Every since discovering I was pregnant (it was confirmed in Thailand, after a suspicious week of activity in Burma last year) to say I’ve taken fitness easy is an understatement. For nine and a half long months, I’ve gone from working out several times a week to cautiously breaking into a sweat at a few select fitness sessions. But 7 weeks after HB arrived, it was time to get back into it!
During my pregnancy, I didn’t swim at all (despite having good intentions – I even bought myself a maternity swimming costume), tried running once and hated the feeling of jiggling my bump around that I gave up almost immediately, and generally swung between telling myself I needed to maintain my fitness and not wanting to risk anything. I think the most hardcore fitness session I took part in was an hour of the Louisa Drake Method which was just that. Hardcore. I sweated so much. Oh, I also did pregnancy yoga regularly but come one now, that’s hardly exercise…
I missed yoga, I missed bootcamps, I missed obstacle course races and I missed seeing all the other writers for Healthy Living London sweat it out in lots of novel and fun PR launches.
So it was with bated breath that after HB arrived, I sat on tenterhooks waiting for my 6 week post-natal sign off to happen. At the GP’s, they asked how I was feeling, offered to take a look ‘down there’ (I refused on the grounds that I had, just the day before, had a colposcopy review – a six monthly ordeal after suffering from cervical cancer), and after some persuasion, checked me for diastasis recti (there was a small gap but nothing to worry about apparently) and warned me I might wee myself whilst running. But that was just to start with. Other than that, I was ready to rock out my leggings again!
My first real fitness session came after an email came through about the launch of new Islington studio, Studio One. With hubster looking after HB every Sunday morning, this enabled me to a few hours of glorious freedom. I chose, one Sunday, to try out a class at Studio One. As per my nature, I tried to do TWO session (go big or go home, right?) and asked if I could try Power Hour Yoga followed by Boxing. Alison from the studio (quite rightly in hindsight), persuaded me that perhaps we should stick to one session first. After all, I had just pushed a mini human out my fanny and so things were a little jiggled about and stuff.
An hour after Power Hour Yoga, I joined my fellow NCT friends for brunch in Angel, feeling decidedly shakey. I’d totally underestimated how hardcore Power Yoga was. Silly. Even though I was late (I’m late 92% of the time with HB but without him, I really didn’t have an excuse) I could tell, a few downdogs in, I realised this was going to be hard. My body just wasn’t what it used to be. Where had all my core strength gone?! The class was taken by Shaun Mercier, who chatted us through a series of fast-moving flows. Halfway through I realised that it had been months since I had even seen my feet and somewhat detachedly, observed that they were actually quite gross and definitely needed a manicure.
But you know what? Even though it was tough and I wanted to run out the room screaming, I loved it. It felt SO GOOD to actually be sweating (and not in a disgusting pregnant way), using my body and feeling that even though it wasn’t as strong as it used to be, it could be strong again.
5 Things I realised about my post-pregnancy body
- There are squishy bits where there didn’t used to be squishy bits and these get in the way of side stretches.
- I can now do savasana safely!
- Chaturangas are now the hardest thing ever.
- I should stay away from exercises which leave my pelvis unstable – doing one movement which involved some kind of contortion where my leg was balanced under and across my body, I realised that it was rather painful.
- My body isn’t going to be the same again and that’s ok.
UPDATE: Studio One have just started doing mums and babies classes which include a free physical assessment so that you can exercise safely.