How to Know When You Need to Change Your Strategy Postpartum

How do you know when you need to change your strategy postpartum?

While there's a lot to be gained by working with a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist, as well as a certified Pre/Postnatal trainer, there ARE some things you can watch for yourself.

That whole, "listen to your body" thing - well, it's kinda (incredibly) confusing when you don't know WHAT you're supposed to be listening for.

1. Pain: Pay attention not only WHILE you're doing the movements, but pay attention to pain the rest of that day and even into the next day. Sore muscles because you worked them is one thing, pain is different - you'll know the difference.

2. Peeing: This one refers to loss of control of either bladder or bowels, at any point in the day - not just while doing the movement. So while you may not leak DURING squats, are you losing control of your bladder (or bowels) more than normal the rest of the day, or into the next few days?

3. Prolapse: If you haven't been diagnosed with prolapse and are wondering what this is, it may feel like a heavy sensation in your vagina like something is out of place or causing downward pressure. Or, it may feel like you need to have a bowel movement even when you don't. This is one I was acutely aware of when my daughter was still in the front carrier - I didn't feel anything WHILE walking with her, but later that day or the next day I would have an obvious heavy feeling, letting me know it was either time to switch her to the back, or shorten our walks.

4. Pressure: Are you creating excess pressure in your abdomen while doing movements? This one can be assessed either visually to check for coning, which looks like a little mountain ridge protruding down the center of your abdomen - usually most obvious at the belly button. Have someone watch, or video yourself. The second way to assess this one is with your fingers, checking your diastasis and how it's responding (another video for another day!) during the movement.

Lastly - not everything is going to give you feedback when pregnant and postpartum, which is why I think it’s SO important to work with a Pelvic Health Physio and a *certified* Prenatal/Postpartum coach.

So, where do we go from here?!

Join the newsletter to be sure not to miss future posts on HOW to change your strategy, PLUS I'm creating posts for individual movements starting with box jumps. Is there a movement you're wondering how to modify? POST IT BELOW and I'll do a video series based on your request!

How Do I Make Working Out a Lifestyle?

I’ve been asked this question a lot, and while I think there are a plethora of answers out there about “finding your why”, I think there’s just a bit more to it than that. Yes, knowing WHY you want to workout in the first place is helpful in getting you out the door, setting goals, etc, but there’s so much more to it than that, in my opinion.

I recommend grabbing a piece of paper (or blank screen) and brainstorming your own answers to the questions below. You might just find out some things about yourself that you didn’t know along with some ways to make working out more consistent for you.

  • Do you like group classes? Prefer to do it solo? Partner training?
    • Group classes: endless! Barre, spin, yoga (and so many variations within that), pilates, CrossFit, boxing, circuits, etc
    • Solo or partner training: gym membership, with a trainer, or home-gym 
  • Do you like having a coach, or are you self-motivating?
    • If you like having a coach, do you need them right in front of you to keep you accountable, or is having one on-line checking in on you enough? If you have an on-line coach, do you require daily, weekly, or monthly check-ins?
  • What’s most important to you while working out? Do you like hard workouts that get you sweaty?  Seeing your strength increase? Learning new skills? Short or long workouts? Intense or slow burners? Making your mind work as hard as your body (I love CrossFit for this as it’s always teaching me new skills), or do you like to zone out and know exactly what’s coming next? Each has their benefits – but it always comes down to what YOU like.
  • What time of day are you MOST likely to stick to it? Least likely?
  • How new to working out are you? Brand new? (If so – definitely get to a trainer if you can, even for 6-8 sessions to learn proper form and pinch out bad habits before they start). Intermediate? Advanced?
  • If your workouts rely on others, when are they most likely to be able to help you? For example, if your partner consistently works late, maybe signing up for 5pm classes isn't going to be the best of ideas if you need them for childcare.
  • How much time realistically do you have to invest in working out daily? Weekly? If you only have 30 minutes a day to workout but keep signing up for 1-hour classes and then missing them, is that really helping you make it a consistent habit?
  • Do you have any performance goals? Racing, lifting competitions, a weight you want to hit, a skill you want to master? If the answer is YES, do you have enough knowledge to do it on your own, or would you benefit from a one-on-one coach or a group coaching setting to not only train you but also keep you accountable?
  • What do you ENJOY doing? Are you doing an activity because everyone does it or you want a particular body type? Or are you doing it because it boosts your confidence, gives you energy, and leaves you feeling happy you did it once it’s over? Spoiler alert: I ask if you feel awesome AFTER, instead of during, because yes, sometimes exerting yourself will make your muscles or lungs burn;) I’m not a believer in working out so hard you’re sore after every single workout, but I am a believer in giving as much effort into a workout as your body (and mind) allows you to that day. On days I really really don’t want to workout at all but I still go – I don’t beat myself up if I’m not doing 100% of what I’m capable of that day – I celebrate that I actually made it there at all. Days when I’m feeling great? Yes, go for it.

There are some you'll need to give a little on - unfortunately we can't have ALL the things at once. Perhaps you're not a morning person but that's literally the only time of day you can get it done. Or maybe you love group training but can only make it once a week - you may need to find ways to do shorter solo workouts at home on the other days.

It’s a little more than just “finding your why” when it comes to working out. Create the easiest path for yourself to work out, so that it CAN become part of your regular routine. Removing as many barriers as possible will make it that much easier to lace up each time.

Let me know below if this exercise was helpful for you, and what ONE thing you learned about yourself that you are going to apply going forward!

P.S. Summer Strength is available right here if you're looking for 20-30 minute at-home workouts requiring nothing more than dumbbells.

Burpees for Chocolate?

So, how many burpees DO you have to do to work off a chocolate bunny's ears? How about a bag of mini eggs?

The answer, is ZERO.

Here's why.

 

Exercise is not a punishment for something "bad" you did. Exercise is something you do for your body, because you actually like your body. Hopefully, because you love your body. You care enough about it to engage in activities that get your heart rate up for heart health, that challenge your muscles for strength, that engage your mind for improved cognitive function. Or get those endorphins going as you crush goals. Or to participate in a supportive community. Any of those reasons. But not for punishment.


Exercise is not to be interchangeable with sitting on a chair in the corner in time out, or being grounded, or getting your credit card cut up. It is not a punishment, it is a privilege, and a chance to better yourself from the inside out.

You work out because you know that even though it kinda sucks during the breathless sweaty part, you know it makes you feel oh-so-good afterwards. You know that by working out, you make better food choices to fuel those workouts, because you want to perform better. You work out because you want BALANCE - balance between eating for health and fuel, and eating for pleasure and socialization - and not feeling guilty or deprived when switching back and forth from one to the other. Of course, there is a limit to how much chocolate you can eat before yes, the negative effects take place. But a little chocolate is not going to kill you. Everything in moderation.

Changing your mindset will change your outcome. Replace guilt and punishment with compassion and self-love, and the impact will be greater than any diet or workout regime you've tried.


Final thoughts: This isn't jail. Working out is not punishment. So enjoy that chocolate, and then work out because you WANT to, not because you HAVE to.