The Truth About "No Excuses" & Postpartum Fitness
This is my first year postpartum with my second baby and it has been a challenging one. My daughter is 10 months old, not sleeping through the night, getting sick on a regular basis, and I'm not mentally there just yet.
I am stressed, my body is stressed and my hormones are still all over the place because I'm breastfeeding, lack of sleep and well, stress.
This does not mean that I am not taking care of myself.
I exercise regularly but also understand my body's limits. If my daughter has been up throughout the night and I haven't slept much, I rest and I don't push myself to do an intensive workout that is going to leave me exhausted. Instead, I opt for something light in intensity like a core retraining program, postural correction because I am using my back a lot, or just walking. Yep...that's it!
My daughter would only sleep in my arms and was waking up
constantly through the night when she was sick. Needless to say,
there wasn't much time for me to workout. Good excuse!
It's more important to have enough energy to get through the day than to completely fatigue yourself, leaving you empty. Besides, if you're not getting adequate rest and feeding your body well, you won't have much in recovery happening and may do yourself more harm than good in the long run.
I was that "no excuses mom" with my first pregnancy and birth and it was exhausting plus I was working my tail off and seeing no results. Why? Because my body was running on fumes. Initially, the results were there, but after a while, my body was becoming more stressed, I was sleeping very little then throwing strength training and cardio in the mix. My body couldn't keep up with what I was putting it through and went into survival mode.
You see, your body doesn't know the difference between
workout stress and life stress. All it knows is that you are stressed. This isn't a big deal in the short term as we all experience stress on a daily basis, but when the stress is over a period of time, your body will shut down the non-essentials for you to function. You may notice that your digestive system slows or even your menstrual cycle may seem off. Ever experience not being able to think straight (aka mom brain!)? This is all relates to our stress levels and our stress levels are going to have an impact on the results that you are trying to achieve.
To me, there are perfectly good "excuses" not to workout and it's a shame that people are using "no excuses" in their marketing to new moms. It is way more important that you mental and emotional health are in a good place, your body is able to properly function, and you don't stress about missing a workout when you're not feeling up to it. Pushing yourself beyond your limits won't do you or anyone around you any favours. Trust me, I've been there!
There will be days or even weeks where you miss workouts and you need to be okay with that. Being a mom is a tough gig at times, especially when you have a new baby in the house.
Just because you're not up for "killing it" at a super high level, there are still a ton of things you can do to remain active that won't elevate your stress. Personally, at this point in my life, I'm okay with not being at my fittest. I'm strong and healthy with a body that is functioning optimally. I know when I need to take it easy as well as giving myself permission to not stress about having the body I once did. Being in a good mental space most days and having a healthy relationship with my baby body has huge payoffs. Besides, this is just temporary! Who wants to be stuck inside anyway????
Love your baby body,
Are you sick of the "no excuses" ideal and ready to find balance that works for you? Please share your thoughts on my Facebook page in the comments section of this post. This is an importnat message to share with all moms!
Terrell Baldock, Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, Birth & Postpartum Educator, and an Expert in Women's Wellness is on a mission to empower moms of all ages & stages to take control of thier health. She wants to put an end to the confusion around exercise during pregnancy and helps new moms recover during the earliest stages of postpartum which allows new moms to transition to thier new role with ease.