Take Your Journey One Small Victory at a Time

Mrskooy Fitness is a mom!

My little one is just over 6 weeks old, and I’m absolutely loving this next venture in my life! She is such a little gem, and every moment with her I’m reminded how amazing and yes, challenging this job as “mom” can be.

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As I get back into my routines and find more time to get in my workouts, I find myself wondering…
How has my fitness changed? What is different about my body? What about the strength that I had? Now what?

That’s when I have to remind myself

Start where you are, not where you were. Trust the process and don’t forget to appreciate small victories

I’ve been working out again, and slowly incorporating new body movements and muscle groups as the weeks progress. Yes, I’m only 6 weeks postpartum but I’m a very determined, and focused individual so I have been active in small ways since about one week after my daughter’s arrival. Now, that being said, I think I should remind readers, I am a certified personal trainer, certified in pre and postnatal fitness… and have done a lot of reading on it prior to my pregnancy, through my pregnancy and after delivery.

I came into my workouts knowing that there would be significant changes in my body and in my strength after delivery. But let me tell you… reading about it and living it are two totally different experiences!

First of all, let me just break down what I have been feeling physically.. and how I decided to manage workouts since the birth:
*No core strength… coughing, sneezing, laughing SUCKED for the first week. And since my core was so fatigued.. my back was compensating, which was really exhausting!
*Fatigue in general! Small walks winded me, I would often have to sit back down!
*4 weeks postpartum I began walking on the treadmill and light weights
*I was lifting about half of what I was used to: 35 lbs down to 15lbs. and sweating just as much if not MORE than I did before
*Pushups were out of the question since I was going to wait the 6 weeks until I even attempted ANY core strengthening.
*NO ab exercises for the same reason as the pushups (also… you do not want to put more strain on your abdominal especially if you unknowingly suffer from Diastasis Recti – see link for more information–>http://www.befitmom.com/diastasis_recti.html )
*No pull ups– First of all. Hanging on the pull up bar was too much for me at first because I was not comfortable with the feeling it gave my abs. Which brings me to an important point if you are a new mom trying to get back into your fitness:

If you are uncomfortable with ANY movement as you get back into your routines.. Don’t Do It

There is no further explanation needed. You are in control of your body, and your progression and if you push past that point before your body is ready to you can set yourself back.

Baby Steps. Heh, how suiting eh? Be comfortable with the progress you make from delivery to now, and beyond. What you accomplished before baby no longer matters (in the world of recovering baby bodies that is–) What you accomplished prior to baby is obviously amazing and will always serve to remind you how kick ass you are, and the strength that you have to endure anything (as if delivery itself hasn’t already proved that to you). But what I mean is.. you will have new victories now, victories that may have been “less” than what you accomplished before.. but again I’ll remind you when you have a baby… any progress is a well deserved achievement

Since I started back working out,(which is approximately 3 weeks) I have had the following “small” victories:
1. I can jump squat, do jumping jacks, high knee sprints & burpees without peeing … don’t laugh until you’ve been there.
2. I am slowly able to do 7-8 consecutive pushups on my knees with proper form, core tight, neck in neutral position, and full range of motion
3. I can hang on the pull up bar and do 2-4 knee raises before I’m uncomfortable.
4. I can hold a plank for 30 seconds.
5. My lowest free weight for arms is 15lbs (10 if its lateral shoulders/ back flies)
6. I am using a trap bar to strengthen my squats (about 55 to 60 lbs) and keep proper form

Six things. These are six things that I need to remind myself when I want to cry doing push ups on my knees because BEFORE I had the baby I could….
Right. It doesn’t matter.

Be present. Be in the moment of this progression. Don’t live in the past of your previous victories because you can’t grow living in ANY moment but now.

Remember this my readers, I know it’s hard. I struggle with this honesty every day. But I’m also reminded of why I’m going through this. Every moment I look at my daughter I’m reminded of how important it is to me to be her role model. To live and breathe positivity and determination. I want her to know that while things may be difficult and yes, you will cry… you can finish it. You can find the focus and strength to commit to what it is that you want! A big life lesson, coming from my decision not to look back at before, but continue with right now.

Have a glorious Sunday xo

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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

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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.

Listening to Your Body.. Not the Critics

As I journey through this pregnancy, and have fully immersed myself into my second trimester– I’ve been feeling fantastic!

My energy levels have returned, and other than the little belly and added weight at the front of my abdomen, I have pretty much returned to my regular fitness routines. Of course, there are always modifications now, and the intensity is much different than I would normally bring to the table, but regardless I’m up to about 3-4 times a week for some sort of physical activity! 

Last Sunday I had a pretty exciting accomplishment. I ran in the Sportinglife 10K in downtown Toronto. I had mixed opinions from others about me participating in the run, but ultimately

it was up to me to listen to my body and make the decision about whether this was the best decision for me to do!

 

It was absolutely the most rewarding decision to run in this race. I was running with a friend of mine and naturally our paces were not well matched. Within the first 2K I could already tell that I needed to slow my pace down to maintain a safe heart rate, and could feel her pace getting ready to build with the adrenaline of other racers that surrounded us. I told her to continue without me, which she reluctantly agreed to, and with that– it was just me and my baby lime (who has graduated to a small cantaloupe) running together!

At the 5K mark I checked my time. Now, I’ve had to adjust to the fact that my time is much slower than usual, but I was very happy to see that I was at 35 minutes. With most physical activity, I find that it’s more of a mental game than physical. So

I told myself that I was doing amazing, gave little lime a loving rub and got ready to count down the last 5K.

At around 7K, I could feel myself starting to fatigue. There was a water station up ahead and I told myself that really– I had nothing to prove so it would be in my best interest to take a quick walk and enjoy the water break before continuing on. I’m an all-in kind of girl, so slowing down my pace and even walking for part of the run is a hard pill to swallow. But– let me tell you– it takes a stronger person to know when to listen to your body, rather than pushing through and ignoring possible problems. I sent my hubby a quick text and let him know that I was coming into my last couple kilometers. He sent me the motivation text that I needed, which helped me push through for the final stretch.

When I hit the 9K mark, I could feel myself finish that last kilometer with a huge grin on my face.

I had done it. I had listened to my body and successfully ran a 10K race with a tiny baby growing in my belly.

Crossing that finish line felt fabulous. Any negative comments I had been told, or recommendations to “just quit” if it was too hard were so far removed from me at that moment. I had started instilling healthy values that I feel will continue into the parenting of this young child, and hope will carry through into their own healthy choices for an active lifestyle further in the future.

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With any decision in life there are always those that will support you through lifes choices, and those that will try and deter you from what you want. I’m slowly discovering that as a mother-to-be there are many supporters of my choices to be physically active during pregnancy, and many that are unsure of my choices and seem to take my choices personally– as if it reflects poorly on their own pregnancies. 

I want to be clear. I don’t make these choices, write about my accomplishments and lack of “excuses” to continue this lifestyle for any other reason than to be proud of me. I don’t judge those who choose not to participate in these activities while pregnant. I can’t possibly judge a woman or pregnancy I know nothing about. I only know me. I only know what I am capable of doing, and what I know my body will let me achieve. If along the way it inspires someone who was unsure whether to take that route on her own pregnancy journey, then as a fitness professional I have done my job. 

Be safe, listen to your body above all the opinions of others. You will know what is right for you and your growing baby, but please remember– don’t be afraid to try! 

Me…. and the Lime ;)

I’m BACCK 🙂

It feels so darn good to get back to writing! Let me tell you, when you want to be writing about what is going on in your life and how it relates to fitness but you have to distance yourself for a little while it is HARD. But, alas– the time has come to dust off my keyboard and begin my journey on here again!

Why, do you ask, would I leave you in the dark like this? When I was posting about my new goals and how I was going to push through for new accomplishments this year?

Well– actually– it has something to do with the fact that some of my goals have changed sliiighhtly in these last few months. As you may recall from previous posts, I have some race dates approaching in May– and was supposed to have some weight loss goals accomplished by– well– now. Not to disappoint, but weight loss for me is something that is NOT going to be on my agenda– at least for the next.. let’s say…9 months?

Yep. That’s right folks, your MrsKooyFitness is going to be MrsKooyMama! 🙂

I’m finally at a stage in my journey when I can begin to discuss this exciting event openly. And well there are never any guarantees in life, all one can hope for is to continue on this healthy path which will lead to the birth of a happy and healthy baby. But let me tell you– not only has it been difficult not writing on here to share my experiences thus far– the changes I have had to make to my own regularly active lifestyle have taken me some time to adjust to– and be okay with.

Slowly, I’m gaining my energy back (this little poppyseed, turned olive, turned prune, turned lime— has been eating away at my energy levels!) and dare I say– I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the toile– ugh— tunnel?

Today I accomplished a significant landmark for myself and baby lime. (the food references are not my cravings, they are — according to my “in depth” reading on my phone APP “baby bump”– the size of my growing baby!) Last night a good friend send me a text letting me know that our usual running crew were going to venture out tomorrow and try a small 7K to get back on the road. (7K used to be smaller for me.. but lately walking on the treadmill gets my heart rate up there so I was unsure whether I wanted to hold them back) I decided I was going to show up and do my best, and if I had to walk a bit so be it. We typically run before our bootcamp classes on Saturday so I thought if I was going to make the trek down there I would stay for the class afterwards and work at my own pace. My own pace. Something that was hard to dial down.. but I’m getting better at.

So I woke up this morning at 5:15– snoozed until 5:30… and finally got my little booty out of bed at 5:45 to get dressed, pack, and be ready to leave at 6:00. Well– apparently little lime wasn’t having this new agenda. One quick brush of my teeth sent me right over to my porcelain friend. The first few interactions with the toilet had me feeling like maybe I should just call the girls and tell them it’s not the morning for me, and go back to bed. But by the 5th, 6th, and 7th heave-hoe it was time for baby lime and I to have a little heart to heart.

I stood up, rubbed my tummy and said

“Look baby lime– you and I have to learn how to cooperate with one another. Otherwise this is going to be a long journey for the two of us. I’m going for this run today, and baby– you’re coming with me. So please, let’s work together and have a great morning”

So off we went. And you know what?

We did it! We ran 4K together, had a nice pick-me-up at Tim Hortons to refuel, and finished with a great workout together in boot camp!

It can be scary in the beginning to know your limits when you’re pushing for two. The important thing to remember though is so long as you have been physically active up to your pregnancy, and your doctor gives you the ok to continue what you’re doing– go for it!

The rest is up to you– and your baby! Listen to your body, ultimately it will tell you if you need to slow down. But let me tell you– there is no greater feeling that knowing you took your time but finished a great workout that not only benefits you, but benefits your little addition. The one who’s also working hard– trying to grow.

Have a wonderful weekend my readers!
Talk soon! 🙂