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Sign me Up! My Journey back to Healthy began on Twitter

A sponsor offered a free spot in a mama boot camp class in exchange for periodic posts on the process. Christine is now in her second week; she has been sending in updates on her progress and you'll see the first two over the next two days.

Fitness has been a regular part of my life for the last 10 years.  I discovered it when I was in a rather dark place back in my early 20's, trying to navigate my way though a divorce. I was depressed, lonely and scared. I had moved to Portland to be with my boyfriend (now ex-husband) and while I had a small handful of friends, I was lacking what I needed most -- the close support of family.  I ended up finding solace in exercise and before long I was hooked. I had a five-year love affair with Billy Blanks, of Tae-Bo. I wore those VHS tapes to the bone. Around that same time, my company relocated buildings and our new building (the Fox Tower) had a fitness center that was free to tenants. On the days that I wasn't Tae-Bo'ing, I had the convenience of working out at my lunch hour which was so, so wonderful and easy. For many years I was happy with my fitness level and relatively comfortable with my body.

Fast-forward to today. I'm now a SAHM, with a 16-month-old daughter.

I have continuously tried to figure out how to fit exercise into my life with a child and somehow I keep coming up short. I try to workout during my daughter's nap time, however, she's not the greatest napper and half the time, I find myself cutting a workout short because she wakes. I've also tried to workout in the evenings, but seriously I'm so exhausted by the time she goes to bed, I follow her cue shortly thereafter. I contemplated joining a gym, however because we're a single-income family, a gym membership isn't a luxury we can simply afford right now. This combination of lack of motivation and poor timing, has left my relationship with exercise become more of an on-again/off-again love affair (more off than on). And as a result, my body has changed. I thought my 6-week postpartum body looked bad, however 16 months later, I'm the most out of shape I've been in my entire life. It's been something I think and fret about constantly, however, I haven't been able to work up the gumption to really COMMIT to something.  Until now.

A couple of weeks ago I happened to spot a tweet (on Twitter) from urbanMamas for the opportunity to participate in Recess Health Immersion Boot camp -- "1st ping/1st get" said the tweet.  I quickly Googled "Recess Health Immersion" and saw: ...fitness program...2 months...life changing... and before I knew what I was doing, I replied: "Yes, sign me up!!".  A few minutes later, I got a message back from urbanMamas saying, "It's yours!".  At which point I promptly panicked because, HELLO accountable. I mean, accountability is huge when it comes to weight loss/fitness goals and here I am not only accountable to my wee little self, but now to all to of the lovely readers of urbanMamas as well. EEK!

Which is apparently exactly what I need to get this train a rollin'. The program is two months long, meeting 3x's a week; which includes everything from workouts (yoga, pilates, martial arts, etc.) to nutritional education. The program is now three classes in, the first being a fitness test to determine a starting point for our fitness levels (there are seven other lovely ladies in my group). And for the sake of full disclosure; here were my results:

1. Walking a mile as fast as you can while hooked up to a heart monitor: 14:54 minutes with my highest heart rate at 179, most average HR around 173 (Seems really, really high to me)
2. Push-ups (on knees): 40 (I do carry a 25+ lb toddler all day)
3. Sit-ups: 28 (embarrassing, but reminding myself this is a starting point!)
4. Lunge while lifting one leg (amount of time you can hold your leg up): Right Leg: 54 seconds, Left Leg: 1:20 seconds

I'll be posting a few times throughout my two month journey on Recess Health Immersion, taking you through my journey. At the end of the two months, at the very least, I am looking forward to becoming more fit as well as simply having some real "me" time. Something that has eluded me since becoming a mother.

Comments

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I am starting to get really jealous of Recesser's with writing gigs (I admit that I want to be a writer when I grow up)! I look forward to reading your thoughts on our endeavors.

I have a 16 month old and have a very hard time figuring out exercise, as well. I bought a jogging stroller (baby + stroller= very slow run for this mom). I am really really trying to get out there these days. I understand what you mean about the DVDs and baby waking, I have a crappy napper here as well. Very frustrating.
I wish you luck. I go for run/walks (am working up to a run/run!) and take power sculpt/pilates/yoga classes via dvd in my living room when I can.
I look forward to reading about your progress. You're an inspiration!

When your posters review a car or an exercise camp, I wish they/you would pay for it. Then your review would include an honest assessment of whether it is worth the price, and wouldn't be tainted by accepting a freebie. Leave the advertising for the upper left hand corner.

catmom: we do regularly review things we pay for and we often struggle with whether to accept freebies. unfortunately, our blogging empire isn't quite large enough to pay people to review things (otherwise, we'd only have reviews of the stuff we actually own -- like the Xtracycles and the Mirena and such) so we've instead opted for full disclosure and working hard to be as unbiased as possible.

I'm curious: did you think my review of the ford hybrid was tainted? I thought I had been clear in my assessment that it's not worth the money for my family.

You've been clear that you don't want a car for your family. But your review of the hybrid was strikingly positive. And here we are, referring to it by its brand name.

Your question may be unanswerable. Do you think you are able to tell if your review is tainted by the donated car? All our elected officials swear that they are not swayed by donations ...

Perhaps more to the point, would the review have appeared at all - and would either of us know this car's name - without the donation? And even with the donation, if you had thought the car was a cheaply manufactured bucket of bolts, would the review have appeared?

Some explorations of this topic:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/13/technology/internet/13blog.html?_r=1&scp=5&sq=mommy%20blogger&st=cse

http://www.newsweek.com/id/206786

I think catmom, and these links, raise some important points. To me, it's more interesting and valuable to read the thoughts of parents who are examining their lifestyle decisions-- to own a car or go car-less, or how to increase time for self, time to exercise, ways to improve health-- in the context of raising a family, balancing work and family, and so on. I am curious to read about a fellow mama's experience getting back in shape, but I have zero interest in the particular program-- and I suspect that the efficacious parts are somewhat generic (e.g., social support, dedicated time, whatever). If one omitted the product brand name, would the content still be compelling and/or more relevant to a broader group of parents?

I know that past discussions of slings, breast pumps, etc. have been useful and knowing the brands has been important information for me in these contexts. So the line may be fuzzy... Am I missing some financial-incentive angle here for urbanmamas.com?

I run outside with the jogging stroller and then go home and do yoga with my now 19 mo old son climbing all over me. It's funny though becuase he sometimes hangs out in downward dog. once a week, if scheduling permits, i go to a yoga class all by myself! I enjoy being outside so for me gyms and classes aren't that attractive. But I do think classes help motivate some people and if that's what it takes you might as well know what the good ones are. I've been living in NE for one year now looking for a yoga instructor that lives up to my old one. If only someone would offer me free classes to write what I thought about them!!

I like the yoga classes offered at The Movement Center at roughly Sandy and NE 32nd (www.mcyoga.com) - especially instructor Laura Washington, who is also an ND. I've paid for all the classes I've taken there, and have no affiliation with the spiritual center associated with the yoga studio.

I think that bias is an interesting topic (and catmom, I've read, thought, and written about in other sites, all those links and more) that perhaps is not a great thing to explore in this thread. I hardly believe that the mere presence of a freebie is necessary or sufficient for bias; in fact, we may often be far more biased when we DO pay for services/products (after all, we have the subconscious selfish bias of justifying our own wisdom/value system in paying for the item) or for a host of other reasons.

I believe the line is crossed when we get some financial reward, beyond the simple short-lived freebie (I only got the car for a few days; this class is only a few months), a la Amway or Mary Kay or Creative Memories or [insert your favorite multi-level marketing scheme here] for selling the product. but I think this deserves its own post, which I will write soon, and let this thread return to discussion of maternal fitness.

I would hate for us to have to resort to detailing the financial provenance of every product and service we mention in posts and comments. let's please just say what we like and don't like and suss out the reliability of everyone's comments in the quiet of our own brains.

Thank you once again, I am more than happy that I came over here, your blog has some cool posts, really a great time buster!

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