Getting my pre-baby body back: Real exercise

I know lots of women think (worry) about what will happen to their bodies after having a baby, and wonder if they will ever have as cute a figure they might have had beforehand. Well, I did anyways. So I exercised throughout my pregnancy (for my own health and that of my baby’s), and planned my triumphant return to exercise and cute pre-pregnancy clothes. I called it: Operation MILF.

The c section threw somewhat of a wrench in my plans, since my plans hadn’t included major abdominal surgery. But I readjusted quickly, and spent the first 2 months focused on recovery and setting a strong foundation for my delayed triumphant return. I researched exercise programs and as soon as I learned that Shaun T (of Insanity fame) had a new workout called Focus T25, I was hooked and eagerly counted the days to my checkup when I would hopefully get cleared for exercise.

I am not sponsored by Beachbody (the company that produces Shaun T’s programs) or anyone related – not that I would mind it! – but I have been such an ambassador of Shaun T ever since I did his Insanity program a few years ago and ended up with a 6-pack. Insanity is amazing and I knew that Focus T25 probably would be as well, with the added bonus of each workout taking only 25 minutes. With a new baby, I wasn’t prepared to commit any more time than that for a workout video. I’ll do a full review some other time, and focus for now on getting back into the swing of an exercise routine. But seriously, it is a great, great program – and not just for post-pregnancy! My husband did it also and has had fantastic results in terms of strength and definition since he didn’t need to lose any weight.

I got the ok to exercise from the doc at the 8-week checkup. I want to emphasize that recovery was and continued to be the priority – anything that felt uncomfortable (i.e., pulling at the scar or making it hurt) was a no-go. I started the program doing the modified moves, as shown by Tanya who also used the program to get her amazing figure back after having a baby. This allowed me to do the exercise without putting too much strain on my injury. As my recovery continued I gradually moved on to the full movements. The whole program lasts 3 months; I felt like I had my body back after 2. I still have a little bit more wobble than I had before, but I think it’s mostly extra skin and a little bit of fat that’s hanging on for breastfeeding (that’s what I’m telling myself) and will come off when Pixie gets weaned and I start running home from work.

So. How did I do it? For starters, I picked a program that had a realistic time commitment. By 2 months old, I could know with relative certainty that Pixie would have a nap long enough for me to do the program and shower. If I had picked a program where each workout was 40 min, I never would have completed it. Also, after taking such a long time off from exercise, 25 minutes was not too intimidating of a length of time. I could spend most of it telling myself that it was almost over!

Secondly, I always work out as early in the day as possible. “They,” who lie about many things, say that you should sleep when the baby sleeps. But as soon as baby starts sleeping for longer stretches in the night, you don’t really want to go to sleep within a couple of hours of having gotten up for the day! So I aim to work out during Pixie’s first nap. Even when she has had a terrible night and is up at 5am, I pretty much never want to go to sleep at 7am. It’s also generally her most regular nap, so that helps as well.

Having an exercise program that came with a calendar and instructions of which exercise to do on what days helped a lot. I didn’t have to think about it, and seeing it on the calendar made it more of an external commitment. Even more, doing it with my husband was great motivation – on days that we didn’t do the video of the day together, I still wanted to make sure to do it so we would still move on to the same video on the next day. Plus, I really really wanted to get back into my pre-pregnancy clothes. I got them out of storage as an extra boost of motivation.

And that’s pretty much it. I have loved doing this program, and I am loving the results. I have prioritized recovery while not letting any excuses get in the way. I’m going back to work in just over 3 weeks, and know everything will change in terms of how much time I have available for exercise, so it will be an interesting transition… But in the meantime, at least I’ll fit into my work clothes!

First KIT day: how it went

As mentioned in my previous post, I went into the office for the first time this week. It was an interesting insight into how my life is going to be from now on, with a little one at home. Of course, I only wish I could work the hours I worked on Tuesday, but it was a first taste nonetheless.

So how did it go?

Pixie was up at 5:15, as per her usual. We all got up, I fed her, the adults had coffee and we all played together. BD and I worked out while she was down for her first nap of the day. He was working from home and watching her while I was gone, so he wasn’t rushing anywhere which was nice. We ate breakfast, and then I fed Pixie again when she woke up. As soon as she finished I jumped into my work clothes and tried to have a long and drawn out goodbye, but BD was having none of that and pushed me out the door.

It was strange to be in work clothes. Good, but strange. It was strange to go to the office. Again good, but strange. Same with being there. Most things at work are the same, though there are some new faces and I realised there are people I work with who had never seen me not-pregnant. Anyhow the day was mostly about catching up on emails and what is going on at work, which is what I did. Every time I messaged BD to ask how it was going, I got an adorable picture of my baby. And I became That Mom. You know, the one who shows everyone pictures of their kid(s) even when no one has shown any inclination or interest. Ah well.

I started to get antsy and so headed home a little earlier than I had thought I would, but it was good timing because just as I walked out of the office, I got a message from BD asking me to please start making my way home! I had originally thought to run home, but a friend mentioned that she would be bringing me a few things so I didn’t bring my stuff, and then because of BD’s message I caught a bus instead of walking which had been my backup plan. I rushed in the door and fed my little love bug, who had been refusing the bottle. All in all the day was good, but also hard. I should have done one of these days ages ago, I have so much more appreciation for my maternity leave now!!

I can see how much harder it will be to fit in activity and exercise once I go back to work, and I am going to have to make a real effort. I am planning on running home every day, and I’m hoping that the fact that running is the fastest way home will be enough motivation. I have also started looking for quick high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts that I’ll be able to use to round out my exercise. I’m not sure what the timing on evenings where I have worked a full day will look like, but I would like to squeeze in something if I can. My goal is to remain a fit and active mom, even when I am working!

Into the office

I’m going into the office today for a “keeping in touch” day, and it will be the longest I have ever been away from my baby. I’m nervous, but also looking forward to it, and already emotional about missing her and her missing me.

I’ll exercise before I go (as soon as she goes down for her first nap, as usual), and hopefully that will help regulate my crazy emotions. It usually does! It’s not a trial run of how things will be when I go back to work full time in August since I am just coming in when I can (aka after her second feed), but it will be a first experience of work and motherhood and I’m glad to fit in activity today, as well. I may also walk home from work, just to get a little more movement in.

And the experiment begins!