The new baby has brought joy into your life like you’ve never experienced before. But the bouncy, small human of happiness now demands all of your attention, absolutely. What’s a new mom to do to stay fit? Here are five suggestions.
1. Set your priorities
Before baby, you could do what you wanted, when you wanted to do it, and where. And even got paid for it! As one smart trainer mom who just had a baby tells us, now she has to seize the handful of moments she has to herself just for a toilet break – and a workout, if she’s lucky. But she’s found the secret to staying fit: she sets priorities. By putting her fitness first, ahead of say, trawling social media posts like she used to do, she stays well for her baby too.
2. Pre-empt the excuses
The longer you take to start your workout, the greater the chances of you telling yourself you’ll do it tomorrow. It’s easy to procrastinate as the day grows longer and the to-do list with it. So start your day with your workout. Then you can’t skip it.
3. Have a (ir)regular schedule
Are you stuck in a rut? Have a baby and you can rip up your daily plans every day! Problem solved. Actually, you can’t avoid a daily routine (breakfast, work, lunch, dinner, bed; repeat); just that it won’t happen at the same times every day, depending on what baby gets up to. So by all means schedule your workout and meal plans as you used to – with a plan B or three.
4. Life is short. So make all of it into quality time
The upside of the unpredictability and non-stop action needed to care for a baby is that you become acutely aware of how brief your life really is. By keeping fit and well, you make yourself more fully available to family during each and every moment of quality time instead of zoning out from a lack of focus or energy.
5. Make meaningful goals
All moms know that’s more easily said than done because of the reality of their packed daily schedules. We suggest setting S.M.A.R.T goals. These usually involve specific and measurable exercises that allow you to track your progress beyond just looking in the mirror. You could also make it a goal to try out group fitness classes to keep things fresh and diverse.
6. Track your progress objectively
That’s how to really know you’re making progress. Ten laps of freestyle today, 20 after four weeks. Two reps of squats this week, three after six weeks. Resting pulse and blood pressure down by 20 per cent. Life is a marathon; and baby is a 21-year project, at least. So you need to stay fit.
7. Get on your bike – with the fam
Functional exercises count as workouts too, such as backpacking with the spouse on a grocery shopping trip, with baby snugly packed at the back or on a bike. The reason you’re making fitness a priority is because of family, after all. It’s a great way to make quality time for yourself and those you hold close.