting heavy weight (maybe 15 lbs max) and focusing on a lot of body weight work. I've also never been "ripped." I'm a girl who loves occasional decadent dining, cocktails, wine, and chocolate. That doesn't lend itself to a ripped physique, but I was happy with myself. Here's me pre-baby. I'll admit that I'm posing a bit here (I know, gross), but it's the most recent photo I had of my body prior to pregnancy so I'm sharing it.  I wish I had a side pic of me so you could compare to the other pictures that follow but I can't find one:


Here's me 2 days before my son was born, 40 pounds heavier. I worked out throughout my entire pregnancy. At the beginning I did a lot of the same stuff I had been doing pre-pregnancy. I was still HIIT training, taking yoga class, and lifting weights. As I got further along and bigger, I simply modified until weeks before the baby was born. Then I listened to my body and what it could safely do. It was basically easier weight lifting and walking every day. I remember the day I was doing yoga and tried to do crow and fell over. I realized I was simply too big and off balance to continue doing what I was doing!  I was planning on working out the day I went into labor but it was so hot and I was so huge and tired that it didn't happen (humble brag much?). I am so glad I didn't workout because my labor was 27 hours long. That is the hardest workout I've ever done. (Side note: let's all enjoy my popped knee in this photo):

2 Days Before Giving Birth

And lastly, me at 7-weeks postpartum and 21 weeks postpartum. There is no photoshop or filters on any of it. Just me and my iphone (and my messy bedroom--I do have an infant...EXCUSES!).
7-Weeks Postpartum and 21 Weeks Postpartum
I just deleted a whole paragraph commenting and hating on my body and what it looked like 7-weeks postpartum because, no. That. Ain't. Right. My body went through the biggest and most amazing feat it will ever go through, and I get choked up just thinking about it. No half-marathon, marathon, 100 mile bike ride, or hardest workout in the world can compare to what your body goes through to create a human being, and then what your body goes through to get back to your "normal" self. I guess you could argue that all the training that leads up to any fitness feat could compare, but nope. Just NO. It's an indescribable experience that leads to your body creating and birthing another person at the end of it. WHAT? It is the most beautiful thing in the world and I still cannot believe I did it. I am so grateful that I was able to do it and have a healthy and happy pregnancy. And even better? A happy and healthy baby boy in my life. Ladies, we are so lucky to get to do this. It is so hard on your bones, muscles, skin and mind to create a human in such a short period of time. The changes you experience physically and emotionally are off the charts nutty. Just...I can't. I can't even express what I would like to about the feelings I have about it because I would really just burst into a million pieces and my whole being would be shards on the floor.

Today I am 25 weeks postpartum. So far I have lost 31 pounds and I have 9 more to go. Working out post-baby was really hard at first. I was exhausted, hormonal, weepy, and stretched to my limits emotionally. But working out actually helped me so much. It gave me some energy to get through the day and also made me feel like I had some control over my life, which kept me motivated to continue doing it every day. I have only been exercising about a half-hour (while the baby naps--sometimes when he doesn't), 4-5 days a week but doing higher intensity work to get the most out of my time. It's been mainly body weight work with some weight training mixed in. I've just started doing more weight training because it helps boost metabolism and shapes your body in ways only using your body for resistance can't.

My nutrition has kind of sucked because I'm not focused on myself during the day so I am kind of just snacking and eating when I can. The only good meal I get most days is dinner when my husband makes it. I know if my nutrition was better, I would feel better and look better, too. I have lost a lot of muscle mass/toning and I hope to see that again.

The workouts have gotten so much easier. I do look better but the most important thing is that I am strong again. I was so weak the first few weeks that it surprised me. But I'm on my way. And you know what? If I don't totally get back to where I was physically pre-baby, that's okay. I will never, ever be the same anyway. But you can doooo eeeet! I promise you that working out, as hard as it is to get going, will not only make you stronger physically, it will make you stronger mentally to get through those really tough, "I-can't-do-this-mom'ing-thing-today" days. A little bit of sweat really does go a long way!

Which leads me to announcing the inching of my way back into the workforce with my 6-Week Shape Up for New Moms. 45 minutes, 2 times a week at Hyatt Training in Northwest Portland, starting February 7th. It's small group fitness and there will be a max of 4 women in the class. I am keeping the time shorter than an hour because as you can see, you don't need a full hour to get in shape. Enjoy the benefits of working alongside a personal trainer with the support of other new moms who are going through the trenches of motherhood with you. We will push to our limits while modifying as needed. As someone who recently went through childbirth, I understand what your body (and mind) might be going through during this delicate time. That doesn't mean these workouts will be easy! Get ready to work on increasing strength, cardiovascular fitness, balance, and endurance. We will track your progress and at the end of 6-weeks, you will get to see hard evidence of how far you've come! Contact me to get started! I can't wait! And contact me if you just want to talk being a mom and incorporating fitness into your life. It's not easy, but I know you can do it!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Taking a (gulp) Break

So the day came. The day when those scary 6 words were uttered...You Have To Take A Break. 

Last week I was sitting in my chiropractor's office when she broke the 'taking the break news' and as sad as it was, I agreed with her. I am still surprised at myself for even having a chiropractor. After a bad experience with one at 15 years old, following a (not so) tragic backwards flip-flop/neck incident, I vowed to never return. However, some  back pain that I had been enduring for too long prompted the first visit about 6 months back and I'm still in pain, but the pain is moving now to the front of my hip. (Wow, I sound like an old lady! The pain is moving to my hip! I never realized that in my early 30's I could utter those words, but I am!) My chiropractor has really helped, but I think that now as my skeleton is being re-adjusted, so is my movement. My body was taking a path of movement that it shouldn't have been, and through my muscle imbalances, I continued to push. Finally my body said, "nope, you can't do this anymore." So pain ensued and now I have to make a change. 

I LOVE High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts. I love that I can get a workout done in a shorter amount of time just by pushing myself to my max in each exercise; I love how it gives me a rush of endorphins; I love being able to work every muscle in my body at once, making me feel like I'm getting the most out of my workout. I usually incorporate HIIT training into my workouts 3, maybe even 4 times a week (and I teach a 30-minute HIIT class at Nourish Northwest on Tuesdays!) and what I'm realizing is that this type of training could be the culprit to my consistent pain. Oh, and running as well. I can't forget that joint pounding workout, too. Unfortunately I need to push these hard on your joints exercises to the curb for a while as my bod realigns. 

I never thought the day would come that I would have to take a break because I thought I was being really diligent in switching my workouts up. I strength train, take yoga, run, do pilates every once in a while, and make sure to stretch and foam roll. But the thing is, if you are performing exercises with a body that is misaligned or has muscle imbalances, no matter what type of workout you are doing, it will eventually catch up to you. My muscles on the left side of my body have clearly had enough and now a change needs to be made. Maybe not forever, but definitely until I can get it in check again. 

So what are the next steps? Back to basics. If you ever find yourself in the situation I am finding myself, "take a break" doesn't necessarily mean quit working out. Maybe you need to take a different approach. Maybe you need to remind yourself where you started and begin again. Start focusing on core work and stability. Lower your weight load and re-connect with the smaller, stabilizing muscles to get you back on track. Meet with a personal trainer who can spot your muscle imbalances (me!) and work on foam rolling the over-active, tight muscles and strengthening the muscles that are weak. Maybe even just moving your runs to the elliptical or walking instead of running for a while will help do the trick. Maybe you are simply doing too much of one thing and you need to switch things up.

 I have decided that I will not be discouraged by this news, but excited to take my workouts to a new and different place for a while. I see it as a chance to reconnect to my body again in a way that I have neglected for a while. Sometimes it just takes some slowing down to get back on track. It doesn't mean that your workouts will be any "less than" it just means that they will be different. I'm sure on my journey back to stability I will still feel very challenged and I'm excited to see where this route takes me.  Be well!