I honestly can’t think of a better slogan than Nike’s “Just Do It.” It eludes to many things, but simplifies the action for one to get up and go – run, sign up for a race, try something new, enjoy an active lifestyle, etc.
But what if they replaced the word “It” with exercise? Ahh, no bueno. Exercise feels like I am barking an order or a chore. So, how does any of this relate to you and I? Yes, well done Nike, but the point I want to make is when we think about exercise or talk about it, or even put it on our to-do list, we need to keep it positive. And what ticks for one, may not tick for all.
For me – I like to label my exercise as a workout or hobby. And what lies under this changes just as does our mood and the season. I talk about this often with my nutrition clients, so can easily recall what I’ve enjoyed over the last dozen months. I fully embraced tennis as soon as I could postpartum with my first. Man did it make me feel like a teenager again. And the gals I did a weekly class with, made me feel like I was on a team! It was awesome, and indeed I credit my 90 minute tennis lesson per week to my decent shape of running Chicago’s 10 miler in May 2014. Next though, I wanted to move on so I didn’t lose the enjoyment of tennis and fully engaged in pilates and soaked up yoga. Come Fall, I fell pregnant and the strict and intense pilates teacher told me to move onto something else until I had better technique or no bun in the oven. One, I can’t be perfect at everything right?! At least I was trying something new. And, two, I wasn’t going to let this push-back hold me back from being active. Next, I joined aqua aerobics. And guess what, I loved it so much I got my AFAA Group Fitness Certification in March so I can teach it post arrival of baby #2. All things happen for a reason, eh? Nonetheless, you can see I participated in a variety of activities and I believe this is one tactic to be successful in enjoying an active lifestyle. While there is more, keep this in mind.
Making ourselves move is showing up for our health and loving ourselves. The benefits are many, as are the excuses to not do it. But, Just Do It. Find something new and pull along a friend to make you more committed to be active.
At 33 weeks pregnant, riding on some strong insulin resistance (type 1 diabetes for 2 decades plus) in my third trimester, I am still pumping iron, attending spin classes, restorative yoga and core courses. Are there challenges to being active, especially with moving blood sugars and kicking baby? Yes, but pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone brings numerous benefits and happiness.
With diabetes, even pregnancy, I am taking extra measure in what I am eating, how well I am hydrated and monitoring blood sugars, but I am still out there. Are you? Everyone has different things that maybe challenging their physical fitness, but let’s engage, move, set goals and motivate one another.
If you fall into the pregnancy or diabetes camp, I have some tips to offer, yet I am not a pro. As well, I have included motivators for anyone looking to move their body:
TRYING A NEW ACTIVITY – STAYING MOTIVATED TO MOVE – BEING YOUR FITTEST
- Variety. As eluded select a number of things that sound interesting to you and sprinkle sessions of such over your calendar for the next month. These activities do not have to be in a gym setting either. One thing I always try to plant on our weekend agenda is a bike ride. Beyond something that looks like exercise, broaden your brainstorm to dance lessons, putt putt with a date and more. A great trend here in Chicago is something call ClassPass. Heard of it? It’s growing into numerous other cities, but instead having to have a membership to one type of studio like Core Power or Bikram yoga, it gives you access to a diverse offering for one flat rate. It’s quite genius I think.
- Budget. Memberships and personal training can definitely stack up and if this expense isn’t a priority, seek low cost or free things. Since I have been modifying so much in my classes, I have created some of my own workouts and have used Pinterest to help me with a plan. It’s too easy to do the same. One practice I do, is find a workout I like and take a picture of it on my phone, as shown below, and pull it up when I am ready to break a sweat.
- Efficacy. Being our fittest doesn’t mean the more the better. It’s easy to overdo exercise, just know your limits and when you start to show signs of too much ie. fatigue, poor recovery, soreness, amenorrhea in extreme cases, etc.
DIABETES + ACTIVITY
- Move – start small and measure. When I had my son Declan, it took a great deal to feel the edge to want to engage in anything more than walking. So I started small; like real small. Instead of giving myself a deadline to get to the gym, I told myself I had to do 5 pushups a day. Not only was this goal small enough for me to easily engage in the objective, but I often did more than 5 pushups. Over the following weeks, I started doing more weight bearing movements and then went to a class. An easy class too. With each enhancement I also kept an eye on my blood sugar. I test before and after activity, and if I sign up for a class, I also avoid large boluses of insulin before the engagement. This helps prevent hypoglycemia and I am better able to predict what my blood sugar is going to do. Also, in a perfect world, I try to place activity before a meal, so if I didn’t use a large enough temporary basal on my pump, I’d already have a plan to eat after. Depending on the activity and the duration I will take my pump off or at a minimum use a temp basal of 80%. What I decide to do, also varies with the time of day. In the AM I need a smaller temp basal or none at all, verse the evening, I am more insulin sensitive. Everyone is different so be sure to test, measure and not guess for yourself.
- Food – As mentioned, I try to have a meal planned post activity, but this isn’t always the case. Pre-activity if I need something, I will have a handful of nuts any maybe some berries. Overall something lower in carbohydrate to keep active insulin low. Depending on the intensity and what my starting blood sugar is, this can all change. If I was about to do some low stress cardio (running, swimming, non-sprint biking) I’d maybe grab a Raw bar mini. (And I have no ties w/ this product, they just work with my blood sugar really well).
- Test, don’t guess. I test preworkout every time and post. Even when I know I am low, I will still test to know exactly how much I should treat to put me back at a good level. I have learned the hard way of consuming too many carbs then putting myself of a roll-coaster cycle. What works for me will vary with anyone else. Some of my go-tos include fruit leathers and Kind bars. I will first have the leather and then followup with carbohydrate that is combined with protein and fat. What do you use?
PREGNANCY + ACTIVITY
- Boundaries. Know your boundaries and trust your intuition. You don’t want to engage in a new activity once you are pregnant, and a positive pregnancy test doesn’t meant to freeze the gym membership. While walking is wonderful pre and postnatal, and all around, so is weights and breaking a sweat. This is a good article to understand more advice on being active while brewing a baby.