Great Expectations

Posted: May 18, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Do you ever go to the gym or head out for a run with this wonderful vision of your workout in your mind? That is how I was feeling this morning. I am still at the stage just before all the morning sickness and extreme fatigue of the first trimester hit, so I have been wanting to keep up with my normal workouts. My daily dose of exercise is a big stress reliever (we all know I can use that) and I look forward to it almost every day. Today was no different. I was ready to go to the gym for my one longer session of the week. I had Power class + Kick class on the schedule.

power logo Kick399_2c

I want to preface by saying that I have been doing one day of back to back classes a week with no difficulty. I make ample modifications to keep things at a lower intensity during Kick and I have not been using weights that leave me feeling fatigued at the end of a track. My workout setup has generally left me feeling strong, still fit, and energized which is why I have stuck with it for almost 6 months now and didn’t feel the need to change it up yet at this (very early) stage in my  pregnancy. So when I went to the gym I had great expectations of going in, getting a fabulous workout, and leaving with more energy, some extra confidence from taking care of myself, and feeling good from exercise. That did not quite happen.

During Power I started feeling fatigued a lot easier than normal during the tracks for the larger muscle groups (legs, chest, and back). I already decreased my squat track weight by 5 lbs to be sure I wasn’t pushing myself and even after doing that I still felt like I was getting more of a workout than normal. I was exhausted after it and it was the first working track. The remainder of the workout I kept at my normal weight range, which is still lower than I could lift, but was struggling to push through some of the final sets. I was telling myself it was just a bit of an off day and I was fine.

Then came Kick. I planned on keeping things low impact and lower intensity as usual and it started off feeling really great. Then about halfway through I hit a wall. My energy went caput and I was a shuffling, punching, and kicking zombie. But I “can’t” walk out of a workout! So I convinced myself that taking the intensity down even more by lowering my kicks, not punching as hard, and not shuffling or doing my knees as big would suffice. I felt better for the remainder of the class, but when I walked out I did not feel great. I felt a little queasy and I knew I took it too far. I’m a huge advocate for listening to your body, but even I make mistakes and choose to ignore it at times. That’s exactly what it was too…a mistake.

ignore [Source]

I needed to recognize that, as honorable as it is to go to the gym with some great expectations, it is more important to adjust for my reality as well. But how do we know when we need to make those adjustments? We are taught it is a good thing to push towards goals and to reach for the stars when making them. We are told that our bodies are capable of handling of more than we think. While I agree with those statements, they won’t apply 100% of the time. We have to be mindful and respectful of our bodies, no matter how much we believe we can handle. The next time you are facing some questions in your workout and your ability to push through try to consider the following:

  • Differentiate between physical and mental fatigue. I believe there is a difference in physical and mental exhaustion. When you are worn out from a stressful day and feel like if you thought about anything more important than the color of Jude Law’s eyes, it is likely that physical activity would help you feel better. On the flip side, if you feel an ache down in your bones and like you could fall into bed already asleep, it might be more beneficial to your body to allow it some rest.


[Source 1, Source 2]

  • Pay attention to aches and pains. If you are experiencing any sort of pain from attempting to push through fatigue and achieve your goals…stop. Plain and simple. There is no need to risk injury that could take you out of the game for days, weeks, or longer for the sake of accomplishing one workout. Any sort of nausea or light-headedness can apply here as well.
  • Severe frustration. If your workout is making you angry because it wasn’t what you expected, it is probably due to your plan being unrealistic. Let’s say for example you started a 6 mile run with a 8:30 min/mile pace in mind. Your body might be fighting that not matter how hard you are pushing it. Consider adjusting your goal for that workout and trying to adapt later. This can also happen when you try to make too much progress in a workout too soon. Trying to increase the amount of weight you lift, the mileage you run, or the time you spend on the stepmill by a substantial difference isn’t going to work out in your best interest.


  • Determine cause and effect. If a workout feels more difficult than you expected take a moment to consider why. Did you not sleep well the night before? Have you recently overcome an illness? Are you facing something emotionally or mentally challenging at the moment? Have you taken adequate rest recently from workouts? Were you exceptionally active earlier in the week so you don’t have as much energy right now? Did you eat enough food throughout the day? There are so many things that can impact a workout. If you realize something could be impacting the workout negatively, don’t let it bother you. Just use the information to better prepare yourself in the future.

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15 Comments to “Great Expectations”
  1. Of course I am not prego, but I just wrote about how crazy it is that somedays you have KILLER workouts and boom – the next day stinks. I honestly cannot find the correlation for me! I do try to pay attention so on days when I’m not feeling so hot, I don’t take it too far.

  2. We all make mistakes even when we typically know better. Sorry it wasn’t a good workout day for you. I’ve found that when I hit the severe frustration point, I’m edging on overtraining rather than unrealistic goals – but that’s definitely me, completely personal. We need to combine our overtraining posts and plaster them on our walls!!

  3. Jennifer says:

    As always, your post is just what I needed to read.

    As you may recall, I got my first PPAF on the first day of your last period. Well, I never ovulated, and was despairing majorly, worrying that I had somehow thrown the food/exercise balance out of balance again. I even went to my fertility doctor to discuss my concerns (I actually have an ultrasound today, just to check on everything…I’ll keep you posted).

    Anyway, come CD 31, I finally ovulated. Here I am, 8 DPO, and absolutely convinced that I’m pregnant. (The early pregnancy tests say otherwise at the moment).

    Why do I think so? Well, when I was pregnant with Addison, my usual fairly-intense-but-not-too-intense workout had me gasping for air, sweating, and shaking at 7 DPO. I had to sit out of class for ten minutes, which I’d never had to do before. Four days later, I had a positive pregnancy test.

    Here I am this time around, having felt almost that bad during every workout since last Thursday. Either I’m sick for some inexplicable reason, or I’m pregnant (due on January 31….what’s your due date?).

    Moral of the story? Our bodies are smarter than our minds. TRUST YOUR BODY. LISTEN TO IT.


  4. Great post, girl!! You’re smart to do that – i’ve had a hard time in the past differentiating between “powering through” and “overdoing it to the point of being sick.” I’m all for pushing myself, but when something just isn’t right I’ve gotten better at stopping no matter what.

  5. lisaou11 says:

    I’ve had a moment lately where I havent been listening. My chest has been hurting, but Ive still been lifting. So, this week, I finally listed and have stopped lifting upper body. hopefully that helps!

  6. homecookedem says:

    Yes, I have most definitely started listening to my body in recent years. I used to make myself run certain miles, certain hills and sometimes my body would be SCREAMING at me to slow it down or even walk a little, but I refused to listen. I’m so glad I’m finally at the point where I know it’s OK to bring it down a notch if I need to.

  7. jsutera654 says:

    Gotta say – Power and then Kick is a TOUGH combo any day of the week, let alone on a day when you are also pregnant! So on the one hand, I give you MAJOR credit for rocking it out today despite the fatique, but on the OTHER hand, I agree that you probably should’ve listened to your body and done the unthinkable – left the class early (I cringe just thinking about it because I know it would be super hard to do!). But the good part in all of this is your recognize it for the next time around, right? Nobody is perfect, though we all give it our best fighting shot at perfection, now don’t we?

  8. janetha says:

    this post was made for me right now! funny how that works. thanks tina!

  9. Excellent post, Tina. I’m so glad you shared this because I think it’s something we can all relate to at one time or another. No two workouts are ever the same, even though sometimes I wish they were. It’s amazing how in tune you are with yourself, and even if you don’t always heed your body’s call, you get that it’s the most important thing. I learned from this and I think the tips are crucial. A few years ago I was running a lot and developed sciatica in my back. I just didn’t listen when my body wanted to stop. Dumb dumb dumb.

  10. inmytummy says:

    Sometimes it’s very hard to differentiate whether or not you actually don’t feel well (or are tired, injured etc) and if you are just not feeling the work out. I have a hard time with it.

  11. This is great info..pregnant or not! I always wonder how my workouts will change once I become pregnant someday! I appreciate hearing your journey 🙂

  12. the beauty of preg #2 is that you know this:
    “I am still at the stage just before all the morning sickness and extreme fatigue of the first trimester hit,”

    OMG i was sick, i do mean extremely!! sick from weeks 6 thru about 25-30. I dont even want to tell you how bad it was, it was extreme. Here’s to you for even going! to workout. I walked. Around the block. That was what I did for many months. And would stop in the bushes to be sick. It was horrible. Girl, I hope you have 0 sickness whatsoever with #2!!!

  13. I always tell myself to listen to my body, and honor when it’s tired, but sometimes I still have trouble with this. Like you, sometimes I’m halfway through a workout when I think, “errrr, I totally should have taken the day off. It would have done my body good.” But I AM getting better with knowing my sleep pattern, and that for me is a lot of it. If I get 6 hours of sleep one night, I’ll probably be okay the next day. But the very next night, I HAVE to get caught up on sleep! I think it’s important, like you said, to determine the cause. I always assume it’s lack of sleep when I’m exhausted, but sometimes stress can have the same effect on me!

  14. This rings so true in my life. there are days when things go as planned and days when they don’t. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who gets frustrated when they don’t go as well as I’d like

  15. katie says:

    I have taken workouts too far before, and even ‘ignored’ my body many times…I think we can become ‘good’ at doing this, especially when we are doing things like weights that burn, etc. because we are teaching ourselves to ‘push’ through the uncomfortable feeling! But like you said, we must listen to our bodies when they are fatigued! Our bodies are the greatest tools we have, so I…Like you…am trying to listen more and more each day! 🙂

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