It took everything inside of me to push through one of the most difficult workouts of my life. My body felt weak, and my feet were barely under me. I stared at the clock as it slowly went down in time. It felt never ending. Every part of me wanted to hit the stop button, but I knew that would be caving to my weakness. I continued to run at 5.0 speed on a little treadmill my Mom lent me to cheer up during my fifth month of pregnancy.
Nobody told me how hard it would be going from being a full blown athlete, to a 32 year old pregnant woman. I imagined it was going to be empowering. I spent years as a boxer fantasizing about the days I would become pregnant again.
The first time I was pregnant, I was 19. It wasn’t until after having my first born that I would fall in love with boxing. I rebuilt myself into an elite athlete over the last 12 years, and I was sure I’d be this pregnant Mom with a rockin bod and a jacked up turtle shell on my stomach. I couldn’t be more wrong.
I’d like to skip through the details of countless difficulties during the first trimester of my pregnancy. Between thinking we lost the baby, to having a hemorrhage, there was plenty of other roadblocks keeping me from my dream pregnant bod. Our growing baby became my top priority, and my fading athlete body became the least of my worries. Lets just say my first trimester was basically me on autopilot/zombie mode.
As I entered my second trimester, I was stoked to have some normalcy back in my life. I went to the boxing studio one day to train with my team, and something in me changed. I had the energy to push me through an entire week of boxing. Besides doing modified pushups, I was basically back to my old self. Everybody at the studio was proud of me for how hard I worked that week. This energy didn’t last though.
Pregnancy is full of ups and downs. Each week I experience something new. I’ve felt emotions that range from happy to sad. Angry to weeping. Blah to depressed. Inspired to motivated. Insomnia to can’t stop sleeping. Nauseous to eating everything in the cupboard. I could continue, but I think you get the point.
I expected to feel all sorts of things during this pregnancy. It’s not like I was in la la land, believing everything would be easy breezy. What I didn’t expect is to physically weaken. I didn’t expect to hate working out. I didn’t expect to feel drained from doing nothing at all. I thought that my previous training would be the backbone to my survival during workouts.
The perfect way to describe how I feel is to compare myself to a car running on fumes. I know my destination during a workout, but I struggle with every ounce of me to get there. Some days there is no gas in this tank to even get myself to the gym, and it’s damn depressing.
As I ran on the treadmill tonight at speed 5.0, I had flashbacks of myself sprinting at 12.0 for 30 seconds, and running in between at 8.0. I would do this for almost an hour somedays. I imagined myself sprinting up Stonechurch hill over and over again on the hottest days of the year. And here I was, 5 months pregnant, running at 5.0 and begging myself not to hit stop. I felt weak, pathetic, and low.
For some of you reading this, you’re thinking,
Well shit girl! I don’t even run on a treadmill at all.
I have enough compassion for myself to talk me out of my self loathing thoughts. I think,
Take it easy on yourself. You’re pregnant.
You’re growing a life inside of you.
You have a lot going on inside your body.
Your hormones are all over the place.
Your energy is being sucked out of you by a tiny ball of flesh. Stop being selfish, and let him suck up all the good stuff!
The entire point of this blog is to explain to struggling athlete preggo’s that you are not alone. There’s not enough information out there for the elite athlete. There’s so many websites that say it’s healthy to workout during pregnancy.
There’s not many websites out there that talk to women who have spent years training their bodies to complete depletion on a daily basis that help us feel better. During pregnancy, you can’t muster up half of that energy to put the time and effort in that you did prior to being pregnant. The hardest part is, nobody tells you how it’s going to make you feel either.
I’m proud to be pregnant, and still training, but I feel guilty that I feel like it’s not good enough. I’m watching my body get bigger, and all of my hard earned definition is disappearing.
I was the girl who walked around wearing next to nothing because I was so confident in my body. I loved seeing my abs in the morning, and I sometimes took a quick sneak peak of my own ass after I got out of the shower.
Now I turn around and see cellulite working it’s way through every part of my upper legs and butt cheeks. My skin folds over my sports bras, and pants. My shoulder definition that was once apparent by just standing still has now faded into the rest of my arm.
I am now confident that I will not be looking at myself in the mirror after I get out of the shower, and my husband is forced (by me) to turn the lights off if we are getting naked. While so many women are basking in their joys of being pregnant, I’m counting the days until it’s over. It’s so bad that I am pretty sure this will be the last baby this body carries, and again, I feel so selfish and guilty for even saying that, but the depression is real!
As an athlete, we spend so much time eating healthy, and training like we are going to a war. My life revolves around training. It’s rare to even meet someone who loves to train as much as I do.
When you train hard and eat clean, you’re at your absolute best state of mind. Once my workouts were taken away during my first trimester, the muscle mass took a hit quickly. I read that athletes who train at high levels of intensity on a daily basis can lose muscle mass as quickly as one week of not training. I had to stop for two months. Shortly after my muscle mass took a hit, my mental and emotional state followed.
I know I will get it back. I am determined to get it back. I cannot wait to get it all back.
One thing I can say I have learned through this is that there are non pregnant people who come into the boxing studio feeling all of the things I feel right now. I never understood how they felt, because my life has been all about training for so many years. Yes, I’ve fallen off track, but I’ve never taken more than five days off the gym in over a decade.
If this is how other women feel when I first meet them, then damn girl, I now know how you feel, and it makes me want to cheer for you that much more.
I wanted nothing to do with that treadmill tonight. I would rather do anything than workout these last few weeks. I am also struggling to eat healthy, because I just want to eat whatever I want, but I have to be healthy! I have to fight this! I have to be stronger than the weakness. If I am not, it’s only going to be harder as time goes on.
I made a pact with myself this week. Although I’ve been eating healthy all along, I’ve also been eating whatever I want in between. I decided enough is enough. I’m five months in, and I need to get a handle on this.
I don’t care if I have to push with all I have to get through a workout, or cry into my oatmeal in the morning... I am going to keep pushing, because my life revolves around helping others in the fitness industry. If I can get through the insane ups and downs of pregnancy, the lack of motivation, and tiredness, then I am going to be further equipped to help those who feel pathetic.
I am not pathetic, and you are not pathetic. I am not weak, and neither are you. We are strong.
Women carry babies! We literally grow a life inside of us. The changes are not for everybody. Some women thrive through it, and there’s others (like me) who struggle with it. All I know is that despite my discomfort for being pregnant, I love my baby inside. And I really hope he loves going for runs this summer, because whether he likes it or not, he’s coming with Mama.