Over the 40 weeks of my pregnancy, I diligently read about what was happening to my body and my baby week to week. As in all the books I read, pregnancy was always defined through the three trimesters. The first trimester is full of excitement and anticipation for what's to come (e.g., is it a boy or a girl?, when will I begin to show?). Sounds similar to a warm-up in an indoor cycling class? Your mind and body are preparing for the big task ahead! As the second trimester rolls around, you begin to do the 'heavy lifting'. The baby is growing and it soon becomes evident that your body is doing a lot of work. It is in high gear preparing for the baby who is rapidly growing. The second trimester can be seen as the bulk of the cardiovascular workout. Blood, sweat and tears. By the third trimester, you start to slow down (maybe even waddle a bit!) as you prepare for the end of your pregnancy. Just like the cool-down period of an indoor cycling class. Cue the relaxing music. It sure is needed in the last couple of weeks and minutes.
Here are my top six lessons learned:
1. NAUSEA IS ALMOST CERTAIN.
The majority of my girlfriends who are pregnant or have been pregnant can attest that nausea is almost certain. I was lucky...well, not really. I didn't realize that morning sickness isn't just in the morning. I had it most days, all day of weeks 7-15 of my pregnancy. It slowly declined as I grew bigger and bigger but some poor moms-to-be have it their whole pregnancy. What we put up with in pregnancy is also a common occurrence in an indoor cycling class. Start working in the anaerobic zone and you'd be sure to run into a bit of nausea. And in that situation too, we buckle down and pedal through it! Embrace your nausea! The reward at the end is worth it!
2. YOUR BODY IS AMAZING!
As you are well aware, your body pushes the limits physiologically in an indoor cycling class. Pregnancy is no different except its working to make a healthy baby. Who knew I could teach indoor cycling classes to 36 weeks pregnant and ride my road bike on an indoor trainer a day before giving birth! And even more amazing is that after nine months of nesting in my body there is a healthy baby boy!
Your body is amazing...and brilliant. Be kind to it. Listen to its cues (your body gives them!). Know your physiological limits and work within them.
3. GLOW AND SHINE.
I like to think I glow when I ride. Have you ever heard of the saying - women glow, men perspire and horses sweat! This saying is thought to have originated from Victorian etiquette guides. And I am sure you've heard that pregnant women glow. Enjoy the glow! Even if you don't physically feel good, know that your glow (sweat) is apparent.
4. BEING COMFORTABLE IS PARAMOUNT.
I did whatever I could to be comfortable when pregnant. I even found a pair of maternity cycling shorts! A must for all who plan to ride while pregnant. What are your comforts in an indoor cycling class beyond cycling shorts? A dry plush towel, a cold splash of water, sitting next to a high speed fan? Find a good pair of cycling shorts - you are in it for the long haul. Ironically, the nine months of pregnancy is long but it goes by fast! And certainly, a 60-90 minute ride is long but it goes by fast too! To persevere through both means being comfortable is paramount.
5. BLOOD FLOW FEELS LIKE IT IS SHUNTTED AWAY FROM YOUR BRAIN.
Do you ever finish a class and feel like you've got marbles in your mouth? Not one single word is making sense as you lead your participants through a cool down? I occasionally say at the end of class that all my blood is at the working muscles particularly my legs and not at my brain. Thus, the mumbo jumbo that is coming out of my mouth makes no sense at all! Well, during pregnancy, it seems like there too is no blood going to your brain but all to the baby. And thus, marbles in the mouth, missed words, forgetful actions, no brain power to string a sentence together...
6. BE IN THE MOMENT.
Pregnancy, as many of you may attest, is the most wonderful and not the most wonderful time of your life. Depending on where you are in pregnancy from the "honeymoon" stage to nine months pregnant, it can have its ups and downs. Just like an indoor cycling workout. Sometimes you are cruising and think "wow, this workout is going great" to the next moment when you think "is this over yet???!!!". No matter the time, it’s key to stay in the moment. The journey is the experience and being present - good or bad - is what life is all about. Sometimes it takes working through a minute at a time but it's worth it! As in both pregnancy and an indoor cycle class, the rewards outweigh the obstacles! At the end of nine months you have a new baby and at the end of the cycle workout you have calm energy and healthy vigour. Enjoy each and every minute!
Who knew I could learn so much from my pregnancy! What have you learned about an indoor cycling class by being pregnant and/or being a partner to a pregnant lady? I'd love to hear your wisdom.
Photo Note: Picture was taken at week 34, post workout, happy momma-to-be
Workman's Cycle Drills & Skills
Enjoy some of my favorite cycle workout drills either in a cycle class or on your own bike at home!