I recently shared about how I stayed in shape while pregnant. Yes, I worked out the day before I had each of our two children. But after having each child I took a break from the gym. My body hurt from childbirth. It took time to heal and frankly, I was tired!
After Gaby was born I started back at the gym at about four weeks postpartum with some stretching (because let’s face it, I wasn’t ready to work out at that point). By six weeks I started doing full workouts again, though at moderate effort. With Boyd, I was so tired and busy (*ahem* life with two kids) that I did not make it to the gym until seven weeks postpartum. Both times it took a good couple of weeks to feel like I was doing the workouts competently. After taking time off to allow my body to heal post-birth, I felt totally out of shape.
I wanted to jump back into everything and pick up where I had left off. But that just was not possible. Here’s what I did to get back to that point:
Schedule the workouts: I made set days to go to the gym. While the time fluctuated a bit depending on what was on our schedule or how many times I was up at night, I knew that if it was Monday, Wednesday, or Friday I’d be at the gym.
Ease back into the workouts: While my body didn’t atrophy from not working out for a few weeks, my strength and endurance definitely took a little beating. This would happen from any extended break from the gym (like a vacation!). For my first few workouts back after having Boyd, the trainer running the classes suggested I only do half of the workout. I’m so glad I listened to his advice—I was very sore and imagine I would have been completely out of commission had I done the programmed workout. Eventually, I worked back up to full effort.
Be realistic: Your body heals a lot when you sleep. So naturally if you’re not sleeping well or very much (hello life with a newborn), then it won’t heal as quickly. It also won’t be as strong. So being realistic with how I felt each day was key. While some days I felt really strong, other days just lifting the barbell felt heavy. I adjusted the workouts accordingly.
Be patient: After I had Gaby we did this one workout twice in two weeks. The first time I did not even finish the workout. But two weeks later I not only finished it, I had time to spare. And I felt great. The strength returned, it just took time.
All said, while it was difficult, I’m glad I put in the effort to get back into working out. The most important part, as in so much in life, was just showing up!
What did you do to get back into shape after you had your baby?