You are browsing the archive for 2011 May.

Goodbye cold, hello winter-warming workouts!

May 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

First of all, big up to all the runners who took part in the Comrades yesterday. I watched a bit of it on TV and apart from being stunned at the amount of older people who take part, it really looks terrifying.


(On that note check out my interview with Highved Stereo’s DJ Brad Brown who ran the Comrades yesterday, click here.)


As for me, well my belly as been growing nicely, making some things a bit more difficult but I now definitely look pregnant so there’s no more of those awkward looks from people who aren’t sure if I’m just packing on the pounds or baking a baby in my proverbial oven. It makes for some interesting looks at the gym when I do one of the CrossFit Mom workouts at Virgin Active.


On Saturday I did one which was a lot more exhausting than it sounded before I started:


1000m run

30 dumbbell presses

500m row


Was well and truly buggered after that considering I’d decided to warm up with some squats and play around with some kettlebell swings beforeand too.

But it was the looks I was getting from some of the other gym goers that kept me going….


….the woman on the treadmill who seemed to be taking more of a Sunday afternoon stroll than working up a sweat, the guy on the bike who was reading his book while aimlessly cycling (although I suspect the book was merely a ruse to keep an eye on the young girl’s bum in front of him on the stepping machine, dirty old bugger!) and the wanna-be body builders who spent more time “recovering” and talking to each other about how awesome they were than actually doing anything of awesomeness… they all looked more than a little astonished at the big-bellied redhead puffing it out on the treadmill and rowing machine.

It’s a small thing but it makes me happy.


Especially since all of last week I couldn’t exercise because I came down with a cold. It sucked. Because haivng a cold at the best of times is not ideal – but when you’re pregnant you can’t take anything stronger than a Panado to help alleviate the endlessly runny and/or blocked nose and aches and pains.

So after four days of a sore throat, alternating blocked and runny nostrils and sleepless nights when I was finally better I still had to wait a day or two before I felt strong enough to hit the gym.


And it felt gooooooood to be back.

Tomorrow morning might be a different story however… after today’s gruelling Cape CrossFit workout which saw me pumping out a slow but leg and bum quivering 100 squats with 20m runs inbetween.

This was after I-forget-how-many pull-ups and push-ups and squats as a warm-up to the workout.


You see this t-shirt:

Well, today’s warm-up certainly felt like a two-for-one special. And if my trembling bum muscles are anything to go by, tomorrow is going to be interesting…. 

Scaling sucks!

May 16, 2011 in Uncategorized


Two or three weeks ago I was wondering when I would really have to scale back on my exercise regime with this whole being up the duff and all… and apparently it’s now. Which isn’t too bad I suppose, 17 weeks in and not much change to my workouts except for going slower so far. It was bound to happen.


But it’s not fun – when the body and mind wrestle over whether you should add that extra weight or do that extra push-up.

And then your trainers Roland or Jobst look at you with that “And WTF do you think you’re doing” look which answers the question for you.


The first time I really felt like I was carrying an extra load was last week at CrossFit when we did pull-ups. They’re not my strongest point but I was getting to the point where I could use the pink band (which is the ‘weakest’ one) to do about 5/6 assisted pull-ups. And I was so proud. I can manage one or two pull-ups on my own, but they’re not awesome yet and my upper-body strength isn’t where I want it to be yet to make them look like I’m not doing something my life depends on.


But the more pregnant I have become, and the more I’ve felt weighed down, the more it’s shown in my pull-ups. In the space of two weeks I slowly graduated from the pink band back to the blue one, then used both the pink and blue together and by Friday I was using the green one and making all sorts of unladylike squealing noises with the more reps I did. Although I will point out that it was quite a tough workout of double alternating Tabata wall balls and pull-ups. So still quite a kick-ass workout.


The first few reps still feel do-able and I feel quite strong, but I tire out a lot quicker than before and I feel as though someone’s snuck up behind me and tied weights to my legs. I suppose that’s because I’m now basically lifting for two.


My second hint that I needed to scale back was during a workout with 30-20-10 deadlifts, jumps over the barbell and push-ups. Obviously I’d already scaled the deadlifts but the push-ups? I’d expected to at least go further with them for a bit longer. Alas though, it was not to be.


By the 5th push-up I could feel a little bit of strain on my stomach and my trainer Jobst came over with a stern look on his face that told me strict push-ups would now be off the agenda. So I modified them with a box so my tummy was nowhere near the floor, but that actually felt tougher on my arms. Perhaps next time I should try some different modification, any suggestions?


Over the weekend I managed a run and did another CrossFit Mom workout which was awesome. It’s such a brilliant site, even if you’re not a mom-to-be you should check it out. The workouts look simple, but they really kick your ass.


Then this morning’s CCF class with power cleans again reminded me that yes, I’m pregnant and I need to cut back on the weight. They’re also not my favourite exercise, but we haven’t done them in a while and I was feeling strong like Russian Vodka this morning so it was all I could to keep the weight down to a ‘reasonable’ mass. It does help the fact that now I’m showing (i.e. stomach out, chest in) and everyone’s more aware of The Pregnant Lady in the Room so when one of the women caught me eyeing up the extra weights she just shook her head and said ‘uh-uh’.


So I’m being watched like a hawk and even if I contemplated doing heavier weights than are advised, I have at least 5 or 6 sets of beady eyes making sure I resist the urge.


I know it’s only going to get ‘worse’ with the scaling but mentally it’s hard to do. Even though logically I know it’s for the best and I can go back to lifting heavier weights and doing workouts fast again, I still need to get used to the idea and give myself a bit of a break without getting too frustrated. Added to that my gym clothes are now feeling a tad on the tight side… perhaps a spot of shopping will cheer me up…



Exercising with a belly

May 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

So this week marks the fourth month of my pregnancy and so far things are going well. We go for our 16 week scan on Wednesday so hopefully they will be able to confirm whether we’re having a boy or a girl. At the last scan the doc said she was about 80% certain it was a boy though so hubby already has his heart set!


Despite ongoing backlash from the peanut gallery I continue to exercise and much to the horror of many I still run and CrossFit regularly. Albeit at a slower pace than usual, but without it I think I would go batty.


However in the last week my tummy has started protruding a lot more taking me from looking like I had perhaps just eaten too much (which is entirely possible given my sudden inclination for sweet things – which is totally foreign to me since I’ve never had a sweet tooth at all) to a really pronounced belly that makes people with kids who walk past me smile that all-knowing “just-you-wait” smile.


And while I’m glad that I finally look like I’m pregnant, it does make some exercises a little more difficult. Push-ups for example are a little challenging as my belly touches the floor long before the rest of me and quite often catches me off guard. This also makes burpees a little out of my reach – although Roland was kind enough to adapt this morning’s ones so I didn’t “miss out”. Cause we all know how much I lurve da burpee right?!?!


I am finding squatting and lunges much easier than before though, and can actually get so low in a squat I dazzle myself with self-congratulation after every one. Seriously, I’m awesome at them now. But I can’t take all the credit, apparently most of it is down to the hormone relaxin which makes all your joints and muscles a lot more flexible. Long may that last cause after 30 years of very inflexible and awkward-looking gym moments I’m due some dignity in the squat division methinks.


I am also still lifting weights, but again at a lighter intensity than before and I’m not going for one rep max lifts – or at least not ones that I could even begin to brag about since they’re getting lower and lower every week.


Running is still very do-able and I am loving my late afternoon runs during the week and early morning runs at the weekend with my gorgeous doggies who have now finally grasped the whole running next to me, not zigzagging in front of me concept. Makes for a much less stressful run and I kill two birds with one stone – I’m happy and relaxed after a run and the dogs have been walked.


However I don’t think I’ll break any records at the moment as I can feel I’ve slowed down a lot. Some days are easier than others and I have had to learn to take it as it comes and not get too frustrated when I can’t do as much as before. It’s a work in progress though because it’s not easy scaling back on any of my exercises without feeling like a failure on some level.


I haven’t been to the gym to swim in a while, all the holidays and being away for a work conference last week kind ruined that plan. But I will get back into it. Here’s hoping the costume still fits, although I doubt it will be a pretty picture with the belly now on show.



I think the key is to just exercise as you feel comfortable. Some days I just don’t feel like exercising at all – which is not often though because I know that come the end of that day I will feel like I’ve wasted time and to be honest the days I don’t exercise are the ones I’m most prone to hormonal surges of “OMG would you just LOOK at the size of my ASS?!?!” and tearful reminiscing of a time not-so-long-ago when I could go surfing, mountain biking and boast about lifting weights that even men raised their eyebrow’s at. So exercise is good for me mentally.


Last week I was also at the 7th Discovery Health Wellness and Fitness Convention in Joburg and one of the talks I attended was on the effects of lifelong physical activity by a Dr Shane Norris. His talk was centered on findings from numerous studies that all leaned towards the fact that women who exercised and ate healthily during pregnancy were more likely to have children who were more physically active throughout their lives.


He showed us all the stats (and I will be putting a full story together on this later in the week so keep tuned to which all pointed to the fact that people who were physically inactive and/or overweight or obese were often from mothers who did no exercise and did not have a healthy diet while they were pregnant.


When you think about it, it makes sense too. Or at least it does to me. How could anyone find sitting around doing nothing a healthier way to bring another life into this world? Boggles my sometimes-porridge brain!


So onward and upwards with the exercise and I will make a concerted effort to curb this sweet tooth as best I can. And even though there are times when no amount of will-power or fruit-snacking will ever win… I think this is where the compromise kicks in.

Wish me luck!

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