It can be difficult after a pregnancy to get back to working out. Often the desire is there as many women can’t wait to recapture their pre-pregnancy bodies. But typically there is a severe lack of time and energy to accomplish this task.
But it can be done! Obviously the new baby is the top priority in the household as a newborn requires a lot of attention; however you still can start working towards getting back in shape.
Many times we have a habit of trying to do too much. This can lead to frustration when we are unable to accomplish as much as we want, or even worse if we burn ourselves out. When you have a newborn in a house time and energy are usually two things that are in short supply. So how can you work on yourself as well as do everything else that needs to be done? The simple answer is to take it slowly.
There should be no hurry or timeframe on your health and fitness. As the baby grows your schedule will be changing. So with those two things in mind the best idea is to start slowly with a fitness program and then adjust it as time permits. When more time is available simply do more.
Out of everything you can do, shoring up your diet is by far the most critical to getting back into shape. After eating for 1 1/2 for so many months you have conditioned your body to consume more food than it now needs. Additionally eating regularly and in a healthy manner is always an incredible challenge in the time-crunched world of a new parent. So let’s look at some basic baby steps.
- Try and cook two big healthy meals per week that you can then have leftovers from for other dinners.
- Have healthy snacks readily available for quick consumption during a busy day around the house such as yogurt, cottage cheese, granola bars, fruit, veggies, trail mix, or pretzels. The goal is little to no prep time because usually you have none.
- Start the day with a big, filling breakfast to fill up your tank with lots of good energy. Try and include protein as well (hard boiled eggs are excellent).
- After breakfast try and eat every 2 1/2 to 3 hours with small meals or snacks. This will help get your metabolism moving faster as well as keep a balanced level of energy which is paramount in a busy lifestyle and lessens urges for bad snacking.
- Drink lots of water and juice all day to stay hydrated.
- Always keep a healthy snack in the car. If the baby falls asleep while running errands you don’t want to starve!
- Don’t starve yourself. Your body will be very busy and will need energy. Smaller meals eaten more often will give you the energy you must have to function and exercise. Eating less will just handicap you.
- No snacks after 8pm!
- Always include a multivitamin every day.
The most import aspect of working out is to not get frustrated if you can’t workout as often as you want. Far too many people get stuck on working out every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. But life with a newborn is much too hectic to expect that schedule to work week after week. Then frustration sets in after missing a few workouts. Instead have a variety of options to use for a workout and fit it into your regular routine. That way you can maximize your opportunities as they present themselves.
- Stroller exercise is king. Newborn strollers are great for sidewalks but investing in a good exercise stroller with larger, rubber tires will pay healthy dividends for years. More than likely you will need to start with walking but you can work up to running which is the best exercise you can do from a cardiovascular standpoint. Make it a social occasion and go for regular daily walks with other moms or together with your spouse at night. This is a great anytime activity because the baby can nap or get stimulation from the world.
- Invest in a few good exercise DVDs. Or you might have exercise programs on demand from your cable box. These are also good anytime options that can done in the morning while your spouse is on baby duty (or at night) as well as during nap times in the day. High energy programs like kickboxing or body blasters are good as well as yoga. You want programs that promote cardiovascular conditioning as well as muscle toning.
- Check out local recreation centers. Oftentimes local city owned facilities have drop in options for working out as well as fun classes like Zumba. These types of things are great on the weekend or if the grandparents are taking care of child duty. You can pop in for some exercise and “you” time. Typically it is much less expensive than a monthly gym membership.
- Stretch a few times per day. The body easily gets out of whack with all of the lifting and twisting with kids. Make sure to take care of your body by stretching in the morning and at night to keep yourself loose and flexible. Far too many parents end up with muscle strains and pains in the line of duty.