Time. Energy. Motivation.
Three things you need to reach your post- baby fitness goals. Three things you definitely do NOT have with a new baby!
No matter if you are a weekend warrior, professional athlete or somewhere in between— the struggle is real for us all. Sleep deprivation, marathon nursing sessions, never-ending piles of laundry, the demands of your other kids—it’s enough to make the strongest mama wonder how she will ever squeeze in a fitness routine!
While you will never have time and never have energy, sometimes all you need is the right motivation and a few tricks up your sleeve to conquer your day and your workouts.
For me, motivation came during last summer’s 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Three-months post-partum with my second, I had returned to playing soccer but was struggling each day to get a workout in while attending to the non-stop needs of an infant and 4-year old. I longed to regain my pre-baby fitness levels.
Watching the strong, female Olympic competitors— especially those who were moms (or new moms!!) left me inspired. I knew I just had to find a way to squeeze in exercise to reach my goals.
Six-months later, and hundreds of days filled with ups and downs, I have discovered a few methods that will go a long way to help you fit a workout into your day and fly down the path to achieving your post-partum fitness goals!
As with everything, remember that everyone is different- different pregnancies, different births, different fitness levels. Be sure to check with your doctor to determine the best post-natal fitness path for you.
Make Working Out a Priority
There will always be a never-ending list of things that need to be done when you have a bit of free time. That dirty pile of dishes in the sink, catching up on emails, laundry, making appointments etc. etc. etc. to infinity. It’s tempting to try to finish a task quickly before working out but every minute of a mom’s day is fleeting and your time may be gone before you know it!
When you make exercise a top priority, you are giving yourself permission to ignore the rest of tasks until after your workout is complete.
Go ahead! Ignore that pile of laundry that needs to be put away and jump right into your favorite sweat session first. (It’s more fun anyway!)
Find the Time that Works for You
“Workout when the baby naps!” or “Get up a few minutes earlier to squeeze in a run!”, they say.
This may be the perfect time for you. More likely you want to catch up on sleep, or eat or god forbid shower instead. And that’s okay!
Each day with a new baby is a juggling act and you must find the time slot that works best for you. Maybe it’s when the baby naps or for you it might be while Baby plays quietly nearby. (Which never worked for me—they always got away!)
My advice— when a free few minutes presents itself, jump right into some exercise and just get it done.
A Little Prep Goes a Long Way
A little prep will go a long way when the heavens open and give you an unexpected 20 free minutes.
Put your gym clothes on first thing in the morning so the instant Baby goes down for a nap you can jump right into a workout rather than spending 10 precious minutes searching for your favorite leggings.
Plan your daily workouts ahead of time so you know exactly how you’re going to move when it’s time to go.
Break Up Workouts
One thing that is certain with a new baby— you can never be sure how long a chunk of free time you will get. Just when you think they will nap for hours after being up all night—they surprise you and wake up after only 15 minutes (and not even halfway through your abs session)!
When this happens don’t get frustrated. Plan to complete the rest of your workout later in the day. Breaking a 30-minute workout into two 15 minute chunks is better than nothing at all–and still feels amazing when completed!
Remember to Eat and Hydrate
Easier said than done, right? Proper nutrition and hydration are key for powering through sleep deprived days and workouts—especially if you’re breastfeeding. Eating a healthy snack 30 minutes before exercise, hydrating throughout the day and having a bit of protein post-workout will all help you muscle though and recover quickly.
Having healthy snacks pre-prepped and ready to grab will save you precious minutes too!
This is the most important thing you can do for yourself. Life with a new baby is amazing and joyful but also tiring and unpredictable. Despite your best intentions, it may be difficult to achieve your goals in the timeframe you set for yourself.
Be flexible and roll with where life takes you on a given day!
If Baby wakes up 10 minutes into your workout, it’s okay. If you prioritize getting some rest over the run you planned, don’t get down on yourself. Tomorrow is another day and guaranteed that things will change.
Remember it takes time to reach your post-partum fitness goals. There will be ups and downs. Keep working. You will get there!
So grab some breast pads for your sports bra and your favorite wide headband to hold down those new hair growth clumps (You’ll thank me later for those two gems!) and get moving! You got this Mama!
What other tips have helped you get your workouts in with babies or small kiddos underfoot?