Getting your body back after baby - Part One
I have been brainstorming, and planning out how I wanted to share my experiences as I work at chipping away those last 10 pesky little pounds that remain after having Jett. I am by no means an expert at this - it is my first baby after all, and I had no idea what to expect in the days and weeks after the day I gave birth. So instead of jumping right into to sharing a list of what is working for me - what I do on a daily basis for both my fitness routine and what I eat all day, (which I will share in part two!) I thought I would first share a little bit of background on my passion for fitness and how I stayed in shape PRE baby. I think that is pretty important to include in this story - so many people have asked me questions via Instagram, emails, etc. on what I am doing to lose the weight. But I want to make it known that I am not a stranger to a healthy lifestyle, and I believe this is the reason I first off had such a smooth pregnancy and second, am having so much success now after baby.
I haven't always had the love for fitness and the ability to mindfully choose good meals everyday. I grew up playing sports, but in my middle school and early high school years my bad eating habits kind of took over, and even though I played a volleyball, basketball and soccer, I was a pretty unhealthy teen. I had a few awkward "chubby" years that I now can look back and blame it on the cheetos, mac & cheese, and pizza bagel bites that I consumed on the regular. (It's true you can't out exercise bad eating habits!) I actually didn't start to find my love for fitness until later in college. I started running with a friend and very slowly I worked up my milage and pace. I remember the day I first ran 3 miles (probably at a very slow pace I might add) - I think I called my roommate at the time with so much excitement to share I had run 3 WHOLE MILES without stopping. I didn't know it at the time, but this would be the start of my love for running (and eventually all sorts of different kinds of exercise)!
I kept on running on a regular basis, and started to see a little bit of change in the way my body looked and felt. It was only after that, that I started being more mindful of what I ate. Before this point in time, I didn't even like fruit! I laugh thinking about that day in my dorms' eating hall that I tried a pear for the first time. A PEAR! I was 20 years old and had never had a pear. Too funny.
From there it was about two years of running for fun here and there before I got a little more serious and I tried a 5k for the first time. Maybe 100 people ran in it, and it was not a big deal at all. There were no numbered bibs or timing chips, just a guy with a stopwatch at the finish line taking down your name. For some reason this race was a huge turning point for me. I LOVED running in this little 5k. I had so much fun, and I think it was here that I decided to start running "for real". I next entered into a half marathon a few months later, and I printed off a training guide and stuck to that thing to the T. If it said run 5 miles at 9:00 minute pace, I would run 5 miles - trying my best to get that 9 minute pace. I also completely overhauled my diet and cut out a lot of bad foods that I normally ate, and instead opted for vegetables, lean meats and whole grains. I didn't put a ton of research into what I should be eating, I just tried to make better choices. This is when I saw the biggest changes - and I soon felt and looked more like the athlete I had become. When it was time for the half marathon, I was SO nervous, but prepared. It was a really large race with thousands of participants. But I had SO much fun and have never been so proud of myself in my entire life! I officially had become a "runner".
The next several years I pretty much was a one-trick pony and my fitness regimine was made up only by the miles I ran. I would run races every now and then, but ran for at least 30 minutes, but sometimes 45 - hour most mornings. It was the way I started my days and it helped so much with stress relief and gave me an endorphin boost every morning. My body was a runners body- hardly any muscle, and I was pretty thin. Over the years my diet continued to stay healthy and it now was easy to choose the "good foods" because I really LIKED the good foods, it had become routine!
I can't tell you what made me want something more from my exercise but I'm sure after years of running, I was ready for something else. I remember doing an "Insanity" video with Brandon and feeling so challenged - AND confused because I was "so in-shape" from running. But it turns out plyometrics, jumping around, and using your core muscles was a lot harder because it is so completely different than running. I didn't continue with the videos at the time, just went back to my beloved running, because it was "easier". When we moved to Boston back in 2012, I continued to run for the majority of my workouts - that is until winter struck and the massive amounts of snow started piling up outside. This is when I was forced to find other ways to get my morning endorphin kick. Brandon reminded me of the Insanity videos he had and I started doing those as an alternative. They kicked my butt! I dripped sweat and remember hating the burpees so much I wanted to scream! But afterwards I felt so accomplished and proud. After doing these a few weeks I started seeing a complete change in my body composition. I had toned arms and instead of just a flat stomach, I had abs! I was hooked!
The next addition to my fitness routine - WEIGHTS! Thanks to Instagram, I discovered a few fitness accounts that I liked to follow. Many of these girls were lifting weights and I really wanted to try getting into the weight room myself. They would post videos of what they did, and I would take notice of how and what exercises they were doing. I did a ton of research online like how to split your days into upper vs. lower body, or how to eat more protein to help grow those muscles. Brandon and I purchased a gym pass through Harvard, where he was completing his masters program at the time. I would go into the weight room at this very old basement gym and just copy what I had seen in the videos on Instagram. (I can't tell you how nervous I was in those first couple weeks, little me, acting like I knew what to do around those big, muscly guys in cut off t-shirts!) Everything to this day that I do in the weight room is a result of teaching myself from what I have seen from my favorite accounts on Instagram! It has been lots of trial and error, and learning what works best for me and my goals.
Over the last few years I have just loved being a "workout chameleon" trying new things from barre - to spin class - to pilates and yoga. I have loved changing it up, and not labeling myself as just a "runner" or a "yogi" but instead just doing what feels right that day. ( I like to say I am a hybrid athlete!) I continue to lift weights a few times a week, and the other days it depends on my mood. Whether that be a spin class, or an online yoga class, or going back to my roots and throwing on my running shoes. This is where I left off pre-baby and how I plan to continue to get back to that pre-baby body. Fitness is one of my passions, and I am a huge believer that anyone can find exercises they enjoy and get into shape with a little bit of hard work and determination. It may not always be quick and it definitely won't be easy, but in my opinion it is so worth it!
I hope to share more and more of what I do daily NOW after baby. Share what is working for me, what I am eating, and how I manage to get in a workout with a new baby. So be on the lookout for part two! and follow along on instagram and instagram stories!