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Before I gave birth to my son, I consistently worked out at the gym as part of my health and fitness routine. Years before, I had started a fitness journey to help me gain muscle and get stronger. My gym routine included strength training and muscle building exercises. I was a proud member of the #womenwholift club and was proud of the progress I made in the gym. During my pregnancy, I planned to workout and stay fit, inspired by many of the fit pregnant women I observed online and in my gym. However, a few weeks into my second trimester, my doctor placed me on bedrest due to pregnancy complications, and that meant no working out for me. She advised me to take it easy for the rest of my pregnancy. Thankfully my pregnancy-related complications resolved, and we welcomed a healthy bouncing baby boy into our family in September 2018.
To jumpstart my postpartum fitness, I started going back to the gym slowly about three months after giving birth. I worked on safe core exercises and lifted light weights. Nevertheless, exercise became secondary to my busy new mom schedule, and I went to the gym on a more relaxed schedule. Additionally, I gave myself grace. Sometimes we can be in a rush to get our pre-baby body back (the snapback temptation is real) that we forget to love our bodies for birthing, nurturing and nourishing an entire human. It took a while for this to click for me, but when I'm tempted to complain or focused on my perceived flaws, I pause and thank my body for what it did and continues to do.
Currently, I'm starting over. I've lost a lot of muscle mass since my pregnancy, and now I'm on a journey to gain it back. The book, Strong Curves for Women, helped me with strength training and gaining muscle the first time around, so I'm using the program outlined in the book to get back on track. As I've mentioned previously, nutrition plays a vital role in fitness. Getting fit coupled with breastfeeding means I pay a lot of attention to the foods I eat. I'm by no means perfect, but I eat as clean as possible, which includes lots of fruits and vegetables and healthy sources of protein. I still take my favorite prenatal vitamins and DHA (always check with your doctor) and recently discovered a plant-based protein supplement to help me along on my postpartum fitness journey.
I've read that it's challenging to gain muscle when you're breastfeeding, but a challenge never stops me! Regardless, I'm ready to get stronger and get back in the gym consistently. Stay tuned for updates!