CATEGORY: Personal

Getting Back to Exercise

Stress at the pregnant womanIt has been 6 months since I stepped foot in a gym, having stopped going to the gym due to my pubic symphysis pains. For the last trimester, I napped and walked mostly. Yesterday, I went back into a class for the first time, right after my baby turned 3 months old. In fact, I signed the papers on his 3 month birthdate!

Because my old gym does not have child care for babies younger than 6 months old, my husband and I decided to plunk down extra money for a family membership at a very nice gym well-known for its wonderful childcare. They provide for 3 hours of childcare per day and, unlike my old gym, also changes diapers and provide feedings. The timing worked out well, since later this week will be end of the school year as well, and this club offers a lot of kids activity.

The first 6 weeks after giving birth, I enjoyed having a relaxing postpartum month. My in-laws, my husband, and my sister took time to come and help out, giving me a whole month to focus on rest, giving me a modern version of the Chinese “sitting the month.” I had given birth to a larger than expected baby, so my recovery was also a bit longer than what I was used to. For some reason, in the 3 years since my last baby I had managed to forget about how out of it one feels down there after birth. It took 2 weeks before I felt like I recovered and can pass for normal.

Even after the first 6 weeks, I couldn’t really bring myself to go back to the gym yet because I was really focused on my baby. The other thing is that I really couldn’t quite fit in to my old workout clothes – my post pregnancy breast prevented me from going back to jogging so in spite of having a nice jogging stroller, I stuck to walking. I have an easy baby but it is still an adjustment to juggle 3 kids, so I gave myself some time to get that together and run the mothers club, maintain a household, and see people socially after my postpartum 1 month where I pretty much stayed in.

Baby Growth Chart 1My baby is quite an impressive grower, and at 2 months he already weighed 17 lbs. I had to scramble and get him new clothes that quickly became like sausage casings on him. I struggled (and still do struggle) to keep up with carrying him around in the infant carseat. On the plus side, he was a great sleeper and had an easy and chill personality. I was getting enough rest and feeling pretty good, but I know I really missed the gym for the last 6 weeks. Now, I am sore all over and my first day back at the gym was a humbling experience. I enjoyed feeling quite weak through a strength training class (like Bodypump but not BodyPump), and I had to skip on a few of the ab exercises because I still had a 1.5 finger separation in my abdominal muscles. I stayed for U-Jam and was winded by 40 minutes so I cut out at the 45 minute mark. Being back, I really feel how I am out of shape! Today I gave myself a recovery day but will be going back for more tomorrow. I hope to get my body back but more than anything I need to rebuild my strength and stamina to keep up with my kids!


My 13 Gym Pet Peeves

Just yesterday I had a very unfortunate experience where somehow someone else’s depilatory cream got in my hair and burned some clumps of hair off. It was traumatic for me. As much as I am a dedicated gym goer and enjoy the friendships that I have made there, the recent incident proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. I will likely still go to the gym for a class, but I most likely will stay the heck away from the locker room for a while. My exasperation has led to this list of bad things I have personally witnessed from people at the gym.

In the lockers:

1. Not cleaning up after oneself.
More than a few times, as a concerned gym citizen, I have wiped up puddles of wetness from the floors. It would be so unfortunate if someone, in particular, I have seen older ladies who come to the gym in their walkers, slip and fall on those wet puddles. People often just drop their towels right on the floor, too.

gymnono2. People who talk on their cellphones in the lockers, loudly, for more than a minute.
I can understand needing to answer a call, but anything more than a minute is too much. Plus, when people are on their cellphone in the locker they tend to be loud about it, too. People do this on the gym floor too and I find it equally annoying when it lasts beyond a minute. If you need to chat, get off the equipment and go somewhere else!

3. People removing their leg and pubic hairs in the public communal area.
This is probably how I somehow got depilatory creams in my hair. I am still not sure how a few drops landed on my hair, whether it be splatter or contact contamination from a towel.
In an upscale gym, I have actually seen a sign asking people not to color their hair in the facility! I asked if this was based on actual precedent and was told yes.

4. Leaving hairs and trash in the showers.
I have seen even food items. Eww.

5. Asking for shampoo or other personal hygiene items like it is indebted to you.
I have literally had a lady open up my shower door and putting her hand out asking for shampoo, neverminding that there is a shampoo and body wash dispenser in every stall. When I pointed that out she said she didn’t like what the gym provided. She wanted to “borrow” something better, and when I gave her some she expressed displeasure because it wasn’t good or too little. WTF – then remember to bring your own items, your highness!

6. Sitting the locker room benches naked. Or just hanging out naked, and standing close to me while unnecessarily naked.
I kind of don’t get this. I mean, you can at least have underwear or a towel covering the vajayjay-anus, right? No thank you!

7.Taking long ass showers.
There have been many times when I have waited in a lengthy line in the shower, and noticed that more than a few people are taking showers longer than 10 minutes, even more than 15. Seriously, is there a need to take long showers at the gym? In California, we are in the midst of a multi-year drought, so I am guessing that some people might have the mentality of “getting their money’s worth” at the gym while saving their water bill at home, but this just sucks. Most of the time, unless you are injured or have issues with mobility, you can shower in 5 minutes or less.

8. Hanging out in front of the mirror with your iPad or computer after you are done getting dressed and groomed.
Unless the gym is upscale enough to have a lounge (and some do), it is inconsiderate to loiter. Be mindful that other people might need to use the grooming area to actually get on their way!

9. Leaving personal items in the locker, without a lock
I have opened my share of lockers thinking I would put my items in there only to find that someone already stashed their stuff in there. Of course, this is not a big issue for me as long as there are plenty of lockers around and I don’t have to spend a lot of time opening up lockers to find other people’s stuff in there… It just isn’t smart, mmmkay?

At the gym:

10. Going barefoot.
It is just not sanitary to go without flip-flops in the locker room or some form of shoes in the gym. I have seen people walk around barefoot in both locker room and the gym and it is just gross, not to mention unsafe.

11. Slamming your equipment/weight down.
There have been times where I am just hanging out on the treadmill and then suddenly startled by the loud sound of slamming weights followed by the sound of a grunt that is more appropriate during labor and delivery than at a gym. That is just rude. Did you just use more weights than you can possible handle?

12. Stealing gym towels.
At my current gym, we have towel service, which is a really nice perk because then I don’t have to be lugging wet towels in my gym bag. I have seen people using more than their share of towels, but apparently some people also try to get their money’s worth by just taking them home. Recently the gym was hit hard with towel shortage, and when I inquired about the reason why the staff told me about the stuff they have to put up with. I seriously feel bad for some of the abuse that the gym staff has to deal with sometimes.

13. Trashing the parking lot
My gym has child care and it is one way I get some exercise and shower without my kid bugging me. However, it is really unpleasant when I drive to the gym, park, step out to find all sorts of nasty trash from drinks, food, to used condoms on the floor. WTF are people doing in gym parking lots!?

Routines Interrupted, by Life and Pregnancy

Oh my it has been a while since my last post. My life feels as if it has been turned upside down. I actually have not been to the gym in 2 months. Why? Because I am pregnant, and I am really really bad at being pregnant.

This was not how it was supposed to go down. I had a fitness goal that while I was unlikely to hit by my 40th birthday, I would be close. I was getting there, starting to see the difference and people were telling me so as well. I had been watching my eating (although not as strict as a bodybuilder, but mindful of my macronutrients and doing a good job of tracking). I was looking good and feeling good, and fantasizing about getting a puppy that I can jog with around town. I had always told my husband since even before we were married that when I turn 40, the factory would be shut down and we would be done with babies — as it turns out he was really good with getting things done within a deadline.

Stress at the pregnant womanThe pregnancy completely knocked me out of my groove. For the duration of my first trimester, I was turned off by any and all protein, and the thought of cooking grossed me out. I was able to tolerate eating only carbs and the only kind of food I craved between feeling sick were fruits. I was constantly nauseous, gassy, bloated, tired, and dry heaving. Instead of going to the gym, I took naps. Any time I get get a break from my 5- and 3- year olds I used on sleep. In spite of my food aversion, I didn’t lose weight, but I did not exercise except for some light walking. If I had any energy left over from the children it went to keeping my house from becoming a mental health hazard.

My previous two pregnancies have all been different than this one and from each other, though none of them easy. The pregnancy, on top of my son starting kindergarten (yet another schedule change), getting involved in PTA, has really created a bit of a scheduling and logistical challenge for me as well. I am 16 weeks now, and while I am well in the second trimester I still don’t feel completely out of the fatigue. I have more good days than bad days now, and the food aversion is gone. The nausea is mostly gone and I don’t spend all day dry heaving anymore, but I have not yet found my way back to the gym because I still feel tired a lot. I feel like I am barely keeping it together because I feel more headaches, stuffy nose, body and muscles aches, and I get short of breath just walking my son to and from school (1.5 miles total trip)! I am still bloated, gassy, and my hormones are making me crazy emotional. Not a day goes by when I don’t feel like my breast, my belly, or both will explode.

Later this week I will look forward to a visit with my OB where I will have many questions. Hopefully I will be able to get back to exercising soon.