Returning To The Gym After Having A Baby… AVOID THE BIKES!!

The creche at the gym is a brilliant invention to get yourself a break and hopefully gets your baby used to you leaving him! It means you can finally have time to yourself and time to work off all of that bad food that motherhood has driven you to eat. In fact, its such a good/ cheap way to get a break, that it did cross my mind to actually drop Arlo off in the creche, dressed in full costume (my gym gear)……then head into town for a coffee/ sleep in the car instead! Then quickly chuck a bottle of water over my head, back comb my hair and go and collect him after my “vigorous” workout!! (don’t worry creche ladies, I don’t do this…..all the time)

Do the creche do sleep overs by the way?!

I counted down the days until Arlo was 12 weeks old and he was old enough to be left in the creche. Pre pregnancy I had been very active, whilst I was still snowboarding in particular. At points, even though I knew it was a wonderful thing, I found it very hard to accept my changing/ fattening body. However, I HAD enjoyed my time sitting on the sofa eating cake immensely, but I was now  itching to get back to some proper exercise. So at 12 weeks to the day, off Arlo went. Happy 12 week Birthday!!!

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I was more concerned for the welfare of the creche ladies than I was for Arlo. At 12 weeks he was very much still in his constant crying phase. But this actually worked out brilliantly. Never had I experienced so much motivation in the gym. With the thought that the creche ladies could come and get me at any second to retrieve my hysterical baby, I had to make EVERY second count. In the early days Arlo fed every hour, so if I fed him in the car park before the gym, I knew I had an hours window before he would start screaming for boob again. Even more motivation to get in, do my workout, GET OUT!!! No messing around!

I did get into this terrible habit of going for cake and coffee immediately after my gym workout. I just couldn’t figure out why each time I went to the gym and weighed myself I was heavier than I was the last time. After telling myself that the scales must surely be broken/ the gain in weight was actually muscle/ it must be the extra milk in my boobs……. I came to terms with the fact that the cake was the culprit. It was a hard habit to break, lots of blood, sweat and tears, but I’ve finally got there! (carrot cake is totally fine though as it has carrots in).

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So don’t even bother going on the scales at the gym (they are broken anyway!??!!!!), just go by how you feel. Exercise gives you that feel good factor and I even find it my saving grace for the sleep deprivation. If you can just muster up enough energy to get to the gym, you WILL feel a million times better after. I also like to make it into a social occasion, hooking up with other gym mums/ friends. Makes the workout go waaaaay quicker, even if I do end up exercising my mouth more than anything else!!

Don’t forget to invest in some new trainers (any excuse) as your feet will probably have expanded through pregnancy. Here are my lovely new pair, pink and turquoise (too old??? But my two favourite colours together so why not!!)

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On returning to the gym I would try and set some realistic targets. Even if you’re still Linford Cristie in your mind, your body will still be like Mr Blobby, so ease yourself into it. Don’t make the mistake of being an eager beaver and testing out all of the new machines and then not being able to walk back to your car afterwards. My first workout only lasted 25 mins (generous)…….obviously not because I was tired (!!!???!) but I wanted to make sure Arlo/ creche ladies were ok!!! Its weird, your body totally changes after having a baby, so the workout I am doing would have been enough to tone/ loose weight before, but now it’s wasn’t even making a dent!! It almost feels like you have to work extra hard to re-gain your shape after having a baby. It doesn’t come easily and can be really disheartening. You have to resign yourself to the fact your body may never be the same again. You seem to just have this little “pouch” that as much as you try, doesn’t shift (is that the cake?). Im pretty confident there is a 6 pack under there??!! Someone once said to me after having a baby…..9 months on 9 months off…….christ I have 2 WEEKS!!!!!! (Before and after photo below…it’s amazing how much your skin can stretch!!)

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Another tip, if you’re still Breast Feeding, you’re boobs will wobble A LOT more than what you are used to! So you don’t look like a porn star in the gym, make sure you get a good sports bra…..oh and some good bra pads. It will be hard to disguise the leaked milk in wet circles around your nipple, even if you do try and pass it off as nipple sweat?! And on the subject of “pads”, don’t forget your Tena Ladies……..must remember to do my pelvic floors.

Most importantly I would highly recommend avoiding the bikes. Just until you know everything is definitely ok down there. Even if it does feel ok down there, its probably not. So maybe stick to those nice granny bikes (my favourite) where you sit down (no pressure on certain areas) and have your legs peddling out in front of you. You could even watch a bit of Loose Women on the TV, just so you’re not going cold turkey!! Hardcore proper bikes will result in you having to alternate between and icepack and a hot water bottle for the rest of the day and digging out “The Doughnut” again. Give it time.

Once you have finished your workout and pick your baby up from the creche, remember to walk him up and down slowly passed the gym door so everyone can see “YOU’VE HAD A BABY”  and thats why your a little spongey round the edges.

I can get totally hooked on exercise and working out, but I’m torn between that and trying to be a good mum! The thing with a creche is you can’t really put your baby in there if he/she’s not very well. So even though you are dying to get to the gym, when they wake up with their eyes glued together with yellow puss and green radioactive slugs coming out of their noes, you have to do the right thing. All these mixture of emotions; feeling really frustrated/ almost resentful towards your baby for not being able to workout….. and then overwhelming guilt/ love for your poorly baby. And with one cold into another during the winter, no wonder it can be hard for mums to keep fit!

Nearly 6 months of going to the creche/ gym and Arlo still LOVES it and only cries when I have to take him home. The creche is wonderful and I’m sure they do a lot more for him there than I can offer him at home. He even has some little mates (hey Frank), and he has learnt to write already! So I can completely justify going to the gym……..its for the development and well- being of my baby!!! Win win!

 

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