One of the most common things I get complimented on or “told” is how fit I am after having a baby. Well, I wanted to address this for a few reasons, because I think that sometimes we tend to have a really unhealthy view of our own bodies and idealize other people just from photos! I am not saying that I’m not “fit” – I have been on my fitness journey for nearly a year now, and I am proud of my progress! But I do think there are some things we all need to remember.
The first thing is that every single body is different. I have always been on the thin side and had a fast-working metabolism. Some people do not – it’s simply a difference. I do experience extreme bloating, and that is an insecurity of my own! Sometimes I can’t get a certain pair of jeans done up, or feel that a shirt is too tight because of it. We all have our own insecurities, and we need to remember not to constantly compare ourselves to others. Focus on what you can do to work on loving your own body!
Secondly, although I have always been thin, I have also always had weak little chicken limbs. The biggest thing that I wanted to work on when I started going to the gym was gaining muscle. After having Mason and breastfeeding him for nearly a year when I started at the gym, I felt like I had gotten all the life sucked out of me. I felt so incredibly weak, even though I was carrying around a massive baby all the time!! On top of that, breastfeeding really did make me lose a lot of weight. It took some time for the baby weight to come off (it did not “fall off” like a lot of people say, it took a few months for me to lose that), but then it kept coming off. And it didn’t help that I often missed meals because I was either too tired to make food or felt like I simply didn’t have time. I knew I needed to make a change in my life, and I wanted to feel better and see real results.
So now that you have my backstory, here are my 3 tips for working on your post-partum fitness:
- Find a gym that you LOVE. I mean really, really love. Because this makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE. I have tried joining gyms in the past and been super gung-ho for like a month and then fade off and never go again, in spite of the fact that I am paying for a membership. I would highly recommend a group fitness program that gives you personal coaching, focuses on both strength-training and cardio, and provides an encouraging/motivating environment. Bonus if the people you train with are also motivating you/holding you accountable to keep coming. Because if you are like me, things like at-home workouts, yoga class, or hitting the treadmill once a week won’t get you motivated the same as going to a great gym.
- Remember that fitness is a journey. I think we often feel like if we don’t see immediate results, it’s not working. That’s just not how it works most of the time, and often if it is it means there is probably a really unhealthy aspect contributing (i.e. over-dieting). One of the biggest things I’ve learned this year is that healthy eating is a massive component. It’s not just about the gym, it’s also about home. What are you putting into your body after a workout? Are you eating enough protein? How about your carbs – are they healthy grains? Is your plate half-filled with veggies? If you want to see real results, it’s a lifestyle change. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy that chocolate bar or bowl of chips from time to time, but it IS about balance and knowing your own limits. Changing your lifestyle is hard and can take time, but if you commit you will see results.
- Set goals, but leave room for failure. The truth of it is that you will not always attain your goals. And if you beat yourself up every time you fail you won’t want to keep trying. The first time I did a challenge at my gym, I saw amazing results. I was really strict with myself because I wanted to see that change, and I did! But the next challenge, I didn’t see nearly the same type of results – I didn’t meet my goals. But I had to allow myself that slack, and let it be motivation to keep going. I can’t believe the transformation I’ve had over the past year – I’ve gained 5lbs of muscle, and I feel so much stronger and healthier. There were steps forward, and steps back. But at this point of my journey, I am really happy with my progress.
There is so much more I could say about fitness and my experience this year, but I will leave it here for now. If you have any other specific questions about this topic for me, feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email or DM on Instagram! I would love to chat with you more about it.