I’ve come to arrive at a bit of a dilemma; pregnant and wanting to exercise. Why is this a dilemma, you ask? Well, there seem to be a lot of variables at work here…
- I like to get my exercise by doing what’s called “Crossfit“. It’s a combination of Olympic weight lifting, “metcon” (metabolic conditioning, or aerobic training), and mobility exercises.
- While the doctors encourage pregnant women to workout, continuing the exercise routine they practiced pre-prego, the types of exercise discussed are things like walking, swimming, and yoga. (Don’t get me wrong, these are awesome ways to get exercise, but a wee bit different than the Crossfit stuff).
- Current research talks about how pregnant women shouldn’t lift over 20 pounds or let their heart rates get over 140. I’m not sure about you, but this doesn’t allow for much, if any exercise in my book!
What So Big About Exercising?
So, I don’t want to give the impression that I’m some kind of militant exercise freak or anything, but I will tell you that working out is a release for me. It not only helps me to feel better about myself physically, it helps me to work off extra stress, tension and frustration from every day life, not to mention the fact that I eat and sleep better when working out regularly. Oh yeah, and I thrive on doing physical activity that allows me to FEEL my strength! As a female, it’s not often that we get to truly FEEL our physical capabilities. While we may be pushed past emotional and mental limits on a regular basis, how often are we pushed to our physical limits? How often have you (or a woman you know) had the opportunity to lift, strike, or pummel something with all your might? Okay, no, I’m not an angry person by any means! But there is something incredibly empowering, uplifting, and damn sexy about exerting yourself physically and being able to actually get in touch with your strength abilities beyond what you ever thought they might be.
Before finding Crossfit, I was an avid martial arts student. I practiced Tae Kwon Do, Haganah (Israeli Guerrilla Fight Training) and general self-defense. I enjoyed this level of exercise for the same reasons I just explained above; feeling my physical strength and ability, as well as the self-discipline required to succeed. Punching a focus pad, kicking a heavy bag, and breaking a board were all things that empowered me and filled me with a euphoria that I haven’t found anywhere else. Like I said, as females, there aren’t many opportunities in life that we get to demonstrate our physical strengths…unless you were a scrapper growing up, I would bet that you don’t know what it feels like to punch or kick something with all of your focus and force behind it. It’s a feeling that I can only explain by saying that I’m completely and totally addicted and crave that feeling on a regular basis. Again, don’t misunderstand me; I’m not violent or intimidating, I just like to get my adrenaline rush by doing stuff like pounding a tire with a sledgehammer or pushing a weighed-down sled across a parking lot.
What About Pregnant Chicks?
Okay, back to the focus point…I’m pregnant. It’s not very appropriate for a pregnant lady to be punching, kicking, and pounding things, is it? Or is it??? Who’s to say that I can’t get my workout on even though there’s a little one growing inside my belly? I mean, after all…wouldn’t somebody like me know my limits and capabilities better than somebody that isn’t addicted to physically pushing themselves the way that I like to? Is it possible that somebody that’s used to working out to the point of sheer exhaustion knows when to pull it back a little? Maybe even knows how to keep the workout level at a steady, healthy pace? Obviously, I’m going to say that YES, I know how to do this! I know when to slow it down, lessen some weight, or choose a less intense version of the prescribed workout. No, I’m not a doctor, or even a fitness expert. But, I AM an Annie expert. I’ve been right here my whole life, doing sports, martial arts, and couch surfing. I know what makes me feel good and I know what makes me feel bad. I know when it hurts good, and when it hurts really bad. Working out makes me physically and emotionally happy, and therefore I argue that it makes my baby feel happy. Research has proven that regular exercise increases the blood circulation between mother and baby, as well as improving the physical birth experience and post-prego fitness capabilities. My own personal research proves that continuing to workout and push SOME of my limits is a very good thing. I’m 40 years old, pushing 20 weeks pregnant, and feel fantastic! My baby’s heart rate is a strong 150-ish, and he’s in there kicking and punching just like somebody else I know.
So, the dilemma continues; I work out and people worry about me. While I appreciate the worry, I also take good care of myself. I don’t work out too hard for my abilities; I take constant measure of my heart rate and drink lots of water. I communicate with my trainers and have faith that together, we’ll kick some of those old pregnancy myths right in the ass!!!
Some interesting sites for your reading pleasure: