I remember that feeling...(usually about a month or two postpartum) when I would start to get the itch to get in shape again pregnancy. For each woman, the timing is different. Some women don't get the urge to exercise until 6 months after giving birth; others a year or more. That is totally fine. Your body and spirit (and doctor!) will tell you when you are ready to get back into your workout regimen postpartum.
But for me, I get the urge around the time my doctor clears me to exercise again. Simply put, I feel best when my body is strong. I feel most like myself when I can workout consistently. And when I don't workout consistently, I feel lethargic, heavy, tired, and even am more susceptible to anxiety or depression. So, getting in shape is about so much more than just abs or strong arms for this mama. It's about showing up for my family in a way that is empowering.
I add this as a disclaimer because I have been shamed often on social media for "rushing" my postpartum fitness journey. Yes, the "snapback" culture online can be disheartening at times but again, fitness for this mama is spiritual, emotional, and a part of my God given identity. For this reason, I continued to exercise during each three of my pregnancies --I documented it online if you want to scroll back and see. Even if I'm 60 pounds heavier with a burgeoning belly, I still walk, jog, bicep curl, and squat because fitness for me is mainly about how I feel and my health. And when I give birth, I don't rush back into the gym. I start slowly with my home workouts, adding in heavier weights as months progress.
And...by the way: You can be a fit mom and be 180 pounds. You can be a fit mom and be curvy and voluptuous. You can be a fit mom and be thin! -Being a 'fit mom' is about a state of mind, a lifestyle--not a body type.
So, now that we've gotten that out of the way, I'd like to share my top three habits to be a fit mom year round! Here we go:
Incorporate Your Kids
I didn't rush off to join a gym after giving birth. I worked out at parks, in my living room to workouts I created, and exercised with my stroller. I got creative! Don't be too rigid with how you get your workouts in as a mother. Instead, focus on moving daily and getting a good sweat. Try home workout videos and ask older kids to join you. For little babies, aim to get your workouts in while they nap, or babywear while you squat and take walks. I know it's challenging with all the interruptions (you need water again?! lol), but let me encourage you: your working out with your kids is setting them up for healthy practices into adulthood. Their future spouses will thank you later.
Have a Vision
So many of my clients lament over not being able to stay motivated. They begin my program but after a week or two, fall off the bandwagon in despair. Fret not, my friend. You're not undisciplined--you need a VISION! So, take a moment and close your eyes. I want you to imagine YOU at your absolute best--body, mind, and spirit. How does the best version of you walk into a room? How does she dress? How does she eat? What kind of physical shape is she in? Get specific. Then write down YOU at YOUR best in detail in present tense. Read it daily in the morning. And your subconscious will get to work at helping you give birth to the best you.
Don't Keep Crap in the House
It never fails: when I keep the cookies, candy, and pizza in the house, I reach for it when I am hangry. (Hangry: hunger combined with anger and feelings of agitation). Don't keep junk in the house if you know it's a temptation for you! For example, a while back, I stopped buying any breakfast cereals. We used to have 'cereal Saturday' in our house, but before you knew it, my kids would be begging for sugary pebbles on Tuesday and I'd give in. NOT ON MY WATCH! I decided since it was such a big temptation (and thus, source of frustration) I'd simply keep it out of the house. Now, it's out of sight, out of mind. My kids no longer whine about their favorite, 40 grams of sugar "breakfast" treat. Why? Because it's not in my home. Boundary: set.
There's so much more I can say about this topic, but you get the idea right?
Being a fit mom is about having a healthy, happy lifestyle consistently. So, here's my homework assignment for you: I want you to do one thing towards your goal of being a fit mom consistently; every day. For me, I always have a green smoothie. What is a healthy daily habit you can do today to help you be the healthiest you? Maybe drink two liters of water? Set the goal, and like Nike says, JUST DO IT!
I'll be here supporting you.
Sending love your way!