I got to that point in my post partum journey where I literally couldn’t find pants that fit comfortably. It was the most discouraging feeling in the world.
I knew I needed to workout but the prospect of moving my body as a new mama to a kid who apparently hated sleep exhausted me even more than I was already exhausted. It was a daunting prospect.
But here’s the thing: as long as you’re moving your body, and increasing your heart rate you’re going to burn calories. So on the days when you’re tired af, don’t focus on WHAT you’re doing, focus on just DOING.
Here’s my pro tip for how to workout when you’re exhausted:
Listen to your body. It’s really that simple. Be kind to yourself. Our bodies go through such a tremendous amount of change when we’re growing our families. We tend to forget that this change happens LONG before the baby actually shows up in our arms.
Don’t worry I won’t get all science nerd on ya, but rest assured between physical and hormonal changes that occur while you’re pregnant, your body has been through the ringer before you even go into labor.
Then regardless of whether or not your labor goes “smoothly” (OMG biggest laugh ever…smooth labor…I mean a watermelon coming out of THAT is definitely something you’re going to feel) you’ve still experienced a trauma. While it is a beautiful, transformative, life creating experience, it is still a trauma. And even though our bodies were designed to be able to create, carry and deliver life, it’s still a process with its own hormonal releases and physical changes.
And THEN you start breastfeeding which is a whole other game of hormonal and physical changes.
Here’s my point to this long winded reflection down memory lane. Your body has gone through a lot and if you’re still relatively early in your post partum journey, your body is still going through a lot. Not to mention that you’re attempting to teach a small human how to sleep, eat and all of those things.
I think of all those things, I think back to when I experienced all those things (with a colicky baby) and I was tired AS FUCK. I’ve never been that tired before, not even when I was in the Army did I EVER FEEL THAT TIRED. Bone sucking, mentally ass kicking exhaustion. It’s the kind of tired that you can’t even explain to another human. It’s that unrelatable.
So I can imagine that the prospect of working out makes you want to kick people in the shins. Conversely you feel like you have to because you’re just so sick of seeing that flab that makes you look like you’re in the not so cute stages of pregnancy (when it looked like you just ate too much) so you feel like you have to workout. Talk about a shitty catch-22.
Listen to your body. Be patient. Be kind. Know that these changes that happened in your body took almost a full year to occur so give yourself TIME to heal and TIME to get back to a healthy state. Focus on the things you can control. Like eating healthy food.
When you go to workout, do the workouts that sound the most appealing in that second of time. I always had a workout and a contingency plan. The reason being two fold: first I could have options if I was so tired I couldn’t see straight AND I needed a back up in case things around me went to shit.
I always had the hardcore, super intense workout. This was normally something HIIT, or longer endurance workouts that I knew would kick my ass. Then my back up was always the gentler option. Yoga, mat pilates, resistance training, stretch days, things that were kinder to my body.
On days when I needed to, I did the gentler workouts and celebrated the fact that I could still move my body and on the days when Grace wasn’t partying like an out of control rockstar, I did the more intense workouts. On days that went so amazingly well I had to pinch myself, I did both (those days were rare in my house).
Regardless, I was doing the work and what mattered more is that I was doing the work consistently. I could focus because the workout was what I needed, I felt better after, and I knew that I was still on my way back to feeling like myself again.