Two flights of stairs faced me as I walked through the glass door. “Should I take the elevator?” I thought. “It’s right there.” Giving my head a shake and muttering to myself “Don’t suck already,” I started up the stairs. Little did I know that the commitment I made that day would be the most transformative decision I would ever make… and it was all for me.
Arriving at the top of the stairs out of breath, my belly held onto my anxious butterflies, I opened the door. “What the heck is wrong with me?” I thought. “Why can’t I do this myself? You know what to do… just get on with it.”
As a former nationally competitive athlete, I had been in great shape during my life. I had trained hard and pushed my body to perform. Life after having my kiddos, however, left me out of shape and discouraged. Everybody told me to start running. “Just chuck the kids in the stroller and just start moving” someone told me, “The pounds will fall right off.”
But they didn’t and running with two littles in a stroller is hard work and to be honest, was not a lot of fun for me. I signed up for a 10 km race and torturously trained for it with the stroller… running, but mostly walking to be honest. I finished the race (without the stroller) and, although I was very proud of myself, was in agony the next day. It felt like someone had beaten my lower abdomen.
It wasn’t until that fateful day that I walked through the glass doors and started working with a group of wonderful personal trainers that I was able to begin to understand just how weak my body was. And that probably going from nursing babies to training for a 10 km race was not necessarily the best way to help my body recover in postpartum.
Within two sessions I heard two very important words… PELVIC FLOOR. Mine was weak, very weak, and what I understand from ALL of my mama friends, I am not alone. It’s why I felt so beaten after my run… mine had no strength. Additionally, I had no core strength… mine was all stretched out. Now let’s be clear here for a moment…. I am not referring to kegels (what the heck are those anyways?) and I did not do hundreds of crunches. I did a variety of different strength exercises that were designed to help my body recover and strengthen itself. I should also state that I am by no means an expert in any of these areas, but I do know mamas. Guys, if you’re reading this, trust me the problem is real and not talked about very much. There are experts who specialize in the field such as physiotherapists and personal trainers.
My process was slow and gradual and did not happen overnight. I just kept showing up week after week; trusting the people I was working with to guide me and push me. At the beginning I didn’t realize I had started on a transformative journey. I thought I would learn a few things and then go off on my own. I felt selfish taking the one hour to go to the gym to lift weights and train with a trainer. But what I found was a community of support and encouragement. I established relationships with people who had some pretty cool personal goals and who came from a wide variety of backgrounds. Not only did my body and mind begin to change and evolve, but I started enjoying being fit again. I enjoyed sweating and feeling the endorphins flow. This spilled over into my home life, as I was happier and feeling better in my own skin.
Taking the time to focus on myself allowed me to get more out of my life. My body is finally able to keep up to what my mind wants it to do. I have started enjoy endurance road cycling, completing my first 100 km ride last season. I get up early in the morning to get my k’s in and train in the gym twice a week, for a total of two hours. I don’t watch a ton of TV and go to bed early.
When I made the decision to get fit again, I wanted to do it so that I could run around the park and play tag with my kids. I never thought about it being a personal journey in which I would see such tremendous personal growth both in my mind and my body. I see myself as an athlete again and a strong mother who is really fit.
If you are wanting to get fit or reboot your fitness, I would offer you these few tips:
1) Don’t give up! If you have a bad day where you eat poorly or have a crummy work out don’t sweat it. Just start again. No problem.
2) Find yourself a community. I follow people online who inspire me and have found groups in the community to join. 3) Don’t go ‘all in’ right away. Take it gently. Add one thing at a time.
4) Be ‘OK’ at being vulnerable and trying something new. I took swimming lessons for a Triathlon I was doing and still came third last in the swim. I am not a swimmer… yet.
5) If you have a goal of something you want to achieve, find someone to help you structure a plan to get there. Stick to the plan as best you can. If you get off track, just get back on as soon as possible!
6) Forgo housework and laundry in favour of a workout or doing something towards your goal.
7) Be kind to yourself.
If you are looking for help in these areas, please check out: Sasha Myers, a personal trainer who offers programming towards specific fitness goals, both online and in person at True North Strength and Fitness, a local Langley gym. And Jessie Mundell, a Pre and Postnatal Fitness Coach. Another great resource is Girls Gone Strong, a site filled with amazing strength training plans for women.
Is yoga part of your fitness regime? Check out the Six Most Powerful Things Jami learned when she went to the Iron Lotus Yoga Retreat. And don’t forget to read all about how she Earned Her Tough Mudder Stripes!
Is this a sponsored post?: No, we were not paid for this post. We simply want to share amazing experiences and adventures with our followers! We hope this inspires you!
Article Written By: Sarah McConnell
Awesome start with your blog – Sarah. You inspire me every week we are at the gym or when we go on a long bike ride with our other teammate Rob. We make an awesome team. Your comments above while being more so related to women hold so true for us men. Keep up the good work. Tim