I completed a 10K the week before I found out I was pregnant with AnaBella. I went to the gym 5 days a week, and Mark and I often spend entire afternoons at the gym. That was 2009. I haven’t seen a gym or a 4.0mph trot since. (Checking calendar…yes, 2013 is more than half over…) I have been “active,” meaning I climb the stairs a few times a day to bring the laundry up or bring the trash down. I’m always bending and stretching to pick up toys or reach for a puzzle piece. We walk to the library and the bank and the park. I kept telling myself that that was enough. But as my strength diminished and the next pregnancy test popped up pink lines, I knew I had to make a change.
But still…I didn’t want to go to the gym. They’re either too far away, too expensive, or don’t have adequate childcare. I am tempted by the classes, but those are usually in the morning, when I feel like AnaBella should be out playing, not plopped in front of a TV at a gym daycare (yes, our neighborhood gym turns on the TV and calls that babysitting), or classes are at night, which is not my favorite time to exercise. To sum up, I had lots of excuses.
But then…I found this blog post. And it was about diastasis recti, or DR for short. (Huh? I took Spanish, not Latin.) Basically, DR is a separation of the abdominal muscles during pregnancy, though not always limited to that. I always knew I had a small split, but my doctor told me not to worry about it, so I didn’t—until I got pregnant again and realized that my ab muscles were pretty much non-existent, and another pregnancy was not exactly going to shred me in a good way. The article went on to talk about “Tummy Safe” exercises, and crunches were actually on the DO NOT DO list!. I was so intrigued by this different way of exercising that I checked out the site: Fit2B.us, an online gym.
Let’s address the elephant in the room. Online gyms = oxymoron, right? I used to think they were for people who had a social phobia, or were so out of shape they couldn’t bear to be in public while exercising (both groups are really great fits for online gyms, BTW.) But really, the whole concept is pretty darn awesome. You don’t have to get dressed, or get childcare. You can work out while your kids are napping or sleeping in the mornings, or playing with their toys…or you can work out with them, as Anabella and I often do. You don’t need to wait for a shower, or even take a shower if you don’t want to, because you’re just going to be…at home. You won’t forget to pack your underwear in your gym bag, because you don’t need a gym bag. The convenience factor won me over. But Bethany’s expertise, humor, and fun workouts have kept me there.
It’s been over a month and I’m now working out every day. Some workouts are just ten minutes long, so I can sneak one in before Anabella wakes up. Sometimes, I’ll do a longer video, or put a few shorter ones together. I can do arms one day, legs the next, aerobics, yoga, pilates, tabata, kickboxing, stretching – this stuff is awesome, people! But the coolest part is that my little split? It’s gone. My abs are now completely knitted together! I’m confident that as I continue to work through the videos, I’ll be in a great place come February, when my belly is at its biggest. Lest you think the gym is just for pregnant or new mamas, no fear – these workouts are designed to keep your core strong for optimal health, regardless of whether there once was, or never will be, a baby in there again. Pretty sweet deal to have someone looking out for you like that, don’t you think?
If Fit2B sounds like something you want to check out, you can go here for a free workout. Interested in joining? Bethany Learn, the Founder of Fit2B Studio, is offering TOBB readers 3 months of membership for $20 (regularly $30), or a year’s membership for $89.99 instead of $99.99. Make sure you enter the code “TOBB” for the savings. I do get a small percentage of the sale, so thank you for supporting my work!
Megan McGrory Massaro is a mother, freelance writer, and author, rediscovering her love for exercising. She wrote The Other Baby Book: A Natural Approach to Baby’s First Year to empower women to make the best choices for their families.