My Fitness Journey – Losing Motivation & Losing Myself

Maybe it’s boredom, maybe I just need a giant kick up the arse. Whatever the reason, my postpartum fitness journey has well and truly ground to a halt! A few months ago I wrote about how I was working towards building myself back up post-pregnancy, the goals I had set myself and the programmes I was using in order to do so.  I’m forever thankful that I found the motivation to commit to the twelve week Mutu programme when I did (read my Mutu Review here) as I do feel like that gave me a solid foundation to build from at a time where I really didn’t recognise my body at all. It helped to solve the issues that had arisen as a direct result of pregnancy itself (hello abdominal separation & leaky pelvic floor). When I felt as though I was ready to move on from recovery mode, I signed up for the fairly intense BBG ( bikini body guide) programme and still, my motivational levels remained relatively high. I hit all the targets and powered on through the achy joints & muscles. I persisted in my fitness journey even as the exercises intensified to the point my exhausted body could barely get out of bed to feed the baby. And then I hit a wall. One Monday morning my body and brain aligned and just said no. That was two months ago and to be brutally honest, I’m struggling.

What Happens When You Lose Motivation

Before I had my daughter, I didn’t need to exercise to remain trim and as one friend put it, food never ‘stuck to me’. I’m not going to lie, the realisation that that carefree existence is most probably over for good has been a bitter pill to swallow and yes I’ve been guilty of some serious diva stropping. I’ve stomped and wailed with the kind of Kevin & Perry style attitude that’s most unbecoming of a woman in her 30s. Aside from the fact that I really do not enjoy exercise in any way shape or form, I find scheduling it into my day, difficult at best. I don’t care what anyone says about ‘half an hour a day being easy to slot in’. By the time you’ve psyched yourself up to do the workout, poured your engorged boobs into a sports bra seemingly designed for a ten-year-old, assembled the necessary equipment, found something to contain/occupy the baby, done the physical workout (furiously hating every painful second), mixed up a powdery protein drink that tastes like vanilla-infused cardboard, showered and dressed (while simultaneously containing/occupying the baby), half the morning or more has disappeared and you still haven’t made any headway on things that actually need doing. Not to mention the fact that you’ve most likely been up half the night and this ‘half hour’ (read two hours) has just about finished you off before you’ve even started. (Christ that was one long sentence…apologies)!

My Fitness Journey

Exhaustion is a funny old thing. After a while, it sinks so far to your bones that you’re not really aware of it anymore. Sure, you feel it in the sandpaper-like quality of the backs of the eyelids or the dull grey pallor that tinges the skin but its the general sense of malaise and complete ambivalence to the world and everything in it that shrouds you like some kind of heavy, mist and pulls you down into places you’d rather not visit. We give ourselves such a hard time on an almost daily basis. We spend every spare moment, phone in hand scrolling through the perfectly curated Insta feeds. The fitspo accounts, the bronzed, long-limbed, designer activewear clad girls, the smug 5 am risers – all for what? To feel just that little bit more shit about ourselves? That old adage “comparison is the thief of joy’ has never been more relevant. In order to move forward with my own fitness journey, I feel we need to be kinder to ourselves, stop self-flagellating, comparing ourselves with others and actively trying to make ourselves feel like we’re crap.

Losing Fitness Motivation

Levi 501 Skinny

Round Rayban Sunglasses

I wish I could conclude with an action plan or give you a comprehensive list of what to do when you just can’t find the drive. The honest truth as you can probably tell is that I’m all at sea, a little bewildered and at a loss to know how to get my fitness journey back on track. I’m loathed to try again only to fail.  This isn’t a pity party, I don’t expect anybody to feel sorry for me and maybe at best, this rambly, incoherent post will give somebody else the piece of mind that they are not alone. Moving forward on my fitness journey, I would like to be able to find a way to incorporate exercise into my life without making a chore of it. As much as I want to be that girl who loves the gym, it’s just never going to happen and I think I’m at the point where I’m at peace with that. I’m going to start small by simply getting out into the fresh air. Autumn is made for walking and it takes significantly less time and thought to bundle myself and the baby up and out of the door than it does to prep for a workout. For me, fresh air is also key to managing the inevitable physical and mental effects of exhaustion so it’s a win-win. If anybody has any thoughts of their own on this topic then please do leave me a comment or, if you have any tips on working exercise into your day (without taking over it) then I would love to hear them.

Outfit Details

JEANS – LEVI

CAMISOLE – UTERQUE

CARDIGAN – MARKS & SPENCER

SHOES – GUCCI

BELT – GUCCI

BAG – JW ANDERSON

NECKLACES – MISSOMA

NAME NECKLACE – GIFT SIMILAR

*this post contains affiliate links*

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Postpartum Fitness – The Journey So Far

Call me naive but I was completely unprepared for the way I would feel about my body after giving birth to my baby girl. I had read all the books and I had all of the necessary information, but there’s just something about pregnancy that makes you kind of, mentally block out the thought of anything potentially ‘icky’ or uncomfortable. Consequently, the profuse leakage, aching knees (seriously, no one ever tells you), and sheer bone exhaustion (not to mention the sizeable gut) came as something of a shock. Now I don’t mean to sound dramatic. Putting experiences down on paper seems to make them appear ten times worse and, if I’m honest, everything has been perfectly manageable  – that’s not to say I wasn’t caught off guard!

I’m about as far removed from a health and fitness fanatic as it’s possible to get – this is not a tale of how I grew to love exercise or a detailed testimony of I got my pre-baby body back. Simply put, 9 months down the line I still struggle every day with motivation (or the lack thereof) and lack of confidence in my own abilities. It’s been a long hard slog and I still have a way to go. Here are a few discoveries I’ve made along the way.

  • No one tells you why your body looks and behaves the way it does. At each postnatal check, my midwife would feel my tummy. I never thought to question why as it seemed a perfectly logical thing to do. My tummy had, after all, recently housed an 8Ib human so it made sense that someone would ‘check’ that it was doing o.k. in the aftermath. I wasn’t aware that she was checking the extent of my abdominal muscle separation (Diastasis Recti). If I’m honest I wasn’t aware there was such a thing!
  • Most women have some degree of separation after childbirth – some are lucky with only a minimal gap that will reduce over time. Others have a more severe separation that does require targeted core strengthening techniques to rectify and can be MADE WORSE by the wrong types of exercise.
  • Planks, crunches and other advanced abdominal exercises are the worst possible thing you can do for a post-baby pooch! Without regaining core stability these exercises will do very little for your mum-tum and may even make matters worse There is a definite lack of information as to how to optimise postpartum workouts.
  • Postpartum bodies do not simply snap back to what they were before. I think this myth needs busting right now. Yes, some women recover more quickly than others – every woman’s body responds differently and every woman has a different experience of both pregnancy and birth. Keep in mind that old saying – 9 months on 9 months off (in fact give it a good year or more).
  • As much as it pains me to say it (believe me I’m eye rolling myself right now), you do need to do something to help your body along. I love sweets, I love tea, I hate getting sweaty. It has taken an enormous amount of effort and willpower to summon the energy to prioritise my health and well-being. As I said, this is not the tale of how I now love exercise. It is hard! I don’t love it and it really is a struggle especially when you are in a permanent state of sleep deprivation. But here’s the depressing truth – exercise works! When I get out for a walk first thing in the morning I do feel better. When I finish a workout, I do get a buzz (simply from the sense of satisfaction at having completed it without keeling over) and after 12 weeks of core exercises, I am far less likely to end up in a puddle of wee when I sneeze! Having babies is nothing if not glamorous!

Postpartum Fitness - The Journey So Far

Postpartum Fitness - The Journey So Far

Click Here for a full review of the targeted postpartum system I have used to get to grips with healing my body post pregnancy.

*Update…Going Forward – BBG & Beyond

If I’m being honest, this post has been sitting in the drafts folder for a number of weeks. I just haven’t known when was ‘the right time’ and I certainly don’t feel qualified to advise anybody on the rights and wrongs of getting the ‘old bod’ back in action. Since completing my 12 weeks on the Mutu System, I’ve found myself wanting to (tentatively) take my fitness journey to the next level. My friend Kim recommended the ‘Kayla Itsines’ BBG Programme to me and, after four weeks (of beginner level) I’m certainly feeling stronger though the workouts are INTENSE! As I said I am no great exercise lover so would be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned that I might not be able to go the distance – particularly as I have a holiday coming up! I have a feeling this could be an ongoing saga…watch this space!

Postpartum Fitness - The Journey So Far

I would love to hear anyone else’s experiences of working out or dealing with body woes after pregnancy. If you have any tips, tricks or stories to tell please do leave a comment below!

Postpartum Fitness MuTu System – A Review

Approximately 6 minutes into my favourite pre-baby workout I realised things had changed. The body that had previously responded to anything I had asked of it felt out of sync, alien and simply as if it didn’t belong to me. I was tired, dazed, confused and completely unable to connect to the body I once knew. Is it any wonder the workout didn’t, well, work? I decided to do a bit of research into post pregnancy fitness and was amazed to learn about diastasis recti (abdominal muscle separation) and horrified that a weak pelvic floor could remain so indefinitely! I felt I needed specific exercises targeted at women seeking to regain their core stability after having children and a quick Google led me to MuTu System.

About MuTu System

MuTu is a system is ‘for women who want their bodies to look, feel and function better after having a baby. It is a solution for mummy tummy, diastasis recti, pelvic floor weakness and core that isn’t as functional or strong as you’d like it to be.’*

The system is a 12-week programme with exercises starting gently and slowly building in intensity as you begin to regain your strength and stability. Walking is key and Wendy (MuTu’s founder) emphasises the importance of correct alignment and posture in restoring your core to strength. Core exercises include the use of resistance bands and a pilates ball to train your core as a whole using squats and lunges. For me, this insistence on gradually building up your strength and essentially teaching your body how to function properly again was so reassuring. I felt as though a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Someone was telling me not only was it was ok not to want to hammer myself with burpees, mountain climbers and jump lunges (ouch), but that it could be potentially harmful. It was helpful to be reminded just how much of a trauma carrying and birthing a baby (whether naturally or via c section) is and that it is not realistic to expect results quickly. Wendy said, “your muscles don’t need boot camp, they need a little love.”*  I’m not going to lie, this sounded so appealing to someone who was in a permanent state of exhaustion and welded to a mini human!

 

Pelvic-floor-diagram-blogimage
Picture Credit MuTu System

 

Results

For the first six weeks of the programme, I was highly motivated and followed the guidelines to the letter. Then I got sloppy. Sleep deprivation meant the sugar crept back into my diet and I started missing the odd core workout. Despite these little lapses, the improvement I continued to both see and feel was incredible. I was very lucky not to have too much of a problem with abdominal separation but my pelvic floor was shot. Walking every day and learning how to properly engage my core using my abs, back, hips and pelvic muscles as a whole made such a difference both to how I felt and how I looked. People actually noticed a change and I could see my shape starting to come back.

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This is NOT the exercise programme to get you ripped but it is ESSENTIAL for anyone who has had a baby! I truly believe that this is the best foundation for building up your strength post pregnancy. I am not fixed – I don’t know whether that is even possible but as long as the exercises continue to help my body heal then I will continue to practice them. I now have an awareness of my core muscles and can apply that knowledge to my everyday movements. I have recently started a more intensive exercise programme to try and gain muscle and definition but MuTu has taught me to make every exercise a core exercise and to really think about and engage my core muscles in the correct way so as to avoid stress or injury. I wouldn’t have been able to attempt any of these more advanced exercises had I not firstly worked on my core strength. I am genuinely very grateful to have found MuTu at a time when I was vulnerable and floundering and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the system to anyone who has had a baby and just doesn’t know where to begin.

*For More Information visit www.mutusystem.com