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Postpartum Workouts

3 Sep

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It has been so long since I have written! I exercised through my entire pregnancy, altering movements and intensity as needed in order to maintain a healthy pregnancy.  It was not always easy to keep moving towards the end of the pregnancy, but I did it.  Then, I had a sweet little girl born on April 1st, 2015.

Between her and my toddler, life has been interesting, exciting, tiring, and chaotic.  I needed to figure out how to fit workouts into my day.  I knew that although it would be a challenge, working out would make me feel better and be a better mom.  So, as soon as my body felt ready, I resumed my workouts.

It was important to pay attention to my body and how it felt in order to ensure my safety and healing.  As a nursing mother, it was also important to progress slowly in order to maintain a healthy milk supply.  I altered movements and intensity of the workouts as needed.  I also had to workout when I could, even if it would be only for 10 minutes.

My baby is now 5 months old and I am proud to say that I have managed to keep it up.  I feel good because of it.  In all honesty it has not been easy to find time to exercise.  Between the two children, nursing the baby, working, and other important family obligations… it has been tricky.  I do what I can, when I can, and I adjust my plan as needed.  Sometimes workouts get cut shorter, sometimes workout plans change, sometimes workouts including wearing or holding the baby, sometimes I workout holding two baby monitors up to my ears, sometimes I don’t get to workout.  But if my plan is a lifetime of health and fitness, then I just go with it and do what I can.  On average I think I am now working out 20 minutes a day at least 5 times per week.  Not my ideal, but something has got to give!  I continue to be on the road to weight loss, as I have 10 more pounds to lose.  It will happen in time.

Here are a few clips of what I have been up to:

Note: It is important to follow your doctor’s orders about when and how you can begin your fitness routine postpartum. Your body requires time to heal and beginning a workout routine too early can hinder that and cause larger problems.

Step for Cardiovascular Training and Strength Training

5 Jun

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The step is a great piece of equipment for aerobic training.  High intensity step-training provides the same cardiovascular benefits as running and it is fun! The step can also be used as a tool to complete strength training exercises for the lower body, upper body and the core.  In this video I alternate between aerobic movements, which raise the heart rate, and strength training movements, which decrease the heart rate yet challenge the target muscles.

Here are some tips for using the step:

  • Keep your shoulders back and down (chest up)
  • Always place your entire foot on the step when doing any movements
  • Step lightly to reduce stress on the joints (specifically the knee)
  • Keep the area around your step clear of any objects or potential tripping hazards
  • The step height depends on fitness level and comfort with equipment: Recommended height for beginners is 4 inches and more advanced individuals can use a platform of up to 10 inches
  • The height of the step should never cause your knee to be flexed more than 90 degrees when stepping up
  • Only use pieces of equipment that are intended for stepping as they are sturdy and minimize injury
  • It is not recommended to use hand weights while doing aerobic stepping as the risk of injury is increased (and there is little to no benefits for strengthening the muscles in the arms). However you may use hand weights on the step when doing the strength training portion of your workout.
  • Enjoy…

Pull Up Bar and Body Weight

15 Apr

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I am still working to get back my pull-ups.  Pre-pregnancy and pre-child, I had worked hard to be able to do a perfect, unassisted pull-up.  I got there and I was able to do six pull-ups (close grip and wide grip).  Six may not sound like many, but it was for me.  I was never before able to do even do one! When I got pregnant, I continued to do pull-ups through my first trimester.  Then after that, I did not attempt a pull-up again until my child was 3 months old. He is now 1.5 years old and I am able to do 5 close grip pull-ups (on a good day).  I have been working to get them back by doing lat pull-downs, assisted pull-ups, and what I call, ‘jump pull-ups’.  In this video you see a combination of assisted and jump pull-ups along with body weight/calisthenic exercises in between.

If pull-ups is something you want to master, begin by doing lat pull-downs of different hand positions.  Increase the resistance/weight on your pull-downs and master your form.  Be sure to keep your shoulders down and neck relaxed.  The main muscle at work should be the lats (latissimus dorsi).  If you find you are tensing up your shoulders, reduce the resistance.  Next try doing assisted pull-ups either on a machine or using a resistance band (specifically designed for pull-up assistance).  You can also do assisted pull-ups by using a low bar or standing on a step so that you use your legs to help push you up.  Do them slowly and be sure that you are getting the full range of motion from bottom to top.  Once you develop grip strength and confidence in the movement, you may be ready for jump pull-ups.  I recommend seeking assistance from a fitness professional when attempting jump pull-ups.

Hurdles – 20 minutes

2 Feb

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This one combines bodyweight exercises with the use of hurdles.  Just trying to mix it up a bit!  Spring can’t come soon enough.  I am craving some hill drills, outdoor running, and park workouts.

Body Weight and Calisthenics – 20 Minutes

20 Sep

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My son is 10 months old and I can’t believe soon enough he will be one year old!  He is truly amazing and he has recently started sleeping through the night.  I am finally able to sleep more than a 3 hour stretch and I feel like a new woman! He also has started napping.  It took a while for us to get into the rhythm of napping, but it is finally happening.  Sometimes only for 20 minutes and sometimes (when I am truly lucky) it can be nearly 2 hours.

Because he was never much of a napper, I had to make very good use of my time.  When he would fall asleep, I would run around like a mad woman trying to determine what I could complete in the next 20 minutes.  By the time I started something he would be awake. Up until now my fitness routine was running with him in the jogging stroller, doing exercise drills at the park while he was in the jogging stroller, or working out in my fitness studio after I had clients (when I had a sitter).  This was great but there were some days that I was unable to take him out in the weather and that I had no sitter.  Now that he is napping I have the option of using a portion of his morning nap time to workout.  I figure 20-30 minute workout, then shower, then get done whatever I can before he wakes up (laundry, cooking, etc).  In order for this to work I will have to push aside some toys and workout in my living room…

Postpartum weight update: I am still a few pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight and my core is still not as tight/strong as it was (which is why I am still not in the pre-pregnancy pants size yet).  It ain’t easy….but we gotta keep focused.

Low Intensity Kettlebell – 20 minutes

14 Oct

As you see, my belly is rapidly growing!  Baby and I are doing well and feeling pretty good (with the exception of those normal pregnancy discomforts).  As my body continues to change, I also change my fitness routines and how I use the equipment.

Although I am still able to use the kettlebell for some of it’s intended exercises, lately I am using it more as a tool to do bodyweight and calisthenic kinds of exercises such as stepping over it or using it to hold as I do a plank.  I suggest you view a pre-pregnancy kettlebell video along with this pregnancy kettlebell video so you can compare and see the adjustments and accommodations that have been made to meet the needs of my changing body.

Being able to adjust your exercise routine according to your current physical state is critical in making exercise and fitness a lifelong committment.  Of course if a doctor tells you not to exercise, you follow those orders.  But if you have medical clearance to exercise, there is always SOMETHING you can do.  If you are unsure of your exercise options, a certified fitness professional can help guide you through safe and effective exercises that meet your needs.

Please note: The exercises seen here are specific to my fitness level, my doctor recommendations, and my pregnancy health.  It is not recommended to pursue a pregnancy fitness routine without approval from your physician.  

No Equipment-No Problem! (40 min)

7 Jan

Bodyweight exercises and calisthenics alone can provide you with all that you need to have a challenging workout.  When I travel I bring resistance bands (which are very easily packed) and I bring myself! That’s all I need to keep my fitness routine going when away from home.  Then I have at least 3 choices: to run, to do resistance bands, or to do bodyweight exercises.  While in Canada visiting family, this is just what I did to keep my routine going.

Side note: After viewing this video I realize how serious I appear when working out… I need to lighten up a bit:)