1 Jul 2012
When I was pregnant, I assumed I would have "all the time in the world" to run and hit the gym with my pre-pregnancy intensity and focus. While I knew babies were a lot of work, I was going to be home all day so there would be plenty of time to work out- right? I could easily sneak in an hour or two since I wouldnt be going into the office.
Surprisingly enough, it is not the lack of sleep, feedings and diaper changing that are creating obstacles to me getting to the gym; instead, the challenge is a lot more practical; as most gyms have baby sitters that start at 6 months and the jogging strollers suggest the baby is 6 months prior to putting them in them, the question is quite literally; what do I do with Sophia?
Fortunately, I do have family in the area who will watch Sophia so mom could get her workout in; but they do have fulltime jobs and extremely busy lives. In a nutshell, five days a week from morning until night, I am basically alone with Sophia. And what if you dont have family in the area? Here are a few tips on how you can still get a workout in during the first few months.
1. Find Help
If you dont have family in the area, find help. Even if you do, find help. Local mommy groups, friends of friends; everyone knows someone who is a baby sitter. I have found two that will help me out during the week days when I want to work out. Yes, there is an additional fee and I find myself at times questioning whether or not it's worth the cost, or how much I could justify spending to go to the gym. But "happy mommy=happy baby" and I know for me, spending some money is worth it.
If you dont want to spend as much money for a sitter, consider a sitter-share or a "mommy swap". In my local mommy group, there are a bunch of us who are workout fanatics and we all live in the neighborhood. Consider offering to watch their child for an hour while they work out and then have them watch yours. Or consider having one baby sitter watch both of your kids. Most likely they will charge more than for one, but the cost will still be less than if you were going at it on your own.
2. Outdoor Boot Camps
I admit; if its winter time, then this one is more challenging. But for three seasons out of the year, this could work. If you are skeptical of stroller-size or any exercise classes with your baby in tow because you are convinced you will not get as good of a work out in, have your baby sit in the stroller while you work out. Of course, you need to make sure the trainer or class instructor is cool with it, but babies that are too young for gym baby sitters are often easy to take anywhere. Sophia has sat in her stroller through Stacy's Boot Camp and Kira Stokes Stoked in the Park. If they get fussy, just make sure to have the pacifier handy.
3. Exercise at Home
This, I admit, takes a lot of motivation. And if your baby is not consistently sleeping through the night, when your baby naps sometimes it is best for you to nap along with him or her. But I find that often the more I work out, the more energy I have. So when your baby naps, you work out (sometimes!). Today there are no shortage of good at-home dvds, aps, and TV stations that cater to at home workout regiments. Find the ones you like best.
If your baby does not take long enough naps to get a complete workout in, do it in stages. Or find 10 minute workouts; Sadie Lincoln of my barre3 has developed ten minute barre workouts just for that reason.
4. DON'T Feel Guilty
When Sophia was two weeks old, I was telling my college freshman year roommate that I was feeling guilty; when I was nursing Sophia, I didnt know how much she was getting and if she was satisfied but I felt guilty about only bottle feeding. My friend said "Welcome to Motherhood; no matter what you will feel guilty."
When as early as two and a half weeks after having Sophia I rushed off to my first Barre class, I felft guilty. I quickly learned, however, NOT to. It is important I get my workouts in, and I have even found ways to, as early as three months, get Sophia to a gym class as you see below.
At 3-months, Sophia loves to try to stand and walk; while I make time to do my own workouts, I make sure that Sophia still has her time to work her own little legs!
5. For extra motivation: buy a few new articles of gym clothes
More on this on my next posting but after months of wearing maternity clothes, I was seriously eager to wear some of my oldtime favorites again. But even better was my decision to get a few new articles of clothing for the gym, especially when your body is still transitioning back to its pre-pregnancy form. Tis the season of bright neon colors and running skirts, so I indulged and got myself one.
The running skirts are especially great for busy moms; not only can you get a good workout in them, but you can wear them around before or after a workout, with a different top.
What do you think of my 5 tips for getting back into your gym groove without feeling guilty?
Please let me know by leaving a comment below. And please, go ahead and add a tip or 2 that we can all benefit from. I'm learning with you so I'd love to hear what you have to say and what's currently working or NOT working for you.
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