I’m not really clear how this happened, but I have an 8-month old. What? It’s been a while since I’ve posted about my workout routine, so I thought I’d share how I am fitting it in at this point. I think the last time I posted, I was about 20 weeks pregnant. Shortly after that, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes (a surprise) and preeclampsia (something I was a bit more predestined to get). Apparently, your placenta is wild and even if you’re as healthy as can be, it can impact having these two conditions. Luckily everything was A-OK and now I have a healthy babe. So thankful. And I was able to work out until about two weeks before I gave birth.
I’m also not sure how long we define postpartum – 6 months? A year? Whenever you decide to stop wearing maternity leggings?
But postpartum, I didn’t work out for about two months. I eventually did some walks after a week or two, but my recovery was a little slow. I won’t go into too much detail but after a quick birth, I had a hematoma (yikes). Pelvic floor physical therapy was awesome, and I slowly worked up to Peloton rides, running and strength.
I finally feel like myself again (it was a slow process but I am glad I didn’t do too much too soon) but there are a lot of factors that come with working out and having a baby or kids (even when you don’t have kids!). Mostly, time and energy. Actually, those are all the factors! But working out is a priority for me. It makes me feel good and healthy and that needs to happen, regardless of the 8 million other things on my plate. Here’s what’s working for me (so far).
Time of Day
Finding time to work out this season of life isn’t always the easiest. You are tired. Especially when babies don’t sleep through the night. Once Carmen got there, it was easier (I still work out in the mornings) but in January she went through a sleep regression where she was getting up around 4:30 or 5 a.m. every morning. Ugh. Getting back down was fairly quick, but by that point, I wanted to sleep a little longer, not work out. She is mostly out of that but still waking up early sometimes. So I just kind of go with what I am feeling. If she gets up at 5:30 and wants to go back to bed, I put her back down and work out. But some mornings I’ll want to sleep until 7 (if she goes back to sleep). Listening to my body is key (and not working out when I am exhausted – sleep is more important). I’ve never been someone to workout 5 or 6 days a week any way. 3-4 is much more reasonable.
Other times, I fit in a quick workout during the day. Working from home makes this way more attainable, but I also need to fit in work while I have childcare, so I only do this sometimes. And if Peloton has a particularly good live ride, I will work out at night.
Duration of Workouts
I used to put in at least 30-45 minutes for a workout. But now, sometimes I can only fit 15-20 minutes. And that’s fine! A lot of mornings I go down to my basement and do cardio for 20 minutes. And then if baby is still asleep, I’ll put on a 10-minute strength class. That’s why I love Peloton – they have a lot of different workout lengths. And they finally have a pause button!
Also, I try to get out and walk when I can. Having a dog helps, since I take him out every day at lunch and go for a walk. And now that the weather will be getting better soon and it’s lighter longer, I can them both for a walk after work.
Making Baby Part of the Routine
I’ve attempted to bring Carmen to the basement with me while I am on the Peloton or treadmill. I put her in her activity center so she stays occupied. She lasts about 20 minutes so this is a good option when my husband can’t watch her. But I also like to make time just for me, so I’ve only done this a handful of times and prefer to work out when she is asleep. And if I am doing a quick stretch, I just do it on the ground next to her and then do some bodyweight with her! She is getting heavy and that’s a workout in itself. And the best part! A friend gave me her old jogging stroller (a BOB in excellent condition) and it’s great. Now that she’s big enough we’ve been doing walks in it and once the weather gets better more consistently, will be going out for stroller runs. Excited to come full circle after running through pregnancy now running with baby! Excited to do the Pittsburgh Marathon 5K and relay in May.
Making Time For Classes Again
Since the pandemic started two (ugh) years ago, I stopped going to classes. I do miss them but having a treadmill, weights and a Peloton bike in my basement is so helpful. Pandemic or not, this is helpful now that my time is even more limited with a baby. But I have slowly started to go back to barre classes when I can. A random weekend or day off, and then I try to go once a week or every other week to a 6 a.m. class. Not the easiest since my sleep is less these days, but it’s good to go and be with people again. And it’s an easier class to wear a mask to. I still choose to wear a mask out in public (until cases get lower) so it doesn’t bother me at all here. If I was going to Orange Theory I would say no way to a mask in that workout. But it’s good to be getting back to classes in a small way. Looking forward to going back to hot yoga eventually, too. I did it for years and it will be good to get back to for stress relief.
Working out on top of working, caring for a baby, a house and a dog is not easy, but again, making health a priority is key for me. Luckily I WANT to work out and it’s a great way to stay healthy and beat stress. But if some weeks I skip all together or only get out to walk the dog, that’s completely OK. Either way, it shows my daughter how important it is. A win-win all around.