I remember all the times when the kids were young that I set a goal to get back into shape. I’d try to come up with a plan of action, including a time to set aside for exercise, and time after time, it would never pan out.
My biggest deterent was time, and lack of sleep. I have always had an irregular schedule – some days I work, some days I am home. So the only time that was predictably free for me was first thing in the morning. Now, as I am a morning person by nature, that should have been fine… BUT kids can be a monkey wrench in that plan if they 1)don’t sleep at night (so neither did I), 2)woke up for the day by 6am (which meant exercise for me would have to be in the pre-dawn hours.. which again came down to the challenge of 1), and 3)would climb all over me if I tried to exercise with them nearby (try doing push ups, sit ups, or downward dog with babies, toddlers – and occasionally a black lab – on top of you or under you)
It was a big challenge for me because I had always been very active. If I went back through my journals to those earlier years, I would find multiple entries about my goals to get back into shape. And those entries would repeat themselves in various forms over the first 5-6 years of my life as a mom. It was definitely a source of frustration.
It wasn’t until Audra went to school full time in grade one (a year ago) that I was able to find a predictable schedule for exercise and FINALLY get back into shape. And let me be clear, this wasn’t about how I looked, and it wasn’t that I was completely inactive… but I was NOT where I wanted to be with my fitness by a long shot. It was partly that as a chiropractor, I know how essential it is to move our bodies and I wanted to walk my talk and be fit if I was going to be a stand for health. Most importantly, I want to be a role model to my kids. And I was finding that without my strength, combined with the passing years, it left me feeling older to wonder IF I could do things, or to worry that if I did something I would get hurt. Two things I sincerely dislike: feeling limited, and feeling like I’m getting old.
So, one year ago, I was introduced to Crossfit, and I have to admit that I am addicted. I LOVE it. It woke up a part of me that had lain dormant for years: my competitiveness. For 20 years, I had competed in sports, all of which ended when I became pregnant with Audra. And when I found an approach to fitness that awakened that, I was sold.
Don’t get me wrong here – Crossfit is not easy. And lots of the time fun is not the word I would equate with it. But it makes me feel ALIVE, STRONG, CAPABLE… and YOUNGER. I know that I can: lift heavy stuff, climb a rope to the ceiling, do pull ups and monkey bars and handstands. I know that I can mentally push myself and physically push my body. I know that I can go about my busy life without fearing injury. I know that I can carry my kids on my back or shoulders easily, I can rock climb without hurting my shoulders, I can carry heavy packs when we go back-country camping, and compete in crazy (but fun) events like Tough Mudder.
All those years of wanting to return to fitness, build strength and walk my talk have FINALLY come full circle. I only wish I had known about Crossfit when I was a competitive athlete – wow, what a difference that would have made!
Instead, I get to see the benefits in my almost-37-year-old body, feeling capable and STRONG. I get to show my kids that being strong and fit is both important and enjoyable. I get to be congratulated by my kids when they know I have reached a new milestone (like when I finally started to master pull ups) or listen to them cheering me on during or after a workout. (Wow, mom, that looked heavy! … or: Wow, mom! that looked hard!… or my favourite: Wow, mom! can I try?!)
I’d sum it up by saying this: I feel younger, stronger, and all-around healthier than ever before… and ANYTHING that creates the phrase Wow, Mom! works for me.