Category Archives: workout

What I Have Learned About Postpartum Fitness After the Birth of My Third Child

It’s me again!  It has been way too long since my last post.  I had coffee with two good friends this week who inspired me to pull out the old laptop and get things together.  That said, I also felt obliged to post given that I am now three months out from the birth of my third child AND I have officially competed in two races since having her.

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If you followed my blog through pregnancy number three, you know that I kept up with my fitness for the full forty weeks.  While the events leading up to my delivery didn’t necessarily go as planned (they never do), my delivery was short and sweet.  For that, I am thankful.

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And for that, I want to share some of my thoughts on postpartum fitness after the birth of my third daughter.  You don’t have to agree, but you should consider (and remember these are just my thoughts).

  • Trying to hit a number on a scale as a goal to getting back to your pre-pregnancy self is annoying.  I will be straight up with you.  I am still not back at my pre-pregnancy weight, and I don’t care.  I actually find the posts about losing weight really annoying.  See thought number two.
  • Pre-pregnancy functionality should be your first goal.  If you lose a bunch of weight, but your core is torn to shreds and your back hurts doing daily activities, does it even matter?
  • Take the pressure off yourself.  Social media has made it impossible for us to not compare ourselves against other people in how quick we can get back to our old selves.  In the grand scheme of things an extra month of two means NOTHING!  Just like when you feel like your pregnancy is taking forever, once it’s over, it seems like it flew by.
  • You will learn more each pregnancy.  Gosh, I wish I could go back and talk to myself as a teenager, college student, first time mom.  Hindsight is 20/20.  No one will ever be able to explain that feeling to you until you have been there yourself.

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If I’m going to throw all of these thoughts at you, I feel I need to give you some explanations as to how I reached them.  Let’s start with my journey following the birth of my third daughter.  As confident as I might seem, I suffer from what I want to call “mom anxiety”.  Ever since I had children, I fear the worst for myself.  I don’t want anything to happen to me because I am afraid of what I would miss out on if I weren’t around.  Let me be clear, this anxiety doesn’t consume me, but I tend to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to taking care of my personal health.

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That said, after my third pregnancy, I vowed to ease back into activity and really focus on  rebuilding my pelvic floor and core before going full blown anaerobic.  After four to five weeks of not doing much, I got on the phone with my doctor and explained my concerns to which she responded that as a result of my non complicated labor and deliveries, I was free to do whatever I wanted.  Even though the advice was coming from my doctor, I took it with a grain of salt.  Mom anxiety.

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Each day I did a little more and on days that I didn’t feel right, I didn’t do anything.  I really had no goals for the rest of the year, as the most important thing to me was being an active part of my growing family’s lives.  Anything else was just an added bonus.  Surprisingly (yet not surprisingly), my body responded well to my transition back into training. I began to reset benchmarks to refresh my training for my postpartum fitness levels (i.e. I ran a mile time trial, I put myself on the torqboard at Flywheel, and I reassessed max pull-ups and other body weight exercises).  Let me be clear, my fitness is not comparable to anyone but myself.  Prior to getting pregnant, I had competed at Spartan Race World Championships and I was able to maintain many of my obstacle course racing workouts throughout.

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We had a lot on our plate and maintaining a regular exercise program, while also finding time to myself (I mean all by myself) was a serious need to keep me sane.  We traveled to Virginia when my youngest was just a few weeks old.  We also took our kids on their first flight of 2017 for a family vacation to Naples, FL.

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These are the things we live for.  We love spending time together.  We love family.  We love being busy.  For some reason in all this hoopla, I decided to sign up for a Spartan Race and continue a family tradition of running the local Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving.  With my most laid back approach to a race, baby weight still to lose and a few hours a sleep at night, I managed to compete at as a high level as I did pre-pregnancy.

  • 8th place overall in the Carolinas Spartan Race Sprint (my first top ten finish EVER in a Spartan Race)
  • 8k Turkey Trot – 36:22 (7:19/mile) – 2016 time 7:09/mile, 2015 time 7:21/mile

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It was through all of this madness, that I truly realized that the human body is an absolutely incredible machine that should never be subjected to a number on a machine.  It should never be compared to another.  Everyone’s circumstance is different and if you are functional, proud and just plain happy you get it.  Everyone’s postpartum journey is their own.  I think I have finally found a way to own mine, and I can only feel such gratitude that I have the ability to share my thoughts with others.  Please feel free to reach out with comments or questions.

Week 39 – Round 3

Size of Baby (per “What To Expect”) – Size of a water melon? Somewhere over 7-8 pounds – based on ultrasound THREE weeks ago.  What do you think based on the picture below?  Can you tell I’m over it?

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Weight Gain – 25 pounds. I actually lost weight this week.  I literally can’t wait to see how big this baby is.  I can feel the mold of what makes up her back and torso and it isn’t small.  My first daughter was 7 lbs 11 oz, 21 inches long.  My second?  7 lbs 12 oz, 21 inches long.  Both were born earlier than this one.

Movement – One word.  Uncomfortable.  Movement these days is intentional.  When pressed in certain directions, I literally almost jump out of my seat.

Sleep – I’m sleeping!  Less anxiety these days.   After finding out another week would go by before our daughter would be born, I finally accepted that I have absolutely no control over child birth.  Maybe I was a little cocky going into round 3?  Like, I know my body – I got this.  Nope.  I don’t got this.  Clearly our third daughter is in charge.

What I miss – I can’t really think of anything.  Seriously.

Best Moments this Week – I made the most out of this week with my girls.  Neither of them were in camps or activities this week, so we got to spend some quality time together.  I have never been and will never be a mom who gets a sitter for the day only to go on with my own activities all day.  I left my full time job to be a mom, so I take pride in finding ways to stay engaged with my children.

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We went out to breakfast.  Even if it’s only a half hour activity, getting a chance to sit down and eat together at a restaurant is way more fun than staying at the house.

We finally went to the Myers Park Library to get our library cards and attend story time. Surprisingly, we ran into several friends that we had not seen in weeks.  We got there early enough that we could play with puzzles, check out our own books and read some stories before the FREE event began.

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We took ownership in our “makeup” and nail polish.  No.  I don’t think my girls need make up.  I certainly don’t wear a lot.  However, they are intrigued by touching and using  the products right now.  That said, I have realized that if I make them responsible for their own products, they are more likely to take care of my products.  We headed to Target so each girl could get their own small make up bag, some chapstick, a bottle of nail polish, some powder and some make up wipes.  Nothing big, but they now have a place to put their jewelry, toothbrushes and overnight accessories.  They are “big girls”.

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My husband took Friday off of work in anticipation that I might be admitted to the hospital to meet our daughter.  Either way, we had tickets to the PGA Tournament that day (so he had a back up plan).  After learning that I had not progressed much during the week (and we would not meet our daughter), we asked the girls what they wanted to do.  We headed to the park.  What a way to shift focus and move on with our day.

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After we went to the park, I told my husband to go to the tournament.  While I would miss the event, I didn’t want our tickets to go to waste.  I sat around and felt sorry for myself for about two hours before I rallied the girls to go shopping with me before stopping at Sunflower Bakery for some cookies.  They obliged.  I absolutely love shopping with them now.  Not only do they actually enjoy it, but they are so freaking cute!

Thank you Pink Social for carrying such adorable Carolina Panther gear.  We even picked up a little tee for the baby to wear as we wrap up summer.

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And, I’m still not done.  After spending all day with the girls during the week, I convinced my husband to go with us to see the Lion King in theaters on Saturday.

Looking forward to – I mean.  Do I have to answer this?  Labor.  Do people really look forward to that?  I am dying to feel like I am going into labor.  I know my husband is as eager as I am to meet our final addition.  He sure does love his girls.

Cravings – Not many cravings these days.  Favorite at home meal this week was turkey tacos with fresh guacamole, cooked corn, and jalapeños from the garden. My husband and I snuck out for dinner at Cafe Monte on Saturday for some much needed adult time.

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Symptoms – I have trouble getting in and out of the car.  I don’t know why I was ever worried about diastatis recti.  I have no control at this point.  I have no abs.

Workouts – Lots of Flywheel.  I lost interest in strength workouts this week.  My large stature makes lifting uncomfortable and undesirable.  Further, the chance of rain most of the week put a damper on my intentions to walk/run.

  • Monday – Strength workout in the garage.
  • Tuesday  – Ride 3:30 PM Flywheel with Shelby.
  • Wednesday – I went for a RUN! 3 miles at that.  I mean thanks (but no thanks) to everyone who has told me I should walk to get the baby to drop.  I’m pretty sure that running would get me there.

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  • Thursday – Ride Flywheel Charlotte with Brandon.
  • Friday – Ride (AGAIN) Flywheel Charlotte with Shelby.
  • Saturday – I got myself together and did a short strength workout in the garage.  I can still do pull ups!
  • Sunday – I rode with Brie at Flywheel.  Girl.  That class.  The best I have taken in months.

Week 38 – Round 3

Size of Baby (per “What To Expect”) – Size of a winter melon (not sure what that is, but I would guess more like a watermelon…). Somewhere over 7 pounds – based on ultrasound two weeks ago.

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Weight Gain – 25-26 pounds. Weight has stayed pretty consistent if not dropped a pound or two the past week.  This baby is riding low.  While it looks like my belly hasn’t changed much from week 37, it continues to drop significantly.  There is a lot more space between my bra line and the top of my bump.

Movement – Consistent, yet unexpected.  I feel like she is a big girl.  I am interested to see just how big.  My first daughter weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces.  My second daughter 7 pounds, 12 ounces.

Sleep – Horrible.  I’m not going to lie.  I’m anxious.  After a flurry of Braxton Hicks contractions two weeks ago, I was horrified the baby was coming early.  Here we are two weeks later and I don’t feel like she is going anywhere.  The anxiety of where I will be and what I will be doing when real contractions come on is driving me nuts.  Once I get it in my head that I won’t be able to fall asleep it is all down hill from there.  I start worrying then if I won’t be exhausted when the baby gets here because I am only sleeping five hours a night.  You get my drift.  I’m limiting naps as much as I can to increase the likelihood of sleep at night.

What I miss – It’s safe to say, I already miss teaching Flywheel and training my regular clients.  Last Monday was my last class teaching at Flywheel until after the baby arrives.  I also put a pause on all of other training this week to try to get some rest.  Thankfully, I have such an incredible support system (including all of the other moms/moms to be at Flywheel).  I snuck out with my oldest daughter Sunday to attend a baby shower for another Flywheel mom to be.

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Best Moments this Week – At this point, every meal that we go to may or may not be our last as a family of four.  We are continuing to soak in the memories as a smaller family unit.  We went out to dinner both Friday and Saturday night and even made a late night playground run to work out some of the girl’s energy.

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My sister officially moved to Charlotte about two months ago.  That said, she is already moving and shaking so much so that a group of new friends hosted a welcome party for her this past weekend.  My mom and I were able to attend and the girls stopped by at the tail end of the event.  They sure are excited to have her in their hometown.

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Looking forward to – Meeting this little peanut.  I go back to the doctor Wednesday.  Cross your fingers that I have progressed.  At my last doctor’s appointment, I had not progressed any since the previous appointment.  Still sitting pretty at 1 cm dilated.   I will be having my membranes stripped at this week’s appointment, at which point we hope to meet our baby girl.   This worked with both of my other pregnancies.  In the even that it doesn’t, there is a possibility that we will be at the hospital on Friday for an induction. The girl’s were by my side at last week’s appointment and will likely be there this week.

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Cravings – Without teaching and training, I have more time than I know what to do with myself.  We have been fortunate enough to receive several gift cards to grocery stores which we have already started to use.  Let’s just say, I have been cooking a lot.  Mostly things I know take longer to prepare than the time I will have when the baby arrives. Even with that extra time, I still opt to eat off paper plates to avoid doing dishes.

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Symptoms – Like I said before, I feel larger this go round.  Getting in and out of the SUV, bed and tying my shoes is a struggle.  My husband attributes this to me being smaller in size every where else than I was with my other pregnancies. However, I am not totally convinced.  The picture below is a picture of me at the same point in my last pregnancy.

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Workouts – I scaled things back towards the beginning of the week, before getting things seriously moving by the end of the week.  I’m ready to work this baby out.

  • Monday – I taught my last Flywheel class until post baby at 6:30 AM.
  • Tuesday – Strength work in the garage.  Focusing on higher repetitions and lighter weight and/or bodyweight.
  • Wednesday – Walk around the neighborhood!
  • Thursday – I rode at Flywheel with Shelby.  I even managed to squeeze out a pretty high power score at this point in my pregnancy.

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  • Friday – Strength work in the garage
  • Saturday – I RAN!  2 minutes on, 2 minutes off.  I wore my belly band with no problem and logged 3 miles.
  • Sunday – I rode with Cole, our newest instructor at Flywheel.  He will be taking over this time slot while I’m out. Look at that belly!

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Week 37 – Round 3

Size of Baby (per “What To Expect”) – Size of a cantaloupe. Somewhere over 7 pounds – based on last week’s ultrasound.

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Weight Gain – 26 pounds.  I am staying consistent with my weight gain from my previous two pregnancies. However, I am in much better shape strength wise with this pregnancy than I was with number one and two. I would say more of my weight gain is lean muscle mass at this point. It will be interesting to see how that translates when I take several weeks off from heavy lifting following delivery.

Movement – Whoa, movement. At my ultrasound last week the baby was rolled over to my left side. In what seemed like a 48 hour period, she completely shifted down and her back is now facing out. She is riding low. Getting out of bed is a struggle.

Sleep – After several rounds of severe Braxton Hicks this week that made me question whether labor might be impending, my anxiety level is heightened. Hence, I am not sleeping my best. With two kids to look after full time, not knowing when I will be heading to the hospital for a 48 hour period is nerve racking. I’m doing my best to rest throughout the day on the nights that I don’t sleep as well, as I know that I need to.

I have been trying to keep the girls on a pretty consistent schedule which means that we try to get as much activity in before lunch time (in case we don’t want to play outside in the afternoon heat).  The girls are also finishing up their summer session of soccer.

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Spending the afternoon indoors can be boring.  To fill the time with less physical activities, we have been painting, baking and watching movies.  I am nesting now.  I take a deep breath every time I take out all of the tools that I know will bring on a huge mess (i.e. clean up).  The more we try these activities, the more we get used to learning how to clean up right?

What I miss – Competing!  This weekend I had several athletes complete the Asheville Super Spartan Race.  I have favored this course in past years, as it has been a strong course performance wise for me.  I didn’t even get to drive up to watch because of my impending due date.  I am so proud of them for heading up the mountain and crossing the finish line.  We will see what my race schedule looks like the rest of the year post baby.

Best Moments this Week – While I wasn’t competing this weekend, I stayed busy at home spending time with the family (we never know when any activity will be our last as a family of four).  IMG_6072

After a crazy thunderstorm knocked out the power at our house Friday evening, we decided to walk out to watch the kick off for 24 Hours of Booty (i.e. the biggest tailgate of the year for residents of Queens Rd).  After a half mile walk (in which my oldest daughter scootered the entire way), we ended up at an F3 party.  Live band – check.  Barbecue – check.  Kids – check.  The girls lined the streets with the other children to give out high fives to the riders.  They are finally at an age where we can trust them not to walk out in front of (bike) traffic.

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We laid pretty low on Saturday.  As I mentioned above, I slept in, watched the Asheville Spartan Race live and completed a short workout in the garage before running a few errands with the family and calling it a day.

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We kept with that theme Sunday.  After teaching at Flywheel that morning, we grabbed breakfast at Flying Biscuit, went to Lowes and the grocery store and occupied the rest of our afternoon at the house.  Paint shelving – check.  Water balloons – check.

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Looking forward to – Meeting our third child.  Could we get any closer?  Time sure does creep by the last few days/weeks.  I have one of my final doctor appointments on Wednesday afternoon.  No camps this week for the girls, so I will be taking them with me.  My oldest daughter will actually help measure my belly at some visits.

Cravings – Let me name them all in order.

  • Peanut butter.  I eat it several times in a day (whether it be on a bagel, in a bar or in a smoothie).  I can’t get enough.
  • Desserts.  Preferably chocolate.  Cookies, cakes and brownies.
  • Quantity.  Any and everything.  This baby is growing bigger and bigger by the day.  With nesting going on, I am filling up plates full of food (and eating it all).

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Symptoms – I’m going to be real here.  Some time on Wednesday afternoon, I started to feel serious Braxton Hicks.  Like the kind that make you question if labor is lingering.  If you have never had a child, you won’t get this.  Essentially your stomach tightens up all around the baby, everything starts to compact down and you aren’t sure if you need to poop your pants.  That’s real.  It’s inconsistent and sometimes quick, sometimes long.  After going away the next morning, it happened again on Thursday.  After going to bed early, drinking a TON of water and taking off Friday, I was back to myself (and I have been since).  Eek.

Workouts – See symptoms above.  Serious Braxton Hicks contractions created a need for me to slow things down this week.  That said, as I sit here and type, I feel great (like I could go a few more weeks carrying this child).

  • Monday – I taught my regular 6:30AM Flywheel class.
  • Tuesday – Strength work in the garage (as always, I will send if you would like to see).
  • Wednesday – I went for a RUN!  See picture below.  I squeezed in almost 4 miles.  That said, this is the day I started to feel yucky in the afternoon.  Maybe the running started to make her drop?  Either way, I’m done with that.

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  • Thursday – I rode with Abbie (who is due just a few weeks after me) and taught my final 3:30PM Flywheel class before baby number three arrives.
  • Friday – TAKE A DAY OFF.  Regroup.  It’s time to start conserving energy.
  • Saturday – Sleep in.  Short Strength workout in the garage.  I’m still hanging in there (quite literally!)

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  • Sunday – I taught my final 7:30AM Flywheel class before baby number three arrives.  So bittersweet.  I L.O.V.E this crew!