I must admit, though I had high levels of activity throughout pregnancy, and got back to bootcamp and yoga less than three months postpartum, I’ve had a bit of a roller coaster when it comes to fitness postpartum.
Breastfeeding a very fast growing baby boy made me voracious and got me snacking on things I wouldn’t normally touch with a pole. This directly impacts my fitness levels I have found. For example, when I overdo it by eating the wrong stuff (at 3 am that too when I’m up for a midnight feed), my speed decreases when I sprint.
Sleep also directly affects speed and strength. When you’re getting stop / start sleep, as you will when you have a baby, it directly affects fitness.
Not to mention the constant levels of attention required by the little hurricane. Did I tell you I am the mom of a spirited baby? One who needs constant stimulation and needs to be constantly on the move? 10 minutes in one place at a time is all he can take.
Nevertheless I’m taking some steps to achieve my pre pregnancy levels.
My baby came in October 2012. I promised my bootcamp instructors and my yoga teacher that I’d be back in Jan. And I was. What kept my resolve strong was the fact that I exercised everyday during pregnancy. So those couple of months after baby was all I could take of less activity.
Pregnancy is NOT a time where you should take things easy and eat all you want contrary to popular belief (unless you’re explicitly ordered to take it easy by your doctor). Think about it, you don’t even have to look back to the stone ages to discover that women like our grandmothers and their mothers before that were far more active than we are.
There are so many rules these days like:
Don’t squat below parallel
Don’t let your heart rate go up to 140 beats per minute
Don’t bench press more than a certain amount etc.
When you’ve lived the primal lifestyle for a while, most of these rules don’t add up. Our grandmothers and all the women before them went to the toilet squatting way below parallel. They bent, squat, lifted heavy things, though they probably took it easier than they would have pre-pregnancy.
So coming back to my fitness post partum. Since I was pretty active, I jumped back in.
This is what I’ve been upto:
1) Iyenger yoga – My husband comes back early twice a week to baby sit on the days I have yoga class. I went to this same class till two days before N came so I couldn’t wait to get back. I restarted when N was 3 months. Not primal as such but slow movements for holistic well being.
2) Bootcamp – This was stalled while I was pregnant due to the heavy sprinting required. But I was regular for over two years pre pregnancy and couldn’t wait to get back. I restarted when N was 3 months.
3) Walking – I did this for almost everyday for 9 months and continued 3 weeks post partum. Only this time I had additional weight. N loves it outdoors, so I take him in my front facing carrier or Maya wrap and sing to him/ talk to him until he falls asleep in it while I finish my walk. Many times his dad and I go for walks talking to each other while he enjoys the view and the sound of our voices. This is still an almost daily occurrence and this is one activity that no new mother can say they don’t have time for.
4) Baby weights – ever since N was a month old we learnt that a sure fire way to take him from fussy to giggly was to play roughhouse with him. Like I said he is a highly-strung, spirited baby who likes to be in the thick of the action!
We started off cautiously but today we toss him in the air and play around with him with gay abandon. Since he turned 5 months I have been using him as weights for workouts. This happens when he is in the mood for fun and frolic and I am in the mood for, well a workout. These are some of the things I do:
- Clean and press – squat down with the baby below me and push up with my legs and arms with the baby high above my head. I do this anywhere between 5 to 10 times depending on how he tires. Most of the times as he comes rushing up, it’s accompanied by the most delicious baby laughter imaginable and it keeps me doing more.
- Walking lunges with baby – I hold him out in front of me and do walking lunges. For his benefit, I turn my hands in semi circles and make silly faces or noises.
- Bench press with baby – I need not explain this one.
- Overhead press with baby – I hold him from under his arms and giv him a kiss or a tickle with my mouth on his belly every time he comes down.
- Weighted squats – I hold him in front of me and do squats. This one is the least fun for him so I don’t do much of it.
He weighs 20+ pounds now so any one of these is quite a workout. I do mostly one of them a day and as many reps as I can manage before me or baby becoming tired. When I do cleans it’s a full body workout primal style. Quick short bursts of anaerobic activity.
Thanks for reading guys! Keep the comments coming 🙂
Do you have any tips for exercising with baby on board?