7 Tips for Bouncing Back After Baby

At 6-months postpartum I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight and feeling pretty dang strong. People have mentioned how “lucky” I am to have a body that bounced back so easily after giving birth. The funny thing is that “LUCK” has NOTHING to do with it! In order to get your body to bounce back after a baby, there’s a lot you have to do before, during and after you are pregnant and give birth. Also don’t get me wrong, my body, while feeling great, is different than it used to be… my boobs are lopsided, my skin is soft and loose in more places than I care to mention BUT my body has proved how amazing it is by allowing me to grow a baby, give birth, and then “bounce back” to normal. Knowing how strong, how capable, and how amazing the human body is, has only reinforced that I need to treat it well. I want this body to thrive for me, for my family, and for the next time I decide to grow a human!  So without further a do, bouncing back after baby has nothing to do with luck, and everything to do with:

1. Pre-Pregnancy Health & Fitness

Before I got pregnant I was physically fit, improving my fitness monthly, and eating pretty healthy. I think a HUGE part of bouncing back has to do with your lifestyle and physique BEFORE you get pregnant. I strongly encourage those considering pregnancy to first take a look at their body and decide if it’s a good enough place to grow a human! Think about the type of body you want your child to be created in. Is it an overweight, lazy, dehydrated body? Or is it a body that is eating nutritious, natural foods? Is it a body that drinks TONS of water? Is it a body that participates in several days of moderate-intensity exercise per week? Your body will do amazing things, but it will do them even better if you are fit, healthy and happy before you put a bun in that oven. Getting yourself healthy BEFORE you get pregnant is the best thing you can do for your post-pregnancy body.

2. Health & Fitness DURING Pregnancy

We all know that with pregnancy comes a bit of free reign…strangers hold doors open for you, family and friends won’t let you carry anything, no one looks at you funny if you order dessert for dinner, and cat naps are totally encouraged. That being said, if you want a healthy, energetic pregnancy and a good “bounce back” then it’s not the time to say “anything goes.” While I definitely had my indulgences (naps, ice cream & pizza included), I never let myself go too crazy with it. I tried to eat healthy 70-80% of the time. I also took note when I was eating a bit TOO much ice cream and started swapping it out for Greek yogurt with some chocolate syrup on top instead. Find places where you can make a small change that can make a big difference. Now that you’re pregnant, you really want to keep that shrine of yours in tip top shape. For one, it’s housing that incredible baby of yours, Second, staying active and eating well during pregnancy is known to improve your energy, prevent excessive weight gain, improve sleep & body image, reduce stress and reduce recovery time after birth, along with some other benefits. I continued working out throughout my pregnancy- bootcamp classes, hiking, biking, walking and some weight training. I made sure to modify when I needed to. I never overdid it and I let my body lead the way. If I was feeling great in a bootcamp class, then I continued to keep up with everyone else. If I wasn’t then I would tone things down a bit. LISTENING to your body is a huge part of fitness during pregnancy. You should always stop working out IMMEDIATELY if you feel any pain or unusual symptoms.  Also, if you are already pregnant and did not have a workout routine in place beforehand, you can still be active! With approval from your doctor, you can ease into a low-intensity activity program that will still be beneficial to you and your baby. Your post-baby body will thank you!

3. Relaxing after Baby

After 9 months of being pregnant, staying active, and then experiencing a long, arduous birth, I was EXHAUSTED!!! Be sure to use those first 2-3 months after your have your baby to RELAX! There will always be time to get back in shape, there will always be time to lose the baby weight. Your baby won’t be little forever, so enjoy the special time and allow yourself to sleep when you can, get some fresh air, and just pay attention to the moments in front of you. Working out can come later!

4. Starting slowly

Once you receive clearance from your doctor to begin working out again, start out slowly! This will of course depend on how fit and active you were before pregnancy and what type of birth you had (natural, c-section, etc). As mentioned, I was pretty active before I got pregnant and all throughout my pregnancy. That being said, I still felt surprisingly WEAK when I got back to my workout routine. I had extra weight on me, I was tired, and my muscles, especially my core,  felt like a noodle! You don’t have to go big or go home when you first get back to it. Start with walking, yoga, hiking or a very slow jog. Ease back into things and I think  you’ll be amazed how quickly you feel stronger and better. I did what I could daily and my strength improved quickly. Even now, my best and most energetic days are the ones where I force myself to squeeze in a workout.

5. Consistency

The biggest thing that really helped me bounce back once I got moving again was being consistent. Being a mom CHANGES YOUR LIFE. I know we all know that, but for real- your priorities change, sleep is necessary, and your mind is everywhere but on yourself. The way I stayed consistent was by picking a workout program I  knew I would like and keep up with. What was most important to me was the most bang for my buck. I ended up doing 2 months worth of InsanityMax30 by Beachbody. It is 30 min workouts, 5 days a week. I was able to complete the whole program over 8 wks even while exclusively breastfeeding. That program could be a little intense for someone with little fitness experience and was even difficult for me to keep up with. I ended up modifying EVERYTHING but still got in a 30 minute workout each day. My point is- pick something (anything!) that you know you’ll do daily, whether that’s walking, swimming, hiking, biking, the local yoga studio, at-home workout videos etc.  The best part is that you can always modify ANY activity to fit your current fitness level (if you need help modifying anything, please reach out to me!). As with fitness anytime in your life, consistency is needed for real change to occur.

6. Preparation

Preparation is super important as well, especially for busy moms. Preparation might feel like an impossible task when you have so much going on and when a baby takes up pretty much ALL of your time. Even if I had a few minutes to myself, I was definitely more eager to use it to shower, or eat or just simply sit and stare at the wall without a baby in my arms. When I felt motivated and able I would try to prep some healthy meals. Since that often wasn’t an option, I found a way to get a healthy meal fast.  For starters, I fell in love with my Veggetti. Most nights, with a baby on my hip, I would cook zucchini noodles, meat and veggies. I’d also have eggs and veggies for breakfast, maybe salad/protein for lunch. Most important for me was keeping healthy snacks on hand. I’d have apples, almonds & all-natural peanut butter nearby if I needed a snack, instead of mindlessly shoving crap into my mouth. But guess what- if I was hungry, I ate!! This is especially important if you are breastfeeding. You need food to fuel you and your baby. If you are nursing your child it is NOT the time to go on a diet. It is a GREAT time to be eating sufficiently and healthily! Because I knew my body needed food to keep producing milk for my baby, I never monitored the QUANTITY of what I ate, I only monitored the QUALITY. Lots of veggies, protein and GOOD carbs. What’s a good carb? Quinoa, beans, things high in fiber that will keep you full and not spike your sugar levels. Long story short, having nutritious food on hand will be your key to success. In the early postpartum months it’s so much more about WHAT you are putting in your mouth and not about HOW MUCH. And I promise you- you can still lose weight even if you don’t diet! I lost 12 lbs in 2 months just from short workouts and making better food choices.

7. Maintenance

Life gets hectic after you have a little one and unfortunately that means mom’s needs often go to the wayside. Continuing to make fitness a priority in your life is going to make you a better, stronger and healthier mom and role model for your child. Even if you feel like you can’t get a real workout in, you can always do SOMETHING! The best thing is you now have a “barbell” (aka your baby!) with you wherever you go! In order to maintain your fitness, make sure you stay active in some way each day. Strap that baby to you and start doing some squats and lunges or even just lift him up into the air. Anything is better than nothing and  you’ll even get some smiles out of the little one while you’re at it.

So before you decide to get pregnant, or if you already are, think about the type of body you want to grow your child in. Make it a healthy, hydrated, nutritious, and strong place to grow. “Bouncing back” isn’t about luck, it’s about patience, consistency, and making the right choices for you and your baby. Keeping these things in mind will truly help you bounce back AND it will make you a fit, strong mama to that amazing little baby of yours.

If you have any questions about working out before, during or after your pregnancy please reach out and I will help! It’s always important to refer to the American Congress of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG) Guidelines as well.

Thanks for listening!

Me @ 3 months postpartum
Me @ 3 months postpartum

Playground Workout!

Found this great workout for mommas at the playground! Use your time wisely when hanging with the kids!

Greatist.com’s September Pushup Challenge

Quick & Easy 30-day Pushup Challenge by Greatist.com!

Greatist.com is an awesome fitness & health site that I’ve been following. They offer super helpful workout plans and healthy food ideas. This month they posted their September Pushup Challenge. Being 7 months pregnant, I’m not really in the mood for a hard core workout so something like this is just what I need to have a goal, keep moving, and work on staying strong. It’s just 30 seconds per day of pushups! Anyone can do that, even a pregnant chick 🙂 If you don’t normally do pushups, or struggle with them, please consult with your physician and use caution if you decide to try this challenge.

Monthly Challenge Push-Ups Calendar

I didn’t find this challenge until Sept 2nd so started on Sept 3rd with the Staggered Pushups. I did 15 seconds with my right arm forward and 15 seconds with my left arm forward. I was able to do quite a few before dropping to my knees to finish out the set. Again, use caution and modifications where necessary if you are pregnant. I WOULD NOT try the explosive pushups when pregnant. Instead of explosive pushups I’ll be doing some triple threat pushups: 1 regular pushup, 1 wide-armed/wide-legged pushup, & 1 tricep pushup, repeat for 30 seconds.

The best part of this is it only takes 30 seconds but you definitely feel the burn. I also was able to get my husband to join me. In hopes of becoming more productive and healthy (we’ve really fallen off track recently), we decided to set 3 new goals for this month:

1. Drink at least 96 oz of water per day. I’ll be drinking 24 oz before each meal, plus some more in between to reach this goal.

2.  Do the Greatist Pushup Challenge 

3. Study for 1.5 hours per night (Monday- Thursday only). My husband is taking an online real estate course & I’m studying for my personal trainer certification and we’ve both been slacking in the study department.

We even set up a little calendar in the kitchen where we are marking off when we complete each goal for the day. Accountability is HUGE when it comes to health and fitness and it definitely helps even more if someone in your very own house is doing it along with you. Of course many of us might be in situations where our partner or roommate doesn’t want to participate. You can try to combat this by bringing an element of fun to the challenges. For example, whoever completes all 3 goals for the day first gets some sort of reward. Another big help can be explaining why its beneficial for the person to do these challenges (drinking lots of water = great looking skin! etc) or you can always let your friend/partner know that with their support you are way more likely to succeed so if nothing else, could they do it for you? Who can say no to that?

Starting out with small, achievable goals is the best way to change your habits. Do I need to do more than 30 seconds of pushups per day? Yes. But is 30 seconds of pushups per day something I know I can likely accomplish? YES! Small changes made over time will inevitably create bigger changes and more drive later. Try it out! Grab a buddy, write down 3 small daily goals for this month and get it done!

I look forward to hearing how it goes 🙂



5 Tips For Staying Fit While Pregnant

The first thing I said to myself when I got pregnant was that I wasn’t going to be one of “those” pregnant women… you know the kind- who take being pregnant as a free pass to eat EVERYTHING & ANYTHING, ALL-THE-TIME. Ha! Great endeavor for someone who has never been pregnant before, but now that I’m 6 months into it, I can tell you that your honorable intentions all go out the window- or at least mine did. You are tired, you are hungry, you are stressed and you can’t have booze! Next best thing for me is some delicious food and I’ve had my fair share of it over the last 6 months. That being said, I still don’t want to come out on the other end of this looking like a whale… So here are a few things I keep in mind in order to keep myself semi-fit AND sane during this time 🙂

1. Don’t beat yourself up!

I had been in the swing of losing some weight and staying consistently active when I found out I was pregnant. I told myself being pregnant wasn’t going to be an excuse for not exercising. I did good for awhile, especially in the 1st trimester when I continued a boot camp class I had been going to, but slowly and surely exercise became a little less important. Instead of making myself feel guilty when I’d skip a workout (or a whole week of workouts!), I’d just appreciate that my body was going through a change, that it was OK to be tired and stressed and not be hardcore every day. Again, we shouldn’t use it as an excuse but don’t beat yourself up when you need a rest or a break. Feeling guilty won’t make skipping that workout any better- use that time to take a nap, read a book or do something else on your to-do list!

2. Stay Consistent

While rest days are definitely needed, especially when pregnant, consistency is always the key with fitness. Long spurts of minimal or no exercise really lowers your strength and cardio ability very quickly. While taking a break here and there is OK, staying consistently active over these months is going to be key. Even if you are too tired for a hardcore workout, you can always fit in a short walk and a few pushups or squats. Something is always better than nothing! Sometimes I even do a few squats in the shower or while I’m brushing my teeth. Don’t let your body forget what it feels like to sweat and move. Do something daily, no matter how small. If you still find yourself going more than a few days without a workout, see Tip #1!

3. Drink Water!!

Water is so, so, so important. Even when we aren’t pregnant we often never get enough water each day. I also live at altitude (8900ft!) so I need even more water than the average person + even more than that when I’m pregnant. I seriously can’t get enough water into my system it seems. Keep a water bottle on your desk, in your purse, or in the fridge. Always opt for water with meals and skip the soda & juice. If you don’t like water (I know personally it can often be an acquired taste) then you need to be drinking more until you do like it. I swear it works! Of course there are great tricks to making water more tasty if you really struggle with getting it down- here are some awesome recipes I found. Water not only will hydrate you and your baby but also provides lots of other benefits like great looking skin, fewer headaches, and better digestion.

4. Choose Healthy Alternatives for Snacks

I haven’t been an ice cream person in recent years, salty things have always been my snack of choice but after getting pregnant ice cream is the only thing on my radar. I’ve given into the craving far too many times the last few months and swear I could feel my cheeks getting fatter as I ate each spoonful. I knew for my own health and the health of my baby, I couldn’t continue that way. So instead of completely denying myself this treat- I thought of a tasty alternative. Instead of a bowl of ice cream, I started eating yogurt drizzled lightly with chocolate syrup. Might sound gross and is surely not a replacement for the tastiness of ice cream but the chocolate on top tricks my mouth.  Obviously not the best tactic but still better than a bowl of ice cream!

5. Feed the Need

Sometimes (or more than sometimes) you have to give in to your cravings. Let’s be honest, being pregnant is not fun. Sure it’s very exciting to be growing a human being, but what it does to your body is not exciting at all. If I restricted myself to ONLY healthy food the whole time, I’d think I’d be in an insane asylum. So Kit-Kat bars, ice cream, big juicy cheeseburgers, or delicious bowls of pasta have definitely made it on my menu. And guess what I don’t feel bad about it! (See Tip #1) Plus your little one needs the extra calories! Not a ton, but in moderation! Since I can’t have booze to relieve my stress, a Kit-Kat bar and big glass of milk has been the next best thing for me 🙂 No matter what, pregnancy is a long and tough time. We want to do what we can to make things easy for ourselves but also healthy for our baby. Taking a break and giving into temptation (within reason) here and there is not going to cause major effects on us or our children. I’m a big fan of everything in moderation- that goes for treats, exercise, & rest. Enjoy this special time in your life,  try to make good decisions most of the time, and the rest of the time kick, back, relax, have some ice cream and chocolate and enjoy every bite!