Post Pregnancy Fitness Goals
9 years ago I celebrated my 30th birthday and had just qualified for the ‘World Triathlon Championships’ Queenstown 2003. This time 9 years ago I was 3 months out from the biggest race in my life. A training session mid-week would be a 40km TT bike followed by a 16km hilly run. Now many years later and 5 months out from turning 40 I can just about manage a 20min run. I used to be able to run a 19min 5km off a 20km Bike and complete a Half Ironman!
Now wait a minute Lorraine are you complaining? No, I’m definitely not. My body has gone through 4 pregnancies and 3 births in just four and a half years. The time I had to train back then is now time spent with my kids and on my business, my priorities have definitely changed. Triathlon training was once my number 1 priority.
You can’t be too hard on yourself post pregnancy. Sometimes we find it all too easy to forget what our bodies have been through and that we are still recovering. It takes 2 years alone to recover from sleep deprivation never mind your pregnancy.
Many of us should and need to set fitness goals, achieving a goal gives a huge sense of personal achievement and can also make the journey of losing post baby weight and getting your pre baby shape back a little easier. It is also something and maybe the only thing you do for yourself!
My original goals were to have my children at school and get back into triathlon before I turned 40, that’s not going to happen but I don’t mind. The goal I am now setting myself however is to be able to run 10km and feel strong for my birthday now that should be achievable.
It’s best to set a main goal then to set several targets. By setting yourself small stepping stones you achieve things along the way helping to increase motivation. Goals must be achievable if they are not then you will only set yourself up for failure and that does no one any good. It is also better for you if the goal is not centered around weight and body shape. I know as a mum I don't feel happy if I have a 'muffin top' but I try not to focus on losing weight , instead I focus on fitness and healthy eating and in turn I get rid of the 'muffin top'. Set goals such as running a 5km, Cycling for 60 minutes, perform 20 full press ups etc. Take the focus away from weight loss and you are much more likely to reach your goal and be happy with your shape.
The path to your fitness goal(s) is now not as straight forward as it was prior to you becoming a mum. The journey will be full of ups and downs; you now have to take in to account breast-feeding, sleepless nights, sick children and fluctuating hormones. All this can affect your training routine and how your body recovers and adapts to exercise. Some weeks are better than others; I have learnt to let things go and ‘go with the flow’. This can be very difficult especially so for first time mums as they may think that things will never get any better/easier and that they won’t be able to exercise ever again! Now you may not be able to exercise like you once did but you will eventually find the time, you will get there.
Set yourself a goal, write it down, tell people about it and program several steps along the way, be patient and positive you will get there. Now go and plan your exercise for the week!