Everyone knows pregnancy and birth changes your body in extraordinary ways. From a ballooning belly and loosening joints, to bigger breasts and a widened pelvis, a Mama’s body is transformed to carry, deliver, and sustain life. Incredible?—Absolutely! Eventually however, most Mamas are eager to reclaim a sense of ownership over their own bodies. And, no matter how active you were throughout your pregnancy, staying ‘fit’ in early motherhood can feel like a challenge. Fitness is often placed on the back-burner and before you know it your Little One is about to celebrate his/her first birthday!
The good news is it’s never too late to brush the dust off your runners and recommit to your own health & wellbeing through exercise. So, if you’re feeling ready to reconnect with your strength and want to find ways to prioritize fitness training while being a Mom, we’ve got eight helpful tips to get you on track. Keep glowing Mama—We believe in you!
Tip #1: Dress for Success
Prepare for your workout simply by suiting up. Do this first thing in the morning by laying out your favourite yoga attire the night before. In the same way a little black dress can makes you feel like royalty, donning athletic wear will get you into fitness mode. And don’t forget to lace up your indoor sneakers too—you may just find yourself sprinting up the stairs like a champ!
Tip #2: Find Your “Soulmate Workout”
It’s time to give up on exercise routines you simply don’t want to do, and find what health expert Chalene Johnson calls your “soulmate workout”. If you can’t stand running, weight lifting, or squatting, DON’T do it! Life is too short (and time is too precious) to spend hours on regimes you dread. Use first-time drop-in classes—many of which are free—to try something new. Experiment with rock climbing, cycling, or tap dancing, and don’t be afraid to fall in love!
Tip #3: Set Tiny Milestones
Setting lofty goals you might not reach is only going to get you down. Instead, tell yourself you only need to do one sun salutation, or walk one block. Even a quick stretch or a brief stroll will give your body a boost of energy. Setting tiny goals takes the pressure off, and oftentimes gives you the motivation to keep going. Before you know it you’ll be 20 minutes into a self-guided yoga practice and feeling great.
Tip #4: Pack Your Bag
Carving out time for fitness is all about removing barriers. Keep a ready-packed gym/yoga bag in your foyer so you have one less to-do standing between you and your workout. It’s handy to have your fitness gear ready to go when you are—especially when you realize you can make it to the next Yoga Babies class if you can get out the door in the next 5 minutes!
Tip #5: Cross the Finish Line
From loosing weight to building strength, hitting a ‘target’ is one way we measure our fitness success. But instead of stepping on the scale, change things up by working towards a different kind of goal. Find a charitable race or walkathon happening in your area and sign up! Train gradually with the aim of crossing a real finish line; you’ll feel so proud, while contributing to a worthy cause.
Tip #6: Do the One-Kilometer Challenge
If you live in the city, you are fortunate to have most of life’s necessities mere meters from your doorstep. Challenge yourself to walk to any destination within one kilometer. Do groceries, pick up dry cleaning, and hit the nearest park by foot. Living in a suburban area? No worries! Simply drive downtown or to the nearest ‘big box’ strip mall, park your car, and walk between the many shops!
Tip #7: Partner Up
We all know that staying accountable is a great way to stick to our commitments. Tell someone about your fitness plans—simply putting your intensions ‘out there’ will strengthen your resolve. Better yet, conscript others to join you! Arrange a bi-weekly yoga + coffee date with a girlfriend, or ask your partner to join you for evening strolls. Working out is often better with a buddy.
Tip #8: Start Kidding Around
No one will keep you on your toes like your kids! In addition to the usual running around required when you have diapers to fetch and toddlers to chase, take some time to play like a kid. Notice how they gallop, tumble, dance, and flop outside and around the home. Try climbing the stairs like a cat on all fours, or even jumping through the sprinkler with them! You may not be HIIT training, but you’ll be keeping active and having a blast!
At the end of the day, motherhood is a journey with a new set of rules, so don't expect to adhere to your pre-Mama self-care routines, or past expectations of what your works-outs should look like. Treat yourself with tons of kindness and understanding because Motherhood is demanding. Sometimes sit-ups & planks take the back seat to a sick child or catching up on much needed sleep, and that’s ok. Fitting into your pre-pregnancy jeans may happen, and it may not, it really doesn't matter, so long as you do your best to stay active for the sake of your health & strength—goodness knows it will help you keep up with your Little Ones!