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