5 Ways to Stay Fit with Baby
This may seem off topic, but along with the other things (books, art, babies, etc...), fitness and healthy living is an extremely prominent part of my life. I've been a vegetarian for five years now (and not the kind that eats Un-Chicken nuggets - I actually eat vegetables) and an exercise junkie since high school. Therefore, I feel compelled to share with you some tips I've found useful to help stay active with the little wild man I've got on my hands.
When I got pregnant, I knew I was going to gain weight (duh, baby growing inside me) and I had accepted that, but what I was worried about was the after. How would I handle the changes in my body after the baby was born? Would I be able to lose the weight I had gained that wasn't baby? How long would it take? Would I be able to achieve the same level of fitness afterward?
These questions plagued me while I was pregnant, but I've found that getting back into it really isn't as hard as I had imagined. Here are some of the things I've done to help stay fit (and lose the baby weight) with an infant. *To be noted, I exercised at a high intensity throughout my entire pregnancy, so I was able to start up exercising again really soon after Abe was born. Not necessarily recommended for everyone.*
1. Make exercise part of your daily routine. From the time Abe was tiny, I started incorporating workouts into our day-to-day activities. For the last couple of months we've done the same thing every single morning - wake-up, nurse, get dressed, and then mom does a workout video while Abe plays with his toys on the rug beside me. Because we've been doing this for so long he is used to it and rarely complains. He's perfectly content to do his own thing while I exercise; sometimes he watches me and laughs (squat form isn't up to par?). I think he thinks I do it for his entertainment.
2. Include baby in your workouts where you can. As soon as Abraham could hold his head steady really well I started doing squats with him. I'm currently doing the Insanity video program, and when we have to do any sort of jumping I grab him and he laughs and laugh and laughs. He has fun exercising with me; if he is being fussy and just won't let me workout without him, I hold him and voila! - happy baby. In some ways it's even better than working out by yourself. Not only do you get a better workout (jump squats with 15 extra pounds is no easy task), but you're having great bonding time with baby.
3. Go for a run/walk with the baby. Or better yet, a hike if you've got good places to hike nearby. Abe and I starting running together when he was six days old, mostly because if it's sunny and above 30 outside I cannot stand being cooped up inside. Going on runs/walks is a great activity with a newborn because it doesn't take a lot of effort and babies (in general) love it! Abe used to fall asleep every time when he was tiny, and he still does occasionally. The movement of the stroller soothes him, I guess. Just don't put your phone in the cupholder because as soon as you go over a bump - SPLAT! (Yep, I'm talking from personal experience). I've also loved going on hikes with my little man, though I haven't done it enough (considering all the great hiking we have around here!). Abe really loves looking out at nature - he enjoyed the Grand Canyon and Arches National Park in April, and we're looking forward to taking him up into the Bighorn Mountains as soon as weather permits.
4. Don't squander naptime - do a video workout while he slumbers. Or if that isn't ideal, give baby to dad when he gets home from work and head to the gym. I typically workout in the mornings with Abe, but there are days that this just doesn't work out. If this is the case, I try to get in at least a 15 minute workout while he is napping: pushups, or burpees, or anything to get my heartrate up. I also joined a 30 minute evening HIIT class at our local community center, so once a week Grant gets to watch the baby while I burn calories with other women. A great way to let off some steam and take a break.
5. If all else fails and the wee one just won't let you do anything, strap him into the carrier and clean the house. Believe me, it's a workout in and of itself. Honestly doing anything with the baby in the carrier is a workout. Even grocery shopping. So tired mamas out there - don't worry, that counts! ;P
With these things I've managed to lose all of the weight I gained at about 6 months postpartum. But that's not the reason I do it - I love being healthy, feeling good, and instilling in my child (even though he doesn't understand it yet) a responsibility when it comes to personal health and fitness. Not to mention, our morning workouts are some of the best moments we share!