Fit Moms – Getting Your Groove Back
Having your first child poses various obstacles to a new mom’s adaptation to her ever-evolving life, but many of these challenges may easily be overcome with some preparation and guidance. Getting your pre-pregnancy body back or achieving your dream body is certainly one of those differences that can be managed.
Whether you’re a mom who never worked out, one who worked out before pregnancy, or one who stayed active in the gym during her pregnancy, trying to get your pre-pregnancy body back may be a challenge, especially if you’ve never lost weight for built muscle before. But here’s the good news: it isn’t impossible, and it can even be fun. I know all too well how difficult it is to find the time to workout when you’re a new mom. Caring for a newborn, getting back to work, and simply finding the motivation to get to the gym and train. It’s tough, especially when there’s house work, cooking, and so much more to do, but there is always time to do what will make you happy. I got lucky at first with getting back in the gym. I could rely on family to watch my son for an hour and a half while I went to the gym, but as time went on, I lost that resource. Luckily for me, my gym has a kid’s watch area that is open two times per day for 4 hours at a time. At first, I was terrified to leave my son with the young lady who worked there, but after some intense grilling of her background and numerous check-ups on him while I was training, I became comfortable. It wasn’t until my son was about eight months old when I began taking him with me to the gym, however. I felt that he needed to become a bit more independent before I left him in kid’s watch without me. Now, when I’m packing my gym bag, I’m also packing my son’s diaper bag. It’s our daily routine six days/week. Not only am I able to workout every morning, but he can build social, sharing, and learning skills with his peers.
Now, I understand that not all moms will be comfortable with this type of situation, and I know that the extra cost may be a hurdle, in addition to the obstacle of simply not having a child watch at your gym, but don’t give up because of these challenges. Obtaining that body, that you have been visualizing is attainable even without the gym.
First, let’s start with diet. Don’t think of the word “diet” as the means to an end. Think of it as a new way of life. To achieve and maintain the body you desire, you must stay consistent with healthier eating habits. Your fit mom journey should begin here.
Start your new way of life by cutting out unhealthy food choices little by little. Please, do not try to cut everything out all at once. People who do this tend to fail. You will be more successful if you gradually eliminate (or minimize) your unhealthy food choices. Start with something small: increase water intake and decrease the number of sugary drinks (juice, pop, sports drinks) you consume per day. Again, it’s probably not a good idea to eliminate all your consumption all at once. Take it slow. But do keep in mind that our bodies are made of approximately 73% water. To maintain this well-oiled machine and to make it stronger we must fuel it with plenty of water. Start by drinking half of your body weight in ounces. As you decrease other beverage choices, increase water intake. You may find that adding lemon or fruit to your water makes it more bearable to drink at first if you’re unaccustomed to drinking mainly water.
Secondly, make a schedule: what do you have to accomplish on a daily basis, and when is your largest block of available time? If you’re able to, get a gym membership and go to the gym during that time block. Join a class, work with a trainer, or navigate the equipment solo or with a friend. If you are someone who is unable to make it to a gym due to time or responsibility constraints, get your home set-up for body-weight or light-weight physical activity. Working out at home is much easier when you’re a new mom than working out at a gym. You will find that you can exercise in between chores, breastfeeding, or during television commercials. Baby will be content sleeping in his crib or strapped to your chest while you workout. This may even provide yet another cherished bonding experience between you and your little. But if you’re not ready to start in-home exercise, begin with daily outdoor walks or jogs with the baby. Not only will your little one become conditioned to various outdoor elements, but you’ll become stronger, more aerobically fit, and you may even have some fun. Remember, working out doesn’t have to be monotonous. It is what you make it. Turn your daily walks into interval training by pushing the stroller at different speeds. You will get a better workout this way, and you will certainly enjoy your active walk with baby.
You will find that even if you begin your training with virtually no knowledge of working out, you will become more comfortable with what you are doing and that comfortability will push you to try new things. You’ll want to know more, and you’ll want to do more. Researching basic exercises and perfecting them will become a fun test to see how far you can push your perceived limits. Do remember though, if you were one of us new moms who experienced diastasis recti, you must start small. With diastasis recti, you do have the potential to tear those abdominal muscles further if you don’t give them time to heal. You will be able to tell what is too much for your body based on your level of pain (not soreness). There are certainly limits to working out after having a baby, and there’s no right prescription to training for everyone. We are all different, and our bodies will adapt differently. The key, however, is to start slow and stay consistent.