I went back to CrossFit for the first time a week after Alexander was born. Seriously… how awesome is that? I was absolutely ecstatic that my body had recovered so quickly — and was also pretty pleased with myself for managing to get out of the house alone :).
I continued to go to the gym while J was off work (for two weeks after the birth), and then again a couple of weeks later, when my parents came to visit us.
Then my parents left. And J was working all sorts of late nights and long weekends. And although Oliver was still going to daycare twice a week, there was the issue of what to do with the baby.
Hiring a babysitter was never an option, given that sitters in downtown Vancouver charge an average rate of $15 per hour. Evening workouts are impossible, as I can’t count on J’s work schedule allowing him to be home in time for me to make the (final) 7:00 PM class. And even if I could, it would be unfair to ask him to take care of supper and two children’s bedtime routines on his own after a long day of work.
So that leaves mornings.
Except I despise mornings. I am a night owl through and through, and I have been for as long as I can remember — even as a child. I have an overwhelming compulsion to stay up late doing something… anything; a compulsion that transcends all logic and all forethought. In other words, even if I know I have to wake up early, or that I have a busy day ahead, I can’t seem to get myself organized and/or wound down enough to go to sleep at a reasonable hour. A dear friend of mine once cleverly pointed out that it’s as if I have two distinct personalities — Night Carli and Morning Carli — and each is entirely incapable of empathizing with the other.
I am extremely fortunate that both boys will sleep until at least 8:15 AM, which allows me to attend either the 6:00 AM or 7:00 AM class and be home in time for Alexander’s first feed and J’s departure for work. But making the 7:00 AM class entails waking at 6:25, which is not a particularly easy feat when you’re in the habit of going to bed at 2:00 AM.
I had put my gym membership on hold back in December (when I injured my rib), and was paying for drop-ins until such time as I could commit to more regular attendance. I had six weeks remaining on my annual CrossFit membership, so I reactivated it on June 1st, with grand visions of working out three mornings per week.
I managed to make it to the gym precisely twice before my membership ran out. For the sake of self-reproach, I’m shamefully admitting publicly that this worked out to about $120 per class .
Now I had a dilemma: my membership was up for renewal, but with such an abysmal attendance record, I simply could not justify spending the amount of money necessary to commit to another year. Alas, I signed myself up for one very expensive single month membership and got put on my gym’s remedial attendance program (it has some other catchy name, but let’s just call it what it is). I was required to commit to 12 classes (three per week) that I would attend over the course of the month. If I no-showed, I would get fined — $5 for the first transgression, $10 for the second, $15 for the third, and so on.
It kind of worked. The trouble was, I could cancel or reschedule my reservation online, without penalty, as long as it was more than an hour before the start of the class. This certainly prevented me from turning off my alarm and going back to sleep in the mornings, but if I stayed up too late or woke in the middle of the night, I could cancel. I made it to six classes in four weeks which I suppose is an improvement over two classes in six weeks. I only achieved my three class per week target on the final week, after having skipped the gym entirely on the third week. I’m now signed up for a second month, vowing to do better.
Truth be told, there is a small part of me that just wants to be relieved of this “burden” — to let my membership lapse and not pressure myself to get up early. I feel stressed on the nights before I’m supposed to go to the gym, because I know how badly Morning Carli is going to be cursing Night Carli; yet I still can’t seem to get myself into bed at a reasonable hour. I know that an early morning workout on an empty stomach and a few hours of sleep is really going to suck. And that I will feel exhausted and achy and short-tempered for the rest of the day. It also doesn’t help that after seven months of sporadic attendance, my performance has suffered greatly. I’ve lost all of the strength gains I made while I was pregnant. I feel like I am starting from scratch again.
When my alarm goes off in the morning, I try to find excuses not to go. I’m feeling kind of funny — maybe I’m coming down with something? Did I just hear the baby stir? What if he wakes up after I leave and he needs to be fed?
Then, I secretly hope that my car won’t start, or that I won’t be able to find parking near the gym (not highly likely at 7:00 AM 🙂 ) and will have to go back home and crawl back into bed.
But then there is the other part of me that knows how much better I feel when I am fit and active, and more importantly, when I am actually doing something that is just for me. And as vain as it sounds, having a “gym body” makes me feel good about myself. I know that if I can persist with these mornings and develop some sort of consistency, I will start to look, feel and perform better.
And then there are the nights before my rest days, when I know I don’t have to get up early. I feel relaxed and happy, with no stress or guilt about staying up late. And an evil little voice inside my head says, “I could feel like this every night if I just gave this whole gym thing up.”
It’s all a little bit ridiculous, isn’t it? I should just go to bed early and stop creating reasons to stay up late. I should just turn off my brain in the morning and go to the gym without looking for excuses not to. All I need to do is get into a consistent routine for a few weeks, and it should all become second nature.
In the meantime, something desperately needs to change, but given the time I’m publishing this post, that change obviously isn’t starting tonight :).