For You Moms: Body After Baby

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As a personal trainer/group exercise instructor/fitness coach, the number one goal from Moms is to get back to my prebaby body.  This post is NOT a post to give you tips on how to get there.  It’s a post to explain why you need to let go of that goal!  I’ll explain…

Everything we see on TV, in magazines, online, pics of people on Instagram or Facebook makes you think that your #1 goal after you have a baby is to lose the baby weight and get back to how you looked before.  We all know those people (and secretly hate them) that got right back to their pre-baby weight or even smaller.  That doesn’t mean you have to get there. And celebrities are either airbrushed or have millions of dollars to higher people to take care of their kids while they workout with trainers and hire healthy cooks to cater to them to get back to the pre-baby weight in no time.  This is real life!  You are sleep deprived, exhausted, trying to figure out how to keep this baby alive and keep your sanity while also feeling pain in places the sun don’t shine LOL.

As a personal trainer, I do want every new mom to workout and eat healthy.  But I don’t want your goal to be your pre-baby body.  We place way too much of our self worth on how we look when instead, we should be focusing on what we did.  You gave life to a human being and are now responsible for their life.  Physically, you sacrificed your body for 9 months as a house for a growing life, you gained weight in places you didn’t know existed, you stretched in places that aren’t so fun to talk about, you swelled up, and had your bladder used as a squeeze toy for the baby.  And, to top it all off, you pushed something the size of a watermelon through something the size of a grape LOL.  You know what you did.  It was hard but it was worth it.  And now, if you made the decision to breastfeed, you also gave up your body for another year or so to feed them.  It’s HARD what we did but it was worth it.  And now it’s time to appreciate your body for what it’s capable of.

The truth is, some people naturally get right back to where they were.  Some people do but it takes time and work.  Others don’t ever get back there.  There are going to be things that are bigger than they used to be, not quite as toned as they used to be, or hang a little lower than before.  Like I always say, you shouldn’t compare yourself to anyone else when you are trying to get healthy, and that includes comparing your new body to your pre-baby body.  When your goal is to get your pre-baby body back, if you don’t get there, you will give up and you will fail.  I don’t want that to happen!!

If you are asking, then what do I focus on…here it is.

First off, your new reason for wanting to get in shape should be for the following reasons:

  1. Your sanity!  Taking time to exercise gives you time to YOURSELF which you need as a new mom.  It also releases endorphins which is the same as taking happy pills.
  2. Energy.  As a new mom, you NEED to be giving your body the right foods to have the energy to keep up with a newborn and once they start walking and running and climbing on EVERYTHING.
  3. Healthy family.  If you take care of yourself and feed your family healthy foods, they will grow up with a good sense of being healthy.  That’s pretty awesome.  I know I don’t want the kid that thinks a McDonald’s hamburger is healthy!
  4. Time.  If you don’t take the time to plan your meals and your workouts, you will not have the time and you will be running around aimlessly.  At first, it’s hard to figure out when you will workout.  You are at the baby’s beck and call and you may also have work to tend to.  But you will figure out a good routine.
  5. Be the best you you can be.  When you workout and take care of yourself, you are making yourself a better, more energetic, positive person.  You feel GOOD about yourself.  Even if you aren’t a size 0, you are taking actions to be a healthy person.  That’s awesome.  And you’ll be around longer for your family and you owe it to them!!

Your goal can be to lose weight and get toned, but just leave the back to my prebaby body out of it!

So How Do I Start my Health Journey?

Time is the biggest challenge for new moms.  We are so busy breastfeeding, up at night with the baby so we are exhausted, working and then coming home to take care of the baby again, baths, cleaning, etc.  You name it.  Everyone is busy.  It takes prioritizing, practice and planning.

1. Give yourself 10 minute workouts.  You don’t have to schedule hour long workouts right out of the gate.  10 minute increments, 2-3 times a day will work too.

2. Plan your week out.  I realize at first, you are so focused on keeping baby alive and breathng that you can’t think about a schedule.  But I PROMISE if you sit down with a weekly planner once a week and write out everything you have going on – baby’s appointments, work, hubby’s stuff going on – you will see plain and clear when you have time to workout, when you will have time to cook and prep meals, and when you just won’t.  The days you DO have time to cook, cook extra so you have leftovers for the next day.  Days you have time to workout cool!  Days you don’t, call it a rest day or be creative with your workouts – like bicep curls with the baby, baby pushups, etc.

3. Be creative with your workouts.  Like I said above, you don’t have to go run for an hour and leave baby at the house with someone.  You don’t have to do an hour workout and deal with a screaming, hungry baby the whole time.  If you have a baby carrier, strap the baby on and do some squats and lunges; if you have cleaning to do, leave baby on and vaccuum, sweep etc.   It’s added weight!  Go walk around the block a few times, weather permitting either with baby in a carrier or in a stroller.  Lay on your back and hold the baby and do some chest presses.  Lay baby on the floor and do some planks over top of them, or even pushups.  I did that with Layne and everytime I lowered down, gave him a kiss as a bonus :-)  That’s good motivation!  Hold baby on your tummy and do some crunches or leg raises.  When they are a little bigger, lay on your back, baby across your calves and lift up and down for a good quad workout.  The possibilities are endless!

I hope that this helps you appreciate what your body has done and where you can go from here.  Don’t put added pressure on yourself!  you have enough with having a family to raise.  You are awesome, you are beautiful and embrace your new body!  Focus on getting healthy for yourself and your family and the rest will fall into place.  It’s not about being skinny; it’s about being strong and confident!