The first thing that comes to mind when someone talks about post pregnancy fitness is a lack of time. But it’s not completely true. There is always time – you just have to set your priorities straight. I think the hardest thing about post pregnancy fitness is getting started. Yes, just getting started!
Pregnancy stress and sugar binge
It is amazing what pregnancy can do to a woman’s body – the miracle of human life, all the transformations your body goes through to accommodate your growing little human. But there are also pains, aches, swelling, and being unable to sleep or move.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I stayed active up until the day I gave birth. I was swimming, lifting weights and doing yoga. I ran a triathlon when I was 6 weeks pregnant! I also went to the gym about 4-5 times a week.
Fast forward six years, and I am pregnant with the twins. I did workout in the first half of the pregnancy but not as much as with my first child. At 20 weeks gestation, exactly at half the time of a typical pregnancy term, my belly was as big as with my first daughter when I gave birth. After a few more weeks, I was pretty much unable to move. Walking just a few blocks was a challenge – and forget it if there was a little hill on the way. I am talking about just normal elevation in a city terrain. I had to stop and rest a few times. I only got to 32 weeks gestation with the twins, so I didn’t have this huge belly you can sometimes see on the photos women pregnant with twins post online. But it still was really, really hard!
After giving birth to the twins, I naturally still looked pregnant. I remembered this from my first pregnancy – your uterus need time to shrink. But wait, two months go by and I still look pregnant! The belly is sticking out hugely and I now have a “mommy pouch”. When you are pregnant, everyone says you look cute. After you gave birth and you still look pregnant, you are not cute anymore, you are just fat!
When the twins came home, it was just a constant roller coaster of feeding and changing diapers. Lack of sleep made me crave sugar like crazy. I was swallowing sweets in enormous amounts every day and when I didn’t have time and energy to eat I just chew on bread. Austria has a huge bread culture – it is delicious, and Austrians eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But more about it some other time. I also couldn’t find the energy to exercise, although I walked with the stroller every day.
I tried to break the sugar binge circle many times. I promised myself that I will start eating right and exercising many times. Just wait for that Monday! Mondays came and nothing happened and I would lie to myself that I will start next Monday.
As my unhappiness kept brewing, I thought about going back to doing the Bikini Body Guide (BBG) Program by Kayla Itsines. Disclaimer: I am not in any way affiliated with Kayla’s product and didn’t receive anything in exchange for writing this post; everything in this post is my personal opinion.
I was introduced to Kayla a few years ago by my sister and did the first round of BBG using Kayla’s eBook, wanted to keep going, but shortly after found out I was pregnant, and decided to lay it off until after the babies. Kayla’s program consists of 28 minute high-intensity resistance sessions, three times a week, plus an easy cardio, such as fast-paced walking, also three times a week, and a recommended stretching/rehabilitation session. To be honest, when I did the program the first time, I cheated a lot. I skipped on cardio and when I did my resistance sessions, I took really long breaks between circuits when Kayla recommends only 30-second ones. I still saw the results, I was a lot stronger and my endurance was a lot better, but I didn’t see the amazing Kayla transformations that are all over the social media.
Four months postpartum I began seriously thinking of starting the BBG again. Plus, Kayla came up with a new app combining all the things that were previously featured in her e-book. I downloaded the app and was mentally preparing myself to do a 7-day free trial of the app and then continue on with an e-book. It was then when I got a special offer in the e-mail to try not one but the whole 12 weeks of the app for just $1. So I decided not to wait for a Monday but to start on Friday. It’s been 2 weeks so far and I lost 1.5 kilograms (about 3 pounds) and my midsection looks a bit better. I hope in 12 weeks I can post one of those amazing transformation photos on my Instagram!
It’s often said that motivation may get you started but it takes discipline to keep you going. I do not completely agree with that statement. Motivation also keeps you going so here are my three points to keep you motivated:
- Workout with a friend, share your results, become a park of fitness community. Kayla has a huge following in the social media #theKaylamovement, as well as a community of #BBGmoms, and simply just support groups or workout meetups. Just seeing stories of people’s transformations will keep you going. When I reach for that sugary stuff now, I think: “Do I want to ruin all that hard work that I put into getting my body where I want it to be? NO!”
- Track your progress! Seeing the results is the best motivation! Weight is not always just an indicator of progress. Kayla recommends taking a progress photo every 4 weeks. The new app makes it easy as you can see all your photos in the app, and compare them side by side by aligning them to the build-in silhouette.
- Schedule your workouts! The app has a weekly planner section which automatically adds reminders to your calendar
Once you get started with exercising, you are also motivated to eat healthy and be healthier. Remember, the hardest thing is just getting started!