6 Tips for Sticking with Post Partum Fitness
Diving back into fitness after having a baby is not an easy thing to do. There’s lots of variables that can stand in our way as mother’s to getting back into the swing of a fitness routine - diaper changes, feedings, sheer exhaustion (just to name a few).
As a mom of 2 little ones myself I know how sometimes the lack of motivation and complete chaos of trying to “do it all” for our babies can put our own goals on the back burner. However, the biggest thing I’ve realized in both of my own postpartum experiences and after working with hundreds of clients is that setting goals (even small goals) for yourself is one of the MOST important things you can do to be a great mom.
Not only will you start to feel more like yourself again but you’ll gain a sense of accomplishment, gain energy, clarity and be able to truly give the BEST of you to your family.
Each postpartum experience is going to be completely different. My first workout after having my 2nd baby, Sofia, was anything but perfect. I honestly had gotten to the place where I was so content snuggling on the couch with my new baby (not to mention being exhausted after sleepless nights) that I certainly didn't even want to make time to exercise. My three year old was extra needy at the time because she was coping with only child syndrome to suddenly having this new little nugget that took all of mommy's time so I had to spend a lot of my extra time with her.
However, I had the desire to change. I had the desire to get my hormones back in balance. I had the desire to lose the belly pooch and I had the desire to start fitting in my normal clothes again and feel confident about me!
It took me some time to get up the gumption and get off the couch but when I made the decision to start I just went for it! At about 7 weeks post partum I did my first workout and … it was a complete disaster. I took about 17 breaks for changing diapers, nursing the baby, toddler crawling all over me and then just simply taking breaks to BREATHE!
It was anything but easy but each day I just kept going. I tried a little bit and things went a bit smoother each day. I started to just expect interruptions and didn't worry too much about it if I didn't make it through a whole workout but just focused on the small wins each and every day.
After coaching hundreds of postpartum women as well as going through this experience myself 2x I’ve definitely figured a few things out that can help you get re-started and stay committed after having your baby.
**Disclaimer - be sure to consult your doctor and make sure you are cleared for exercising before taking part in any new fitness or nutrition routine.
Here's 6 Tips on getting restarted with postpartum fitness:
1. Be flexible
I remember my first workout post partum was a complete hot mess! The biggest thing I've learned especially with two kids is to set your expectations LOW and know that it’s okay to stop and press pause multiple times. Its okay to not work at 100% effort and it’s okay to get interrupted. You have to be flexible when you have babies that are unpredictable!
2. Pick the right program
I highly advise that you don't just "wing it." If you just wing it you probably won't stick with it. I personally was not fully committed until I decided on a true plan of action. When you're ready to get results, you need to fully commit. But that being said make sure you choose wisely. Choose a program that is going to give you a mapped out plan to help you ease in and that gives you lifestyle results. When you decide on a program make sure to schedule it in and map it out as best you can.
3. Focus on the small daily wins
You truly need to take it a day at a time. Focusing on the long term results can seem overwhelming and daunting! Find something in each day, each workout, each meal that you have improved on from the day before and give yourself a pat on the back for making those small wins happen each day. Small wins over time compound into BIG wins - so keep going!
4. Use modifications
There's absolutely no shame in modifying exercises. You are literally starting over from scratch after having a baby. Your body has been depleted and there's no need to push yourself to maximum levels right away. Most programs will have modifications so follow those as needed!
5. Follow a nutrition plan designed for new moms
I think the biggest mistake women make is that they think after having a baby they will "just follow the workouts" and do their own thing with nutrition. Nutrition is 80% of your results! If you only follow the workouts you're only going to get 20% of the results and be left wondering why you're not getting as fit as you expected. That being said, in order to see results you also need to follow a plan that is appropriate for new moms. After having a baby you are depleted of so many nutrients that you need to keep your body well fed! Restricting calories and foods is NOT the way to go! If you are breastfeeding make sure you find a plan that takes that into account, the calorie deficit you have while nursing or that simply helps you learn how to eat the most nutritious and calorie dense foods you can at this time in your life. If you're not breastfeeding you still need to take into account the nutrients you're eating as your body is recovering and restoring itself. Its vital if you want to regain energy and recovery properly. Eating lots of leafy green veggies, proteins, complex carbs and healthy fats is essential to your success!
6. Find a support system
Getting plugged in with other new moms has been KEY on my journey. Knowing that there's other women in your exact same position and that totally understand what you're going through makes it SO much more do-able! When you can vent about hard days, having a fussy baby and celebrate the great days with other moms it makes your journey so much more enjoyable. The encouragement you get from group support with other women on the same journey is a GAME CHANGER!
Ultimately remember that this journey is about making progress not about perfection! Give yourself grace and time to get your body back and mentally commit for the long term. Its a marathon, not a sprint!