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!