I always find these types of blog posts harder to write, and perhaps no one wants to read personal posts! But, by doing so it helps me reflect on where I am with my fitness goals, healthy lifestyle and helps me get back on track if things have fallen apart recently. The happens so much more regularly since the arrival of my baby boy and the complete chaos that life can sometimes bring! So here goes!
The “routine” has changed more times than I can remember in these past 7 months (all led by baby & his developments), but this most recent routine appears to work great; it feels more like a “normal life” now! Read my previous My Week in Workouts here before pregnancy, and how My Fitness During Pregnancy changed my workout routine.
Although my dog is a little pug, he absolutely loves his walks and playtime! So he gets us out in the morning every day. We usually do an hour’s walk with him to tire him out until lunchtime and it also get us up and out for some fresh air. This often coincides with baby’s nap time and if he didn’t nap at home first he will sleep in the pram and continue napping once home for a short while.
Once the baby is down for his morning nap I use this time to fit in my pilates/yoga workout. This is the easiest way for me to workout because I can do it at home and only need my mat. For this reason I was able to start pilates at 3 weeks postnatal (very gently) and gradually restore my strength and mobility. I don’t plan these workouts, I just follow what I need that day. Some days I focus on mobility exercises, sometimes aim to progress my pilates strength, and I usually incorporate some yoga throughout to keep challenging myself and to maintain a different practise other than pilates- which often occasionally feel too familiar as I’m teaching and writing about it all the time. This varied practise gives me a huge mental relief, as well as making my body feel good by following what it needs each day!
I first returned to running at 6 and a half months postnatal. I assumed I’d return much earlier than this as I knew how to rehab myself post-baby, and running was my main form of cardio exercise, my way of de-stressing after a busy day, and a way to be outside! However, life with a new baby was busier, and much more tiring than expected and I simply didn’t have the time or energy to get out there. I was also very aware of ensuring my body was strong enough before returning to cope with the demands it places upon you. See my blog post on Returning to Running Postnatally (coming soon!)for more info on this!
I bought a running buggy (The Out N About Nipper) so that I could fit in runs during the day. I previously used to run evenings and weekend mornings, however by the time I have childcare in the evening now it is late and I’ve no energy left usually! We currently run Monday and Friday afternoons and I’m surprised by how much I’m enjoying running with the buggy! Initially I thought it would be a burden, restricting my running routes which previously consisted of all woodland routes, up hills, along castle cliffs etc! But it’s been the complete opposite. The buggy is completely light weight and hardly feels like I’ve got it with me! The baby seems so relaxed in the buggy too and loves looking out around him. I’s a lovely way for him to wind down before bath & bed time and I love that I can share this with him.
The gym has been my mental challenge! For someone who used to go regularly a few times a week whenever I could, being suddenly restricted was difficult to deal with. I first returned at 11 weeks postnatal (again much later than I assumed I would, but for the right reasons). I’ve now worked a schedule where I can go one evening a week and then at the weekends. Despite keeping a weights programme going until 2 weeks before my baby was born, my strength had declined by half. Of course my workouts were greatly modified during pregnancy so although I was doing well for that, it was no reflection of my “normal” fitness.
Initially it was frustrating having to start my weights from scratch again, as well as having to avoid certain exercises or greatly modify a lot of due to postnatal weaknesses and risks of lifting too heavy too soon. I had worked really hard pre-pregnancy on building strength and gaining muscle bulk and weight, however I now truly appreciate what my body has been through and am just enjoying the new challenge and trying some different workouts until I’m closer to my previous levels. Weight lifting for me is also about keeping my body strong, injury free, and the aesthetic benefits too!
I swam lots whilst pregnant, and although Ive never been a good swimmer I came to love it during this stage of my life. Perhaps the goal of achieving X amount of lengths compensated for the lack of increase in weights I could do during pregnancy! I haven’t swam that much recently but I still love it when I go back and it always reminds me of this calm, relaxing time before mum hood commenced. Rather than tag it on the end of a gym session now though, I prefer going solely for the swim session so that I can progress my endurance and fitness without being fatigued already.
I stopped skating at around 14 weeks pregnant simply due to being terrified of my clumsiness, a slip on the ice, trip over my toe picks etc, and I was not enjoying my training with this new fear. I was so upset to shelf this hobby for such a long time, having previously worked up the confidence and training to compete at the Adult British Championships a few times and was all set to do so again later that year.
Ice skating is one of those sports you need to do consistently day in day out to make progress so any time out sets you back! Unfortunately I’ve only been back on the ice 3 times since having baby since all of my sessions land when I’m on mum duty! I’m still hoping to return at some stage as there is nothing quite like the feeling of mastering a new skill on the ice, but I think competitions and tests are in the past now.
Now that life seems to have settled into a good routine I’ve started making some other lifestyle changes to get me back on track. For the first time I’ve started drinking de-caf tea from late afternoon onwards. Being at home more than normal I’ve realised how much tea I was drinking (a cup of tea cures everything!), and although I felt no adverse effects of this, I figured a reduction in caffeine can only be a good thing for your overall health.
I’ve made a big effort in recent weeks to mix up my breakfasts to enhance my nutritious and energy intake. Breakfast normally consists of scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast, but I’ve been experimenting with porridge oats, milk and different variations added such as cacao powder, protein powder, various nuts & seeds, desiccated coconut, greek yoghurt, peanut butter, and fresh fruits.
Snacks! We all need them! I especially look for snacks around the 10.30am mark. This is often my time at work when I’m without a patient, and when I’m at home its usually baby nap time. Previously I would have had a banana and yoghurt (or a sandwich and sausage roll when pregnant!), but now I’ve been making protein energy balls to fill this gap, as well as things like greek yoghurt with carrot sticks, cucumber and/or pitta bread and hummus. My always favourite snack old & new, is my fruit smoothies- a mixture of fruits, yoghurt, milk, and seeds. Now I can share these with baby too for his pudding!
That’s where I am at with getting back to a fitness & healthy lifestyle. Long may it continue!