Pigtailed, pregnant pilates ladies don't play.

Not too long ago I proudly (smugly) declared that exercise had officially become a regular habit of mine.

Yeeeaaahhhh, funny thing about that. I don't know how it works for negative habits, but if you want to make sure to break a positive habit, brag about it.

"Hey guys, I can finally say that I'm a chain smoker!"
"Guess what! I now eat ONLY fast food!"
"I finally work out 4 days a week, every week!"

Guess which one of those three probably won't be a habit in 3 months.

But anyway, I haven't worked out regularly since maybe April. Or March. Or something. Oh, sure, sure. I'd get in a sporadic walk or workout here and there, but instead of 3-4 times a week, it was maybe 3-4 times a month (and that only if I was feeling particularly motivated).

And then I began hosting a little parasite I affectionately call Prune Candy (aka Baby Sheffy, aka "The Kid" aka "No, we don't know if it's a boy or a girl") and got insanely sleepy for 3 months. I think I managed to squeeze in 5 or 6 pretty solid exercise sessions during that time, but mostly I just went to bed early and slept in late.

That tiring time has passed and now here I am in the 2nd trimester when my energy is supposed to have bounded back. The websites all tell me to take advantage of all that energy! Get some exercise! Take a walk! Move!

Siiiiggghhh. Okay, if I must.

So I got on the intertubes, read a bunch of reviews, and ordered 3 prenatal workout DVDs. That was back in August. Sometime near the end of September I took the plastic off of one of them.

In between those two highly inspirational feats of fitness, I kept whining, "I've really got to start working out again, but getting up early just doesn't seem possible anymore, and after work I just don't want to!"

When I made this lament (yet again) one morning last week over breakfast, Patrick's kind, supportive, slightly exasperated response was, "Well, you're just going to have to! How about you just do it today, after work?"

Siiiiggghhh. Okay, if I must.

I hate when he makes good, logical sense.

So, that evening after getting dinner going, and while Patrick cleaned up my mess in the kitchen (I love you!), I went to the living room to workout. I had the 3 DVDs to choose from, but as only one had been unwrapped, I chose that one--Prenatal Pilates.

Prenatal Pilates was very different from the "UN-th UN-th UN-th UN-th UN-th!" high intensity of Jillian Michaels and Jackie Warner that I'm used to. The music was soothing and the instructor, who herself was pregnant, had a soft, zen voice. I wondered to myself, "Do I hear soft piano and pan flutes? Regular flutes? I'm not so sure I should be hearing any woodwind instruments when exercising." When I realized the instructor was wearing pigtails, I called out, "Oh no! It's a hippie workout!"

As I'd already hit play, though, I felt committed to see what it would be like. Somehow I totally forgot that pilates was created based on ballet moves. When I realized it, I decided to forgive the soft music and Miss Instructor Lady's soothing directions. After all, I'd danced to many a classical score in my ballet classes all through school.

And then I was doing plie moves! I remember plies! Okay, this won't be so bad.

I got into it and was squatting, lunging, and plie-ing. My heart rate was elevated, but not so much that I felt like I'd die. All good so far! But then I began wondering if plies and leg lifts used to be so difficult. Why is my thigh shaking? I've only been at it 10 minutes!

This was only a 20 minute segment, but when it's only halfway done and your legs are already starting to quiver, you quickly realize you're:
a) out of shape,
b) in trouble, and
c) gonna be sore in the morning.

Around the 15 minute mark, I had to hit pause. My legs felt like they were going to seize up if I didn't take a break.

My internal dialogue went like this:
This is supposed to be a workout for pregnant women! Why is it DIFFICULT? Aren't pregnant women supposed to take it easy?

Well, Rebecca, you're pregnant, not sick or dying. And you know exercise is good for you, the baby, and will probably help during labor and recovery.

But, why are people always telling me to take it easy and eat junk food? "You can do that now," they say to me!

Because that's just what people say. And look how well that's working for you. You can't handle 15 minutes of exercise.

Fine. I hate this. I'll hit play again.


So I hit play and finished out the last 5 minutes. Thankfully, one of the segments on the DVD is 10 minutes of "Stretching and Relaxation" and I gladly moved on to that. It was the best 10 minutes of my day. By the time I finished breathing deeply and opening my hips (whatever that means, but it felt good), I felt relaxed. Refreshed. Rejuvenated. A total zen goddess sitting cross-legged on the floor.

Then I tried to stand back up.

As it turns out, a zen goddess is only a goddess as long as she remains cross-legged on the floor. Upon trying to reengage my muscles to do the incredibly complicated task of standing, I realized I had a serious problem: Jelly legs.

I wobbled and quivered all over the apartment for the rest of the evening, dreading what kind of pain I would experience the next day. I wobbled to the dinner table, shook it to the shower, and quaked into my pj's for bed.

The next morning I woke up sore. Not horribly sore, but sore. Not too shabby. Maybe my worry was for nothing, I thought.

The day after THAT? A whole 'nother story. I hadn't experienced workout pain like that in ages. You know how they say that the tiny muscle fibers tear a little, then repair themselves in such a way that make them stronger? I think I felt each individual tear (as in rip). Which made me want to spill tears (as is "Waaahhh!").

Going downstairs to my car? Painful. Climbing into my car? Ow! Trying to get back out of my car at work? OOF. And y'all know what I mean when I say going to the bathroom was an activity of agony. There was no hovering. Not a chance.

What is the moral of this tale? It's easier to quit a good habit than to start it. Don't trust that soothing piano music means it's an easy workout. Most importantly: look out for the pigtailed, pregnant pilates lady. She don't play.

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