When you’re pregnant, EVERYONE (literally everyone) tells you how things will never be the same! (That and you’ll never sleep again, which come on, that’s so not true!) And yes, things do change. Your routine of waking up, eating, getting dressed, showering, pretty much doing anything, changes. But you make it work. That’s just what you do. And if living a healthy life is important to you, then you make that work too and adjust your fitness routine!
How My Fitness Routine Has Changed Since Having a Baby
My baby just turned one last Wednesday 🙁 I still can’t believe it. This little man who grew inside of me, is now a whole year old! Time has literally flown by. (Yes those first few months were TOUGH and they definitely dragged, but once we got into a routine – aka surviving – time flew!) He’s now a smart, and funny toddler who wants to do everything by himself!
So I thought now that my son is one, it’s about time I discuss how my fitness routine has changed since I’ve become a Mom. I’ll let you in on what my life was like before Noah and what it’s like now!
(Beautiful photos by MarcellaCuaPhotography)
Before Noah, I would work out at home, in our basement, 5 days a week. Usually 4 times after work during the week and once over the weekend. I went on a lot of runs and also did plenty of body weight or low weight dumbbell circuits. I could work out whenever I wanted and didn’t have to worry about anything other than my workout.
Most of my workouts were full body circuits, and I wrote them all out myself. Often, my workouts would last 45 minutes to an hour with a solid warm up and cool down, plus stretching.
When Noah was born (after 26 hours of labor where my epidural failed twice…) I didn’t know what to expect from my body. I was mostly active through my entire pregnancy and honestly it was fairly smooth (which is why I think Karma came and kicked my butt during labor and delivery). However, I did get very large. Not large as in I put on a ton of weight, because I didn’t, but large as in ALL BABY! Being only 5’2’’ there’s not a lot of room in my belly, and Noah grew OUT. Here’s me at 38 weeks pregnant (that was the last pic I wanted to take even though I went past 40 weeks, sorry for the low quality pic!)
So once he was here, I spent the first 6 weeks learning, and cuddling, and waking up through the night, and basically trying to figure out this whole “mom” thing.
I didn’t work out at all. And I’m glad I didn’t. Although recovery was great, and I had no issues, I thought it was important to give my body that full 6 weeks off. We did go on walks, but nothing intense. The one thing I WISH I had done, was ab exercises for diastasis recti. Those are safe enough to be done early, and may have sped up that healing process.
The same day I was cleared from my doctor, I dropped my son with my Mom and went for a 1 mile run. And man did it feel good! Yes, my tummy jiggled (and whoa was that weird), but my legs felt good, and my lungs felt good and I didn’t pee myself! I had heard so many horror stories about that, so I felt like it was a win!
While I was still on maternity leave for 6 more weeks, I tried to fit in workouts whenever I could. If I could get him to nap somewhere, I’d do a lightweight circuit. My husband and I would take turns walking the stroller while the other ran around the block, then we’d switch. I had no set structure or timeline or schedule to my workouts. If I had time to do one, I did, if not, I didn’t beat myself up!
I also didn’t try to jump right back into my normal workouts. I knew I wanted to lose the weight, so I tried to run more often than I normally would. In fact, I would set Noah up in the basement on a little bouncer and jump on the treadmill. This worked out super well for me, because Noah was usually content for about 20 minutes at a time! And I also worked in diastasis exercises whenever I could.
Heading back to work was tough… I enjoyed my time away from Noah because I felt like myself again, but I missed him so much! Fortunately for me, I was able to change my schedule to 3 days in the office and 2 days from home. But that meant working out got a bit more hectic.
On work days, I wouldn’t get home until about 5:30pm. We would then put Noah in a bouncer, or an exersaucer and bring him to the basement where we did workouts. And he LOVED it! He would smile and play and be perfectly content while we were sweating. It was seriously awesome! I was able to work out pretty consistently and while Noah was awake because he couldn’t go anywhere! When working from home, I could do the same thing. Plop him somewhere and do a circuit while making silly faces at him! 4 days a week, is typically what my schedule would look like.
This is about the time when I decided I was sick and tired of how I looked. Yes, I had lost all the baby weight, and that was great. But my body did NOT look the same. My stomach had stretch marks and loose skin around my belly button and my belly button never went back “in”. Yep, I had an umbilical hernia (and still do!). I thought maybe if I continued to work on my exercises and clean up my diet that would help.
I started a 60 day challenge with myself and found it was HARD to keep to a schedule when you have a kiddo. I wanted to work out 5 days a week, but I found it was easier to get in 4. Some days he just didn’t want to watch me workout. Then he started crawling and I couldn’t work out when he was awake. That left either workout out during nap time, but that’s when I had to get real work done, or go for a run during awake time. So although I had good intentions, it wasn’t always easy.
I found it much easier in months 3-6 because he couldn’t go anywhere. A mobile baby is a whole different story! Sometimes my only option was to work out AFTER he went to bed. So I’d hop on the bike for 20 minutes around 8:30pm.
This is when I finally figured it out! Noah was walking and running and playing and in such a good routine of naps and sleeping. This made is so much easier for me to figure out a schedule!
I started getting up early in the morning 2 days a week, 2 of the days I went into the office. The 2 days I worked from home, Noah and I would go for a run and I’d get a short circuit in while he ran around and played at the park (closely supervised, don’t worry, it was more like get 5 pushups in, then chase after him, 5 pushups, chase!) Then one day during the weekend, I’d get a long workout in during his nap. That got me to 5 days a week with 2 rest days.
Although I went on runs with Noah right when he hit 6 months (the recommended age for a jogging stroller), I really didn’t get into the swing of my workouts until this time frame. So I have to throw this in there because it has saved me! My Bob jogging stroller is AMAZING (affiliate link)! I can’t say enough good things about it. Yes, it’s expensive… Never did I think I’d spend that much money for a stroller, but I do not regret it one bit. The ride is so smooth. I feel like I’m barely pushing (except when it’s uphill and then I want to cry because my baby is heavy!).
Noah absolutely loves it too, he often points and yells and laughs along the way. There’s plenty of storage, a cool window where I can see him, and the hood completely covers him. If you’re in the market for a running stroller and know you’ll be using it a ton, I completely recommend a Bob! They’re one of the best for a reason! I can’t wait to get a double when we have a second child!
So back to my routine… this feels like something I can manage and continue doing. Even though I wake up early, I love getting my workout done first thing. It truly does energize me for the day. And I love that Noah gets to watch me stay active and workout because it’s going to teach him the benefits of exercising!
In the end
Yes, having a baby changed my routine in a HUGE way! But I made it work. And as he grew, I had to make adjustments. But that’s life. Working out was not something I wanted to compromise on. Was I as disciplined as I could have been? No way. Will I do things differently the next time around? Definitely. But I’m happy and proud of what I’ve accomplished and I know you can do the same.
So here are my tips for you, whether you are pregnant, thinking about getting pregnant, have a new baby, or are already an experienced Mom:
- Be kind to yourself. You just had a baby. You literally GREW a human inside you. So you already rock! Those first 6 weeks? Take it easy. Let your body do its thing. A 6 week break isn’t going to kill all of your goals.
- DON’T compare yourself to other Moms. This one is seriously huge! I found myself looking at other women who had babies and would think “why can’t my stomach look like that?” But you know what? Everyone’s journey is different! Everyone’s body is different. And I’m still working on that.
- Adjust, adjust, adjust. You may have things totally figured out (like I feel I do now), when all the sudden something changes. And you need to adjust. Switch your schedule. Change how you work out. Do whatever you need to do, but know that it’s okay and you’ll figure it out again soon.
- If you can, workout when the baby naps. This is when you’ll get the most opportunity to get a solid workout in.
- If your baby doesn’t nap, workout with the baby! There are some awesome exercises you can do with your kiddo. Check out my June Workout of the Month where Noah makes his debut!
- Look for other tips on how to work out as a Mom on this post here!
- Make a schedule and try to stick to it. But don’t be mad when things change. See number 3. If you need help creating your own workout plan, then you’ll like this post!
- Make is a priority. If you make working out a priority, you’ll find a way. And I think, you’ll be a better Mom for it. I know I am!
- Just fit in workouts whenever you can. Even if that means doing it 5 minutes at a time spread out through the whole day. It’s not going to be perfect, but it’ll be worth it!
Living a healthy life will benefit both you and your family. But you’ve got to find something that works for you!
How did your fitness change when you had a baby? Do you have any other tips?