How my workouts have changed with an infant

Sound like an oxymoron, huh?

Well it kind of is 😉

Working out with an infant is tough stuff, but it can happen, whether it’s in short little blurbs during the day, accidental exercise (you’re bending down a ton and carrying around a heavy little thing all day), late at night or early in the morning.

Initially, I rested for 4 weeks, just like the doc said. Quite a few friends of mine started running again as soon as they felt up to it, but even though I was blessed with a relatively simple birth –don’t get me wrong, I still thought I was dying- I didn’t feel recovered for quite a while. We’d take a walk around the block and I felt like I’d ran a half marathon, and I felt very weak and noodly for quite some time.

It was hard for me to take so much time to recover –and I could have used the endorphins- but I’m really glad I took it easy, even when I was cleared to workout again.

After about 9 weeks, I felt pretty good and the reality hit that I’d be teaching again very, very soon, so I stepped up my game a little bit so I’d be able to walk after my first week back at work. It ended up being a smart move- I taught quite a few classes last week. And it.was.awesome.

Towards the end of my pregnancy, I started to feel pretty worthless at work. It’s silly because I was very pregnant, but I kind of felt like I didn’t deserve to be there. The guests pay a lot of money to stay at the resort, so I tried extremely hard to give them an amazing class while holding back my own personal activity.


It was challenging, especially towards the end when the last thing I wanted to be doing was working.. I wanted to meet my baby. When I went back to teach, it was nice to be able to push all of my classes instead of worrying about Livi in my belly, feeling exhausted and constantly modifying.

I’m very fortunate to get in a lot of activity at work, so on those days I don’t do my own workout. When I’m home, if I’m feeling up to it, here’s what I’ll do:

-Workout at night. Some nights I’m too tired, so I’ll just stay home and chill, but when I’m feeling good, I’ll go hit up the gym at work to lift weights or get in some cardio. It’s always amazing to hop on the elliptical and read a magazine to clear my mind after a long day, or lift weights.

-Workout DVD. I haven’t tried to do a workout DVD during naptime yet, because Livi’s naps could be 20 minutes or an hour, but if Tom is flying nights, I’ll do TurboFire or practice Zumba for a little while after I put Livi to bed.

-Go for a walk during the day with Livi and Bell, or meet up with friends. It’s a great way to move and Bell is always grateful for the fresh air.


-Mini workout moves throughout the day. It’s easy to forget how many times you’re bending down (core), squatting (legs and biscuits), and lifting (biceps) when you have a little one. There are many ways to get in sneaky exercise –like the times I bounce Livi to sleep on the stability ball- and it’s not really necessary to hit up the gym if you don’t have time or access.

Bonus: breastfeeding burns extra calories, and when you’re up and about chasing after a little one, that’s a workout in itself.

Through the experience of being pregnant and having a baby, I learned a couple of things about myself and my relationship with fitness:

-I used to be a major time-waster. I would dilly-dally around the gym, planning new workouts, playing on different equipment, etc. Now I walk in with a plan and am in and out in less than an hour.

-It’s important for me to do things that make me feel like… me. It’s easy to feel like a sleep-deprived milk maid in the beginning, and by being able to sweat again, it helped me feel like I got part of my identity back.

-I can live without it. After having fitness as such a huge part of my life, I wasn’t sure about how hard it would be to give it up for so long and start again from scratch. I found out that while it’s something I really enjoy, it’s not everything. My family is, and I’d happily give it up again if I needed to.


How my workouts have changed:

-First trimester

-Second trimester

-Third trimester

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  1. Kerry @ Totes My Oats on April 9, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Great post! Love the pics.

    • Fitnessista on April 9, 2012 at 11:14 pm

      thanks, kerry 🙂

  2. maria @ a life to Bragga bout on April 9, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    I’m with you on the time wasting part. I used to take a leisurely stroll to the water fountain for a break between sets, now I’m all about tabatas, circuits, and bringing my own water bottle (finally) haha. Having a baby realllly makes you appreciate time when it’s all centered around nap times and nursing sessions. Gotta love it 😉

    Oh and that pic of you holding Livi is PRECIOUS. Needs to be framed.

    • Fitnessista on April 9, 2012 at 11:19 pm

      thank you! 🙂
      i’m right there with you.. i haven’t taken a long break in between sets since i’ve been back at the gym. it’s all about hiit and circuits

  3. Sana on April 9, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    🙂 I can’t wait till your baby get’s to see how awesome you were with her in your belly!

  4. Caroline Walberg on April 9, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    Beautiful picture!!!!!! Babies put everything in perspective 🙂 Glad you are listening to your body!

  5. kyla on April 9, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    That last picture of the three of you is so sweet.

  6. Melissa on April 9, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Great post! Pre-baby I was in the same position as you – and post baby (and c-section) I was really hard on myself at first for not being able to find the time to exercise. Some days it just doesn’t happen and some days it only happens because I find time to sneak in some pushups and pilates moves. I’ve learned that I have to let go sometimes! And yes, I’m MUCH more efficient now 🙂

  7. Heather @ For the Love of Kale on April 9, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    Love this post, Gina! It’s really amazing…I’ve talked to friends who are now mothers and they all say the same thing. While they loved to exercise, it just wasn’t a big deal after they had their little one. It really puts things into perspective. I can’t wait to have children (in the wayyy future hehe) and can’t wait to read more about your new relationship with exercise post-baby. 🙂

  8. Laury on April 9, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    I can’t even tell you how much my workouts have changed, in SO many ways.

    #1. I agree on the time wasting thing. Now, there is NO time to waste..and who wants to? I can’t wait to get back to my little girl! In and out, and my workouts are 3x as hard!

    #2. After giving birth, I seriously feel like I can do anything. I have been into fitness and weight training, etc since I’m 14, but ironically, I work out harder and have more confidence than I did when I was younger and more resilient!

    #3. I feel so much more grateful for my workouts than I used to. I think I used to take them for granted. Now, I look at it as “me time” that is much needed–and I appreciate it more. This is going to sound weird but I had such an amazing power yoga session last week, I felt so great after I actually got emotional. Totally not like me. I felt like a freak, or hormonal again lol

    I love that photo of you girls. So precious.

  9. Kilee on April 9, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    It was so great to read your post. I’m not a mom or planning to be pregnant anytime soon, but it’s still great to hear other’s experience with the workout department side of things. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Lisa on April 9, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    I do not have a child so whenever I hold a baby it is after it has grown for a little while. I never see how these moms can do it carrying their child around or just the day to day activities with a squirmy one. My mom always told me that’s why they come to you small that way you can work up the strength for when they grow. We would laugh about it, but seriously I know that has to be a workout!

  11. leah o on April 9, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    Thanks Gina! My little guy is almost 4 weeks old and I definitely feel like a sleep deprived milk maid right now…a crazy one. Anyway, it was encouraging to hear that being able to exercise made you feel a more like your old self. I’m looking forward to getting back into it!

    • Fitnessista on April 9, 2012 at 11:53 pm

      hang in there, girlie.
      it gets better, and you’re doing an amazing job <3

  12. Kelster on April 10, 2012 at 12:35 am

    That last picture is beautiful!

  13. Emily T on April 10, 2012 at 12:52 am

    Thanks for posting about your experience getting back into it! My baby girl is 3 weeks old and I’ve taken her on some nice long walks to get some fresh air and move my body a bit. I’m looking forward to getting back into my sweaty gym workouts and eager to find some great exercises that I can combine to make the workouts short yet effective. I’m trying to get a base back…slowly…so that I’ll be able to handle the harder stuff later and still be able to walk, too. The other day, I did 4 sets of 10 squats in the shower and actually felt pretty sore later!

  14. alexe on April 10, 2012 at 12:57 am

    You are so gourgeous in that last picture! 🙂

    In the past 6 months, I had to stop training twice for 2 months at a time because of injuries (that I got while training). Now that I’m back at it, my training is always less than 75 minutes and I give myself more rest days as well. Working out is a big passion of mine so having to stop was hard but it made me realize how much time I spent at the gym instead of with the ones I love. Now it’s short and sweet!

  15. Averie @ Averie Cooks on April 10, 2012 at 12:59 am

    Beautiful pics and it’s amazing how motherhood puts things in perspective. Pre-kiddo, I could spend hour(s) working out, carefully planning what I was going to do on what day, where, etc. but now, a quick run, a little 10-15 min at home yoga/stretch session, that’s great. And if I get a longer session in, cool, and if I get a shorter session in, hey cool. Being able to just realize that other things come first is just the way it is and I love my family more than workouts, too 🙂

  16. Carlee on April 10, 2012 at 6:29 am

    Great post and I also enjoyed going back to read your trimester posts. I’m in my 25th week now and still running (have a half marathon planned at 28 weeks) and things have certainly changed! However, I noticed you purchased a maternity belt and I’m curious if that ended up working out for you. Sorry if you already answered this!

  17. Lisa O on April 10, 2012 at 8:16 am

    I love the pregnancy/baby exercise posts! Stella is 8 weeks old now and I’m just taking it up a notch from walking. After being a triathlete I found it tough at first to cut back on exercise but during my first cycle with my husband last weekend, all I could think about was my baby girl and I knew long training sessions were a thing of the past. Short, sharp hour workouts so I can race back to my girl! I wonder if the brain will ever allow an hour to go by without thinking about baby?? I can’t imagine. I think we are getting so much more out of life being time efficient and filling the cruisy time with baby girl snuggles!

  18. Annalisa on April 10, 2012 at 8:54 am

    I agree with mini workouts. However, it is HARD to workout with an infant! When they are napping or playing, that was my time to use the bathroom, shower, eat, clean, NAP, etc. Workouts did not come back in my radar (except for walks) until my baby was 7 or 8 months. Now, we do the gym 2 days a week and some walking – very far from where I was but I like my schedule since time goes quick with babies.

    Can I add that BF does not burn calories for everyone? It seriously only causes 20% of the population to lose weight. The rest of us will lose the last 10 – 15 pounds when weaning or stopping nursing occurs. I thought I’d be SO skinny since my kid loved nursing but nope! Now that she’s down to 3x a day and eating tons of real food, weight is melting off.

  19. britt on April 10, 2012 at 9:02 am

    love that last pic. LOVE.

  20. Allison K on April 10, 2012 at 10:31 am

    This post came at such an apropos time for me! I am 37 weeks (tomorrow) pregnant, and already feeling the itch to get in a good hard workout! Not that I even can right now! I know that post-birth my body will need time to heal, and walking will be enough!

  21. Christabel on April 10, 2012 at 10:31 am

    I’m so glad you post stuff like this. I’m trying to get pregnant right now and fitness is a huge part of my life. I have no idea how it will be when I do have a baby but it’s nice to know it will be ok to take that time in the beginning to recover and slowly get back into it.

  22. Claire @ Live and Love to Eat on April 10, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Beautiful post! Love your positive outlook on all of your challenges.

  23. Maddy on April 10, 2012 at 11:08 am

    I agree with everyone else. That last photo is gorgeous!

  24. Katie on April 10, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    The last pic is SO sweet! you look beautiful too, just a great pic! Print that love 🙂

  25. Lissy on April 10, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    I’m not pregnant yet, but to me, giving up my workouts seems like one of the scariest things. It’s comforting to know it wasn’t a traumatizing for you 🙂

  26. ErikaMC on April 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    My goodness – I have also learned what a time waster I was. I am still doing everything I did before and taking care of a 7 month old. What did I do before???

    • Fitnessista on April 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm

      seriously! it makes me laugh that i thought i was “so busy” before all of this… what did i do all day?

  27. Katie on April 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Beautiful post! 🙂

  28. kristi on April 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Thank you for this post! It is always a relief and a good reminder that it is okay to take it down a notch when preg. =) I remember that you mentioned not being a fan of prenatal yoga, but I’m wondering if there were any prenatal DVDs that you liked? Reviews are mixed on Amazon and there are no classes in my area. Help! (I’m 20 weeks, btw)


  29. Brigid on April 10, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Love the bottom picture of you and Liv!!! So precious.

  30. Shannon on April 11, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Such a sweet picture at the end!!!!

  31. Amanda Lee on April 11, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Seriously, that last photo of you and ‘livi needs to be framed. ASAP.

    • Fitnessista on April 11, 2012 at 11:40 pm

      thank you!

  32. Brandi on April 12, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    I have to tell you that reading this was like a breath of fresh air. I just finished reading your blogs about “How your workouts changed” in each trimester. It’s almost like you are expressing exactly how I feel which practically brought me to tears. I am 6months pregnant with my first child. Fitness has become such a huge part of my life that it’s been really difficult to know when and how to begin to dial things down. I am a R.I.P.P.E.D & ZUMBA instructor, and like you, Zumba is a drug for me. I love to motivate my clients. I love the endorphins that I get from working out. I have dialed it down to just teaching Zumba, but as my body begins to change, it’s becoming harder and harder for me to accept that I will have to give up my high intensity classes soon. I’ll probably be a crying basket case on my last night. Reading how you have adjusted back into fitness, even after giving birth tells me that I will go back eventually and to not be so down about having to give it up temporarily. Thanks for all your posts.

    • Fitnessista on April 12, 2012 at 10:23 pm

      thank you so much for reading!
      you’ll get back into it, and it will all be worth it 😉

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