Getting back after exercise can be a serious struggle – mentally, physically and emotionally. Your body aches, you’re exhausted and time is an issue. Linda Jones, Co-founder and trainer of P4 Body, gives us insider knowledge on how you can get your fitness back after giving birth and learn to love your post-natal figure!
The biggest setback when getting going? Starting too soon. 9 months of pregnancy, not to mention labour and then delivery is all incredibly strenuous on the body. Sure, women are amazing and do overcome all the challenges faced, but pushing yourself before you’re ready to do so can lead to lifelong issues and injury as well as fatigue and a sense of premature failure.
Ignorance is bliss, especially while remembering the pre-baby days when you could come and go at the gym as you pleased. Things have changed now and you will need to find your flow again, this time with baby in tow. Decide what exercise you want to do, then half that to begin with – start by getting to grips with the idea of doing even the tiniest amount of exercise at all!
Play the Long Game
Your body has change – in some ways, forever, so you’re up against some big old health factors. One of these is hormones to name but one! While it is recommended that you wait 6-9 weeks to workout after having a baby (depending on the type of delivery you’ve had) I believe that the ‘fourth trimester’ lasts a whole year after birth. Learning to love the process of getting your fitness back, not just the results, will see you through to your end goal.
Don’t Believe everything you read
Just because a magazine writes that someone has lost all of their baby weight and is sporting a rippling six pack 2 weeks after having a baby, doesn’t mean it’s actually true. Celebs and ‘influencers’ are human, just like the rest of us, but they do have excellent PR and teams of staff, ensuring that we see only the good bits. And the truth? It can get somewhat stretched along the way to say the least. Most of us are juggling a new baby, real life and those extra pounds, so give yourself a break and breathe!
Work from the inside out
As tempting as it is, don’t focus on smashing your body to burn calories. Think about nurturing your body in every aspect, to help restore and revive it back to its former glory. Think good hydration, plenty of nourishing, natural food and checking in with yourself emotionally from time to time, too.
Don’t go anywhere
We started P4 Body around the same time as starting a family and being able to workout online, at home, saved me from breaking point. The reality of being tied down, at the mercy of a tiny human, unable to always do what you need to do can be crippling. Learning to work with what you’ve got will be a game changer. If you need a helping hand, why not invest in an online personal trainer. It will take the brain power out of your progress, usually at a fraction of the cost of 1 : 1 training.
Work with Your body
Learn to check in with yourself and ask, ‘what does my body need today?’ Sure, sometimes it will be saying ‘the sofa and a bucket load of biscuits’. In this case, it might need a gentle shove towards the workout kit. However, if you’ve had a rough night then maybe a 20-minute stretch session might be more beneficial, or if you’ve not seen the light of day, you could get outside for a jog with the pushchair. Work in synergy with your body and it will repay you.
Pelvic floor & inner core unit
Think of these two as the two vital pieces’ that finish the puzzle. If they are not in place, then the whole thing won’t be effective. Your pelvic floor and inner core unit go through a lot during pro creation. If trained correctly afterwards, they are also the key to a functional, healthy post-baby body. Think kegals, belly breathing and lower abdominal strengthening exercises.
Do it to feel good, not to keep up
Time to get those hypothetical blinkers on, turn up the tunes and get your beautiful body moving. While you’re there, have a social media clear out too. One of the biggest mojo killers? Looking at just about everyone else and constantly feeling like you’re just not good enough. Learn to focus inward and really enjoy your workouts and the reasons why you’re doing them, this is YOUR time. Do this, and before you know it the post baby wobbly bits will be a distant memory.
Accept that there will never be a perfect time to workout
A clear day in the diary, when baby isn’t screaming, you’re full of energy and nothing gets in your way? Well sorry to be a kill joy but… it’s unlikely to happen – at least in the first few months, anyway. It’s a hard reality of early motherhood, but the sooner you accept that there is rarely going to be a ‘perfect’ day to workout, the sooner you’ll get up and get on with it. Waiting for that perfect day can quickly turn into a stalling tactic, so get moving and don’t look back.
A word of advice:
*Always get a doctor’s approval before starting exercise again post baby*