Exercise is not so ninja when you have a belly.

Lately, even stairs have become my nemesis. Pre-pregnancy, I would scoff at our lift and had a very loyal relationship with our internal fire escape. Now, I still grumble up the stairs, albeit in a much slower fashion with an exasperated expression and much heaving.

Bending has become an obstacle (but on the other side of the coin, I have a great excuse for hubby to do all the housework! And yes, I will be utilizing it). I reflexively groan whenever I bend, a low rumble from another time, like a preserved mammoth awakened from its bed of ice. Not a feat to attempt around small children.

This makes exercise a little more imaginative, with a lot more adjustments. In my first trimester, I continued as normal and in my second, I made progressive adjustments until now, less than one week away from my third, I am strictly adhering to the prenatal label.

While I resisted going to prenatal yoga rather than doing adjustments in my regular class, I quickly realised that I was having to adjust or sit out the majority of poses (inversions, twists et al) and I swiftly joined the prenatal ranks. It was great not being the only belly in town. Plus, the prenatal teachers know what stretches you are aching for - it's amazing! If I wasn't practicing yoga every other day, I believe I may have been arrested for disorderly conduct quite a while ago (particularly respecting the times I have been craving a particular ice cream only to find out that the ice cream truck had indecently sold out of my flavour and most recently and egregiously decided to discontinue cinnamon right when I am entering my third trimester! Do these people have no empathy? I only survive by stocking up on ginger and coconut).

I must admit prepreggers, I was a little addicted to the endorphin rush after exercise. You name it, I probably tried it. Running (resulting in continual arguments and misunderstandings with my right ITB), yoga (practicing various styles from Ashtanga, to Iyengar, to Hatha to Bikram - the anti-yoga yoga- to a mixed vinyasa flow), pilates (both mat and machine), kickboxing (resulting in a torn meniscus), pole dancing (I loved this so much I posted a pole in my living room and ended up with multiple tears of the scapholunate ligaments in my both hands) and lately the barre method (Pure Barre to be exact). Needing my solace, I have been determined to continue my work outs, albeit in right belly fashion. Previously scoffing at work out videos, as often happens in my life (I have learnt to be a little less judgmental, as the universe has a habit of putting me in people's shoes - even literally, as once I ended up buying a pair of shoes that I had previously raised a critical eyebrow at), I am now ardently following the routine of a few.

Is it just me or do the "prenatal" instructors in various "prenatal" videos, claiming they are well into their second trimester, look not only decidedly NOT pregnant, but a little emaciated to you? I can't help but smirk every single time, albeit I can dictate the routine's narrative verbatim,  I hear the belly-less instructor exclaim "Oh, it is harder with a belly isn't it!" as she smiles ebullient and without a missed breath plunges into a decidedly fanciful exercise for a belly that knows no boundaries, such as the one that houses my son.

The more difficult negotiating exercise, or even just every day tasks such as sitting and standing up and bending are, the more my son exercises in my belly. He seems to have taken after me, as every day, at different times, suddenly my dormant belly erupts in an earthquake of ceaseless activity for minutes at a time, with such force that it interrupts whatever I may be doing. In the last few days, I have been able to not only feel him but see him moving. It's a trip, alright. Is he doing star jumps in there? We won't be doing them together for a while yet.

I can't finish a rant about prenatal exercise without broaching the subject of kegels. I must admit I have to work harder on mine- I realize their importance and lay prostrate at their throne! I was told by my yoga teacher to do ten sets a day. Ha! I am still getting to the point of practicing my kegels once daily and even then I can only do the rudimentary exercises, let alone the "elevator" reps they encourage you to do. The great thing about kegels is that you could do them anywhere. In the office. On the subway. Oh yes, just think, wherever you go, a soon to be mama is practicing her kegels somewhere near you.


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