**UPDATE: I’ve had a few people concerned that I’m not eating and that my comments about weakness below are in relation to my general health and lack of nutrition. I can assure you I am not falling down with my child, putting her in any harm and that I am eating a hearty amount. My note about falling (that has since been removed) was as I was standing up while awkwardly trying to avoid stepping on the dog. C.D. was there and witnessed my tumble – he is not concerned that I cannot care for my child. I fell forward because my balance was off (something that comes with having a strong c0re) – not because I’m so weak that I’m unable to hold my 16-pound daughter safely.
I ask for help if I’m unable to do something I think would put her in jeopardy and realize my limitations. I have spoken with my doctor about my weight loss from nursing and he has assured me I am within a healthy BMI range and he is not concerned. However, I, myself, believe I need to be more physically fit. I do feel weak. But weak as in not the strong, kick-butt person I used to be.
This post is merely my experience with not being as active as I am accustomed to being and this is my self-motivation to add weight-lifting back into my lifestyle to be the best me I can. I very much appreciate the concern and wanted to put everyone at ease!**
For as long as I can remember I’ve been told to slow down. I was a kid on the move and today I still can’t sit still long enough. Sure, I can make it through a movie, but I usually have to get up to go to the bathroom, or make a drink, or get a bite to eat, or start 409ing the end tables, or check on the baby who has been sleeping soundly for an hour and is probably fine… okay, I can’t make it through a movie.
I also like to think that I’ve been pretty athletic most of my life. I grew up playing as many sports as my exhausted parents could accommodate. Soccer, volleyball, softball, dance were my go-tos (all at one time, mind you), which eventually evolved into running and weight-lifting once I was too old to play contact sports.
I was even active while pregnant with E. I ran up until 31 weeks (much to the dismay of my parents and in-laws) and was approached by a gentleman at the gym while at 35 weeks who asked if it was “safe for me to be working out” while I conducted leg presses. I advised him that my OB-GYN had no problem with me being fit while being safe, and I continued on my merry way until I was limited to walks around our favorite park.
Which leads me to the point of this post – I have never been so muscularly weak in my entire life. I had all sorts of expectations for getting back into shape post-baby, but I’ve dropped the ball on all of them. Call it my pre-baby activities, but coupled with nursing, I weigh less than I did pre-baby… and that’s not a good thing. C.D. has taken to calling me “Bird Legs,” as my once toned, strong soccer legs are now sticks.
(Now, please do not think I am bashing anyone or putting anyone down who happens to be itty bitty or even a little more voluptuous. I’m merely stating that I, MYSELF, am not as healthy as I should be or need to be at this point in my life.)
A stomach virus rocked me this past week (which is the explanation for my lack of posting last week) and I lost more weight due to my lack of food and water intake. It’s then that I realized how truly muscularly weak I have become by not having fitness in my life, and I’m ready to get serious about getting back in shape.
As motivation for myself and for anyone else looking to maybe work in a few “anywhere” toning opportunities, I’m sharing several of my FAVORITE (as in “these suck so bad but are so worth it in the end”) moves from my all-time favorite exercise program – Shark Fitness.
Don’t worry, Keath, I have plans to make it to the Saturday morning programs whenever I can get time to myself.
PLEASE READ: I am not a certified trainer and all exercises shared below should be done with proper form and extreme caution. Please consult a certified trainer if you are unsure of how to perform any of these exercises. Like Keath… just saying.
Fast Squats with Low Holds
Ahh, the old squat. A butt’s best friend. Take it up a notch by executing fast squats with a periodic hold at the bottom.
- While standing with feet shoulder-width apart, begin squatting at as quick of a pace as you can.
- Make sure your butt does not pass your knees when at your lowest and that you keep your chest and chin up the entire time to avoid back injury.
- Continue fast squats and freeze at the lowest point of the squat for 10 seconds.
- After the time has passed, jump up into the air and resume fast squats.
- Continue this process for 2-3 minutes. Believe me, your legs will be jello by the end.
Up and Downhill Bear Crawling
Holy all-body workout. Be prepared to pant like a bear, too.
- At the bottom of a hill (the steeper the hill the more challenging the workout), get down onto all fours with your feet facing backwards uphill.
- Keeping your knees off the ground, lower your butt and keep your back as even as possible.
- Begin crawling backwards up the hill. Rest when needed, but do not stop until you are all the way to the top of the hill.
- Once at the top, sideways crawl (again, off of the knees) to your left.
- Stop after 10 paces, and begin to crawl forwards down the hill (slowly, as not to fall forward onto your face).
- Once at the bottom of the hill, sideways crawl to the right for 10 paces until you reach your starting point.
- Rest for 30 seconds then resume.
You seriously cannot mess these up. This one is pretty self-explanatory.
- Find a hill, position yourself downhill, and start your push-ups.
- Once you fatigue, move to flat ground and resume.
- Once fatigued on flat ground, position yourself uphill and continue.
- This process should take 2 minutes. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat if possible.
I hate doing abs. Seriously, this particular part of exercising I dread and subsequently spend the least time focusing on. But, these little guys will really get you feeling the burn.
- While laying flat on the ground with your arms stretched out over your head and legs straight out in front of you, use your abs to pull yourself up into a “V.”
- Important: DO NOT GRAB YOUR LEGS TO PULL YOURSELF UP. This completely defeats the purpose of the exercise. Also DO NOT REST your elbows or legs on the ground while up in the “V.”
- Once in the “V,” hold the position for 10 seconds. Release and slowly extend back down to the flat position.
- Repeat the exercise, but work in additional moves to make this more challenging.
- While you are up in the “V” and your legs are out straight, pull them in to 90-degrees and extend them back out. Do this 10 times then lay flat.
- While you are up in the “V” and your legs are out straight, begin to kick your legs. Switch legs and kick them as high as you can go (make sure you never place your feet on the ground, though). Repeat for 10 counts then rest.
- While you are up in the “V” and your legs are out straight, begin egg-beater motions with your legs (use each leg to produce a circle). Again, do not rest your feet OR your arms/hands on the ground. Repeat for 10 counts then rest.
Broad Jumps with Burpees
Do you enjoy tasting your breakfast again? If not, consider eating a banana before this workout (I’ve heard it doesn’t taste so bad when you throw up). Burpees get such a bad rap, because let’s be honest, they are exhausting. But they’re also REALLY good for your endurance.
- Find an area where you have lots of room to move yourself forward.
- Use your legs to propel your whole body forward via a broad jump (squat down low and with all of your might, jump as far forward as you can). Be careful to land heel to toe and even-footed so that you do not fall forward.
- Once you have landed firmly on the ground, immediately jump down into a crouch.
- Extend your legs backwards to put yourself into a push-up position.
- Produce one push-up, then jump your feet back into a crouched position.
- Using your endurance, jump from crouched position straight up into the air with arms extended over your head.
- Once you have landed, again squat down and jump forward for another broad jump.
- Conduct 15-20 broad jump/burpee executions then rest for 15-30 seconds.
- Turn, and repeat until you reach your starting position.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, Shark Fitness was (and hopefully soon again will be) my go-to workout regime. In addition to high-intensity cardio, you use resistance bands to build muscle and tone your whole body while taking the class. The exercises above are just examples of some of the workouts you can do on your own using your body weight as a workout tool.
I’ll share progress as I’m able to start adding workouts back into my routine. If you have any success stories or tips on maintaining a healthy exercise program while being a full-time working Mom, I’d love to hear them!