Getting back into shape after having Gunnar has been difficult yet rewarding. I have to admit, I definitely looked at myself in the mirror after a few work outs to see if there was a difference knowing that I wasn’t going to see one. I wouldn’t say that it was a complete reset for my body, but I definitely lost a lot of muscle and my endurance was nowhere near where it was before I got pregnant.
Getting back into working out was a challenge, not only physically but mentally as well. I couldn’t just jump right back into actually working out. I had to ease into it which was hard for me to do since I love pushing myself. About a week and a half after giving birth, I started stretching. I would lay on the floor with Gunnar and do the butterfly stretch, reach out and try to touch my toes and bring my knees to chest to help with my back. Doing this everyday helped with relieving any tightness or stiffness from sitting or lying on the couch all day. I know not everyone likes to stretch. Actually about 90% of my clients do not stretch unless they are a gymnast, cheerleader or dancer or I make them. I cannot stress this enough but if you take time out of your day or make it apart of your workout to stretch, a lot of your aches, pains and soreness would go away. I even did a research paper on stretching and knee injuries in college… and low and behold, it helped reduce the risk of injuries. Stretching has helped me so much get back into shape that I would have had a lot of setbacks by now without it.
It is also a good way to increase blood flow to my muscles without straining them. After stretching came adding in mobility exercises, around 2-3 weeks after giving birth, like holding the squat position and shifting my weight from side to side or getting into a deep lunge position with my hands on the ground next to them. This would allow me to bear my own weight and hold that position while working on my flexibility. This is helps so much with any injuries, aches or pains. In fact, a lot of injuries happen due to lack of mobility. I would definitely suggest incorporating mobility exercises into your everyday work out. If you are unsure of how or what to do, don’t be afraid to message me and I can help you through it!
After mobility, around 3-4 weeks post-partum, I would incorporate muscle activation exercises to make sure my muscles still worked such as glute bridges, or scapular push-ups. Doing this showed me where my muscles where at and where I needed to start when I did start lifting weights and working out again. Muscle activation is great for warmups before lifting because not only does it bring blood flow to those areas, it helps you isolate the muscles that you are using while lifting.
After 4-5 weeks post-partum, I then incorporated bodyweight exercises but not pushing myself to much since I wasn’t cleared to work out fully yet. Was this hard? You bet it was. I would get sore just by doing hip bridges, body weight squats, and push-ups. But recovering from childbirth doesn’t happen overnight and my body certainly will never be the same, but it has taught me that I am stronger than I think, and the human body is more incredible that I could ever imagine.
As that 6-week post-partum check up with my doctor came, and she cleared me to work out again, you bet I got right into that gym and added some weight with my workout. Of course, I didn’t go crazy, but it did feel great to lift again. I am currently 6 months post-partum and still trying to get back to where I was physically pre-birth. I will be honest that I do not weigh myself. I believe that your weight is just a number that can definitely mess with your head. I go off on how my clothes fit and by now I am fitting into clothes I wore pre-birth. My shape has changed a bit but that is expected.
While working my way into lifting again, I was going for walks almost every day with Gunnar. This not only helped shed some pounds, but it got both of us outside and some fresh air. This paired with breastfeeding definitely made the process easier to lose weight.
Pregnancy has taught me so much about my own body and has forever changed the way I work out. I can only hope that this has helped someone else going through the same thing!
In the Picture below from left to right: 10 days, 12 weeks, 6 months