I know logically it doesn't make any sense, but I was under the impression it would be easy to jump back into a fitness routine and I wouldn't miss a beat. Seriously, I don't know why I think these things haha. NEWS FLASH, BECKY; it's hard.
Obviously it's hard figuring out how to get it in with a newborn but it's really important to me and I know I'm a better mum and wife when I exercise so it's a priority and I make it happen, no matter what. That hasn't been the hardest part though. I didn't think about how frustrating it would be to not look the same, workout as intense, or do what I used to be able to do. It doesn't upset me because I know my body just went through this huge ordeal and it takes time....but it is frustrating because I want to do more because mentally, I'm ready but my body isn't. Patience is obviously not one of my strengths...
Needless to say, reality hit me in the face and I realize it's going to take time to ease back into shape. Just like in pregnancy, I want to be smart and do things the right way to avoid any issues later on. Here are some tips and things to keep in mind as you start back up again:
Evaluate Abs & Diastasis Recti
This is SO important and so many women jump back into ab work before their abs have come back together which results in that pooch that won't go away. Plus it further separates the abs!! No bueno! My first question at my 6 week PP check-up was if my Doctor could check my abs for me. It's normal for there to be a little separation during pregnancy, but if they're still separated or you have diastasis recti then only do pelvic floor strengthening exercises until they've improved!
Doing too much too fast will delay recovery and it will take even longer to get back into pre-pregnancy shape (I need to keep telling myself this). I exclusively walked with Piper until I got the all-clear to exercise again. Since then, I'm experimenting with different workouts and listening to my body. Similar to pregnancy, if you feel light-headed, dizzy, any pain or bleeding, STOP! You're body is telling you to take it down.
If you weren't active before pregnancy, a good place to start is 15 minutes 3x a week of an exercise you enjoy: hiking, zumba, swimming, etc. When you feel comfortable you can slowly increase the time and frequency of your workouts! If you were active before and during pregnancy, listen to your body and maybe start with the beginner/intermediate version before jumping to the advanced (walk/run HIIT instead of jog/spring HIIT...or body weight exercises instead of super heavy weights etc.)
This is important for anyone when they start exercising, but especially for breastfeeding mothers. Dehydration will effect your milk and decrease the supply so make sure to drink extra to compensate for the additional water loss during exercise.
Remember Loose Joints
The hormone Relaxin, that loosens joints and ligaments during pregnancy and childbirth, can stay in the system for up to 6 months after delivery. This can increase the chances of injury due to unstable joints and a loose pelvis. Just be mindful of this while exercising, especially doing any plyometric exercises!
Rest, Rest, Rest!
I'm a huuuuge advocate of resting! We think we're going to be in better shape after a really intense workout, but we're actually in better shape BEFORE! Exercising breaks down tissue and the body doesn't improve until you rest and recover and give your body a chance to adapt to what you just did! Resting puts you in an anabolic state (the building up of muscle) and that's where you see the results! If you don't allow your body to rest properly (taking a rest day, stretching, sleeping), it's essentially a waste of time!