Four seasons of fitness have come and gone since my body grew a little human and Mr. Birch was born. I no longer say “I just had a baby.” I feel like I’m 90% back to the fitness level I was before getting pregnant. I doubt I’ll ever be able to run like I did in my early twenties, but I think my fitness peaked in between my two kids (around 2015/2016 when I was at the gym a lot!) and so I hope I will hit my true peak the year I turn 40 (Wishful thinking?!) Here are some thoughts on my first year of postpartum fitness.
Season One: Birth to January
Priorities: Rest, walk, jog, home workouts.
I was navigating unpredictable schedules and breastfeeding round the clock. My lower abs were very sore from pregnancy so I had to ease in to more high intensity workouts day by day. My mind and limbs wanted to move fast, but my core had been through a lot and made me pace myself.
Season Two: January to April
Priorities: Treadmill iFit workouts, indoor soccer, home weights, outdoor soccer begins
My goal was to slowly get my endurance back to ease into longer workouts. All the treadmill sprinting helped! Playing indoor soccer first was a great transition to outdoor.
Season Three: May to August
Priorities: Outdoor soccer, outdoor running, Saturday ath con class
By six months I felt like my old self. I could sprint on a soccer field and my endurance was back. My core felt normal (although my abs have never been my strongest asset!) Really got in an exercise groove.
Season Four: Sept to Now
Priorities: Outdoor soccer, 3 gym classes, some running, lifting heavier weights
While my cardiovascular fitness bounced back quickly, my strength has taken me a whole year to want to challenge. I think part of that is because I was lifting and carrying around a baby a lot of the time my arms and back were always tired. I didn’t want to push myself in a strength class and get too sore to hold the baby! I’m slowly picking up heavier weights, and I do think carrying around a heavier Birch has strengthened my upper body too!
As Birch drops down to one nap over the next month or so, I will probably be going to the gym a lot of mornings like I did with Mazen. It’s great socialization for Birch, new scenery and toys, and obviously I’ll get in some good workouts! A win/win/win. I get my best workouts doing group ex classes (I don’t push myself when I’m solo like I should) and I look forward to re-joining the class community.
I’m excited for:
M/W Strength Class: I was up to a 35 lb kettlebell a few years ago. I use the 25 lb, teetering on 30 lb, these days. My bicep weights are also about 5 lb less than they used to be.
Cycle Classes: I haven’t done a consistent cycle class in a while. I’m thinking I need to find a once a week one I love and stick with it.
Hot Yoga: It’s almost winter which means I’m going to crave this like crazy! Last year as much as I wanted to go it was just too hard to get away for that long of a period. This year since I’m not nursing during the day anymore, I’m hoping to get to a few more classes. Not having childcare there is a drawback, but maybe when soccer ends it can by a Sunday thing!
HIIT Classes: I’ve been going to Matt + Katie’s classes (yes that Matt, lol) and they are a great mix of cardio intervals and strength.
Treadmill workouts: Since outdoor running season is coming to a close (I do run in the winter but I don’t like it) I will bring back the treadmill on days I don’t get to the gym. In a perfect world I’d get up before the kids somedays, but since Mazen has to get ready for school at 6:20, that doesn’t leave me much time. Also B is still getting up pretty early and I am not ready to set a 5:00 alarm. PLUS my darn foot is so stiff in the AM running first thing is really hard, so morning workouts are not my favorite for that reason alone.