Your body did an amazing thing – it grew and birthed a tiny human! Let that soak in for a minute. And while we can feel great appreciation for all that our bodies have done, that doesn’t mean that moms don’t get down on their postpartum bods from time to time. The truth is, exercise isn’t just about losing weight or toning up (although many of us would love those results!), but also about upping your energy levels so you can keep up with your kid(s). Working out will also boost your endorphins, which can “help bring about feelings of euphoria and general well-being,” according to sport and exercise psychologist J. Kip Matthews, Ph.D. Exercising, even just getting out for a walk, can also help with postpartum depression and anxiety. So now we know why we should be working out, but how to find the motivation to actually make it happen? Read on for six ideas to ramp up your postpartum fitness!
Start small. Sometimes just getting started is the hardest part about postpartum fitness. If you haven’t been active for a while it may seem daunting. Our biggest advice is to start small and make attainable goals. Don’t go right out of the gate telling yourself you’re going to exercise every day from now on. Be more realistic and challenge yourself to be active two days a week — even if that means just walking for a mile or joining your kids for an epic dance party. You’ll be more motivated when you hit your goals, and you can ramp them up from there.
Make it fun. Nobody said exercise had to be a chore. Find the right workout plan that makes you excited to get and stay active. If you’re fairly self-motivated you could consider at-home workouts (we love Tone It Up, the BBG app and the Nike Training Club app). If you’re more of a class-goer Class Pass is a great and affordable way to find fitness studios in your area and try some new workouts before committing to a particular type of workout or class. Or if you’re looking for one-on-one accountability you could consider joining a gym (bonus points if the membership comes with childcare!) and hiring a fitness trainer to give you direction. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s fun and enjoyable for you so you stick with it!
Look the part. Treat yourself to new workout wear that fits, feels good and makes you want to hit the gym! And don’t forget to use your Itzy Ritzy Wet Bag to ditch your sweaty (new) clothes afterward (they’re not just for your kids’ swim lessons or diaper disasters!).
Ditch the scale. A lot of women talk about getting back to “pre-baby weight,” but this isn’t the best way to measure your fitness level or success. Plenty of women get back to pre-baby weight quickly, but they still feel sluggish and flabby. Don’t judge yourself based solely on a number on a scale. Make your fitness goals transcend the scale — focus on how exercising makes you feel, gives you energy and makes you love and appreciate yourself!
Find a buddy. Nothing is more motivating than an accountability partner — someone who will join you for that workout class so you can feel silly together as you attempt to Zumba your way into shape, or someone to text you and put the pressure on to complete your workout (when you’re thinking of any excuse in the book not to!). Find a buddy who will help motivate you to stick to your workout plan and you’re much more likely to succeed!
Involve your kid(s). It can be challenging to figure out how to even find the time for exercise once kids come along. When they’re infants you can fairly easily sit them down in a swing or on a play mat while you get your sweat on, but once they hit toddler stage and beyond this gets a little more challenging. Letting your little ones join in on the exercise fun by mimicking your moves or dancing along to your workout playlist will help them see the investment you’re making in your health and encourage them to stay active, too. So let them join the party!