Podcast Episode #44

How do I find the Time and Motivation to Start Exercising After having a Baby?

How do I find the Time and Motivation to Start Exercising After having a Baby: Kath Baquie from FitNest Mama

In today’s episode, we dive into finding the time and motivation to get back into exercise after having a baby. You’ve obviously got a lot on your plate as a new mum, the sleepless nights alone are enough to make exercising a difficult prospect but exercising is important for our physical recovery but also our mental and emotional health.  I recently did a free three day postnatal workshop and nearly every single mum in their reported finding time and motivation were real barriers for setting up their postnatal rehab.

I’m going to run through a few pointers on overcoming these barriers and I hope something will resonate with you and make your journey back to exercise easier. Enjoy!

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How do I find the Time and Motivation to Start Exercising After having a Baby: Birth Story



If you are pregnant or you’ve recently had a baby, this podcast is for you. I am your host Kath Baquie. a physiotherapist working in women’s health and mum of three. Join me each week as we dive into all things pregnancy care, childbirth, and postnatal recovery, helping you have a wonderful pregnancy and afterbirth experience. And don’t forget to hit subscribe so you don’t miss any episodes.


Well, hi there! Welcome to Episode 44 of the FitNest Mama Podcast. I am your host, Kath Baquie. I’m a mum of three young girls, a physio for women. And I have an online community, FitNest Mama, which helps to provide pregnant and new mothers with exercises support and resources they need to move from the overwhelm the physical aches and pains of pregnancy, or the weakness felt after birth. And instead, we replace that with comfort and confidence. They need to get their bodies and minds strong again so that they can get back to doing what they love with a bubba by their side, whether or not that’s running around with the kids at the park or running the next marathon.

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So today’s session is all about finding the time and motivation to exercise once you’ve had a baby. Just recently I’ve done a free 3-day Postnatal Workshop, and nearly every single mum in there, reported time and motivation to exercise as being real barriers and challenges to setting up their postnatal rehab and you know, getting stronger again, so I thought it was a good time to have it, chat about it. Because it’s a real challenge. You know, new mums, tired, got a new baby, learning how to do everything like breastfeed and change nappies. And I think the sleep deprivation, to name just one thing is enough to make anyone think, “Oh, I don’t have the energy to exercise today.” However, we also know that exercising can help with our body, but also our mind and our mental health and physical health. And mental health is so intertwined. So let’s have a chat today. Just some pointers about if you are finding that you’re having difficulty finding the time or the motivation or prioritizing yourself after having a baby, I’m going to run through a few pointers in no particular order, but hopefully, something that resonates with you and you might this week be able to prioritize yourself a little bit easier.

But before I do jump into this episode, I do want to let you know about a free 7 Day Trial to FitNest Mama. So in these seven days, you can attend one of our on-demand workouts for pregnancy or postpartum. There’s a whole heap of guest experts, speakers, topics including induction, mindset sets after childbirth, abdominal muscle separation, cesarean scar massage, mastitis, and more. All you need to do is head to https://fitnestmama.com/free, and the link is in the show notes.

Alright, let’s get into this episode. Okay, number one tip, if you’re wanting to find the time motivation to exercise once you’ve had a baby, I’m assuming here before we get going, I’m assuming you’re no earlier than that six-week, stage postpartum. Because if you’ve heard me talking before, you’ll probably already know that I’m the big believer that those first six weeks are all about rest and recovery. Really short little walks, you know, starting off with five minutes and building it up really slowly. So those first six weeks are all about rest, bonding with the baby. And really just a short little walk. So I’m talking more about once you’ve had your postnatal check, your six-week medical check, you’ve got all clear to get back into exercise and you’re wanting to take that next step. So the first thing to consider, which I think is at the forefront of our mind is just to be kind to yourself. You know, we’re living in a crazy world with lockdowns and all the rest. If you’ve got a newborn in the mix. Or even if it’s not a newborn, let’s say you’re six months, 12 months, three years postpartum. I think we could all be a bit kinder to ourselves.

So let’s, first of all, consider what are you wanting to get back to doing or what are you hoping to feel? So if we can consider your goals let’s think about what are your goals for 12 months’ time and then maybe we could try breaking up that bigger goal into smaller goals. So for example, if in 12 months’ time you want to be running 5 km or 10 km, then it can be a bit easier to break that goal up into smaller chunks. So apart from being candy yourself, the second tip would be just to consider, you know, think Quick, quick minute, what are your goals? Write it down, if you’d like, what are your short-term goals? What are your long-term goals? It might purely be, I just want to feel good, I want to get out in the fresh air and just change it up and feel better after exercising. And that’s a brilliant goal. But I think once you can identify your goals, then it can really help with motivation. I generally encouraged my members and my clients to think about a goal that’s achievable, one that we can break up into chunks. So rather than thinking my goal is to feel better, let’s just try to think of a way, like think of a goal. Like, how can you feel better? Feeling better is very abstract. So this will be different for everyone. But feeling better might be a by-product of exercise, but what’s your other goal? So thinking about a SMART goal specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and what sort of timeframe?

Okay, the next tip is to take away the pressure. So this is similar to being kind to yourself. So what are some goals that we can do that don’t have a lot of pressure attached, because I find if we can find a goal that’s exciting and motivating and fun? Rather than feeling a bit pressured, I find women tend to stick to those goals a bit better, too. And then putting the pressure on ourselves to let’s say, our goal is to exercise like going to the gym three times a week for an hour at a time. If you feel that might be applying pressure to you, can you think of a backup goal to help take away that pressure?

So you might think, okay, if I can’t go to the gym, that’s okay, I’m going to do a walk around the block. This kind of goes into my next point is doing something is better than nothing. If you’re listening to this podcast, I’m assuming you’re either pregnant or you’ve had a baby. And doing something can be amazing. So doing something for five minutes, might be enough to give you a different outlook on the day. Or it might be enough to just clear away a few cobwebs and feel a bit better within yourself. I often find as well mums that say, you know, I’m just going to do five minutes of one of the fitness workouts today. And by saying to themselves, they’re just gonna do five minutes only, because then they’re assuming their baby’s gonna wake up, or their toddlers gonna want to snack or something’s going to happen. But by doing five minutes, I think, yep, that’s achievable, I can do five minutes. And then what invariably will happen is that they can actually do longer than five minutes. So doing something is better than nothing, taking away the pressure, thinking about your goals, and being kind to yourself.

The next tip would be using a friend. I think the power of friends or family or whoever we’ve got with us or around us or surrounding us, can be amazing. And like I know, in these days of lockdown, and all the rest, we can’t actually physically exercise with a friend. But you might pick up the phone or say to your friend, okay, let’s have our phone conversation at 10 o’clock tomorrow. And let’s both go for a walk while we’re chatting to each other. So although we can’t exercise in person with each other, which is also amazing if you can but just brainstorming, “Okay, who can I have a chat to while I’m talking” because otherwise you might be sitting on the couch when you’re talking or knowing you’re all new mums, you’re probably multitasking and doing a million things while you’re on the phone. So take that back, you’re probably not only on your couch talking to your phone.

Okay, the next little point to consider is what can you schedule in like actually physically get out your phone or get out your diary, whatever it is that you use, and write down or create an event or a reminder. When are you going to exercise? And yeah, what are you going to do and when are you going to do it? Because if you actually schedule it in, you know what time of day works best for you. Are you a morning person? Because I know personally, if I don’t exercise in the morning before the day began, just doesn’t happen for me. But I’m saying that at 3 years postpartum, I definitely remember not being able to exercise in the morning at all, when I had my babies, you know, breastfeeding, and needing to catch an extra half hour asleep when you can. So what time of day works best for you. It might be morning, it might be afternoon, it might be evening. But then trying to schedule it in. And if you can talk to your partner about it. And I find this really helpful in two aspects. One, it sorts of makes you more accountable if you talk to your partner and say, “This is what I’m going to do.” But it also allows them to help you achieve it, you know, they’re going to look after your baby while you’re out exercising, like, they’re going to go into a half-hour run, and then when they come home, you can then sit up for half an hour to yourself. So yes, talking to your partner about it, scheduling it in, and working out what time of day suits you.

So once you’ve scheduled it in, like that’s great in theory, right. But I know your things get in the way. And I know it can be sometimes hard to schedule it in once when you’ve got, you know, new baby mouths to feed and babies to look after and all the rest. So again, being kind to yourself, but trying to be consistent. And if you can’t do it, when you schedule it in think, “Okay, that’s all right. There’s always tomorrow.” Chipping away at it. Don’t worry about if you’re having a bad week, you know, you’re a new mum, we don’t need that guilt. Shrug it off. Let’s try again tomorrow. And I find it that, I think resonates with a lot of women too, because I know that there can be that guilt associated with like, “I scheduled it in, but I couldn’t do it. I’m annoyed with myself.” Everyone’s different, that’s listening to me. But at the end of the day, if we didn’t do what we’d set out to achieve, that’s okay. Let’s try again tomorrow. Let’s chip away at it. Look we don’t need any guilt. And let’s try again tomorrow. And this is still a bit of a mantra that I do myself. And again, you know, I am 4 years? 3 years? Four years, my baby just turned four, four years postpartum. So I think as a mum, it’s great to have great intentions. But it’s also great to just chip away at it and knowing something is better than nothing. If it doesn’t happen, that’s okay. And I think sometimes we need to hear that as a mum. Because there’s so much guilt associated with everything. I get it.

Okay, the next little point to consider is if you do feel you have really low energy, don’t have a chat to your GP. And just make sure you have a chat with your GP and also consider your diet, you might need some blood tests. Maybe you need to chat with a dietitian. This isn’t my area of specialty. But I do encourage anyone to seek help if they do feel low in energy.

Okay, I think we’re nearly at the end of the list, but getting the support you need. So if you’re thinking, “Okay, I’ve tried motivating myself, it’s just not happening.” Right. Let’s try to brainstorm some different forms of exercising, you know, try something new. Do you need a bit more support? Like do you need a personal trainer? Or do you need to have a face-to-face physio assessment to get you on track with some things do you perhaps need an online program, physio support such as FitNest Mama? So brainstorming some different forms of exercises to work out what resonates with you? What do you enjoy that works with your current lifestyle? What can you do while your baby’s asleep or while your toddlers causing havoc might you need to do a home-based workout for just a few months or a year whilst you’re in this crazy phase of motherhood? So that’s where an online program like FitNest Mama is really helpful. And I’ve got plenty of mums inside my membership who really want to get back to running or they really do want to get back to the gym or, you know, CrossFit or F45. But they just need a bit of a stop-gap that they can do 5 to 10 minutes when it suits them when their baby sleeps.

So working out for you and again, I know an online program isn’t for everyone, but whatever works for you thinking how do I remove my barriers to exercise? So for some women, their barriers are just the fact that they don’t have time to drive to and from the gym. So for them, a home base workout is perfect. Everyone is different but thinking, what are my barriers at the moment? Why I am not exercising at the moment? And then what sort of program could you try that removes those barriers.

And then the final pointer to consider if you need help with finding the time or motivation to exercise after having a baby is to exercise with your baby or kids if you need to. And again, I’m talking about personal experience, I think there comes a time with all mums. If we wait until we have a spare hour to ourselves, it just won’t happen. And I remember I used to do a wiggles workout. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it on this podcast before. But I remember some days it got to the afternoon, I thought, “Oh my gosh, I haven’t left the house.” I didn’t have the energy to hold 3 kids to the park. So I remember a few times I put on the wiggles and I decided to dance with my children during the songs of the wiggle songs. And then while the wiggles were talking, I would do a set of squats, a set of push-ups, a set of triceps’ dips with my children in tow. So by the end of that 10 minutes, we’d all dance together. I’d done some squats. The kids loved it. I loved it. You know what it wasn’t my normal workout, but it was something and something is better than nothing.

So hopefully that’s given you just a few pointers. I know it was a bit, just sort of a bit of verbal diarrhea have just put it all out there. No particular order or logic. We’re currently in lockdown as we speak and my guest speaker who I plan to have on for you who will be coming very soon. It’s super exciting. It’s about spinning babies and optimal baby positioning for childbirth, but that has had to be rescheduled. So I am recording this podcast as we speak. So hopefully that was helpful. I hope everyone is taking care during these times. And if you do feel like you need some help finding the motivation and time to exercise after having a baby then do come and join us for a 7-day free trial. And FitNest Mama will allow you to exercise while your Bubba sleeps, or when you toddlers running around. It allows you to exercise five minutes here, 10 minutes there, it’s safe for women with abdominal muscle separation, it has a 12-week return to a running program. So it really is perfect for any stage of pregnancy or postpartum.

So that’s it, ladies! Have a lovely day and I look forward to you joining me next week for another episode of the FitNest Mama Podcast.

Thanks for listening to the FitNest Mama Podcast brought to you by the FitNest Mama Freebies found at www.fitnestmama.com/free. So please take a few seconds to leave a review, subscribe so you don’t miss an episode. And be sure to take a screenshot of this podcast uploaded to social media and tag me @fitnestmama, so I can give you a shout out too. Until next time. Remember, an active pregnancy, confident childbirth, and strong postnatal recovery is something that you deserve. Remember our disclaimer, materials, and contents in this podcast are intended as general information only and shouldn’t substitute any medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. I’ll see you soon.

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