At seven-weeks post baby, I woke up and no body part was screaming pain. Sleep deprived, yes, but I can cope with the fatigue much better if my body is not in any pain. After trying my first yoga class last week, I though I would brave the bike. I have to admit, I was scared to even sit on the saddle, afraid of reliving parts of childbirth and embarrassing myself with the thought of not even getting through the class!
I went to a dear friend and staff member’s class, Joanna, who is a mother of two as well. Comforted by knowing her style of teaching which is commanding, high energy as well as inclusive of all riders, I knew it would be a good class to find my legs again.
I sat next to loyal client who comes to Spynga 3 x a week and is there to work hard. She was my secret inspiration to keep pace with. Truthfully, I was just happy being in the excitement of a cycle class again. Those who are indoor riders seriously love the endorphin rush, music and challenge of it all, not to mention the continued results they see and feel in their body.
As we rode our way in a pack through the two songs, warming up the whole body, I was surprised how comfortable my body felt in the saddle and just spinning my legs. Once we started to put tension on the bike, I felt my really legs start to heat up. I had the urge to go fast but didn’t want to burn out so I stayed with the pace. By the third song, I felt like I had never left the bike even though it has been a solid 10 weeks since I was last on a bike.
I am constantly amazed at the body’s capacity to recapture muscle memory and how encouraging that is. The music was awesome. I was completely out of my head, just letting feeling the effects of movement. Secretly grateful that I didn’t have a baby poking my ribs and sitting on my insides anymore, I was able to take deep breaths and relish in oxygenating my body. It felt sensational to soar through sprints. I spent much of the ride with my eyes closed, just enjoying the moment. When I felt challenged to keep up with a hill or lifting in and out of the saddle, I would look at my neighbour’s legs and match her pace. Before I knew it, I was sweating furiously and feeling like me!
After 40 minutes on the bike, we moved to the mat for a 15 minute core routine to strengthen the mid-section. We did a series of crunches with our legs at various heights to challenge the upper and lower abdominals. We ended with a plank sequence that again, requires that you brace your stomach muscles. You want to feel as if you are pulling your hip bones up to your ribs and your ribs down to your hip bones as if to round out your lower back ever so slightly. We did a short stretch afterwards, mainly targeting quads, hamstrings, shoulders and calves. I left happy and proud of myself, eager to get back to another class as a student again!
Things to Remember for Your First Ride Back:
-Padded Shorts are always an option
– Don’t’ forget your water bottle, especially if you are nursing
– Go at your own pace BUT challenge yourself to work hard as this time for you is sacred now
-Brace your abdominal muscles as best you can during hills, lifts and sprints
-Put your handlebars a little high if you are experiencing post-birth lower back soreness. This will offer you some relief during the sequences and keeps you from slouching down to the handlebars
– Spend extra time stretching out your shoulders (i.e. reversing your baby hunch) and calf muscles. If you experienced Charlie horse muscle spasms in your legs during pregnancy (I sure did) then your calves are going to be excruciatingly tight
– Be kind to yourself. Your body has just been rented out for 9 months and it takes time for all the inside furniture (your organs) to go back into place…or find some kind of place to exist
-Don’t wait to long to get back on the bike again or you will lose momentum!