Postpartum Fitness

I am writing this about 4 months postpartum and while I obviously have a million and one things to learn, there are a few key takeaways I have learned about postpartum fitness during these last 4 months. First I want to say that I acknowledge that every woman has a different postpartum experience, different birth, different recovery, different circumstances. I am NOT a Dr. and do not pretend to be. 

1. REST IS ESSENTIAL – No matter what kind of birth you experience, REST is the number 1 thing you should be focused on for the first several weeks. We encourage weeks of rest when it comes to a shoulder or back injury and I definitely don’t think that giving birth to a human should be any different. Rest is the key to success those first few weeks postpartum.
2. YOU HAVE TO MAKE IT HAPPEN – When you are ready to workout again (not just when you are cleared to by your Dr., but when you are READY), you truly have to make it happen. It WILL NOT, I repeat WILL NOT, just happen. And even if you have the perfect plan to make it happen, there is about a 98% chance that something comes up with your brand new baby that will no longer let it happen at that time. You must be able to pivot and adjust to make it happen. Now, this can be stressful, and I don’t think you should put so much stress on it that it makes you an anxious mess, BUT I 100% believe that movement should be a huge priority. We need, you need, your family needs, your baby needs a happy and healthy momma. Making your health and fitness needs a priority ensures that you are a happy and healthy momma. I think sometimes moms can get into a “mom guilt” spiral if not every second of their day is spent tending to their baby, but to be able to tend to your baby and your family you truly do need to be the best version of you and trust me, new into the postpartum journey isn’t usually the “best version” of any mom. It’s hard and lonely. Getting some movement in CAN HELP!
3. SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE – Ok ok I know I’m not really the one who can preach this, because I am known to push my pace a little more than I probably should, BUT that doesn’t mean that I don’t recognize the importance of starting slow when it comes to returning to fitness post baby! First of all, your body hasn’t done some of the things you want to do in MONTHS! Your body also completely changed to make room for another human, so there are muscles that haven’t been used in quite awhile. Patience is key. It’s difficult, trust me I know, to feel “trapped” in your own body. You try to engage your core muscles and literally nothing happens (super weird). You feel pretty good, but your body literally just can’t lift that much weight, like it just doesn’t happen. Take a deep breath and know that IT WILL happen again. This is a phase and just like with anything in health and fitness, “Quitting won’t speed it up” so keep going. Your focus right now should be moving for your mental health and eventually your strength and endurance will come back!
I believe that postpartum fitness is constantly changing territory. It takes determination, strength, commitment and so much more, but the pay off is HUGE not just for you, but for your new and growing family, as well. Get that movement in momma! It’s worth it!
– Kari Kirkendall, Nutrition Coach / Event & Media Director / Youth Fitness Director