After many requests, for how I started back to working out after having a baby, I’ve decided to break down what I’ve been doing for the last 12 weeks. My fitness journey is going to be different from yours, and Kathy’s, and Betty’s… you get the point. But, what is true to all is that consistency over time will give you results. No matter where you’re at in your fitness journey, keep showing up. Do more than nothing or do way more than you thought you could do… whatever it is, keep going!
This is my second pregnancy and so this is my second time going through postpartum recovery work in order to get back into the fitness level I was at pre- pregnancy. The first point I want to make here is that you need to let your body heal and rest. That might be hard for some of you to hear when you’re anxious to move again and shed baby weight, but trust me, your body is no good to you if you don’t nourish it properly, and give it time to recover. Drink a ton of water, sleep whenever your baby sleeps, and eat nutrient dense food to heal (this is a whole other blog post in itself).
What I did..
The First 3 weeks Postpartum
The first three weeks postpartum, I did nothing. I slept, ate, chugged water, and snuggled my sweet baby. If I felt up to it, I would go for short walks around the block. I also did some light stretching just to loosen up my body (this was literally me bending over to touch my toes, or stretching my arms overhead). I was not bending backwards in to some crazy yoga pose!
At three weeks, my goal was just to get out of the house and walk 15-30 minutes with the two boys. Getting a newborn and a toddler ready to go for a walk is A LOT more work than I thought. So, I took small steps. My first goal was just to get them out the door. The walking part was a bonus, which thankfully, I managed to do.
4-8 Weeks Postpartum
At about 4 weeks postpartum, I gradually increased my walking time to one hour each day. This equated to about 3 miles. Mom tip: I packed a snack and water for the toddler, and he entertained himself by collecting rocks along the way. If your kid isn’t into rocks, you do what you gotta do to get your walk in.
At 6 weeks postpartum, I started the Nancy Anderson Ab Rehab program. There are many programs out there for postpartum mamas so you can go with whichever you like best. I heard about this program from a friend, did some research, and liked what the program had to offer. The program is 12 weeks, and there are daily routines that take about 25-35 minutes each day to help repair things like your core and pelvic floor. You’ll work on your posture which is important considering you are slouching a lot feeding your newborn. This program focuses on breathing technique, and offers strength and cardio workouts that help rebuild your body after having a baby. No matter how you delivered your baby, a postpartum specific program will help you. For example, the program I follow includes a C-section portion of the program that specifically caters to you if you’ve had a C-section. There is also a Facebook group where I can ask questions and get additional support. I think any Pospartum Rehab program is important because it focuses on the basics. While we all want to start sprinting half marathons and throwing heavy weights around, all of that goes to the crapper if you don’t heal your body correctly.
8 Weeks Postpartum
At about 8 weeks postpartum, I started doing some circuit and strength training in addition to the walking. Occasionally I tried adding in a 1-2 mile run here and there, but mostly, I stuck to my long walks. I am slowly getting into the strength workouts, and modify where needed.
I follow Street Parking, which I had a whole blog post on if you are interested and looking for a fitness program to follow. My routine would look something like this: on Monday, I do the Ab Rehab program first thing in the morning which would consist of some breathing exercises followed by 25 minutes of strength training. Then, I would do a 1-2 mile run. All of this in total took about an hour. I would try to do this 3-4 times per week. Then, maybe the next day, I would do the Ab Rehab program and go for a long walk with the boys. Hopefully you get the idea.
12 weeks Postpartum
I am approaching 12 weeks postpartum and I plan to continue with this pace until my body tells me otherwise. Whether this means, some weeks I need to scale back to rest or maybe I feel ready to increase intensity, add weights in, etc.
Listen ladies, our bodies are amazing and they’re tough, but we need to remember to listen to them and treat them well. If you are not getting the proper sleep, if you are not drinking enough water, or if you are eating crappy food, your body will not rejoice in being put through grueling workouts before it’s ready. If you decided to get crazy one night by ordering takeout, and having a few cocktails with your hubby (I’ve definitely done this a few times postpartum especially when both kids decide they’re going to go to bed at the same time), then honor your body’s need for rest the next day.
Lastly, give yourself grace, time, forgiveness, and praise. It’s done a lot the last 10+ months. I have to remind myself of this all of the time, because I just want to be running, jumping, lifting, and doing ALL of the things. However, remember that rebuilding your body after baby takes time. Show up consistently everyday. It’s consistency over time will give you the results you want. Don’t go all out only to get burned out a few months later. Figure out what amount of time you can commit to your fitness daily. Make it reasonable and achievable so that you can maintain it.
I love all of you beautiful ladies, and am so proud of you for who you are and what you do to take care of yourself and your babies.