A few months ago, I shared my past fitness journey — what made me passionate about health and fitness initially, in my 20’s. That post ended when I was single and learning to alter my lifestyle and to listen to what made my body feel good or bad. At the time, that was the most fit that I had ever been in my life. However, I can safely say that now — at 35 and after having 2 babies in 2 years — I am actually in even better shape than I was back then. How did I get here from there?
It certainly wasn’t consistent! There were many periods of slipping back. When my husband and I were first married, we kept biking together, walking around White Rock Lake (because we lived right next to it and could cross the street and just walk!), and going to the YMCA together. During my pregnancy with Little Sir, I did prenatal yoga nearly every day, even when I was on bed rest. It was the only thing that helped with the crazy bad hip and back pain! I sat on a balance ball at work to maintain my core. Christian and I walked and walked and walked (largely to try to get my labor going, since I had prodromal labor for weeks).
It was after Little Sir’s birth that things really went downhill in my physical fitness. Sure, I lost the baby weight fairly quickly, but I was very weak and lacking the energy that physical fitness would have given me. I went back to work full time working 10 hour shifts, and LS didn’t sleep through the night until he was 10 months old. By then, I was more than 4 months pregnant with Little Lady and so exhausted and stressed that “working out” was the last thing on my mind. I was eating…whatever I could find around the house. When Little Lady was born, I was so completely buried in babies that I couldn’t even figure out how to fit exercise into my life. Again, I lost most of the baby weight, but that was mostly due to the fact that I couldn’t figure out out how to find time to eat! When I did eat, it was leftovers from the kids’ food or sugary, fatty foods that didn’t boost my energy level in the long term or provide essential nutrition.
So when my sweet friend Amanda told me that her friend was opening a studio teaching a Pilates-based workout and I could go through the training with them to be come an instructor, I said yes! It came at a good time for me because Little Lady was finally sleeping through the night (which happened at around 13 months), and I was staying home full time.
I’m not just voicing marketing material when I tell you that the Lagree Fitness workout is PERFECT for moms who want to get into shape in the most effective way possible, with the least amount of time and in the lowest impact way! I really believe in this workout and love to teach it because there is nothing else like it. Here’s a picture I took of the machines in the studio last week after class:
As you can see, these aren’t your mama’s Reformers. These are Megaformers, which add additional resistance to every move we do during the workout and challenge the balance, activating the core, while at the same time taking the stress off joints and back so that they’re perfect for clients with injuries or difficulties doing traditional mat Pilates. I could go on and on, but here are my favorite aspects of the workout:
- 50 minutes (some studios have even more compact 45 or 40 minute workouts)
- complete cardio
- full body strength training
- low impact (great for people with joint or back issues)
- only 3-4 workouts a week are sufficient due to the full body muscle exhaustion and need for recovery between workouts
Can you see why I love this?
In the last 6 months, I’ve also returned to my yoga roots by taking classes at We Yogis studio in Dallas, where they offer childcare for every adult class. This is also where I took certification to teach Kids Yoga. I’ll be teaching a Kids Yoga class at the Richardson rec center(s) in the Fall — either Heights or Huffhines. I’ve been teaching outdoor classes in my neighborhood and with Little Sir’s playgroup and other neighborhood children, and it’s been so much fun! I have found that yoga really opens up my chest and shoulders where I had started to see some damage from doing Megaformer workouts more often than is typically recommended. See, you should always follow your instructors’ suggestions! I should follow my own suggestions and make sure I rest fully between workouts.
What have I learned about getting back to fitness after being derailed by childbirth and having young children?
- Make time for yourself. I wasn’t helping myself any by neglecting workouts because I was robbing myself of the energy boost that a workout supplies!
- Let go and trust your partner or childcare provider. When I started making the conscious choice to step away from my children and trust my husband to care for them for an hour in the mornings while I teach, I had to let go of control. Both Dad and the kids benefit from the time together and learn about how to live with each other without my interference. Does he feed or clothe them the same way I would? No, but that’s OK. Releasing my control frees all of us to learn and grow.
- Eat, but eat wisely. With this workout in particular, the metabolism takes a huge jump almost immediately and you will be STARVING. I tell my clients to listen to their body and eat when it is hungry, but be wise about food choices! Don’t go out and scarf a whole cake. Have some carrots with hummus, listen to how you feel. Take a break from eating and wait for the feeling of fullness to hit before eating some more.
- Listen to your body. When ramping up to a new fitness routine, it’s important to listen to your body before, during, and after a workout. Your body will help you discover what other aspects of your life need to change. For example, if I eat badly the day before I do a workout, I can feel the sluggishness in my body and I can see a definite lack of strength. On the other hand, I can tell when I’m eating well and getting enough rest, because I am stronger.
- Get enough rest. If you have to choose between getting enough sleep and working out on some days, listen to your body — sometimes it is better to choose sleep. Just make sure you schedule that next workout in advance so you don’t start the slow descent into apathy.
- Take the next step, challenge yourself. There was a point where I started receiving feedback that my workouts were too easy. I had lost context and wasn’t really pushing myself or my clients to the next level. Everything was easy for me because I’d gained a lot of strength, so I started to plateau. I appreciate feedback from my clients in this area because it really helped me ramp up my routines to make them more fast-paced and challenging for everyone. If you’re getting bored, change your routine or tell your group fitness instructor you’d like to see some new moves.
I’ll be doing one more post on my current yoga journey in a few weeks, including some ideas for fitting in fitness when you care for children full-time!
What are some ways that you have eased back into fitness after a time away? I’d love to hear about your journey too!