Getting your body back after baby is so much more than the physical appearance. Post-baby fitness can do wonders for recovery. A lot of muscles and joints become loosened and being consistently active can help to re-strengthen them leaving you feeling stronger.
And while getting into a routine can be beneficial to your postpartum recovery, it can also become an unhealthy obsession.
Here are some simple tips for getting safely back into the fitness groove.
Don’t Rush It
One thing I really wanted to regain after my pregnancy was my energy and fitness levels. Before my first baby, I was obsessed with fitness, I was super committed to my diet and I was the slimmest I’d ever been. After my pregnancy, I, expectedly, wasn’t as committed to dieting and although I hadn’t gained much weight (and lost what little I had quite quickly), I was able to eventually regain my level of fitness. I wasn’t the most fit when I had my second baby but having been in the gym consistently before my pregnancy, I knew I’d want to return to that lifestyle. Generally, there is, at least, a six-week period that must have elapsed post-partum before engaging in any vigrous activity such as exercise. Some women may feel ready earlier than this, and some even later.
Whether it’s six weeks or longer, the most important thing is to listen to your body. Don’t rush it! Give both your body and your mind the time to get back into it, whether it be the strength to lift those weights, or just the mindset to get up and go at five in the morning.
Remember, it took your body 7-9 months to grow to the size it is to carry your baby, give yourself at least that much time to achieve your fitness goals.
Set Realistic Goals
I know this is easier said than done, but if you’re serious about getting back into a healthy balance with your post-baby fitness, please don’t look at Insta models and celebrities for motivation. Yes, they look great but their results are not always the most organic and they may have access to resources and training not accessible to us mere regular folk. Let’s also not forget, the wonders of filters and photo editing. In order to truly succeed you need to set realistic and attainable goals.
Firstly, consider how much time you can devote to your fitness. You’ve just had a baby so there’s no real expectation for you to devote 7 days a week to working out or going to the gym; if you can, great! But don’t give yourself that unecessary pressure if you can’t. Also, don’t place too much emphasis on sticking to a rigid routine. As you know, motherhood is anything but routine. Some days you may be able to workout in the morning, some days you may not get to it until the afternoon and some days you may not get to work out at all! Set goals that will help you reach your own potential, for instance, on the days you won’t get a chance to exercise, make an effort to really be mindful of what you’re eating. Or even, take a walk for the school run or to do the food shop.
Whatever your intended end result, let there be a give-and-take to your goals so you’ll never fail.
Join a Fitness Community
I love working out on my own but having a workout partner or a community of people on the same journey as me does wonders for my motivation. After my second baby, I joined two fitness communities MussbeFit and Grow With Jo who really aided me in finding that inner drive to keep active everyday. Having a community of like-minded individuals, different in their own journeys but all looking to become fitter, more accountable and develop routine was imperative to kick-starting my post-baby fitness .
Platforms like Instagram and Facebook have an abundance of fitness communities and personalities that you can browse and decide on the right one for you. Whether you’re a yoga enthusiast or a budding weightlifter, having a team of people who you can engage with on your journey may be the coup de grâce to acing your fitness goals.
Invest In A Membership
For some of us, it’s not enough to desire a change. We have to pay for it.
But really, investing in a membership whether it be a gym or fitness app, may drive you to commit yourself to your fitness journey because there’s a financial interest in it. Also, memberships usually give you access to a multi-faceted program so you can really personalise your fitness journey to you. Whether it’s the classes you can attend under your gym membership or the workout program selections on a fitness app, having all of that choice will prevent boredom and lack of motivation from settling in.
Take advantage of special offers and limited-time reduced sign-ups to get personalised plans guaranteed for at least 28 days to kickstart your fitness journey.
Have Fun With It
Most importantly, just have fun with it. You’ve just had a baby and that’s your main priority now. Does that mean that you let yourself fall to the way side? No, of course not. But, fitness is not just a 28-day subscription. It’s a lifestyle and a mindset which means you have your entire life to get fit. Let it be a journey that you enjoy and not a burden to the spontaneity that is motherhood.
If baby isn’t settling, incorporate him/her into your routine. Baby weight is a great alternative to actual weights. Including your baby in your routine not only helps you build fitness into your day but is also a great bonding experience.
Even if you can’t do a strict workout routine, fun activities like dancing can also help you torch calories. Put baby in the buggy and go on a nature walk or run or even incorporate an exercise routine into the household chores.
Whatever you do and however you do it, don’t allow yourself to be consumed by regaining your fitness after you’ve welcomed a baby. If fitness has always been a part of your lifestyle, then you’ll find your way back to the fit life, sooner or later, one way or another. And dare I say, it enjoy the vulnerability of a post baby-bod for a while. Cherish the changes your body had to make to bring life into the world and be proud of it.
If you’re viewing your fitness journey as way to “get my body back”, dont. Fitness can be restorative and therapeutic if the right intention is there. And most importantly, rest. You will have so much more to offer to your baby if you’re are well-rested.
I guess the takeway from this would be, just take it easy.
Pregnancy and childbirth are hard on your body; you don’t have to be too.
This blog is not intended to be medical advice. The information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Always seek medical advice before starting exercise.