Tuesday, October 6, 2015

It's official!

Started writing on October 6, 2015:
I'm officially a mom!

My beautiful daughter was born on her due date, after I worked a full shift, did a photo shoot with a coworker, and got in a workout for myself. It's been extremely crazy and tiring since she entered this world, but I wouldn't trade any of those moments with her.

Labor was fast and furious (less than 6 hours), my hospital room was a whirlwind when I arrived (I technically didn't get admitted till a few hours before they discharged me because of how fast my labor progressed), and my body hurt like hell for days (when fit moms tell you that it's the hardest workout of your life, they REALLY weren't kidding!), but in the end, to hold my daughter in my arms was the best feeling in the world.

Since her birth a month ago, my life hasn't been the same, nor will it ever be what it was prior to her arrival. Gone are the restful night sleeps, having "me" time, going out to the store when I need to, even getting a workout in now involves this tiny person and figuring out how I'm supposed to get anything accomplished. The answer: you really don't get anything done unless you forgo precious sleep sessions. 

**I had much more to write that day, but life got in the way of me typing**

Monday, August 24, 2015

Almost there!

I'm just about 38 1/2 weeks pregnant and I think I've found the dreaded "wall" that's never fun to conquer. The one where your body can't do anymore but your brain keeps telling you to keep going. My body feels like it's physically done, but my brain obviously won't let it quit since I know that Baby S is showing no signs of coming out anytime soon.

I'm not usually one for whining when my body's had enough, but I've learned that it's at this point in the pregnancy where EVERY pregnant woman is DONE DONE DONE and wants their body back, to not be in pain all the time, to be able to put shoes on without help, etc. etc. Here's a few things that I can't wait to be able to do again:

1. See my feet without leaning forward
2. Put pants, socks, and shoes on without feeling like I ran a marathon
3. Lay on my back and stomach
4. Not bumping into people all the time because I can't "suck it in"
5. Be able to sit at a dining table like a normal person

There's more, but those seem to be my main ones so far.

I'm still doing my damnedest to stay active, and at this point, it's honestly becoming a chore, but I have to keep going. I will not let myself quit.

37 weeks, TRX Deep Sumo Squat

Yes, I'm still going to work and training clients (and I just picked up another!), I want everyone that I work with and who's a member at the facility to see that it's possible to be pregnant and work out safely. I want to be the inspiration and break the assumption that fitness is bad for a pregnant woman, or even a woman who's trying to be pregnant. 

I don't fit into the "one size fits all" pregnancy fitness model, and while I understand they're guidelines, they're not set in stone. Were you running before you found out you were pregnant? Keep going! Doing CrossFit? Keep going! Doing yoga? Keep going (I think you get the idea)! While I'm not running anymore, I still use the TRX Suspension Trainer, kettle bells, and walk regularly. My goal is to be as fit as possible when Baby S arrives in hopes that my labor won't be horrible (it's not easy regardless), and that my body will bounce back faster than if I had done nothing for 10 months. But what I hope will happen and what my body will do are two different things. Only time will tell what I'm capable of mentally and physically. 

"Being told you can't do something is all more reason to prove that you can."

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I've been a busy bee and a bad blogger

It's been over 2 months since my last post. Sorry!

Things have been a bit crazy to say the least. I've had my baby shower and virtual sprinkle, my parents are living it up on their cross country road trip, I'm pretty well established at my new job, and we have about 7 weeks till baby arrives (plus or minus a couple weeks since we all know she'll come when she's ready to).

32 week photo: smuggling a large basketball

I'm still being active, though I have had to slow down a bit in the past couple weeks with the height of summer making it tough for me. The humidity has been making it tough to breathe, but with the complex I live in doing a crap ton of paving and sealing the past month, the air quality hasn't been the greatest either. Thankfully, they're almost done (supposed to be by the end of the week. Fingers crossed!).

As far as my workouts have gone, I'm still doing a lot of walking and I've started wearing a pedometer during my shifts to really see how much I'm moving. So far, I'm averaging about 3000 or so steps each shift, which range from 4-6+ hours each time, 5 days a week. I'm still walking Sydney 2-3 times a week, but with it being super hot and humid at 9am when I usually take her, it's been tough, but we try to get a mile in each walk. Strength training involves the TRX Suspension Trainer still as well as some kettle bell deadlifts, but those are starting to become tough as my belly progressively grows bigger. I'm not able to squat as low and it's taking me a bit longer to get off the floor, but I'm still managing. Thankfully, all the members, clients, and my coworkers understand and are willing to help me out if I need it.

While I'm still getting a lot of "good for you for working out" from some, I get just as many people questioning whether or not what I'm doing is good for the baby (and just so you know, it's not hurting her). In the past, it's been believed that working out was bad for reproduction (clearly not the case anymore), that working out meant that the mother was being selfish in taking care of themselves and not thinking of the baby (the more I move anyway, the less active my baby is, which means they're sleeping), and don't mention that you run or do CrossFit (all that bouncing CAN'T be good is the usual statement, but there's plenty of amniotic fluid to keep baby safe and well cushioned).

I want everyone to remember something when it comes to pregnancy and fitness: every pregnancy is different and every woman's body reacts differently to fitness. Fitness is not a "one size fits all" just like no two pregnancies are the same. If another woman and myself are both pregnant and both do the same workout programs, chances are we both are going to react differently to the program. I've had a relatively easy pregnancy where as someone else could have every pregnancy symptom in the book. No one should be treated the same because we aren't all the same. Even identical twins have some differences.

This may be my first child, but I've made sure to do my research and have talked with my doctors about what I do fitness wise. Most are impressed that I'm still training and as active as I am at this stage in my pregnancy, though I'm not sure why. I want to make sure that my body is in the best shape it can be going into labor. Any woman I've talked to about being in shape versus not being in shape before baby, they've all told me that being in shape was the best thing for them: labor took less time (not always the case), but the biggest benefit was how quickly their body bounced back afterwards. Some were able to start walking within 4 weeks, making their recovery time less than when they did nothing.

In between my working out, I've started to prepare for baby's arrival: all the clothes we had are washed, folded, and put away, re-arranged the furniture to fit the pack n play (no crib till after we move), and have been periodically cleaning the entire apartment one room at a time. As much as I really want to prepare the nursery, I have to wait till after the move. Fighting those nesting instincts are not easy either. Appointments to meet pediatricians are made before making a decision, emails have been sent to check out daycare facilities, and just have a few little things to deal with, but those can wait. I'm probably missing some items, but for now, I think we're good. Now, time to go in search of something for lunch.....Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Everything happens for a reason. Really.

It's not a secret that I've been job hunting for the past 6 months and while I found a temporary position at a community college an hour away, I was thrilled to have a job that I could actually make a living doing. And it was my first full time position to boot. But this meant that I had to make some big changes at my part time retail position.

Since accepting my temp position, I obviously had to cut back on my retail position. Management didn't seem to like this as I gave them a weeks notice due to the circumstances regarding the temp job, which, when going to fill in for a woman who's a few days out from her due date, I couldn't control the start date. Regardless of whether they liked the short notice or not, they were able to adjust my schedule. I gave them my new availability and informed them that it would run until early May (I also wrote this on the sheet to make it documented), which limited me to working just Saturdays due to my hours at my temp job didn't allow me any ability to work there during the week, and I needed one day off a week to get my errands and such done that I couldn't do during the week. They didn't seem keen on this, but nonetheless, accepted and moved forward with it.

As my time at my temp position winds down (Monday's my last day), I hit the job search again and hard. I decided that I can't afford to be picky with where I want to work and needed to make as much as I could before baby arrives in September. I applied to almost a dozen places and had 3 interviews: one almost 6 weeks ago (A), one two weeks ago (B), and the third a week and a half ago (C). I just heard back from A yesterday that I didn't get the job, I had a second interview with B last Monday, and I haven't heard from C since my initial interview. B asked me to come in last Friday and offered me a position to become a full time trainer, which I happily accepted. Their reason: they could really see that I was very passionate about health and fitness, something they look for in their candidates. I was beyond thrilled.

I go in tomorrow after I'm done at my temp job to complete all the paperwork and make it official. I still haven't told them I'm pregnant and I'm not sure if they've figured it out as I clearly look it at this point, but knowing that they hired me, pregnant or not, is a really good feeling. As hard as it's been for me to find a job, I believe that getting this position was meant to happen now, and not when I applied to this company back in the fall. As frustrating and worried as I've been since January, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my chest, at least for now. It's been a busy year for me and will continue to be busy, and even more so when our newest addition arrives in September. Things are starting to look up, and I cleared another hurdle, though I know it won't be the last.

I've always believed that everything happens for a reason, even if we don't understand the reason at the time. What's meant to be will happen when it's supposed to, and the wait will be worth the journey you took to get there.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Prenatal Fitness: What I've Learned, Part 2

In case you missed part 1 of what I've learned for prenatal fitness, here's the link: Prenatal Fitness, Part 1

You'd be surprised how hard it was to find a picture of a pregnant woman with proper form!

Continuing from part 1, part 2 is going to be talking about the trials and errors of what movements/exercises have been working or not working for me, and how I've been feeling so far during my pregnancy. I'll also include some science (it can't be avoided) and hopefully learn something new (or have refreshed your memory). 

As of today, I'm just over 21 weeks and I'm noticing some changes from how I've been the past couple months. As my baby's growing and developing at a rapid rate, my body is still hard at work to grow my child. It's normal for my balance and posture to start to weaken due to the changes in my center of gravity and that my baby is growing larger, resulting in more weight on my front, for my food cravings to change, and to change my exercise routines to fit what I can do without being uncomfortable. What I mean by this is having to modify positions to be more comfortable for my body or change something entirely because it's become too difficult to keep up, but still be able to get an effective workout in. 

I'm going to break my experiences into sections: cardio, strength, and flexibility. Again, this is what I have been experiencing over the past bunch of weeks and is based on no one else's input. Fitness can be a lot of trial and error to figure out what works for someone, and what works for me may not work for someone else, or if it does, modification may be needed to fit what that person can or can't do. But the beauty of it is that no matter where your fitness level is, everything can be modified to fit you and your abilities. Getting outside of your comfort zone can be a good thing and who knows, you may end up loving to hate burpees, but do them anyway because of the many benefits doing them can offer. I love to hate burpees and yes, I still do them, but modified how I do them to fit what I can do without injuring myself.

Cardiovascular is referring to the heart and blood vessels, so when discussing cardiovascular endurance, cardio for short, it means working on your body's ability to continue exertion while getting energy from your body's aerobic system. In non-science speak, it's the ability to deliver oxygen to your muscles while they're working, by strengthening your heart and lungs to make them more efficient. 
There's quite a number of exercises that fall in the category of cardio: walking, jogging, swimming, biking, using an elliptical, Zumba, dancing, burpees, jumping jacks....you get the idea. Prior to finding out I was pregnant, I was running, biking, walking, and participating in TRX and CrossFit classes, and was doing at least one if not more of these a day. While TRX and CrossFit fall under strength as well, there is a cardio component to them. They were 20-45 minutes in length and considered high intensity training (HIT). Beginners did come to those classes and everyone is instructed to go at their own pace and listen to their body, and were given guidance and encouragement throughout the class (I would know, I was one of those instructors for those classes). The best reward: the more I worked at it, the easier those activities became, the stronger I became, and I had more energy and felt great. Although it's becoming more difficult to breathe due to baby growing in my abdominal cavity, I'm signed up for a 5K (3.11 miles) on May 2nd and while I've had to put running on hold, I am active at least 5-6 days a week. I still walk at least a mile 3-4 times a week (and I sometimes have to schedule it in, especially if the weather's bad), will go for 40-60 minute walks with my dog on the nicer days, and will ride a stationary bike while reading a book.

Strength refers to your muscles and how strong they are. Muscular endurance refers to the ability to sustain an activity for a long period of time (think light to moderate weight, higher reps) while muscular strength refers to the ability to produce maximal force for a short period of time (think heavy weight, few reps) in terms of lifting, or as a runner, a marathoner (endurance) versus a sprinter (strength). I don't necessarily lift for power anymore, but every now and then I do go until I hit momentary muscle failure (the ability to continue the movement with correct form until I can't do any more reps). But the second my form falls apart, I stop. I probably do this every few months with certain exercises, not not everything.
As I said in my cardio bit, my strength training regiment is probably 90% body weight exercises, mostly with my TRX Suspension Trainer. I still work in some of the CrossFit moves I used to do, but not to the same intensity because it's not necessarily healthy to exhaust myself completely while pregnant (and most doctors would highly recommend not working out to that point either). I still use kettlebells, medicine balls, and dumbbells as well, as I am now at the point where laying on my back isn't an option and still need to maintain strength in my lower back. Now, for beginners who haven't been consistently working out, I would highly recommend working with a trainer who specifically knows the do's and don'ts for pregnant women or starting with some pregnancy DVD's since they are specifically made for the mom-to-be.

Although most pregnant women can do a majority of exercises and movements that a non-pregnant woman can, there are a few contraindications that will need to be addressed depending on where the woman is in their pregnancy. For example, laying on your back or your stomach will probably be okay to do during your first trimester (up to 13 weeks) as long as it's not causing discomfort to the mother. In the second trimester (13 to 26 weeks), laying on the stomach is not going to be possible, but being in a prone position on hands and knees is an alternative. Laying on your back is still doable till about 18-20 weeks unless the mother is feeling uncomfortable prior to this stage of her pregnancy, at which point moving to an inclined surface would be best. This is because there are two major blood vessels that are on the back wall of the abdominal cavity (inferior vena cava and aorta) that move blood to and from your heart that when compressed by baby can disrupt or restrict blood flow. During the third trimester (27 to 40 weeks), more modifications will be needed, but I still have a while to go before I can give my experiences on this stage. Does this mean that all strength training has to stop? No, it doesn't, but it does mean that you need to make adjustments to your program to fit your abilities. 

Flexibility (limberness) is referring to the range of motion in a joint or multiple joints, and the length of muscles in your body that allow you to bend and move. Yoga is great for increasing this as well as strength (trust me, I was pretty sore when I started with yoga years ago), and while pregnant, prenatal yoga is an option, either by joining a local studio that offers them or DVD or videos that you've found online or on tv.

Everyone hears or has heard that stretching post workout is good for you. 10 to 15 minutes to stretch out after your workout helps increase the blood flow to the muscles you just worked, which can help reduce how sore you are when DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) sets in. While it's probably best to stretch after your body's warmed up and loose, there are people out there who insist on stretching while "cold", or before you've warmed up. There's mixed opinions on this, but I look at it and explain the concept to my clients this way: think of your muscles as an elastic band. Now, if the elastic band was put in the freezer for a few hours and taken out when you're ready to use it, chances are that it will break at a certain point. If the elastic band was left in the sun for a few hours and removed when you are ready to use it, chances are it will stretch a lot further before it breaks when compared to the frozen elastic band.

Why is stretching and flexibility important? The obvious answer being that having a better range of motion may improve your performance as well as decrease your risk of injury. A lack of flexibility can lead to a lack of mobility, which can affect our posture and decrease our effectiveness with performing certain movements, and maintaining good posture throughout pregnancy is important for many reasons including reduced lower back pain.

Here's what I've learned about myself by stretching regularly. My regular amount of stretching is done about 2-3 times a week for major parts of my body, and other areas of my body, such as my hips, hip flexors, and calves, almost every day. Prior to becoming pregnant, I usually stretched after a long run and after my strength workouts. During my first trimester, I didn't stretch a whole lot as I spent a good part of those 13 weeks sleeping more than usual, force myself to take my dog for a 20 minute walk, and virtually had no energy to hit the gym. As a result, my flexibility suffered quite a bit.

Around the 13 week mark, my energy started to come back and I was able to add 1-2 days of working out into my week, and boy was I ever sore the day after. I started to notice that my hips and hip flexors were more sore than usual, my chest and back felt much tighter, and my lower back pain was starting to creep up the pain scale again. It took some effort on my part, but after a few weeks of adding in 5-10 minutes of stretching after my walks, I started feeling better. My range of motion was coming back and I couldn't have been happier! The pains that I was feeling were going away and I was able to increase my range of motion during my strength days.

On the days that I spend a lot of time sitting, I swapped out my chair for a stability ball, which has been great. Being that it's unstable, it forces me to use my core muscles to work so that I don't fall off the ball, and I can challenge myself further by crossing one leg over the other (making sure to alternate which leg's on top) and balance on one foot instead of two. It was a bit difficult at first, but now I can rock it like a pro. What I love most is that sitting on the ball allows me to roll around while sitting on it, which helps open up my hips and shift my pelvis around, reducing any lower back pain (big time win for me). Plus, bouncing is just straight up fun.

Being 21 weeks into my pregnancy is giving me more challenges to deal with: difficulty sitting up without having to rollover or push myself upright, tying my shoes and putting socks on is getting harder, and most importantly, my balance is starting to fall apart faster. I'll give myself more modifications and possibly change up my routines some more, but I will not sit back and let myself go. I can't afford to and I've still got quite a ways to go before I get to meet our newest addition. Moving forward!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Prenatal Fitness: What I've learned, part 1

Biggest issue that I've learned from pregnant women with regards to fitness and working out during their pregnancy: no two women will get the same answer with regards to fitness.

For many women, if they were working out prior to becoming pregnant, they were most likely told that they can continue what they were doing, but to listen to their body if they became tired sooner or to back off if a movement was bothering them. 

For those who may have been living a sedentary life prior to their pregnancy, they were most likely told one of two things: yes, you should become active and work into it slowly (this is true for anyone, pregnant or not), or no, trying to get fit now will be bad for you and baby. This last statement is something that has always boggled my mind because when is movement EVER bad for you? Did we revert to the 1960's when it was believed that running too much was bad for the reproductive system of women? Are there certain things a complete beginner shouldn't do when starting a new fitness routine? Absolutely. Does that mean that they should do nothing? Not by a long shot. 

Every single person moves, how much they move depends on them, but everyone moves. Walking, bending, and squatting for example, are movements that are done almost every day for most people. Excluding my workouts, I walk around my apartment, climb stairs multiple times a day, step in and out of the bathtub for a shower, bend over to tie my shoes, squat to get a pot or pan out of the cabinet, along with much more. That's just a typical day for me at home, and I do more than that at my job.

By no means am I telling anyone to not speak to their doctor and their OBGYN. You may have certain conditions that may restrict certain activities or limit how much of others you can do. If you have doubts about something, ask. I was once told that the only stupid question out there is the one you don't ask. As a personal trainer, I want you to ask questions. I want you to feel confident with what you're doing and if I don't have an answer, I'll do my research. Yes, I will ask about your health history, what you've done in the past with regards to fitness, what you're currently doing, your diet, if you have any health concerns or restrictions, and if necessary, reach out to your doctor for specifics. Your safety is my #1 concern and I will tell you that. Will I get annoying for correcting your form for the umpteenth time? Probably. Am I trying to limit your chance of getting injured? You bet. 

Back to the topic at hand: what I've learned about prenatal fitness. Number 1 thing I've learned: regardless of your stage of pregnancy, get off your butt and move! Go for a walk, swim, bike, try a prenatal yoga class, but do something. Are you a beginner? Start with walking for 10 minutes a day and work to improve your cardiovascular endurance. Your heart will get stronger, you'll be able to walk for longer the more you work at it, and you'll have more energy. Are you a veteran? Great job and keep up the hard work! Regardless of your level of fitness, one thing is standard across the board for all women during their pregnancy: listen to what your body is telling you. Are you feeling fatigued? Having a hard time breathing? Do you feel absolutely wiped out? Either back off and take a rest or call it a day. Your body is growing another human being, and that takes a lot of energy by itself. If you feel like you need a nap, go take a nap. I slept a significant amount more during my first trimester than I thought possible. I barely had the energy to take my dog for a mile walk, let alone think about going for a run. Did I get my energy back? Yes. Was it hard getting back into the swing of things? Very. Did I quit? Nope, and I don't plan to. 

The second thing I've learned when researching prenatal fitness and what's offered for pregnant women is that the only thing I've seen as far programs/classes go is that prenatal yoga is basically it. While I've seen Stroller-cise and many other programs for postnatal women, there's virtually nothing for the currently pregnant woman. 

Now I know that no two women are the same in pregnancy and no fitness program/class can be a one size fits all, but why aren't there more prenatal fitness classes out there? I have nothing against prenatal yoga by any means, but for me, yoga just really isn't my thing. Have I done yoga in the past? Yes. Have I been to yoga classes before? Yes, but I've also tried step, Zumba, cycling/spinning, TRX, CrossFit, and others so I'm not opposed to trying anything. As a trainer, it's important for me to try a variety of classes and try out various instructors because at some point, a client will ask what I think of So-and-So's class or of _______ class, and I should be able to give them my opinion, pros and cons, and why they should try or not try it. 

Do I think there should be a Mommy Bootcamp type of class or some other fitness class for soon-to-be moms? Yes! Should it be designed to fit all stages of pregnancy? Absolutely! Is this something that I want to start at my facility if it doesn't exist? You bet! Why would I want to start something like this? Why not would be my initial answer, but because it's a great way for soon-to-be moms to meet and bond over stories and experiences, make new friends, and get fit in the process! The benefits of being fit during a pregnancy can far outweigh the risks of being sedentary: labor could be smoother, recovery could be faster, your body could bounce back sooner. 

I can't say that I've experienced any of this from personal experience as this will be my first child, but I've heard stories and spoken to people I know who were both fit going into delivery and who had been sedentary going into delivery, and the length of recovery was much longer for those who were sedentary or who had complications. Personally, I want as much as my labor and delivery to be as smooth as possible and if that means working out and strength training on a regular basis, then I will do what it takes to try to make the process smoother (notice I didn't say easier. There's nothing easy about labor and delivery, or so I've been told). 

Nothing can make your day like a little pregnancy humor!

Thanks for reading part 1! Part 2 will be coming soon!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My worries in a rant. Sorry

As my time at my temp position winds down (I have 4.5 weeks left), I've been doing a lot of thinking, and not a lot of positives have been coming to me sadly.

To my closest friends, I truly am a worrier: worried about eating right, worried about staying in shape (which is proving to be quite difficult for me apparently), worried about finances, worried about our housing situation, and the list could go on and on. With a little one on the way and due to arrive in September (or whenever they decide to grace my husband and I with their presence), the negative just seem to be pouring out of me, no matter how hard I try to stay optimistic. My out-of-control hormones probably aren't helping me any, but I can't seem to control how I feel.

Surprisingly, I'm not all that worried about the nursery, at least for the moment. When we do get the furniture, hand-me-downs from family members, we will be throwing out the mattress that's currently in our second bedroom. We've had it for almost 7 years and it really just has reached the end of it's life. All of my hubby's "man cave" items will be staying on the wall, mainly because we don't have space to store them or relocate them to another part of our apartment. I plan on reorganizing the closet in that room because whoever lived there previous to us did the absolute worst job in adding extra shelves, and they're not level and they're driving me nuts. Dad, you taught me well in doing handy work in the house properly. I've even been "contracted" my by sister-in-law to hang things in her apartment because I'm just that awesome at it. I also know that our family won't be staying in our current place come October so I'm just not going to bother with decorating the nursery. I just don't see a point when our babe will be 6 weeks at the oldest when we move.

What worries me the most is my job status. Yes, I have a part time position at a major retail store, but that's not where I want to stay. I find myself becoming more and more unhappy with upper level management: the schedule is only displayed for a week at a time, and the following week's schedule isn't posted till 2-3 days before it starts. Meaning that you can't plan ahead. My previous store always posted the schedule for 2-3 weeks ahead, they have been known to change my schedule without my permission and fail to call me to make sure I can work the changes (in my defense, I work 1 day a week and don't stop in except to work), schedule me on days that I'm unavailable (for which I gave them an availability form with specific dates on when it would end, but that apparently means nothing to them), and give me a really hard time for only being available one day a week. I don't want to stay there, especially since the cost of living is nearly twice as much as where I previously lived and my wages don't reflect the cost to live where I am, despite asking for a raise as I've worked for the company for over 18 months (which didn't happen), but I can't afford to leave either. The only good thing for me staying there is that I get FMLA, but only the part where my job is guaranteed after 12 weeks of leave. As far as other prospects, the likelihood of me being hired 18 weeks pregnant is slim. Yes, it's against the law to discriminate, but companies can come up with other reasons why they wouldn't hire me and at least in New Jersey, that employer has to give a reason why they aren't hiring you. That's the law here. I didn't know that a few months ago when I wasn't given a reason for why I wasn't hired at a fitness facility.

I'm also worried about when I go on maternity leave. Will I be able to handle being on my own with a 15 month old pup? Can we afford me not to work for 12 weeks? I know the answer is yes and we'll make it work, but it still worries me nonetheless. And I'm terrified of completely losing it. I have this crazy idea in my head that when I've reached my limit, I'm going to pack the kid up, drive to my husband's job, and leave them with him. I know I can't do that, but I feel like I will have many days like that where I just can't handle everything. I have a very hard time dealing with things that are out of my control and a small human being is going to be a struggle for me. I'm sure I'll figure it out, but that's what I'm currently feeling.

I wish I could write something happier, but happy is not what I'm feeling. I'm hormonal, stressed, and really wanting a beer. I will get through this, but right now, this moment, I don't feel like I will.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The research continues, as well as seeking employment

Since deciding that I want to venture into the world of pre/post natal fitness, I've been doing a lot of research for certifications, good books, tips, feedback and the like to build this idea I have in my head. In addition to this, I've been researching employment opportunities for when my temp position is over in 6 weeks. I'll be 22 weeks along when I'm done, just over the halfway point for my pregnancy, and I have my concerns about what employer will hire me knowing that I'll be leaving at the end of August/early September for a time.

While I haven't decided how long I'll wait before I go back (I'm leaning towards 12 weeks), other factors are weighing on my decision: when childcare will be available (that's a whole other beast), can we afford me being out of work for a max of 12 weeks, will I have a job to return to, and more. Right now, I'm hoping that someone will take a chance on me if I do find something. I have a couple applications out, but have heard nothing, and none of my pre-pregnancy prospects turned up anything. I'm just going to keep plugging away and hope something happens. Positive thoughts!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Deciding to venture into a new market

Contrary to what the post title says, I'm not leaving the fitness industry by any means. I love what I do and I plan to keep doing it, but I'm deciding to branch out into an area that peaked my interest a year or so ago and I hope that I'll be successful in doing so. My husband has all the faith in the world that I'll be good at it being that I'm very dedicated to my clients, so much so that he actually told me that I should present at fitness conferences in the future should my endeavors take off (which I hope they do).

Have you figured out what the branch is yet? Is your curiosity getting the best of you?

The area I want to explore is pre- and postnatal fitness. The topic is something that I was fairly unfamiliar with, as are many trainers, and found that it was something that was severely lacking in the area I previously lived. I'm not saying that the subject is non-existent, because it isn't, but it is an area that I've had trouble finding information on it that was more than the usual exercises and such that I was doing. I know there's certain exercises that postnatal women shouldn't do, and exercises that prenatal women shouldn't do, but at the same time, I've also found information that contradicts those exercises and says yes, they can do those moves. So which information is correct? For that, I had to dig back into my undergrad years when I studied various courses in kinesiology, physiology, and anatomy, and into my textbooks for when I earned my personal training and group fitness certifications.

Refreshing my memory on the human body and child development, it still never ceases to amaze me what the human body is capable of, especially when referring to growing another human life. It's one thing to read all about it, it's another to experience it, as I have been finding out since discovering that I was pregnant on January 4th of this year. There's days it still seems surreal that I have my future son or daughter growing inside and I'm going to remember all my experiences: the good, bad, and hilarious. I can't wait to meet them, but until then, I want to be in the best shape I can be. That's who I am and being pregnant won't change that for me, but I will have to make modifications over the next 7 months.

I've read and been told in the past: pregnant women can't work on their abs, lay on their bellies/backs, can't lift, etc. Every trainer has probably read or been told those statements. Here's the reality: pregnant women CAN do ab exercises, they CAN lay on their bellies/backs to a degree, they CAN lift. Why? Well, why not? There's a reason that any good trainer or instructor will modify an exercise to fit your abilities: we want to see you succeed! I've heard every excuse in the book over the years, and believe me, I've put a few to the test. Any women in their first trimester will tell you, there are days that you literally have zero energy to get out of bed, let alone hit the gym for a couple hours. Did I experience this? Yes. I had days that I decided to take a nap instead of working out, because that's what my body needed. I also made sure to get up and move the days I had some energy, even if it was walking 20 minutes with my puppy. Something is better than nothing.

Post pregnancy, my routines will have to change. Pelvic floor exercises will be necessary, sit ups will be a no for a while, especially if the abdominal muscles split. Should I stop? No, but I will need to dial back for a bit. Will I eventually get my pre-baby body back? No, but will make the most of my new body.

My hope is that I'll be able to use my experiences while pregnant and after my child is born with others. If I've learned anything with my postnatal clients I've had in the past, it's that they've opened me up to a whole new area that I can't wait to explore, and I'm excited to do so.