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"How to Kickstart Your Postpartum Health and Fitness Journey as a New Mom"

You made it through nine months of creating a new human and now you have brought forth this little miracle into the world. It definitely wasn't easy, and depending on how active you were able to be throughout your pregnancy, the labor may have been another tumultuous chapter in the entire journey. However, in about 6 weeks or so most of us ladies are cleared to start resuming physical activity. Hopefully, by then, you have conquered and or surrendered to some sleepless nights, consistent feedings, and a mountain of diaper changes. In light of getting used to your "new normal," you're wondering how to incorporate a new fitness routine or work your way back to the routine you were following pre-pregnancy.

Here are some tips to help kickstart your journey toward as a new mom, a "fit mom".

1. Focus on eating healthy for you and your baby.

It's important to start focusing on areas that you have the most control over. Most of us new moms are trying to navigate our new schedules and get tasks accomplished between and around our new baby's needs. But diet is one area that we can have a little more control over to get us to a healthy weight. It can be a challenge to stay on a healthy streak when you are trying to keep yourself awake at odd hours of the night and throughout the day. You can easily find yourself grabbing things in your pantry that are not necessarily the best options for your fitness and health journey just out of pure survival instincts. Being a mom is hard! However, the more aware we are of what we are doing, the easier it is to make adjustments from negative habits to healthy ones.

Here are some ways you can eat healthier with all the newness going on at home:

o Prep meals before your due date so you have some healthy options within the first two weeks of coming home. And with all the exhaustion that's one less task you and your family have to worry about.

o Stock your kitchen with some healthy snack options, so if you do raid the pantry at night to stay awake you are grabbing some good alternatives to chips, candy, or anything else that might impede on your health journey. Also, if you're breastfeeding you can consider stocking your pantry with some snacks that help promote milk production!

o Remember that water with the ice chips they give us after birth? What a heavenly surprise!!! Create the same hydration experience at home, if you didn't already bring your hospital tumbler back with you. Make sure you are getting plenty of water, and not getting home and taking in a bunch of empty calories from sodas and other sugary drinks.

2. Throw out the "all-or-nothing" mentality. 

Most of us tend to have an "all-or-nothing" mentality. Either I am going to be able to work out at the gym for one hour each day to reach my goals or I won't. But it's not always going to pan out the way we want. Our new addition is running our schedules for a big portion of the first few months of their lives, and we will have to adopt a different kind of mentality. The "get it when you can and how you can" mentality. Maybe there is a magical half-hour each day at around 3 pm when the baby is solidly laid out. That's our time to shine. To drag ourselves into a nice little nook in the house to do a bodyweight circuit, or sneak into the garage for a nice little strength session. Other than that, the best advice is to find ways to incorporate your new little one into your exercise routines.

Here are some ways that you can make your baby your workout partner:

o Use your baby as resistance! Haha, yes you read that right. You can use your baby as resistance for some movements in your workout plan. Do you want to strengthen and shape those shoulders? Press your baby over your head, safely of course. Need to prevent the "mom butt" from taking over? Squat with your baby in hand. Your little one is now your workout partner, but also the resistance that you need to help you get back into a weighted routine later.

o Be creative! Use your workouts as an opportunity to give your baby extra love. One of my favorite examples is while doing push-ups, go ahead and give your baby some kisses on the forehead every time you come to descend from the starting position. You're getting your reps in and your baby is getting some extra kisses from mommy. Babies need tummy-time for a few minutes each day. Use this opportunity to not just strengthen yourself but strengthen the little one too! Set up your baby's tummy time mat and meanwhile work on your workout alongside your little one, keeping a nice close eye on them while moving your body, or maybe taking the time to stretch out those kinks you've been developing over those late-night feedings.

o And last, but certainly not least, put that stroller to use! The stroller is an accessory that every mom needs, not just to get a break from holding her little ones, but it's an amazing tool to have in your back pocket for your journey back to fitness and health. Walking is a great form of exercise that we can add to our daily routine that is low-impact enough for almost all new mothers to adopt early into their postpartum journeys. Plus, it gets us out of the house and helps break up that monotonous routine we developed as a survival strategy after bringing our little bundles home early on. Getting some fresh air and sunshine will do wonders for you; most babies will sleep through the ride. There are some amazing mental health benefits to getting that extra vitamin D in your day as well. Get that stroller set up and ready for some adventures, and maybe you will progress to a jogging stroller later in your journey and take your little one on some fun adventures with you at a faster pace!

3. Don't be afraid to ask for help!

As moms a lot of us want to take on full responsibility for our little ones without shuffling that over to someone else... but at some point, you have to take care of yourself. Asking for some help or assistance at times doesn't mean you're not being the "Super Mom" that you want to be. If anything, getting some support so that you can have some time to recenter, rest, or improve your overall mental well-being will allow you to be the great mother that you are. We can't fill from an empty cup. Don't be afraid to ask for support when those batteries are running low. If you don't have friends, family, or a significant other in the picture you can try finding support from a community of other moms. Try searching for some local mom support groups in your area in your social media forums. One of the groups I have seen in my local community is SLAM (Sweat Like a Mother). Check them out and see if they have some local support near you:

Also, BK Health & Fitness offers a 6-Week New Mommy Postpartum Workout Program! This is another great way to jumpstart your fitness routine and get some guidance on what you can be doing at home with your baby and minimal equipment!!! Check out the program here:

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