Why I train

We all need motivation to get up early to workout before work, or head to the gym instead of heading home after a long day at the office. For some of us it is force of habit, a need to burn off some steam or energy, a desire to lose weight, gain strength, just look “fitter,” or train for our next triathlon or Highland Games.

I am particularly fickle with my motivation. Sure, I want to lose weight, be fit and strong, and be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. But in order to get myself to go more often than “when I feel like it,” I usually need a definitive goal like a 5K or a competition, or a class that I’m paying big bucks for or team that I’ve signed up with. Even when I was trying actively to lose weight in the past, I’d only stick with weight training or running for a month, lose interest, and wander off to some other project.

But I am currently very motivated. For the past couple of weeks I have gotten into the gym two or three days a week for weight training. For the past three months I am going on longer walks with the dog, and have tried to drag my husband out on as many weekend hikes as I can. I did Power Yoga for a few weeks and would like to incorporate it or something similar back into my training.

What’s motivating me right now is my unborn child.

I want to be strong and healthy throughout my pregnancy, and be strong enough to push this kid out when s/he’s ready.

I have an end goal date in mind, September 17. That gives me less than 6 months (eep!) to train and be prepared for this kid’s arrival. It keeps me motivated and reminds me that I am training towards something, and it’s not “forever.” It’s in six months. And it’s a big f*cking marathon, so I better be prepared.

I want to be able to bounce back fairly quickly after giving birth. I’m not talking about losing all the pregnancy weight right away (although sure, that’d be great), but I don’t want to be so wiped out for weeks afterwards that I don’t even have the energy for my little one (yes, I realize I will probably be totally wiped out, but the fitter I am before birth usually correlates to quicker recovery).

I don’t want to gain weight too quickly, or get too stiff or achy or sore, or lose too much of the strength and fitness I already have.

I want my child to be strong too. I am eating (mostly) healthy, and trying to stay active to make sure the unborn kid gets the best nutrients they can. I have also read studies about sympathetic behaviors between our brains and bodies; for example, one study found overall physical benefits from people just exercising their fingers but imagining it was their whole bodies doing the workout. I have to imagine that some of that sympathetic benefit carries over to the fetus as well. It would probably be very hard to accomplish with current technologies, but I’d love to eventually see studies done on mothers and fetuses to see if the kid mirrors their mother’s movement at all. I’ll bet you a nickel they do.

So while I usually need a running group or sports team or expensive class to keep me motivated, right now I have my kiddo, and an end goal date. I don’t plan on getting ripped or anything between then and now, and I’m certainly not pushing myself super hard, but I definitely hope to maintain or maybe even slightly improve my fitness, and overall just be physically ready for when this little dude or dudette arrives, so I have enough energy to keep up with them. 🙂

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