Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Parenting vs Coaching

As a coach I carefully watch each athlete's movements. I keep detailed records of each one of my athletes. I can tell you that athlete R has a goofy elbow, athlete M has horrible shin splints when she runs, and athlete C is never fully confident that she is going to get the lift, even when the lift is over. I can tell you which days in the last year (that they have been training with me) that the athlete was sick and what they were sick with. I can tell you when their anniversary is, and what their favorite pass times are. 

A good coach knows more about their athletes than just their numbers. 
A good coach knows their lives, their stories, their dreams. 

Parenting is no different. 

The definition of a coach is someone who instructs or trains a performer or team. The definition of a parent is to raisebring up, look after, take care of. Being a coach and being a parent really aren't that different, and yet I struggle more with one than I do with the other.

People ask me often if it is hard to run a garage gym ministry and have two children under the age of two. I will be honest, there are days where it is very challenging. The selfish side of me would love to get through coaching all of my classes without my son interrupting. I would love to get through my own personal training without having to stop to nurse the 4 month old. But that is just my selfish sin nature talking.

When an athlete comes in my gym I ask them how they are feeling, if anything hurts. I ask them about their weekend. I listen to their marriage struggles, personal difficulties, and parenting challenges. 

Do I offer the same dedication to my children? 

Today I was convicted about exactly that. I was trying to coach my beginner athlete class. It is loud, hot, and I am tired from being up with the 4 month old in the middle of the night.   

As I was rubbing my pounding head, my not quite two year old went outside the garage and picked up a handful of crepe myrtle flowers from the ground and brought them to me. Instead of graciously accepting his precious gift, I barked at him to get out of the gym. Seeing his little face fall, as he is still trying to give me his flowers, my heart broke. God spoke to my heart through the big blue eyes of my oldest son. Today God reminded me that my job is to care for, teach, and minister to my family first. I need to remember my calling from God, and not worry about what other people will think. I can't make an idol of coaching exactly the way we would in the classes where there are no children. 

That just isn't reality.  

I had a very wise friend remind me recently that God has given me these precious little boys for a short time, and that time is flying by. 
Lets do a little math right quick:
There are roughly 52 Saturdays in a  calendar year. 
That means that we have roughly 936 Saturdays from the time your child is born until your child leaves for college. 
William is 20 months old. 
We have used up 87 Saturdays of his life already. 
We only have 849 Saturdays left with him. 

That is it.

So now my focus is going to change a bit. 

Don't worry, I will still correct form, I will still be an aggressive coach for my athletes, but secondary to being a godly parent for my sons.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

C-Section Saturday: 12 Weeks Post-Op

As I have mentioned before I will be using Saturdays to discuss, teach, and learn about C-Section recovery for athletes. Be prepared, some of the information that we discuss will be graphic, but I assure you that I will do my best to cover each topic with the grace of the true southern lady that I am. With that being said lets jump in! 

This post is going to cover weeks 9-12 of my recovery. This last month I have learned a lot about taking care of myself and my family while I'm trying to train. Here are a few of the things that I have learned.

It is July here in North Carolina and it is HOT. The heat index for today is 105. Let me tell you, I feel it.  

I am also relearning how to train through menstrual pain. Having our boys so close together, I didn't have a period between Having William and getting pregnant with Henry. That means that I haven't had to deal with this issue since December of 2013! I had forgotten what it can be like. 

Training when you have a 3 month old isn't easy. In fact it takes everything that I have to get up each day and make it happen, especially on nights when Henry doesn't sleep through the night. 

But, if I don't do it now I will spend years of my life hating my body. 

So for me it really is a question of how badly do I want it? Do I want it badly enough to train when it isn't easy?

Yesterday for example I did my standard strength training and the conditioning workout Rachel, which is: 
6 RFT (Rounds For Time). 
15 KBS (Kettlebell swings) 
1 loop run 

I swung a 25 pound kettlebell American (meaning overhead) 90 times and ran the loop 6 times despite the fact that I was up every hour and half with my son the night before. 

I won't lie to you, it was hard. 

It was ugly. 

I did it in 8 minutes and 25 seconds. Next time that I do it (which will be in about 6 weeks) I want to have it down to 8 mins flat. That is how you train with a 3 month old. You accept that there will be things that you cannot change, like Henry waking up a bunch. What I can control is my willingness to suck it up and train hard anyway. 

So here is the scary part. From here on out I will post up pictures of my physical progress once a month. Part of this is accountability and part of it is to help other C-section moms see what normal looks like. Twelve weeks post C-section, this is what I looked like: 

Weight- 194.3 lbs
Body Fat Percentage- 42.77%
Waist (narrowest point)- 38 inches
Navel- 38 inches
Hips- 45.5 inches
Thigh- 26 inches
Neck- 15 inches
Bicep- 12.75 inches
Forearm- 11 inches
Wrist- 7 inches

I will admit that seeing this is hard for me. But I don't have to stay here. Yes I had major abdominal surgery so I need to train smart and safe You can read the training plan that I am following here.
The real question isn't if I can do it, it is how badly do I want it?

Psalm 139;19 says that "God knit me together in my mother's womb". Isn't it amazing to be a part of the miracle of birth? Isn't it amazing what God made our bodies to do? Your body will look different. Your body will feel different. But your body is incredible and don't you let anyone tell you otherwise.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

C-Section Saturday: 9 Pounds & 6 Inches

As I have mentioned before I will be using Saturdays to discuss, teach, and learn about C-Section recovery for athletes. Be prepared, some of the information that we discuss will be graphic, but I assure you that I will do my best to cover each topic with the grace of the true southern lady that I am. With that being said lets jump in! 

Can I tell you something that drive me crazy? When people say that they can't afford to get fit. I hear it a lot especially from moms. People have bought in to this idea that you have to have powders, special containers, and pills to get fit. 

That simply isn't true. 

Fitness isn't built on what the magazines and social media tries to tell us. Think about it for a second. How many people do you know selling "health and fitness" stuff. It comes in the form of powders, pills, and "coaching" from people that have ZERO qualifications. They post up pictures of themselves after however many weeks claiming that their powders, pills, and potions made the difference. 

Let me tell you a little secret... 

You don't need it. 

In the last four weeks I lost 9 pounds and 6 inches of fat. 
Guess how many powders I drank? 
 Guess how many pills I took? 

You know what I did? 
I worked out consistently, every single day. 
I ate REAL food, every single meal.
That is it. 
This is where people will say, "Cooking healthy is too hard and I can't afford a gym membership". 
Let me help you with that:

Here is a link to our at home workouts
These require a jump rope as your only piece of equipment. 
Don't have a real jump rope? use a piece of rope. 
Do two workouts a day four days a week. 

Don't like those workouts? Here is a running plan designed for de-conditioned athletes
I started this program 6 weeks after major abdominal surgery. If I can do it, you can do it. 

Nutrition doesn't have to be complicated. Here is my list of 14 healthy crock pot freezer meals. When I  purchased everything on the shopping list it came out to $171.83 for 14 dinners. There were leftovers for all of them so that comes out to 28 meals for 171.83. That comes out to $6.13 per meal for both my husband and me. 

Finally, don't wait. Don't stall. 
If you want to get fit, do it. 
You don't get a restart on this life. 
You will never be younger than you are now. 
Get up, get moving. 
You can do this. 

C-Section Saturday: 7 Reasons to avoid a C-Section

As I have mentioned before I will be using Saturdays to discuss, teach, and learn about C-Section recovery for athletes. Be prepared, some of the information that we discuss will be graphic, but I assure you that I will do my best to cover each topic with the grace of the true southern lady that I am. With that being said lets jump in! 

Recently I wrote a post in which I said that I would strongly counsel any woman against a C-section. I experienced a lot of backlash about that post, and I would like to set the record straight. Make no mistake, while I encourage women to recover from their C-sections, I do not encourage women to have C-sections at all. There are several reasons for that, and I'll get to those in a minute but first, have you ever seen a C-section? Go ahead and take a look at this one.

 I'll wait. 

Ok, now that you have that lovely little gem in your mind, realize that was just a short clip. The real deal is not nearly as simple as they make it look on television. 

In the United States of America, the C-section rate is up to 33%. They are having their abdomen cut open, in order to bring a child in to this world. Think about that for just a second. 33% of all women giving birth in the USA are doing so via C-section.  If 33% are doing it, why then do I counsel against it? Here are my 7 Reasons to avoid a C-Section

  • A C-Section is a major abdominal surgery. It therefore comes with all the risks of major surgery.   
  • The recovery is months to years (depending on how yours went) despite what doctors may tell you. You just put your body through an incredible marathon event (pregnancy) that requires recovery and now you have to recover from major surgery as well.
  • That awful pulling you feel on one side of your incision,.. yeah that doesn't ever go away. In fact, you can expect to feel that for the rest of your life. 
  • Oh and on the other side you might be like me and experience complete numbness. No feeling, at all. 
  • Breastfeeding an infant (especially a larger one!) when your abdomen is cut open is incredibly painful. Many C-section mothers find themselves unable to continue nursing due to the amount of pain it places on their abdomens.
  • Despite the work of birth rights activists across the country, the old adage of "once a C-section, always a C-section" is still very true. Just because a VBAC is listed as a service at a hospital doesn't mean that it is encouraged or even really offered to expecting mothers.
  • If you notice that baby was puled away from mama just as soon as it was out. That is common practice with C-sections in the United States. I was not able to see either of my boys after they were born until I was moved in to recovery. It doesn't exactly allow for mother and child bonding. 

In conclusion, I am grateful that C-sections exist or my sons and I might not. They are a wonderful tool to save the lives of women and children in danger. However, the use of C-sections to avoid labor pains or to prevent "vaginal stretching" is a gross misuse of modern medicine. Before you allow doctors to talk you in to an elective C-section because it will be easier, please carefully do your own research to determine if that is the right choice for you. If I could go back in time and somehow magically be able to give birth naturally (and safely) to my boys, and avoid the horrific scars and lengthy recovery time, I would.