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.

Health & Fitness Holiday Gifts

MY WORKOUTS

I wouldn’t be a very good business woman (lol I don’t know if I’d ever consider myself that, but ya know) if I didn’t mention my Pregnancy Workout Guide, Pregnancy & Postpartum Workout Subscription, and “Regular” Workout Subscription that I have available. They are workouts that I 100% stand behind, and were put together from my education as a certified personal trainer, certified women’s fitness specialist, and certified pregnancy fitness, and certified pre/postnatal exercise specialist. They are not only SAFE workouts for pregnancy and postpartum, but they are designed to also be EFFECTIVE, and strengthen the muscles that need strengthening to help prevent abdominal separation, support your pelvic floor, and help your body prepare for and heal after delivery.

SENITA ATHLETICS

If you’ve followed me for longer than 2 seconds, you’ll know my love for Senita Athletics runs deep. 99% of the workout clothes I wear are from their store because THEY ARE THE REAL DEAL. Super affordable, high quality, and so many cute options. They have hands down the best nursing sports bras I’ve ever tried. I’m not even nursing that much anymore, and I still wear them for most of my workouts!

BOOTY BANDS - $20

These booty bands don’t roll up when you put them on/work out. They’re super thick (a booty band snapped and hit my eye once, and it was not a good time), and I love the colours! Highly recommend!

STABILITY BALL - $20

Another deep love I have is the stability ball. It’s an AMAZING way to create instability and activate the deep core muscles. SO helpful during pregnancy and postpartum, and just in general! My workouts all require a set of dumbbells and a stability ball because it’s that beneficial!

GORILLA MATS - $80

Yes, Gorilla Mats are definitely pricier than other yoga mats you can find, but they.are.worth it! I didn’t get what the hype was about until I tried one. They are the perfect size, so you can do your WHOLE workout off one. They don’t slide around (which is the BEST thing about them), and they’re thick and well padded.

THE DAY DESIGNER - $30

I' feel like I’m going to keep repeating myself throughout this post haha, but this is another FAVOURITE product! I’m at the end of my second year of using Day Designer planners, and they are where it’s at! It helps me keep track of projects, deadlines, appointments etc. in a really clear and concise way. I would 100% lose my mind if it wasn’t for this planner. I attribute all of my productivity and sanity to it.

SET OF DUMBBELLS - ~$20

The price varies based on the weight you want, but if you are limited to working out from home (like most mums are), INVEST in a set of dumbbells!

FOAM ROLLER - $22

I *try* to foam roll before stretching after a workout. I do sometimes forget, but it’s so good for muscle recovery and rehabilitation, and is an easy way to take care of your body!

HYDROFLASK - $29

Hyrdo Flasks are great for keeping water cold (or hot!) throughout the day. If you struggle with drinking enough water, get a good water bottle like this - especially one with a straw! It makes it easier to take lots of sips throughout the day!

STANCE SOCKS - $25

I bought some of these Stance Socks a few weeks ago, because I just found out they sell the “Invisible sock” kind. They are the ONLY type of socks like this that don’t fall down at the back (you know what I mean…when the sock slips off your ankle?? It drives me mad).

SQUARE ORGANICS - $25

I have loved Square Organics since I was pregnant with Piper! They’re a natural, vegan, chocolate covered protein bar, and they let me create a combo pack of my favourite flavours for Christmas! It is available for purchase until December 18th, AND it comes already gift wrapped for free! AND you can get an additional 20% off with “goodfortheswole”. Pretty cool if you ask me!

IDEAL RAW - $35

Another deep love is Ideal Raw’s chocolate peanut butter protein. Holy moly. I have it every day, and it never gets old. It’s plant based, but it’s gritty like all the others I’ve tried. I use it while pregnant and nursing, but you have to ask your own doctor if it’s right for you! You can use “SWOLE” for 10% off any of their products!

METAL STRAWS - $10

I bought a pack these straws last year, and I’m surprised how much I use them. They come with a straw cleaner too which is so helpful!

COLLAGEN FOR HER - $36

I love Collagen For Her, and use it in my diet almost daily. I personally kept using it during pregnancy, and while nursing, but you have to ask your own doctor if it’s right for you!

VOORAY

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I’ve and a Vooray gym bag for over a year now, and it’s still in perfect condition! It’s the perfect size, has lots of pockets, and a separate compartment for shoes too!

SUDIO HEADPHONES - $99

I’ve had these Sudio headphones for two years, and I still love them! I have another one of their products, but I think these big headphones are still my favourite. I’ve never had them slip off (even when doing burpees and other jumping exercises), and they cancel out the noise around you. The best!! I believe “goodfortheswole” gets you 15% off on their website too!

INSTANT POT - $80

I joined the trend and got an Instant Pot for Christmas last year, and I’m SOOOOO glad I did. My first experience using it was very overwhelming/mildly terrifying, but it’s awesome and I can’t imagine life without it. If you’re a mum, and have little time for cooking - this is for you!

STASHER BAGS - $12

Again, Stasher Bags are a product I have loved forever! I use them for storing food in the fridge and freezer, traveling, and for the kids snacks when we’re out and about. I don’t buy plastic baggies anymore, and just use these instead! SO worth the investment!

REUSABLE PRODUCE BAGS - $12

I’m nowhere even close to perfect, but I’m trying to be a little better at reducing the amount of plastic we use. Especially when it comes to food. I bought these on Amazon this summer, and they’ve been great!! I use them at the store, and also wash the produce in them when we get home!

HEALTHY HUMAN TUMBLER - $27

These are similar to Hyro Flasks, but I drinking my smoothies or hot drinks from them. These tumblers keep food and liquid hot or cold, and I love having them on hand!

G2G BAR - $20

G2G Bars are another staple I’ve had in my life for a long time. I LOOOOVE their flavours (I think peanut butter coconut chocolate is my favourite). I eat them allll the time…currently snacking on one right now actually…and the ingredients are actually helpful when you’re nursing too! You can use “THESWOLE” to get 20% off!

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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