Thursday, October 29, 2015

Belly Up To The Bar(re)

I feel like I've done a lot of writing about what I can't do anymore (run, sleep on my stomach, tie my shoes, go more than an hour without having to pee).  So, I thought it might be time to tell you what I am still doing. Namely, The Bar Method. I'm down to the teens in days left of this pregnancy, but that hasn't stopped me from, literally, bellying up to the bar(re). I have been consistently hitting up Bar Method classes throughout the last 37+ weeks and I do believe it has made a difference in not only how I look, but more importantly, how I feel while I'm pregnant. 
A few things I have found doing Bar Method pregnant:
1.  They have specific modifications you must do either as soon as you are pregnant (ie: no splits) or when you hit 20 weeks.  I absolutely love this about The Bar Method.  Knowing that they have researched, reviewed, and vetted exercises as safe specifically for pregnancy gives me an ease of mind that I can't find in other classes.  Often times in group classes the mentality is, "do what you can do."  And it's up to you to modify the moves as you see fit.  Let's be honest, very few of us know the anatomy behind each exercise, let alone the impact of pregnancy on your body as it relates to the anatomy of those exercises.  For example, I certainly wouldn't have known to avoid spinal twisting when pregnant.  I also wouldn't have thought twice about sliding into the splits pregnant.  Luckily, The Bar Method has taken the guess-work (and therefore, the potential for injury) out of exercising while pregnant.  If you want more information on how to modify during class, here is a great link:
2. It doesn't hurt....well, any more than it usually hurts.  I have no "extra" pain doing The Bar Method due to pregnancy.  I shake and sweat just like always, but there's no added pain that comes along with class.  I haven't found this to be the case with other activities.  I've found running/walking/anything with impact to be pretty painful to my pelvis and low back, which means I've either had to stop doing those activities or modify them so much that I'm not really sure I'm getting any benefit from them.  It's so nice to do something where I can still "go all out," even with my tummy sticking all out.
3.  You can do all class levels.  You don't have to stick to the basics when Bar Methoding pregnant.  You can challenge yourself as much as you'd like.  Because you will modify any moves that aren't safe for you while pregnant, you can take any class you'd like.  I actually started taking the new Bar Move classes when I was significantly pregnant and I absolutely love them.  Side note: If you have not tried a Bar Move class at Bar Method, YOU MUST!  It's a great class that will get your heart pounding and your legs shaking.  Trust me on this, once you've taken enough entry level classes to be familiar with all of the moves and set-ups, you should get into a Move class.  I've even dared a few level 2 classes while pregnant.  Let's face it, just because you're carrying another person around in your belly doesn't mean you don't sometimes want a good challenge.
4.  Sorry cardio-queens (myself included), working your muscles is the best preparation for actual birth.  During my very first pregnancy appointment with my doctor, I remember her asking about my workout habits.  I told her that I was a runner and that I did Bar Method.  After describing Bar Method moves to her, she got wide-eyed and said, "you should keep that up as long as possible.  It sounds like it really works your core and you're going to need that for birth."  Her face and her words pop into my head every time we move into flat back during class.  No matter how hard it is to engage my abs (or lack of abs) and lift my feet, I just start thinking about birth and up they go.  Look, it's my first kid, and I wont lie, birth is a terrifying prospect.  If a few minutes of hard ab work during class is going to make it easier for me, I'm all over it.
5. The other Bar ladies!  Nothing makes you feel better than sweating and shaking with a group a super awesome ladies.  And, I cannot tell you how supportive all of the ladies have been of me during this pregnancy.  Not a class goes by without at least one person asking how I'm doing and cheering me on.  The Bar Method community is seriously one awesome group of girls.

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