“Bounce Back”: How I Finally Bounced Back into a Fitness Routine Post-Partum
Before and during my pregnancy I was extremely active. Fitness was a priority and a part of my lifestyle. Before having kids, making time for working out in addition to work, family, and friends was a no-brainer… Then I had a baby and that changed. I never thought after being so physically active, even during pregnancy, that after my son was born, I would have such a hard time getting back to it. I put so much pressure on myself in addition to societal pressure to “Bounce Back” that I felt so down about myself that I didn’t just hop right back into my prior fitness routine. Now, two years later, I have a routine and fitness is once again a priority. But how did I get here?
- I listened to my body and what it needed. To be completely honest, after my 6-week post-partum appointment where I got the “all clear” to exercise again, I was not ready. My body needed some extra T.L.C., physical therapy, and time to feel fully recovered. After a few starts and “fails” of trying to get back into higher-intensity workouts, I realized that all my body wanted was low-intensity workouts such as Barre and Pilates. It wasn’t until 8- or 9 months post-partum that I even began running and doing some lighter weights at home again. Then at 14 months post-partum I finally decided that I was ready to get back into strength training and rejoined the gym.
- I made a schedule that was realistic for me. As much as I would love to be in the gym 6 days a week, as a working mom that’s not realistic. I started scheduling what workouts I would do on which days, just like I would schedule any other task/ event in my life, and did my best to stick with it. I also scheduled myself for 6 workout days a week, knowing if I missed a workout or two, I would still feel successful if I worked out 4 days that week.
- I had a training program. Rather than just exercising 4-6 days/ week, I followed a set program of a certain number of strength training days and low-intensity/high-intensity cardio days. I would “re-arrange” what I did on what days of the week to best match my schedule as needed, (eg, shuffling rest days). This is when I started seeing more results, which is always a great way to stay motivated!
- I stopped feeling guilty. I no longer feel guilty for spending time away from my son to go have some “me time” at the gym. I also no longer feel guilty if I have a “bad week” where I miss more workouts than I would like, whether that’s because of illness, needing to do something with my family or friends, or just feeling like a rest day is what is best that day.
- I realized I don’t look like I did before growing a tiny human and that is perfectly okay. I didn’t “bounce back” to how I looked before, but I did bounce back into a fitness routine and that’s what matters to me.
Everyone’s post-partum journey is different. Societal pressures to do things quicker than what your body may tell you don’t help. It doesn’t matter if you need more time. Listen to your body and find what works best for you on your mama fitness journey.