As I drove to the gym this morning to catch a 5:45am TRX and Kettlebell class, I started to reflect on how my routine, and my outlook on fitness and working out has completely changed since this time last year. Although I knew Ellie was on her way at this point last May, I was still in my normal routine, just me, myself and I.
I fretted SO much when I reached the latter stages of my pregnancy that it would be impossible to ever get myself into a ‘routine’ once baby arrived. I thought that I could say ‘adios’ to ever catching an early morning workout, let alone ever making it to the gym again. For some it may seem like such a stupid thing to get anxious over, but I thrive on getting a workout in, it sets me up for the day, clears my head, and obviously keeps me fit. It is only since I started my Instagram account and blog that I realise there are so many others out there, who like myself, are totally freaked out that their regular workout routine will go out the window once baby arrives. I get at least 4-5 private messages every week from expectant mothers, or mothers, who ask me how the heck am I doing it. I wish I had the magic answer, but I don’t. It’s certainly not about having the time, because although I am still on maternity leave, I still chase my tail from the moment my feet hit the floor in the morning. For me, it’s about making the time.
It was true that routine sorta goes out the window, even now at 5 months postpartum I rarely know what days I will get to workout on. Before Ellie arrived, I knew on a Sunday night what days I was going train on for the week ahead. I knew what classes I could book into, and I knew how many sessions was I going to get in. I would feel somewhat lazy and would beat myself up if I got anything less than 4 sessions in per week.
Fast forward to now, my perspective has changed, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
I no longer sweat the small stuff. I don’t get anxious if I miss a session. Instead I feel a little smug and proud of myself if I manage 2-3 workouts a week . I don’t panic if I book into a 5:45am class and decide that when my alarm goes off at 5:15am I would much rather extra sleep. Since becoming a mother, my priorities have changed. Yes of course I still have a passion for keeping fit and healthy, but it is a juggling act with also having a passion for being the best mother I can possibly be. There is no comparison for the depth of energy I will always put into being a good mother for Ellie, compared to the reserve of energy I (sometimes!) have to keep up with fitness.
I still have to push myself when the tiredness is overwhelming, but I always know I feel so much better after a bit of exercise. I try to plan my week now with an aim of how many sessions I want to get in, as opposed to setting out a routine that sticks to timetables. I always aim to get to the gym at least twice, and anything over that is a bonus. I book my classes with good intentions, but I don’t panic if I don’t make it. Booking a class alone just makes me feel accountable that I need to try and organise myself not to miss it, and if I do miss it, who cares?
It obviously is a huge help that my partner is very supportive and encourages me to workout, as he knows how much exercise helps with my mood and overall mental health…..which in turn makes me a better mother.
While Ben may leave for work early, and get home late, he will still always make sure that I can get to the gym during the week and weekend. I am at a stage now where I sort of know that during the week a 5:45 class falls in between feeds with Ellie. It 100% is not pleasant when that alarm goes off at 5:15, but for me it is about making the time, doing this is the only way I can be sure I can get a session in. If she happens to have a bad night, I simply miss the class, and re book to go during the weekend when Ben is off and it is easier to work around.
The point of this rambling is to highlight to anyone panicking like I did last year, is that yes your routine changes; BUT you do gradually gain back some sort of schedule to workout.
If you want to keep up with your fitness pursuits bad enough, you will find the time, and if you don’t manage to find the time some weeks…..you probably won’t care as much as you used to!
I now realise that I was probably a little overboard with how much importance I placed on getting to the gym before I had Ellie. If I missed a session, it could put me in a bad mood for the rest of the day, or even the week. I was so regimented that I couldn’t see the wood from the trees if unexpected plans came up, or if life simply got in the way of my workout routine. Fast forward to now in the midst of the chaos of being a mother, I am now just happy and proud of myself for any effort I make, and I no longer beat myself up if things don’t pan out as I planned.
Priorities shift, tiredness wins, but it does get easier….I promise!