Returning to Group Fitness After Having a Baby

You’re six weeks postpartum, have your doctor’s clearance, and are getting a little more sleep at night (or maybe not). You can jump back into your normal workouts right?

I wish but unfortunately it’s not quite that simple. Your body underwent major changes during pregnancy; you grew, carried, and somehow got a baby out. Pregnancy, labor, and delivery is a traumatic experience for the body. Although you may be feeling good and have your doctor’s okay, it takes time before you’re ready to workout again like you used to.

But I also know what it feels like to miss your workout and be eager to return to your favorite class. Not to mention, the social and mental relief it provides from your new, difficult job as a mom.

Here are some tips to safely return to your favorite fitness class postpartum. I specifically have Jazzercise in mind because that’s my workout of choice but please take the advice and apply it to your favorite workout.

Group Fitness after Baby

  1. Before you return to class, first you need to
    • Have your doctor’s clearance.
    • No longer be bleeding.
    • Check yourself for diastasis recti (here’s a good video on how to do this-skip to 2:10 if you don’t want to watch the intro).
    • Invest in a good sports bra if you’re nursing (I personally like Victoria’s Secret Knockout-very supportive and zips in front for easy nursing access).
  2. Talk to your instructor before class. Let them know that you’re returning after having a baby. Most likely they will tell you to listen to your body, take it easy, and stop if something doesn’t feel good, all of which is great advice. Let them know that you may be modifying some parts of class. As a Jazzercise instructor, I personally don’t have a problem with anyone modifying as long as what they are doing is safe for themselves and others.
  3. Start low impact. I know you might be feeling ready to jump back in but do yourself a favor and ease back into things. Again, your body underwent major changes and your pelvic floor is weak. Give your body a chance to completely recover before diving back into intense workouts. Besides, low impact is not always an easier option. Focus on the muscle behind the move and you’ll be sweating just as much as if you were jumping.
  4. Concentrate on good posture. As new moms, especially if nursing, we spend a lot of time hunched forward holding and feeding our babies. Pull your shoulder blades down and together and stand up tall. Think about tying a corset around your middle to help your core remember its purpose.
  5. Adapt strength moves, especially if you have ab separation.
    • Instead of doing a full forward plank, keep your knees on the ground.
    • Instead of crunches, do pelvic tilts.
    • Instead of full pushups, sit on your hip with your legs in a zig-zag to take pressure off the abdominals.
  6. Above all, be kind to yourself. Returning to exercise after having a baby is a journey and your fitness will take time to return. Instead of beating yourself up or lamenting how far you have to go to return to your previous fitness levels, simply enjoy moving and having a little time to yourself.

Remember all this is temporary. Being smart, listening to your body, and letting yourself heal now will make you stronger and fitter later!

Weekly Workout Recap 1/8-1/14

Happy Monday! I know Mondays get a bum rep but I kind of like them as a new start to the week. Of course I also don’t have to go to work so that helps a lot. Anyway, diving into the workout talk.

Last week was not a good week for workouts. I’m not going to sugarcoat it: it sucked. Between Ryan’s work and Chase’s shots (I wasn’t going to leave him when he wasn’t feeling good), I couldn’t make it to Jazzercise at all. Sleep wasn’t great, giving me even less motivation to work out at home, especially since working out at home isn’t my favorite.

Am I telling you this to whine or make excuses? Nope. Sometimes weeks are just like that and workouts don’t happen. Life isn’t perfect and neither is fitness. That’s no reason to feel like a failure or quit. When exercise is a regular part of your life, once in awhile you have a week that’s not great. You just have to figure out if you can do anything differently next time and move on.

My WeekinWorkouts

Monday 1/8-Yoga video

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By the end of the day, I needed some kind of movement. I remembered¬†YogaGlo has a selection of postnatal yoga videos and decided to give one a try. I haven’t done yoga in so long and it felt amazing to stretch. Although with an infant who needed to eat in the middle of the video and two dogs who think the yoga mat is theirs, it wasn’t exactly relaxing.

Tuesday 1/9-Off

Wednesday 1/10-Off

Thursday 1/11-20 minute walk

Chase was fussy and I was tired, so I decided fresh air would do us both some good.

Friday 1/12-Postnatal core video

While searching for exercises to safely repair my core after pregnancy, I found this video. I like that it’s only eight minutes, although I still ended up having to do it in two parts.

Saturday-0.50 mile run, 45 minute walk, and yoga video

I ran half a mile and let’s just say it didn’t feel good. I grabbed Bailey, then Benji and walked instead.

That night I did the same yoga video I did on Monday. Ryan had Chase so I was actually able to finish the 30 minute video without having to stop. Oh, the things I used to take for granted!

Sunday-15 minute walk

With snow in the forecast for today, I wanted to get Bailey, Chase, and myself out while it was still nice. I roped Ryan into helping me take the stroller and both dogs for a quick walk.

My workouts this week definitely weren’t perfect and I didn’t do as much as I would have liked. But I did what I could and am looking for at-home workouts now that I’ve learned I can’t plan on attending class.

If you have a week where you workouts are less than stellar, don’t worry; it happens. Learn from it and move on. Next week will be better!

Questions of the Day

What do you do when, for whatever reason, your planned workout for the day doesn’t happen?

Do you prefer to workout alone or take a class?

Chase 2 Month Update

There’s no way I’m writing this update. Surely this should be his 2 week update?! Nope, the calendar confirms it: Chase turned 2 months on Tuesday!
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Size

Chase had his 2-month check-up and the doctor said he looks great. He weighed in at a whopping 11 lbs, 4 oz! To put that in perspective, he weighed 6 lbs, 12 oz when he was born and dropped down to 6 lbs the first few days when he was struggling with jaundice. He’s also grown 3 1/4 inches. At 22 1/4 inches, he’s in the 16th percentile for height but Ryan and I always knew we were going to have short kids.

As of a couple weeks ago, Chase is out of his newborn clothes; they’re all washed and put away and I may have cried a bit while packing them up. Every time I go to put Chase in a new 3 month outfit, I think, “There’s no possible way this is going to fit him.” Every time it fits him perfectly. This happens a lot because this kid has a serious wardrobe!

Personality and Likes

Chase is still the happiest baby I’ve ever met. He even smiled at the doctor during his exam (that was before shots of course). He loves to interact with me and Ryan by smiling or talking to us. He’s even started smiling at Bailey and is extremely tolerant of her kisses.

Window blinds are still a favorite, although they don’t seem to entrance him quite as much as before. He loves laying on his activity mat where he kicks his legs and talks away. He recently discovered the patterns on the overhead part of the mat and now stares at those.

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Books are popular with him too. Even though he’s usually looking at something else, he’ll listen to an entire book. We have these small black and white books with designs on the edge of the pages and he seems to really enjoy looking at those.

Otherwise, I can’t think of other favorites. He’s so alert now and interested in everything. He prefers to be held over the shoulder or facing forward in a lap so he can take everything in.

On the few occasions he’s fussy, he likes to be walked around the house. I don’t mind because I get some steps in.

His only real dislike is tummy time-we’ve tried to prop him up, lay down with him, put him on our chests; he’s just not having it. We’re lucky if we get a couple minutes. He sleeps a lot on my chest though and has a strong neck, so I’m not too worried. Oh! He also hates the nose sucker but I don’t blame him for that.

Sleep

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We slept through the night! Actually, let me clarify. Chase had a night where he slept from 9:30 pm to 5 am. I, on the other hand, woke up at 2, 3, and 4 to check on him.

His stretches of sleep are getting longer and usually range from about 4 to 6 hours. We typically feed before bed, once in the middle of the night, and once in the early morning after which I could technically get up but usually go back to sleep. He wakes up ready to play around 7.

This weekend we’re transitioning him to his Pack ‘n’ Play and I have a feeling he’s going to be waking up a lot more.

Naps are still hit and miss. Somedays he’s really sleepy and others he’s up all day. His only long naps are in my arms; he’ll sleep in the swing or Pack ‘n’ Play but only for 15-30 minutes. Earlier this week, he slept for around two hours in his baby carrier; the next day he refused to be in it.

Memories and Milestones

  • He found his voice! We have conversations where he squeaks at me, I ask him to tell me more, and he squeaks again. It’s adorable. I wake up most mornings to him talking away in his bed. Lately, he hasn’t even been crying during the night; instead he just happily makes noise until I feed him.
  • He makes eye contact. This is a huge milestone because he never seemed interested in faces before. This past week though, he’s started looking at my face and making eye contact. It makes the conversations we have even sweeter.
  • He loves his head rubbed and he’s started putting his hand up while nursing like he’s trying to rub his head. It’s so flipping cute.
  • He hasn’t found his thumb yet but he loves sucking on his fist.
  • He had his first trip to the store. Because of this nasty flu season, we’ve been keeping him home as much as possible but we had to make a trip for baby Tylenol. His first trip involved a blanket over his carseat and his mama glaring to keep people away. Fun times.
  • Speaking of, he had his first fever. It was from his shots and I knew he’d be fine but I’ve still decided he can’t get sick again. I just can’t handle it.
  • He smiles when someone else is holding him and he sees me. He doesn’t do that for anyone else yet, not even Ryan, and it feels pretty special that he does with me.

He’s growing up so fast and I can’t believe it’s been 9 weeks since we met him; on the other hand, I can’t believe he’s only been here for 9 weeks. It makes my heart ache when I look at his sweet face because I just love him so much. I feel very blessed and grateful to have him in my life; I think I say that in every update and will probably continue to do so because it’s true. Being his mommy is the greatest gift.

Question of the Day

Parents, how old are your kids? Does time ever slow down?!