Getting your body back isn’t just about “looking” good… it’s about feeling normal again. Having control over something in your life… now that everything else is CHAOS!
Your body just went through this miraculous process of growing and birthing a human. It’s magical! I loved seeing my body grow and morph on this journey. With both of my pregnancies I gained 40 pounds (I started a bit smaller with Waipuna than with Jackson – you can see the difference in my “after” photos below). I gained more than the doctor recommended 25 to 30 pounds but I felt good… fit- “ish”… and, most importantly, HEALTHY.
After these magical little beings exit our bodies… what’s left… is a work in progress. You mamas know what I mean. Baby and all of that “stuff” inside took 15 to 20 pounds off of me right away. What was left was an extra 25 pounds. This is what that looks like on my frame.
With my first baby, we were living on the Big Island and after waiting the recommended 6 weeks after Jackson’s birth, I started a workout routine. I would go to ONE 1-hour class at least 5 times a week. At Le’ale’a fitness in Waimea, I was lucky to have the flexibility to bring baby with me to class. He would sit in his car seat and sleep while mommy worked out. As he got older he became a “weight” or just played nearby.
I attended a mix of classes: Piloxing, TRX, Weight training, Step… so my workouts never got old. I also created a goal for myself. The pregnancy was planned and the upcoming wedding was also planned. I gave myself 5 months to fit into my wedding gown. After committing to ONE 1-hour class a day from 6 weeks postpartum until my wedding date. I hit my pre-pregnancy weight on the day of my wedding!
Along the journey of getting myself back to normal physically… I had days where I didn’t want to go, days where I felt like it WASN’T WORKING. The scale is your worst enemy. Don’t do it. Just don’t look! I plateaud with 20 pounds to go for MONTHS. It was very discouraging. I couldn’t fit into my clothes… maternity clothes were too big, my pre-pregnancy clothes were too tight or small. Patience is key.
1. Dump the scale. That number does not define you!
2. Sign up for classes – when you pay, you keep yourself accountable. Plus, you also gain an extended “ohana”.
3. Take photos – seeing your progress is encouraging. If you post them on social media and make your journey “public” you’re also more likely to stick with it. Plus, I guarantee that your friends will be full of supportive comments and encouragement!
4. Eat healthy – it’s good for you and it’s good for baby if you are breastfeeding.
5. Make sure your partner is on board to support you through this process with childcare, helping you to make healthy choices and encouragement. Having a support system is so important.
6. Believe. If I can do it, you can do it. Mind over matter mamas!!
After having my second baby, Waipuna, I had a really bad experience with my intrathecal (anesthesia) which resulted in a postdural puncture (see blog HERE). As a result, I had to sleep on the floor and could barely move to feed or change baby. It was terrible and I definitely didn’t want to relapse. My back was extremely sensitive and I didn’t want to aggravate the area and possibly pop off the patch where the spinal fluid was dripping out. I waited 8 weeks before raising a finger or even thinking about working out.
BUT, I was also on a time crunch! My best friend, Lena was getting married 3 months after I gave birth and I was a bridesmaid. I purposefully ordered my “normal” size knowing that there was no way I could return or exchange the dress in time. Only option? Getting fit and fitting into that dress!
When I was finally ready to start a fitness routine, I decided to try my luck at taking one 1-hour class as often as I could. It worked the first time, so stick with what you know, right? My best friend, Ash, goes to a barre class on Oahu and she said it was killer so I thought “why not?” I can at least try it. I signed up for Pure Barre Maui at the Maui Mall and took my first class on Monday, January 18, 2016. Here are my before and after pictures. The first photo is at 2 weeks postpartum – middle photo was at 8 weeks and on the day of my first Pure Barre class – and last photo was taken today at 19 weeks postpartum and after taking my 55th class. In case you’re curious… I am still 8 pounds heavier than my pre-pregnancy weight (muscle weighs more than fat!) and can fit into the majority of my clothes but still working on fitting into my shorts!
When I walked into my first class, I had no idea what to expect. It was a little hard to grasp the concept of the technique with all of those tiny little movements. Each class starts with a quick warm up then you hit the ground for some ab work. We had to put our legs out at a diagonal and do leg lifts…
This is the point at which I wanted to QUIT… not even 10 minutes in and I was thinking to myself “This is too soon after delivery!” – “My body isn’t ready for this!” – “Why am I here?!” – “Where did my abs go??!” – “Who do I think I am thinking I can do this rock star workout?!” I was full of self-doubt. I was full of anxiety. I was full of negative energy. I was full of s#!t… TRULY.
WHY was I sabotaging myself?! WHAT was wrong with me that I couldn’t fill my mind with positive energy, positive thoughts, encouragement and self love? I realized that it’s natural to feel that negative energy – especially when you’re trying to do something you could easily do prior to getting pregnant. BUT, it’s also an opportunity to turn all of that around. Change your mindset. Change your life.
I have to admit… at first, the only thing that kept me in that class was the fact that I PAID FOR IT. After all of my negative self talk, I said to myself “There’s no way you’re walking out after 10 minutes”. You didn’t pay that much money for a 10 minute “workout”! Then after taking my first class, the price of the first class goes toward your 1-month new client trial… so I’m like every lady out there that likes a good SALE / DISCOUNT. I signed up. After all, if you go every single day for that first month, each class comes out to $3.33 ($100/30 days) – seriously… what lady can pass up a deal like that?! Plus, because classes fill up quickly, you need to sign up for each class ahead of time (there’s an awesome app for that) and you can’t just NOT show up. You will be charged $$. Pure Barre sets you up for success because you can’t flake!
Since that first month of growing pains – both literal and figurative – I’ve come to really appreciate my Pure Barre workouts. It takes 55 minutes out of my day (plus 15 minutes before and after of driving) but I get my daily workout, I get to socialize with other like-minded women and I feel myself getting stronger daily.
The community of women is awesome. They come from all walks of life – business owners, doctors, surfers, waitresses, sales associates, pregnant women, mothers… meteorologists We suffer together. We commiserate. We support each other. We lift each other up. The atmosphere is one of inclusion instead of competition. You work at doing YOUR PERSONAL best.
A little breakdown of how a barre class goes at Pure Barre Maui… first, the quick warm up. Then, on the floor for some ab work and 90 seconds of planking. Then we move on to triceps and push ups on the floor. After that we do an arm workout (with or without weights). Moving on, we do three thigh exercises and two seat (okole) exercises before heading under the barre for ab work. After the barre workout we head out onto our mats in the middle of the floor for crunches and lower ab leg lifts then balance that out with a quick lower back exercise and flip back over for one last seat exercise to round out the class. This is the same routine every day. The exercises within the routine change to keep the workout interesting, challenging and new. I should also mention that there are periods of stretching between each of the big muscle group workouts. I’ve always been flexible but I’ve never been as flexible as I am now. It’s amazing. I should also mention the teachers are fantastic. They all have this sixth sense of knowing exactly when you’re about to fall out of your workout and “cheat”… but instead of yelling at you, they say in a super sweet, calm, LOVING voice “You can do it Malika. You’re stronger than you think.” How can you let them down?! Because of these sweet encouraging words, I’ve stayed in several exercises that hurt so much they made me CRY. Literally in tears and wiping my face dry with my shirt.
The workout itself is a series of very small movements. You often hear phrases like “up an inch, down an inch”. Words like “lift”, “squeeze”, “shake”, “tuck”, “hold”… to find out more about technique go to this link HERE. It’s complicated to explain but after about a week of classes you start to really understand how it works. In each class I make a connection that I didn’t quite understand prior to that class. The workout is so hard that it’s a break for my mind too. All I’m thinking about is tucking and lifting. It’s my meditation! PS – If it’s truly just TOO HARD, there are modifications for all of the movements. Personally, my back is still pretty sensitive so any exercise that puts strain on my back, I modify. Click HERE for a link to Pure Barre Maui.
So, to re-cap… my postpartum fitness journey led me to Pure Barre this time around. I do ONE 55 minute class 5 to 7 days a week. I LOVE TO HATE IT. ha ha! The workout absolutely kills me… (I’ve CRIED in class on more than one occasion) BUT it’s making me stronger. I’ve never had definition like this in my arms. My baby belly pooch is still there… but when I contract my abs, it’s clear that it’s all just loose skin… there are actual abs under there!
I feel strong. I feel healthy. I feel like ME again… but a better version.
5’10″ and normally 125 lbs. to 135 lbs.
Jackson pregnancy: Start – 128 lbs. / At delivery – 168 lbs.
Waipuna pregnancy: Start – 124 lbs. / At delivery – 164 lbs.
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