People talk about pregnancy being such a beautiful thing, and it is. However, I think any woman who was carried a baby in the third trimester knows that there is a point where it definitely does not feel beautiful anymore. I remember being on bed rest and wanting nothing more than to get some exercise and feel like myself again.
Something people don’t tell you (along with many, many, many other things about having a baby) is that your body doesn’t go back to normal as quickly as you think after childbirth. I was still in maternity pants for a solid 2 months after Trippe was born. I mean, part of that was because they’re so comfortable that I didn’t want to switch back to real pants…but still.
You are not allowed to work out until at least 6 weeks after have a baby. When that 6 weeks was up, I was so ready to start a workout routine. I went strong for a few days, and then, like every other workout regimen I’ve started, other things began to take priority. It’s also difficult to choose working out over an extra hour of sleep when you’re still only getting 3-4 hours in a row on a good night.
It was not until Trippe was 1.5 years old (so, just these past three months) that I felt like I finally found a workout routine that worked for me. These are just a few, simple things that I found helpful when choosing and committing to a daily routine.
1. Work out in your house or join a gym that has free childcare.
The two things that have been most successful for me have been a YMCA membership and a subscription to Beach Body on Demand. The Y was great, because I almost felt like I could get a little “self-care time” in the the middle of a crazy day. Someone else was going to babysit Trippe, and I had two hours of alone time. However, this does get expensive for young families–our monthly bill was around $80 per month. Plus, as a working mom, I didn’t feel good about losing even more time that I needed to be spending as a mama.
That’s when I discovered this amazing thing called Beach Body on Demand. You can get the program for $99/yr. You can also do a package deal where you buy a 30-day supply of Shakeology ($130) and get Beach Body on Demand for $30/yr. Popular Beach Body programs are Insanity, 21 Day Fix, P90X, and many more. There are SO many workout plans to choose from. What I love about this is it’s inexpensive compared to a gym membership, and you also get so many supplies to be successful. Once you choose your workout program, you get a workout calendar, meal plan, journal, and online support. They really set you up to get the most out of the programs, and they really work. I highly recommend T25 – I’m currently on Week 7 of 10, and I absolutely love it.
2. Shoot for short.
A lot of times, we fail at consistently working out because we’re shooting for too much. Going for an hour-long workout can be just too overwhelming when you’re also trying to adjust to mom life. Start out by simply going for 30 minutes. There are lots of workouts that burn 300+ calories in that amount of time, and it’s way more manageable to commit to. There may be a time when you’re already in a routine and you can increase your workout time, but you’ll be much more likely to be successful if you commit to a shorter time at the beginning.
3. Work out at the exact same time each day, no excuses.
The very best time for you to work out is when kids are asleep. I never get through a full workout when Trippe is awake, either because he is jumping on me or is crying to be picked up. Commit to working out early in the morning, during nap time, or after bed time. Whatever you choose, work out at the exact same time every day. A huge reason why people aren’t successful in working out is because they never build it as a habit. When you’re working out at random times on various days, you never create a habit. Working out at the same time every day trains your body to crave that aspect of your daily routine.
4. Have accountability or a workout buddy.
One of the things I love about Beachbody is that they have an accountability app where you log your workouts each day. Over time, you can see your calendar of progress and how you’ve been doing.
Another great way is to find another young mom in a similar place as you and agree to be accountability partners for your workouts. Commit to texting each other every day to see if you both completed your workout. Offer encouragement and support consistently. Not only will this keep you accountable in fitness, but you will create a close relationship with a friend as well!
You could take this one step further and have someone that you workout with every day. Maybe you head to the gym early in the morning together while husbands and kids are still sleeping. You could bring all the kids to one house for nap time and do a workout together there. If you have the time, this is an even better way to grow friendship in commitment.
5. View exercise as a privilege of self-care, not a punishment for needing to lose weight.
Another big reason we fail at exercise is because we view it incorrectly. There is a lot going around these days about self-care, and it is a very important aspect of mental and physical health in motherhood. We can get so anxious to lose weight that we end up beating ourselves down. If we look at exercise as an opportunity for relaxation and self-care, your body reacts to it differently. When you’re having fun, your body becomes more efficient and you burn more calories. When you’re punishing your body, it actually tries to preserve its own strength.
View your body as precious; you only get one, after all! Use your workout as a few moments of quiet each day that you get to care for your mind and your body. Never view it as punishment.
By following these tips, I have been very successful in working out 5-6 days per week over the past 3 months. The only time I’ve ever done that before was when I was running cross country and half marathons in high school. This has definitely worked for me, so I hope it will do the same for you! Mindset and habit are truly the keys for being successful, especially at this stage of life.