Today, I wanted to combine two of my favorite things into one post..... fitness and my sweet baby girl! I knew that finding time to workout after having a baby would be hard, but I don't think I ever could have guessed how hard. Workout while they nap they say. Let them sit in the swing while you work out in front of them they say. Yeah right. When naps can last only 15 minutes and your little one gets bored in the swing after 10, you have to get creative to fit in your workouts.
I'm hear to tell you it's not impossible, but what works for your neighbor with a child that came out of the womb sleeping through the night and taking nice 3 hour naps every day, may not work for you and your "spirited" baby (that's what the baby books call babies like Annabelle who get bored easily). :) I have compiled my best tips and tricks that either, I have tested, or I have heard work for my friends (and by friends, I mean real human mothers that have to sneak in showers and brush their teeth while holding a baby too).
|My favotie ways to squeeze in a workout with a newborn.|
|She looks so tiny. She was only about 1 month old here.|
2) Don't have an all or nothing mentality. You may not have time to squeeze in a full workout, but you can do 10 push-ups here, 15 squats there, and 20 tricep dips between feedings. I keep a piece of resistance tubing in my room and try to do a few exercises every time I pass by it. Counter top push-ups while the bottle is warming up, squats or wall sits while your brushing your teeth, lat pulls downs with the band before you get in bed, can all add up to a great workout over the course of the day.
3) Make baby soothing a workout. Instead of the traditional baby bounce, try doing squats while holding your baby. They will love it and your legs will appreciate it too. For a while plie squats were the only thing that would quiet Annabelle when she was upset.
4)Workouts don't have to last an hour. A 30 minute higher intensity workout can be just as good or better than a lower intensity hour long workout. I have tons of quick 30 minute workouts on my workout page you can try. Most of them require little to no equipment!
5) Find something you love to do. You are running on 5 broken hours of sleep, haven't had a shower in 2 days, and are demand feeding a newborn. Please don't expect yourself to feel up to a run if you hate running! Or get upset with yourself when you skip boot camp when you didn't even want to go before your little angel arrived. Make it easier on yourself by finding a form of exercise you love and can use as a stress reliever instead of forcing yourself to do something just because you need to exercise.
6) Include baby in your workout. Hold your baby while doing squats, lunges, plie squats, or side leg lifts. Place baby on legs (if they have good head control) while doing sit-ups. Put baby underneath your for plank and push-ups and sneak in a kiss during every rep. :) This usually works best when the baby is a tad older and has good head control.
7) Start with what you were doing while pregnant. You just went through a pretty traumatic event (aka delivery), so don't expect to hit the pavement for 5 miles right when you reach the 6 week mark. Start with the form of exercise you were most comfortable doing while pregnant and then work up from there. The form of exercise you were doing while pregnant protected the same body parts that need protecting post-partum and your muscles will still remember what they were doing since it wasn't that long ago. Took a hiatus from exercise while pregnant? THAT'S OK! See tip number 1. :)
|It was a prego party at barre. I was able to teach until 2 weeks before I delivered |
and worked out the day before she arrived. Exercise was the only thing that made me feel normal towards the end.
8) Baby wear. This one didn't work for me, but some people swear by it. You can put your baby in a moby wrap or baby carrier and go for a walk or even lift weights. Just please be careful to adjust for the extra weight in front and keep good form. You may have to modify exercises a bit. Oh, and watch the dumbbell around the bambino!
9) Find a studio or gym with babysitting. You don't have to be the wonder woman mom pushing the jogging stroller to be fit! Find a nice studio or gym that has babysitting you trust and take your little peanut there while you enjoy a workout. Go early on your first visit to check the place out, meet the babysitter, and watch your little one play before you head in for your workout. It's a great way to take a little time for yourself, get in a workout, and know your baby is in a safe place. If you live in Austin, the Pilates studio I teach at offers select classes with babysitting (all of which I teach), so bring your kiddos to play with Annabelle and get a great workout while your at it!
10) Schedule workouts after early morning feedings. Annabelle usually wakes up around 4:30 AM - 5:30 AM to eat and then will sleep again until 7:30-8:00 AM. This is my only guaranteed (well most of the time it's guaranteed) workout time while she's sleeping. This is when I fit in all my runs and teach my early morning classes. Nap times are too hit or miss to depend on for longer workouts so this is my chance. If you're not a morning person, don't worry about it, but it works for me so I wanted to share. If I tried to run at 6 PM, it would be ugly!
Remember, you just created another human so take it easy on yourself! Exercise gives you energy, improves self confidence, increases strength, and lowers anxiety; however, if you are forcing yourself to exercise while exhausted (hello 3 AM feedings), you won't get any of those benefits. Ease back into and be patient with yourself. I hope this tips help, and keep up the great work!
Any tips I missed? How do you make time for exercise with a new baby?
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