New baby, new challenges
I gave birth three and a half months ago and it is an understatement to say that my universe as I knew it has changed. I love my little baby Seren Grace and I love spending time with her AND I love working out. Before Seren Grace was born my entire life was dedicated to helping people get fit and being an athlete myself. With my new arrival, my priorities have changed in the short term to nurture my baby before anything else. I know most, if not all, new mothers feel the same way. Whether you’ve been a committed exerciser before your pregnancy or simply because you want to regain your pre-pregnancy body, it is sometimes hard to find the time, the motivation or the energy to give ourselves the time and attention that we need. Experts agree that for new mothers one of the best way to lose weight after pregnancy, to kickstart or resume a normal exercise program and to instill healthy habits in your newborn is to work out WITH your baby. I’ve found this to be ABSOLUTELY true. It gives SO much more opportunity for us Mums to work-out, making us way more likely to stick to the routine and feel less guilty if we are not leaving the baby with a caregiver.
Consult your doctor
BUT before dropping into weighted squats or ab crunches with our little ones please ensure that you have had a check-up with the doctor and the ‘green light’ to work-out (usually around 6 weeks) and that your little one is at least 40 days old.
Where is the time to work-out?!
With my first baby, I now know that people (including myself before I became a mother) COMPLETELY underestimate how much time is needed to dedicate to our newborns each day and how little opportunity new mothers have to work-out.
Just now I am breastfeeding, every two hours throughout the day and usually 3 times a night. My husband works from 8:30am until 4:30pm five days a week and I have one client either side of his working hours when he has Seren, and I also have two clients during the day, and for these two sessions I take her with me. Our bedtime routine starts at 6:45. Where is the time to work-out?!!!!
You have to start somewhere
As soon as I had the all clear to exercise from the doctor, I started to work-out at home during the day, fully equipped with TRX, medicine balls, dumbbells and glute bands and even then I was finding that I could be two sets into my work-out and Seren would start to cry for attention or wake up! I was really getting desperate to work-out consistently, without feeling guilty or that I was neglecting my beautiful baby girl and that’s when I started bringing Seren into my work-outs and have done so up to three times a week since!
I really wanted to share this with other Mums, because if ‘I’ can’t find the opportunity to work out (its pretty high on my priority list being a trainer the last fifteen years), then how are other mums going to find that opportunity?
“Baby and Me”
With a view to putting in practice a work-out program that helps me keep fit and return to my post-pregnancy body and strength without compromising the needs of my baby, I have designed and developed “Baby and Me” work-outs, which I started teaching with my little Seren-Grace (now 3 and a half months old) just 6 weeks ago. It wasn’t something I planned to do or have even thought of doing in the past with my post-natal clients.
I now teach two ”Baby and Me” classes a week, Monday and Thursday mornings, outdoors in Downtown. I am thoroughly enjoying it, its given all involved an opportunity to meet other mums in the same situation as well as boosting our energy and bonding with our babies.
The image above shows mum and baby (including me and Seren) relaxed, smiling and enjoying the work-out. Let me tell you that’s not a completely true reflection of the reality! It’s still an effort to get to class with the little one, especially in the morning. We are all turning up a little flustered and sleep deprived and in need of a good hug!! We are all mums and we are all in the same situation so it’s nice to not feel that it matters and the feeling at the end is so worth it! The focus is on feeling good about ourselves, our body and also having fun with our new baby.
Make the time to exercise with your baby; come and join us
Exercising with your baby can be done in the comfort of your own home or you could plan to attend a “Baby and Me” class. Attending a class is always useful to learn specific post-natal exercises, to learn correct technique for the exercises, the various positions to hold your little one (as your arms will seriously ache otherwise) and also different tricks to use if your baby gets unsettled. The workouts are suitable for all abilities and involve basic exercises such as squats, bridges and planks with a whole lot more fun!
You may worry that your little one may cry during the work-out, but this is ok, we all have good days and bad days, babies are no exception to the rule! One work-out your baby may be asleep, another they may want more cuddles and attention, and the next work-out they may be cooing, bouncing and giggling throughout. You can stop exercising to comfort your baby, or even feeding your baby during a class is absolutely fine, bottle or breast. I usually go a little early to “tank up and top off” prior to class. Arriving 10 minutes early should give you enough time to get settled and make sure your baby is content and ready to let you exercise. If you do have to feed during your work-out then this is a good opportunity to do pelvic floor exercises – you can still do some of the core connection exercises whilst sat feeding.
Each session is 45-60 minutes long, at a rate of 80dhs per class or a package of 6 classes for 400dhs. For more information or to get booked on contact me through my ‘contact me’ tab or my Instagram page -rhian_adams_athlete
I love having fun with Seren while working out, and this is the beginning of setting a life-long example of showing her how much fun exercising can be 🙌