Having a baby changes things. Having two babies REALLY changes things.
I thought it would be easy to get back into exercise after having twins; the husband could look after them whilst I went to the gym. If that didn’t work I could workout while they were sleeping either during the day or at night.
How delusional was I? It was not easy at all, but I eventually got back into it. How did I do it? Here are some thing I found helped me get back into exercise after having the twins.
At first with two babies at home, leaving the house was difficult. Finding time to eat was difficult, even going to the toilet was difficult. Most days I wore pyjamas or old clothes and spent all day changing nappies, feeding, cleaning up spew, playing with the babies, putting them to bed and so on. The thought of somehow fitting exercise into my day was exhausting. For weeks I wanted to but I couldn’t see myself hitting the gym like usual or fitting in hard training sessions so what was the point. But what I realised is doing something is better then nothing. I began by walking. Finding time and getting two babies into a pram and out the door was hard at first but with time it became easier. I started walking for 20 minutes, then 30, then up to an hour or more depending on the twins’ mood. This was not only good initially to get out of the house, but also to help motivate me to do more. As the twins got older and began to form a routine I began to find time to fit in some short bodyweight exercise sessions. Some were ones I made up other were from youtube. From there I acquired exercise equipment at home and started getting more serious. It is very difficult to get started in the beginning, but doing something like walking or light exercise is a great way to get started.
Do what you can.
When I started training again I couldn’t even do pushups anymore. Planks were impossible and a few minutes of hard cardio made me feel like I was going to pass out or puke. At first I was embarrassed! How could I let myself become so unfit?!? I felt like giving up, but I decided I had to try something. My first pushups were on my knees with hands on my couch. My first planks were on my knees and only for a short time. For lunges I used my couch for balance. Cardio sessions had lots of breaks. If I couldn’t do an exercise I would do something similar. When getting back into exercise, you may find that you have lost strength, balance or flexibility, but with time you can improve. Any exercise can be modified or adapted to your fitness level. Being a personal trainer and gymnastics coach, I know very well how to regress exercises or what exercises and similar. If you are struggling to work out what to do you can do a quick google search and or ask me. So no matter how unfit or how difficult an exercise, there is a way to modify it to suit anyone and everyone.
Don’t stress if you miss a workout.
Before having kids, I would workout when I wanted. It was my top priority and my motto was to never miss a workout. That’s all good and well, until you have kids. Being a mum means there is so much more on your plate. You can no longer do what you want when you want like you used to. I can’t control if the twins go to sleep, how long they sleep, when the sleep, I can’t control when they get hungry, when they cry or when they do a projectile vomit over their sibling. I can’t control when they get sick either. Sometimes despite my best intentions I can’t workout like I planned. We may have things that come up, appointments to go to or any number of things that make it difficult.
I used to feel a deep sense of guilt whenever I missed a workout, like all my pervious hard work would go out the window and overnight I would become super unfit. In reality, it just doesn’t matter. If you occasionally miss a workout it’s not the end of the world. Tomorrow is a new day and you can pick up where you left off.
Set yourself achievable goals.
My goal at the start was to walk 2-3 times a week. Not a massive task, but when you have twins even getting outside is a big ask. My first few weeks I maybe got out once or twice, but soon I began getting out 3 or more times. It was an exciting time. I actually somehow managed to get myself and the twins outside 3 times a week to go for a walk! I celebrated by buying myself a new pair of tights. Now that I was walking often I needed something good fitting.
Goals are a good way to get motivation and to help you organize your self and your time so that you can do what is important to you. When getting back into exercise, setting goals is important as it gives you something to focus on and to aim for. Make sure though, that they are achievable. Setting an unachievable goal can work the other way, it can demotivate you or make you too nervous to try as you can not see yourself achieving it anyway. It is not bad to have a big goal (such as lose x amount of kilos), but breaking it down and focusing on a smaller goal is the best way to start. After pregnancy I wanted to lose weight, but it was hard to go from sitting on the couch eating cake straight to exercising and drinking a kale smoothie. Having goals in between, made my big goal seem not so scary and it was easier to achieve.
Don’t forget nutrition!
With all this focus on exercise, don’t forget that your diet is still very important. Giving your body the right fuel will not only help you in your day to day life but also while exercising. You need to make sure you are eating a good amount, not too little or too much of good quality foods.
This is something else I struggled with since having the twins as I didn’t have time to prepare all the wonderful healthy food like I used to.
Getting back into exercise made me feel like eating well. I started feeling better getting active and wanted to eat well to feel better on the inside. I began by swapping one meal with a much healthier meal and from there I went from a not so healthy diet to eating much better.
It is definitely much harder exercising and staying healthy when you are a mum, but it can be done.