Getting back into something you once used to do can feel even harder than starting it in the first place! Especially when it comes to fitness. The popular advice is to take it slow, but can easing your way back in still yield the results you want? Here, Lisa talks about how she approached her workout routine after her second daughter was born and what she learned about listening to her body.
Back Into the Swing of Things
Before my second daughter was born, I was still as active as possible, but had reduced the weight I was lifting in my classes, and modified certain exercises for safety and comfort during my pregnancy. After she was born and I was cleared for activity again, I made sure to take it easy. The last thing I needed was to injure myself and have a newborn and 2.5 year old who still needed me no matter how I felt.
I began by using the weights I used at the end of my pregnancy, and felt I was getting a decent workout at my twice-weekly strength training classes. I got back down to my pre-pregnancy weight, but still wanted to build back my previous strength.
Holding Myself Back…But Why?
I kept telling myself I would up my weights soon. I thought, I’ll start something new in the new year, and fix this holiday slump that I got myself into with busy schedule and sick children and travel… That “maybe next month” went on until I finally realized I had hit a fitness wall. No changes seemed to be happening in my body like I wanted.
I needed to make some kind of a change, but somehow, I still didn’t think I was ready to push harder. My first week back in January, I used the same weights and left feeling like I didn’t get that great of a workout, wondering what else I could do.
Time to Bite the Bullet
At the next workout, even though for some reason my brain was still unsure, I finally started lifting heavier weights. I told myself that if it was too much, I could always switch part-way through class.
Wow. It was challenging, but I pushed myself through the whole class with the new, heavier weights. What a difference! I felt the burn for about an hour after the workout! I was feeling better, more confident, and stronger all over.
I also decided to add another hour of fitness (power yoga) to my weekly workouts. Suddenly, within a month, my body was changing how I was hoping – I really saw the progress I was hoping for.
What did I learn?
It’s good to take it slow and be sure of yourself and your body, but you have to actually push yourself to get to new levels. Whether you’re brand new to an activity, or coming back after a pregnancy or injury – take it slow, but not too slow, or you’ll only get so far.
I took care of my body by not pushing too hard right after baby, but I wasn’t doing myself any favors by taking it slow forever. My brain was nervous and unsure, telling me “I don’t know about this”, but my body was saying (then eventually shouting), “Let’s do this!”
I finally listened to my body, and took a chance. It paid off.