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