Since my fitness levels have improved a lot in the last 12 months I have actually decided to take some bold action and I have signed up for a half marathon in September. The reason I did this was because one of my friends did it last year and has just run a full marathon. Her message was simple: if I can do, anyone can.
One of the main sources of her success has been that she started heart rate training about a year ago, which gave her some very precise measurable data. I spent an afternoon with her and she showed me what she was able to achieve and most importantly how much fitter she is now than before.
So I went off and looked through some heart rate monitor reviews and then bought one that I could hook up to my iPhone. Essentially it is a strap that goes around your chest and this measures your heart rate and sends it to your phone. I’m still trying out a few apps to work with but there really is no shortage of free ones available.
The idea behind heart rate training is simple. You go for a run over a certain time or distance and rather than focus on your speed you focus on a predetermined heart rate. Some apps just display the heart rate while others will have an audible sound over your headphones which warns you if you start going too fast or too slow.
The ideas is that over time when you run the same distance your average heart rate for that route should start to come down, and you will be able to see this in your data. The lower your heart rate the fitter you are and the further and longer you will be able to run.
So far have used the heart monitor for about two weeks and I was surprised how quickly you get used to it and adapt. I now need to figure out a training plan with different distances to run so that I can gradually build up my fitness levels. Once I have made a final decision on what I am going to use, I will probably make a post on my experience with it and I will probably also invest in some of the in-app purchases to keep more records of my progress.
The next 6 weeks will be very interesting as I hope to have some very tangible data to show you all how my average heart rate has declined for my usual run. The great thing is that with each run I can target a different heart rate. So if I want to burn more fat, I preselect the fat burning zone. If I really want to give my body a push, I will try and target the higher rates for several periods on each run. This can be done by sprinting or running up hill. It really is amazing when you see a graphic output of your heart rate for each run.
Have any of you tried this type of exercise and had success with it? I’d love to hear your opinions and suggestions. There are loads of HRM reviews that I found useful, so you might want to take a look at this link.
In my previous post about post-natal exercise plans I briefly mentioned that we were planning to not renew gym membership and use the money to set up a gym at home. One of the main reasons behind this was that both of us used the treadmill and bike, and my husband sometimes used the rowing machine and some weights. So, we took off to see how much it would cost to get a basic gym set up and if possible fit it into our garage, just so we could keep up with some cardio exercise.
This also gave us the added incentive to clear out some of the accumulated trash; stuff we had out in storage and after 4 years has not been unpacked, so it is essentially good to say good bye to it. So we cleared it out and managed to get a good enough area of free space that would accommodate some of the equipment.
Neither of us have high end needs for this equipment and in the gym we never used more settings that speed or intensity. So it turned out that there are some pretty decent treadmills with basic settings available that do not take up a huge amount of space. The same was the case for a rowing machine which can actually very easily be stood upright in the corner when not in use.
For the bike we are still on the search for something, as it does seem that the cheaper ones are pretty flimsy and we haven’t seen any good online reviews that have really convinced us. If you have a recommendation then please comment below.
We then got a set of dumbbells and our home gym was pretty much all set. It all fits nicely in the garage and we actually do use it very regularly. It is so much easier to get some exercise in the winter months when the baby is asleep and I just need to bring the baby monitor.
Now for the costs. It essentially all cost as much as 18 months gym membership, so within a very short period of time we will be saving ourselves a bit of money. It’s not a fortune, but enough for a nice weekend away every so often. Overall, we are really happy with our decision and both of us feel a lot better and lighter
The first thing to keep in mind after childbirth is that you should not follow the lead of some of the celebrities out there and get to the gym immediately. Your main focus should be on physically recovering, especially if you had a caesarean. In this case you should consult your doctor before doing any kind of exercise or strenuous work. It is very important that your incision is fully healed as you can do a lot of damage otherwise.
In my case I had a pretty OK labor, at least compared to some of the horror stories I had heard about. I was in hospital for two days and so glad to get home. It was at least a week or ten days before I went for my first walk and even then I just went for a slow stroll. I did go for a walk every day and very very slowly increased my speed and distance. This way I could closely watch for any adverse reaction and also make sure that I did not inadvertently exhaust myself.
After about 5 weeks I really felt confident again, but I was very tired due to all the night feeding. I think this was one of the biggest problems and it did take quite a while for us to really get a routine going where we managed to get enough sleep. One thing I found very beneficial was to go for a swim two or three times a week. The main thing that I enjoyed was to just get out of the house for an hour and have time to myself.
Even just a quick dip would just provide some refreshment and I could actually switch off not having to listen for baby cries. What I didn’t realize was how quickly this gave me so much more energy and the baby weight started to drop off.
I really hadn’t been monitoring my weight that much as I just thought it would take months to really start working on my weight again. But when I did start tracking my weight I was totally surprised that I was only a few pounds above my pre pregnancy weight.
My belly was probably the only area that was still a bit flabby, but that was mainly due to the fact that I hadn’t really done any target muscle exercise. When I eventually started yoga again and also did some ab training that really quickly changed. I also started running again and because I had been so active all through pregnancy my fitness levels rebounded really quickly.
I have now got a very flexible but at the same time effective training plan that includes walking, running swimming and some yoga. I haven’t gone to the gym again, but I might consider that sometime in the future. Personally I’m not that big a fan, and my husband has actually been doing some research into setting up a home gym.
When we worked out what our membership costs a year and how little of the equipment we actually use, we realized that we would probably be better off to set up a small gym in the garage. I will probably write a post about that in the near future so stay tuned for more info.
In the meantime, let me know what you did to get back into exercising.
The first thing I have to say is that every pregnancy is different and that certain medical conditions and even slight complications can have a serious effect on your and your baby’s wellbeing. If you are concerned with anything or start feeling pains while doing any type of exercise of physical strain make sure to immediately consult your doctor to make sure that everything is OK.
I was very fortunate that I had a pretty straightforward pregnancy from the start. This meant that I was able to try out a lot of different types of exercise without really having any negative effect. One thing I did give up very early on was running. While it is apparently safe to do so for a while it just didn’t feel right to me.
To compensate for this I switched to going for more regular walks often 3 or 4 times a day. At work I would just go for a 15 minute walk on my lunch break and I moved around a lot to avoid being stuck at my desk all day. To me walking is one of those totally underrated forms of exercise. And when I say walking, I don’t mean going for a leisurely stroll, but rather pick up the pace.
In the last two months it did get pretty uncomfortable and the pace at frequency of walking did drop. But I firmly believe that a lot of the back and hip pain was relieved by the fact that I kept mobile instead of sitting idle all day. But it did get very testing in the last few weeks.
At the end of the first trimester I was convinced by a friend to join her yoga class. I had never done it before and I was surprised to see how many pregnant women were there. From the start the class was really well geared towards splitting the class into different skill levels and also to give pregnant women different exercises to do from the rest.
Obviously the bigger the bump gets the more restricted you are, but I found this to be very effective right up to month 7. Then it just became very awkward and uncomfortable.
Another thing I took up and have been sticking with for quite a while now is swimming. Pregnancy is probably not the best time to learn to swim but if you are at all comfortable in the water it is actually a great way to exercise.
I found this especially the case in the last trimester where getting into water was a wonderful experience as all the weight is lifted. I almost went on a daily basis and on some days I just got into the pool to float around a bit and feel the relief on all my joints and my back.
In conversation with my doctor and some nurses in my family I did find out that there are certain exercises that should really be avoided. These include any type of contact sport, or sports that involve a lot of significant impact, like basketball. But the list also includes cycling mainly because of the risk of falling. It is also a lot more difficult to keep your balance as the bump grows in size.
Winter sports should also be avoided, even if you are a very skilled skier. The problem to me is that while I might be a very good skier and will go on the easy slopes at slow speeds, that doesn’t mean that some idiot will come crashing into you.
So, that is my post for this week. I hope you enjoyed it and would love to hear some comments.
Hi and thank you for visiting my blog. My name is Martina and I am a mum of a wonderful 18 month old baby girl. Since my high school days I have always been into keeping fit and I have always loved running and going to the gym. In school and college I did take part in a few races and athletic competitions, but in my working, and now parenting, life I never really had much time to get fit enough to take part in some longer races like a half marathon.
In this blog I will document anything about family life, food and fitness. Being a mom poses some difficult challenges to getting a fitness routine in place so I just want to share my experiences with the readers and hopefully get some discussion going. I really welcome all comments and feedback and will not hold back on honest opinions.
Obviously the difficulties are very different the more kids you have, so what is working for me with one baby may not work for everyone. But I hope that some visitors will be able to take some of my notes and work something out for themselves.
I personally find it very important to lead by example when it comes to children, and my little girl has seen me exercise on a regular basis since she was very young. It’s funny to see her mimicking some of my yoga exercise, but more importantly she is learning the fun side of it.
While the title of the blog suggests that the topics will be fitness related, I do have to say that I will probably be writing a lot about parenting in general and also food and diet. Don’t get me wrong, I love my cake, just like everyone else, but I do try and keep a healthy balance.
I would certainly invite any reader to contact me with any requests for recipes, and I will be publishing some of my own creations for both parents and babies. For me fitness is not just all about exercise, but covers diet, sleep and interaction with loved ones as well. Our families can be the best support we need to keep a fitness and diet routine going for long periods of time. Motivation can often be the difference to skipping a trip to the gym or eating that extra slice of cake.