Post Partum Fitness Tips
Before we jumped on an airplane (and by jumped I mean waddled with all the various diaper bags + baby + carryons strapped on) to California two weeks ago, the scale told me I was back to my pre-baby weight and I felt like doing a little happy dance. Now, weight is just a number (and a number that has no doubtedly gone up after two weeks of eating out and a month without exercise #wisdomteeth), but when it reflects consistent work over the last 7 months, I’ll take it. I’ve had quite a few requests/emails asking about post partum fitness so today I’m sharing my tips + general lifestyle:
What I do/did
- Starting sooner rather than later: The first month or so I was not doing anything fitness related to lose baby weight or get back into shape. I was nursing/pumping and I was also eating everything in the house. I came home from the hospital 30 pounds from my prenatal weight and all my energy was focuses on eating what I needed to produce enough milk + survive those early weeks of motherhood. That said, pretty early on I started incorporating a lot of movement into our routine. Most wake periods (after my 6 week pp checkup), I’d start out by feeding the baby, and then setting him in the mamaroo and turning on some music. I’d sing along to him while I danced around the kitchen (sometimes with small weights) until I was totally out of breath. I added in lunges + squats + leg lifts as well. Lincoln could handle about 20 minutes of this before he wanted to be picked up and then we moved on to interpretive dance (with a disney or broadway pandora station) and weighted squats. He also loved sitting on my lap while I did sit ups and lying on the floor while I did push-ups, kissing his face every time I got close enough to the floor.
- Walking is my friend: I had grand plans to start running regularly (see this post), but it hasn’t really happened. Instead, I take Lincoln on a couple walks each day and its good for both of us. Lincoln loves being outside in the stroller and I turn on an audiobook for us to listen to as we walk.
- Free babysitting: Our gym has free daycare and at about 4 months post partum I started going regularly. It was more for having a free 45-60 minutes to myself than it was to workout but all that walking to netflix paid off. I started adding in a short weight training circuit as well and try to get there 4 times a week. On good days I’ll push myself, but usually I do 10-15 minutes of weights, 35 minutes of walking at a steep incline, and then another 10-15 minutes of stretching and abs.
- Healthy substitutes: Finding easy snacks + substitutes for treats was SO helpful for me. For about a month somewhere around 5 months post partum I started eating dessert only once a week and when I was craving something sweet at night I’d make a chocolate peanut butter protein shake (it helps that I found this awesome protein powder I order each month that tastes delicious and is really good for you). The dessert rule has gone out the window but I’m still having protein shakes regularly and use one a meal substitute for breakfast or lunch with another for dessert if I want it.
- Eating for energy: I started taking a daily nutrition whole foods supplement (the same company that I get my protein powder from) and this was as big turnaround for me at about 4 months post partum. It gave me enough energy to get through the day without taking naps whenever the baby did and I still swear by this stuff (not sure why it took me two years to listen to my mom and start drinking it).
- Eating early in the day: I found a lot of days I was so busy taking care of the baby during the day I didn’t take time to make myself food. I would get to dinner and be STARVING (and grumpy) and eat less healthy things for the rest of the evening just because I needed calories. Now, I try to make sure I’m eating something substantial for breakfast or lunch and limit myself to one bowl of cereal a day (instead of 5 – its happened before).
- I wish I had my old walking group from Cincinnati where we used to get together and walk 2-3 miles in the morning while catching up and pushing babies in strollers. For now my audiobooks are a good substitute but aren’t as great as making sure I actually get out the door.
- I did use the Barre3 online workouts for a month or so before I felt comfortable taking Lincoln to daycare. He was pretty good at playing and watching me while I exercised so those worked out well and I’ve been meaning to use them while in New Hampshire this week (we’ll see). The price point for the monthly subscription is great and I loved the workouts.
- Cute workout clothes have always been a huge motivator for me. I always want to put them on and when I’m wearing them I feel like I should be working out. Carrie Underwood’s new CALIA line has been my favorite since I discovered it six months ago. All the pieces are phenomenal quality (and so cute) and haven’t showed signs of wear despite daily use (well, almost daily).
^this is the same leggings + sweater combo I wore climbing two weeks ago in California …and the same thing I wore for a comfy day of traveling when flying to New Hampshire. These leggings are my very favorite of all the athletic leggings I’ve tried over the years (and there have been a lot) – they’re incredibly comfortable and I love the green color. At first I thought a sweater in a workout line was silly but its perfect for throwing on in the cooler months on your way to or from workouts + it was ideal for warming up while rock climbing without worrying about getting it dirty (and honestly, I wear it all the time with jeans – here and here).
^the tee shirts in this line are the best (can you tell I’m obsessed with this line?) – I’ve shared about them on here before but the short sleeved version of this one is my all time favorite tee and I wore it dressed up and dressed down all summer. The long sleeved one I’ll wear working out but more likely you’ll find it side tucked into a pair of jeans paired with my favorite flats for a casual look.
If you’re looking for new workout gear (or even just comfy basics), I can’t recommend these enough. The quality, the fit, and the designs are top fitness line meets woman savvy designer. You can order online or they’re available exclusively at Dick’s Sporting Goods (although there’s a better selection online in my opinion).
Congrats! You are looking great. I go to the gym and my daughter uses the daycare, which isn't free, but 30.00 a month for me. Have you considered yoga? I do it daily and it reminds me of ballet in a way. It definitely makes a difference. Those fall colors are gorgeous.
I forgot to ask, but are those photos in NH? I Was in windham and those long narrow roads and tons of woods and trees looks all too familiar.
These are great tips..thanks, lady!