Well, January is over… How are your New Years Resolutions coming? Good? Bad? Started strong but then gave up? It is so hard to make new habits, and every year we get stuck in the spiral of making new goals and never sticking to them. I am proud to say my resolutions are going pretty good. But I specifically didn’t put the typical “workout more” on my list this year.
Why you ask… Well, it’s simple, working out after having a baby is HARD! Not just finding the time and motivation, but also because your muscles are basically non-existent. I mean if you really worked out during your pregnancy this might not affect you, but for the rest of us who weren’t hitting the gym during our pregnancy, you know what I am talking about.
I had a very healthy pregnancy, and we did tons of hikes and walks all the way up to my due date. So it’s not like I was just a bump on a log, but working out now makes me feel like I’ve never had any muscles at all.
It has taken me about 7 months to get back into working out. I had the desire earlier on, but I was so sleep deprived and honestly I had no idea how to fit a workout into my day. I’ve shared before that M wasn’t the best sleeper. He used to be the worlds best cat napper and his naps were always so sporadic. How do you fit working out into your schedule when you don’t even have a schedule? But now that M has a more consistent schedule I’m able to really reevaluate my day and find little pockets to fit a workout in.
Fitting a Workout into My Day:
M takes a morning nap at 8:30 am and it is typically between 45 minutes to an hour. Then he takes a second nap at 11:30, which is usually 1.5 to 2 hours. (He takes one more nap at 3:30, but it is the shortest nap of the day so I don’t count this nap as a time I could work out.) I knew these two windows would be the most ideal for getting a workout in.
As any stay at home mom will tell you, there are a million things on the to-do list a day. So I knew the hour or 2-hour workouts were a thing of the past. I decided I would be happy with a 20-30 minute workout and possibly a walk with M later in the day.
Knowing I could only workout for 20-30 minutes a day I needed to figure out what kind of workouts would give me the best results. I know there are different apps you can use to build your at home workouts or gym equipment you could buy for your home. But these things didn’t interest me. Gym equipment is too expensive and would most likely sit unused most of the time and I don’t have any idea where to start with a workout app.
But what I do have, a tv, an Amazon Fire TV, Yoga Mat, and body weight. So, I just went onto YouTube with the Amazon Fire and searched for 20-minute workouts. There are so many options, and so many talented people trying to help you get fit. There is so many work out options too, so this is the easiest way for me to fit a work out into my schedule.
Workouts I’m Doing at Home:
I have been a long time lover of yoga. But as a new mom, I love yoga even more! There is nothing like taking the time to stretch out your muscles that have become so cramped from holding the baby, sitting criss-cross breastfeeding, sleeping poorly if you co-sleep, baby wearing, etc. I can’t tell you how amazing it feels to just twist, stretch, and elongate those tight and tired muscles. I try to fit yoga into my workout schedule 2 times a week, Mondays and Fridays.
HIIT workouts… Have you heard of this? I think I might have been living under a rock because I didn’t know what it was until I searched YouTube for a 20-minute workout and a HIIT workout was the first thing that popped up. If you aren’t familiar with HIIT workouts, it is an acronym standing for High-Intensity Interval Training. And holy moly, it is intense. For a 20 minute workout, it is usually 4 moves, 30-45 seconds each, 4 times through.
If you follow me on Instagram you saw my week-long struggle after one (1) HIIT workout! I was sore for a week, to the point where I could hardly walk. What the hell, I remember being a runner before I got pregnant, I know there used to be muscles there. I understand not having abdominal muscles and really having to work to bring them back. But the leg muscles? Why are those gone, you would have thought carrying around an extra 25-40 pounds would have made the legs stronger, not weaker.
Knowing how intense HIIT workouts are, I try to fit in one or two into my week. Usually, Tuesday and Thursday with Wednesday typically being a rest day.
I’ve never really been the kind of person to fixate on the numbers on a scale. In fact, I don’t even own a scale. So, how will I know if working out is working? Well, to me working out is more of a lifestyle. I know that sounds so cliche, but it’s true. I used to be an avid runner, running for fun and release. Saying working out is a lifestyle, to me, means having a set time out to take care of my body, and help relieve the stress of my new mommy life. The after effects of working out help me feel like I can conquer the day. And working out is a great way to check in with my body and issue a little self-care.
So, I measure my results differently. I measure how I’m feeling. Do I feel stressed? Happy? At peace? Healthy? Unhealthy? I measure with strength, a workout that was such a struggle the first time, does it feel easier, am I as sore today as I was the last time I did it? And I measure by the fit of my clothes, are these pants looser, tighter? The numbers on a scale do not mean you are healthy… They’re just numbers.
When you start working out after baby or start trying to fit working out into your busy mom life/schedule there are some important things to remember:
- Be patient with yourself: your body just went through the most amazing, life-altering experience and you can’t just get back to prebaby right away. I read somewhere that it actually takes up to a year for things to go back to the way they were before. A WHOLE YEAR!
- Be flexible: Babies are sometimes extremely unpredictable. They might be taking naps really well one day and completely fight their naps the next. Nothing in the first year is set in stone so much as written in sand. If you decide to set up a workout routine during their nap schedule, just know it might have to change sometimes. If they nap every morning at 9:00 and you workout during this time, but today they fight their nap so hard you have no choice but to be with your baby the world will not end if you don’t workout during that nap. Be flexible. Workout at the next nap, or change up your workout, go for a long walk, run or hike with the baby.
- Try different types of workouts: I love a good schedule and routine. But even I get bored of at home workouts. Trying different types of workouts can help. YouTube is one of my favorite things for working out. They have so many options. Today I want to do yoga, tomorrow HIIT, the day after that let’s do some Zumba or kickboxing. There are so many workouts to choose from. Variety is the spice of life and helps keep you motivated to workout at home.
- Remember to drink water: Water is so important when you are working out. It’s good for your muscles and helps flush out toxins and lactic acid. But it is even more important if you are breastfeeding. When you’re breastfeeding it is so easy to get dehydrated, and no one wants that!
Working out after having a baby is hard, for so many reasons. Sometimes I still have to drag myself to complete a workout. But then I tell myself, it is only 20 minutes and afterward, I can do something else. But I don’t hound myself either if I just can’t muster up the strength to get a workout done. Working out is such a hard habit to start because it takes a while before it becomes fun, and I would even argue that it never becomes fun. But I want to be as healthy as I can for myself and for my family.