Monthly Archives: December 2009

It's a Good Life: My early Christmas present

I got a GoodLife membership. Merry Christmas to me!

Every day I’d hear crying. It wasn’t just my two-month old Naomi crying. My body was crying too. Crying to push. Screaming to pull. Aching to sweat.  I’d been between gyms for awhile.  It was clearly time to find a new one. My most recent experiences were with small personal training studios – a luxury my new mat leave budget could not afford. So I started trolling the neighbourhood for a new spot.

My preference is for a modest-size gym with old-school but decent equipment, a few hard bodies to look at, the ever-so-slight smell of hard work in the air, and the definite sound of good beats in the background. I hate corporate gyms. I hate the shameless sales push. I hate the contracts and bank withdrawals. I hate the gym Barbies. I hate the new year resolution crowd. This is why I had avoided the nearby GoodLife like the plague.

Alas, the GL is 10 minutes from home, has all the equipment I need, is affordable and offers child-minding to boot! Alright, Ms. pretty corporate-uniformed saleslady, sign me up.

Have you experienced GoodLife Fitness? Let me know what you think of it.


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Misery Loves Retail Therapy: Shopping for workout wear

I was on the verge of tears. I had to get out. I pumped milk, put on makeup and hit the nearest Winners for some retail therapy!

I haven’t had many teary moments, but I was definitely feeling baby bluesy for a day or two. There was no one thing getting to me, but rather a culmination of common postpartum feelings: worn down by the endless feeding and changing cycle; frustrated by the list of want-to-dos I couldn’t get to; resentful of the inherent imbalance in parental responsibilities; tired of my appearance and neglected grooming; and of course, mournful of my body and desperately wanting a good long workout.

Joining a new gym tops my the list of “want-to-dos”. Wanting to look and feel good at the gym is also high on that list. I need not be decked out in Lululemon or designer sweats. I just need workout wear that fits and flatters. The cute crops I was wearing post-competition a year ago certainly won’t do. And unfortunately even the b-list items I wore while five months pregnant “aren’t tight, but aren’t right”. (ha ha ha)

Proudly, even in the midst of a minor breakdown, I am a sensible shopper. I bought four pieces and those four pieces I shall wear until I no longer have the stomach and thighs to hold them up! Two tops, one long yoga-style pant, one knee-length pant. Done. $90 spent. Oh, plus a new winter coat. I feel much better 🙂

Do you have a particular workout look? Does what you wear influence your workout?

GOOD TO KNOW: Winners sells many recognized athletic brands at discounted prices.

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I've Come Undone: Dealing with diastasis recti

I’ve come undone. No, it has nothing to do with baby blues. It’s my abs.

I’ve self-diagnosed myself with “Diastasis Recti” – Greek for “there’s more work ahead”. Sigh. Seriously though, I do believe I have a mild case of diastasis recti. Diastasi-what?? In non-medical lingo, it means the left and right sides of the abdominus recti (aka the abs) have literally separated,  leaving a gap down the mid line of the belly.

How did this happen? In a word – pregnancy. As my cute little Naomi was growing for 10 months, so was my uterus and as a result, so was the pressure on my abdominal wall.

It happens. It happens a lot actually. And when it does, extra care must be taken so as not to worsen the condition postpartum. The last thing I want is a permanent state of weakened abs, chronic lower back pain and a lasting tummy bulge. No way. Not gonna happen.

What I’ve learned so far is that gung-ho gals like me who have waged war on the baby belly shouldn’t attack with an insane number of crunches. No crunches! At least not right away. We can instead start with specific exercises that re-strengthen the transverse abs underneath. I’ve also come across talk of abdominal splints and tummy tucks. Oh my. I’ll start with the modified ab work and let you know how that goes.

How do you feel postpartum? Are you dealing with specific problems or areas of concern?


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Feeding Time: What's a mom to eat?

What?! You leave the hospital looking five months pregnant?!

I’m sure it goes without saying. Like most new moms, I’m beyond eager to lose the baby belly hidden beneath strategically chosen tops. It may go without saying, but each day I say it still. Sigh. Yet as eager as I am to slip back into my Twiggy jeans, I know there is no quick fix. No magic pill to order. No special elastic waistband to buy. No spot training solution. When it comes to losing the dreaded pooch, I believe a sensible combo of nutrition, cardio and core work are key. A sobering truth, I know.

Nutrition is the most challenging factor of the equation for me right now. In those first few weeks, it was hard enough to find time to eat let alone be mindful of what I ate. Now eight weeks in, I still rely heavily on prepared meals, frozen foods and ‘one hand snacks’.

Through my bodybuilding experience I know what foods I could eliminate for definite weight loss results. But because I am breastfeeding such restrictions are not an option. A balanced diet with adequate fat is best for baby and for me. These are some of my reasonably healthy go-to grocery items right now:

  • Pre-cooked chicken breast strips
  • Pre-cooked turkey or lean beef meatballs
  • Eggs
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Whole grain cereals, breads, crackers and granola bars
  • Various cheeses
  • Chocolate soy milk
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Carrot and celery snack trays
  • Apples, bananas and berries
  • Salad in a bag
  • Water, water, water!

My favourite 10-minute meal right now:

  • Chinese chow mein noodles with beef strips and fresh stir fry vegetables

What are you eating postpartum? Do you have favourite snacks or easy 10-minute recipes?

GOOD TO KNOW: Breastfeeding mothers are advised to consume an extra 500 calories daily.

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Back on the Horse: My first post-pregnancy workout

So there I was following the FitMom Postnatal Workout DVD (thank you online shopping) in the comfort of my living room and my chocolate brown track pants.  It wasn’t the hardcore exercise that I so desperately craved after nearly four months of inactivity. It wasn’t a series of gut-wrenching weight lifting sets.  Nor was it a heart-pumping 10K run among the Running Room pack. Still, at 8 weeks post-pregnancy, it was great to do a workout, in whatever form.

I’ve never been into workout videos but this is admittedly a sensible and affordable solution –  for now. The circuit is easy to follow and covers all the major muscle groups. The basic moves help re-stabilize joints that are loosed by the pregnancy-induced hormone, relaxin.

I breezed through squat after squat after squat,  but was surprised to find the push-ups challenging. Weak pecs, biceps and triceps – when did that happen? Oh dear. I was also acutely aware of tenderness in my pubic bone, mild separation of my abdominal muscles and developing carpal soreness (all normal post-pregnancy occurances). The next day my quads and calves were pleasantly sore. Ahh, love that. I’m feeling focussed and seriously ready to blast this baby belly and get back into my jeans.

When did you resume your workouts? How did it feel?

GOOD TO KNOW: While opinions vary, most women are advised to wait at least 6 weeks before resuming exercise, and only with the okay from their practitioner.

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