The Dreaded First Workout

That Dreaded First WorkoutSix and a half weeks after my new baby girl was born, I walked into a new gym I had been looking forward to trying for some time. I hurried my two boys into the child watch room while lugging my daughter in that awful carseat through the door. I was already tired, and I had only just walked in the door. The child watch lady looked at me and asked, “how old is she?” I responded with “she is a little over six weeks old; this is my first REAL workout post-baby.” Then, I got the typical response one mom gives another in that moment … oh man, good luck. Mom to mom, I think we all know what that “good luck” means.

Good luck, I hope you don’t pee your pants.

Good luck, I hope you make it through.

Good luck even trying to do a sit-up!

Good luck not having an emotional meltdown while exercising because you can’t believe how hard it is.

Good luck. It’s an appropriate phrase for the context, to be sure.

Luck, prayer, and a miracle are all important to surviving that first workout – but I did. I survived! It wasn’t easy. I exercise throughout my pregnancies, but it’s still difficult afterward; the first few workouts after a pregnancy can be super discouraging for any mom. Below are my tips for how I survive the first few months getting back to an exercise routine:

1) Keep going back.

After how hard – or even embarrassing – that first workout back can be, the temptation to never return to exercising again is a strong one. But keep going back! It will get better. Remind yourself … I just had a BABY!

2) Set goals.

Goals keep you coming back. This round post-baby, I did a one month trial at a gym where you had to pre-sign up for classes or you get charged for missing! Talk about motivation! It worked great for me. I would pre-sign up for three classes a week and you bet I would show up! I also planned to run a half-marathon in October after having a baby in late April. That was just the right amount of time for me to be motivated but not ridiculous. Here are some options for realistic goals:

– sign up for a 5K or another race that you have to pre-pay for … losing money on something is always motivating!

– set a goal of working out 3 times a week and plan to meet a friend for accountability

-set a monthly goal if a weekly goal feels like too much; for example, try something like “I will go jogging 5 times this month.” (Remember, walk/jog combo workouts are a great way to get back to running if that is something you enjoy.)

3) Try something new.

It can be hard to start right back up at something you did well before you became pregnant or had your baby. It was great for me this time around to try a new type of group exercise class; it kept my mind busy and made it harder for me to get discouraged because it was so new. I found that I wasn’t comparing myself as much to the “before baby Jenn.”

Try yoga, running, Jazzercise, pilates, or maybe even swimming.

Mom to mom – I know it’s hard. It’s so hard. You can do it.

Good luck. 😉

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