The Perfect Workout After Kids Is the One You Enjoy

Carly PizzaniWhen I returned to work four months after giving birth, all my clients checked out my post-baby body and secretly judged me for not having lost every ounce of baby weight already. I mean, come on! She's a personal trainer! How hard can it be for her to get back into shape? they all asked themselves.

Okay, that isn't true. As it turns out, my clients are all rational human beings. Unfortunately, I wasn't. The pressure I felt to get back to my normal weight was enormous, and it all stemmed from me. So I threw myself into what I knew and had always loved -- running.

Running was easy, quick, and there's a park two blocks from where I live. Running was also my outlet pre-baby (and during pregnancy too!). And now? I hated it. I felt uncomfortable and self-conscious. I ran, coming up with elaborate scenarios in my head where someone would comment on my lack of fitness, or how my body looked, to which I would yell, "But I just had a baby!" Yeah, I know. I was cray cray.

I struggled through training for a race I'd signed up for optimistically when pregnant, and I have to tell you, finishing that race made me so happy. Because now I didn't have to run anymore.

And there's the kicker -- anytime you think you have to do something, anytime you make something you enjoy your must-do instead of your I'm-so-happy-I-can-do, anytime you think the workout you actually hate is the 'best' way to lose weight, THAT'S when you're going to crash and burn.

So, the perfect workout? Well, it may sound trite, but the perfect workout is the one you enjoy. If you hate spin class and think it's a special kind of torture, then even if you spend a fortune buying sessions, you're either going waste your money by not going, OR you're going to force yourself to do something you hate. Either way, you're not going to be a happy bunny, and I'll tell you a trainer secret -- when you're not happy with what you're doing, you're not happy with how you look.

Find the love of your (workout) life. Forget what's trendy, or what your friends do, or what you think you should do (and yes, this last one is what I was guilty of). Once you find the workout that makes you feel like exercise is fun, and a chance for you to take time for yourself, you'll be a happier, healthier, hotter mom. 

As for me? I quit running for a while. I dabbled with yoga and rediscovered my love of weights. Now, I'm back to running, but these days it's because I do love it, not because I think it's what I should do to look a certain part. 

Have you found your favorite way to work out? Is there a workout you love to hate?

Image via Carly Pizzani

exercise, weight loss, time for you


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Tracy Odell

Welcome to The Stir, Carly!

nonmember avatar Johanna

I'm addicted to the barre method. I have 3 kids and it keeps me sane and fit. Great article.

nonmember avatar Johanna

I'm addicted to the barre method. I have 3 kids and it keeps me sane and fit. Great article.

Kim Griffin Turner

Running is my favorite (except for a few odd times!!).
Great post!

nonmember avatar Jenny Stulberg

SO TRUE! Great advice and exactly what I needed to hear for my own workout routine! Sometimes the hardest part of a workout is battling our own inner "cray" and listening to our bodies instead. Hit the nail right on the head (yet again). Great post, I'll definitely be back for more :)

Carly Pizzani

Thanks, guys! It makes such a difference when you find that one workout that you know works for you, right? 

nonmember avatar Terry S.

I love this article. So true! I found that my perfect workout involves a recumbant bike. Because of injuries I sustained from breaking my foot years ago, running/jogging/walking is pretty much out of the question...however I can put miles on the bike and I love it!

Lindsey Scott

I think that only an expert can give us good pieces of advice about how to lose weight. When I gave birth to my first child I had some kind of depression as I gained 14 extra kilos during pregnancy and did not know what to do with them. I was also running in the park which is not far from my house, I did exercises every morning and evening. You know, it didn’t bring results besides the pain in the legs, shoulders and belly. I was really disappointed as I didn’t want to torture my body with diets. Finally I found free post-baby weight loss programs on one site and (believe it or not) started lose weight! Now I’m still far from excellent forms but I hope to achieve them very soon. You are right, Carly. We should do the things we enjoy.

Carly Pizzani

Terry, that's great - biking is excellent when you need something low-impact for injury. There are some new classes being offered (at least in NYC) where they have spin bikes in a pool. Might be something you want to look into - the water adds resistance, but it's still a safe activity for your foot injuries.

Lindsey, I'm so glad you found something that worked for you! It's the simplest advice to do what you love, but so many women still force themselves to do workouts they hate, thinking they'll get results. I'm sure you look and feel wonderful now! :)

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