6 Fitness Tips For New Moms (From a New Mom)
From one mother to another, you’ve got this!
Bringing a life into this world is not an easy feat and getting back into your wellness routine can also be a challenge. Certified Personal Trainer and new mom, Erin shares her tips for working fitness into her new life.
<h2> Find yourself
After having your little one, returning to reality is a process. It doesn’t happen right away and it isn’t necessarily easy. For the first few weeks, you spend virtually every waking (and sleeping) moment thinking about or directly caring for another person. It’s really a wonder if you find square meals, manage some showers, or even consider poking your head outside your home! For the first few months, you’re on an absolute roller coaster of hormones while your whole world is rocked in a hundred different ways. Give yourself permission to take the time you need to physically and mentally recover. I suggest waiting to start a workout routine until you begin to feel like the clouds are parting a bit, until you’re getting enough sleep to actually function. If you start working out too early, odds are, you’ll know it.
<h2> Find time to be active
It isn’t easy. I wasn’t physically able to workout for the first 5 weeks. Once I got the ok from my OB and I felt ready, it really, ultimately, came down to making time for myself a priority. There’s always an excuse, something that needs to be done, or a baby that needs attention. And honestly, the first couple times I went to the gym I felt weird – like, guilty. Like I shouldn’t have been where I was. But when I really began to think about it, eventually I began understanding that I was only as good to my son and husband as I was to myself. Find a spouse, friend, family member, or neighbor, to watch your little one for an hour while you take some personal time. Go to the gym, go for a walk, go to the supermarket; WHATEVER activity it is you choose to do, make sure that you have some you time at your disposal!
<h2> Find a routine that can become routine
When you’re ready to move again, remember to be kind to your body. Respect and understand what you’ve been through! Give yourself a couple weeks grace time to adjust to a new routine. Find a realistic workout that’s actually manageable and can become habitual. I’ve built a staple full body routine that has sustained me through pregnancy and into my current exercise. It’s really something you can do anywhere, because you really just need your bodyweight for most of the moves.
- Incline Row/Chin-up
- Plank/Leg Raise
- Superman/Single-leg Deadlift
2-3 circuits, 10-15 reps per exercise.
I set a goal of working out 2x/week for 3-4 weeks. Once I was able to maintain this and it felt routine, by week 3, I upped a day and am now hitting about 4x per week, at about 45 mins/session. It’s worth noting as an aside that, if you’re nursing, you’re burning roughly between 200-500 additional calories per day. Keep this in mind as you begin your regular workout routine. If you’re feeling really drained at the end of the day, or find you’re getting the munchies later in the evening, odds are you’re not consuming enough calories during the day to support your body’s caloric expenditure.
<h2> Condition and Strengthen
Post-partum, your body may feel a bit loose and weak. It’s important to strengthen and condition your muscles, ligaments, and even bones in order to avoid potential injuries as you return to, or begin, an active lifestyle. Engaging in full body exercises like those I’ve mentioned above will help your body relearn foundational movement patterns and, by using only your bodyweight for the first couple weeks, you give your body a chance to adjust before adding external weight. Yoga is also a wonderful option for stretching and strengthening both body and mind during this time.
Take a few minutes (or even a few seconds) to stop, close your eyes, breathe in as deeply as you can, hold, and exhale. In through the nose, out through the mouth. If you’re having an “I need a minute” moment (or day), this simple act can work wonders. Deep breathing can increase oxygen levels in the blood and often brings a sense of calm and collectedness.
<h2> Remember that this is a phase
It’s easy to get trapped in the “newborn phase” and become overwhelmed. But, in the scheme of things, know your little one won’t be so little for long! During this newborn/postpartum phase, it’s so important to keep as positive an internal script as possible. Try not to get down on yourself or self-deprecate if you don’t “bounce back” right away. Every body is different, just as every birth is different. If you keep it in perspective that the journey with your little one is just beginning, that you DO have time to build your body, it takes some of the pressure off and might alleviate some postpartum woes. Keep your chin up and your eyes forward!
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