As you other IVFers may know, when you are using stim meds (to make egg), after egg retrievals and embryos transfers, you can't exercise. For me, because I make SO many eggs and get mild to moderate OHSS, my ovaries stay huge and full of cysts for awhile. Well it was the same this last go 'round. My ovaries were still big several weeks post retrieval, and I wasn't allowed to exercise beyond walking until they went down. I was cleared for exercise last Thursday (a week ago tomorrow), so from the time I started stim meds (and stopped my normal exercise), til last Thursday, I was off 7 weeks.
And getting back to my normal exercise has been, well, painful! Thankfully, I was in good shape before the break, and had been in good shape for a long while before stopping, so I wasn't a total pile of mush getting back to it, and I've been able to jump back in at a high intensity, but it hasn't been pretty.
Here are my top tips for getting back into an exercise routine:
1) Push through the pain. This is a hard one for most people. Our bodies get to a point that we really want to stop. We are so winded and our muscles burn really badly, and most people stop. My policy? I don't let myself stop. I wear a heart rate monitor and on my run yesterday, I was bound and determined to run 4-miler at a sub 8:30 pace (what I think should be my baseline fitness level), and so I did just that. Well my heart rate was at 80-100% of my max heart rate the entire 30+ minutes. I was panting like a dog and my legs were tired, but I pushed myself because I know that that run is the worst that distance and pace will feel if I push through. If I don't push through, the next run will feel just the same. Progress can only be made when we make our bodies push through discomfort and pain.
2) Do it when you don't want to. When you are out of an exercise routine, it's easy to talk yourself out of a day because your tired and your body is sore. The problem is, 1 day can easily become 7, and progress is never made. So I think the most important time to workout is when you don't want to (those days are more often than the days you do when you're out of shape). The key is to tell yourself you'll just do something small. Usually once you've started, you'll do more. Getting started is the hardest part.
3) Remind yourself of the end goal. Every hard workout gets you where you want to be. Remind yourself of that when you feel like you need to call it quits in the middle of a workout. The other day, in our class, I was tired. I had that feeling where I could feel my stomach in my throat, you know the one. That feeling where you're not throwing up, but you are tasting your last meal. Stopping would have felt nice, but then I would never reach my end goal. So I kept reminding myself over and over again in my head that that workout was a means to an end. I should also add, after that workout I had to sit down before going to get Mckenna in the kids area because my I had a massive headache and thought I would puke if I kept walking...lovely! But this brings me to my last tip...
4) Remind yourself that pain is temporary. A hard workout is temporary, but the benefits last a lifetime. I know, for me personally, this is key to remember mid-terrible-workout. I tell myself that if I can't tolerate a little bit of pain, I'm a wimp. That sounds ridiculous, but it's true. In our culture, we seek comfort day in and day out. We live in the status quo and avoid anything that may bring a little challenge or pain. So for that chunk of time I tell myself I am capable of pushing through a little bit of struggle, and if I don't push through, I'm simply just being a wimp!
So there you have it. I'm happy to say that week one of being back in the saddle is almost over! Me and my sore muscles made it through and are ready to tackle week two!