The picture on the left was taken 6 days before my daughter was born (March 11, 2019); I was 38 weeks pregnant. The picture on the right was taken January 14, 2021.
It took me almost 2 years to get to a place where I have gained my muscle back and feel as strong as I did pre-baby. I want to share some encouragement because as a fitness professional, social media is flooded with influencers and moms who seem to “get their body back” quickly and rock amazing abs 3 months post-baby.
If that is you- then kudos! But, for most of us, it takes time.
There are so many variables that play a factor in how quickly we get into shape. Let’s just get one thing straight, we will never “get our bodies back” — after growing and birthing a baby, our bodies will never be the same. That’s just biology. I don’t mean that as a negative, but it’s something we need to accept.
Prior to having kids, I had no hips and a small butt. But once I had kids, I got hips —and thank goodness! 😉
So, here is my personal journey of how I got from picture 1 to 2.
This second postpartum journey is different from when I had my son; with him, the process happened a lot faster because I only had one baby to take care of instead of two.
Here is what influenced my journey:
- Type of birth. How quickly you can get back in shape depends on if you gave birth naturally or had a C-section. C-section recovery takes longer; I gave birth naturally, so I was able to start exercising sooner than if I had a C-section.
- Breastfeeding. I chose to breastfeed both my babies, and decided I wasn’t going to restrict my diet at all while I was nursing. I know people who were able to modify their diet while breastfeeding and lose weight quicker; but for me, being sleep deprived with two young kids, that sounded miserable. If I wanted chocolate at any given time— I was gonna eat that chocolate!
- Workout intensity. This is a biggie for me. I breastfed my daughter almost a year, and during that time I just couldn’t workout at my “normal” intensity because my body was still lactating. Frankly, I felt uncomfortable going hard in workouts with my breasts still feeling like water balloons TBH.
- Time availability/ childcare. I am a stay-at-home mom, we don’t have a Nanny or any grandparents close by to help with childcare. I’m mentioning this because this plays a big role in our postpartum journeys. Even as a trainer, and studio owner, it was really tough for me to be consistent with my workouts that first year. Morning wake-ups were inconsistent, during nap times I just wanted to sleep, and about 4 months after my daughter was born, our leading trainer -who had been teaching a majority of our classes- moved away. Since we couldn’t find someone to replace her right away, that meant my husband had to go back to teaching most classes and working longer hours. There were some days he would wake up at 4:30 am to teach our 6 am class, and wouldn’t get home until close to 8 pm. Those days were exhausting. I was doing all it took to make it through the day solo with two kids; the last thing I had time for was exercise.
In September of 2019, six months postpartum, I met a mom at the park (shoutout to Christina) who had just moved to the area and was starting Fit4Mom in Sunnyvale. I had done Fit4Mom classes postpartum with my son, but since moving south, I couldn’t find a similar program. Although I would have preferred to workout without kids, the stroller classes were perfect for me at that point in time. I could bring my kids, and also move my body and socialize with other moms. A win-win-win!
Fast forward to March 2020 when the world shut down. Our studio had to close for a couple months, which was devastating; BUT that meant with my husband home more, I was able to workout more. During those months of shelter-in-place, the studio was my sanctuary. It was the one place I could go to be away from my kids that was Covid-free. No one else but me, the weights, and my thoughts.
When we finally re-opened in June, I started attending outdoor classes three times a week. Consistency is key. It’s not sexy – but it works. And also, having a really great workout. There is nothing like a K-Fit HIIT class. If you want to see your body change, high intensity interval training is the way to go. In one class, I’m doing functional weight training, core training, and cardio intervals on the water rower, ski erg, and airdyne bike. All of which are low impact, full body cardio machines. I love finishing a workout knowing I worked every inch of my body, and made my one-hour worth it. Even in the middle of (California) winter, I’m still waking up to workout at 8:15 am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Right now we’re in rainy season, and it’s been windy, cold and downright dreary. Some mornings all I want to do is stay in bed instead of layering up and venturing out in the cold. But I still do it. I show up.
I’m not just saying this because I’m the owner, but truly, I choose to workout at K-Fit because of the people. We have the best community. For me, working out is also about accountability. It’s about showing up and having members see me. (It’s easier to skip that at-home workout when no one is watching you.) Being able to get back to a consistent workout schedule has been a game changer.
I am writing all this, because I want to say to you – you CAN do it. To those new moms, who look in the mirror and are tired, have low energy, want to feel comfortable in their skin again, just know you will not always feel like this. This is a season.
I’ve never been one to weigh myself; I like to judge my progress based on what I see in the mirror and how I feel. I did pull up some past medical records of what my weight was at the beginning of my pregnancy and at the end. Remember, these numbers aren’t meant to be comparisons, because every body and every pregnancy is different.
August 20, 2018- First OB appt for second pregnancy; I weighed 134 lbs.
March 11, 2019- Last OB appt before giving birth; I weighed 166 lbs- so I gained about 32 lbs during pregnancy
April 26, 2019- First OB appt 6 weeks post-birth; I weighed 146 lbs
Feb 20, 2020- Almost 1 year post-birth, I weighed 141 lbs; so basically I only lost 5 lbs during that year which is totally OK. Like I wrote above, I wasn’t focused on weight-loss that first year while I was breastfeeding.
I weigh between 130-135 lbs right now. Not a dramatic drop in weight from one year ago, but a noticeable one. I feel great. I feel strong. The days that I workout, not only do I have more energy, but I also experience mental clarity. And my abs are peeking through again.. 😉
A big thanks to my husband for supporting me, and watching the kids those mornings so I can workout. I know this isn’t feasible for everyone, so I feel very fortunate! My advice to new moms is: give yourself grace during the newborn days; and when you have the energy again, find something that works for you, and stick with it! And if you’re in the area, give K-Fit a try. ;
*I want to note that fitness and nutrition go hand in hand when it comes to overall health and well being. Everything in moderation is my motto. I definitely love sweets, but during the month of January Kendrick and I decided to limit our sugar intake for a nutrition challenge we were running. I definitely noticed a difference in my body after the first two weeks. I was able to see more definition in my muscles, and feel toned and not bloated. I could make a whole post about nutrition, so I’m not going to get into it here. I did want to note that because it’s important!