Anything you can do I can do better.When I was pregnant with my second child and getting visibly bigger by the day, I made a promise to my husband. Six weeks after having the baby, I'd commit 90 days to getting in shape according to his methods. Sounds risky, eh? It was. It was one of those promises that was made so far in advance that I didn't really consider the consequences. Heck, I still had labour to get through, and the sleepless beginnings of a newborn's life. Going to the gym existed only in another universe.
Sure enough, eight weeks after our son's birth, my husband said, "Are you coming to the box tonight?" Box? My husband is a convert to CrossFit, a newly popular style of high-intensity, functional fitness that is ripping across North America right now. CrossFit has such a cult following that it has its own mysterious language. 'Box,' I quickly learned, means 'gym.'
I had to go. I'd promised. We called a babysitter, I nursed my infant, and we left, with me looking back longingly at my baby, whose existence I could no longer invoke as protection from the outer world. The workout was everything I'd dreaded it would be. It made me sweat so profusely that I soaked through my clothes. I gulped down an entire water bottle. I gasped for air like a fish out of water. I even stopped thinking about my extra spongy tummy rolls for a few minutes. I staggered out of the gym, disoriented from exertion and strangely exhilarated.
The exhilaration dissipated the next day when I could barely move from muscle soreness. Picking up the baby was even a challenge. I struggled through that day, and the next, and the next, until gradually my body returned to feeling normal -- as normal as post-partum can feel!
It must have worked, because the 90 days passed and we kept going. Now it's been seven months and I can deadlift, squat, and thruster more weight each week. My push-ups have improved, as have my lunges, pull-ups, and sprints. Most importantly, my husband and I are still friends. We encourage and cheer each other on, talk about the workouts on the drive home, commiserate about muscle soreness, and drink our protein shakes together. It has become an unusual bonding time, one that sometimes even borders on romantic; he says seeing me lift weights is seriously attractive. (Hey, whatever works...)
Some of my friends think it's strange that my husband is so involved in my keeping in shape. I think it's a mutually beneficial arrangement: I benefit from his expertise and passion for fitness and he gets a willing pupil to train, not to mention an active wife who keeps him company at the gym. It has certainly helped me to understand him better. I recommend hitting the gym together with your partner, because it can improve and deepen your relationship in many different ways.
This post was written by Katherine Martinko.
Top Articles on Post-Partum Fitness
The Dirtiest Words to Any New Mom: Baby Weight
Real Moms Weigh In: Can You Get Your Body Back After Having a Baby? (video blog)
3 Ways to Entertain Your Kids While You're Exercising at Home