As a personal trainer, wife, and now mother I am always trying to achieve a happy and balanced life. I realized it would be tough balancing a workout with a baby, but I didn’t realize it would be so unpredictable day to day. Three months ago I had a different life. That life is forever changed for the better, but not without challenges for me-time. What is still important to me, and many other mothers, is to be able to take care of ourselves and not lose ourselves in all the new responsibilities. Though it is tough, it isn’t impossible. We might just have to become a little more sneaky and creative to get it done.
During my pregnancy I gained only the recommended amount of 30lbs for my BMI. Unfortunately, I was not at my normal weight when I got pregnant. Before my pregnancy, I was in the process of healing my adrenals and managing my hypothyroidism. As a result, I was about 10lbs away from my normal off season weight. So this extra baby weight was in addition to the bit of extra weight I had on before. I’m totally committed to seeing it all gone. I know it takes time, but I’m just not the most patient person you’ll ever meet. I am definitely a person that has a past of over doing it when it comes to working out and working hard. Although I’ve stepped away from competing at the moment, I would still like to feel like me again. Some people will say you’re a mom now so it doesn’t matter, don’t be selfish. What I’ve noticed (and experienced) is that it is almost taboo to talk about your weight or your eagerness to get back to your normal weight. Some people even make you feel like you are a bad mother for thinking that way. If you are feeling this way YOU ARE NOT a bad mother or selfish. I’m here to tell you, no matter if you are a mom or not, if you want something you are entitled to have it and very capable of achieving it. In fact, being happier and more confident benefits everyone in the family, especially your children.Doing so doesn’t change the fact that we feel beyond blessed to have created and birthed an amazing, healthy baby. I am still so amazed and grateful for what my body has be able to do and will be patient while my hormones get back to normal. However, if there is something that I can do to help me get back to feeling comfortable in my own skin that’s what I’m going to do.
Let’s assume that you can’t leave the house for more than an hour or two because you are breastfeeding.This makes it more challenging for mothers trying to get in a workout. I have exclusively breastfed for the last three months. I understand the commitment to this new lifestyle and how it makes it is very tough to find time for anything. While pregnant I thought a lot about postpartum and weight loss. I was positive that besides the many benefits of breastfeeding for my baby, it would also help me get back to normal weight faster. To the contrary, so far, I haven’t noticed that to be true for me. I see many fitness and non-fitness women lose their baby weight and then some in the first couple weeks or months. That’s great for them, but it is really depressing for women who don’t have this experience. After researching this subject, it seems that some breastfeeding women can’t lose weight until they are done weaning their children. Only time will tell if this is the case for me. Breastfeeding is definitely a personal choice, but I am grateful to be able to give her a healthy start to her life. Knowing what I have to work with, I am still determined to start seeing changes. So, what workouts can I do with a 3-month-old in the middle of the winter? It is definitely tougher not having a warm climateto work with. Incorporating workouts in a house or apartment with limited equipment is tough, but not impossible. Through these blogs, I want to share tips and strategies on what I’ve been doing (and will be doing) to reach my personal goals. Hopefully, some of these tips can help fellow mommies out there.
What have I done? Well it depends on the day, and a million other things, but here is what has worked for me some days. My little one, although very cute, doesn’t like to take naps during the day. I end up having to hold and entertain her most of the day. So, even though I have an exercise bike and weights in my apartment, a lot of the time I bring her with me to the apartment gym since it is easier. First, even if she is still up, I make sure she is fed and changed. I then pack her front pack, diaper bag, and extra clothes and place them in the under carry of the stroller. I load her into the stroller and walk the 7-10 minutes to the apartment gym on our complex. Sometimes if she is still awake, I’ll walk a little more until she is asleep. I’ve been lucky to be able to use a facility that no one is really ever at during the day. Once she is asleep from the walk, I park the stroller in the corner near the free weights and perform a fast as I can dumbbell circuit. I perform the circuit without any rest to keep my heart rate up and to do as much as I can before she realizes we’ve stopped moving. Once she wakes up (usually after 15-20 minutes) I grab the stroller handles and perform walking lunges around the room. If she is still up after completing as many lunges as I can do, I grab the front pack and switch her into it. This is her preferred method of transportation. With her in the front pack, I start doing some body weight exercises like different variations of squats. To keep my heart rate up, and to get some cardio in, I jump on the stationary bike and do 5-10 minutes of varied speed cycling. The bike works better with her compared to other cardio equipment since she doesn’t bobble up and down as my upper body is usually pretty stationary. She loves to be part of the workouts and I get a little silly counting the reps out loud to keep her entertained. If anyone is in the gym, they probably think I’m a little crazy, but I don’t care. We then walk home; me pushing an empty stroller and her in front pack with her pink fuzzy winter hat. That is just one example of what I might do if the weather is not too unbearable. There are many other things you can do in your house if you don’t have a facility to use. In my future weekly blogs, I will be going over ways to exercise in the house and other places. For now, here are 7 tips that can help you start to incorporatefitness into your busy mommy schedule.
Tip #1: Get yourself a Baby Carrier. Ever since Arabella was born she loved the front pack. It calmed her and supported her unending curiosity of the outside world. She loves looking around, being upright, and just being close.
Tip #2: I know if you have a baby, you probably have a stroller. The stroller is awesome if you can’t get to a gym. You can always stay active and taking your little one on a walk. There are also many exercises you can do with a stroller inside or outside the house. I willtouch on this in upcoming weekly blogs.
Tip #3: Big Stability Ball - I’ve had one my whole pregnancy and I’m sure most of you have too. For the first three months, this was the only way to get my little one down. I would bounce on the ball with her in the front pack and she would fall asleep every time. This also works the core that you are so in desire to strengthen and tone. What is great about this ball is that you can use it instead of a workout bench for most exercises. You can have your baby in your front pack while sittingon the stability ball. You can do shoulder presses and bicep curls on it right in front of the TV or even with your baby facing the TV if they prefer. If the baby or kids are in a safe place and either sleeping or miraculously somehow content, you can do abdominal exercises such as planks and knee tucks and all you need is a small area in your living room.
Tip #4: When your baby does their recommended daily tummy-time, use that time to face your little one in a plank position or do as many pushups as you can. Try to last as long as they do before they say without so many words I hate you. Why did you put me like this? Pick me up!
Tip #5: For a baby that doesn’t like to be put down - don’t. If you are carrying them anyway, use the little human weight to your advantage as the cutest little kettle bell on the market.Make sure to always support them and not jerk them. Workout slow, deep goblet squats. Hold them on your pelvis for concentrated glute bridges. Superman them over your chest while on your back for chest presses. If you have toddlers, you can have them do the workouts with you and they will love to play copycat. There is actually a lot of different ways to incorporate babies and toddlers into your workout. I also will be going over many of these exercises in my upcoming weekly blogs.
Tip #6: Invest in some home gym equipment that you can easily store in the closet. Like I mentioned above, a stability ball is great but some other things you can purchase inexpensively are: a yoga mat, kettle bells, dumbbells, resistance bands, and ankle weights. I sometimes wear ankle weights around the house and that allows for a little extra calorie burning without the effort.
Tip #7: Use your smart TV or lab top to look up YouTube home workouts for free. You can also purchase a workout DVD (like for example P90X) that you like, but what is nice about the YouTube workouts are that you will be able to mix it up every day and did I mention they are FREE. You can watch them anytime and pause them anytime your baby needs attention. Remember it’s not about perfection, but consistency on a day to day basis that yields results.
Although these are simple tips, sometimes that’s all you need to get a quick 30-minute workout most days of the week. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to get a full body workout without even leaving your house or neighborhood.