Monday, March 28, 2011

Diaries of a preggo exerciser: Motivation

Workout: 25 minutes stationary bike, 20 minutes elliptical and 1-mile stroll (not walk) with Denali

I woke up at 6:05 in the middle of a dream about euthanasia, Taylor Lautner, vampires, vampires eating people and my father-in-law holding the vials of anti-venom to keep vampires from eating people.

Welcome to pregnancy, my friends. Welcome.

Despite my strange nocturnal shenanigans, I felt rested. I wasn’t necessarily energetic or enthusiastic about the day but I was rested. I got up, went to the “little room” and took my prenatal vitamin. And then, in a snap decision, I put on the workout gear that I had laid out last before. Energy and case of the Mondays be damned – I was going to the gym.

And so I did. And because I did (and my workout was just that – a workout), I’m going to talk a little bit about how I stay motivated to workout during pregnancy.

Self esteem. First and foremost, I know that if I workout – even just a little bit – that I will feel better about myself. I don’t like the feeling of being lazy or sitting around for too many days in a row.

Normalcy. From the hormones to the changing body to the frequent doctor visits, it’s hard to feel like yourself, the healthy self you knew preconception. Breaking a sweat, logging miles, lifting a weight reminds you that you are still you. Even if everyone now calls you mom and asks about the baby before asking about you, you are still you for that time on the trail or on the bike.

The big “D.” It should come as no surprise that Denali bugs the heck out of me motivates me to exercise. If all I manage to do is walk him, it’s still a couple miles and a good 40 minutes on my feet  … and a few hours of sanity saved.

Being an example. Sometimes, when I feel really unmotivated, I think about how I want my child to see me and the stories that I want to tell him. I want to tell him that I ran into the third trimester. I want him to see me as the cool, fit mom. I want to do things that inspire him, make him proud of his mom.

Post partum. Size 2 pants, running (not power walking) the 4-mile Fort-4-Fitness course and my BOB Ironman stroller – working out now will make all of those things more possible and more fun in 6 months.

2012. When things start to seem discouraging, I think of one thing: 2012. October 2012. My comeback. Next year, in October, I plan to run the Chicago marathon – my first. I think about training for the race, running through Lincoln Park, Mark and baby boy cheering for me. Each run now, each workout now, will make it that much easier to achieve great things then.

Healthy mom, healthy baby. While I hate to admit that these perks are not immediate motivation, it does make me feel good to know that exercise is doing both of us some good. According to BeFit-Mom, “fit women experience easier adaptation to the lower-intensity endurance activity of early labor; shorter first and second stages of labor; enhanced pain tolerance; increased stamina for labor and delivery, with less perceived exertion during labor; lower incidences of intervention during labor; substantially fewer caesarian births; and good pelvic muscle tone-resulting in fewer episiotomies/tearing. … Also, fit moms give birth to leaner, stronger, healthier, and even smarter babies, who may even have better motor-functioning, cardiovascular capacity, with a greatly reduced risk for developing obesity, diabetes, and other related health challenges as adults.”

Besides the perk of the the whole shorter labor, smaller size baby thing to get you going, this list isn’t too different from a list I would have made 25 weeks ago. I ran to feel good about myself; I ran to feel normal or get some “me” time (always the perk of a solo tempo run); Denali always wanted to go; new pants were always nice; and a big race was always a goal.

What motivates you to exercise? Let me know, and I can post the suggestions later in the week.


  1. Love it!

    Motivations for me: knowing I'll be so glad I went when I come back, feeling strong and connected to my body, doing it because I love it (even if sometimes I feel like I don't).

  2. Great post Kimberly. (I found your blog through SR.)

    What motivates me to run is an upcoming race, reading other running blogs and seeing their success, seeing changes in my body, and the way I feel after a run!

  3. Great list! And what about all the women who get skinnier and become faster runners post-baby?

    That should be some encouragement as well :)

  4. Love this list. I was rattling off almost the same list to my friends this weekend when I was talking about why I still workout (minus the size 2, don't think i'll ever get there).

    Yeay for our fit and healthy pregnancies and babies.

  5. Being overweight, I'm motivated to run and work out mainly to lose weight.

    I want to lose weight because 1) I need to. It's just not healthy and I want a baby soon. I really don't want to start off on the wrong foot by being unhealthy. And 2) A piece of me (OK, a BIG piece) is pretty vain. I want to be toned and look good. There. I said it.

  6. So amazed by you each and every day. You are a "big picture" kind of girl! You are NOT like the rest of us who try to loose 5 pounds by tomorrow - fail, then give up - you look ahead . . . WAY ahead (say, Oct 2012 for example) and you use that to help you get through right now. I'm sure that mentality was developed during your extreme weight loss journey. Simply amazing! So proud of you! You're exactly right - staying fit will make the delivery a cinch (or at least, it will be A LOT easier than had you been a couch sitting bon-bon eating preggo diva)!

  7. I just noticed you had 99 followers. Wow - congratulations!! Any plans for when you get 100?? How fab for you!!! So proud to say "I know you . . . in real life!"