Unless you’re some sort of athlete, I would say it is a bit of a misconception that getting back in shape is an easy task to achieve post birth. And I’m really not talking about just losing the weight, which can be tough in itself for some. If there’s one fact you can depend on, it is that pregnancy and birth – and perhaps parenthood to a small extent – age you tremendously. To get back to where you imagine yourself to be, especially if you’re used to feeling strong in some form or other… Well, let’s just say it is like starting all over again from square one.
I’ve been going for little runs here and there and I’ve gone for a few strength sessions with my mate Chris at Selective Fitness. It’s a very slow start I’m giving myself but I think this time, I’m trying to keep things attainable. This morning’s trail run with Grace was another reality check. I was aiming for 6km but completely forgot that my longest run to date of 4km was completely flat, and the trail is full of climbs. So halfway through the run, I decided to realign my goals and I am now feeling pretty chuffed about the 4km that I did actually manage to do.
Some things to consider when you’re trying to get back in shape post-baby – aside from some of the tips I blogged about first time round as well:
- Surround yourself with active friends
When you’re feeling all inert and bleah, it’s very easy to just want to run away from anyone who bears some semblance of fitness. Basically, it’s easy to want to stay in denial. Open your ears, listen willingly to what your friends are doing and don’t give yourself excuses about how tired you are or how different you figure their lifestyle is to your’s. While all that you are thinking is probably natural and true, it will not help you in your quest to getting fit again. It’ll just drag you further and further down into your own pity party. Let others inspire you. You can do it!
- Accept the challenge
Somewhere along the way, if you’re looking open enough, someone is going to invite you along for a run or some other sort of workout (depending on what activity you gravitate towards). No matter how unprepared you think you are, accept the challenge. The hardest part to everything is starting. The quicker you start doing something, and with friendly company to keep you motivated, the speedier your journey to fitness will seem. Come on, get out there!
- Keep goals small and attainable
I was reminded of this one today. Don’t set yourself a goal that will leave you feeling high and dry and disappointed with yourself when you first get out. In my case for example, I shouldn’t think about what sort of distance I can cover, but rather how long I can keep going without needing to stop. A 15-minute non-stop brisk walk or run, for example, is a good first goal to achieve before gradually upping my workout duration. Achieving small goals will keep you coming back for more, at least getting you to your next workout. Thanks Grace for this reminder!
- Eat humble pie
Years ago I was running 20km distances and taking Grace out on her first runs – Today, she gave me a bit of friendly competition by running behind me and egging me on. She’s such an accomplished runner and it would be so easy to get all down and out about how far from fitness I’ve fallen. But you know what, always remember that pregnancy and parenthood takes a great toll on you. The more you beat yourself up about how you are nowhere near your past achievements, the crappier you are going to feel. Eating humble pie and looking to your friends for inspiration is a big help!