This guest post was contributed by Shenz Tolentino-Uon of MommyLift.com.
After 38 weeks of pregnancy, my little one arrived in December 2014. I took 4 weeks off from working out to recover from delivery and coming back to CrossFit wasn’t easy.
With my first pregnancy, I waited until the doctor cleared me (it was around the sixt week mark, and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this). For my second pregnancy, I listened to my body and general sanity. So around 4 weeks, I went back to doing crossfit. It was important to let my coaches know that “hey, I didn’t get doctor clearance yet but I’m doing this for sanity (otherwise I’ll go insane on what I feel like “doing nothing.”)”.
5 tips for going back to working out after baby
(whether it’s CrossFit, endurance training, etc.)
1) Slow and Steady
You just made another human being who is probably fully dependent on you for sustenance (if you’re nursing) and comfort, be kind to your body. It’s going to take time — after all, it took nine months to create that human being. This is why I recommend doctor’s clearance prior to working out.
2) Your number one priority is YOU
Yes, you! I know it sounds hokey coming from a mom of two. But you will be useless to your baby, and your family for that matter, if you’re not healthy. Keep in mind that if you’re happy, they’re happy (or it’s easier to keep them happy). Some days it’s better to choose rest over working out, and that’s fine. And some days, you’ll need a helping hand (family, relatives, husband, baby sitter) to watch the little ones for you while you take some time for yourself (whether that’s to workout or nap).
3) Your body is still recovering from carrying a baby, physically.
Physically, when women carry babies in the womb, their organs rearrange themselves to make room for baby. It took nine months for the body to slowly make room for the growing baby. It will take just as long, if not longer, for everything to get back to normal. Patience is key. Listen to your body, and modify exercise movements, if necessary.
When I came back, I could not do any sit ups, proper push-ups, planks, etc. I had to modify with bands, or just simply replace the movement with something else entirely. Recovery is a process.
4) Some days you’re gonna have to settle working out from home, and that’s OK.
Endorphins are a good thing. Especially with all the hormonal shift, and possibly lingering post-partum depression. Working out will help you get through the rut. [See also: Fit in a Workout Without Hiring a Sitter]
5) Have fun and challenge yourself.
Enjoy your “me” time. Working out is supposed to be fun, and the challenge will help you grow as a person and as a mother.
Is there a solid answer to when you should go back to working out after having a baby? No. It’s a case-by-case basis. Definitely listen to your physician on their recommendations.
Should you lift weights? Yes, but not to the extent that you’re straining and whatnot. You want a good burn, but you don’t want to be sore the next day. You have a growing family to take care of.
Should you choose rest on some days? Yes, definitely. You’re probably barely sleeping anyway.
About Shenz: I’m a mother to two active little boys and a wife to one beast of a CrossFit dad who can lift heavy things. We’ve been doing CrossFit for 3+ years, and even did it through both pregnancies. Having a full-time job and being a full-time mom while getting my fitness on is no easy task. I blog about my journey as a CrosFitting mom of two at mommylift.com. When I’m not doing my engineering thing, blogging about my CrossFit mom journey and lifting heavy, I’m experimenting in the kitchen, geeking out on internet marketing, or curating our family memories with scrapbooking. You can follow me on twitter @k_shenz or Instagram @shenizee.