Now that Everly is past the newborn stage and is becoming more and more mobile and independent (as independent as an 8-month old can get - her favorite place is still in my arms), I've decided to finally get back to workin' on my fitness. And this time I'm determined to make it stick. I attempted at the start of the new year but 2 weeks in, I just couldn't keep up with the meal preps and workin' out in between meeting the demands of my 2 year old and nursing infant. So on Monday May 7th, I committed to doing the 8-Week Bikini Series Challenge with the rest of the Tone It Up community.
The goal of this challenge, for me, was to get back into the groove in finding that balance. It was difficult for me after having my firstborn back in 2015 especially when I went back to work 6 months postpartum because my commute to and from work was almost 4 hours roundtrip daily. So by the time I got home to relieve Daniel of his daddy duties so he could go to class (he was getting his Masters at the time), I really only had a couple of hours to have Ella and I fed and ready for bed. And sure I could have worked out on weekends, but I made the sacrifice of not working out because I wanted to spend time with Ella since I missed so much of her during the week. I did, however, try my best at eating clean and meal prepped as much as I could. Anyway, what was the point of my story again? (Mom brain strikes again) Oh yeah, that's right. So this challenge was meant to get me to get back into the groove of working out again. And meal prepping.
I wanted to get used to working out 4-5 times a week. My pre-baby days, I worked out 6-7 times a week. I lifted weights at the gym. Sometimes I did 2-a-days when I incorporated HIIT cardio workouts. I did have "rest" days where I would take a break from the gym but I'd do something outside - like bike riding or hiking or taking my dog on long walks. Now, the only gym I have access to is the one in my apartment complex. It consists of 2 treadmills, 1 stationary bike, 1 elliptical, and 1 universal weight lifting machine that lets you do lat pull downs, chest press, peck flyes, etc. I wish there were more equipment to work with (like free weights and a squat rack) but at least it's a good start.
Weeks 1 and 2 kinda went like this: On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I did HIIT cardio on the treadmill. A jog/sprint combo for 30 minutes with a 5 minute warm up and 5 minute cooldown. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I took my girls to a park nearby to walk for 30 minutes. May not seem like a lot, but the paved walking trail has some pretty good up and downhill grades which makes for pushing a double-stroller a bit challenging especially for someone who is NOT in shape like me. The stroller weighs approximately 29 lbs, Ella weighs about the same, and Everly is about 20 lbs now. So it definitely is a great workout. Then after my 30 minute walk, I let Ella run & play on the playground. But wait! I'm not done yet. On top of these cardio sessions, I also did home workouts. Tone It Up has an app that gives you access to free daily workouts and also LIVE studio workouts on the hour every hour. But you have to pay for that one. Each day is a different workout that targets different areas of the body. The workouts may look easy, but they're really not. And they are soooo very effective. I was sore (and still am) for days.
Weeks 3 and 4 weren't as intense but I still worked out. I had to take it a little easier because somehow, I managed to injure my knee. To the point where it hurt for me to walk or even just get out of bed. I couldn't do a jog/sprint HIIT cardio combo on the treadmill without almost eating it. So instead I did a walk/very brisk walk combo instead. We still did park walks AND neighborhood walks. And I continued to do the daily moves.
Now, as for the eating clean and meal prepping part. I haven't been super strict with this one. For the most part, it's been clean. But throw in a Mother's Day celebration the first weekend after the challenge started, then a family member's birthday BBQ the following weekend, and then Memorial Day weekend where we attended a Gender Reveal party... well you can safely assume I did have a little bit of not-so-clean meals. But totally in moderation!
So far so good. This is the most consistent I've been with both working out AND eating clean in the last almost 3 years. It's still a struggle to find the energy to get a workout in, but at least I have a little more time in the day to play with since I no longer have a job with a long commute. And Daniel finished his Masters program a year ago so now he's able to hang out with the girls when he gets home from work so I can go to the gym.
The pressure we put on ourselves to get back into pre-baby shape can be ridiculous and sometimes unrealistic. I struggled with that disappointment for a long time but I know if I can just commit to staying on this path without huge expectations, I know eventually I will get there. I don't want to be skinny. I want to be healthy and in shape and to just look and feel great in my postpartum skin. I've accepted the fact that I may never have my rock hard abs again. And that's okay because I'm so proud of what my body went through to bring my 2 babies into this world. So I'm not paying attention to the number on the scale. My progress will be monitored by my pant size. I haven't stepped on the scale since my 6 week postpartum checkup back in November so I don't know even know how much I currently weigh. But I do know that I'm wearing clothes that are waaay bigger than I would like to be wearing. I just want to feel confident again. You know?
How long did you wait to start working out again postpartum? Was it difficult? Was it easy? Have you reached your goal? Let's talk about it in the comments below!