Babies are little explorers. They're tiny, delicate, a little wild, and—of course—adorable. Know what else they are? Unpredictable. Who can blame them? They don't even know what they need yet—except you, of course.
Time management is without a doubt a lot harder now that you have had a baby. Let's figure out how to make this work. You deserve that!
Here I'll talk about some of the ways you can schedule your fitness and life in the middle of a crazy, unpredictable schedule where the baby may be taking up nearly all of your time. Let's talk how to manage expectations, preparing your exercise space, setting priorities, and finally, sharing the responsibility.
My biggest advice is to complete the above 3-week preparation plan and make baby steps, just like your baby is learning, so are you. If you need to complete this plan again and again until you're comfortable to move onto the 12-week Post Pregnancy plan, do it. No rush, no pressure, just progress and comfort.
Many women find they are able to exercise to some degree throughout most of their pregnancy, depending on their specific circumstances and what their doctor says is OK. However, all of that changes when the baby comes. You don't even know what you'll be recovering from—only that you'll be recovering from having a baby.
Your first couple of months are still difficult, whether this is your first child or your third. You sleep when you can, you struggle to solve problems you knew you'd have, and some you couldn't have predicted. Plenty of women also have to deal with going back to work, or their partner doing so, before they feel ready.
Because there's so much going on, many women gladly wait until they get the OK from their doctor to begin exercising. I know you may not be feeling great about how your body looks, trust me, I have heard it time and time again. It can be easy to set big, ambitious goals, but resist the temptation. What matters far more is simply making progress and making healthy choices. Over time these choices manifest into a healthier body and sound mind. Whether it takes you 1 year or longer, do not stress it. Change what you can change, and leave other battles for another day.
Keep things simple, keep your eyes open for opportunities to make a schedule to give yourself a bit more time. And if your body says that you need to hit "pause" for a few days, you can just pick up where you left off when you're ready.
Prepare Your Space:
I've heard many women say they "can't" train effectively at home for one reason or another. They don't have the physical space, or they simply can't avoid getting pulled in a million different directions. I understand these concerns, but I think that in most cases, there are solutions. Prepare your space before you start working out, and you'll be able to thrive in it!
Once you outgrow a 2kg dumbbell, that's it, it's left to gather dust, with an adjustable that 2kg can be dialled up to 20kg for example. Rather than buying a whole range of dumbbells get adjustable dumbbells. They take up a fraction of the space and easy to store, but you won't outgrow them in just a few workouts like you do with nonadjustable as you can change the weight.
I could tell you to always train in the same place in your house—say, the garage or the living room—but that doesn't always work. Sometimes, you may have to train in one room, sometimes another, depending on what's happening and who's sleeping or playing where. So instead, I'll just say to have a dedicated space where you store your fitness essentials, so you can find them quickly and take them where you need to go to train.
It's crucial to make everything as convenient as possible. All it takes is one excuse like, "Ugh, I have to go to the garage to find the so-and-so" to make a workout disappear. That's one reason to train during the morning—like, early morning —before your excuses have a chance to wake up and get in the way.
Put your workout clothes by your bed so you can scoop them up and not wake anyone. Prepare tomorrow's workout today.
I know what it's like to feel as if you have to choose between options you'd prefer not to have to choose between—like "sleep or a workout," for instance, or "dinner or cleaning." But it's a part of parenthood, and especially new parenthood. So what do you do if—or rather, when—you find yourself in a position where you can't do it all? Stick to your fitness priorities.
Here's what they are during these plans:
Sleep: Fitness needs sleep. This can be hard for some people to understand, especially if they've never really prioritized sleep in the past. But those of us in the fitness industry know that if you want to change your body, you need sleep. Your baby definitely knows this! So until you are getting sleep regularly, that's your highest fitness priority.
Movement: During the first 1-3 months after your pregnancy, you're ahead of the game if you're able to get outside and walk every day; not run, walk! Simply moving is a much higher priority than getting fit.
Nutrition: It may surprise you to see nutrition here, toward the bottom, usually it should be at the top. Your baby's digestion is still immature, and if you're breastfeeding, some of your favourite foods may make for some sleepless nights. Should you make healthy choices? Of course. But understand that, for a while, simply getting enough calories is more important than dialing in the specifics. If you're really hungry, it may be a sign that you need to eat more! Your body is going through a lot right now.
Working out: If you have family, friends, or a babysitter to watch the baby, you might even be able to squeeze in some time at the gym, however, it's not crucial. When you're ready, simply working out on a consistent basis is a higher priority than crushing it at the gym. A lot of babies enjoy watching their moms exercise, especially with some music on. You can have your own little audience while you take your baby steps.
Share the responsibility:
You may have heard people say it takes a village to raise a child? I bet you now know they are not lying! And once you set the goal of reclaiming your fitness level and physique, you'll need make use of whatever support system you have. Those who love you will want you to feel good, and they know that being a mother isn't easy. So let them help you.
Let your partner take a feeding or strap on the carrier so you can have a little time to yourself. Invite over a friend or hire a babysitter, even if you're just heading into the garage to lift some dumbbells. If you have family locally, let them watch the baby for an hour or two. When the time comes, consider dropping the little one at a creche, day care or pre-school.
Sure, it can be hard to let go, but think of it this way: You're modeling a healthy, reasonable approach to the fit life for your child to follow. In the long term, isn't that the most important thing?