Truth time guys…Although I’m working around it, I’ve honestly been SUPER pretty frustrated that my postpartum recovery hasn’t been what I planned for it to be. This whole Pubic Symphysis Disfunction business completely derailed my schedule and method for getting back into shape and being able to do things I love in and out of the gym – things I worked hard throughout pregnancy to be able to jump back into quickly and easily postpartum. I felt assured that my plan would work and I would “bounce” right back. My labor and delivery were also NOTHING like what I planned, but that’s a whole other post…
It has always been challenging for me to be out of control of an element of my life, and to LET GO/ not over analyze when things don’t work out as I expected/hoped they would. I’ve realized for some time that this is not a productive use of heart + brain space, but I have the strong sense that NOW is the time to learn how to really let go of the desire for control and be at peace, humbly grateful, no matter the circumstance. Because -WOW – I have so much to be grateful for, and there is ALWAYS a way to adapt and still achieve my goals.
I’m so thankful to my sweet daughter – from her very birth, she is already helping me grow and evolve closer to the example I hope to be for her in this life.
I know I’m not alone in the ongoing quest to refine and become the best version of myself. Today, let’s let go of what we can’t control and do what we CAN to take the best care of ourselves and our little ones.
Below are three different workouts for you, targeting the same muscle group and taking about 50 minutes:
A] what I did at the gym
B] what I would have done at the gym if I was cleared to : )
C] an at home option.
If you try any or all of these workouts out, let me know how they go! Go Mama!
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, sustainableworkout and nutrition game plan that I feel good about, and beingCONSISTENT 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 consistentwith 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.
It’s important for us ladies to find ways to get in “me time” – incorporating whatever elements keep us happy and balanced. For me, one of those elements has always been exercise. Over the years I’ve been a swimmer, a runner, a Crossfitter and a gym regular/wannabe bodybuilder – no matter the forum, I thrive from the mental and physical strengthening a hard workout brings. However, I’ve found that my expectations of myself and what my workouts would look like postpartum needed a little re-adjusting. I’m sure even more adjustment will be necessary once I head back to work!
I truly thought I would be [superwoman/mom] able to jump quickly back into everything I loved to do before being pregnant/giving birth when it came to workouts. I dreamt of sprints, high intensity interval workouts in many iterations, heavy squats, etc. while the baby would have “daddy time” with AJ…I worked out 4 times a week throughout my entire pregnancy, even when I really didn’t feel like it, with the assumption that I could pick up where I left off after delivery.
I’ve since discovered that plan o’ mine is just not going to pan out due to unexpected, lingering pain resulting from a delivery complication – pelvic disruption. Frustrating? You bet. But rather than feeling discouraged and giving up altogether, I’m doing what I personally can to continue to stay consistent with working out [as well as making regular trips to my chiropractor!]. I can still rebuild strength & fitness around this issue.
The way I see it is that this pain [and my new, softer belly] is a reminder that I was Taylor’s home for 9+ months, and that she is now safely here with me – blessings worth ANY amount of discomfort.
How and when we get back into a shape we feel good about after pregnancy is a challenging, individual journey with no time limit. We mamas have to remember to be gracious with ourselves in this and all things – after all, our priority is loving our babes and keeping them healthy and happy every day. I’ll continue to share with you as I figure out ways to make fitness fit [oh, that’s catchy!] into my new, baby-centered reality, especially as I head back to work.
In addition to getting in workouts in our garage gym [thanks, Hubby!], and the occasional jaunt over to 24 Hour Fitness, I’ve been coming up with a lot of quick, bodyweight workouts that you can complete in about 15-20 minutes in your home.
I came up with the workout shown below the other day and it took about 13 minutes with :45 second planks each round. Next time I may even tack on a few extra rounds!
Try it out, let me know your time and how it goes in the comments:
P.S. If you’re interested in more of my postpartum workouts, subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss future posts on that topic : )