10 tips for getting active after having a baby
This blog post has been a long time coming! Often when I run into friends or acquaintances who I haven’t seen in awhile they mention something along the lines of “wow, you’ve been working out a lot” or “how do you find time to workout now you have 2 kids”. Honestly, getting active a few times a week is CRITICAL to my sanity and it’s something I make a priority. I wanted to share some tips below on how I started getting active after having Eitan - if you’re pregnant or a new mama, take note - or even if you don’t have kids, I hope this post will inspire you to get active in your own unique way.
Did you notice how I didn’t call this post ‘bouncing back’ or ‘getting back in shape’ after having a baby? In my opinion, there is no such thing as bouncing back. The sad reality is your body is never going to be the EXACT same way it was before you got pregnant. Think of what your body has had to endure, 9 months of growing a human, birthing said human and then providing around the clock care for a tiny human. After all that we deserve a freaking medal!!
So when you release all expectations of ‘getting back’ to what you once were, you let go of constantly comparing and the pressure of living up to these unrealistic goals. When I changed my thinking to ‘I’m just going to get active’ - it positively impacted my mindset and how I was going about my workouts. Instead of kilo counting, it was more about going on a long walk, taking up a new class or trying to close the active rings on my Apple Watch. Mindset is EVERYTHING!
GET THE ALL-CLEAR.
It goes without being said, get the all-clear from your Doctor or OB before you resume working out. Each birth story is different and that means you need to trust your gut when the time comes to start moving again. I know women who have gone back to working out a week after birth, and some who have taken months to feel comfortable working out again. All opinions stated in this blog post are my own and what worked for me after giving birth to Eitan. Take it with a grain of salt, pick and choose what you like and go with your gut instinct.
START WITH WALKING.
I found walking a great way to start getting active again. Although both of my births were very fast (both under 3.5 hours from my water breaking), Eitan’s birth was much harder on my body post-partum. He was almost a full kilogram heavier than Lily’s birth weight and came in at a whopping 4.2kg / 9lb 4oz. Given his size and the fact it was a very speedy birth, I had second-degree tears (for those that know.. you know!). It took me about 10 days to start feeling like myself again after giving birth. It was only then that I could finally ditch the hospital provided panties and wear regular underwear and pads again. I started with short walks to drop off/pick-up Lily from her daycare. I knew my limits and stayed within them (like that one time I tried to run for the pedestrian lights and nearly felt like my uterus was going to fall out).
By 2 months post-partum I was going on longer walks after dropping off Lily. They would be about 2-5km in distance and a pretty fast pace. Music in my ears, I was starting to feel like myself again.
PRIVATE TRAINING SESSION
This is not the way I did things, but something I recommend, book in a few sessions with a personal trainer who is qualified when it comes to pre and postnatal fitness. Honestly, it will make such a difference! I had the honour of attending a few of Lucy Ulmer’s PT sessions out of Hustle, with my mom squad (Natassia, Jen & Alyssa). Lucy was able to give us feedback regarding correct posture, breathing techniques and how to engage your core and pelvic floor muscles. Lucy covers a lot of these topics in her Hustle Baby classes, but to have that constructive feedback in-the-moment, was such a big help and a huge confidence boost. Now I’m very aware of the correct way to engage my core and these same practices follow through to everyday life when I’m picking up Eitan or squatting down to empty the dishwasher.
SCHEDULE YOUR CLASSES IN ADVANCE\
One of my biggest tips for making exercise a priority is to pre-schedule your workouts on a Sunday night. Pick the times that work for you, reserve the class and put it straight in your calendar (it helps if it’s shared with your partner). When I schedule in my workouts I’m making myself a priority as self-care is everything duh!! And it also helps you avoid those moments when you hit Friday and realize DANG I didn’t work out all week and the week so almost over!
BABY & MAMA CLASSES
If you have a baby & mama workout class in your area, I highly recommend attending before your baby is around 7-8 months old or at crawling age. I didn’t know of any mama & bub classes when Lily was young so I would save all my workouts for evenings or weekends. When I heard that Lucy and Brent from Hustle were creating a special workout class where you could bring your babe, I was over the moon. Their studio is super sleek, modern and pristine, and the Hustle Baby class runs a few times a week - meaning I could pick and choose what time worked for me. The class size is never more than 10-12 mamas as there always needs to be room for both your mat and space for the baby, strollers etc. Lucy runs such a great class and the environment is super welcoming, fun and friendly. Nursing or diaper change breaks mid-class are totally OK and even if your babe is being super fussy, you can almost do the entire class holding them. As a mom of a new baby, Lucy just gets it and I couldn’t recommend her enough!
As much as I love attending a mid-week class with Eitan, I also really enjoy going to classes without him, treating it as a little me-time or an hour when I can solely dedicate time to looking after myself. Although 6 am sounds like a horrible idea, I find it one of my favs for going to a class at Spin Society. I’m usually up around this time anyway and if I play it right, leave a bottle of milk for the hubs to feed Eitan in the morning, I usually get back home just after both kids are up and about.
Working out on the weekend is also a great idea if your partner can take care of the kid/s.
GET THE RIGHT GEAR
A few new additions might be necessary for your post-partum fitness game. Like a nursing bra for example! I used to think you don’t need nursing bras as you can find soft/stretchy alternatives, but for working out… you really do need it! In the early days of returning to working out after Eitan was born, I’m pretty sure I got a blocked milk duct from wearing a WAY too-tight sports bra. Yes. This can really happen. So a new sports-style nursing bra is mandatory. I picked up one from Destination Maternity - it’s super comfortable yet supportive - and I wear it on both my long walks and also to the classes I attend.
High-waist leggings have been on frequent rotation in my activewear game for quite some time. As things are healing and you’re getting back in shape, it feels so secure to have a legging that holds you in at all the right places. Although on the pricy side, my favourite ones are the Nike Epic Luxe leggings, as there’s nothing quite like them. Pair your leggings of choice with a breezy/relaxed fitting top to make nursing much easier!
FIND A BUDDY
One of my biggest tips for staying consistent and keeping yourself motivated is to find another mama who is also in the same boat and is looking to get active. You’re so much more likely to stick it out if you have someone to be accountable to. Every mama needs someone in their ring, sending them the text message "COME ON, LET’S GO” after a rough night's sleep or when you just don't feel like going.
Consistency is key and healthy habits take time to form. Of course, sickness is going to come up and travel plans are going to throw off your schedule, but showing up week after week is EVERYTHING. It’s much better to consistently work out once or twice a week, every single week than going hard and doing 5 classes a week but then taking a break for 2 months. From what I’ve read and been told, you only really start seeing results when you consistently show up. You got this!
I hope that there was something here that motivated you to get active again or switch up your routine. Would love to hear if you have any additional thoughts or tips… send them to my email or DM me on Instagram.