little whale

Working out was truly the last thing I wanted to do coming out of my long day at work, but my husband and I had made plans to meet at the pool and I knew how much he wanted to swim so I decided I’d try.  I’ve been noticing that I don’t have a very good sense of how far my belly extends these days and on my way out of the bathroom stall, I didn’t give myself enough clearance.   I scraped my belly button on the door lock and reminded myself to be more careful next time!  I got to the hot tub without any more disturbances and joined my husband very briefly.  My back had been aching since last night’s show and I thought a short soak might do me good.  I really just barely dunked myself but once I got into the pool and started swimming I noticed my backache was completely gone!

I had quite a bit of trouble catching my breath as I swam but I did feel fluid and graceful as I moved through the water.  My husband’s new favorite is calling me לויתן- whale (he says it’s because I swim so well despite my expanding girth).  I stopped to rest at the end of nearly every lap and took another break to give him a lesson in backstroke.  I called it quits at 500 meters but felt more energized leaving the pool than I’d been all day!

more water

Today’s water class really got my heart pumping.  We had another substitute teacher but this one was way better than last week’s!  We did all kinds of one-legged core stabilizing moves and there was a good mix of traveling and stationary exercises.  I was amused to realized I was grunting occasionally when my body wouldn’t go in the direction it was supposed to.  Moving through the water is no easy task when I’m not swimming!

Even though the class was so good I really wanted to swim a few laps, so I put on cap and goggles and concluded my workout in the lap lanes, then joined the other girls for some stretching in the warm pool.  I decided to save myself bus money and walk home.  I arrived home tired and hungry!

the workout:

1 hour water running class, 300 yd swim, 2 mile walk

the perfect indoor workout

I tried a new spinning class at the Richmond YMCA today and loved it.  It was heart rate training specific and actually felt like a training ride instead of an aerobics class.  We did a good 45 minute endurance ride plus warm-up and cool-down and it was strange to watch my heart rate stay in what used to be my zones 2 and 3 but feel as though I was working.  When I first found out I was pregnant, I did quite a bit of research online and and spoke with my OB about workout heart rate during pregnancy.  Most health care professionals agree that heart rate is less relevant than perceived level of exertion or body temperature, so I focus mainly on how I’m feeling.  Still it was fun to strap on a heart rate monitor and see how hard I was indeed working.  What I learned is that I could probably push myself more than I’m doing, but that I’d rather be comfortable these days.  The issue of bike shorts digging into my belly (and bladder!) is an entire other comfort issue.  I wonder if anyone sells maternity bike shorts?

the workout:

45 minute endurance heart-rate spin class

core work:  crunches leaning on bosu ball to keep head above heart, side crunch, quadruped birddog  2 X 10 each

upper body strength training: shoulder press w/ dumbbell while doing wide leg squats (toes pointing out to maintain neutral spine), front arm raises w/ dumbbell, single are dumbbell bicep curls, tricep dips   2 X 10 each

holiday exercise

Yesterday my husband and I both thought a morning swim would be a fantastic idea, so after Bill (the turkey) went into the oven, we drove to the pool.  We had hoped we’d be late enough that the crowds would already be doing meal preparation but we were wrong.  We filled out a lane with four people swimming different speeds.  Luckily we were all conscientious and noticed when someone wanted to pass.  I didn’t take any rest periods between sets but did stop frequently on the wall to let another swimmer go by.  I was thrilled when the sun came out at the beginning of my workout, as I was positioned in the perfect lane to catch some rays from the high pool windows.  I got out of the pool feeling energized and ready to tackle a Thanksgiving meal!

Today, post-traditional turkey dinner (and oxtail soup and chicken caccitore and the most beautiful salad I’ve ever seen and three desserts), I’m making oatmeal to begin the day in a healthy fashion, then we will meet family members for a hike.  I’ve never been to Point Lobos before and am excited to spend some time in nature!


I’ve always loved keeping a schedule and as I get closer to the end of opera season with three months of free time looming pre-Baby, I’ve started creating a few routines for myself so that I don’t spend all of my time going nuts over baby preparation (or out shopping!).  The three routines I plan to keep envolve practicing, studying Hebrew and working out.  On Tuesdays and Wednesdays I’ve discovered wonderful classes I’ve now been to four times each: the Tuesday water running class and the Wednesday prenatal yoga.  I like these classes just as much for the social aspects as for the exercise and wellness benefits.

Tuesday’s water class this week wasn’t as good as usual.  We had a substitute teacher who was way more into making us work than letting us socialize (which ironically, I found irritating!).  I also felt that her style of keeping us in place with exercises more than traveling back and forth across the pool was less effective and class ended 15 minutes early for stretching in the deep water instead of going the full hour then moving us into the warm pool to stretch.  The one thing I did find very useful was that we often changed directions in the middle of movements, which required core muscle engagement, both to turn and to maintain a new direction for a brief moment.  I left the class and moved to the lap lane as the stretching began so that I could get more of a full body workout.  600 yds later I was satisfied so I stretched and moved on to the shower.

Wednesday mornings have become my favorite morning of the week.  I meet a friend to visit the farmers market, coming out with yummy produce and fresh eggs, go to our favorite prenatal yoga class with Jane at Yoga Tree then walk next door to gorge ourselves on the daily pizza at Arizmendi.  Our take-home bread bags are expanding by the week but everything Arizmendi makes is so irresistibly delicious that we can’t help ourselves!

I realized, after sitting through Wednesday night’s show with a sore back, that I may be over-stretching in the yoga class.  I’m guessing this because the soreness spread evenly across my back and didn’t go away with my usual stretching during intermissions.  The yoga room is so warm and by the end of the hour and a half class I’m moving further into poses than I ever do in my own shorter practices at home.  Note to self: be extra careful next week to see if my theory is correct!

Beside taking care of myself through these classes, I am really enjoying meeting other moms-to-be and forming new friendships that will hopefully hold strong once our babies are born!

back in the saddle

This weekend I got back in the saddle- with a full swim workout Saturday and a spin class Sunday.  1200 yards was no big deal for me to complete in the pool and I made it through an entire hour long spin class with only one cool-down/bathroom break.

As I swam, I wondered if there will come a point in my pregnancy that I will only want to be in the water because it’s the only place left that my body feels normal.  Quite possibly, but luckily that hasn’t happened yet.  My stamina in the water is great and this was my third of four 1200 yard workouts before I up my yardage again.

I haven’t worked out next to a friend in quite a while, so it was a real treat when I walked into the Y Sunday morning and found GC on her way into the same spin class!  We chose bikes in the back near the fan and chatted sporadically throughout the class, catching up on our weeks.  I was conscious to maintain my rpm with whatever the instructor suggested but kept minimal weight on the wheel so I wouldn’t overheat.  I checked my heart rate the old fashioned way periodically since my heart rate monitor conveniently stopped working right when I got pregnant!  I finished the class in good form and enjoyed a quick stretch before coming home to make pancakes.

Today was a “getting stuff done” day, so I carried groceries, mopped up the muddy landing outside our kitchen and planted flowers in the front pots.  It doesn’t look like I’m going to have time for my weight training DVD, but holding up my violin while practicing counts for something, right?

looking absurd

I decided to give my body a break today and go for a walk.  I accompanied my husband across the park to catch the train to work, ran some errands over there, then took a long meandering route home.  Midway through I decided that I should try using my shopping bags as arm weights and do a little upper body work while I walked.  At first I was tentative, a bright pink target with bulging belly doing silly things with shopping bags, but I quickly realized I looked like every other crazy person in the park and stopped caring.  My walk became a muddy scramble when one path dead-ended and I climbed up an embankment- only to find more fences and be forced to retrace my steps.  I kept my pace up the entire walk and was careful at all times not to overextend my back as I lifted the bags while walking.  I actually worked up a sweat- but that may have had more to do with my scarf and raincoat than my “workout”!

To try this at home, all you need is a small shopping list and two bags, walking shoes and a je n’aime pas attitude.  Have fun!

the workout: 45 minute walk, arm/shoulder strength training w/ shopping bags,

3 X 10 each:

side lat raises, curls, front lat raises, shoulder press, shoulder roll