“Whether your pregnancy was meticulously planned, medically coaxed, or happened by surprise, one thing is certain—your life will never be the same.” – Catherine Jones
Returning to fitness post partum was important to me. I trained all the way through my pregnancy until the evening before Molly arrived. With the help of the coaches at CrossFit 353, I modified a lot of exercises early in the pregnancy and removed elements such as pull ups, skipping & lunges pretty early. (I had SPD so this decision was quite easy). I removed other movements such as burpees, cleans and any form of handstand from the start as I just wasn’t comfortable performing them. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with those movements during pregnancy, they just didn’t feel right for me and my body.
I guess I’d be quite conservative by nature. I was quietly cautious from the start and the 353 coaches were extremely supportive of this. I continued with normal class and they helped me to modify as much or as little as I needed. In fairness to them, pregnant or not they do this for people every day to make sure every individual is safe, comfortable and getting away with any easy workouts!
Training during pregnancy seems an eternity ago now. I’m back moving and will talk a bit about my post partum journey. During my pregnancy I had all these notions of getting straight back to where I left off “pre-bump“. Anyway I’d have so much free time on my mat leave (yeah right) so I could train as much as I wanted and learn new skills that I’d never managed to master…I pretty much thought I’d be heading to the CrossFit Games 2020! I think McQuaid is safe for now. Needless to say this carefree, floating, zen like picture of early motherhood was…somewhat inaccurate. Along with my notions of Molly sleeping through the night, feeding herself a bottle and maybe a nappy or two here & there my training & fitness habits had to adjust also.
My Obstetrician signed me off to resume training at my 6 week check up. So off Molly and I went to start back with some very light training in Crossfit 353.
I found those first 6 weeks hard to not do any exercise. The hours of sitting / lying down for cluster feeds, plus picking Molly up and down from the co-sleeper all night meant that I was getting stiff and niggly so I was delighted to get back to some movement.
For the first few months I did Personal Training at 353 as I was still very unsure of my body and what it was capable of. We focused on gentle movements (bodyweight mainly at the start) and started to rebuild my confidence (& core) I only did what I felt comfortable with. I had to temper my enthusiasm and slowly rebuild and the muscles that I had lost during pregnancy. It’s important to bear in mind how loose your ligaments are post birth and that you’re still grappling with tumultuous hormones and sleep deprivation every day! It was a fantastic hour of the day where I could do something for myself (with Molly cheering me on) and get the endorphines that had been missing from exercise for so long. I noticed genuine improvements in mood, sleep, stress & body composition. I also found myself craving less sugar and recapturing motivation to regain my figure. All from a bit of exercise!
Everything was great….until the 4 month mark that is. Molly hit a sleep regression (I didn’t know you could regress from newborn but there ya have it..!), and we started her on solids. I hit a bit of a mental block and spent a good month stuck in the house, playing games, making purées and cleaning…I thought I was totally back to square one. Peter persuaded me that for everyone’s sake I needed to start doing little things for myself and an easy start to that was trying to get back to the gym 2-3 times a week. Peter works one on one with his Dad a few times a week so I started joining these sessions. A few pals were asking about the training. That’s when 353 launched MomFit. The coaches could see first hand how important it was for my mental and physical well-being to get to the gym and like all things in motherhood…others were experiencing similar. What we didn’t know was how good it would be for Molly too.
The classes are all coach led, and everything can be modified. So there are moms who are 6weeks post partum and others who are 6 months. We all do the same movements but scaled differently depending on where you are in your personal journey back to fitness. We take lots of breaks for cuddles, toy re-stocks and mom chats too and poor Coach Shane has probably heard more than he ever needed about birth and babies!
I’m still a long way from where I was pre-baby but my approach to fitness has completely changed. I train now for function and to avoid sore backs and niggles. I want to be a fit and strong mom and to be able to roll around on the floor with Molly, throw her up and down and pick her out of the cot with ease! I’m not training so that I can do a handstand walk or a pull up anymore… I’m doing it to be the best mom I can, to set a good example for our daughter and to get my body strong again for another pregnancy one day (please god) and this is the first baby step on that journey!
“I believe the choice to become a mother is the choice to become one of the greatest spiritual teachers there is.” – Oprah
As the saying goes.. monkey see monkey do.. we want Molly to grow up seeing how healthy and fun exercise is. We want her to be curious about training and comfortable and confident with groups of people. The important thing isn’t about CrossFit or Personal Training or Yoga. I think it’s about finding something healthy that works for you. We all put a lot of pressure on ourselves and it’s ok to spend an hour here and there on ourselves – whether thats the gym, or going for a burrito with a pal 😉 The better we look after ourselves the better we can look after others. – Grace