Well, I’m 9 weeks postpartum, and I’m just starting to wean myself off the couch and back into activities.
I found out at around 5 weeks that I had diastasis recti—fancy speak for my abdominal muscles having succumbed to the pressure of my pregnant belly and separated.
When I first found out, I did the dumb thing: I googled, then freaked out.
Then I did the smart thing: I got on the phone with the founder of Baby Strong Workout, and she calmed me down in a matter of minutes. I’m keeping an eye on my abs and not overdoing any dedicated abdominal exercises, but am otherwise easing back into fitness without any restrictions. In fact, I got back on the mat (humbling, invigorating), and I’ve been getting back into strength training and cardio in an entirely new and fun way.
My main goal has to do with strengthening. Thanks to breastfeeding, I’ve lost a fair amount of the 42 pounds I gained, just by sitting around being a milk machine. I’m not down to my pre-pregnancy weight, but some of my looser clothes from that era are starting to fit (yippee!).
That’s where the good news ends, though. I may be able to button my jeans, but they don’t feel or look quite the way they used to. They pinch in unflattering places, and I’m softer, flabbier, jigglier, and more muffin-toppier. Right now, I’m less concerned with losing weight and more concerned with regaining the muscles that began softening over 9 months of pregnancy and then fully disappeared during the last 7 weeks of couch-sitting milk-machining recovery.
So here’s what I’m up to:
I’m taking the #babystrongchallenge
I’ve got this super handy (droolproof!) deck of baby-friendly workouts thanks to Baby Strong Workout.
Each of the moves in the deck has you use your baby as the weight—and the moves get really creative with mommy and me exercises.
I'm celebrating getting back into fitness by taking on the #babystrongchallenge ! That means all week I'll be doing strength training, cardio, and stretching using only #mackenziemb as my weight (and workout buddy). I'm loving all the creative ways to use your baby as a weight in the @babystrongworkout deck and am so excited to be getting my sweat on after 2 months of hardcore couch sitting. Belly, it's time to say goodbye. 😉 #sweatpink #flexandflow #postpartum #fitness #workout @fitapproach
Each day, I’m doing some light cardio, as in, I’m carrying Mackenzie while I walk. No carriers, no strollers, no husbands to help; just me and the baby, taking a little tour of the outside world.
Then I’ve got a prescribed strength training workout, along with some stretching.
I love the variety of moves in the deck: I’ve been doing the workouts for two weeks now, and as someone who REALLY STRUGGLES with self-motivation around home workouts, this was crucial. All the cards are color-coded with the type of move, too, so it’s easy to find a core move or a lower-body strengthener with one hand.
Since all the workouts include—no, depend on—Mackenzie, I don’t have to figure out baby sitting, or feel guilty for taking some me time. (Which I DO feel guilty about, even though I know I shouldn’t, but that’s another post for another day.)
You can check out my daily workouts on Instagram, so come on over there and follow along … or, better yet, join me in the challenge, and make sure to tag #babystrongchallenge so I can follow your workouts! It doesn’t matter how old your baby is—just keep in mind that the heavier they are, the more intense the workout. 🙂
One move that’s not in the deck that I think qualifies as a total body move is trying to roll up and grab your yoga mat, in the wind, while holding a screaming baby. 😉
I started feeling stronger after just a few days of just using Mackenzie as my weight. And since you can do a full workout in less than an hour, it’s easy to squeeze one in between nursing sessions.
The biggest change this deck has prompted for me, though, is what I do with all the weird little pockets of time you get with an infant. So many times I’ve put her down, pulled out my computer to do some work, and then immediately had to reverse course and pick her up again. She knows exactly when I’m about to dive into something and chooses that moment to demand attention.
So, instead of pacing while I’m trying to soothe her in the middle of the night, I do one of the Baby Strong moves.
Instead of just sitting there and cheering her on during tummy time, I’ll stretch or do another move—all while still cheering her on, of course. Just adding those one-off moves into my daily life has made me feel happier, more awake, and more in control (such an elusive feeling with a baby) of my day. Each day, I pull out a couple different moves and leave them as reminders in key places: next to the changing table, next to Mackenzie’s bouncy chair, and on the bedside table.
You can find the Baby Strong Workout deck here – it’s a full postpartum fitness plan for less than a Barry’s or Soul class. Or a babysitter, for that matter. 😉