MY POSTPARTUM WORKOUT GUIDE!!

It feels like a dream to be able to finally share my POSTPARTUM WORKOUT GUIDE!!!!

Wohoooo!!

I began working on it in the summer, so it has been in the works for awhile, and is something I am so passionate about, and so excited to share! Below is some more information about the guide, and one of the workouts so you know what the layout looks like, and what to expect!

WHAT EQUIPMENT DOES IT REQUIRE?

The only equipment it requires is a set of dumbbells, and a stability ball. I highly recommend having both of these in general if you workout from home. They are the same pieces of equipment I use in my Pregnancy Workout Guide, Pregnancy & Postpartum Workout Subscription, and ‘Regular’ Workout Subscription.

HOW LONG DOES EACH WORKOUT TAKE?

The workouts are designed for you to do them from home (although you can also do them at the gym if you’d like), and each take about 30 minutes to complete!

WHAT DOES IT ENTAIL?

There are 95 different exercises in this guide, and each has an image showing you exactly how to do it. The workouts are broken down into 3 different phases:

  • PHASE ONE: These are pelvic floor recovery exercises. You can start as soon as you feel up to it after delivery. These are VERY basic moves that target the deep core muscles and help your body recover. These are not full workouts, and should in no way make you sweat. They are designed to begin strengthening up those muscles that take a major hit during pregnancy and delivery.

  • PHASE TWO: These workouts are designed for mothers after they have been cleared to exercise by their doctors. They are designed to strengthen the pelvic floor, create strong connective tissue in the abdominals, help restore the core and prevent incontinence. You should remain in this stage until you no longer experience leaking, have abdominal separation, and other pelvic floor issues.

  • PHASE THREE: These workouts are designed for postpartum mothers who no longer experience leaking while exercising, have abdominal separation less than 1.5 fingers widths apart, whose stomach does not cone while exercising, who do not feel any type of discomfort in the pelvic region while exercising, and who do not have any other physical issues from delivery. They are designed to bridge the gap between “postpartum” workouts and “regular” workouts. They still incorporate pelvic floor exercises, but begin incorporating some higher impact exercises as well.

Aside from the workouts, the guide incorporates information on how to tailor it to YOUR body, and how to choose the right weight for you. It also includes educational information, and what to aware of postpartum - such as abdominal separation, coning, incontinence, diastasis recti, and posture. It includes steps to ensure you are properly connecting the deep core muscles while you exercise, which is crucial during this time. Lastly, it includes information on what to focus on during each phase, how to know when to move onto the next phase, and how I recommend breaking up the workouts each week.

WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?

All of the written information is at the beginning on the guide. I STRONGLY ENCOURAGE you to read through the entire guide before getting started. The information in there is important, and you should be aware of all of it before beginning.

After the educational information are the 3 phases broken down. Each phase contains pages with all of the workouts simply written out. Following that, are the workouts broken down with images to show you exactly how to do each exercise in each particular workout.

Postpartum Guide || goodfortheswole.com

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE POSTPARTUM GUIDE AND THE SUBSCRIPTION?

I, obviously, think both are great options - it just depends on what you’re looking for! As I mentioned, the postpartum guide is broken down into 3 different phases. This is a guide specifically focused on strengthening the body from the inside out. The Postpartum Workout Subscription contains workouts that are all “Phase Two” type of workouts. They are designed only for when you have been cleared to exercise by your doctor, and are for women who struggle with incontinence, abdominal separation, coning while exercising, and need lower impact workouts. You get 5 workouts sent every week with the subscription, so if you feel like you’ll be in Phase Two for awhile, or are not interested in Phase One or Phase Three style of workouts, than I would suggest the Postpartum Workout Subscription instead!

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

As of now, the Postpartum Workout Guide is priced at $40. I am hosting a giveaway pre-launch on February 20th on my Instagram, that will run until February 21st at 10:00pm MST. I am sending TEN people this guide for free. Go enter on my page!!

I AM “X” MONTHS/YEARS POSTPARTUM. CAN I STILL DO IT?

It does not matter how long ago you had a baby. The deep core muscles can always be strengthened, just like any other muscle in your body! Once you are postpartum, you are ALWAYS postpartum, and this is a good way to work from the ground up and properly strengthen the right muscles!

WHAT IF I HAVE PROLAPSE OR A HERNIA?

This guide is obviously not individually tailored. I always recommend seeking the guidance of a pelvic floor physical therapist for very specific issues, such as prolapse and hernias. You should ALWAYS run everything by your doctor first, but in general, Phase One and Phase Two workouts might be good option.

My Favourite Supplements

After my last Q&A on Instagram (I save them to my highlights if you’re ever bored and want to flick through haha), I had lots of questions about certain supplements and if/why I take them. I figured it might be helpful to just write and link it all here so it’s easy to refer back to!

**These are all products I used during pregnancy (except the pre-workout), and while nursing. I can’t tell you what you should or should not take because I am not your doctor. Run everything by YOUR medical professional first.

In other news, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!

PRENATAL

If there is any chance you could get pregnant, it’s a really really really good idea to take a prenatal every day. Prenatals are crucial for that early development, which is happening before you even find out you’re pregnant. It’s also recommended to take them while breastfeeding! My favourite brands are Garden of Life and Rainbow Light and Garden of Life. **Make sure to ask your own doctor if you are pregnant or nursing.

FISH OIL

Fish oils are one of my favourite, favourite supplements. I don’t love fish, so I like being able to still get the benefits. High quality is really important with fish oils, because a lot can be very high in mercury. I love Nordic Naturals! They’re great for hormones, brain (there’s a lot of research with fish oils and depression), heart, joint, and eye health. It’s also helps baby’s brain and eye development during pregnancy (obviously talk to your own doctor before using any supplement during pregnancy). **Make sure to ask your own doctor if you are pregnant or nursing.

PROBIOTIC

The gut is our bodies engine, and the gut microbiome, or all of the trillions of bacteria in our digestive tract, is really responsible for keeping us healthy. If you scrapped up all of the bacteria in your gut, it would weigh around 3-4lbs - so even though they are small, there are TONS and TOOOONS of them! We acquire most of the first microbes at birth, while passing through the vaginal canal, and from there, our diet, environment, and lifestyle determine the health of our microbiome, and how much good bacteria we have. The more good bacteria in the microbiome, the healthier we'll be! I use Silver Fern Brand probiotics. I use Children’s Probonix for Jack and Piper. **Make sure to ask your pediatrician for your kids, and own doctor if you are pregnant or nursing.

COLLAGEN

I started taking collagen right after I had Piper, and haven’t stopped since! It’s great for gut health, skin, hair, nails, joints, muscles, digestive health, and reduces fitness recovery time. There are a few brands that I’ve tried and like, but my main concern really is that it’s from a pasture-raised, grass fed source! The brands I use are Collagen For Her, Great Lakes Gelatin, and Vital Proteins! I definitely notice a difference in my hair, skin, nails, and muscle recovery! **Make sure to ask your own doctor if you are pregnant or nursing.

PROTEIN POWDER

I’ve only talked about Ideal Raw a million times before, but it really is my favourite protein powder! It’s plant based protein, but doesn’t have that gritty texture like all the other kinds I've tried. I like the ingredients, and used it while pregnant and nursing (obviously with the okay from my OBGYN). The chocolate peanut butter is sooooooo good! You can use SWOLE for 10% off, too! **Make sure to ask your own doctor if you are pregnant or nursing.

PRE-WORKOUT

I actually haven’t used pre-workout in a little bit, because I kept forgetting to buy more, but I actually really liked using it every now and then to help me get more out of my workout. I never drink any caffeinated soda or coffee or anything, so my body is really sensitive to even a little bit of caffeine. I like WMNutrition’s all-natural pre workout because it isn’t too much, and doesn’t make me feel weird or tingly. **I did use it every now and then while nursing Jack, but I ran it by my doctor, and again, this was the only caffeine in my diet. Make sure to ask your own doctor if you are nursing.

Daily Life

The kids and I moved into our own place last week, and have been busy getting settled! I love it, and Piper keeps saying, “I love our cozy house, mama”, so I think we’re all fans! Most of our furniture still hasn’t arrived, so it’s pretty bare still haha, but it’s suuuuper nice being in our own space again, and having all of our own things.

I haven’t done a ‘daily life’ post in a while, and I wanted to throw one up of our day and how it’s structured with entertaining the kids, and fitting in work right now.

MORNING

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Jack used to sleep in a little longer than Piper, but now they’re sharing a room they tend to wake up at the same time (read: Piper yells at Jack to wake up as soon as she opens her eyes). I nurse Jack, and they usually play with toys for a little while I get Piper’s milk and get their breakfast ready.

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Today’s breakfast was banana, raspberries, yogurt and toast for them, and wheat sourdough, mashed avocado, arugula, poached egg, cherry tomatoes, and micro greens for me. I usually make my breakfast when they’re eating theirs otherwise it gets tooooo crazy.

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Depending on how messy breakfast is, I do baths after breakfast or after dinner. This was definitely a morning bath type of day haha. Eek. Luckily both of them LOOOOVE baths and could stay in there all day, so I cleaned their bathroom while played and drenched me with water.

I got them ready for the day, we read a couple of books, and then Jack went down for his morning nap (he goes back down about 1 1/2 to 2 hours after he wakes up).

Piper helped me unload the dishwasher, clean up after breakfast, clean the other bathroom, and we started playing with blocks when Jack woke up after 45 minutes. Loved that.

AFTERNOON

We hit up Ikea to some things for the house, and came back for lunch. They had Annie’s Mac & Cheese, corn, steamed green beans, and cucumbers, and then both went down for their afternoon nap.

I cleaned up after their lunch, and got in a workout - a 3 mile run and THIS glute circuit. I followed it up with a scoop of IdealRaw chocolate peanut butter protein, a veggie wrap posted HERE. **You can use ‘SWOLE’ for 10% off any IdealRaw products!

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Nap time is when I try to get the bulk of my work stuff done. I want to do a full post one day of what it all entails, but yesterday I answered time-sensitive emails, finished some content work I am doing for a company, and Jack woke up again before I could get to anything else.

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I nursed him, and we read books, and played until Piper woke up. We took the scooters and tricycle outside and walked around the neigbourhood, then played at the park (there’s one in our complex which is awesome).

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EVENING

We came back inside, and I started making turkey chili (using THIS recipe). I didn’t add in as much of the spices so it would be too hot for the kids, and added plain greek yogurt to cool it down for them. This is the hardest time of the day (4-6pm), because Jack only wants to be held, and Piper wants all of my attention too. I make as much of dinner as I can while holding Jack, and distract him with snacks the rest of the time haha. I don’t normally like Piper watching shows, but every now and then I let her watch a little one while I make dinner for us.

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After we eat, I get them ready for bed, read books, and we clean up their toys. Jack goes down first, and Piper drinks her milk and we read/sing songs. She goes down and then I clean up after dinner, do more work, and take a hot bath while I watch Netflix and have some JoJo’s dark chocolate (use SWOLE10 for 10% off).

Haha…no wonder I'm so exhausted at the end of the day. These kids keep me busy, but I love it.

Friday Favourites

Except on Monday. It’s all good. I have my life together, I swear…

Here are some of my favourite things that I find helpful in regards to being a mum, and trying to live a healthy lifestyle! Happy Monday!!

TRUE LEMON + COLLAGEN PEPTIDES

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I have been drinking this mix regularly since the beginning of the summer, so I have no clue why I’m only posting about it now. True Lemon is a natural mix that I like drinking during the afternoon to mix up plain water. I add in Collagen For Her collagen peptides (I believe “GOODFORTHESWOLE” gets you 10% off) because they are unflavoured and it’s just an easy way to sneak in collagen.

MENTAL HEALTH

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I’ve always known mental health is important, but going through a divorce has given me a whole new appreciation for it, and I see the direct impact it has on physical and just overall health. IT IS SO IMPORTANT. I recently started following Alexa Allred (@allredyalexa) on Instagram. She is a Mental Health Therapist, and shares helpful tips, advice, and mental health education on her page. Even just seeing her posts and stories pop up are a nice reminder every day to check in and make sure my mental health is taken care of too!

SHARK MOP

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When I went to Washington D.C. to visit a friend a couple of months ago, she was raaaving about her new Shark mop. You know you’re old when you get so excited about cleaning supplies haha. I ordered one on Amazon, and it really is the best! Jack and Piper are the messiest eaters known to mankind, so meal times look like a giant food fight took place. It’s so easy to just plug this mop in, and quickly sanitize the floors. It uses steam which I love because Jack’s crawls around the floors, and having chemicals all over the place stress me out. You just add water, and the steam kills 99.9% of germs and bacteria. I could go on and on, but just go and read the reviews. I’m a fan!

WORKOUT SUBSCRIPTION

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Obviously, I’m going to bring up my newest workout subscription! This one is designed for anyone wanting to workout effectively from home! I don’t get to workout at the gym very often, so most of my workouts happen from home. I know a lot of women/mothers can’t get to the gym either, so I hope this helps! For more information, go HERE!

NURSING SPORTS BRA

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Senita Athletics just released another style of nursing sports bras. Since starting Good For The Swole, I’ve had the chance to try nursing sports bras from different companies. Senita Athletics are hands down my FAAAAVOURITE nursing sports bras. They are comfortable, supportive, and the padding inside doesn’t bunch up when you pull it down to nurse (you know what I mean????). I have a smaller chest, so both styles of nursing sports bras work great for me, and I love them both. Their newest one has more coverage, and offers more support. If you have a larger chest, I’d opt for this one, but both are AWESOME!!

How To Activate The Deep Core & Pelvic Floor

Happy Monday!! I have been wanting to post about this topic for a while because it is a HUGE part of exercising during pregnancy and postpartum, if not THE most important part. Activating and connecting the deep core and pelvic floor muscles is essential, because if you don’t know how to activate those muscles, how do you plan on strengthening them? It seems like a stupid question when phrased like that, but it’s so easy to just go through exercises without properly thinking about what you’re doing. I know I've done that before!

I often get asked, “should I feel a burn while doing pelvic floor exercises”, and “it doesn’t feel like it’s doing anything, am I doing it right?”, and “should I breathe a certain way while doing these exercises?”. The answers are 1) no, you should not feel a burn, but you should feel a connection. 2) You may not be doing it correctly. You won’t get breathless or feel muscle fatigue, but again, you should feel a connection, and 3) YES! You should absolutely breath a certain way! The information below should answer these questions a little further, and hopefully help you effectively work the pelvic floor and reap the many benefits that it brings!

***I plan on posting a video to demonstrate this, but HERE is an amazing video of a 39 week pregnant woman properly activating her deep core.

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WHAT IS THE DEEP CORE:

All of the deep core muscles function together, and everything is connected. EVERYTHING! The main muscles to know are:

Pelvic Floor: This is a hammock of muscles that connect the pubis bone at the front to the tailbone. The pelvic floor supports the bladder, reproductive organs, and bowel and forms a figure 8 around the urethra, vagina and rectum. They also work with the multifidus and transversus abdominis to stabilize the spine, pelvic joints, bladder and uterus properly.

Transversus abdominis (TVA): This is the deepest of the abdominal muscles and wraps around the abdomen between the lower ribs and top of the pelvis. It acts as a corset that holds everything together.

Internal Obliques: This muscle is a little closer to the skin than the transverses abdominis, and supports the abdominal wall.

Multifidus: This muscle is located around the back of the spine, and functions together with the transversus abdominis & pelvic floor muscles to stabilize the low back and pelvis.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT:

Strengthening the deep core muscles through movement and exercise improves overall strength, energy, decreases low back pain, hip pain, neck pain, and incontinence, minimizes diastasis recti and prolapse, and sets her up for potentially easier, and quicker labour and recovery– all while decreasing the chances of an emergency c-section.

Most women struggle with at least one of these issues, if not many of them, and properly activating and strengthening these muscles during and after pregnancy can help minimize, and sometimes even prevent these problem. That’s huge!!

STEPS TO CONNECTING DEEP CORE MUSCLES:

1. Relax the deep core muscles on the inhale. You should feel a heaviness, and a pressing down sensation. If it helps, it’s the same type of relaxation you make while urinating. If you are unsure what it should feel like, trying sitting on a stability ball. You can actually feel the relaxing of the deep core and pelvic floor muscles this way!

2. Exhale to initiate light contraction of the pelvic floor muscles. This is a LIGHT contraction. You don’t want to grip the muscles, or strain in any way. Particularly make sure you aren’t contracting the glutes. Imagine you are lifting the muscles all the way to the top of your head, and really focus on lengthening. **Tips on how to lightly contract are below!

3. Once you have contracted the pelvic floor muscles, move into the exercise. This is why each exercise should always be done slowly and intentionally. Breath out and relax the muscles - then inhale, connect the deep core and pelvic floor muscles, and do another rep.

4. You want to breath diaphragmatically breathe throughout each exercise by inhaling out to the sides and back of her ribcage, and then exhaling as you lightly contract the pelvic floor. Feel the lengthening as stated above while also adding a light wrapping “down and around” of her lower ribcage. **I will do a separate post about this later.

TIPS FOR ACTIVATING DEEP CORE & PELVIC FLOOR:

This sounds incredibly confusing at first, and honestly feels very foreign. It can also be mentally draining too because it’s a lot to think about while also trying to exercise. I get it! The best thing to do is practice this before exercising. Take a few minutes to work on feeling these muscles and activating them. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at sensing them, and the easier it will become. Practice, practice, practice!

The most difficult part is figuring out how to lightly contract those muscles, especially if you’ve just learned you even have a pelvic floor!

  1. When making that light contraction, think about lifting up a wet towel from the corners. You want to pull the muscles together, and then up. Imagine you are lightly zipping up the pelvic floor, and really think about lifting up the way to the top of the head. That lengthening is key!

  2. Avoiding sucking the belly to spine. This is a VERY common tip I see on Instagram, but it restricts deep core activation and proper breathing. It also puts force on the pelvic floor and hinders posture.

  3. Lengthen tall through the torso and top of the head to positively affect posture and deep core strength. This also stimulates connective tissue which wraps around all of the muscles, and is what brings the abdominals back together.

Pelvic Floor Workout

Happy Monday!! I post a lot of pelvic floor workouts on my Instagram, but I wanted to post a little workout, along with some images, on my blog today!

These exercises help build new connective tissue, which is crucial for a strong pelvic floor and deep core. They rebuild the connective tissue between the abdominals, and bring them back together (or minimize the separation during pregnant). They are SUPER important if you have diastasic recti. They also reduce lower back pain, hip pain, and neck pain during and after pregnancy. They minimize incontinence which is the most common postpartum issue. They help the body recover better after delivery, and actually help you during delivery! Needless to say, pelvic floor work is very, very important and very beneficial!

***please excuse my very serious face in these pictures haha. They were taken for a project and the images are much, much smaller haha *face palm*.

PELVIC FLOOR WORKOUT - repeat 3-4x

  1. Glute bridge marching x 24-30

  2. Reverse plank heel slides x 16-20

  3. Zippers x 24-30

  4. Stability ball wall squats x 10-12

  5. Stability ball hips thrust x 10-15

GLUTE BRIDGE MARCHING

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REVERSE PLANK HEEL SLIDES

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ZIPPERS

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STABILITY BALL WALL SQUATS

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STABILITY BALL HIP THRUSTS

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Friday Favourites

Another Monday where I share "Friday Favourites" because I forgot to post it last Friday. It's hard to say if I'll ever get my act together. Oh well. Happy Monday!! Here's to a new day, a new week, and a fresh start.

THE DOTTI SHOP

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I got a couple of outfits from the DOTTI. Shop, and they are DARLING! I can't stop squeezing Piper and taking pictures of her in them because they are soooo so cute. I got this Louise Shimmer Pearl dress that Piper is wearing (it's on sale right now!) and the Blake Matching Set from the spring line which is SO cute! I got a size 2, but it was actually a bit too small for Piper, and it accidently got washed before I could exchange it. I'd learn from my mistake and properly check the size chart before ordering! They're all so cute and perfect for summer. You can use BECKY20 for 20% off your order too!

BUMBO

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I use Jack's bumbo multiple times every day. He started sitting in it around 3/4 months, when he was totally able to hold up his own head. I feed him in either his bumbo or the high chair, and he honestly just likes chilling in there. He loves seeing what's going on, and it's nice being able to keep my eye on him while I cook meals, and while we eat our breakfast/lunches. I know it's so well known already, but if you haven't heard of them yet, I love mine and highly recommend it!

INSTANT POT

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I finally got an instant pot for Christmas, after hearing everyone rave about it, and let me tell you...THE HYPE IS REAL. Especially if you are a mother. Holy moly. I can make a full blown dinner in record speed (20 minutes in the instant pot vs. 4 hours in the crockpot), and you can steam or sauce veggies, make hard boiled eggs, greek yogurt, and so many other things I haven't even figured out yet. It can also be used as a rice cooker or crockpot! It's totally worth it, and everything I have tried has turned out perfect! This sounds like an ad haha, which it isn't. It should be though, because I think I'm doing an awesome job at selling it. Really though, my instant pot has been a life changing for pulling together quick meals.

LOWER BODY WORKOUT

I've been really into this type of set up for my workouts lately, because it does such a good job at getting in a good sweat without requiring a lot of time. This is the lower body workout I did at home last week, and I loved it!

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I bought this charcoal face mask for my mum a couple of months ago, but really it was a present for myself because I love it and use it all the time! She's so lucky to have me living with her again. I've brought up self care a few times on here over these past few months, but it means more to me now than ever, and is something I think is so important in general. With two little ones, I'm not able to put myself first 99.9% of the time, but doing little things to show myself some love helps me stay positive and feel like I can handle difficult situations. This mask feels amazing, and it does a great job at cleansing and getting rid of the toxins in my skin. Just a simple self care product I like incorporating once a week!

Friday Favourites

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I've been working on eating more natural foods, and finding the best sources to put into my body. I still have a ways to go, but I've also been trying to find and use better natural products that I put ON my body. Deodorant was the first one I looked into because, since it goes on the armpit, it is absorbed and goes right into the body's system. Most deodorants contain chemicals and aluminum, which have been directly linked to breast cancer and Alzheimers disease. I've tried a few different brands, but Schmidt's Naturals is my favourite! I got it on Amazon, and it works great! 

COLLAGEN PEPTIDES

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I started using collagen peptides in my diet while I was breastfeeding Piper, and I've been using it ever since! There are TONS of benefits to using collagen (an in-depth list can be found HERE), and is something I use every day in either my post workout protein shakes, energy balls, pancakes, oatmeal, and even lemon water (it's unflavoured, so you can't taste it). The two brands I love are Collagen For Her and Vital Proteins.

**It's recommended to run any product by your OWN doctor if you are pregnant or nursing. I, personally, used it while pregnant and while breastfeeding both babies. 

NURSING DRESS

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I bought this dress from Roolee a couple of months ago, and it has been perfect! I love dresses in the summer but, unless there are buttons at the top, they're a bit tricky to wear when breastfeeding. This dress has little zippers on the sides (that are hidden in the seam), so it's easy to nurse! They have tons of nursing friendly dresses, that are also cute and don't look so "mum-ish", if you know what I mean. 

PRE-WORKOUT

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I first tried out THIS pre-workout  a couple of months ago, and I surprisingly really like it! I tried pre-workout once before, awhile ago, and hated it because it made me so jittery and want to scratch my face off. They have other products, but I love the all-natural one. You can take it like a pixie stick, or mix it with water and drink 15 minutes before your workout. It has helped me push myself a lot more (I generally feel pretty motivated to workout, but I've noticed I get a lot more out of my workouts when I use this). I am breastfeeding, and my doctor is fine with me taking this. It has 100mg of caffeine, and is the only caffeine source I consume. As always, please do your own research and consult your doctor if you are nursing.