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Parenthood related topics written by the founders of charlotte+asher.

Filtering by Tag: Workout

Getting back into shape after baby

Chantal Standafer

A little mommy-daughter time post-workout

A little mommy-daughter time post-workout

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?




How I worked out while pregnant

Chantal Standafer

Disclaimer: This is my own experience working out while pregnant and being followed by an OB/GYN. Please talk to your doctor for her clearance and advice for your own workouts.

As I heaved the wall ball up one last time, I thought to myself, “I sure hope this helps this baby come out!” At 38 weeks 6 days pregnant with our first child, I was ready to not be pregnant any longer. And doing squats would surely help with having a baby, I reasoned! I also thought that if that didn’t work out, then I would move onto the “inducer wod (workout of the day)” one of the trainers had mentioned to me. But I had no need to worry -- less than 24 hours later my water broke and I was in labor. And in just over 24 hours we were holding our little baby girl! Ironically, with our son, I was at the gym doing a wod the day before he was born, too.

I have found CrossFit to be a wonderful way to stay active and in shape. I don’t have to plan anything, other than what time I’ll be making it to a class. Once I show up, all the programming is set. And I work harder because I’m in a class with other people. Luckily, recommendations for physical activity during pregnancy have adjusted over the years. Barring any health concerns,  most doctors now encourage their patients to have some physical activity while pregnant. So, strange as it may sound to some, I continued doing CrossFit while I was pregnant.

When I met with my OB we discussed working out with CrossFit while pregnant. I explained that I had been doing it for nearly a year by that point, and my doctor gave me the green light to continue what I was doing. As a first-time mom (and rule follower), I wanted hard and fast rules to stand by while doing so, but really her advice boiled down to “listen to your body, you’ll know when it’s time to stop.”  So while each pregnancy was different, here’s the form working out took for me during those two 9-month periods:

Pregnancy #1

The first trimester was rough with feeling nauseous, so I didn’t make it to the gym as much as before the pregnancy. Also, I modified movements that made me feel ill. The big one here was front squats because of the barbell pressing against my neck.

Once the second trimester hit I had so much energy that I was at the gym nearly everyday first thing in the morning (I already had trouble sleeping at that point). I was able to do front squats normally again without feeling like I was going to be ill, but I did start modifying other movements. Around the 20 week mark I started cutting back on situps, eliminating them fully before the third trimester. Also in the second half of the trimester, I modified any exercise that required cleaning the bar because my belly began to impede the path of the bar. I simply did the same movement but with dumbells instead.

In the third trimester I scaled back on the activities that I found to be uncomfortable. I stopped running a couple of months before my due date because one of my knees started to hurt, replacing any runs in the workouts with rowing. And I stopped jumping rope because that was just no fun! But other than that, I kept doing the workouts, just with lighter weights than I had been lifting previously.  

Pregnancy #2

I continued on as normal at the gym when I found out I was pregnant. Actually, this time I did not have morning sickness and my first trimester workouts really did not suffer due to being pregnant. But just short of 13 weeks pregnant, I experienced bleeding (not associated with a workout) and was found to have a subchorionic hematoma. Following my doctor’s recommendation, I stopped working out until the blood clot resolved, which took about ten weeks. During that time I noticed a difference in how my body felt -- my back hurt much more and I felt a lot weaker than I had remembered from the first pregnancy. I also felt like I had less energy, although I’m not sure if this was due to lack of activity or keeping up with a toddler while pregnant. I did keep up any level of activity that my doctor said was O.K. At first I wasn’t supposed to do anything, and then slowly I was able to go for walks. Eventually, at 23 weeks with the blood clot fully resolved, I was able to work out again.

Due to the time I had taken off from the gym and my growing, slightly awkward belly, it took some time to find my rhythm again. I had to ease myself back into the workouts, first starting with only bodyweight exercises and then slowly building my weights back up. But within a few weeks I was able to do the normal workouts with only slight modifications. However, this time I carried even lower than during the first pregnancy so some modifications, particularly rowing in place of running, were uncomfortable. I would have to stop frequently during the rows in order to adjust my belly.

My workouts did not keep me immune from backaches, but I definitely reaped some of the other benefits such as extra energy and increased strength. Plus, I felt a lot stronger and more able to carry Gaby around while pregnant with Boyd, because let’s face it, tantrums and strong wills do not stop for the pregnant mama.

What do you do to stay active while pregnant?