Good morning from sunny Florida! Finn and I are having the best time hanging out with my family. We’ve been to the aquarium and the zoo, and today we are heading out to the beach. There’s also been lots of rolling around on the floor with him. He’s moving around like CRAZY! He’s been doing full 360 rolls since we arrived and has learned how to scoot by putting his face down and coming up to his knees with his butt in the air and pushing forward. I feel like he’s going to be crawling before I know it…ahhhh!
Now that I’ve caught you up on Finn’s recent exercise routine (seriously, all the movement he does looks exhausting for a little guy!), let’s talk about mine.
(All photos in this post are courtesy of Scott Broome Photography)
POST-BABY FITNESS UPDATE: 5 MONTHS
Postpartum fitness hasn’t been at all what I expected it to be, mainly in regards to these two things.
- I expected to be back to a pretty normal (for me) level of activity by this point.
- My mindset about fitness and workouts has shifted a ton.
Let’s dig deeper into those two things…
My level of activity and a “normal” workout routine.
I admit that I was a little delusional about workouts and babies going into all of this. I just assumed I would figure it out and kind of get back to normal when my body felt ready for it. Nope, didn’t happen. There is no normal happening around here.
I knew from years of training female clients, teaching yoga and blogging that one of the biggest things that mom struggle with in regards to working out after having kids is finding the time to do it. This has been absolutely true for me and without having a partner to “tag in,” it’s been nearly impossible.
If you’ve been following along you know that walking has been the best form of postpartum exercise for me because it’s gentle on the body and I can take Finn with me. I can’t recommend walking enough to other expecting and new mamas. I also truly believe it’s helped me keep my fitness up, especially adding some hills to our walking route.
Other than that, I have been to a total of three yoga classes in over five months and trips to the gym to lift have been few and far between. Running seems to be the easiest thing to fit in because I can do it so quickly if I get a sitter or if Finn is spending time with his dad and I don’t have to devote two hours to driving to the gym or yoga, doing workout or class and driving home.
The Ys here in Charlotte are amazing in that I can add Finn to my membership for just $8 a month and that includes 2 hours of child care per day. Their child care is also great because their caregiver to child ratios are low and they separate all of the children based on age. Now that he’s a little older and seems a bit more sturdy for lack of a better word, I do plan on taking advantage of that and trying to get into some sort of a schedule to lift or take some kind of class a couple of times each week.
To be honest, part of me feels guilty/selfish for taking him to child care at the Y but part of me also knows that I have to take care of myself and that getting back into some sort of a regular workout routine will be good for both of us in the grand scheme of things.
ALSO!!! Finn’s pediatrician just okayed him to go for runs with me in the BOB jogging stroller. He said his head and neck control is fine for it. This will be a game changer in regards to being able to run regularly again…and just in time for fall running, which is my favorite!
As far as yoga…ugh. I really needed a break from it for a few months to re-evaluate my relationship with the practice after devoting the better part of seven years to one studio and then walking away from that. Starting my teacher training in Tennessee has solidified that I still very much want to work in the yoga space but I also very much want to get back to a regular and meaningful personal practice. It’s been nearly impossible to do with a baby. Home practices seem like the best option for me but guys…fitting them in feels like a joke. If Finn is awake, there is NO WAY it’s happening and if he’s napping, there are about a million other things I need to do from work to keeping the house some semblance of clean.
I have had this deep internal pull to get back to a regular asana and meditation practice so I have got to figure this out. I know that I need it and that it will help me so so so much with everything from anxiety and stress to how I feel in my body day-to-day (especially now that I find myself constantly carrying Finn on one side).
A shifting mindset.
Perhaps the biggest post-baby fitness surprise has been how much my mindset around exercise has shifted. Prior to becoming pregnant and through a lot of my pregnancy, I exercised pretty much every day. It was no big deal for me to go for a 3-5 mile run and then to teach a 45-minute strength class. I usually did some sort of running, strength or hot yoga every single day. I was so used to this level of activity that I would feel “off” if I didn’t workout.
That has changed so much. Some weeks I’ve been able to fit in a strength workout and a few runs. Some weeks are crazy and I am lucky if I can fit in daily walks, forget adding anything else in. I think it’s been a huge gift to be able to sloooooowwww down when it comes to fitness and to be more gentle and mindful with my body. I can now go days at a time without doing more than walking and I don’t even think twice about it. Gone is that pent-up, anxious energy that made me feel like I had to figure out how to fit a workout into the day.
I think one thing that helped was educating myself on how much the female body goes through during pregnancy and childbirth and how important it is to allow the body to recover after the baby is born. While I felt somewhat knowledgable on that, I was in no way prepared for the huge hormonal shifts that would take place after having a baby or that so much of my energy would go to simply caring for Finn and breastfeeding. Most of the time (and ESPECIALLY in those early days) it feels like a huge achievement to get through the day with Finn and to keep him fed and relatively happy.
I do want to take a minute to talk about how workouts actually feel in my body. Surprisingly, really good. I feel pretty normal when I run and lift. Slightly less fit when it comes to running and most definitely weaker when it comes to lifting (I have completely lost my pull ups!) but there are no weird sensations and most things feel like they did before pregnancy. Yoga is difficult just because I’m out of regular practice and so tight.
I’ve received quite a few questions on if I have noticed a dip in my supply in relation to running or HIIT workouts, I have not.
In conclusion, postpartum fitness hasn’t looked or felt like what I thought it might but it’s been exactly what it should be. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my body and how to listen to its needs and cues. I also think that I just grew to love my body so, so much more through pregnancy for the absolute miracle it did by growing Finn. Overall, it’s been a really good experience for me.
Wow, that was a lot and all over the place. I am only five months in so I will be sure to update you guys again in a few months. If you have any specific questions for me, please leave them in the comments and I will answer. Also, if you have any insight on getting back into a routine with fitness/exercise, I’d love to hear that too.
Thanks for reading! 🙂