Baby Fitness

Post Partum Fitness 101: What to Expect & How to Conquer

May 8, 2017
New Mom Fitness

How do I get back in shape after a baby?

Rewind to Week 41. Beyond frustrated that I couldn’t wait to A. Pop this little sucker out and B. Walk up a hill (read: slight bump in the road) without feeling like I just climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. Now, here we are at 41 weeks Post Partum and while I have my little sucker, I still couldn’t walk for 5 seconds without feeling exhausted. Sound about right?

That’s why I wrote this guide to help you get back in your groove, as someone whose been in your shoes.

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When can I start getting active again?

The standard recommended recovery time is 4-6 weeks after your baby is born. Even longer if you’ve had a cesarean. Feeling normal after 4-6 weeks? Yeah, so not gonna happen. Most mamas say that they don’t even feel normal after 6 months Post Partum. I don’t blame them. Running on 4 hours of sleep with limited coffee ain’t cute.

The expectations of “bouncing back” right after a baby are beyond unrealistic, but what’s most important is getting your groove back, mama. Exercise tailored to your body’s new needs can help you feel like yourself again. It can even help you reclaim your identity outside being a mother.

I’m not saying to drop your newborn off with a babysitter & pick up a personal trainer tomorrow.

Don’t worry, I’ll break it down step by step. If you want to follow along, download my free guide-book here!

So what do I need to do now?

Step 1: Picture what ‘getting back in shape’ means for you.
Does it mean yoga at sunrise with a smoothie bowl as a dessert? Walking up the stairs again without having to feel like you’ve run a marathon right after? Running an actual marathon?

Step 2: Set realistic goals.
Do you want to be able to walk 3 miles? Lift 400 pounds? Get stronger arms for holding your baby? Start small and celebrate those victories. Rome wasn’t built in a day and your body went through 9 crazy months worth of changes.

Step 3: Find a fitness routine that matches the above.
If your goal is to lift heavier, try a few of my weight lifting exercises! Want to have better endurance? Walk with your baby for 30 minutes a day outside and build your way up. Maybe you want to get flexible or tighten things up. Try looking up Yoga videos or practice kegels.

Step 4: Feel good about yourself. .
This one is a toughie. It’s so much easier said than done, especially if you’re struggling with Post Partum Depression. While exercise doesn’t cure PPD, it absolutely helps.

I feel awesome in workout classes, no matter how far I’m behind the rest. What matters is that I’m giving it my all and working to be a more fit and healthier version of myself. When I leave, I know I can tackle the rest of my day. If you feel like you’ve just gotten your Butt kicked, you’re already feeling the changes. You go mama! Don’t be shy. Brag about the progress you’re making to anyone who will listen.

How can I start?

Fitness at Home

Walking :
Break out your stroller and get moving outside. There are so many things for your baby to see and focus on. Your arms and legs will definitely get a good workout pushing the stroller and keeping up! Maybe your munchkin is a big fan of being closer to mama. We didn’t use our stroller much at all because we opted constantly for the babycarrier. To get a better workout with the carrier, I recommend smaller hills and a little longer of a distance.

YouTube :
There are so many free exercise videos available on YouTube. You can even do them with your baby. Which, may just be the best way to go. My favorites when I had Aiden were the Zumba exercises and Yoga. He loved being able to exercise with me, especially since he didn’t have to do any of the work!

Fitness Outside of Home

Going to classes and connecting with other mamas is so important. Loneliness is a real thing and having people who are going through the same thing can keep you sane. These momma fitness groups are something definitely worth trying. Note, these are US-based, so if you’re overseas, you may have to get a little crafty! You can even organize a smaller fitness group, with other moms.

Fit4MOM Caters specifically to newer moms bonding through exercise and life with a baby. Stroller Strides are a little more intense stroller workouts with your baby. I went to one in Atlanta and it was such a blast!

Babywearing Zumba I promise this one sounds crazier than it actually is. Some smaller studios host baby wearing Zumba classes. Check around and see if there are any near you! Make sure that your baby carrier is ergonomically correct (unlike an Infantino and Baby Bjorn, think Tula, Lillebaby, and Ergo) and enjoy yourselves!

Gym : Find a gym that you feel most comfortable in. Check to see if they’ve even got classes, whether they be a spin class or Zumba. Remember to make sure that you have adequate care or even look into to the ones with childcare, like the YMCA. Want someone helping at home? Care.com has helped Doug and I find Aiden care, so many times when we needed it!

Start Today

These are my easily achievable takeaways to help you get into a Post Partum fitness routine. Remember, let your body be your guide. Start today or whenever you’re feeling ready and after Post Partum bleeding has stopped.

-understand that your body is not the same
-set realistic expectations
-aim to feel good about yourself

Feeling motivated?
Plan your course of action and do it! Need a little encouragement? Download my free guidebook here!

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  • I love how you emphasis defining what fitness means the each individual. I lost the weight pretty quickly but I still need to work on gaining muscle tone back. Slowly but surely!

    • Definitely. Determining where you want to be is so important, since fitness varies from person to person!
      I lost it quickly Post Partum too, but still had a mom belly. I finally got back in the gym regularly at 9 months PP

  • This is great! I have found that at home is where I am starting for now and hopefully in the future will move to a gym!

    • Definitely! I feel most motivated in the gym versus home, though. It’s so easy to cozy up to a good movie, instead! 😜

  • Lexie Taylor Higgins

    This is a really great starting guide. The goal of settting realistic expectations is key! It will take time, but going slow and being healthy is so important!

    • Health is the most important part! I was losing weight before, but when I started fueling my body correctly, I noticed major changes!

  • Victoria

    I have such a hard time with this. I’m almost 6 months PP. I am still not feeling all that normal down there— I had mega tearing. I have gone back to working 4-10 hour days but I fee guilty asking anybody to watch my little daughter so I can work out. I’m at a loss. I’m trying the work out from home deal but I keep finding other house hold duties to do instead

    • A schedule helped me tremendously. It’s so easy to get caught up in everything else that “needs to be done”, but with a schedule you can plan the perfect time around anything.
      I felt best with the gym daycare, that way I can easily check on my munchkin.

  • Katrina Sumilang

    I love the tip about setting realistic goals. That’s what I preach to everyone as well.

    • They are so much easier to achieve than setting mountain-high ones that you’ll only stick to 1 Day!

  • Amy Lonn-o’brien

    Trying to make time and make working out a priority is the hardest part for me. Now that the weather is getting nicer it will be easier to walk and hike with my toddler and preschooler. Great advive!

  • Jessica Battiato

    So many great tips! My youngest just turned 3 and I am still working toward getting back to my pre-baby form! Maybe that’s not the right wording– as I know I need to keep moving forward, but I would love to just have more energy in general and think making exercise a priority is where I need t start!

    • Making exercise a priority is where it’s at. I tell myself and husband, ‘You always regret not going to the gym, but you never regret going’. It pushes me when I’d rather just stay home!

  • Mom Shit is Hard!

    I’m nine years post baby and still finding new ways to start motivated. You’re right – just do something!!!

    • It’s so easy at first when you’re seeing changes, but when you reach a plateau, it gets difficult!

  • Tina

    I waited about 2 months after my c-section with my first to attempt working out. I tried to resume pilates, and seriously thought he had broken my body! I learned with the 3 that came after, that I can at least get walking. I had never considered YouTube as a resource -great tip!

    • Yeah, they don’t typically recommend ab workouts Post Partum for that reason!
      Walking is such a great start, especially with how curious they are.

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