Hi! It’s Karin again! I hope my Diastasis Recti post allowed you to learn about and possibly diagnose a fitness hurdle you may be challenged with. Now let’s talk about ways you can get back into shape after carrying two precious little ones in your belly. First and foremost, let me just say, we’ve all been there. You are not alone. None of us recognize our bodies after babies. Let me just reiterate something from my last post, the most important thing to have is perspective. Appreciate the beauty and strength of a body that was chosen to carry not one, but TWO sweet miracles. Let that sink in. We all carried TWO babies. Certified rockstars for sure. So cut yourself some slack. Know that this process is not a short or an easy one, but there are steps you can take to get in shape. These tips are by no means groundbreaking, they are very fundamental, but they will provide a great foundation to start on your journey.
This is me pre babies and then at 36 of my 37 weeks.
After my pregnancy, I was like each one of you, at a loss. Where do I start? I’m EXHAUSTED! I don’t want to start!
Totally how I felt! So I started back with the basics.
- TAKE IT SLOW. Doctors recommend waiting 6 weeks after delivery to start an exercise program, 8 if you have had a c-section. Please make sure you speak to and have been cleared by your doctor before starting any exercise program. Once you get started, know that no matter what your pre-pregnancy fitness level is, your stamina post partum will be next to nothing. We are all running on fumes at this point. It would take every ounce of energy and a fierce internal pep talk to get myself out of the house to walk with the girls. And up until 35 of my 37 week pregnancy, I was at the gym 6-7 times a week. Dance classes and cardio kickboxing were my jam. But a few short weeks later, I barely had the stamina to make it through a 20 minute walk. You will have to start slow and work your way back to your normal fitness level. Begin with short increments of time. 15-20 minutes is great. Pick an activity that is forgiving to your body, because it has been through so much already. Walking is a great place to start. Smooth movements like the elliptical are also great. Keep in mind that you want to avoid any activity that requires a lot of jumping or bouncing like running. If you are nursing, you are prone to embarrassing leaks. (That stuff is liquid gold so we don’t want to lose even a drop!) And speaking of embarrassing leaks, you may also notice a change in your ability to hold urine. Coughing, laughing, sneezing, and especially jumping or running will put stress on your bladder that it may not be able to handle post partum. “OMG did I just pee a little bit?!” Yep. You totally did. (I mentioned I was a pharma rep, but did you know that I have the honor of educating doctors on Overactive Bladder all day? Oh yes, I am an incontinence expert. So any questions about that, just ask me!)
- PROPER NUTRITION IS KEY. I know we are all eating out of convenience most days, but having the best food choices available allows you to set yourself up for success. Keep in mind, if you are nursing, DO NOT restrict your calorie intake. You need to take in the proper amount of calories to feed your babies. That being said, we each have control over what we eat. Choose lean protein sources. Carbohydrates should come in the form of whole grains, not chips or candy. These are empty calories that add up fast. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. It all sounds like a no brainer, but take a second to think about your food choices. How many things do you eat or snack on in a day that could be replaced with a healthier option? This is the easiest, no effort way to start getting that pre baby body back. It’s simple and it takes no time.
- RESISTANCE TRAINING. Lift weights or use resistance bands. Focus on high reps with a low weight to start building muscle. It may not feel like it, but you will burn more calories when you start a combination of cardio and resistance training.
- WORK OUT WITH YOUR BABIES. I started getting back into my groove by walking in my neighborhood with the girls. It’s a great way to spend time together and get into shape. There are also different Mommy and Me fitness classes, just make sure you are not doing any fitness regimen that might make your Diastasis Recti worse.
- UTILIZE VIDEOS. They make great fitness videos that you can do in the privacy of your own home. Pick something fun that will keep you interested and motivated. I recently started T25. What I like about this video in particular is that it comes in three levels, alpha, beta, and gamma, each level harder than the one before. And it’s only 25 minutes!
Babies be like let us in! We cut our nap short just to see you! But Shaun T is telling me I only have 4 minutes and 30 seconds left so focus!
- TAKE CLASSES AT THE GYM
For some people, the social aspect of the gym is great motivation to get up and go. Find a gym that’s close and that offers what you need. Flexible hours, a variety of classes to choose from, childcare, etc. Look for the things that are the most integral to making you successful! Personally, I have learned I am more likely to go if I have a class to look forward to.
I’m in the middle since it may have been hard to spot me. Kidding. But I did learn this dance in an hour and tried to wurk it like I wasn’t sporting a 26 week twin belly. You get the idea. I love to dance, so I never missed a class. Find something that you love to do and go!
- FIND A WORKOUT BUDDY
Self explanatory. Good friends and good conversation make even the most daunting tasks fun.
- DO NOT OVER COMMIT. Set yourself up for success! Do not start out with a goal of working out 6 days a week for at least 45 minutes. Although your intentions are awesome, you have TWINS! Life is crazy and no two days are ever the same. The one thing I think we can all count on is inconsistency. Give yourself an attainable goal. Something like, I’m taking the babies for a 20 minute walk in our neighborhood 3 times this week. Or I will do exercises for my Diastasis Recti for 5 minutes a day while I am on the floor playing with babies. Set goals that you know you can attain, judge how easy or hard it was to reach that goal, adjust, and set a new goal for the next week.
In the end, it’s not about how many times you worked out this week. Its not about the number on the scale and it’s darn sure not about the little number written on the inside of your pants. It’s about being healthy. Making healthy lifestyle choices that ensure you are around for a very, very long time and that you are teaching your children the importance of a healthy diet and getting outside and playing and exercising, not staying inside in front of the TV. It’s also about being confident and comfortable in your own skin. Your children will never notice what size you wear or how much you weigh, but they WILL notice your lack of confidence and any self-deprecating remarks you make about your appearance. But on the other hand, they also WILL notice the confidence that radiates from you, the strength and leadership you show in and for the family, the time you spend with them, and the hugs and kisses and love that you share with them everyday. Focus on staying positive, making healthy choices, and staying active with your family. Everything else will fall into place!