chris1

this guest post is by the most amazing Christine Gordon-Manley. as you are about to discover, Christine is a fit mama awaiting babe number two. in addition to being mom to the sweetest of little girls, Christine is a partner-owner at Manley Mann Media where she spins both amazing word webs and amazing web words. as a strong woman who challenges herself physically, she is known around the studio as the Shame Machine – you best be doing full push ups if that pregnant lady Christine next to you is! i am blessed to know Christine, inspired by her inner fire, and so grateful she is today’s guest blogger!

I became pregnant for the second time in May 2012 and immediately decided to sign myself up for an experiment. I don’t know if you’d call it a social one or a psychological one, or heck even a valid one, really, since I am both the subject and the conductor of this study, but an experiment it is.

Research Context

 My first pregnancy, five years ago, saw me lethargic, sore, cranky, and basically a lump on the couch for 42 weeks. My physical activity levels basically consisted of floating in a pool 1-2 times a week, pretending to swim a lap or two whenever a fellow swimmer would join me (but, mostly, I just enjoyed floating), and walking in grocery stores, malls, and big-box stores that consumed much of our weekend schedule back when we lived in Ontario.

My daughter was born almost 2 weeks past her due date (ouch), after approximately 33.5 hours of labour (but who’s counting?). I experienced back labour and some pretty graphic internal stuff I shall spare you from reading about. Let’s just say that I still haven’t forgotten the experience despite common folklore suggesting I should have long ago replaced these details with visions of rainbows and sunshine.

Recovery was a bit on the slow side, and it’s safe to say that the shell-shocked state of New Parents Syndrome kept me housebound the better part of a year. It took me forever to get back to the gym, to become fit again, to feel like me.

 In 2010, I found myself looking for a new fitness routine. My family had settled into some state of normalcy after a few years of chaos, and my half-ass gym workouts and infrequent running schedule just wasn’t cutting it. Kettlebells was recommended and so I signed up to try.

Two years later and I am addicted. Not only is kettlebells a fantastic workout and not only does Wendy continually mix it up (it’s safe to say we’re never bored), but the mix of camaraderie and community that is experienced at Wendy’s studio is something I’ve never experienced before. I’ve long ago given up my gym membership (where I often felt alone and intimidated). With Wendy, we’re always challenged, and even when we grumble (and do we grumble!), it’s usually with a smile on our faces. Usually.

I’ve never been happier with my physical appearance and level of fitness than I have been this past year. I credit Wendy and kettlebells for this.

 Research Participants

So, when I decided to add Child #2 to the mix of my already busy life, it was with the caveat that I try as hard as I could to maintain my sanity. I did not want to lose myself, and for me, this meant maintaining my fitness levels as much as I could. I was curious as to just how long I could continue swinging with a growing belly, and if doing so would affect my overall well being.

Methodology

I’m proud to say that, other than a few weeks at the beginning, where constant nausea plagued me and my level of physical activity consisted of keeping my eyelids open, I have managed to maintain something of a regular kettlebell schedule.

Push-ups. Swings. Jump rope. Even burpees. So far, I’m doing it all. I’m now in trimester #3 and have started making some modifications. Not really because I can’t handle it . . . but moreso that there is a certain obstacle in my way. (Ever try mountain climbers with a giant belly in the way? Case in point.)  I’ve also cut out attending circuit classes now that I get winded by simply walking up stairs (thank you unborn child for squishing my lungs), and some moves present additional balance issues that I didn’t have to adjust for before, but other than that, I continue to go and swing with the rest. My stubborn l’il self refuses to modify too much, as part of the fun of the class is keeping up with everyone else!

Preliminary results

 This pregnancy has been so much easier than the first and I credit placing such an importance on my physical activity levels. I’m not known as the “lump of the couch” around the house and I generally have more energy than I did when pregnant the first time around. I honestly can’t believe that I’m 30 weeks pregnant already! I also like the way I look, which didn’t happen much during pregnancy number one, where I often felt clumsy, large, and ugly.

So far, the experiment is working. I still have 10 weeks to go and I’m sure more modifications will have to be made along the way, but my original goal of “let’s just try kettlebells until Christmas” has already been changed to “let’s keep going as long as I can.”

fit5Significance of Study

 My fellow kettlebell swingers joke that this child will emerge looking like a bell and swing right on out of me. I’m not quite sure about that, but I do hope I have an easier labour this time around. I’m being realistic with that expectation, but I do know that my overall health is much more positive and even maintaining a good mental health can contribute to the birth experience. And, once baby is born, I plan on returning to Wendy’s studio as soon as I can, swinging my way back to the pre-pregnancy body that I was so proud of. Pregnancy is no reason to stop being active, especially if fitness is already part of your life. Sheesh, if those ancient women in the rice fields could keep on working right up until they gave birth, there’s no reason I can’t swing a bell (or two).


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