|Posted by Olivia Westenskow on July 30, 2012 at 5:00 PM||comments (2)|
So now that I am not pregnant any longer it has been great to look back over the experience. What am I loving that I did and what would I go back and do differently? I wanted to share my thoughts as I know I have and will have people working out with me who are/will be expecting a little one too.
Firstly, I am happy to report that I was blessed with a new little boy, Dallin George Westenskow July 11, 2012. He weight 7 lb 9oz a nice healthy weight and is in every respect the picture of health.
As I started out on this pregnancy journey I knew that I would be working out an unsual amount of hours for the average pregnant person. I had worked out with my previous two pregnancies which resulted in my handsome older sons, but only about 3-4 hours per week on average, at low to moderate levels of intensity. Note that my pregnancies were healthy textbook pregnancies in most ways so there was not a lot to be concerned about. Women with high risk pregnancies or other risky conditions, may not be able to be so physically active during their pregnancies. It is ALWAYS a good idea to talk to your doctor (or a few) to see what they would recommend as far as your fitness goes.
As a much more active person now, I did some research to see what I was heading into as a 'pregnant athlete' and what I would need to expect in terms of my business (how long could I teach etc...). I found that during the first trimester many women actually expereince an increase in strength and ability during athletic workouts due to hormone levels that almost mimic steroid effects. Aside from periodic nausea and heartburn (which I would get even just drinking water!) I was able to maintain my high levels of energy in my classes. After about 13 weeks the nausea and heartburn went away for the most part and the lovely second trimester began.
The second trimester was the best in terms of physical activity but I was struggling with emotional and mental stress and had bouts of negative feelings which were hard for me to cope with but the daily workout with my classes always evened out my spirits and I was SO grateful for that. I noticed that on the weekends when I wasn't working out and was recovering was when my mood was the most difficult to manage. I cried and became upset more easily then. I was carefully monitoring how I felt physically and was surprised how good and capable I felt even through the end of the second trimester. I began to gain more weight in my second trimester as is typical. I never looked at the scale though and would always be weighed backwards so I would not become stressed or fixated on my increasing weight. I told the nurse only to talk to me about my weight gain if it became problematic. She agreed and so I have no idea how much I gained but felt healthy and able to be active for so long into my pregnancy that I didn't worry. My diet while so active and pregnant was full of nutrient dense foods (whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables) although I also was prone to the indulgence in not so wholesome foods here and there. I just tried to be careful with that.
The third trimester started out with me feeling perky enough and the emotional roller coaster was much mellower. I still jumped around in Zumba and did my pilates floor work (after researching effect of short term back lying during third trimester). By week 31 the heaviness began taking a toll on my back and I was taking tylenol before my two high impact zumba classes each week as I was feeling some major strain in my lower back and with my sciatic nerves. I was still in training mode for my subs, so just quitting wasn't an option. I managed my pain with massage and occasional extra strength tylenol. By week 34 I knew I had to say goodbye to my YoPi classes as the ligaments in my legs and hips were so softened that I could not sweep my leg in a circle without some major discomfort. I swallowed my pride and handed over my classes to my sub (Brittney) as I felt like the pain was outweighing any good from that particular workout.
In the end I learned that we are all very indvidual in our pregnancies. My activity level during my pregnancy worked for me--but it was difficult and may not be even close to ok for someone else. I also frequently honestly said that if it hadn't been my job to be so physically active, I woudn't have worked out so much--cause it was HARD to do 11 hours a week of classes! However, I also loved experiencing the miracle of what a woman's body is capable of during pregnancy. I did a lot of reseach on my own and talked to health professionals through out, but I realized that a lot of the information about exercise for pregnant women is really only for sedentary or moderatly active women. If you are a very atheletic person and become pregnant, do some research for pregnant athletes as the information available for that, has a lot of differences than the information for the average pregnany woman.
Things I learned during my pregnancy to keep my pregnant workouts good:
How my workouts felt during my pregnancy:
Zumba: I LOVE to dance. Just dancing with everyone made me so happy even when my hormones made things all crazy for me emotionally. The high impact Zumba class gave me a healthy oulet to physically 'vent' emotion with my jumping and stomping. In my thir trimester of pregnancy my lower back and sciatic nerves were acting up a lot. If you don't have pain you might continue Zumba, but if you do have pain, either take out the high impact (stop jumping) and/or try out Zumba Gold. If I had been just a student in the class and not the instructor, I would have quit jumping once back got inflamed (between 28-30 weeks)
Zumba Gold: Zumba Gold was great--could have taught that class until the very end of the pregnancy. Low impact movement was perfect and I still got my sweat on. Definately a great class for the pregnant Zumba lover!
Kettlebell: I really fell in LOVE with Kettlebell while I was pregnant! Not only did it help me build up strong supportive muscles to support my growing belly, but it actually felt good to do! I think the weight of the kettlebell and the belly worked together, making it my most comfortable (although a major calorie burning!) workout. Defnately a great workout to do while pregnant and it is pretty much a no-impact class, yet your heart rate is challenged and you are building great lean muscle in the process. My core was kept incredibly strong even after I had to quit my YoPi class. I LOVE kettlebell!
YoPi: YoPi is like one of my babies. It was one of the first classes I have ever created so I felt very attached to it and it was hard to learn that of all my classes, that was the one I had to give up soonest. It was surprising as I thought it would be the one that would be easiest to do til the end. Through most of my pregnancy it was great! The increased flexibility from the increased relaxin in my body was fun to (carefully) play with during my classes. My core was kept strong and I was amazed after Dallin was born how strong my abs still felt. The extra weight in my body did my more stress in my wrists, when I was in plank positions and rolling like a ball and boat pose really bothered my tailbone in the end. Around week 34 the ligament in my hips were so loose that I could not support sweeping leg movements without feeling intense pain---eventually it even bacame impossible. The back lying can be a concern is done for long periods of time. The weight of belly can put pressure on the vena cava, which decreases oxygen flow to the baby. I researched and found it was safe to lay on my back for short amounts of time so I taught the class going from a back lying postion to a sitting position and going back and forth so I was never on my back for longer then about 2 minutes. Stomach lying become impossible eventually, but there are other exercises that can be done to keep the back strong. I also found I could do some stomach lying exercises (heel beats) if I was up in a half cobra postion so my stomach wasn't squished. I think YoPi is a great class for as long as the person feels good in the class and with modifciations.
Yoga Refresh: I created this class because I knew once I had to give up YoPi that I would especially miss the yoga and stretching--which still felt good even at the end of my pregnancy. Plus I had a lot of people ask me if I would ever do a class without the pilates--as some people had phycial limitation that made pilates not a good fit for them. So I started Yoga Refresh. I called it that because I wanted to make it clear that although we practice flow yoga, the focus is more to stretch and relax the body. I LOVE this new class format too. I literally would walk away with a similar feeling to the one I get from getting a massage. This is a class that you could do through the end of a pregnancy--doing the shown modifications for when your belly is bigger. Also the breathing technique in both Yoga and Pilates helps when you begin labor. Great way to practice deep, calming breaths!
These are all the main classes I did frequently while pregnant. If you are pregnant you might have different experiences. Talk to me and share. I am learning about more and more expecting moms in my classes lately. If I know an expectant mom is my class (esp YoPi or Yoga) I will take care to show modifications for pregnant people and will keep the flow of the floor poses, exercises safe for mom and baby. Congratulations and keep moving!
This is a lot of info--and I will add and edit as I can, but wanted some notes. Feel free to email me if you have any specific questions.
|Posted by Olivia Westenskow on August 31, 2011 at 11:25 AM||comments (0)|
I LOVE people. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am not just saying that. I love meeting new people and getting to know the different nuances that make people so unique. It's one of the very best parts of my business. I meet so many new people all the time, from all walks of life and with all kinds of histories. I feel richly blessed to have that. The worst part is that eventually people move on, going on to grad school, to new jobs, new phase of life, leaving La Grande etc. I am trying ot have more of a Zen attitude about it, and just be grateful that I get to cross paths with you all at least for a time. So just wanted to give a shout out to people who have left La Grande, but made an impact on me, that I remember fondly from my Liv Fit classes. These are just off the top of my head. I'll be adding to the list as I think about it.....
Tiffany Foy- A dedicated dental student who loved YoPi so much she probably is responsible for a large part of my first few months attendance as she brought friends with her. Thanks for believing in me in the beginning there!
Deborah Koller - Another of the dental students who impressed me with her sacrifice as she and her husband juggled school between here and Portland.
Dan Lees - One of the first men to give YoPi a chance. His work moved him out of state, but his willingness and openess to try everything was inspiring.
Anda Yangson - Gorgeous talented doctor who graced us with her presence in Zumba and YoPi for almost a year before getting a new job in the valley. Witty and fun spirited---miss ya!
Teresa ORoark - One of the first 'young' people who took my Zumba class. Stayed until grad school called her across the country
Clair Clark - Another 'young' one who rocked my classes. Loved having her in the Express classes where she was front and center, helping people follow the choreography.
Carlee Novak - This blonde spunky girl brought all kinds of bold fun energy to class. A former gymnast, she took on everything and pushed herself to her limits. Loved watching her move!
Carl Thomas - Very short stint with us before moving to a new job But in that short great time, he reminded all of us that men can move! He brought the greatest energy to class everytime. Miss the singing and whooping esepcially.
Gina Galavig - One of the 'young; women who helped get Zumba energized. Loved when she and Carl were both in attendance. They were hilarious.
Fune Tautala- Another fun-loving man who could shake it with the best of em. Wish he had found us sooner--but we wish him luck in his acting/dancing work in Seattle!
Atsuko Kikugawa - One of the students I met during my time teaching classes at EOU. She joined my community classes, attending faithfully every week. Such a gentle, gracious calm energy to have in YoPi. Finally getting to go home to Japan after five years in the USA.
Alyssa Garro - Leaving on September 9th for a new job opportunity. Beautifully talented with great dimples when she smiled. Totally gonna miss ya!
|Posted by Olivia Westenskow on August 1, 2011 at 9:57 PM||comments (0)|
So in case you see me limping around or not quite as jumpy in Zumba let me tell you something. When your feet (or knees) start to tell you that you need new shoes, listen to them! I have needed to get some new shoes for couple months, but as a natural procrastinator I didn't make it a priority and today I found out that I have tibular sesamoiditis. Dr Stacy Clark (amazing woman that she is) gently reminded me that I needed to wear appropriate footwear, esepcially with the work I do.
The lesson I'm learning is quite painful, but since there is nothing to be done I just have to let it heal as it can. I will be trying to be smart in my classes, and luckily I have some amazing students who are willing to demonstrate movement. I have orderded new shoes and hope this is lesson enough for me to remember not to take my body for granted. Wanted to pass on the message to all you too! Our bodies do amazing things for us every day--respect them!
|Posted by Olivia Westenskow on July 29, 2011 at 1:47 PM||comments (3)|
I'm a mom and my oldest son is starting school this year. I am realizing how fleeting the time is that my kids will be little and so I am trying to reshape my schedule to better fit them as school starts. The hardest thing is coming home late. I would like to eventually phase out my 6:30PM class time and so I am interested in offering a lunctime YoPi class (12:10 to allow for driving from work). It does look like I will be adding the Kettlebell Class to the fall schedule, so that will be a 30 minute class before a Zumba class (any preferences on whether it' s before Zumba Gold of Zumba?). I know I can't please everyone, but I do like to get the vibe on changes I hope to make.
My goal is to be wise in all things---seems to be a lifetime learning process.