It seems hard to believe but my son’s second birthday is just around the corner. Life undeniably changes when you have a baby and working out is no exception. I knew when I was pregnant that I could expect to be modifying my workouts, but I didn’t realize the struggles that would await me once I had the baby. After the past two years I’ve learned a lot about working out and these four things are what really stuck with me.
1. You workout when it’s Convenient for Baby
Before I had my son I could pretty schedule my workout whenever I wanted. Usually it was early in the morning before work, or in the evening after work. Either way I could carefully plan when to workout and when to eat. If I was working out in the afternoon I timed my meals perfectly so I would eat three hours before I worked out. Well, all that went out the window when I had my son. I often work out during his naps (which is not the same time everyday) or if it’s summer I go running with him in the stroller. If my husband is home then I take advantage of more flexibility and either go for a long run or CrossFit class.
So with that in mind, you can imagine that my workouts are not perfectly time anymore. Sometimes they happen an hour after I eat. Sometimes my son wakes up early and they are cut short. Sometimes he falls asleep on our run. Either way, I’ve learned to be flexible and take advantage of a time to workout when it arises.
2. Something is better than Nothing.
This probably seems pretty self explanatory but it was definitely a shift in my mindset. Some days just get hectic and things don’t go to according to any plan, and that’s not even to mention what kind of broken up sleep you might be getting. In the past I might have just given up on the day and given myself a unscheduled rest day, but now I try to do some sort of workout. This might just involve jumping rope, doing push-ups and dumbbell snatches while son my watches television. Whatever it may be, I try to do something instead of just thinking there is nothing I can do. Of course having some equipment at home can be helpful. It also means you really have no excuse to ‘do nothing.’
3. Accept Where You Are.
When I started working out again after pregnancy, my mind and body were just not on the same page. My mind was willing, but my body was just not capable of what I expected of it. This was very frustrating to me and at times I felt very discouraged. I couldn’t run very far, maybe 800 meters, without stopping to walk. But in reality I had taken nearly a year off from running; and not only that but I also had gained 35 lbs. I wasn’t starting at ground zero, I was starting in the negative. Once I accepted this fact, things become much easier mentally. I broke things up into smaller goals and celebrated small victories like running a mile without walking or doing jumping lunges in a WOD again. Acceptance allowed me to make peace with my fitness and celebrate the small victories along the way.
4. Working Out Is Now More Important than Ever Before
During my 35th week of pregnancy I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. At this point in the pregnancy I was monitored twice a week until one appointment at 37 weeks when I was sent right to the delivery room! After having my son, my blood pressure remained high and I had to go on medication. Eventually I stopped taking the medication, but a few months later my blood pressure was high again. After several doctors appointments I was put on medication again right after my son turned one.
What caused this? I’m still asking myself this question. Sleepless nights certainly did not help. I also had anxiety during my pregnancy which carried over the first few months of postpartum. After losing two pregnancies before having my son, I can easily see why I would be stressed.
I was really upset about having to go on medication, but I also eventually realized that I had the power to change my situation. It was hard to hear people, including doctors, telling me that I needed to make lifestyle changes but it was the truth.
Last summer I decided to commit myself to working out five days a week. Previously I had been working out 3-4 days and just wasn’t seeing the results I had hoped for. Once I started working out five days I started seeing big improvements. Last fall I stopped taking blood pressure medication and it’s remained stable! I’m still fighting to lose weight and keep my blood pressure down, but I’ve already made a lot of progress towards these goals.
So those are the four things that I’ve learned, not to mention that my son is very active so I feel like I need to get in better shape to keep up with him! What excites me the most is that I feel like the athlete I used to be is within reach again. It’s taken me a long time to get to this point but I think I’m getting really close! I’ve set some goals for 2019 and I’m excited to see them come to fruition!
I also hope this post helps other new moms who may be struggling with some of the same issues. Sometimes things can seem overwhelming, but if you do your best you’ll get there!
Author: Sarah Warman
I like to run, take pictures and write. I've combined all three in this blog.