Rosie from MAMAWELL writes about her experiences motivating postnatal women to exercise and find a fitness routine that gives them confidence.
So, you’ve made the decision and have the best of intentions of getting to the gym. Which if you’ve had a baby, is a hard headspace to even reach – so congratulations already. You’ve bought the leggings that make you feel great, you’ve downloaded the power playlist guaranteed to fire you up, and you’re pretty sure you have some moves organised that will make you stronger and feeling awesome. But then you cop out. Not feeling energised, haven’t got time, too much work on or the baby really needs you. The list of excuses is easy to populate, and don’t get me wrong, a lot of times these are not excuses, but just facts of life.
But the one factor often subconsciously holding us back from exercising is our own self confidence. From the insecurity we feel about our bodies, to the uncertainty of what we’re going to actually DO when we hit the gym, they are often strong enough feelings that prevent us from putting on our trainers and getting out there.
As a trainer with a post-natal focus, I often find my clients are newly lacking in body confidence, despite their bodies having facilitated the most amazing thing in carrying and birthing their baby. They see many changes in their body and many people are much less confident initially about working out. This is where the home workout comes into its own and is a lifesaver when you have a new baby and all the unpredictability that follows. Providing you can motivate yourself to start, you can get that buzz of endorphins without having to work up the confidence to work out in front of others. Additionally, with the best will in the world, the leggings on and the mind ready to work out, it is sometimes impossible to leave the house with a new baby. Having a set of exercises that you can quickly do at home is useful and a great solution.
On the flip side, the support of like-minded people in the same stage of life as you can be hugely beneficial. The community and camaraderie of the group can not only inspire you to work harder, but encourage you to be accountable to attend class, even when you're not feeling 100% confident and energised. I set up the MAMAWELL Bootcamp with this in mind, observing the confidence of individuals growing as they attended regularly. The group offers advice, support, commiseration and congratulation freely. There should hopefully be no judgement about body, parenting, life/work choices resulting in everyone feeling included.
Whether it’s just on you mind, or you’re sitting reading this ready in your active wear, my top tips for getting back into fitness with confidence include:
Find a type of exercise that you love, as that will immediately remove a barrier of entry and make you more likely to commit. Whether its postnatal fitness, running, a team sport, men/women only classes - there is definitely something out there to inspire. If you can get to the first few sessions, it is highly likely that your confidence will grow as you get fitter, understand the moves and maybe start to connect with a few people in the group.
Schedule your sessions in advance and put them firm in the diary. Committing them to your weekly schedule will make you less likely to cancel, and the excuses for not attending will become harder to find.
Workout with a friend who is the same level of fitness as you. A little bit of support and competition when you’re working out with someone who knows you well can make it fun and social. You can spur each other on, and keep each other accountable when the confidence and commitment might be low.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. There should be no pressure to ‘bounce back’ (what does that even mean? Who is bouncing anywhere after giving birth?!). I can guarantee the people with seemingly the dream bodies and fitness levels have just as many insecurities as the rest of us. If you miss a session (or end up eating a whole tub of ice cream one evening) just accept it and move on to the next day with positivity. There will always be another chance, so don’t beat yourself up too much. Life is a balance, and remember if you’ve had a baby you are most likely to be fatigued both physically and mentally. Anything you can get out and do is a bonus.
For advice on ante/post-natal fitness and wellness in general, find Rosie from MAMAWELL at www.mamawell.org or Instagram: @mamawelluk