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

Advertisements

A Shift in Perspective, and Body Position…and Weight….and…

When I started my serious fitness journey 3 years ago, I created a scrapbook. Part of it is the teacher in me who wanted the plan, got excited and ran out to buy all the materials to make the plan look pretty… and part of it was because my husband told me (with brutal honesty) that he didn’t think I would follow through. As much as that hurt to hear, I know that based on previous attempts to “get back on track” often faded off after a few weeks, and old routines came back.

So I created a scrapbook which consisted of 4 pages per month:
-Calendar to track daily physical activity
-Calendar to track what I was eating
-Monthly page dedicated to pictures to track my progress (unflattering angles and all)
-A comment page–> This page was the most important. You don’t always have positive workouts. In fact some days you can feel so discouraged that you want to quit. I thought if I was going to be successful, I knew I needed to write about the bad days as well. It would be a lie to only include those amazing days where I felt like I could take on anything. It’s looking back on the days where I felt tired, weak, and saw no results where I can take pride in saying that I pushed through and achieved my goals.

This scrapbook took me from September 2011 until September 2012, and I filled every page. On the comments page, I can remember adding in other accomplishments like “I went up from 10lbs to 15 lbs with my weights today!” Or “Today I bought a pair of shorts that were size Small! or Size 4!” and I would tape in the tag for my own validation. It had never felt so much pride in shopping for clothes, in sizes I had truly convinced myself I could never wear because I am a tall woman.

You can imagine the irony I felt when I went shopping a few weeks ago for a new one-piece bathing suit for lane swims at the community centre.

I’m not a stupid woman… of COURSE my body is going to change, and I’m going to gain weight. I am having a baby. And don’t think I haven’t heard all the comforting words from friends and family:
“Your baby needs to eat, so feed yourself!”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself, you’re having a baby!”
“You’re not getting fat, you’re PREGNANT!”

I still can’t help but laugh at the irony that only a few years ago I was taping new sizes into a scrapbook, and now I’m mortified when I pick up sizes to try them on. AND more overwhelmed, when the “guess” I make, thinking that’s a big enough gap, is either a snug fit or too small.

Oh well, I’ve slowly come to accept this change, and embrace it! I’m growing a human being inside of me. Aside from the SCI-FI component, this is quite possibly the most glorious experience I’ve ever had!

I’m in my third trimester now, and it is blowing me away the changes still occurring in this belly. My little lime is getting much bigger, and quickly!

I have my cousin’s wedding on Saturday, and last week I tried my dress on and it fit. Yesterday, however.. was a different story. Imagine my shock when I tried to put on the dress, and it would no longer zip all the way up. So I took it to the sweetest Nona, who smiled and said it would be an easy fix. Thank goodness for that! Not sure if my cousin would be happy with me walking down the aisle with a jacket on haha.

As these final months creep along, I keep reminding myself that part of the process is change in my body. The shift in my weight transfer, my body alignment, and yes… my sizes. I feel lucky to still be doing what I love. I can still workout, I’m feeling great… I just move slower. And for right now, all that is required of me is to provide a safe and healthy place for my baby to grow.

If that means I have to look a little further down on the rack… then bring it on.

SPOTLIGHT for SEPTEMBER: Hailey Wojick

Meet Hailey. This empowering beauty played soccer with me back when we were 12! I have always enjoyed her passion for life, and hilarious personality! Her light shines so bright in everything she does, but don’t take it from me. Read about her, get a taste for the positivity she breathes and let it inspire you to do the same.

hailey

Name: Hailey Wojcik
Age: 27
Occupation: HR Director, Northern Europe for large Internet company

What were you doing before you fell onto this path?

In many ways I have always been on the fitness path, it has just taken me a long time to see it clearly. My day job is working as the HR Director for a large Internet Company (Groupon) however in my free time (yup, that means early mornings, evenings and weekends) I am actively involved in my passion. From training friends to teaching aerobic-style classes and working on my lifestyle blog Fit, Fun & Free, fitness is present in all that I do and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Would you say you were happy with what you were doing previously? Or was there something that was missing from your previous career path?

Fitness is the only thing I have ever “tried” at. In other words, I have always been interested in learning as much as possible about living a healthy, active lifestyle and have spent a lot of my free time soaking up all I could about how to continually push myself to be better. It was only recently, within the last year, that it became clear to me that this is what I wanted to spend my life doing. When I am teaching classes or lifting heavy in the gym, I am happy on such a fundamental level- I feel like I could spend all day every day doing it. That’s gotta be a pretty good sign, right?

If you were happy with your current career, what was it about (Your passion) that made you believe it was time to act on this interest & develop it into more than just a hobby?

Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and I love the company I work for. In many ways I am incredibly thankful for the opportunities I have had in my current career as they have helped shaped my passion and give me a platform to make a difference in other people’s lives. HR is all about people, and it was only after working in this field that I realized how much I loved making people happy and leaving them feeling good about themselves. I knew that if I were to take my love of business, people and fitness and combine them together, I could create the perfect blend of the things I professionally love most.
However, given that I am not ready to transition quite yet, I am finding new ways to incorporate my passion into my working life. For example,

I am currently working on something called ‘Groupon Active’, a program aimed at helping employees find a better work/life balance by setting goals to help them achieve their aims in the areas of clean eating, exercise and general health and well being.

It is a massive project and is all very hush-hush. But I want to use what I know and love to benefit those that I work with as I know it can have a really positive impact on the business and the staff within it.

Had you had experience in an area like this before?

When I was Activity Supervisor at Camp Oconto, part of the job was to develop robust full-cycle programs for campers ranging in age and ability levels. While it may seem incomparable, I like to think that 300 girls aged 6-14 are the toughest critics you will get, so designing an active lifestyle program to aid in work/life balance should be a walk in the park.
More seriously though, I have designed several different programs for myself and friends over the years so building it out on a larger scale will be a welcome challenge. I’m looking forward to it!

Did you have a mentor/ role model whom you confided in as you ventured into this new territory? How did they help shape your decision to follow your passion/ how have they shaped your journey?

I have been incredibly fortunate to have two of the best role models- my Mom Lucia and my boyfriend Nick.
Ever since I can remember, my Mom has been incredibly fit and active. When I was about 5, I remember going to the gym with her in Orangeville, Ontario (where I was born and raised) and she would do it all- aerobics, squash, weights. That woman was a machine! And the best part is that she always made a point of making her health and fitness a priority. In my house, it wasn’t unusual to see weight belts, lifting gloves, squash balls and racquets lying around the house. Only difference? They belonged to my Mom, the strongest woman I know. When I was in high school, some of my guy friends were intimidated by how big her biceps were and a few even commented that she was stronger than their Dad. I didn’t realize it at the time but my

Mom set me on the path for a life of fitness. She taught me that it is OK to be strong and that strong is beautiful.

I hope I can be a role model like this one day for other young women (and men!).
But a special mention also goes to my boyfriend, and best damn personal trainer I have ever met, Nick. We were introduced by pure luck when my previous (and not so great) trainer suddenly left the gym, and I was transferred to Nick for my remaining sessions. I told him I wanted to focus on training legs because it was the area I had the toughest time with. And man oh man did he deliver! He developed the perfect program for me and with his help he boosted my confidence and got me wearing shorts- something I hadn’t done in years because of how much I hated my legs. Now that we are dating he still inspires and motivates me to be my best every single day. He has really been the one to show me that fitness is a way of life, not a burden and I love him for changing my life in that way (but I love him for loads of other reasons too!)

Many books that I’ve been reading talk about discovering your happiness in life, and the easiest way to start is to look back at what you were interested in as a child. Did you ever play games/ participate in activities related to this field?

Oh you couldn’t keep me away from physical activity as a kid! A competitive figure skater and dancer for 14+ years, every day of the week you could find me engaged in some sort of activity. Winter was dance and skating, summer was football (aka soccer). I loved it all. I was also very fortunate to have parents who believed in me and prioritized our fitness pursuits. For example, when I was skating competitively for Dufferin Peel Skating Club, they would get up at 5am with me to get me to the ice rink (which was a 30 min drive away) for my 6am morning ice practice. And they did this twice during the week. Their commitment to me meant that I was committed to my sports and I don’t think I can ever thank them enough for their support and dedication to both me and my brother.

What were some of the challenges you faced when deciding to follow your passion & pursue this dream?

I think the biggest challenge is having confidence in yourself. At first I would compare myself to everyone else in the field and feel that I didn’t stack up in comparison. But instead of focusing negative energy on what I couldn’t do, I channeled positive energy into what I could do. I focused on the small steps first- eating clean, lifting heavy, and working hard. As my confidence developed, so did my skills and

I realized that everyone is different but that shouldn’t stop me from chasing my dreams.

Do you have any advice to other women who are possibly on the fence with following their own directions?

Do your research and listen to your gut. If you see a future in fitness, or in any passion, make sure you know what the road ahead for you holds. Look into challenges that others faced, and what quick wins they may have had. Learning from others means we are not reinventing the wheel, but improving on it.
Also look for ways that you can infuse your passion in your current routine before taking the “all-or-nothing” approach. Start a running club at work or a recipes board where you share healthy food options. Finding a way to engage people around you without making drastic changes means that you can improve on your ideas as you go, so when you do decide to take the full-time plunge, you will have direction and feedback to help guide you in the right direction.
Lastly, look for kindred spirits. Read an inspiring article or see someone kicking butt in an area you aspire to kick butt in too? Reach out to them and build relationships with like-minded individuals. You never know when it will come in handy down the road and in the mean time, the support will be invaluable!


Looking back, is there anything that you may have changed that you think would have helped you get on this path sooner?

Success is a journey, and it takes time to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. Don’t beat yourself up for not getting it right the first…or even tenth time. I think I have been really hard on myself over the years as I have struggled with my own personal motivation and will-power. Looking back, I wish I would have saved myself a couple of guilt trips on the way. However, I do know that everything I have gone through has contributed to who I am today, and that in order to appreciate the good moments in life, you need to experience the bad. I always try to remember this when I hit a rough patch on my journey to success.

Where do you see this passion growing to over the next 5 years? And 10?

Nick and I have plans to open our own fitness-focused business within the next 5 years. However, given the nature of the business and the unique value proposition of it, I can’t disclose too much. However, I can confirm it will be a combination of our greatest loves and it will be different from the majority of what currently exists in the market place.
Fitness is our life, our passion. We want to spend the rest of our lives doing what we love most in this world. And while we are waiting to officially launch, we are using all of our free time planning and preparing!

Where can someone find more information about your company/ career choice?

Right now we are in the initial planning stages, but if you want to check-in on my journey, check out Fit, Fun & Free (http://fitfunandfree.com/) where you will find updates on my adventures, clean eats and training recommendations. This will also keep you up to date on future plans so be sure to check back and see what is in store for us over the next 18 months!

hailey2
hailey 4