My first session back at the gym post-baby is a rude but much-needed awakening. Most people I encounter tell me how great I look for being just three months post-partum.
But when I meet up with Nanci S. Guest — a certified personal trainer and registered dietician who specializes in strength and conditioning — she says bluntly: “Heather, it’s been three months. This is when bad habits start forming.” The bad habits she is referring to are a) not making time for exercise and b) indulging in tasty-but-fattening foods. The excuse I kept making was: “I just had a baby!”
Nanci has known me for a while (I trained with her pre-baby) and therefore she knows what I looked like pre-pregnancy and how to get that body back. My first session is 45 minutes and Nanci starts me off doing jumping squats on a riser while holding a 10-pound dumbbell.
“Deeper, deeper,” she instructs in a pleasant but firm tone. By 10 reps, my gluts and thighs are already burning. “Come on, 10 more,” she says. Had Nanci not been there, I would probably have given up after the first 10. “This is when change happens,” she says as sweat begins to bead on my forehead.
After a 30-second recovery period, she has me do 15 pushups on two overturned BOSU balls. This creates instability, which works my core even harder than if the balls were flat. Again, I get 30 seconds to catch my breath before moving on to more exercises targeting my core and thighs. She demonstrates each one in advance and continually coaches me on proper technique. Then it’s back to pushups.
This one-on-one training session offers me a far more intensive workout than I would ever achieve on my own. For starters, it helps to have another person motivating and supporting you, since half the battle is mental. She also coaches me on correct posture and technique.
Throughout the session, Nanci also asks me about my diet and offers tips on how to modify it so that I am consuming all the nutrients and calories I need for breastfeeding, while avoiding the fats that pack on weight.
After 45 minutes, Nanci ensures I get on the elliptical trainer for 15 minutes of cardio, rounding out my workout to an hour. I leave the gym feeling slightly numb and wake the following day feeling slightly sore, but a good sore — the kind that makes you aware of your muscles and your body feel alive.
On Tuesday, I’ll be reporting on my following training sessions and my first time using Xbox Kinect.