For anyone who knows me, I’m a little obsessive.
I’m obsessed with keeping my house clean. I’m obsessed about keeping dog hair out of my house. I’m also obsessed with working out and (attempting) to stay fit. Having a kid definitely throws the out the concept of staying fit since your body no longer belongs to you when you’re baby making and it drives me absolute batshit when I see a new mom with a less than 4 month old who’s got washboard abs as I did today (seriously?!?!). The only thing I can do from saying anything to her about how amazing she looks and wanting to know her secret (she probably doesn’t drink and avoids carbs at all costs) is to simply tell myself she’s the nanny.
And therein lies the problem. I so wanted to ask her what her secret was! But I couldn’t, because I’m actually really shy and how weird is that? Walking up so someone at the grocery store and telling them how amazing they look and oh, how can I do that too?
So, in an effort to share and spread the health, as it may be, I want to share a few tips for getting back into shape post baby (but only after your doc says it’s okay!):
- Kegel it up. As my prenatal yoga instructor said, make sure you do your kegels because if you start working out before you’ve had time to heal you’ll end up turning your body into a tube of toothpaste when you start working your abs. And if you can’t figure out what the heck I’m talking about, think about it.
- Start slow. This goes hand in hand with doing kegels. Start slow. Go on walks because that’s the only way your little munchkin is going to be sleeping in the afternoon anyways. In the beginning I pushed him in the stroller and once I started to feel stronger I started carrying him in the Ergo for neighborhood walks and hikes.
- Eat smart. Don’t carb it up at night and don’t over-do it on the cheeses (if that’s your thing). If you ate ice cream every day in your third trimester like I did, you had best cut that out. If you’re breastfeeding, you’re still eating for the baby — but this does NOT mean eating for two. It means eat your veggies, get your whole grains and avoid processed foods and crappy sugars or artificial sweeteners (don’t get me started on these…). Some people like to cut the diary completely and avoid carbs past noon. If you’re vegan like me, you basically eat what you like and make sure you’re getting your vegetable protein.
- Drink LOTS of water. Regardless if you’re breastfeeding or not, you need to hydrate like no other if you plan on working out — so drink your water and drink lots of it.
- Take pictures. I know, gross. But there is NOTHING more motivational than taking pictures of your post baby body in that bikini you bought for your wedding to get back into the workout groove. Then take pictures along the way to compare. (And no, I’m not going to share mine here…. )
- Step up the pace. When you’re ready and you have the clear from your doctor (cannot stress this enough!), step up the pace and pick your passion. Go for a run a few times a week and start building the mileage, get back into your group exercise class, or get some workout DVDs and do them while the kiddo is sleeping. My routine is to workout during the kid’s first nap when I know he’ll be sleeping for more than an hour. I usually get on the stationary bike (last year’s anniversary present to ourselves) followed by a Nike Training Club workout if you have an iPhone or iTouch (I call this my motivation because all the women have awesome bods. M calls it his workout porn). The app is FREE (because it’s basically Nike marketing) and you get a gazillion workouts that will undoubtedly kick your sweet butt. This was recommended to me by my friend who’s a firefighter when I asked her for some good workouts I could do at home, so chew on that.
- Set goals. I find actual fitness goals more motivating than size goals. For example, I am starting to train for a 1/2 marathon in November and my goal is to actually run the whole thing (since I’ve never run one before). But whatever gets you moving, have at it.
- Buddy up. There is nothing more motivational than getting fit with a friend. There are plenty of mom’s groups out there that get together to work out and it’s also a way to get to know new moms. Alternatively you can simply track your progress on an app and share with your friends. A few of my go-to apps are Strava and MyFitnessPal. Love them both.
What are your tips for staying fit? What have you done post baby to get that bod back into shape? Because I’d love to know (there, I asked).
As with any exercise routine, it’s always best to check with your doctor because I’m not one (thank god) and you want to make sure that you’re not going to hurt yourself in the long run.