While I was in the middle of my clomiphene citrate treatment, resulting in some unsightly and unwanted weight gain, I decided to finally get back into a regular exercise routine – partially to help prevent more weight gain, partially to help me get my sanity back. Exercise has long helped me alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as help cure the occasional bout of insomnia. During treatment, I would spend the two weeks after ovulation petrified of doing any exercise, thinking I might “shake things loose” or that I might rupture an over-stimulating ovary (as a result of the clomiphene). After all, experts like Dr. Alice Domar suggest taking a whole three months off of exercise just to rule it out as a factor in your infertility. Unless you’re training for a marathon I really don’t think that’s practical advice; did she ever bloat up to the point that even your “fat” pants become uncomfortable? Right.
That’s where I started to put together my own plan that I thought might help kill two birds with one stone: integrate more body-mind awareness practices as well as take some time to fight flab. This included making more of an effort to relax through meditation, both using podcasts at night and making the time at work to join in a weekly 20-minute meditation group. I mixed this with a monthly exercise plan broken into two parts, and it seemed to satisfy both my need for vigorous exercise and my desire to keep my activity light during the critical days.
I should note that I am not an expert in health and fitness, and I have no training in this area whatsoever. If you are TTC and want to put together an exercise plan, you should probably discuss your own limitations with your doctor. And always do what’s right for you, so tweak it as needed.
My plan was extremely simple: 2 weeks of vigorous exercise, starting day 1 of my cycle (first day of menstruation) and lasting through about the time for ovulation; at that point, I would switch to yoga for two weeks, until the start of my next cycle. With this routine I didn’t feel guilty for not exercising and I didn’t feel guilty for exercising.
I really like challenging workouts, so during my 2-week vigorous time I would do circuit training like with Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred (or, really, any of her other videos), or jogging. For the 2-week restful-exercise time, I would do power yoga or pilates. I like JM’s Yoga Meltdown video, as well as the MTV Pilates, Pilates Mix, and Power Yoga videos. I exercised about every other day, or however my schedule allowed for it. I was doing yoga so much more than I had ever done that I would get excited for sun salutations, waiting to slide into upward dog – a pose I never had much respect for until I became strong and flexible enough to do it correctly and feel an awesome stretch in both my back and my core. It’s as comforting to me as chocolate… but I’ll save the “yogasm” talk for another post. 😉