Who knew Facebook, the site that inspires so much procrastination, could create such motivation…
I often dream of being that person who wakes up in the morning and says “you know what I’d love to do right now? Go for a run”. I see these people posting their daily running sessions via Facebook, moms with children of all ages included. I tell myself they’re full of it and no one likes to get up earlier than necessary to exercise to that extent, they just have insane discipline. I then dream of having such discipline.
Before Baby E I was a regular gym goer, and had been for years. I admit I was mainly inspired by the mirror and the large sums of money forked out every month for a membership. Once making it to the gym, after debunking every possible excuse not to go, my motivation came from my fellow gym-goers. I’m sure no one was actually watching me, but I still made it a habit to not be the first one off the treadmill, or the only one to not finish the grueling ab circuit. With the prospect of having a newborn and my husband working and in graduate school full time I made the realization at the end of my pregnancy that going to the gym regularly would most likely be a pipe dream. For the first time in 16 years I would not have a gym membership. It was the end of an era.
For the first 6 weeks after baby E came into the world the mere thought of lifting a 5 pound free weight was sadly daunting. I started out at a normal weight, and was careful to gain only the recommended 30 pounds during my pregnancy. As a starry eyed first time mom I imagined I would need to lose maybe 10 pounds after giving birth and that my pre-pregnancy clothes would be tight. Two weeks post postpartum I tried on a pair of pre-pregnancy jeans. When they refused to go past my butt, I stepped on the scale. Somehow giving birth to my 6 lb 12 oz baby didn’t magically melt away 20 pounds. Working out was off the table, both due to waiting for the go-ahead from the Dr and, well, sheer exhaustion. Weight Watchers to the rescue. On a side note, need inspiration to exclusively breast feed? You get to eat the equivalent of what a 220 lb man needs to eat and still lose weight.
I was losing an average of two pounds a week on weight watchers, which was keeping up my hope that I might someday wear something other than maternity jeans and yoga pants. Luckily Baby E found lying in someone’s arms while they bounced on an exercise ball to be the greatest, most relaxing thing in the world. I was able to preserve and build some muscle tone, specifically in my thighs and lower back, both areas that burned with exhaustion on Baby E’s particularly cranky days. I highly recommend bouncing baby on an exercise ball as a soothing technique for newborns as it serves as a good lower body workout for mom too. Our walks in the park were another great form of exerice, although often derailed by cranky days, bad weather or a combination of the two.
For some, thinking in a negative or pessimistic way drives them to improve their circumstances. I myself am inspired by hope and forward momentum. During Baby E’s numerous nighttime feedings I pinned (via Pinterest for those who don’t live and breath the website) inspiring fitness quotes and rigorous at home workouts that claimed to require only a couch and a yoga matt. With late fall and winter fast approaching I mapped out my days around nap times and feeding schedules to devise ways to incorporate said workouts.
With the go-ahead from my Dr at my postpartum checkup it was time to stop pinning and start working out. Despite my best efforts to stay on track I found myself working out maybe two days a week time and time again. I was in the right space, but I was missing a huge part of my ingrained work out motivation: other gym (or in this case living room) goers. Enter social media.
I had the feeling that I might not be the only one in need to a figurative kick in the butt to get on a good fitness regimen. On a whim and a glass of wine I posted the following to my Facebook page:
“OK Ladies, who is up for a 30 Day challenge?? 300 crunches a day (any kind) and 100 lunges?? I need Partners!”
The response was overwhelming. Within an hour I had 14 women signed up for the challenge, and subsequently a Facebook group page to track our progress. I boldly posted up a before picture in my skivvies on the page (you’ll have to join the group and start doing some serious crunches to see that one). The next day two others posted their before pics, and all had reported their crunch and lunge numbers. My virtual gym was up and running. I added a daily inspirational quote, mostly for my own inspiration, but the other women seem to enjoy the ritual. By day 5 I could tell it was working. I felt motivated knowing other women were “watching” my crunch and lunge numbers posts.
It takes two weeks to make something a habit and four weeks to solidify it in your daily life. We are on Day 25 of our 30 day challenge, and I have yet to skip a day, along with many other ladies in the group. Given the success of this for myself and others in the group we are coming up with our next 30 day challenge, this time incorporating some upper body. Tank season will be here before we know it…