I had a baby 12 weeks ago. Typically you are medically allowed to start working out 6 weeks after you give birth. Being medically allowed to do something and actually getting started and finding time are two very different things. I think that this time in my life is the most insane period I’ve ever had when it comes to finding a spare moment and navigating the logistics that come with having a newborn in the house. It’s been 4 weeks now since I started working out and I have figured out some tricks to set yourself up for success. I hope you find them useful.
7 Tips for Getting Your Workouts Done When You are a New Mom:
1. Remember the primary goal: to move your body vigorously for a minimum of 30 minutes everyday. No matter what’s happening if you remember this is the goal then you will have a greater chance of overcoming obstacles in your way because you won’t be distracted by things that don’t matter. The only thing that matters is moving your body vigorously for 30 minutes or more.
2. Rethink how you spend your money on exercise? I used to pay for expensive bootcamps and fancy gym memberships. Nowadays I might pay my Doula to come over and watch the baby so I can workout and shower. That might seem like an expensive workout but the goal is to move my body vigorously for at least 30 minutes a day. It doesn’t matter how I move it – with a dvd, a long run, or a session at the gym. Tt all gets you the same end result. But what good is a fancy gym membership if you can never find time to go the gym? You’re better off spending that money getting someone to watch your baby while you workout in a cheaper form. So rethink your health budget and allocate that money wisely.
3. Don’t let perfection stop you from good enough. I refer you back to rule #1. What is the goal? To move your body vigorously for no less than 30 minutes per day. That’s it. So above and beyond that is just gravy.
My doctor cleared me to workout 6 weeks after the baby was born. I didn’t actually get started until 8 weeks after. It seriously took me 2 more weeks to get my environment set up to workout. I decided to restart the 12-week program Jillian Michaels Body Revolution. I had to figure out which exercise clothes I could still fit. I had to go buy new exercise bras. I had to decide which workout dvds I would start with and I had to set up my office as my new workout station because my former area was converted into our in-law suite since grandparents were coming to help with the baby. The second day of my restart of the Jillian Michaels Body Revolution dvds I remembered midway through the workout that Jillian Michaels provides these exercise resistance bands with her dvds and they were required for this workout. I looked at the exercise we were doing and made a quick decision to modify the exercise and use the hand weights I had in front of me. Why? Because I knew that if I paused that dvd, I was already tired and I might not have the willpower to turn it back on. I could hear the baby crying and I could hear my mother-in-law walking him around trying to get him to sleep. I knew that if I stepped into the hallway and he saw me that either I’d feel guilty and want to take him in my arms or he’d see me and get hysterical and make it that much harder for my mother in law. I also wasn’t positive where the bands were so again this would have added time to the 45 minutes I had promised my mother in law the entire session would take.
So the exercise was a back exercise as seen below:
And I modified it like this:
Was this the way Jillian Michaels intended the exercise to be? No. Was this as efficient as her move? Probably not. But was it good enough when compared to stopping the dvd and jeopardizing the chance that I would complete my 30 minutes of vigorous exercise? Absolutely it was. Good enough. Above all else we want to complete the 30 minutes. That’s it
4. Make the last thing you in today’s workout be your setup for tomorrow’s workout. It may sound trivial but it’s the logistics that will kill you.
Let’s set the stage:
“It’s time to workout, your husband promised to watch the baby, you only have 1 hour until his next feed but you can’t find clean clothes to workout in. where are your running shoes? oh no, the phone isn’t charged so I have no music. I can’t go running without music. Forget it. I’m frustrated, I’ll just go lie down until it’s time to feed him again.”
And just like that , you’ve skipped your workout. A few days just like that and we’ve got the beginnings of a bad habit is in the making. This can be avoided by setting yourself up for tomorrow’ success as soon as you finish the last workout.
I’ve decided to use Jillian Michaels Body Revolution to lose the pregnancy weight. It’s 12 weeks long and you alternate the dvds – workout 1 -front of body, workout 2 -back of body, and cardio every 3 days. When I’m done with front of body on Monday, I immediately put workout 2 in the dvd player for Tuesday. I leave the dvd player on and turn the tv off so that way I don’t have to stand there and wait for the beginning part of the dvd to play out the next day. It’s all queued up and ready to go. This may sound trivial but it’s not. Your time is insanely precious right now.
You don’t have time to waste watching the intro on the dvd the next day and you may think it’s the same time whether it’s on the front end or the back end but trust me, it’s not. You’re in a much better mood after a workout than before a workout. Your endorphins are pumping and you’re proud of yourself for working out with a newborn in the house. So use that motivation when it’s at its peak and set yourself up for the next day. The next day when you’re tired and debating between a nap or a workout you’ll be much less likely to workout if you also have to pause to set everything up.
5 Stay close to home. Again time is precious, don’t add to the logistics if you don’t have to. Keep it simple. Do a 30-minute dvd. Take a long walk or run on the neighborhood. Don’t meet up with people unless they live no more than 4 houses down. Trust me. It’s the logistics that will kill you. Don’t overthink. And don’t over plan. Now is not the time for workout buddies or classes that take 30 minutes to get to. Now it the time to just get it done. Remember move your body vigorously for 30 minutes that’s the goal. that’s all we care about.
6. Rethink your rest day. Prior to having a baby I would workout 6 days in a row and rest on day 7. But now, I know that I may go 4 days without someone hear to help me if my mother-in-law has just finished up her last shift and my mother hasn’t started hers yet. That could end up being a 2 day break if I get the energy to workout at night after my husband is home but worse case it’s a full 4 days until my next workout. Because of this I’ve decided that as long as I feel up for it, there is no rest day b/c I can’t control when the next rest “stint” will be. So workout when it’s available to you as often as you can because you don’t have the liberties you used to have to have a scheduled rest day. #whatyoucanwhenyoucan
7. Wear anything. We’re not here to be cute. At least not at first. W can get back to looking good to feel good later. For now, grab what fits and what’s clean. Keep it out in the open for easy access and get going! Time is of the essence. When someone takes the baby out of your hands it’s like an imaginary stop watch starting on your free time. Go! Don’t delay! You don’t want to be wasting valuable time looking for something to workout in. Have it clean and ready to go.
Taking care of a newborn is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It is physically exhausting 24-7, so it’s kind of hilarious to think about doing a workout that will add to the physical exhaustion. But as we all know, exercise will actually give us more energy when done on a regular basis so we must find time for it. I hope this article helps you to find the time to give yourself the self care you desperately need during this transition period of your life. And if you are reading this and you are not in this phase of our life, take this post as inspiration to get up an go do a workout just because you can! IF I can then you can.