Remember when I was so excited to start working out again and shared my ideas for a play list? Sounds good, doesn't it? And S wrote about ways to squeeze a workout in during naptime (should that exist in your world). And then S so graciously helped kit you out for your new gym/exercise experience. You look great. Did you go directly to the gym and return on a regular basis? Do you do a workout DVD as a matter of routine? No, me neither.
Before I had the baby, and after I'd grown too large to work out like I did before I was pregnant, I fantasized about when I'd be able to get back to the gym after V's birth. After I had the baby, and had a first-hand experience with newborn exhaustion, I still had these images of myself getting the 'me' time you read about in parenting magazines by spending a few hours at the gym a few times a week.
Eleven weeks after getting the all-clear from my doctor, I've gone to the gym 7 times, spending quite a bit of each session in the steam room.
It's not that I'm lazy. At least that's what I'm telling myself.
Maybe you are the type of woman who starts marathon training the day after your doctor gives you the ok to starting walking at a moderate speed. Or perhaps you are a working mom of three who also goes to spinning 3 times a week and teaches a yoga class for fun. Good for you. Seriously, without snark, I'm happy for you.
But when I find myself with downtime, which isn't as often as I had imagined, sometimes the gym or the bike path seems like the last place I want to be. Sometimes I want to snuggle on the couch with my husband and catch up on '30 Rock.' Sometimes I want to take the longest bath I can manage with the hottest water my skin will tolerate and read a NON-parenting related book. Sometimes I want to stare mindlessly at my computer screen and read blogs and creep on Facebook.
Despite the fact that I am doubtful a bikini will ever again factor into my life, summer is approaching and bathing suits of some ilk will be necessary. So I'm re-motivating myself, and hoping to help you, too. Here are my ideas to help me work a workout into my day (week?).
- Set reasonable goals. Not goals that you think you should set or that some diet plan says you should set, but things that will actually work in your life. If there are 2 times a week when your partner is home and nothing needs to be done and you feel energetic enough to hop to it, then your goal is to do something fitness related twice a week. Period. Anything above and beyond that is extra credit! Good job you!
- Change your idea of what it means to exercise. Maybe you can't put an hour in at the gym or don't have the time to go to yoga or run a few miles. But you can pack up your babe and go for a walk (even when it's cold out, I swear you'll be ok!). You can do lunges across your living room while wearing your little pal (I do this! I'll admit it!). Does your little bundle like to play Superman or airplane? Lay on your back and you are doing a chest press. I've even squeezed in a mini ab workout by setting V in her Bumbo and playing peek-a-boo every time I come up to crunch. It's not perfect, it won't give you a six pack, but it's something.
- Don't watch the numbers. I don't have a scale for the simple reason that I know I would not be able to take my own advice on this one. Maybe you've lost all the baby weight, numerically speaking, but things still aren't fitting right. Or perhaps you've just started to feel kind of cute again but then you let the fact that you are still above your pre-baby weight bring you down. This number, it's not helping you. It's not motivating you. It's just taunting you.
- Go easy on yourself. Maybe you slept with your neck bent and a baby attached to your breast. Or you were up all night fixing bottles or soothing an uncomfortable baby. Maybe you are tired because you work outside the home or work in the home on your own or maybe you don't need an excuse because being a mom is hard, dangit! So don't expect to wake up one morning looking like Gisele (freak). Do what you can, when you can, and be proud of yourself. The main goal of working out is and should always be your HEALTH, both mental and physical. Let's not kid ourselves, part of it is vanity and that's ok! But while you're getting healthy and hopefully-as-a-side-effect tightening up that pooch, visit ANMJ and find ways to cover it up.
- Don't make excuses. I know what you're thinking. Um....number five directly contradicts number four. All I mean to say is that while no one expects you to kill yourself just to workout, realistically there are times when we choose something over workout and we regret it later. A walk with a girlfriend counts, and you probably need the therapy anyway! Your dogs need exercise, so make them your motivation. Your partner can handle things while you go to yoga for a couple hours, just don't expect the house to be spotless when you get home. Get up, move a little, and I promise you'll feel better.
The bottom line is this: a healthy mama is a happy mama. A happy mama makes a happy baby, or at least makes a cranky baby more tolerable. So get you sweat on, and please leave a comment sharing your secret to working in a workout!
Contributing author Lane is an intentionally unemployed social worker who is currently a new mom, following her husband's dream, trying to stay relevant, and practicing her mothering skills on two rescued dogs, Enid and Falcor (in addition to her new addition, baby Vesper). Check out her fabulous blog, the Overseas Trapeze.