Moving Though the Days With My Personalized 30 Pound Medicine Ball

Coming in on 31 weeks, and holy do I ever feel it! Squats, lunges and any other body weight exercise makes me laugh when I break a sweat and have to pause because my legs are on fire!

On the weekend I finally caved and bought some new workout pants, and 2 larger tops that I can put on.. without the help of my husband. I rocked them to a boot camp class in Bradford last night and it felt amazing! Boot camp classes are typically interval/ circuit style and are meant to kick your butt the whole time. I love them. I know my modifications partly because I’ve been working out through my whole pregnancy, but also in large part because I’ve done my certification for pre & postnatal for this very reason! I’m officially using no more than 25 pounds on kettlebells, when using two dumb bells I’m no heavier than 15 pounds, and… well you can pretty much call it a day with ab exercises.

Last night when I was working out I took particular notice to the extra weight at the front of my body. We were doing stairs– every other step.. with kettle bells. I decided that I could use a 15 pound weight because if you add that to what’s out in front, I should be more than set. HAH! I did it, I finished it, but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel like dying. People were lapping me on the stairs as I took one step at a time, and set my mind to breathing and keeping proper form.

In the beginning of this journey I remember feeling frustrated with myself because I wanted to continue pushing hard in the gym, and lifting my regular weights, with the same speed and intensity.

Now, it’s not to say that I can’t push it, but I’ve had to play it smart with my intensity and the amount I’m lifting. The fact is, I could really hurt myself which could throw the rest of my pregnancy, and even opportunities to train the girls at the boot camp I still work at!

As the months have progressed I find myself laughing at the different positions I have to lay in, how much slower my movements are, and how freaking much my legs BURN when I do squats and lunges with my not so little lime. In one of the classes I did recently, we were doing leg raises on steps. You have to lay on the ground, place a weighted bar over your hips, and then dig your heals into the step and raise your hips up to the sky. For obvious reasons, I opted out of the bar across my hips… and decided on body weight. In my mind I told myself I can easily do one leg in the air for more intensity because– well– let’s be honest, this will be a breeze otherwise.

Annnnd once again there I was, NOT modifying to lift my leg in the air but actually working my butt off trying not to take a break in between each rep! It wasn’t until I was finished that circuit that I really pieced together that I do, in fact, have my own personal medicine ball that weighs everything down for me.

I love that little ball. She’s just doing her thing, flipping around, poking mama’s organs to make sure they’re still functioning, challenging my breathing… really– making me stronger. With each inch she takes up in my body, I become more aware of the focus and strength I need to keep my body healthy so that her body stays healthy too.

I joke when we go kickboxing about how she kicks me, so it’s fair that I kick the bag but really what it comes down to is that

I’m fostering a lifestyle that I want my baby to embrace when she’s able to make her own choices about health and fitness.

I have a couple more goals I’d like to achieve with her as we near the home stretch of our time connected to one another. I just love being able to take her along on these little adventures, because once she arrives it’s game on and I’m sure she will be taking me along for hers.

So you keep growing little ball, keep making mommy work harder, and get stronger because I promise that with all my strength, mommy will always be there to support you too.

cant stop me

workout

Learning to listen to your body

On Saturday morning, I finally got a chance to catch up with my fitness ladies, and head out for a run. Sometimes I catch myself stepping back as we are running, and simply smiling at our group. There we are; so many different backgrounds, back-stories, a wide range in personal experiences and phases of our lives. There are mothers, sisters, wives, and aunts all geared up, running in pairs and most importantly– laughing and gabbing the whole way.

People must hear us coming: the buzz of happy & healthy women, out challenging our bodies while preparing and training for yet another race. Switching spots every now and then to change up our pace, but also to catch up with another friendly face! During this particular run, a discussion came up which is a reoccurring topic in both my fitness experiences with the ladies, but also my conversations with Hubby!

How often are you listening to your body when it’s trying to tell you something significant is going on?

 

Generally speaking, I tend to really be in tuned with my body and when it’s trying to tell me to take a break. For example, if I’m feeling tired or sore from previous days work outs or activities, I will usually reassess whether pushing through is worth it, or am I making myself vulnerable to injury?

It’s a hard thing to accept. That maybe your body needs a break, but ultimately the bigger question to ask yourself is –  “should I continue doing what I’m doing, or could this cause me a more permanent injury which will only further delay me from reaching my ultimate goals?”

I’ve had to ease up on my weight training in the last month for exactly that reason. I asked myself that question, and sadly but honestly the answer was Yes. I was going to end up more injured, which would wreck my training completely.

I think as women & especially those who love to workout, we are naturally inclined to tough it out. My wrist is sore? Oh well, it’s fine. I’ll keep pushing through it. My ankle hurts from when I twisted it months ago? That’s okay, I have it wrapped, besides I WANT to run, I’ll just be careful. I’m developing tendonitis? Ugh, that sucks– but I’ll still continue to do my weight training, I’ll just make sure to ice it when I’m finished.

why does there seem to be an irony about fitness & training that makes us so inclined to stay healthy & active, but scared to slow down if your body is hurt?

 

I think it’s fear. Fear that if we do stop, it will get easier to keep stopping until you get to the point where starting becomes a chore again. So for that, I propose the following:
– How about you try an activity that is low intensity so that it takes the pressure off what is bothering you in your body, and gives it a chance to heal?

For me, it WAS the tendonitis. So I slowed down with the weights, did lighter ones and focused on different areas of my body so that my elbow could get a break. I took a break from kickboxing as well, and spent time swimming, running, and biking. It was difficult, but the other day I was able to lift weights without feeling pain.

In the fitness industry, you KNOW there are two types of pain. That amazing feeling after a solid workout when you know you worked it hard, and that pain you should not feel. The one where you know you’ve tweaked something which could set you back. Knowing that I took a break, gave my elbow a chance to get stronger and was able to get back to my training, pain free– that was DEFINITELY worth the dreaded “break”.

Keep that in mind my friends, when you are doing an activity that you love, and you notice a pain that hasn’t been there before. It’s time to listen to you body. Do a scan and assess whether that pain was a positive one, or something more serious. Ultimately, we workout to fuel our bodies, and pamper ourselves physically & emotionally. Which means that we have to work together with our bodies to be successful. If you respect your body when its trying to tell you something, that’s when you’ll reap the benefits later on. That’s when your body with heal, become stronger, and reward you with the health & vitality you’ve worked so hard to maintain.

Have a wonderful night my readers, and please:

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Getting Back to Me

For the last month and a half, I have felt like I’ve been holding on to life by the tips of my fingers. Just gripping onto the ledge, hoping to keep the strength for a few more days… trying so hard not to let go.

Anyone that knows me know that I am NOTORIOUS for taking on too many things at once. But this time– I really over did it! Moving into my first house with Hubby, while starting my first LTO as a teacher, personal training 2-3 days during the week, certifying myself as a prenatal and postnatal specialist in training and trying to maintain my own personal fitness… was TOOOOO much!

You would think once teaching finished at the end of June it would slow down… but it hasn’t! I’m currently supervising Soccer camps which turned out to be more effort than I thought— I also have an online course that I’m trying to complete at the moment. Sadly, I’m subtracting a day of my training during the week.. but only to regain some much needed personal space to get back to me.

This week is looking promising! Aside from the soccer camp, I only have one day this week where I don’t be home before 9:00pm.

Today I went for a run, and it felt fantastic.
pre-run selfie!

I woke up at 6:30, slowly got myself ready to run at 7:00. I ran for 50 minutes, and finished the run off with some yoga upstairs– just in time for hubby to wake up! These are the types of mornings that have been lacking in my life. Ones where you

take the time to be alone, appreciate everything around you, reflect on circumstances in your life, and just BE.

It felt so good concentrating on my breathing, feeling my heart rate at a steady pace, and working up a great sweat! I’m aiming to revisit the gym tomorrow to get a good muscle burn on.

I also felt like I haven’t been getting the chance to sit and reflect on the fitness experiences and healthy eating habits I’ve been exploring and share them with you on here. I want to work really hard to bring posts to my readers that you can appreciate and that resonates with you.

So tonight, I put these questions out there to you:

What experiences have you had recently, or in the past that have made you feel like you’re at a stand and unable to complete ALL the things you’d love to do?
What have you done to help get yourself through those tough times, and back on track?

Would love to hear some of your comments,
Have a wonderful evening!

Fighting Cancer with Fitness: A Guest Post by Melanie Bowen

Recently, I was contacted by a reader who came across my blog. She emailed me, and asked if she could do a guest post on my blog to share the benefits of incorporating fitness into lifestyles of those battling serious illness. Here’s the Article, following by a brief description of who Melanie is, and how she’s come to study this area.
Enjoy!!

Fighting Cancer with Fitness

Exercise is an excellent means for keeping both the mind and body active. Maintaining a safe and comfortable level of physical fitness during cancer treatments can actually help reduce some of the negative side effects by increasing joint mobility, lessening muscular atrophy, staving off bedsores, enhancing blood flow and even assisting with daily bodily functions, such as excretion and respiration. Additionally, as you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which actually boost your mood.

Light Exercise: Light Stretching

It is essential to find the balance between strengthening the heart, lungs and muscles without placing excessive strain on the body. The following exercises are ideal for patients undergoing aggressive treatments for mesothelioma or other more serious forms of cancer.

How You Should Feel?

You should feel comfortable with your breathing and not winded or breathy. You can still carry on a conversation with long sentences or possibly even sing a song. Stretching helps to improve flexibility and increases circulation. Stretching may reduce swelling while delivering feelings of calmness and well-being. It can also help you to sleep better, thus reducing fatigue. Simple movements, such as reaching the arms overhead or bending the body forward, help to keep the muscles supple and elongated while increasing overall range of motion.

Moderate Exercise Recommendations

For patients who are actively recovering and beginning to gain strength, moderate exercise carries many benefits. One great example of a moderate exercise is water aerobics.

How You Should Feel?

You may notice the breath quickening. However, you should not feel out of breath. You can still carry on a conversation, perhaps with shorter sentences, but not be able to sing. After about 10 minutes, you may begin to break a sweat. Taking part in water aerobics is a great way to build muscle and control your weight without placing too much impact on the bones and joints. It strengthens the cardiovascular system while allowing you to increase or decrease the intensity as needed. The water produces 12 to 14 times the amount of resistance as training on land, but you won’t feel overheated, as the water helps to cool the body.

Advanced Exercise Recommendations

For patients in the later stages of recovery who are able to use fitness to regain strength and improve their overall physical condition, weight lifting should be undertaken with caution.

How You Should Feel?

Your breathing is quicker and you are unable to sing. You can speak in short sentences and may begin to sweat after a few minutes. Weight training is excellent for maintaining and developing muscular strength and endurance . Building lean muscle mass helps to support fat loss as well. This is ideal for those who have suffered from cancers such as prostate, stomach, intestinal, head, or neck, as these types all lead to a significant decrease in muscle mass. Start with lighter weights or begin on resistance machines. Gradually increase the weight or the repetitions, as you feel stronger and more comfortable with the technique of lifting. Seek assistance when transitioning to free weights.

Remember that you will most likely feel quite fatigued after beginning a new exercise program. Start slowly and pay attention to your body. Always listen to and follow your doctor’s recommendations to ensure that you are exercising at a level that is appropriate to your current condition.

About the Author
Melanie is currently a Master’s student with a passion that stems from her grandmother’s cancer diagnosis. She often highlights the great benefits of alternative nutritional, emotional, and physical treatments on those diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness. To read more from Melanie, visit her blog for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. In her spare time, you can find Melanie trying new vegan recipes, on her yoga mat, or spending time with her family.