What came as something of a shock to me was just how exhausted my body was following the birth. And not just for a day or two where I did not trust my legs to be steady enough to carry my baby safely or for the first week where a 100m walk was a great triumph (and required a park bench rest stop) but even now, four months later, that my bones would be creaking and my joints aching after just sitting, yep – just sitting, in a comfy chair.
I am an active person though and I knew that some form of fitness, however minor in the beginning, was going to be important for my mind and body. Perhaps it was a blessing and certainly a curse that I felt so nauseous during the majority of my pregnancy and food in general so unappealing that I did not gain much weight to speak of (20lb a week before he was born and the last time I checked), or rather I was not left with any residual weight.
My general shape, however, is now somewhat different… and my belly button seems to be left in a permanent state of confusion, undecided quite between ‘inny’ and ‘outy’ status. Never before did I quite grasp the importance of a good sports bra, in fact I think I only ever bought anything that came with the size option of S/M/L, but post baby things are different. I am now well stocked with a slew of my favourite Panache sports bras which keep everything firmly in place whilst providing options for regular back and racerback (for extra high intensity – not quite there yet) and being uber comfortable at the same time. Wearing a proper sized sports bra is revolutionary – how did I not know this? If you fancy trying some for yourself, or any of the Panache range for that matter, you will be delighted to discover the Click, Fit & Collect service – simply order a selection of styles and sizes online to be delivered free of charge to your local store where you can enjoy a free fitting and trying consultation before buying only the styles you choose. If you’re anything like me you will be more than happy to wave goodbye to the days of lingerie shopping where you turn up and there’s no stock in your size. Cheerio.
So, I am easing myself very slowly back into fitness, indoors and out, but here is a quick look at what’s working for me right now (and I would be neglectful not to mention sanding these floors because that, for sure, was a workout itself and one that I am so proud of – strong girls club)…
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All about the pelvic floor. No sooner is the baby out than they are telling you to practise these guys, before your body has even recovered enough to feel that you’re doing them, you better be doing them… at least if you ever want to trampoline ever again.
Within the first week I began light ab work but not the kind of ab work I was used to. This is all about bringing those muscles back together where they belong. During pregnancy everything moves and your six pack literally divides into a pair of three packs – that first week if I tried to sit up I could fit a whole fist between those muscles which was pretty freaky. I did some pelvic rocks, flat on my back, knees bent, sucking my tummy in and rocking my hips up towards my chest slightly. I’ve graduated these now to include pelvic floor and arm extensions with weights – triple threat. Honestly I am still really wary of any traditional sit up type exercise as I feel my abs are a little undecided about their final destination and I do not want to encourage them anywhere other than together so I tend to sub this into any workout that includes intense ab work.
Following my ten week check I got back in touch with my old friend Jillian Michaels. And when I say ‘got in touch’ I mean dug out the ipad videos and when I say ‘my old friend’ I mean I think I’m closer to her than she is to me… My poison of choice right now is Ripped in 30 and I basically take the easy option offered for almost all the exercises and make some subs as I mentioned above with the abs. I avoid anything high impact and modify high knees for high steps, etc., etc… you get the idea. I love these workouts though because her format is never mundane – two minutes of strength, two minutes of cardio, one minute of abs in three different circuits. I really appreciate home workouts because I avoid time wasted getting to and from the gym and, if I time it right, Hunter watches from his bouncy seat entertaining himself with his own little baby gym (FYI it looks waaay easier than my workout). When in doubt I remind myself of my favourite mantra ‘Never regret a workout’ – I mean, have you EVER?
Moving forward I’ll be upping the intensity of the workouts and trying to get back to my five days a week – right now I usually average three. And I am tempted to try Kayla Itsines after so many recommendations…
Walking. Simple as that. I started real slow and short on the first day home from hospital and built up little by little. By around two weeks post baby I could comfortably walk fifteen minutes, not at any great pace, but I felt like myself again, that was the real turning point. Four months in and I can hike hills and walk briskly for a solid hour just like before. It truly is the best exercise and in any case, with two dogs and a baby, I have little choice in the matter and pushing the pram throws in some resistance work for free.
So that’s my tuppence worth as they say… if you have anything to add, advice or questions, I am all ears – just drop me a note in the comments.x
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With thanks to Panache for supporting this post.