Postpartum Fitness Update

outfit details:

shoes (love these so much I just ordered them in blush!) | crops (they’re my new favorite)

I’m a week away from being 6 months postpartum and it has been quite a while since I shared a fitness update here.  We joined the YMCA almost 2 months ago and I cannot emphasize enough how much I’m enjoying it.  I’ve been going 3 times a week and have felt and seen a big change in my fitness since then (and I can now fit into most of my old shorts!).  After I drop the kids off in their classrooms I have 2 hours (on a good day, if Caroline cooperates) to work out.  Exercising has always been a big part of my life for both mental and physical wellbeing, but I’ve found that now that I’m a mom my workouts are a lot more focused because I know that it’s only a matter of time before I’ll have to go feed Caroline or pick both of them up.  There is no time for dillydallying!  I try to run fast, push myself with weights and the number of reps I do, and not spend too much time resting between sets.  I also don’t check my phone because I know how easy it is to go down that rabbit hole once I check Instagram or my email.  

The first thing I do is immediately jump on a treadmill for a few miles.  I’m still working to get my speed and endurance back after having Caroline in September, but I typically do some speed intervals and run anywhere from 2 to 5 miles.  I still get side cramps occasionally but I try to only stop when I hit whole miles.  Normally after I hit 1 mile I’ll press pause for 30 seconds, take a sip of water and stretch a bit on the treadmill, and then start back before the 30 seconds expires.  If I’m not up to 4 or 5 miles that day I don’t beat myself up.  Some days you just don’t feel like running!  I always feel better if I can slog out 2 miles though, so I try to make that my minimum.  After I run I always go to a little corner of the room and use some kettle bells, dumbbells and medicine balls.  I totally get the whole “gym-timidation” thing that they talk about on Planet Fitness commercials and feel awkward and self conscious as I learn to navigate a new gym, but after about two weeks I always settle in and figure out which areas and which machines work best for me.  

I am currently obsessed with this leg routine that I’ve been doing each time I go:

– 25 squats holding a 20 lb kettle bell
– 25 pulse squats holding a 20 lb kettle bell (immediately following the regular squats)
– 20 deadlifts holding a 20 lb kettle bell (immediately following the pulse squats)

and then repeat that entire set 4 times with minimal rest in between each set.  Some days I’ll use a heavier kettle bell and do less sets, and some days I’ll throw in a few additional exercises like lunges or Romian deadlifts (on one leg rather than 2).  I always finish with some bicep curls, tricep extensions and abs (if I have time).  Planks and exercises with medicine balls are my favorite ab exercises.  I’ve also started using the bosu ball (that funky half stability ball thing with a plastic platform on one side).  I’d like to make a video of this routine so I can share it with you but I haven’t figured out how to do it yet.  They don’t allow cameras in the gym there and I don’t have the equipment at home.  I’ll figure something out though!     

I’m also trying to swim once a week while I’m there.  I’ve always loved swimming and swam on the swim team every summer and swam on my high school team one year (soccer and cross country were my priorities though so decided only one season of swimming was enough).  I typically swim on Wednesdays and will workout in the gym for a while first then go and swim for 20-35 minutes.  It’s amazing how well it works your whole body!  I do freestyle sets of 500 meters and will take about 15 seconds to catch my breath before starting the next set.  I try to swim 1000 to 1600 meters each time I go, but sometimes that gets cut short.  I never have time to shower afterwards so I always pick the kids up smelling like chlorine with my hair dripping.  They don’t seem to mind though 🙂 

I also just discovered that the gym has a body pump class (although it goes by a different name so that’s why I didn’t know about it at first).  I went for the first time last Friday and loved it!  Have you ever done body pump before?  It’s a full body workout with weights and it’s all choreographed to music and it’s a smoker!  I plan on attending this class once a week as well.

Finally, I’m still attending the mommy and me workout class in my neighborhood once a week but may quit and go to the Y that day instead.  It’s nice that I can bring the kids but sometimes I don’t get a whole lot of exercise in depending on their moods.

I’m not quite where I want to be but I really feel like I’ve gotten my fitness back and I’m happy with my progress thus far.  It really does take time to get back in shape and it’s crazy to think that just 4 and a half months ago I could only run for a few minutes at a time!  Postpartum fitness really is all about baby steps and finding a plan that you enjoy.  

As for workout gear, I’m loving these sneakers, I just ordered these blue and white striped high rise crops (but they haven’t arrived yet so I don’t have an opinion on them other than that I think they’re cute), and I’ve been wearing these low impact nursing sports bras.  (The plastic ring in the back creaks though which can be annoying.)  I just ordered this adjustable-front sports bra (so it will work for nursing) that looks like a dupe of the Brooks Fiona sports bra but is cheaper.  I’ll let you know how I like it!

Any fitness questions?  I’d love to hear them!  I’d also love to hear if you have any ideas for future fitness related blog posts.  Just comment below or send me an email!

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Katie Vail
Katie Vail

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  1. February 27, 2018 / 6:33 am

    Love these fitness posts! What's your playlist while running and lifting?

  2. February 27, 2018 / 6:38 am

    Thank you!! I should have mentioned that, thanks for bringing it up! I love listening to podcasts. Young House Love is my favorite and I look forward to every new episode. I need to do a post on the podcasts I like! Oh and it’s embarrassing to say this in public but I love Justin Bieber songs when I run! They all have a great beat. And Latino music too. Despacito is still one of my favorites haha

  3. Anonymous
    March 5, 2018 / 5:14 pm

    Cramps (side stitch) is absolutely the worst because it robs you of a good workout before you want to be done! I was suffering with them a year ago and ready a lot about them and watched this video. I swear it helped more more than the official videos out there! I didn't really pay attention to her stretching tips part, more so the breathing.
    I've noticed if I do concentrate on breathing this way, I don't get them or if I feel them coming on I can avoid them. When you breathe in, concentrate on puffing out your stomach with the air that comes in, and then when you breathe on, you sort of contract your stomach/diaphragm area in. I don't know if that makes sense, but it has worked for me way better than other directions about breathing when you land on a certain foot, etc. Another way is to change your breathing so you aren't taking short rapid breaths, but deeper breaths that fill your diaphragm and your stomach.

  4. March 6, 2018 / 9:19 pm

    Thanks for all the tips! Side stitch is the worst! I've been a runner all my life so I've figured out how to deal with them when the do surprise me, and thankfully I haven't had one in a couple weeks. And you are absolutely right, proper breathing is the key to avoiding them and getting rid of them! Thanks so much for reading and for taking the time to comment!

  5. Anonymous
    April 16, 2018 / 2:46 am

    So I dowloaded the free 8 minute Glow Body challenge (per your recommendation on instagram) but I'm confused by it. It just says 8 minutes abs, 8 minutes shoulders, etc. Are there no more specifics than that? What specifically should we be doing with our abs/shoulders during those 8 minutes? Am I just missing something? Thanks so much for any insight!

  6. April 16, 2018 / 2:47 am

    Click on the workout! Each 8 minute workout is clickable and a YouTube video opens when you click on it 🙂 hope that helps!

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