I wish I didn’t have to offer these couching statements, but I do — that’s the nature of the online world. It won’t matter how many times I say, sincerely:
This is MY plan, and what I think will work for ME. It does not mean it’s the best plan or the right plan for YOU. As a personal trainer and fitness instructor, I’m basing my plan on exercise science and years of experience with my own health and fitness. At no time do I want you to look at my plan and make it your own without working with your health providers and a qualified fitness expert.
I’m sharing it publicly because…well, I want to! This blog has had many iterations over the years but at the core, it’s always been about me documenting my experiences, good and bad, and using this little online space as an accountability partner.
There will likely still be some people who compare their journey with mine — and my results with theirs. Please don’t be one of those people. For me, this project is NOT about weight loss (or at least not only about weight loss) — it’s about keeping up the active, healthy lifestyle that sustains me.
Truthfully, I struggle with body image just like so many of you and as much as I’d like to say “I’m a vessel of life! It doesn’t matter how I look and feel — I brought babies into the world!” it’s just not realistic. I’m ready and excited to set some new post-baby goals, and for me, following a plan inspires me to stay on track and accountable. When I feel good, I know I’m better at everything I do: as a mother, a wife, a friend, an employee, an entrepreneur, etc.
So, a few guidelines that I have for my post-baby fitness (in every aspect: physical, emotional, spiritual etc.):
- My weight will be a measure of progress but not an indicator of success. I will step on the scale in combination with other tracking — the fit of my clothes, my energy levels, how healthy I feel, whether or not I’m able to run more, run faster, lift heavier weights, perform better yoga postures, etc.
- My kids and family are FIRST. That means that my plan will be adjusted if it interferes with my ability to breastfeed my baby, to spend quality time with my pre-schooler, to continue to work and help contribute to our income and financial future, etc. It’s a What You Can, When You Can approach that will be fluid and flexible.
- For me, a mind-body-spirit approach is the only one that works. I can go to the gym all day (well, I can’t — two kids kind of changes that!) but if I eat junk food, I’ll still be sluggish and feel gross. If I eat well but run around all day without any quiet time or rest, my mind will betray me. And if I don’t stay active, everything falls apart. So I have to make sure that what I do incorporates all of the aspects of a healthy lifestyle.
- Slow and steady is the name of the game. Would I love to be running half marathons in 30 days? Teaching three classes a week? Back to my pre-baby fitness level after just a few weeks? Of course. But more important to me is that I stay safe, I keep the big picture in mind and I work toward some long-term goals.
So, what will I be doing? Once I’m cleared for exercise — and no sooner (I learned my lesson by coming back too quickly after my first pregnancy) — here’s what is in my bag of tricks.
Body (and Mind) After Baby: The Plan
- Daily walks to and from Audrey’s daycare. I feel so lucky to be less than a mile away from my daughter’s school and our daily walks through my pregnancy always helped me feel like if nothing else — I moved that day. Plus, it forces me to get outside (tough when I work from home and have a newborn to watch!) and gives me a chance to interact with my girls away from TVs, toys and other distractions. It’s 30 minutes a day that can make a big difference.
- At-home DVDs and online workout plans. I’m a gym rat and LOVE to work out among others. Heck, I’m a group fitness instructor — I’d love to be in class every day! But the best workout is one that you’ll do. And the reality of my life right now is that getting out for an hour, fives times a week, is just not going to happen. So, I have dug out some of my favorite programs from my DVD library and invested in a few new programs so that I can have options for cardio, strength, yoga and more. To start, I’ll be using*:
- PiYo Strength (gotta have that yoga component!)
- Hammer & Chisel (strength training)
- Turbo Fire (really helped me after Audrey)
- P90X (will be last on the list but I’ve done two rounds with great results)
- At least one run a week. I have such a complicated relationship with running but at the end of the day — when I’m not running, I’m not complete. And since I live in an area where I can run outside year-round and take part in great races with friends, I’m really committed to making this a part of my routine. This will take some planning so that Lucas can watch the girls, and so that I can work it around nursing, etc. but I know it will make a big difference.
- Healthy eating — in moderation. Especially because I’m breastfeeding and hope to be able to for at least a year and hopefully more (I made it to two years with Audrey!), I have to keep my diet in mind and will not cut calories or do anything that will create issues with my supply or my energy levels. And also: I like wine. Having said that, I feel better when I mostly eat healthy foods and stay hydrated. So it’s going to be moderation in all things, including moderation.
- Quiet time for myself. This might be reading a trashy novel, listening to the new Adele album, working on my blogs or napping, but in this hectic, crazy life, I have to put my oxygen mask on from time to time, you know?
- Big picture goals. I really want to run a few half marathons in the next year. At some point, I’ll tackle a Half Ironman. I miss teaching and very much want to get back in front of a class. I’m intrigued by some of the trendy new workouts — Orange Theory Fitness, CrossFit, new cycling formats, etc. But they may not be a part of my 2016 plan. For now, I want to stay active, put some goals on my schedule and know that when the time is right, I’ll be ready!
Wish me luck!
*Keen readers will notice that all of these programs are through BeachBody and I feel compelled to make a quick statement on this…I’m a BeachBody certified instructor and I teach PiYo Strength and Turbo Kick in studios. I am not a BeachBody coach. They are two totally different programs and candidly, I have VERY mixed feelings on the coaching business because of its sales strategies and the fact that there is no certification process for the coaches themselves. Having said that…I LOVE LOVE LOVE the workouts offered by BeachBody and feel that they are safe, effective and based on exercise science. They’re also led by qualified instructors and trainers and from personal experience, I know that they work.