HOW TO KICKSTART YOUR FITNESS AFTER PREGNANCY
Even though I worked out throughout my entire pregnancy, I still managed to gain over 45 pounds.
Each trip to the doctor’s office was like a MIND GAME I had to play with myself because for years I battled breaking up with the scale. And all of a sudden I was required to get back on the scale every other week… and the weight was going UP!
I was doing everything in my power to remain fit during pregnancy, but the negative thoughts still crept into my mind from time to time. I knew that the only way I could fight through the bad thoughts and stay POSITIVE was to have a plan, so I quickly got to WORK!
I remember being 6 months pregnant, sitting at the dining room table with pen and paper writing my EXACT PLAN OF ATTACK for how I was going to get my fit bod back as a new mom!
That plan was perfectly crafted! All the t’s were crossed and i’s were dotted. I knew EXACTLY what I was going to do every single day. Yet, I was under the great delusion…
I honestly believed everything was going to go PERFECTLY AS PLANNED!
The doctor was going to release me at 6 weeks, no restrictions and I would be back to my old self in no time. But as you can expect…
NOTHING went as planned!
Ok, I shouldn’t say “nothing”… but that perfectly-crafted plan and master to-do list were THROWN OUT THE WINDOW. Everything had to be drastically modified, BUT I do believe with every ounce of my being that this experience happened for a reason.
Now I can be here sharing this journey with you… all the ups and downs, the good and frustrations. With this story, I hope to help other mamas out there who are going through the same thing.
BE PATIENT & GIVE GRACE
If there are TWO WORDS you take away from all that I’m about to share, it’s PATIENCE + GRACE.
You have to have PATIENCE with yourself, patience with those around you and patience with the process.
And along with that patience, you have to give yourself GRACE. You just created another LIFE! Let your mind accept that your body had to go through a huge transformation in order to bring your little bundle-of-joy into the world 🤗
So be patient and have grace with yourself. You will have good days, and bad. You will crush some days, and completely drop the ball on others. And that’s A-OK! It’s all apart of the process.
With that covered, let’s get started on 5 of my favorite tips on how to kick start your postpartum fitness journey!
5 AMAZING FITNESS TIPS FOR POSTPARTUM MOMS
1) Start Your Journey Right Away
Now, I’m not telling you to start working out Week 1 of postpartum, but what most people forget is that getting HEALTHY is more than just workouts!
For the beginning of your health and wellness postpartum journey, start by FOCUSING ON THE FOOD! You can literally allow the foods you eat help HEAL YOU from the inside out.
Your First Week of Postpartum
For Week 1, I made the focus just all about just SURVIVAL and ADJUSTMENT.
My mom was at the house to help with everything after giving birth to Camden (You’re the best, Mom!), so she was doing a lot of cooking of meals throughout the day. Also, my husband, Brent, LOVES to grill, so I was having lots of delicious home cooked meals that first week.
Another option that many people experience is friends and family members bringing over food - which is so great and thoughtful!
No matter how the food gets to your home, I suggest just letting yourself enjoy every meal to the fullest during Week 1! By doing this, you can take away all the stress that comes with planning and worrying about a diet and JUST EAT, which allows you to do what any mother wants to do - take care of their child and theirselves.
So again, Week 1, enjoy all the meals and just focus on survival and adjustment to motherhood!
Your Second Week of Postpartum
Now, by Week 2… it’s time to get focused on the food.
From Week 2 through Week 6, which is basically when you have your six-week checkup with the doctor, I solely focused on the types of food I was eating throughout the day.
Not dieting. Not restricting calories - calories are ESPECIALLY important for those new moms who are breastfeeding.
Instead of worrying about counting all those calories and carbs, etc., I did what I tell all my Virtual Gym girls to do…
I started eating planned meals.
What does that mean? It means I planned WHAT I was eating and WHEN I was eating.
No more moments of haphazardly chowing down on whatever was in the house. Random snack attacks were no longer allowed!
To prepare for this planned meal schedule, I sat down for about 15-20 minutes once a week and PLANNED OUT MY WEEK OF EATING.
Now, because I was breastfeeding Camden, I was really freakin’ HUNGRY! My first few weeks of planned meal eating included eating 8 meals a day - it was insane! But also necessary… and DELICIOUS 😋
Although I was eating so many time throughout the day, the important thing was that I wasn’t eating McDonald’s McFlurries or any stuff like that. Instead, I followed the 21 Day Fix – Portion Fix container system.
I upped my calories to ensure I was getting enough of every food group I needed for myself and for breastfeeding. Making sure I ate every food group and making sure I was eating the right portions meant that I needed to do something that is difficult for a lot of new moms - not focus on weight loss.
This was difficult, but in the end it made me feel so much more healthy and energized!
So, the big lesson here is that you don’t have to wait to get released from your doctor to starting working on YOU!
Will it be hard to meal prep with an infant? OF COURSE!
But like I always say, “If there’s a want to, you will always figure out a way how to!”
2) Be Smart About Workouts
All new moms know that the 6-Week Doctor’s Appointment is THE deciding factor!
Please, and I’m begging you… PLEASE… DO NOT jump the gun.
This is coming from a girl who’s FAVORITE HOBBY is working out!
A girl worked out 4-6 days a week, all 40 weeks of my pregnancy. A girl who was literally having withdrawals from not working out!
I totally get it… You want to move! But think back to those two words I asked you to remember…
You must have PATIENCE and give yourself GRACE after giving birth.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to wait until the doc gives you the green light, so be PATIENT. If it’s not right at 6 weeks, then have GRACE with yourself. If the doc tells you that you can start moving, but you gotta take it easy as you get started, then be patient and have grace with yourself to not go all out at the beginning.
We all hope for the best news and a clear bill of health at Week 6. We hope that our pelvic floor isn’t completely destroyed, or that our core isn’t ripped to shreds, and maybe that the C-section heals up perfectly with no issues…
But if it doesn’t always go perfectly as planned, just take a deep breath! Wait until the doctor gives you the go.
3) Set SMART Goals & Create A Plan
Now that you officially have the doctor’s blessing… What do you do? What should your DAY 1 look like?!
I wish I could just take a magic wand and create plan that EVERYONE should use, but that’s just not possible. Every single new mama is unique.
Each of new moms have SOMETHING going on that makes our recovery needs different. Some of us experience Diastasis Recti (raises hand 🙋), where our abdominal muscles separate. Others are recovering from C-sections. Some may have had complications from epidurals.
Because each mom is in their very own unique situation, all I can do is tell you what I personally did, and how I help the moms in my Virtual Gym take their first steps…
But remember - you have to ALWAYS do what’s best for YOU.
Set SMART Goals For Your Postpartum Fitness Journey
First things first, take some time to set some realistic goals for yourself. And not just any ol’ goals, but specific goals that you can track.
These are called SMART Goals! SMART stands for:
S - Small
M - Measurable
A - Achievable
R - Rewarding
T - Time Sensitive
If you’e not familiar with this idea, this previous blog of mine will help you learn more about how to set SMART Goals that are just right for you!
Create A Plan For Your Postpartum Workouts
For me, I had to find a plan that would:
Be really flexible, because I was starting at square one.
Have something that wouldn’t take up too much time, because lets be honest… New mamas don’t have much time to spare.
Allow me to do from home during Camden’s nap time.
My solution… Beachbody On Demand.
With Beachbody On Demand, I literally streamed all my workouts from my laptop!
Another great thing about BOD is that if the laptop was upstairs, but I didn’t feel like going to get it (stairs are the worst 😂) I could just stream the workout from my phone.
BOD was available to me on every single device I owned - It’s like Netflix for workouts.
With over 600 workouts available, every style of exercise and training you can imagine is loaded into the On Demand Portal - even postnatal workouts!
I started the first few days with Autumn Calabrese has a postnatal workout, and then took the leap of faith and began the 21 Day Fix program - with modifications, of course.
The key to creating your postpartum workout is to think OUTSIDE OF THE BOX.
When most people think of working out, they think of going to the gym, or going to a fitness class. For new moms, that’s just not a reality we live in.
So think outside of the box, and turn little spot of your house into your gym!
Don’t use that lame excuse and tell yourself, “I can’t make it to the gym today.” Workout at home! There are so many options for you to kick start your fitness after having a child that you can do on your own time and on your own terms.
4) Always Put Your Safety First
No matter what you start doing, or when you start doing it, always remember to STAY SAFE.
All new moms have to remember that the Relaxin that was in our bodies which helped soften the ligaments and joints to help facilitate our pregnancy doesn’t just vanish after child birth. Relaxin can actually stay in your body for up to 6 months postpartum. So you want to avoid overdoing physical activity!
For those of you new mamas like me who’s core got demolished due to your precious little bundle of joy, there are even MORE safety precautions you have to take.
I remember reading that by having Diastasis Recti, I should avoid planks and crunches, which made me think, “Well, what am I supposed to do to strengthen my core?!”
If I can’t do a plank, that means I shouldn’t do a push-up…
If I can’t do a crunch, that means doing pilates is out of the picture…
I can’t even do a Downdog? Well crap, there goes yoga!
After realizing all of this, it became my mission to become an expert at the Post Baby Belly situation!
It took me doing some SERIOUS research and a lot of sessions with a Physical Therapist to get a deep understanding of what it looks like to rehab your core after pregnancy.
When I said I did a modified version of the 21 Day Fix, I wasn’t playing around. I didn’t use any weights for lower body exercises, such as squats and lunges. For upper-body, I only used weights that were 2-5lbs. I also decreased my range of motion for every movement, and there was absolutely NO high-impact moves in my workouts.
So you’ve gotta play it safe and do what’s right for YOU! Listen to your body, and I’ll say it again… Have patience and grace with yourself throughout the process.
5) Find Your Support System
This is probably the most important thing you need to do for your postpartum fitness journey.
You need to CONNECT yourself with other moms!
The journey of postpartum fitness is full positive and difficult experiences, so you have to find yourself support system who’s going to be there for the good, the bad and the ugly.
By talking to other moms, you’ll find that you aren’t in this alone. And it’s so nice to have a group of women you can turn to who just GET IT.
Speak to other moms are experiencing the seemingly ENDLESS sleepless nights, who are FIGHTING through the excuses to not workout, who are doing EVERYTHING in their power not to cave into the cravings after a long day.
This group isn’t just about you finding help and support, but it’s also about you providing help and support to other moms!
You have to link arms with those who are also going through this journey… and that’s the BEST TIP I CAN GIVE!
If you go at this alone, you will feel ALONE. But, if you do this WITH others, you will feel SUPPORTED, LOVED and INSPIRED!
Your group of new mamas doesn’t have to be a local though. I personally have a VIRTUAL FIT FAMILY of moms who support me day in and day out! Whom I support day in and day out! My group of moms live all over the country, in Canada and even in the U.K. We have linked arms, vowed to be there for each other… And it’s seriously THE BEST!
If you’re in need of support, check out my Facebook Group of awesome moms!
THE WRAP UP
So remember, be PATIENT with yourself through this process and have so much GRACE with yourself as you find what works for you and your little one. I hope these tips and my story are helpful to you as you begin your postpartum fitness journey!
If you’re looking for some guidance or a sense of community, our #TogetherFit Family is always here to provide love and support.
We have a Post Baby Belly 101 Facebook Group that you can join and is 100% free. The group is a place where I share the steps that I took to regain my core strength, and a place for all the moms to provide support and tips of their own!
Whether you are a new mom, or have a little one who’s well into their toddler years, please feel free to get my postpartum fitness plan and join me on this journey! To get access to the group, just click on the image below which will take you directly to my Facebook Group, then click JOIN and I will get you added to the group.
With so much love,