Exercising-after-childbirth tip: Leave the baby at home. Photo: Jamie Wicks
They are the style of jean that just weren’t going to work with a 38-week pregnant lady trying to squeeze into them like a sausage skin and using a BellyBelt rather than the button-fly.
Secondly, since Boy Wonder had decided my exclusive menu was no longer for him, it had started becoming increasingly difficult to keep the baby weight in check. Thirdly, I am a fierce disciple of my own EAT CHOCOLATE rule. Often. Not a great trio.
The morning after, I felt like a bear had rolled over me
With such a combination, the scales weren’t being as friendly as I’d have liked them to be at 20 weeks postpartum. I was using up all my learned excuses:
The skinny jeans that did it.
“No, I can’t get on the treadmill because ... I read that if the baby hears me exercising he could grow up with body image issues.”
“Every time I try to get out for a run, my son decides it's time to start throwing his own nappies around the nursery.”
“Don’t you like coming home to a home-cooked meal? Would you really rather me be at the gym while you’re forced to eat meat pies or KFC every second night?”
The time has obviously come. My little man is growing fast and doing super well (the nappy thing was an out-and-out fib); hubby doesn’t mind cooking Emergency Sausages one or two nights a week; and I’ve since read a peer review of the scary Baby Body Image Issues article that kyboshed the whole theory. Apparently 20-week-olds are not bulimics. They vomit for entirely different, normal and healthy reasons. Like swallowing the ground fluff. Note to self: vacuum ASAP.
My excuses have officially expired. It’s also fair to say that a majority of first-time mums want to get back into their Skinny Jeans, and for me, now was as good a time as any.
Hell, I was starting to have conversations with my jeans: “Don’t feel lonely, Little Jeans. We’ll be able to play together again in 2015! My arse won’t look this way forever. I promise.”
I was even imagining that my skinny jeans were jealous of my oft-resorted-to Boyfriend Slouch cut. Things were getting out of control.
But I knew I couldn’t do it alone. Per chance, I happened to get wind of a ladies-only personal training session held on Tuesday evenings, located within an easy stroll of dropping Boy Wonder off to his Dad.
In what seems to be the exercise homeland of BrisVegas – housed under the shadow of the ‘Gabba – sits an awesome little personal training mecca – ASPIRE Fitness and Rehab, Trafalgar Street.
Sweats on, towel and bottle in hand, I bowled on up to my first session ready to go. The first thing I said to the kind girl at reception - before even saying my name – was: “I haven’t done any exercise in about 59 weeks.”
Her look was a little concerned.
Things relaxed. She introduced herself – she was the class instructor. Pretty, really fit but non-intimidating – she didn’t look like she took herself to Hades and back every morning and afternoon. And she had a lovely, calm, nice nature that reassured me that I’d come to the right place for the gentle ease back into the world of physical fitness I was hunting.
Plus, when I looked around, what I saw was friendly faces, not scary dumbbells, and if Arnie’s contemporary was a member of this place, they had strategically wheeled him away for ladies' night. People were working out but they weren’t behaving like they were locked in a self-torture chamber.
There was even an elderly lady – let’s call her Mavis – on a poster on the wall sprouting something inspirational like “Spin like a Winner”. Don’t quote me. Anyway, it was a great atmosphere. If Mavis could do it, I could do it.
It all started going a little pear-shaped when one of my fellow classmates leaned over and introduced herself. She pointed to our pint-sized instructor.
“Don’t let her fool you. She made me vomit the first time I came to this class.”
What followed was an hour of sheer (and in hindsight, glorious) physical intensity like I hadn’t felt in ... well, 59 weeks (childbirth aside – it’s in a completely different category and has no place in this story).
Yes, I remember when my limits were far greater than taking 3 minutes to row 500m. I remember 30-second sprint-cycles on level 16 not hurting as much as it did. I remember going through an hour of intense physical workout and not wanting to vomit! But instead of scaring me off and making me fear this difficulty of getting back into shape, all of this helped me through 40 jump-squat reps, 2×20 sit-up combos (hello abdominals – where have you been?), 2×20 burpees, 100 bicep curls and a row-jog-sprint, winding up with a two-minute Spin Cycle Classic where the group competed for the furthest distance in the shortest time. Me? Dead last. By an embarrassing gap.
The morning after, I felt like a bear had rolled over me. And not the same bear that used to hit me on the back of the head and steal all my money on the odd Saturday night out before sonny came to town. But the day after that the aches subsided and what remained was the memory of how much better I felt when I was a little fitter. My body had told me it was time, and for the first time since bub was born, I’d heard it. I will return. The ten-week program will be hard going, but it's perfectly designed for someone in my situation. I’m surrounded by inspiring women who have been doing it for months, even after barfing the first three sessions.
The gym's fitness programs seem to be tough, but fun. Perhaps not quite as much fun as when bub first smiles, reaches for an item, enjoys his first foods or hilariously rolls under the couch and gets stuck, but feeling good in and about myself is pretty frickin' awesome after feeling a a tad sluggish for the last few months. I know its all part of the amazing adventure – but it’s good to finally be back on the horse.
I told my jeans that the days of being hidden away in the “Before Child/Send to Vinnies” clothes box are numbered.