Building Back Muscle…Back to Basics

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Thursday, October 23rd marked 6 weeks postpartum, and Friday I was cleared by my doctor to return to all physical activity! PAR-TAY!! I knew that was going to be the case so I planed accordingly and went back to yoga Saturday morning for my first workout. This first class back was a Beginner Level II class taught by my Wednesday night Prenatal yoga teacher (I had 2 different Prenatal instructors.) I knew she would be completely familiar with my situation since we worked together for about 4 months before the baby was born. We worked on some controlled core work which included high planks, sunbird, and bridges. We also worked on Warrior I and Warrior II poses which both incorporated lunges…the high lunge we worked on before going through the Warrior poses was a bit challenging to me since I still feel weak in my pelvic area. This is definitely an area I will be focusing on the next few weeks before I start introducing more explosive moves like jumps and running.

Sunday I was at a wedding all day, so with the exception of a little dancing I didn’t get any exercise related activity. Today (Monday) I took the baby and dogs out for 2 walks which ended up being about 2 miles. The rest of this week I plan to get in 1 or 2 body weight  workouts in.

4 – 3 – 2 – 1

Here is the workout I will be doing tomorrow (Tuesday, October 28th…my Birthday!)

4 exercises in each circuit – 3 total circuits – 2 rounds of each circuit – 1 minute rest between circuit

Warm up – 5x Sun Salutations

Circuit 1

15x Glute Hip Lifts

5x Walkouts

15x Chair Dips

10x Plank Hip Lifts

Circuit 2

15x Squats

10x Push ups

10x Good Mornings (no weight)

15x Calf Raises

Circuit 3

10x Leg Lifts for lower abs

:30 second side plank left

:30 second side plank right

5x Roll Downs

New Mom Tips

Ok, so I’ve only been a mom for 39 days, but I feel I have learned a lot quickly. It’s funny how you sort of just fall into the role of “mom” even though there’s not really a class to prepare you for it. I guess it’s just part of being a woman….it’s what we were meant to do! **The following “advice” is based on my personal experience and may not work for you. Every baby, mommy, and family are different!**

Do something productive when your baby sleeps

This might mean you sleep! It might mean you throw in a load of laundry, finish washing the dishes, throw dinner in the crock pot, or get in a workout. I have noticed more than a few times that I spend my “break” from caring for my son doing things that are not productive (like scrolling through Facebook, IG, eBay, or watching way too much daytime TV!) One morning I realized that after his early morning feeding (usually sometime between 5:30-6:30am) that he will fall back asleep for another hour-hour and a half. Since I will be cleared by my doctor this coming week I thought, this will be the best time for me to get in a workout! (For some moms going back to sleep for another hour+ might seem more attractive and that’s fine!)

Google is your friend…sometimes

As a new mom, you’ll spend tons of time looking up every little thing your baby does to make sure it’s “normal” behavior or if every little symptom is the start to a bigger problem. I admit, the first two weeks, I had a few freak outs looking up stuff trying to figure out what might be wrong with my son which lead to tears and anxiety. (Just like adults on webMd…the more time you spend looking up symptoms the more convinced you have some awful incurable disease!) But, there are also many times your mind will be put to ease when you find out everything is fine! And most likely your baby isn’t the only one experiencing those symptoms and you’ll read up on posts from other moms who write about what they did to work through the problem and it may help you too!

 For the love of God, get out of the house…(just don’t forget the baby)

For weeks I was afraid to leave the house without my husband to go and do things with the baby. First it was because I was afraid to drive in the car alone with him, and second was because I was afraid he would have a meltdown and I wouldn’t know how to calm him down fast enough (without whipping out my boob in public to nurse him.) But, eventually I got over both issues. Every time we ended up going out somewhere (without my husband) he would surprise me by being very happy and content (or would just sleep the whole time.) Once I noticed that on the days we took him out for a walk at the park, those were the nights he was less fussy during those awful “witching hours” (6pm-9pm.) I realized that the stimulation must help, and of course that makes sense! When you are home sick for a few days or snowed in most people go stir crazy and need to get out of the house…even if it’s just to drive around the neighborhood in the car!

Be flexible

This one was hard for me at first, but once I realized I needed to be flexible with the events for the day, because what I planned for might not happen, or might not happen at the time or in the way I originally thought, I had less anxiety. Sometimes you have to do NOTHING for yourself and just hold and console your baby all day because they need you…they want you. One day they will be independent and won’t “need you” 24-7…until then enjoy looking at their angelic sleeping face as they lay on you and be happy for that time together because some people won’t get that opportunity even though they desperately want it.

This week I plan to start working on writing my workout plan that I will begin next week once I am cleared by the doctor…use Google to find fast and easy recipes for meals that will help me build back that muscle I lost during pregnancy…get out of the house for a mommy and baby get together with the ladies I met in prenatal yoga as well as a breastfeeding support group meeting later in the week…but of course, if none of that works out because my baby needs me…I will be flexible ;-)

 

But First, You Need a Plan…

This 6 week hiatus from regular exercise postpartum is probably the longest I have gone in my life without regular physical activity and exercise. How people choose NOT to exercise is beyond me, because besides the obvious physical results what I miss most right now are the mental results. A “Runner’s High” is not just a saying…it’s a real thing…I have experienced it…and I have experienced similar feelings after a great workout session. I like to refer to them as “Happy Hormones.”  After dealing with a fussy, crying baby for sometimes more than half of the day, there is nothing more I could want than a good workout to release some of those “happy hormones” and restore some of my sanity. I notice on days we go out for walks with the baby not only do I feel better, but he seems less fussy too. The miracle of exercise helps everyone!

I am 9 days out from my 6 week postpartum appointment with my doctor (but, who’s counting!?!) This leaves me 9 days to plan and prepare my comeback! Even though I was training at a high level prior to pregnancy, and should come back fairly quickly, I also know that the decrease in the intensity of my activity within my pregnancy, as well as my lack of activity during my 6 weeks postpartum, is enough to set me back some and I have to be smart about how I begin my training, so as not to overdo it and cause myself some problems. (Some women come back like gangbusters and end up with hernias and other not so fun issues.) Luckily for me, I am not dealing with “baby weight” that I need to lose. I got back to my pre-pregnancy weight about 7-10 days after delivery, but I do have muscle loss from the lack of regular and heavy weight lifting, so my goal is to build a program for myself to get back that precious muscle that I lost. As sad as that is for me, I am looking at this as a positive. I am able to rebuild my body because I am basically starting from scratch, and that’s exciting to me.

Hydration

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Everyone knows that drinking enough water is key when trying to lose weight/get in shape. This is even MORE important for me, because I am breastfeeding, and when you don’t drink enough water it can effect your milk supply. The tool I’m going to use to help track my H2O intake is the huge cup/mug they gave me in the hospital during my labor/delivery. Along the side it shows how many ounces…this one goes up to 30oz…so I know I need to get 4 of those in a day to reach my gallon. I know currently I am not getting that in, so over the next 9 days my goal is to work towards that so that by the time I am back to regular exercising I know I am consuming enough water.

Nutrition

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Even though I am not looking to lose weight, nutrition is still going to be super important for helping me build muscle. I also need to make sure I’m eating enough (good quality) calories because of the breastfeeding. Protein is going to be the most important factor in my nutrition for muscle growth, and I’m not much of a meat eater to begin with, so I need to work hard on planing meals that have a good amount of protein in them, even if they don’t include meat. Since becoming a new mom I am quickly learning that I don’t have nearly any time to do anything for myself because I am tending to Baby Ryan 24-7. Because of this I have become a frequent CrockPot user and it’s great! I can usually prep and throw together our meal in 10 minutes and let it cook all day until it’s ready a few hours later. I will definitely continue using the CrockPot throughout the winter and I will post any good recipes I make!

Workout Plan

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I plan to take my workouts slow in the beginning, as I said earlier in the post, so as to not overdo it too early and end up injuring myself. The first few weeks I will work on building bodyweight circuits for the “weight training” portion of my workout, get back to doing yoga once or twice a week, as well as begin a couch to 5k program. (I haven’t run consistently in well over a year…maybe year and a half.) Once I have my program written I will share that in a future post.

That’s all I got for today! Stay tuned…

New Mom Adventures & My Journey Back to Fitness

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1 week until my due date!

September 11th has a whole new meaning for me now. After months and months of trying to get pregnant my husband and I finally got to meet our precious son, Ryan Charles, born at 6:54am on September 11, 2014. Baby Ryan arrived 2 days early and as healthy and perfect as can be!

Pre-Pregnancy

Before getting pregnant, my husband and I were both very physically active. We would travel to different parks together for workouts on the fitness trails to hike and bike ride. We also did Crossfit together as well as mud runs (Tough Mudder and our personal favorite Spartan Races!) He would do boxing and Jiujitsu and I taught fitness classes twice a week at the gym I worked at.

We were so very happy to finally get pregnant after 8 months of trying and it was important to me to continue my physical activity throughout pregnancy. There were so many fit women I followed on Facebook that inspired me to keep up my healthy lifestyle throughout my pregnancy and proved to me that you didn’t have to just give it all up because you were about to be a mom. I refused to believe I had to surrender my fit and athletic body forever (just for about a year or so.)

During Pregnancy

Around 4 weeks pregnant I was still doing Crossfit and actually hit my PR for the Clean and Jerk, lifting 155lbs. I remember being so excited for having such a great accomplishment, but was a little bummed out that my heavy lifting days and PRs would have to take a backseat for a little while. At 7 weeks pregnant my husband and I flew out to California to compete in the Spartan Super race in Temecula California. This was a very challenging course at 8+ miles of climbing mountains, flipping and dragging huge tires, climbing over 8 foot walls, etc. It was one of my Christmas presents and and after explaining to my OB doctor what a Spartan Race was, she wasn’t really fond of me participating (she did however say I could continue with my working out at about 50% of the weight I was currently lifting, but as a fitness professional, even I thought half of 155lbs of my Clean and Jerk PR was too much so I opted out of Crossfit for the rest of my pregnancy.) I insisted to her that I had been training for months at a very high level of fitness and that my body was used to that kind of activity, but my husband and I promised to take it slow and skip any thing during the race that we thought might be too much. We completed the race and my husband helped me with some of the obstacles that were much more challenging.

Even though I gave up Crossfit during pregnancy, I still taught my 2 fitness classes at the gym…one was a weight lifting circuit style class and the other was a Yoga/Pilates type class and I started up Prenatal Yoga around 12-13 weeks pregnant. I knew for sure Yoga was something I wanted to do because I knew it would help me adjust to the body changes I was about to go through for the next 9 months. I started out with 1x a week during the first half of my pregnancy and then added a second day all the way up until the night my water broke (39 weeks 5 days.)

Post-Pregnancy

I knew that my body would be different after giving birth and I had many pep talks with myself in the months leading up to that day telling myself that I knew how to eat right and get back into shape and that it would only be a temporary time and not to worry. There are so many people who are so negative about “Oh you will never get your body back” blah, blah, blah….and I refused to believe that because like I wrote earlier, I knew of so many fit women who had birthed multiple children who got their bodies back into amazing shape and I wanted to be just like them. I truly believe that the hardcore training I did pre-pregnancy and then my continued effort during pregnancy is what lead to this post-partum body just 9 days after giving birth. (Even I was in shock at how it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be!)

IMG_4672 I am currently still 2 weeks out from my 6 week post-partum follow up with my doctor, so I haven’t been cleared yet to get back to a regular exercise routine, but I have been going out for walks with the baby, my husband and the dogs. I am looking forward to getting back into a regular fitness routine again! The following posts will be all about my journey back to fitness and back to competing in Spartan Races. I have a goal of competing in my 1st race back when baby Ryan is 6 months old…which will be March 2015. I hope to inspire other moms that they can continue to be healthy and fit after baby…just like the fit women of Facebook have inspired me!

Baby Ryan's first walk

Baby Ryan’s first walk

 

21Day Challenge – Day 21: Reflection & Action

 Pull out your list from Day 1. How many things on that list did you accomplish? If you stuck to your guns and accomplished everything CONGRATULATIONS! If not…why not? Were your goals too lofty? Did you just lose motivation and give up?

Part of the process is going through ups and downs…highs and lows…motivation will run stong sometimes and other times it won’t. How you deal with change, obstacles, and set backs will determine if and how quickly you will achieve your goals….be it long-term or short-term.

Review the past 21 days and if you skipped any…I challenge you to go back and finish them…if you DID complete all challenges make yourself a NEW list of goals to be completed today, by next week, and by next month and make sure they are in line with your 3 month, 6 month, and 1 year goals from 21 days ago.

You got this, kid…now, go and get ‘em!

21 Day Challenge – Day 20: 10,000 Steps

 Every mile starts with one little step…this challenge requires you to take 10,000 steps (approx 5 miles) So whether you walk or run get in 10,000 steps…even if you have to break it up over the course of the day. Find a trail or track where measuring 5 miles would be easy…or pick yourself up a pedometer and wear it all day so it can count your steps. See how long it takes you to get to 10,000 steps and then try to beat it next time you attempt it!

One day left of the challenge. How many have you completed?

21 Day Challenge – Day 19: Sugar Free Week

Cut the sugar out this week…YIKES! No, I don’t mean natural suagar…keep eating your fruit…but cut out the sugary drinks…don’t add sugar to anything…this will be a very hard challenge if you are used to a lot of sugar and processed foods. You will feel like you are going though a detox…and you ARE…you may experience headaches and maybe even mood swings (so warn your friends and family) BUT by the end of the week you will have done such a great thing for your body and will most likely feel much better…don’t be a wimp…get through the 7 days…come on…you can do it!

21 Day Challenge – Day 18: The 300 Workout

10 Exercises – 10 reps each – 3 rounds = 300

1) Squats 10x

2) Push ups 10x

3) Calf Raises 10x

4) Lunges 10x

5) Crunches 10x

6) Tricep Dips 10x

7) Burpees 10x

8) Jumping Jacks 10x

9) Hip Lifts 10x

10) Pop Squats 10x

Repeat circuit for a total of 3 rounds and at the end you will have completed 300 reps!

21 Day Challenge – Day 17: Clean it up & Clean it out

 How many of us have crap in the fridge they forgot about? Or thought would be used at some point…or even maybe in the pantry or cabinets?

This challenge is to clean out all the crap…whether it’s old and moldy or just really not healthy for you (come on…we all have a few Ramen Noodle packages in the cabinets!) How many salad dressings do you have? Have you checked the expiration dates on those things? Yikes…get rid of them!

Make room for new, healthy and fresh foods. When you can actually see what’s in your fridge you are more likely to make good choices rather than having to move 4 half empty soda bottles out of the way.

21 Day Challenge – Day 16: 50 Burpees in 30 mins

Ready? Go!

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