Two years ago, my partner and I decided to leave our native Canada and head out on a long trip to explore the world together while working. These last two years have been magical and packed with adventures, from giving birth to a beautiful, healthy little girl, to living in Costa Rica, Portugal and now Germany!
Before leaving Canada we both attended as many as 12 fitness classes a week, organized strength and circuit training sessions for clients, and on top of that, regularly went mountain biking, swimming, and snowboarding in our free time. I felt very active and strong. However, two years of travel doesn’t always afford you the chance to maintain healthy habits, especially after having a child. Now that we’ve recently settled in Berlin to work at the 8fit HQ, I’m looking forward to cementing more routine into my day-to-day life, especially fitness — as the last two years I wasn’t able to keep up my usual training frequency. Keeping a fitness journal will be a good way to keep track of my activity.
I’m here to tell all the people out there who have had children and are struggling to get back into a regular fitness regime, you’re not alone. Despite being a certified kinesiologist and fitness instructor, I sometimes still feel a little bit like an impostor as I don’t work out as much as did before. These days my main physical activities consist of brisk walks while pushing a stroller, taking care of an active little girl and if I can, sneaking in some 8fit HIIT workouts once or twice a week. I especially love Tabata as it’s super efficient and can be done quickly and with intensity.
There are so many new things ahead of me I’m excited to try out as well as old activities I’m keen to get back into. Until then, here’s a quick glimpse into my fitness journal. Enjoy.
Just another manic Monday
Well, Monday didn’t go as planned at all. I had a big day at work ahead of me, plus we moved apartments in the evening! On top of all of that our poor baby has a bout of tummy trouble. I was stressed and knew a workout would make me feel good but, instead, I had to pack and clean our little apartment quietly, not to wake up my daughter which is a bit of a workout in itself.
In the evening as we had to move six huge, heavy pieces of luggage down from the third floor to a van. Then, unload the van and bring all of our stuff up to the fifth floor. Sidenote, elevators aren’t common in residential buildings here in Berlin, so we had to take all our stuff up manually. It proved to be an excellent full-body workout. It’s fun when you realize you can shift your perception of a “physical” task and see it as an opportunity to do a workout. We were certainly out of breath and sweaty by the end of it.
I started the day with a 30-minute meditation and a yoga class led by my colleague Emily at work. It was simply amazing. This reminds me how much I want to include both Yoga and meditation in my regular lifestyle, it feels so empowering.
After work, it was my partner’s turn to go workout, so after dinner, I took my daughter for a brisk walk around the block in her stroller, I couldn’t wait to discover my new neighborhood! The first five minutes of my walk is always a warm-up. I started off slowly at first and then pushed the stroller faster and faster. Once warmed up, I incorporated exercises like forward lunges, calf raises, high-knees and heels to butt. I stopped a few times during the walk to do some upper body exercises like dips and push-ups on a nearby park bench.
When I got back home, I felt invigorated but ready for a good night’s sleep.
Today, I decided — it’s time to get active! Despite having so much to do and think about — a training session is the perfect stress relief. I didn’t overthink working out, I just did it as soon as I got back home from work, I changed into my workout gear, prepped my daughter, and we were out the door.
There’s a private kid-friendly park outside our new place, so to keep things easy, I decided to go work out there while my daughter investigated the new playground. I warmed up and then did some air squats, inchworms, mountain climbers and high jumps. Using the edge of a high curb, I did power step-ups with high knees and other plyometric exercises. My daughter just stared at me and laughed, as she tried to mimic me by lifting her heels and getting on her tiptoes — so cute! I brought my skip rope along, but I decided not to use it as it’s too risky with a small child around.
After I cooled down, and put my little one to bed. I did a few stretches in front of the TV before heading to bed.
I woke up with a sore back and hips, so decided I would take it easy today. But, when I came back from work, I felt like moving, and it was such a beautiful sunny day. So, I went for a short run. I thought it would be a great way to explore my neighborhood a bit more.
Personally, I don’t really enjoy long, slow-paced runs, I prefer to sprint. Access to a race track would be ideal, but for now, a quiet, traffic-free street did the job. After a five-minute slow jog, I was ready for my first sprint. I always set my goal before I start to run. Today, I decided to sprint four times! When I sprint, I give it my all. The first sprint I push hard but not too hard, as I will go full blast on the second and third sprints, with the last sprint hitting around 75%-85% of my capacity. I sprint for 30 steps – all in, then, I take as much time as I need to rest and recuperate before I do it all over again. Rest took me a good five minutes between some sprints. I walk while I try to catch up my breath, I lift my knees, shake my legs and arms, continuing to move, even if it’s super slow.
I walked back home to cool down. The little tension in my lower back is still there. It was late when I came back, I got caught up by mother duties and forgot to stretch. Bad Amé.
Fitness journal Friday finale
It happened again — my back hurts. I’m not sure if it’s because I pushed myself too hard during my sprints yesterday. I also felt a weird sensation in my back when I bent down to pick up my daughter this morning. I have to remember how important it is to bend correctly to avoid injury. I guess I just wasn’t paying attention. I need to remember to listen to my body more — thinking back, I should’ve rested yesterday. Anyway, what’s done is done, I’ll take a warm bath tonight.
Later that afternoon, my back started to give me trouble again while sitting at work, so I stopped working for 10 minutes to stretch my hip flexors, glutes, adductors, and hamstrings. It did some good, but I’ll definitely have to relax and rest tonight.