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Hi Guys!

I can’t believe I have arrived at the 6 week milestone already with my little guy, Sebastian. The last 6 weeks have been a whirlwind full of breastfeeding highs and lows, 100's of diaper changes, tonnes of cuddles and lots of family time. My heart is so full with love for my baby, my husband (who has been a complete rockstar throughout all of this!) and my family and friends from England to SF who have been so supportive over the past few weeks. 

This past weekend was an exciting time for me as I returned to my beloved barre studio The Dailey Method, Cow Hollow to take class on both saturday and sunday. These were my first full Barre classes back after having my baby.  It felt like a personal milestone for me and an exciting marker on my postpartum fitness journey.

I wanted to share with you the steps I have taken since my delivery to gently ease myself back into exercise. 

So lets go back 6 weeks to the moment my life changed forever…

Despite my labour been long, I checked into the hospital at 3.30AM on Monday morning and Sebastian was born on the dot at 6.30PM that same day. I feel that my labour went by pretty smoothly and I successfully had a vaginal delivery with the help of an epidural. I truly believe that the prenatal yoga classes and regular barre classes I took throughout my pregnancy and leading up to my delivery where pivotal in enabling me to get through it. Labour is no joke, you need physical and mental stamina to get you through the different stages. The saying Its a marathon, not a sprint has never been so true when applied to labour. 

The first 24hrs after my delivery were the most challenging physically for me and I actually think I found the post delivery recovery more challenging than the pushing stage of my delivery! I was beyond exhausted (you know that exhaustion in which you are so tired you can’t even sleep!), incredibly sore & swollen. The first night at the hospital after my delivery I felt so emotional and vulnerable after being prodded, poked, stretched and stitched throughout the past 12 hours. I wanted to curl up in bed and hibernate but, instead you are capitulated into your new role as a mother. Our baby was a complete angel the first couple of nights and slept LOTS which allowed me and my husband time to catch up on sleep and recover. Come the 2nd night in the hospital I felt much more human. I was able to have a shower and that shower felt AMAZING! The warm water felt incredibly healing on my body after everything it had been through. 

We were able to leave the hospital on wednesday morning and make our way home with our little bundle of joy. We were so happy to be out of the hospital and in our own space with our little one to settle into our own routine. The first few days after leaving the hospital I was still very sore, swollen and tired but I made it our daily task to go on walks around our neighborhood. The first couple of days my ‘walk’ was more of a shuffle but gradually I was able to pick up speed and walk like a normal 30 year old! The key to any form of exercise directly after a delivery is to listen to your body and respond accordingly. Every woman's body and pregnancy/delivery experience is different, there is no one cookie cutter mold that works for everyone.  After being in hospital and in bed for so many hours I wanted to be on my feet as much as possible when I got home. However, in doing so I noticed I started to bleed more. For me this was a sign I needed to slow things back down and take regular breaks in which I was off my feet. 

For the first few weeks after my delivery my exercise routine was simply walking with my baby with the stroller (UppaBaby) or carrier (Ergo 360) for 30 mins to 1-2 hours each day. It was great for me and the baby to get outside, absorb the fresh air and get some much needed Vitamin D. By my 4th week postpartum I wanted to try to incorporate some more exercise in to my daily walking routine. On days I was out with the baby in the carrier I would walk the Lyon steps (a favorite workout spot for SF locals) and would incorporate more hills. On the other days when I had the baby in the stroller I would perform 1 - 2 additional exercises during our walks like a set of Squats, Push-ups, Tricep dips and/or gentle Abdominal exercises. It is advised by most Doctors to wait until your 6 week postpartum check up before beginning to exercise, this is especially the case for those recovering from a C-Section. This is sound advice as your body needs that length of time to heal internally and externally. You have to do what feels right for you. I was eager to start to move my body in a mindful way a little earlier. This worked for me but this may not feel right for everyone. Whatever you do mindful movement is the key, take it slow and don't attempt too much too soon. 

Start small, think baby steps.

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My Postpartum Workout Routine:

{ Week 1 - 3 }

Daily walking with baby in stroller or Carrier. Starting with 20-30 minute walks and gradually building to 1-2 hour walks. 

{ Week 3 - 4 }

Daily walking now adding in hills & steps and 1-2 additional movements during my walks.
Pushups x15
Tricep Dips x20
Squats x20
Spine rolls to Bridge x10-15
All 4’s Gluteal work
Flatback Abdominals with Single Leg Toe Taps x20

Check out this video for my Postpartum Abdominal Exercise sequence. This is a great sequence to gradually build in to you exercise routine to strengthen your Pelvic floor & Abdominals. 

{ Week 5 - 6 }
Attended 2 Barre classes over the weekend. I modified some of my plank & pushups on to my knees. 

To help me with my postpartum fitness journey I launched my '12 Days of Movement (New Mom) Holiday Challenge' on Instagram. This was to help keep me accountable and to also engage with an audience of moms who are on their own postpartum journey. Each day I have been sharing a new movement of the day which you can do with your baby. The response has been amazing and I have loved seeing other new moms doing the exercises with their babies. 

This brings me to the weekend just gone where I attempted and successfully completed my first barre classes. The great thing about barre classes is the focus on alignment, the use of small range movement and the fact the whole class is low impact. This makes barre a great workout for postpartum moms as long as you take it at your own pace and modify when needed. When getting back into a workout routine after giving birth it is inevitable you will different than you did before, you just had a baby! It is important to take it slow and not judge yourself against the others in the room or on what you used to be able to do.

I can remember the day I found out I was pregnant I was at a Barry's Bootcamp class running one of my fastest sprints on the treadmill and thinking to myself ‘Jeez I might be pregnant, better swing by Walgreens on my way home……’ During that time I think I was in my best shape ever. I felt my strongest and most confident in my body. Today I am certainly a long way from that place physically but I am embracing my journey back to it. Maybe I will never be quite as strong as I felt during that period or maybe I will one day be even stronger. Either way its ok and I am in no rush. It took me 9 months to develop my pregnant body and I am sure it will take just as long or longer to get it back to my new baseline. For me its always about how I feel and not about the number on the scales. I want to feel strong, healthy, confident and most importantly happy in the skin I am in. 

I am excited to see where my postpartum fitness journey takes me and thrilled to be able to share it with the cutest training partner, my son Sebastian! 

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