Baby, Exciting times ahead, Exercise, exhausted, Fitness, Happy momma happy baby!, mum, Run, Toddler

My first run post baby

I used to run. Before we had our little one I actually ran at least 3 times a week. Along with doing a lot of other workouts too. I was averaging about 55 minutes for a 10km and probably at the height if my fitness.

My little one is now almost 2 (21 months). Add to that about 5 months of not running in pregnancy and you have just over 2 years of not running. I have tried to get back into running several times after pregnancy but I have had a real stop-start with it. Partially because I can no longer run in the morning, which was my best time to run. And partially because raising a toddler is exhausting and my motivation to work out at night is very low.

My father in law told us about a Halloween dress up run that was coming up. And given I had plenty if time to get my distance up I decided this would be my first run since baby arrived. Another critical factor was that it had a nice finishers medal! ūüėā

I started to build up my distance over a 3 month period, following a training plan. And was delighted to see my mileage peak above a 10km 2 weeks ago (thanks to my motivating husband). So I went into the race knowing I could do the distance.

The race was hard. It was 2 loops of a 5km course, which is always more difficult. It involved running on sand, some of which was quite soft. To add to that, most people seemed to drop out after the 5km. To the point where there were not many runners left by the time we finished.

I finished with a time if 70 minutes 17 seconds. Well off my pre-baby time. But that’s ok. The main thing is I was out and back in the running game. Now I just have to keep at it so I build on my fitness.

To anyome like myself, struggling to find motivation, book yourself into a race, give yourself a tangible goal, fijd yourself a running partner and just keep moving…..ūüŹÉ

Now I can say I run again! ūüéČ

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30 day shred, 4 months, Baby, Body weight training, Exercise, Fitness, mum, new-born, newborn

Getting back my pre-baby body – the 30 day shred review

As part of the second phase of getting my pre-baby body back, I decided to do the Jillian Michaels 30 day shred.¬†In my previous post¬†at the start of the¬†30 day shred, I¬†explained where I was in my¬†fitness journey and charted my progress with some “before” photos. (Getting back my pre-baby body ‚Äď the journey so far).

It took me from the 10th April 2017 to the 31st May 2017 to do the shred, almost double the allocated time of thirty days. However I did all 30 of the workouts, just taking a few more days off than recommended. But with a 4 month old baby, you can’t put too much pressure on yourself to complete the shred every day as sometimes your days or nights¬†just do not go to plan.

The levels work up in intensity, with some moves being made more complex in later levels. Each level has an active warm up which changes for each level (which I like, as doing the same warm up for 30 workouts in a row is a bit monotonous). The workouts are broken up into 3 minutes strength, 2 minutes cardio and 1 minute of abs with 3 rounds. I found that each level had a few moves that I found very hard to do, but I just kept at them and found that by the time the 10th workout came along I was able to do them a lot better.

As I progressed through the levels, I found the abs workouts getting progressively harder for me, so I had to skip them for the last 10 workouts, as my abs were not ready for the intensity of these workouts. But the main thing is that I was able to get through the program so I was proud of myself.

I have taken some before and after photos below, while¬†I am¬†by no means “shredded” I found that despite no dramatic visible changes, I felt so much stronger and fitter¬†by the end of the program.¬†By challenging myself to do¬†the program¬†I felt my old¬†fitter¬†self re-ignite and my confidence grow.

If you followed a healthy eating buzz in addition to doing the 30 day shred, I think you could get some great results as the program is a great all body workout. I will definitely be going back and doing the program again once I stop breastfeeding, as I need to hold onto the extra weight for feeding purposes right now.

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If you want to give the program a go you can get it for ‚ā¨8 at HMV or alternatively you can just stream each level at the following links:¬†Level 1, Level 2, Level 3.

 

30 day shred, Baby, Exercise, Fitness, mum, newborn

Getting back my pre-baby body – the journey so far

My first blog post, which I posted about a month ago, on getting back my pre-baby body explained what I was doing at the time to get back to fitness. This covered the workouts I was doing from 6 weeks post labour until now. I did not do any workouts before my 6 week check with the GP to ensure she was happy with my progress and my abs had come back together. It is important not to start any crunches at all until your abs have come back together (to within 1 finger width) as otherwise you could force your abs further out and apart, which will result in many physio visits to fix. You can get your GP to check your abs at your 6 week check or ask the physio in the local health centre. Most GPs do not do this check automatically, so make sure you have it on the list of things to ask them.

I have been very careful with the workouts I have chosen over the last 10 weeks. So now its time to stop and take stock of where I am and what the next steps in my journey will be. I enjoy documenting any fitness journey as it really reminds me of how far I have come.

My pregnancy journey at 15 weeks post labour
From top left to bottom right: 38 weeks pregnant – 2 days post labour – 8 weeks post labour – 15 weeks post labour

At this point I am feeling fitter, stronger and ready to start kicking things up a notch. Along with a few mums in my local area that I met through the local health centre, we are all doing Jillian Michaels 30 day shred. This is a workout program lasting 25 minutes every day for a period of 30 days, which is ideal for anyone with a young baby to tend to, as they won’t go much longer than 25 minutes entertaining themselves.

The program has 3 levels, 10 days at each level. The only equipment required are dumbbells (you can improvise using small bottles or tin cans) and an exercise mat. I do the workout at home but you could easily do it outside as long as you have access to youtube (see the link to level 1). It is also great to get a group to commit to the challenge together, as a way to keep yourself motivated.

I¬†have not paid much attention to my actual weight, as weight loss right now is not something I am concerned with. I am still breastfeeding and your body naturally carries more weight to ensure you have sufficient stores to¬†meet your baby’s requirements, plus losing weight can mess with your milk supply too. However I am tracking how I look. So the¬†bottom right photo¬†is my current before photo as my¬†journey continues.

I have workout one complete, only 29 more workouts to go. I found the workout a challenge, which is good. I also know I will be sore in the morning, but as they do say Рno pain no gain.

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My first workout with baby trying to join in too!

 

Once I am finished the shred, I will do another photo collage to let you all know how I got on and a full review of the three levels involved in the program.

Baby, Exercise, Fitness, Gentle Birth, GentleBirth, Harmony Yoga, Labour

Labour – why do women fear the big day!

Being pregnant is such a miracle and¬†the most natural thing in the world. Feeling how your body changes and adapts to growing a new life is fascinating. What I don’t understand is why is there this sense of impending doom.

I found that once I was visibly pregnant, people wanted to tell me about their own birth story, which of course had a dramatic and negative climax. Why would you tell me that? Why! Right from the outset I was put in a high risk pregnancy category due to previous medical issues which could affect the labour process. So as you can imagine, I was already on edge.

However I actually found labour to be a very empowering experience and one that I came out of thinking – that was incredible, I would totally do that again.¬†Sadly a lot of the women on the post natal ward didn’t seem to have the same opinion.

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I believe what made my experience different to theirs was positivity and preparation. Some of the things that I did to prepare were as follows:

  • Stay fit and¬†healthy – I want to try and keep a decent level of fitness throughout my pregnancy to help with the labour process. The further into the pregnancy you get, the harder it is to move overall, but I did as much as I could from avoiding lifts to going to aquafit,¬†anything¬†to keep moving.
  • Pregnancy Yoga – This is a great way to stay flexible, stretch out your aching muscles and learn some good breathing techniques. It will also go through positions in which you can labour so you have loads of options available, as you never know how long you will be labouring for and what positions will just feel right on the day.
  • GentleBirth classes – I did a GentleBirth class with Birth to Baby and this was one of the best things I did to prepare. Not only was this good preparation for myself, but it was fantastic for my husband who learnt about¬†the birthing process and knew what to do on the day. I started the class with no birthing preferences and finished the two day course with a list of things that I was hoping for on the day.
  • GentleBirth tracks and affirmations – as part of the Gentle birth class, you get free access to the GentleBirth app. They have positive affirmations, hypnobirthing tracks and the GentleBirth book. The app assigns you daily training tasks which I tried to fit in every day. Capture
  • Stay away from negativity¬†– I decided not to listen to negative stories as much as possible. I also didn’t watch any birthing programs or movies on TV such as Call the Midwife and One Born Every Minute. While these are great shows, I found that they had a negative spin at times that I just wanted to avoid.

Labour is a marathon. Getting yourself into a positive mind frame is the best way to prepare, and remember you will have a little bundle of joy waiting for you at the end of the run.

 

aqua aerobics, Baby, Exercise, Fitness, mum, Post-partum, Swimming, Walking

Getting back my pre-baby body

Ok, I am just going to say it straight, getting back to fitness after having a baby is hard!¬†I always¬†thought that I would be back running¬†in a matter of weeks. Well that certainly didn’t happen. I really underestimated the changes your body goes through during pregnancy.

For at least the first 6 weeks after labour just rest. Everything has changed with the arrival of our little ones and you need to give yourself time to get used to them, and to rest your body. I waited for my 6 week check with the GP before I even considered working out.

The body produces a number of different hormones during pregnancy. Relaxin, one such hormone, is responsible for relaxing the ligaments and pelvis. Your body continues producing this hormone for up to 4 months after you finish breastfeeding your baby. The side effect is that it is really easy to pull or strain a muscle and with all the care a baby needs, us mums can’t afford that at all. When getting back to exercise, it is really important to go with an “easy does it” approach.

  • Walking

Walking is a fantastic form of exercise. Not only is it easy on your muscles and ligaments, its also out in the fresh air and it often sends those grumpy babies to sleep. Try to walk to the local supermarket, coffee shop or baby group rather than drive. You will be walking for hours a day before you know it.

  • Aqua aerobics/aqua fit

Aquafit is a great low impact exercise which works wonders building up both muscle strength and your endurance, while alleviating pressure on your joints. I go to aquafit classes at night which gives my husband some time with baby and me a well earned break/me time.

  • Swimming

Swimming is a great way to start building up your core strength gently. If like me, your stomach muscles have really weakened, it’s one of the best ways to gently start building up your core strength again.

Whatever form of exercise you chose, always listen to your body. If you feel pain doing any type of exercise, my advice is to stop doing it and either ask your public health nurse or a physio. Please also remember to enjoy whatever route back to fitness you take.

Walking
There is nothing like a walk in your local park