Today we have a guest post from Coach Rachael, who shares her continued workout journey after welcoming little Lilly to the world in 2017.
June 4, 2017 came and went with a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions. I just had a baby and one of my first thoughts was “when can I get back to the gym and work off this baby body?”! This, of course, came after the usual “oh my gosh, just look at her” “she’s beautiful” “I can’t believe I’m a mom now” “I am so in love” “I want to hold you forever” “you’re perfect”. I spent the next few days constantly walking the halls of the hospital while pushing Lilly in her rolling crib.
With fitness being such a large part of my life and such a high priority, I went to the gym for the first time only 16 days after giving birth. It would have probably been earlier, but lucky me, I got an extra 4-night stay in the ICU due to a post-partum seizure! Lilly came along with me to the gym that day and watched me as I slowly got my body moving again. And that began my journey back to fitness. I decided right then and there that I was going to get back to where I was only 10 months prior.
Fast forward 4 or 5 months and I started coaching CrossFit again, but this time at my new gym, CFU! Since I was back to work full time AND coaching, I needed to find time to work out while Lilly didn’t require my attention. I also had to work around my husband’s work schedule. This made for an interesting 8 months. For that time, on the days that she couldn’t stay sleeping in her bed, I would wake up at 3:30AM, put Lilly in the car, drive to the gym, put Lilly back to sleep in her spare Pack ‘N Play in the PT clinic next door, then either work out before I coached at 5:30 or after I coached – sometimes both.
Lucky for me, Lilly was already accustomed to loud noises while she slept. In her infancy, we had 2 big dogs that would bark nonstop when someone would walk in front of our house. How dare they, right? We had the smoke alarm go off. The doorbell was rung countless times. Kids were screaming outside while playing in the yard. She never woke up for anything! This heavy sleep transferred over to the gym world and she was able to sleep while athletes were dropping heavy weights 100 feet away!
On the weekends (where I wasn’t coaching), I wanted to be at the gym to get my workouts in during classes with everyone. However, I also needed to be with Lilly since my husband’s job only gave him a weekend off once every 6 weeks! Cue my gym babysitters! For the first few months, I would bring Lilly in with me because at least one of the coaches would offer to hold her during my workout. She came in early a couple of times so that I could do the 8am class and then I’d take Lilly back while she did the 9am and 10am. It was so incredibly helpful and wonderful to have that help! Sometimes, I even had to wear her, myself! On the other hand, once Lilly started to get super feisty, she didn’t want to be held anymore. She wanted to be down, crawling and shortly after, running all over the gym. She would also cry out for me and I couldn’t actually get through the workout! That’s when a friend stepped in. She LOVED Lilly and wanted to babysit all the time. One weekend soon turned into every weekend of me dropping her off in the morning and picking her up after class finished at 11am.
As Lilly got older, she started to get active. Along with that, she wasn’t sleeping as well as she had when she was younger. Her brain was moving faster than before with all the new information and her new ability to move on her own. Because of that, she started waking up in the middle of my classes. I couldn’t just leave her next door to cry for the remaining 30 minutes of class, so I had no choice, but to hold her for the remainder. When that started happening, my workouts suffered temporarily. I was no longer able to work out after class while she slept. That’s when I had to adjust yet again. On days that this happened, I would leave almost immediately after I was done coaching and take her to daycare earlier than normal. That way, I could get to work early enough to use the gym there before work or make up some time, so I could take a long lunch break to work out.
As a mom, I couldn’t keep replaying this scenario with Lilly forever. She was under a year old and needed to get her good sleep to aid in her development. That’s when I decided that I needed to give up coaching early morning classes. Being a mom came first and her development was far more important than my desire to coach. Plus, it wasn’t fair to my athletes when she was awake during class and demanding my attention. I couldn’t give both worlds my all. Once I quit, I was able to work around her sleeping schedule and my work schedule to get my workouts in at the office during my lunch breaks. I also decided that I wanted a home gym because I didn’t want to lift at work every day.
A home gym would be the perfect solution to my problem. I could wake up early as I had previously done and get my workout in while Lilly sleeps the entire time! The only difference being is that she wouldn’t be hearing weights drop constantly from 100 feet away. She would be all snuggled up in her own bed with lots of walls and insulation between her and me.
That was it. The start of my home gym. Coincidentally, we had just bought a new house and were planning to move in a few months. We decided to hold off on buying any equipment until we moved. However, a local gym went out of business and I was able to snag most of my equipment at a great price. I couldn’t beat it and I had to act fast. We just had to let it sit in the garage of the old house until we moved and set it up.
Fast forward to a week after the move. The gym still hadn’t been set up because we had so much other stuff to unpack and get situated. I sat my husband down and told him that I needed this done now. Working out is a huge part of my life and I need to have the ability to do it here now or I wouldn’t ever get to it. That weekend, we gave Lilly to my mother-in-law and we swept, laid mats, mounted rigs, organized, etc. As I looked at my freshly cleaned and organized home-gym, I couldn’t help, but shout about how excited I was! I finally had everything I wanted right at home! It was so convenient!
The next day, I signed up for Street Parking so that I could start doing workouts at home every morning, as planned. I decided that I would go to the gym as I was able, but when I couldn’t, the home gym did the trick. Over the next 9 months (coming to the present day), I’ve woken up at 4:45 so I could work out, shower, pack my lunch, then wake up Lilly and get her to daycare. Sadly, I haven’t made it to the gym much to be part of classes, but it’s ok! I’m enjoying my garage.
There have been days where I struggle to get out of bed, but I push through it and get my butt to the garage. I had shoulder surgery 11 weeks ago and I’m still getting up and working out. Morning is my only free time away from my daughter and I need to make it happen then, or never. I’ve been disrupted mid-workout by a crying baby, but have put it on hold, calmed the baby, and then gone back down to finish the workout.
There are a lot of things that can happen in your life. Making fitness a priority should be one of them. While what I do for my workouts may not be for everyone, some form of fitness is great for your health – physical and mental. It helps to control your weight, fights health conditions, improves your mood, increases your energy, and helps your sleep. Plus, if you’re around the right people, it can be downright fun! I have been through a lot in my life, especially over the past few years, but I’ve always put exercise at the top of my priority list. That will never change. I love the feeling I get from working out and never want to lose that. So, if you think that you’re just too busy to make it work, I urge you to reconsider. Think outside the box of what you could do for yourself to do it. Wake up a little earlier or stay up a little later. Buy a set of dumbbells for at home. Take the kids to the park and play tag with them. Get out there and move and encourage your family to follow in your footsteps. The example you set today is going to impact their future whether you like it or not.