Somewhere between sleep deprivation starting to subside and maternity clothes making their way out of your wardrobe, you may find yourself wondering,
"How am I ever going to get my pre-baby body back?"
It can feel overwhelming at first to juggle any additional exercise outside of "running after" a new baby, especially if you have other littles on the lose also. This whirlwind can afford you new opportunities for physical activity however, if you brainstorm beyond the barriers for why you can't work out the way you did before.
Here are some of the resources I have found most helpful for how to lose baby weight with regular physical activity:
A plug for what I personally found most effective and efficient for losing baby weight was workout videos. Specifically, I used the T25 workout videos after our first daughter was born. As a first time mom, I wasn't comfortable taking her to a gym's childcare for quite awhile and yet I struggled to keep her content for any amount of time when exercising on my own. Instead, short videos that still yielded a lot of sweat were the best balance for us. I knew I wanted to both build muscle and my physical stamina again, so the T25 was a good challenge for me. Depending what type of exercise you enjoy and what your personal fitness goals are, there is an endless array of options to keep you exercising in the comfort of your own home.
If you are someone who tends to stick to your fitness goals best when given added accountability, finding a local Stroller Strides chapter (or like group) may be a wise addition to your workouts. Most major cities have groups ranging from official Stroller Strides to allied organizations like Hike it Baby to neighborhood walking groups. Although these groups usually do not provide access to enough meet-ups for daily exercise, they can be a great way to get a sweat alongside other moms on a weekly basis.
Often times, young moms find themselves entering into the season of motherhood with others in similar stages. Whether they were friends you've had for years or someone you've clicked with postpartum, fellow moms can be the perfect workout buddy. Just remember -- the best workout buddies are often those who you can relate to and yet be inspired by. A friend without kids may have more flexibility than you on when, where, and what type of exercise they are able to achieve. Conversely, a fellow mom friend with zero motivation to lose the baby weight may hold you back from reaching your fitness goals.
For this reason, find a friend who can provide the winning combo of camaraderie, encouragement, new activity ideas, and accountability. This may be someone who lives close enough to physically workout alongside each day, or a friend you keep in touch and on track with throughout the week. No matter where they are or how often you actually exercise together, be sure you two (or more!) share your struggles and successes in a way that is mutually supportive.
Mom and Me Programs
Depending on the age of your child and the type of activity you both enjoy, Mommy and Me exercise options are a fun way to get fit and have fun with your little one. Here are some fun options to look into that may be in your area! If there aren't any public offerings in your area, consider ones you can do in the comfort of your own home:
Before kids, your criteria for selecting a workout facility likely focused on a lot of the bells and whistles that don't matter a bit once you have a baby.
The location. Being close to your office or near where your friends all exercise may have mattered most before. Now, ask yourself --
Can I see myself making it here often enough to validate the expense? If the location prohibits you from popping in to workout when you have the time and energy, consider if another option makes more sense. Sometimes one that is closer to your home and without childcare may be more convenient to arrange exercising at than one further away with childcare.
Childcare. This is a broad one, but it's definitely the one that you will likely base your decision on the most. Consider how safe your little ones will be while you sweat by asking --
What's the staff:child ratio?
What are kids engaged in during their time there? Is a TV playing, or does the staff facilitate more interactive activies, especially as your child gets older?
What are the practices for keeping toys clean and kids well-kept? Is there a set approach to the sanitation of toys, the playroom, etc? What are their approaches to allowing in sick kids, diaper-changing and/or bathroom use for older kids, etc.)?
Timing. Whether it is class schedules you are concerned about or the hours of operation, it is important to compare and contrast gyms for:
Overall hours of operation. Beyond the overall hours the facility is open, be sure to find out the hours childcare is offered.
Childcare scheduling. Are you free to drop your child off anytime, or do you have to signup ahead of time to secure your child's spot?
Length of childcare. How long are you able to leave your child in their care? Most gyms are accommodating for an average-length workout or class, but comparing policies across potential places can help pinpoint which place is best for you and your family.
For those who believe knowledge is power, a fitness band may be one of your best friends when it comes to losing your baby weight and staying on track to getting your pre-baby body back.
Depending on which fitness band you favor, they can provide data on your daily physical activity, sleep patterns (or lack thereof!), and other metrics for health. Fitness bands can be a great tool to aid in both meeting daily exercise goals and gradually increasing overall activity. Just remember to ease into your use set realistic expectations. While it is admirable to set goals that motivate you to keep moving, any new mom also needs to remember where majority of their energy is going - their child(ren) - whether a fitness band can track it, or not!
Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I was not compensated for mentioning any of the above products, companies, nor classes. Some links may be Amazon affiliate links for which I may receive a small compensation, should you choose to buy through them.