Sitting in the hospital bed holding my sleeping newborn, soaking up every minute, I remember feeling so grateful that delivery went well, she was healthy and that I would be able to touch my toes again! With all the joy and work it takes to bring a child into the world, the work has actually only just begun. You have another mouth to feed, another person to take your time, and if you are anything like me, you also want to get your body back into shape. But how can you be a mom and an athlete too? Follow these six steps and you will be back in action again be it sporting events, outdoor adventures, or simply feeling great chasing kids around.
Take time to recover
- Give yourself time, at least 4-6 weeks to be exact. You just birthed a human being! Use this time to let your body heal. You don’t want to start back too fast or too hard. You know your body best. Listen to it.
Sign up for an event.
- When you have a set date it can help you focus on your end goal and essentially motivate you to get your butt in gear.
- I had Saylor in July and I signed up to do a sprint triathlon in September. This helped me pace myself and plan my training to be prepared for race day.
Schedule the time to work-out AND find a training program
- The priorities in your life are what take up your time. If you do not schedule time to train, it will not happen.
- Search the internet for a training program on the type of race you will be participating in. This takes the guess-work out of figuring out what type of workouts you should do on certain days. This is particularly helpful if you are participating in an event such as a triathlon. Not participating in an event? Find an online workout video/program that you can do from the comfort of your home.
Do not give up
- Being a parent is hard and kids are needy. DO NOT GIVE UP if your scheduled workout time suddenly gets taken over by children needing your attention. Adapt to make your workout still happen.
- The hardest time in my life to work out was after Saylor was born. I did not have a bike carrier for three kids and Saylor was still just too small to take in a bike trailer. I was feeding my baby throughout the night and was just too tired to wake up at 6:00 am, but by the time I woke up, the day had begun and the girls needed breakfast, and to get ready. I remember feeling frustrated because my time to exercise had vanished. Even with the demands of being a parent, I was determined to do well in my triathlon so I had to be flexible with my schedule. Sometimes I had to cut my morning workout shorter than what I had planned, worked out at noon, had to wait until Colter got home from work or did an at-home workout but I got my workout completed. I had set a goal of finishing in the overall women top ten and to make the podium in my age group.
Do not get discouraged.
- Never miss two consecutive days of working out. Life is challenging and sometimes the day runs away from you but if you can’t get your workout in, do something a little less time consuming such as sit-ups or push-ups with some high knees or lunges. Anyone can make time for 10 minutes of exercise then recommit to get to your workout/training the next day because your race, your body is waiting for you.
- Having a human inside of you changes your body. It might not be exactly as it was before or the same size as it was before. What matters most is that you love yourself, love what you are doing and that you feel healthy.
Eat Better—Get fit in the Gym, lose weight in the kitchen
- Find your food triggers and start small
- Drink more water for 1 week
- Next week, cut out sugar for 1 day, etc
- Find your food triggers and start small
- Start a daily food log
- Just start. There are many food apps that can help track your daily food consumption or simply grab a piece of paper or small notebook.
- Put good calories into your body
- Modify your go-to recipes if needed
- Eat a side salad instead of having fries
- Ask for a lettuce wrap on your sandwich and skip the bun
With all the hats you wear as a mother, it is no small task to make time to take care of YOU. You spend all day thinking about everyone but yourself. Some days you may not even get a shower and end up going through the whole day in your comfy pants and a messy bun. Start today with a commitment to be healthy and let the adventures continue!
P.S. If you are wondering how I did on my race, I ended up finishing 5th overall and 2nd in my age group! Races aren’t always about the numbers though. It is about doing your best and finishing!