Getting back into the gym after a baby is tough. There are new factors that make going to the gym difficult: lack of motivation, not wanting to leave your baby, lack of motivation, thinking that something bad will happen as soon as you walk out the door, the fact that it felt too good not doing anything while you were pregnant, lack of motivation, thinking you’ll miss some big milestone because you were busy working on your fitness, or my favorite: lack of motivation.
Going back to the gym isn’t just like starting over, though. Muscle memory is real and your body doesn’t forget. It’s your mind that might need that motivation to get started again.
Muscle memory is real and your body doesn’t forget. It’s your mind that might need that motivation to get started again.
Here are a few tips and tricks for moms that want to pick up where they left off, moms that want to ease back into working out, moms that don’t want to leave their baby while they work out, and for all the moms in between.
Continue your normal gym schedule.
Continuing the same gym routine after baby doesn’t have to be non-existent. If you can continue the same pre-baby gym schedule, great! Even though my husband and I work different schedules, I’m lucky enough to have my family watch my son while I work out.
As soon as I was cleared to hit the gym, I tried my absolute hardest to keep my same schedule; working out five days a week after work. My son split his time between my mom, mother-in-law and cousin. As he got older, I realized working out five days a week was no longer feasible.
Here came that mom guilt. My son was getting older, I needed to establish a night-time routine and I cut down my workout days in half. I figured I could always workout at home after he fell asleep (hasn’t happened yet) and I didn’t want him to think I was never around, especially because he has an early bedtime.
Add that to the fact that as time went on, I also felt guilty that I felt I was taking advantage of my family members free time and I got overwhelmed fast. Cutting my gym days has made me less stressed about going to the gym.
Cutting my gym days has made me less stressed about going to the gym.
If you can’t, or don’t, have anyone to stay home with the baby, there are many gyms that offer daycare. My husband doesn’t leave for work until the afternoon so he goes to the gym in the mornings. He doesn’t have anyone that can help watch our son, so he found a gym with a daycare.
Call around and take advantage of the free guest passes gyms offer to find the right fit for you and your baby. Some gyms charge a small fee per month for daycare, while others are free. A popular gym for moms and families is the local YMCA.
Walk a nature trail or go to the park.
Take advantage of nice weather by driving to different nature trails with your baby. Grab the stroller and power walk or lunge your way through miles of nature.
Take your kids to the park. Let them run off all of their pent up energy while you chase them and inadvertently workout.
Climb up and down the stairs, use the monkey bars to work your upper body and core, run or power walk laps around the playground. Make your own obstacle course.
Try a Mommy and Me group.
There are many different mom groups in every area, created exclusively to make exercising with baby easier. Groups like “Mommy and Me Yoga,” “Stroller Strides” and “Baby Boot Camp” are available to moms and their babies. Many of these groups don’t advertise themselves that often.
The best platform to find local Mommy and Me exercise groups is through local mom groups on Facebook and other social media platforms.
Look on YouTube/Instagram/Social Media for inspiration.
Hundreds, probably thousands of different people have social media accounts geared toward everything to do with fitness–workouts, meal-prepping and motivational talks. There are accounts for bodybuilders, yogis, and dancers.
Many YouTube channels post full workout classes. Other accounts post quick workouts and meal ideas for people always on the go, or the busy mom!
You can incorporate different workouts and fitness information from different accounts to form the best fit for you. I’ve tried all the social media platforms and Instagram is my favorite. I have done workouts, found healthy recipes and been inspired by all my favorite Instagrammers who are living the healthy lifestyle.
You can incorporate different workouts and fitness information from different accounts to form the best fit for you.
The best part is social media is free! And unless you want to purchase something that your favorite account is selling, you’re getting a personal trainer at no charge!
This is a great option if you’re like me and live in the Midwest where we try not to leave the house for at least three months of winter.
Find a workout partner.
If you’re not into the group setting and don’t care to workout alone, grab your best friend. It’s always easier to motivate yourself to workout if you have someone there to cheer you on, or at least be as miserable as you are.
One of my best friends is my workout partner. We started working out together years before I was pregnant and we still continue today. We go to the gym, walk the nature trails, take my son to the park and workout, try programs like Beachbody (“As Seen on TV” got me one night), and get inspired by workouts and fitness bloggers on social media. If it wasn’t for her, I would never find the motivation to go to the gym.
If I’m being honest, although I workout and try to stay active daily, I still struggle with my lack of motivation at times. I wasn’t one of the lucky ones that “bounced back” and I have a hard time getting motivated because of that. I should feel the opposite, but I don’t.
I wasn’t one of the lucky ones that “bounced back” after having my son, and I have a hard time getting motivated because of that. I should feel the opposite, but I don’t.
It’s an internal fight to workout because I feel like my body should look like my body pre-baby, but it doesn’t. I power through because I feel so much better afterwards, but maybe you don’t, that’s fine, too. In the end, I think the most important thing to realize is that you are still you—pre- or post-baby body, it’s your body that gave you this baby and it’s yours to choose how you use it!★
Joanna Bavilacqua is a full-time work from home mom. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, two-year-old son and 13-year-old Yorkie. When she’s not working or hanging out with her family, she likes to plan vacations, try new restaurants, scroll through her favorite Instagram accounts and then go on unnecessary shopping trips for home decor.