Pregnancy has taught me many things, and I’ve loved having the chance to share about it with you guys via my blog! Part of me wants to apologize for blogging about pregnancy again, but the truth is I’ve always written about what’s happening in my life at the time – from cancer to evolving as a personal trainer to sharing about family dynamics and workouts, too. So I’m taking time to think through this phase, which I’d love to come again in our lives but which I’m counting as our only chance – God only knows the answer to that! In the meantime, I’m so aware of this journey and what’s happening in and around me and am grateful for every kick in my belly, every protruding varicose vein in that left leg of mine, every chance to watch and feel the changes as time goes on.
One of the things pregnancy has taught me is the value of being honest about where we are in our lives. I always wondered what it would be like to watch my body change and surrender to the process; would it be hard to let my abs go? What about my workout intensity? How will I carry the baby and will I just get huge all over? More vain or surface-level questions, I’ll admit, but that was also before we knew what our journey would be like. How long it would take to conceive (about 1.5 years), how we would be given a 0% chance of conceiving with Mikey’s cancer history. When I found out I was pregnant, I felt like I was walking around with a miracle inside of me (I am!) and thoughts of my body vanished. I was just so grateful to have the chance to carry a life that I embraced every step of change along the way. It’s reminded me how more there is to life than our bodies and working out, and while I had been on this trajectory of getting outside the gym with my mindset more over the last few years and broadening my idea of health to be much more than how I workout, what I eat and what my body looks like, pregnancy has helped cement these thoughts for me.
This was all sparked by a client who recently shared with me, “I had time to workout while I was away… I don’t really have any excuses. I just didn’t. I love working out while I’m here but when I travel for work it’s just not a priority. Sometimes I wonder if I honestly just want to stay fat.”
What an interesting thought! I’ve thought much about this idea – how badly do you want to be _____ (lean/strong/fit/skinny/a certain weight/a specific body fat)? Are you REALLY willing to do what it takes to get there, in terms of sacrifice, being realistic about your genetics and goals, looking at your time and commitment and overall quality of life? It’s a tough and very honest question to ask.
I certainly think we should all strive to live fuller, more healthier lives, but maybe that doesn’t look the same for everyone. For women who desire kids or not, maybe that means being fertile and having a monthly cycle, because that means your hormones are working well. For others maybe that means having healthy blood markers, enough energy to not fall asleep and grab a latte and scone at work daily at 2:30 pm, or being able to go for a hike and not feel winded. Perhaps you want to wake up without back pain, or come to choose healthy foods as fuel because you enjoy them and not as a punishment. All of these things have nothing to do with what your body looks like, but rather how it can perform.
On an elite level, I loved this article from Eat to Perform on the recent CrossFit Games that transpired last weekend – many athletes showed up at the games leaner and revealing more abs than ever, looking svelte and coming in at very low body weights. And you know what? None of them actually placed in the top 3 spots like they were slated to or defended their titles. Super interesting! Is performance lacking because of your goals?
My main take-away? Think hard about WHY you’re training, WHY you obsess over what you eat, and if it’s really worth it for you. It might be! But I’m reminded all the time, especially during this phase of my own life, that life has so much more to offer than working on your fitness. And remember that you can let some of that focus go WITHOUT sacrificing your body and fitness, too! The two aren’t mutually exclusive. But there’s a lot of life to be lived in community, at good restaurants, at home with friends, while traveling, that happens outside the gym. In other words, go LIVE your FITNESS!
Are you loving where you’re at in life and work and your focus these days? If you’re cranking hard in the gym and loving it (I’m thinking of my good friend Kindal right now; check out her consistency and creativity in the gym on Instagram!), keep owning that! If you’re focusing more on daily movement and less gym-specific work, keep enjoying that. If you have a goal you’re working towards, stay on track. Just keep asking why and keep living life OUTSIDE the gym, too.
Live well & be well, friends – and live your fitness!