Thursday, May 15, 2008

My last real workout


Tonight was my last official class at the gym. I started going to this strength training class over three years ago, overweight and out of shape. I had really gotten out of the habit of going to the gym, and I had probably put on about 10 pounds from my average weight...and more if I think back to what I weighed before I was married (though I don't blame the weight gain on marriage...work was the major culprit). The class kicked my butt from the get-go...I could hardly walk for 2 or 3 days after every class, for a very long time. Eventually I was only sore for a day most of the time, but to be sore after class every single week for three years was pretty crazy. I don't know if that means I should have been working out more, or if the class was just that good that it worked all those muscles every time. In any event, in the first year I lost about 10 pounds and toned up everything...my legs, my arms, my shoulders, my abs. I will be eternally grateful to the instructor because of that. I changed jobs about a year after starting the class, and I think that solidified my commitment to being in decent shape, because I now had the time and energy to go to the gym. But regardless of how many other times I went to the gym during the week, I always had class. It was an appointment, in essence, and missing it meant being that much sorer the next week...so there was a lot of motivation to go. My goal became to get in the best shape I could before getting pregnant, so I wouldn't have as much to lose afterward.

When I got pregnant I knew I wanted to keep going to class. I had to watch myself early on, to make sure my heart rate stayed low enough and to make sure I wasn't getting overheated. I had to battle through my month of nausea early on (I never got sick, but class made that funny feeling in my throat that much worse), but for the most part it felt good to keep moving. As time went on my belly got in the way more and more, and I had to keep altering certain exercises to avoid laying flat on my back. The hardest thing was losing my core strength. I stopped doing abs a while ago, on advice from a pregnant fitness instructor, and eventally your muscles just change and can't support you as well. Nothing like laying on the floor and not being able to roll up like I used to. However, I never went down in weights. I kept my 8-pounders all along.

I wasn't sure how long I could keep doing it, but the instructor helped make the decision for me. She's getting into a critical time in her quest for her Masters in Nursing and can't make the time to do the class anymore. Tonight was her last night, and it seemed like a good stopping point. Turns out the timing probably couldn't have been better, because I struggled a bit tonight. Nothing major, but it just seemed like I've reached a point where my belly's just too big and I can't stay at the level I'd like to be at. So, that's it. There's another class starting up in its place, but now is no time to start a new class...but I'll be glad it's there after I'm cleared to go back to real workouts.

I know I've done well, but I can't help but be a little nervous about what might happen to my body without its weekly dose of squats and lunges and lifting over the next seven weeks (and however many more beyond that), but I will keep trying to do cardio (or at least a nice neighborhood walk) as long as I can. I guess I've done all I can do up to this point. I'll miss class, but a break might not be so bad. It'll probably make me appreciate it more when I go back, and by then I'll have a new goal to work toward. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed the latest picture of my massive belly... :)

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