A NEW APPROACH TO POST NATAL FITNESS
BY KIMBERLEY SMITH
Bounce Back. I really don’t like those words! I am yet to meet a Mother who hasn’t felt some pressure to bounce back. To be who she used to be, just with a baby in tow.
After I had my first daughter, I put so much pressure on myself to “bounce back.” I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it all. Be some kind of super woman. So I basically ignored every single signal my body sent me. I trained so hard that I had no energy left for anything else. I looked good from the outside, but from the inside I felt like everything was falling apart.
After I had my second daughter Samara, I knew that I wanted to do it all differently. I didn’t want so much pressure. I just wanted to feel good. I wanted to feel proud of my body, not ashamed of it.
I wanted to nurture myself in the same way I nurtured my baby. I wanted to listen to my body and show it some love and respect. I wanted to stop comparing myself to what I used to look like. It was exhausting. And I was tired.
I wanted a new approach to post natal fitness. A focus on creating a new body, one that was beautiful, fit and strong in it’s own unique way.
So here it is. An approach based on respect, intuition and self awareness. One that allows us to feel vibrant and strong.
Focus on Inner Strength
One of the most empowering things you can do is to strengthen your body from the inside-out. Having a strong pelvic floor and core will give you confidence in your body. It will help you to build your inner strength and resolve. Your pelvic floor and core are the foundation of your fitness and strength. Get them right and the rest will be so much easier! Respect all the changes your body has been through and focus on getting this first step right.
Most new Mums do their pelvic floor exercises incorrectly (me included!). So I really recommend that Mamas see a Women’s Health Physio. They can give you a personalised program to build your pelvic floor and core strength.
Energised Not Exhausted
Post natal exercise should leave you feeling energised, not exhausted. Caring for a new born is physically and emotionally demanding. We are often running on a combo of broken sleep and caffeine.
Do exercise that makes you feel energised. You don't need exercise to add to your exhaustion. Here are two of my favourite workouts for new Mums that will help you to feel energised and strong!
Early Post Natal Workout [http://www.kimmysmithfit.com/post-natal-exercise-for-mums/]
Pram Fitness - The Mum and Baby Pram Workout [http://www.kimmysmithfit.com/the-super-pram-exercises/]
Sleep! I feel like I am still catching up and Samara just turned 2! In those early postpartum days, the best thing you can do for your health is to prioritise sleep.
When you're tired everything else suffers. We don’t eat well. We have no motivation to exercise and it is easy to get dragged down into negative thought patterns. So if you aren’t getting enough sleep, listen to your body, slow down enough to see what you are craving. For me, this was sleep.
Listen to your Body
When we are pregnant, we become so much more intuitive. For me, pregnancy was the first time since childhood that I listened to my body. As you step into your role as a Mother, continue to cultivate that intuition. Listen to your body and honour the signals it is sending you. The more you listen to your body, the healthier and happier you will become.
Don’t feel pressured to return to the same exercise you have always done. You have changed. Your body has changed. Honour that change and do what makes you feel good. I tried so hard to do the same exercise that I used to do before I had my daughters. And I felt like crap. When I finally gave in and did what felt good, it was the biggest relief. There are so many amazing forms of post natal exercise. Find the type of exercise that makes you feel good and go with it.
Keep it Positive
It is frustrating to struggle with movements that you used to be able to do with ease. At 18 months postpartum, I was still rolled out of bed because I didn’t have the core control to sit up.
But what I have learnt is to stop looking back at what I used to be able to do. Comparison kills your vibe!
You have changed in every way possible. Embrace that change. Step into your strength as a Mother and be proud of all the small victories as you create a new healthy and happy life.
Kimmy (@kimmysmithfit) is the founder of www.kimmysmithfit.com a post natal fitness and wellness hub created to help Mums feel beautiful, fit and strong. Kimmy is the author of the Fit Mummy Project - the Complete Online guide to Post Natal Fitness and Wellbeing. She is also a Mummy to two beautiful girls, a former professional athlete, a personal trainer and yoga teacher specialising in post natal health.