If you’re anything like me, you’re constantly looking for ways that you can supercharge/begin a “fitness routine” around an already chockablock timetable involving juggling children, life, home, work. Since having Freddie, I’ve really struggled to get back into the fitness groove: I did the London Triathlon when he was 6 months old – I had signed up because after my first birth experience I really lost all my fitness mojo, had put on a lot of weight and had a very traumatic birth experience which meant I had to start from rock bottom in terms of building up any physical strength, and I became incredibly disheartened at how hard it was. So I wanted to avoid sinking into a similar slump second time round… plus I’m the kind of person who really needs something to give me an accountability framework for my exercise otherwise it too easily is pushed down my list, and I listen to the exhausted self-saboteur on my shoulder who whispers “you’re too tired”, “you haven’t got time”, “you’ve got too many other things to do to take 15 minutes out to do a workout”, “you’ve got other things you could be doing”. Sure enough, having signed up for a triathlon meant that I really did drag my breastfeeding-heavy boobs out most evenings for a swim or a jog when Freddie was little.
But, my hormones had compromised my joints and I probably was a bit too tired for triathlon training in reality, and I ended up injuring my knee – an injury that still plagues me now, very VERY annoying. And since the triathlon, the self-saboteur has been back in force. In some ways it’s easier to get out of the house when your baby is really small. Once there’s a child and a rampaging toddler, time seems to be sucked into a vortex much more easily. No time, no energy, can’t do it…
While postnatally it’s true, you really do need to listen to your body and give yourself a break if you’re tired, and you MUST be properly checked out for diastasis recti – abdominal separation – and pelvic floor issues – it’s really NOT normal or ok to be in fear of weeing while you exercise – before you start an exercise programme. But you also need to make sure that your inner sloth isn’t talking over your inner gazelle. Exercise is so so important for your mental health, for your energy, for your positivity, for your sense of self and confidence. It encourages you to breathe, it gives you space mentally, and physically if you exercise outdoors. It really is an elixir. But way too easy not to prioritise.
Freddie will be 3 in January, so I’d be hard pushed to get anyone to consider me “postnatal” (although, I personally believe that if you’ve ever had a child, you are “postnatal” in terms of exercise due to the massive demands that pregnancy, birth, mothering place on your body), and I’ve been feeling really low about how I am still so stodgy and can’t seem to make a fitness programme stick effortlessly into my life.
I teach Pilates, and every day I focus on my movement, I do probably more yoga and Pilates day to day than the average mum, and I am evangelical about the fact that EVERYONE should do Pilates and take Pilates into their regular movement patterns to overturn the demands and imbalances of modern life. So I know I’m not starting from nothing. But I am also incredibly lazy and I let myself get away with the bare minimum effort without someone standing over me. I’m not a runner (I could blame the knee but actually that’s now just a good excuse). I tend to find excuses to avoid breaking up a sweat. But why? I used to love playing hockey and football, tennis, anything that involved running and teamwork at school. Swimming – I think I was a fish in a former life. Horseriding was my happy activity. Play. I used to love to play. Where’s the play in adult life? Exercise seems to be a TO DO, a SHOULD rather than a WANT TO. Something that you have to “get over with”.
And fitting it into life effortlessly…..well, maybe that’s the nub: it’s an unrealistic demand. It can’t really. be effortless – what on earth that is worth having has been effortlessly gained? Hmm. So, it was time to put my money where my waist is, and see if I could find a new habit and fire for regular aerobic exercise through committing to the Model Method Online.
Check out how I got on with the programme and whether it managed to stoke those fitness fires or whether I’m still a tired ol’ sloth lounging in my sleep-deprived inertia…..