Postpartum Fitness: 6 weeks

Cooper is now 6 weeks old and while things certainly aren't "easy," I am starting to feel a lot more like myself, mostly because I am back in the swing of things with my exercise routine.

picture just because he is so darn cute

I had a relatively uncomplicated delivery, with minimal tearing, so my midwife told me that I could resume exercise when my bleeding slowed and I felt ready.

Week 1
For my first week postpartum all I could do was hobble! But I found that getting out of the house for just 15 minutes of fresh air, sunshine, and movement made just a huge difference.

Week 2
By week two I was starting to feel stronger and was in a lot less pain. I started doing longer walks (30-45 minutes) and even figured out how to get the baby in the sling so I could walk with him. I was lucky that we had some beautiful, and very atypical weather for Maine, this week so that it was warm enough to take him out. I also did some gentle yoga to help everything loosen up and settle back into position.
Family Walk! (The white thing on my chest is the baby)

Week 3
At the end of week 2 my husband and I started sleeping in shifts, where one of us was in with the baby and the other was in the guest room. Getting several hours of uninterrupted sleep made such a huge difference and I felt like I recovered so much in just a couple days. My bleeding slowed almost to nothing and I had so much more energy. So half-way through this week I made my return to the gym! I went back to my favorite classes (kickboxing and metabolic conditioning), but made sure to ease back in and not go all out. I also went back to the yoga studio for a gentle vinyassa flow class, which did wonderful things for me physically and mentally.

Week 4
I continued to feel good, so I went for my first run at the beginning of week 4. Since I hadn't run in a couple months, and had been doing intervals of run-walk before that, I knew it would be hard. I stuck to a 1 minute run-1 minute walk ratio and went for 30-45 minutes. I made it outside one day and the other 2 stuck to the treadmill since I was on baby duty.

A mid run selfie as proof that it actually happened

Week 5
I was feeling really good at the gym so I started pushing it a little harder. Since I had continued both classes and weight training right up until week 40, I felt like I'd hardly lost any fitness. In fact, I felt like I was stronger than before pregnancy since I'd been hauling around all that extra weight for months. It felt great to be able to get back to my favorite moves like burpees that had been really hard with a giant baby belly.
Running wise, I upped my run interval to 2-3 minutes. I also started increasing my running speed, especially on the treadmill to make it more interesting.

Week 6
By week 6 I was basically back to normal at the gym. It was nice to be able to really go hard and get my heart rate up without worrying about the baby like during pregnancy.

Running on the other hand is still very much a work in progress. I've always known that running fitness is very specific and this just confirms it. There is just no way to stay in running shape without running! I'm up to a 4 minute run-1 minute walk ratio for 45-60 minutes. It feels hard and I am slow, which is discouraging. I was really hoping I'd be one of those magical people that is faster after pregnancy. But I remind myself that I was pregnant for 40 weeks, I can't expect to be back in racing shape immediately. Ultimately running has never been about being the fastest person out there for me, so it shouldn't be now. It is about clearing my head, getting some me time, and feeling good about my body.

Cooper has also been working on his fitness. He has some serious gains in the chin department.