I Had a baby and I Want My Body Back: Reality VS “Reality”

Currently, there are 8 women in close proximity to me, that have had a baby within the past year. How amazing that is as a new mom, to have your own personal baby group? And how amazing is it for my little one: her own immediate entourage!

Quite frequently, these new mommy’s come to me for guidance on when to begin training again, how to overcome their frustrations with accomplishing old workouts they used to excel in, and now really struggle with. Going through this journey myself, I’m often re-evaluating my levels of fitness, and reminding myself of my instagram hashtag  #startwhereyouarenotwhereyouwere

The following fact recently occurred to me while out for a mommy-walk with a friend:
Of the women who have had their babies (3 including me…but one making a debut anytime now –quite literally, and another one in the coming weeks) each and every one of us has a very different labour and delivery story. We range from medical complications, sections, mid-wives, home births, inductions, epidurals, multiple births and the list can go on, and on. It really got me thinking today:

Why is it that we have such completely different labour and deliveries, but when it comes to postnatal recovery and getting back into fitness, we quite literally group all moms together and expect the same progress and results?

I mean, I guess I always knew that each of us has our own story to tell when it comes to having a baby, and the experience during the “big day”. But, I find it intriguing that when getting back at it, we quickly forget our own individual journeys and immediately conclude that we’re not as good as, or as fit as another person.

It is so, SO incredibly important to step back, and assess your own levels of fitness. Since I started back into my routines, I had to really scale back my expectations. I’m going to break down ONE of the many, many, different exercises that I had to slowly creep back into doing the way I had pre-baby.

THE PUSHUP
Think about what you were able to do pre-baby. For me, I could do pushups on my toes.. honestly I don’t know if I ever could do more than 15 consecutively. But, I do know that I could do push ups where I exploded up and clapped in between. I could do them on a decline, with my feet on a chair and bring one knee to my elbow as I came down, and bring it back to the chair as I came up. I could do them with my feet on a medicine ball, and my hands on a bosu ball. AND, I could do my favorite: tricep (narrow) pushups. I preferred to do them on my knees to keep my form, but I was ok with that. Sounds great, right? Impressive, even… Now… wait for it…

I got pregnant (Yay!!). Aside from the obvious medicine ball inside of me that made it tricky towards the end to actually DO the pushup, My abdominals were stretching. Stretching and therefore my core strength was changing. I slowly transferred from on my toes, to knees, to standing on the wall. No medicine ball (aside from my belly), no declines, no bosu, and my beloved triceps were removed. All this happened over the course of the next 7 months.

REMEMBER THAT LADIES: It takes your body almost one year to grow a baby, So why assume it will take anything less than that to go back?

By month 8, pushups were done. My workouts were changing, so my body conditioning was being lost. Fast forward Oct. 9th, my little gem, Vanessa arrived! Lots changes in your body after you have a baby. The obvious… baby is out, but then there’s the extra water, hormones, stretched skin, strained abdominals, maybe you have scar tissue, there’s stitches, your hips are sore, body is shifting again because of weight transfer… All valid points that we “know”.. but do we really, ACTUALLY consider this when we look in the mirror?

You should always wait a minimum of 4-6 weeks before you begin working out. 4 weeks at least until you begin walking, again it’s ALL relative to the type of pregnancy, and delivery or other health concerns you are facing. And as for the abs, or core? That area in particular took a hit (aside from the obvious sore spot heh), so it should be the one that is eased into again with the most caution and care.

Back to the pushups: When I started again.. it was on the wall, and even then, I could feel tightness and knew it wasn’t time to push. That was in late November. By the end of December, I was back to my knees. By the end of January I could do no more than 2-4 on my toes, and the rest on my knees… which brings me up to the past few months. Since February here is my official pushup status:

12 on my toes before I need a break in order to continue on
10 on a decline with a chair for my feet
4 narrow (tricep– my FAVES) pushups– ON MY TOES. Yes, I’ve actually IMPROVED my core and can do them on my toes
8 Pushups where I bring my knees to my elbow. Toes on the floor, not on the chair.

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Currently, I’m learning and improving on diamond pushups. These bad boys are tricky, but hey– if you don’t raise the bar, you wont be better than yesterday.

So, my final words are simply this:

Ladies, it IS possible for you to get back to it, and regain the strength. But remember… if your labour and delivery was different than your friends, chances are– the recovery and journey back will be to. Reach out to those going through this similar experience, because even though your challenges may be different– your emotions, frustrations and disappointments will feel the same.

You can always reach me on this blog, or email me mrskooy@gmail.com if you need some extra support. Always happy to talk it out 🙂

Much love my readers. xo

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When You Battle the Voice Inside Your Head

Last night was tough. Earlier in the week I went to my first kickboxing class since I had the baby. It felt fantastic! I was so happy to be back, and of course I challenged myself to do exercises that I am not quite used to again… but it really felt amazing. Naturally, I have been sore since that class so I took the next day off to recover.. but anyone who’s ever done a REALLY good workout knows that it’s actually the second day off when you can barely move.

So yesterday, was my second day. It was my second day and emotionally I was feeling defeated. Looking at my post baby body I have been feeling frustrated, disappointed, and quite frankly: ugly. Silly, I know… but honest.  I felt tired, I felt sore, but mostly in my upper body in abdominal area–which clearly meant I was totally fine to do my lower body– or at least I thought.

Hubby and I went downstairs to set up for our workout, and I created my plan for leg day. Ugh. It was horrible. It was that kind of workout where my head fought every single movement that my body was doing. It felt like I should have had an angel and devil positioned on my shoulder whispering lies to me.

The first exercise that I wanted to try (since obviously the only thing to do when you’re already tired and feeling defeated is introduce new exercises, and increase your weights) was Ham curls on the TRX. I set the goal for 12 reps, and forced myself to do 4 sets. Why did I want to do 4 sets? Well, because that voice inside my head was telling me that 3 wouldn’t be enough to feel anything, so suck it up and do it. So, I would get to about 9 reps and want to cry. Not because it hurt, and not because it was hard– but yes it was hard. I wanted to cry because while I was doing the reps I had to battle the voice inside my head that was telling me each rep sucked. I was literally trying to ignore phrases like
“Why are you doing this?”
“That rep did nothing for you”
“Just quit, you’re never going to loose this baby weight”

It was awful. And it didn’t stop there. When I got to my deadlifts with the trap bar, I decided to add 10 lbs to each side. I honestly think I was getting so angry at myself that I would counter my negative comments by increasing the weight and working harder. I finished 3 sets, and there was that voice again:
“You know, you did 3 sets, you’re sweating… just stop there”

No. I wont stop there. Screw you, voice.

I have to say, I was so thankful to have my hubby there with me last night. There were so many times where I felt like I could have just crumbled and sat on the floor crying. But each time he saw me struggling, he would stop his set, come over and help me refocus and get back on track.

I’m realizing more and more that this journey to “get my body back” requires a lot of love and support of those around me. I find that there seems to be a faux timeline that I’m getting sucked into of when I should “fit into my regular pants”. It’s crap. I will fit into those pants when my body is ready to. I’m 7 weeks post baby and I have GOT to stop putting pressure on myself to be back so fast, because it will quite honestly hinder any progress that I’m working hard to achieve.

Ugh, that damn voice. It really needs to SHUT. UP.
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