Replacing the devil on my shoulder with a BARBELL!

On day two of my new mum lives in gym plan negative thoughts and excuses not to go, plagued me from the moment I woke up thinking “Oh nooo I have to go there again!” I dreaded getting ready and imagined dragging myself through a horrendously difficult, muscle tearing workout (cue dramatic theme tune!). I thought I had conquered the devil on my shoulder, telling me I couldn’t do this yesterday but it was back with replenished vigour. “Ugh I’m exhausted from yesterday how can I do it again?”What’s the point I couldn’t do anything substantial anyway?” “Maybe this is too soon?” “I reeeeaaaally just want to have a coffee and relax with Mars.” I fought myself and got ready to go because contrary to my first thought above I didn’t have to go, I wanted to, I wanted real tangible results and that meant that somewhere, deep deep down, I wanted to do the work necessary to achieve them.

The funny thing was that physically, the workout wasn’t horrendous at all. In fact, it was surprisingly much better than the day before. I managed to run the entire 10 minute warm up without pain (amazing!) and with my partners help, I attempted and completed a few more exercises that would soon become important components of my weekly program. I realised that my fitness journey would not be made difficult by my body but rather by my mind…

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” (George Bernard Shaw)

I had to change my mind about exercise if I wanted to succeed long term!

Following on from my previous post, organisation was definitely Problem Number Four when it came to new mum gyming! Somewhere amidst the time it took me to get ready, get to the gym, work out and get home again Mars would need a feed which meant I would need to express a bottle for him every day before I left. This also meant that I would have to make sure I had sterilised a bottle for the expressed milk (which I kept forgetting to do!) Although this slowed me down and meant that I couldn’t just decide to go and run out the door, it coincided nicely with the fact that I needed to pump just before I left anyway in order to reduce the milk weight and eradicate the chance of any discomfort while working out. In addition, I had to make sure that someone (invariably my mum) was available to babysit the little man each day resulting in adhering to someone else’s schedule (my partner was coming with me for the first while to help me get to grips with everything while trying to complete his own workout at the same time, needless to say this didn’t work!). Finally, I had to make sure that my gym gear was washed and ready (it’s not as easy as it sounds to stay on top of the laundry when you have a newborn!) I had all day to get ready for 6pm when my mum got home from work and in theory my partner and I could leave but something always managed to delay us. Mars fed every two hours and may end up needing a feed while I was getting ready, I would have to remove the three sports bras, feed him and get dressed again which proved a task and a half! He may further decide to create an explosion just as we edged towards the door which more often than not entailed changing not only his nappy but his entire outfit because well, explosion, was not an exaggerated term! Not to mention the times he got sick on me after the feed and I had to change my entire gym outfit!

The later in the evening it got due to one thing or another the harder it got to push through mentally and go. I had been up since early am and nursing all day which left me feeling extremely tired, I swiftly had to learn that,

“There are two types of tired! Mental and physical.” 

I was amazed more than once at my ability to transform the minute I hit the treadmill, from sleepy to speedy and registered that if I could just get myself to the gym, my body would do the work.

It wasn’t easy to get into my desired routine. I had planned to gym 5 times a week but my body soon told me that it wasn’t ready for that so I cut it down to a goal of 4 days a week until I could manage a fifth. I have yet to reach a consistent 4 days a week. Since that first week in January a multitude of variables have attempted to deter me. I was sick my second week back and only managed two days in the gym, Mars had his christening the last week in January and I had to forego gym hours to arrange everything, now and then my Mum had changes in her schedule which prevented her from babysitting last minute and Mars himself caught his first cough and cold for a week in February, I was so worried about him I couldn’t leave his side.

Despite all this, I have gone to the gym at least once every week and on average 3 times a week since the beginning of January and guess what? I have made progress!! My anxiety and awkwardness in the gym has subsided and through trial and error I now have a suitable program that I can follow confidently each day. Furthermore, making sure that once I reach the gym I complete my entire plan for the day coupled with sticking to my simple healthy eating plan, I have managed to lose 6kg so far! I have to disclaim that as a rule I don’t take the scales too seriously. We all know our bodies and we know when there is a positive change. I read the scales like I read my horoscopes, for fun, if they say something I like I think “wahoo! This is great!” and if they don’t I think, “Oh well they’re not that accurate anyway!”and instead ask myself honestly “How does my body look / feel?” Nevertheless, the sight of minus 6kg was a lovely boost and delightful encouragement to keep going!

I am improving with every workout and every week I am pushing to do better than the last. My latest aim is to manage 4 workouts a week for the month of March. The devil on my shoulder still appears after a sleepless night or when I wake up with muscle pain from leg day (or arm day or chest day!) and so on but I know now not to over think it, not to let the excuses roll in. Throw on those gym clothes , power through any tiredness or delays and just get there!! When you’re on the verge of staying home remember,

“You will never regret a workout but you will always regret not going.”



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