VIRTUAL (IN)SANITY

One of my favorite songs ever: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JkIs37a2JE . Play it while reading this for added awesomeness…

 

Before my mastectomy, I was an avid breastfeeder. I honestly haven’t had a good night’s sleep since 2002.

 

When my three children were in their infant and toddler stages, I woke up every few hours during the night, picked up the baby, walked over to my green rocking chair, turned on the television, and settled in for a 30 minute session. Rinse. Repeat.

 

There are lots of great reasons to breastfeed, and one of them is financial. In the baby products aisle at the grocery store, I shuddered whenever I saw the cost of formula, knowing that not everyone had the ability to (or interest in) breast feed.

 

While using my own body to provide nourishment was cost effective, I became trapped in the world of 3:00am infomercials. I spent far too much money on Pilates DVDs, juicers, silly blankets with arm holes cut out, and Tae Bo. As the years went by, I built a collection of other exercise DVDs — all of which are, well, wait, where the hell ARE those DVDs?

 

In between the buying sprees of miracle cures, holistic medicinal claims, and promises of rock hard abs in 20 minutes a day, I simply became disappointed, discouraged, and overwhelmed with my roles as a mom, as a full time employee, as a wife, sister/daughter/friend. In the recent years, I had my child’s cancer treatments and appointments, my own pre-cancer journey, and then an added doctoral program.

 

Along with the responsibilities came the stress, the pounds and the blow to my self-esteem.

 

At different points, I joined a gym, a cancer survivor workout group, and, yes, even bought another DVD (again, where the hell is that DVD set??). And, each time, a new excuse came up.

 

With limited time and a tightening budget, I no longer had the means to work out. I loved going to the gym because it meant connecting with other people, pushing each other to do more in class, and then laugh at ourselves as we mopped up puddles of sweat. But, if I went to the gym, I had to find and pay a babysitter. If I wanted to go running, I couldn’t just leave my sleeping kids at home. Weekends? Well, I’d spend those weekends doing all the errands I couldn’t get to during the week.

 

If only I could find a way to exercise in my own home, still meet new people, take a live class, and be held accountable for doing it…..

 

That’s when I discovered VirtualFIT (or rather, when two friends lovingly made me sign up).

 

VirtualFIT has been amazing. Essentially, about 5 minutes before class, I log into Skype, tilt my screen, and engage in the online chat of people “coming to class.” I’m discovering that my classmates are from all over the country, and recently all over the world. In those 5 minutes, people are typing in their “hellos”, their complaints of the day, how tired they feel, and apologizing for the chaos that is happening in their homes. There is informal banter (“Hey, Laura! Are you okay in Colorado? Is there flooding where you are?”/ “Hi Kirsten, how is that conference planning coming along?”/”MC, how was the trip to the emergency room?”) before anything even gets started.

 

At class time, the instructor initiates the group Skype call. One by one, people become “live” on the screen and class begins.

 

It’s 6:15am, and from the comfort of my living room, I’m doing Mat Pilates, Ballet Barre, Zumba, Yoga, and Cardio Bootcamp. I only use the length of my exercise mat to move around in my tiny space. Sometime during the workout (usually about 5 minutes in!), my two younger kids eventually wander into the living room, crawl on my back as I hold back tears from my plank position, and happily disrupt my workout. Already drenched in sweat during the warm ups, my son reaches out his arms, yells “Up, Mom! Uppie!” until I lift him up, adding 32 lbs to my high knees, standing side leg lifts, and squats.

 

At different times, I have to step away from the screen to open up a cup of yogurt, to break up an argument between two grumpy kids, or to let the dog out for a pee break.

 

My virtual workout buddies doing our planks!

My virtual workout buddies doing our planks!

By 7:00am, the workout is over. I wave goodbye to my Skype classmates, spend a few minutes in the chat room thanking the instructor, wondering how my legs and abs will recover, and log off.

 

And my day begins without missing a beat.

 

Screen closed.

 

I wake up my older child who asks for “five more minutes” of sleep. Prepare breakfast for the two little ones. Wipe the now dripping sweat off of my forehead. And go on with my day.

 

No babysitter. No commuting.

 

I am home.

 

Through VirtualFIT, I get a workout in, meet amazing people, and my kids still get a mom who is home for them in the mornings and evenings.

 

But, most of all, they get to see me working out. I am no longer gone for an hour on a run, unseen to them. No longer at a gym while they get tucked into bed by a babysitter. They get to see me. Physical. Helpful. Here. They see me using my body — a body that is genetically prone to work against me — and being healthy. And, they get to be a part of it, too.

 

Discovering VirtualFIT was a gift. Because I’m preparing for my oopherectomy these next few months, it’s so important for me to be physical, healthy, and to give my body the best chance it can at recovery. Thankfully, I’ve found the best of all that I’ve needed right from my living room.

 

Interested in checking out VirtualFIT? Visit the website, surf around, and then tell me what you think!

 

Peace, love, and creating a new virtual (in)sanity,

Liza

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4 Responses to VIRTUAL (IN)SANITY

  1. Mari-Chris says:

    Liza, you always manage to articulate things perfectly. All of the reasons that I love this in one neat package. I especially love the concept of working out in front of (on top of, underneath, with) my kids. And they see my laughing with you all after a really hard sweat session. Being healthy and taking care of our bodies is just what we do. Like sleeping or breathing or brushing our teeth. I’m so glad you’ve joined us and I’m even more glad that you love it. It’s a pretty special and amazing concept. Gina’s gift to us!

  2. You captured the virtualFIT program perfectly! So happy to have you in our community Liza! Thank you so much for writing about DanceFIT and your recent experience. Hugs!

  3. Cameron Von St James says:

    Hey I have a quick question about your blog, could you email me when you have a chance? Thanks! -Cam

  4. Kait says:

    1) That song is awesome!
    2) I love the idea of VirtualFit! Thanks for sharing.

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