Today’s guest post is brought to you by busy mom Sarah Bregel of Free Woman Fitness. Sarah is a women’s personal trainer, is pre/post-natal certified and teaches group fitness for women. Here, she talks about her on-again relationship with exercise now that she’s a mom!
Throughout my life, I have had my ups and downs with exercise. I’ve had times when I have really gotten on the horse about working out and been a little addicted to the gym. I’ve also had times when I’ve totally fallen off the horse and rarely stepped in a gym for months, such as my senior year in college (and the entire summer after), or the first few months after my husband and I began dating and almost instantly moved in together. He was not big into exercise at the time, except maybe for an occasional jog…to the corner store…to get a pizza. And as in so many relationships, we fell into the super-lazy, “I never want to leave your side” and “Don’t work out, stay and snuggle,” trap that is so common. Of course, he didn’t suffer much for it. But my love handles surely did. They always do.
After having a baby at age 24, I wondered how not only my body would respond—and when and if it would bounce back—but also if I would feel that inner pull again, driving me to work out. Since I had been with my husband (and he seemed to think I looked pretty good) I hadn’t really felt that. I mean, let’s be honest, most of us in our 20s work out for vanity’s sake, right? That’s what I had always done. I worked out to look good, I socialized and drank and partied to feel happy, and I thought I was a pretty balanced person. But once my daughter came along, I didn’t have much of a social life to lift me up. Most of my friends had fallen off of the radar once my bump became a baby. And I had to look inward for the acceptance I had been getting from outside sources.
Surprisingly, as exhausted and hormonal as I was, I was craving my old workout routine. I truly couldn’t wait to get back into it. And I was excited in a way that I had never been before about exercise. My inspiration was not only getting my body back, which I of course wanted to do. But it was also to feel balanced and in control of my life. While dropping the baby weight and fitting into my jeans only a few months later was thrilling, something else was even more thrilling—being a happier, more centered parent. It was a realization that wasn’t totally new to me, but meant a lot more now that I was a mother.
At this point in my life, I don’t battle with exercise as much as I used to. Of course, I have days when the workout doesn’t get done, but I’m a working mother, and it happens. But I never have weeks at a time when I can’t motivate myself to work out. I think of it in a totally different way at 26 than I did at 24. Exercise is not something I have to do because if I don’t I’ll get fat and no boys will like me. Instead, it’s something that I want to do because I know how good it is for me on so many levels—my ass is only one of them. —Sarah Bregel