Rest. Rest Days. Recovery. Break. Time out. Relaxation. Respite. Stop. Quit.
Do these words make you uncomfortable?
They sure make ME uncomfortable! And when that happens, I always find that it’s a great time to check in and ask why?
Maybe because we are constantly bombarded with social media posts of people cranking out workouts until they go into labor or showing us how they ‘got their pre-baby body back’ so fast postpartum. Seeing these extremes can sometimes make us feel like we are behind, or need to ‘work harder’ in our pregnancy or postpartum.
It would seem that if we step back, take a break, or slow down….we might not be “pregnant-ing” or “postpartum-ing” well (enough). Which doesn’t actually exist. Pregnancy and postpartum look very different for each person, no matter their prior training history. It really comes down to each individual’s…RISK vs. REWARD.
We talk about this ALL the time with our moms. Are there times in our lives where the risk of doing something exceeds the reward? Of course. Is is always easy to see that? Nope.
Is the risk of the exercise, training, etc worth the reward? It all depends on the person and the situation. For some, smart training during pregnancy and postpartum with a qualified coach can be a total game changer and produce a very healthy pregnancy and a nice transition to postpartum. For some, the exercise is just not going to happen. These are all fine situations.
While I’m all for doing some form of strength & conditioning during and after pregnancy – if that’s what your body needs – I am also going to advocate for REST.
I know, you don’t want to hear that you need to rest. I’ve even had clients ‘rest’ by running 3 miles on their day off. THAT IS NOT A DAY OFF! If we cannot take a rest day, then we really need to step back and ask WHY? What are you truly afraid might happen? What is the worst thing that might happen?
Can I let you in on a little secret? Your body actually gets stronger and repairs itself during rest. That doesn’t happen IN the gym. It happens while you rest. At home. It happens when you refuel your body. It happens when you let your body fully recover. Ever wonder why people do performance enhancing drugs? Not because it helps them IN the gym, but because it helps them rest/recover faster FROM the gym. Its all about the rest.
A couple of weeks ago, my doctor decided that I needed to be on bed rest. Honestly, I was quite shocked at first and I didn’t really understand what he meant or what he was talking about.
I had been having high blood pressure and with not being full term yet in this pregnancy, he said there were just too many risks at this point in pregnancy to continue an active, full blown pregnancy (think: toddler, work, training, life). So naturally, I asked – well, what if I workout every other day? He said NO. Then I said, what about walking? He said NO. He then proceeded to ask me if I’d ever seen someone stay at home sick with the flu. I said, of course I have! He said – and that’s what it should look like. I couldn’t help but laugh. I don’t even remember the last time I rested like that – probably when Thor was born or shortly there after while recovering from cesarean section.
Here we go with that RISK vs. REWARD!
Time for me to take some of my own medicine 😉
For me, I probably needed someone to tell me to rest or I never would have done it. At this point in pregnancy, I’d rather rest up and safely have our baby. I don’t want to risk exercising or inducing preterm labor…for what? To say I worked out up until my due date? No. To look better? No. Just not worth it for me.
The only things I am really missing about not training are the mental clarity it gives me and the less “achey-ness” after effects of good movement in a training session.
So naturally, I have a little bit more anxiety or angstyness without training, but I have also found that resting is really not SO BAD afterall! I don’t feel bad about putting my feet up, or doing a puzzle, or reading books, or watching TV. Because these are MY REST DAYS! I am OWNING them. However, it did take some time to get used to the feeling of just resting.
The funny thing is that after resting for a few weeks, my blood pressure HAS dropped significantly and baby is looking great. I got the good ole “keep doing what you’re doing” speech at this last visit.
I am taking one from Jessie Mundell’s page here – as she always talks about how the universe gives her the exact lessons she needs at the times she needs them. I think the universe just wanted to let me know how AWESOME rest is for our bodies and how important it can be. And that there is nothing wrong with taking some time to rest. Whether that’s one day, or a few days, or weeks, or months….ALL GOOD, mama!
And if you’re one who needs permission to rest, I am right here giving you permission to REST WHEN YOU NEED IT. Your body will thank you!
Would love to hear your thoughts on rest. How does it make you feel?