Getting back in shape after growing a human is no joke, you guys! Most of you mamas out there know exactly what I'm talking about. It's kind of crazy what your body goes through with pregnancy and delivery and how things change. Stay with me here and I've got some great recommendations for you if you're looking to get back in shape post partum! But first, a little background.
The first several weeks after bringing Madi home I honestly couldn't have cared less what my body looked like. I was basking in the glow of my very own 7 lb miracle, while functioning at the level of a sleep deprived zombie and struggling to figure out breastfeeding/diaper changes and how to get my little bundle of joy to sleep for more than a few minutes at a time. It took 6 or 7 weeks postpartum to be able to manage more than a slow walk while clutching my abdomen convinced that at any minute my uterus was going to fall out somewhere between the kitchen and the living room.
|Madi at 2 months|
As the weeks passed and the stitches began to heal and my body started to adjust to it's new normal (and I was finally able to get some amazing 3-4 hour blocks of sleep) I started thinking about how I was going to get back in shape and lose the baby weight. It was bizarre looking down and seeing a deflated beach ball where I used to have an actual waist, not to mention the extra padding that had accumulated errrywhere thanks to my constant pregnancy cravings of sourdough bread, peanut butter and hot pockets.
I read about Jessica Simpson losing all her baby weight by walking 6 miles a day. I was like, 'Psh. That's all I have to do?? Easy peasy!' So I strapped on the front carrier and started walking: a mile, 2 miles, and finally 6-7 miles a day while Madi occasionally looked around to see what was going on. And I occasionally ducked into the bushes to pee, because, mom bladder.
The walking worked great for a little while but it wasn't long before I hit a plateau. Apparently, I'm no Jessica Simpson (What??) I figured I needed to step up my game and promptly ordered the Insanity DVDs (on eBay for 1/3 the retail cost because I'm not completely insane!) I lasted 9 weeks on the program before the relentless intensity of the workouts, combined with doing basically the same HIIT cardio routines day in and day out -and not seeing the kind of results I hoped for- burned me out completely. I was just done and quit exercising entirely for several months. I know, I know...lame.
So....last February I decided to get off my butt once again and make a renewed effort at being fit and getting in shape. The nearby gym -with it's very limited child care hours- hasn't really the best option for me with a toddler, but though trial and error and recommendations from friends I've managed to find some really awesome workouts that can be done completely in the comfort of your living room. They've totally done away with all my excuses for being lazy! (And I have a lot.) I can now proudly say that I've been exercising consistently for just over a year and I'm not looking back. I may never have exactly the body shape I did before baby, but I feel strong, healthy and I can comfortably wear all my pre-pregnancy clothes so I'm calling it a win.
Below are my four all-time favorite mom-friendly online workout programs. I can just about guarantee that you'll love at least one -if not all- of them. You absolutely deserve to look and feel your best, especially when you spend so much time taking care of others! :-)
Vibe: Betty is a little funky, very up-beat and gives tons of positive affirmations like "you're awesome!" Who doesn't love hearing that??
How it works: Sign up by email to get a daily workout in your inbox for 30 days, free! The challenge videos are also available on YouTube.
What I love: Betty Rocker's 30 day body weight challenge is a great way to ease back into exercise! It's literally only 15 minutes a day but will still leave you in a sweaty heap on the floor if you give it your max effort.
Cons: Although she does post a new workout video to her site every couple weeks, if you want to continue working out consistently with Betty after the 30 days, you'll need to invest in one of her DVD programs ranging from 25-200 dollars.
Vibe: Working out with Briana Christine is like working out alongside one of your best girlfriends. She cracks jokes, sweats, gets out of breath sometimes and overall just keeps it real.
How it works: There are four 90 day challenges and one 6 week mini challenge that you can access for free on the site, or you can sign up to receive a daily workout email. If you opt for premium membership you'll gain access to all of her pre- and postnatal workouts, an extensive 5 minute ab series and "maintenance" videos for $1.99 mo.
What I love: This site is super easy to navigate! The workouts are only about 20 minutes long and include a warm up/cool down in each session (something I don't always remember to do when left to my own devices.) The 6 week mini challenge is my favorite BBM workout with a great mix of cardio and strength, and I'm keeping my eye out for the next 90 day challenge release.
Cons: If you're already in great shape, or really looking to push yourself hard these workouts may not be quite challenging enough, although you can always double up or add weight.
3. Tone It Up
Vibe: Karena and Katrina are insanely toned and have a real laid-back surfer chick vibe. A lot of the workouts are filmed on various gorgeously serene beaches.
How it works: You can find plenty of workout videos on the Tone It Up site and on YouTube. Workouts range from 10 to around 40 minutes and include strength, cardio, yoga and stretching routines.
What I love: The Tone It Up yoga videos are my favorite because they just fit so well with the girl's mellow vibe. I also love that the site offers lots of free healthy eating recipes and strong community support.
Cons: If you want a more organized "program" you'll need to order the premium workouts for $25
or one of the Beach Babe sets $20-37 depending which one you choose and whether you want digital or DVD. (I have the Beach Babe 2 DVDs which contain 9 workouts. Good value for the money.)
Vibe: Working out with Cassey is like working out with your fun, super-energetic little sister who says things like "Let's have a little conversation while I kill you!"
How it works: You can access a ton of her cardio or area-specific (abs, butt, arms, etc.) videos on YouTube or the Blogilates site, or sign up for the newsletter and you'll be able to download a monthly workout calendar that tells you exactly which 4-5 workout videos to do each day. She also has a separate calendar available for beginners if you're just starting out.
What I love: I've been surprised at just how challenging most of these body weight workouts are! I also love that each individual workout is only an average of 5-10 minutes long so if I need to break them up throughout the day or stop and change a diaper after the first workout it's no big deal. Super mom-friendly!
Cons: The website can be a little confusing -possibly because of the sheer volume of content- and the search feature doesn't always work as well as I'd like when I'm hunting for a specific video. My experience has been that it's easiest to print out the workout calendar and then use YouTube to find the workouts listed for the day.
If you've already tried one of these programs I'd love to hear about your experience! And of course I'm always taking recommendations for new workouts!