Not sure how to achieve your postpartum fitness and body goals?
What will not work is yo-yo-ing between being 100% dedicated to whichever diet plan for X amount of weeks or months, then going back to relatively crappy eating because you feel deprived. What will not work is telling yourself you’ll work out 5 days per week, feeling discouraged because you only worked out twice, and then doing nothing for weeks/months following. What will not work is beating yourself up for not getting where you want to be fast enough, breaking an unsustainable diet or missing a workout. What will not work is feeling guilty or self-indulgent for wanting to take care of yourself and feel good about your body as a mama, thereby not pursuing your health & fitness goals. What will not work is putting unreasonable pressure on yourself to look a certain way or reach an arbitrary weight.
My secret to “bouncing back” after pregnancy?
CONSISTENCY – working out regularly [including weights], and eating healthily [80% of the time] before, during and after pregnancy.
What has always worked for me, and what I think can work for you too, is devising a reasonable, sustainable workout and nutrition game plan that I feel good about, and being CONSISTENT with that plan.
That will look different for every mama; our metabolisms, backgrounds, goals and levels of fitness are all so different, so I can’t say how long it will take for you to achieve your personal postpartum body/fitness goals. However, I can guarantee you’ll make progress you will feel good about if you find ways to get and stay consistent with workouts and nutrition for the long haul.
For me, in regards to nutrition, I know I’m not able to consistently stick with any particular type of diet [I’ve tried Atkins, super low calorie, Paleo, Zone, etc. over the last 15 years or so] without A) beating myself up for “cheating” and then giving up for the rest of that day or week, or B) getting way too OCD and un-balanced about it. I’m also just not going to cut out wine or my regular cheeseburger or pizza indulgences at this point in my life. For these reasons I choose to eat healthy about 80% of the time, ALL the time. Even on vacation. Even while pregnant. There’s that consistency piece again : )
My formula for exercise has been the same for years: set a minimum amount of workouts I can reasonably get in for the week, then make it happen. If I do more than that, great! If not, I know I’ve taken care of myself and my body at a level I feel good about. I do that week in, and week out, no matter what’s going on in my life: injury, grad school, vacation, pregnancy, etc. I find I’m never so busy that I can’t find time for 3 workouts of some kind weekly – and I believe that will continue to be true even when I go back to work in a few weeks.
I plan to continue sharing how I am finding ways to adapt to my new mama reality and stay consistent with working out and keeping my nutrition on point – especially as I head back to work. If you are on your postpartum fitness journey as well, I hope my sharing will inspire you to find ways to incorporate fitness in a way that feels healthy, balanced AND helps you achieve your personal goals.
After I started this blog post, I went to a Physical Therapist to learn more about this Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction I have going on resulting from delivery. I wanted to understand more about it, and make sure I wasn’t doing anything to impede healing or cause further damage. Although not surprised, I was pretty bummed at what I learned. In a nutshell, if I want my body to heal correctly and resolve as quickly as possible, apparently the only cardio I can do until a minimum of 6 months postpartum is swimming with a pull buoy between my knees or walking with a “short stride”…Suuuuuuuper fun…. Additionally, no split leg movements [lunging, step ups, etc.], side or front planks, squats below parallel, and on and on. Basically, most of what I would like or recommend others to do for exercise is off limits until at least November. However, can I still find ways to train consistently and get back into shape as planned? Absolutely. I can and I will! That said, until I’m in the clear, the workouts I’ll share with you on the blog/social media will be a combination of what I am actually doing, and what I would be doing if I could.
HERE is my log for the first week I started doing more than slow walks, kegels, heel taps, planks and pelvic tilts [6 weeks postpartum]. As you can see, the largest part of my fitness routine was walking. Walking continues to be my only cardio for now – uphill walking when I get into the gym – and it’s really helped me to shed off the preggo pounds. Seriously, don’t underestimate the power of walking! Let me know if you’re interested in seeing the rest of my log – I’m happy to share.
Below is a workout I did at the park with Taylor this week. Obviously, I’ve since learned that I can’t continue with these movements, but YOU can! Try this one out and let me know how it goes – I thought it was pretty fun : )
Steps & Squats:
1. Walk or drive to a local park with your little one + stroller.
2. Locate several locations you could ‘step up’ on [spread throughout the park] as you walk around for a 5-10 min warm up.
3. Park your stroller and complete the following 3 exercises [A-C = one set], briskly walk for 3-5 minutes, do another set, and so on until you’ve walked 1 mile or 30 minutes have elapsed [whichever takes longer!]. I use the Map My Run app to track how far I’ve walked:
A]15 walking lunges w/stroller, each leg
B] 25 air squats
C] 15 step ups, each leg
Now go get after it, mama! Come up with a reasonable plan and stay consistent with it. If you’re just starting out on your fitness journey: make 2 workouts and 1 walk your weekly goal. When you feel like you can and want to, throw in another workout, or an extra mile to your walk. Go slow, listen to your body, and stay balanced- getting back into shape after having a baby is a marathon, not a sprint. You can do this!
P.S. If you’re interested in more workout ideas, follow me on Instagram, @taylormademama. I plan to post workouts there more frequently.
Stroller: Baby Jogger City Select w/ car seat adaptor
Car Seat: Peg Pérego Primo Viaggio