• Heather Pawelkiewicz

Finding Your Workout Groove after Baby

mom and children working out
Exercising with your little one is a great way to increase strength and provide meaningful interaction.

Working out and exercising after having a baby can definitely be a challenge and even painful at times, especially if you have had a C-section. Sometimes the hardest part is having the motivation to get started. This is really amplified when you’re not getting the sleep and nutrition you are used to. Please remember to have patience and be kind to yourself. Start out slow and take it day by day. Do not expect to jump back in and be where you were pre-baby. I’ll never forget the first time I started to do sit ups after my C-section; it felt like my abs were going to rip apart. However, each day I worked out, I got stronger, and it began to get easier. I am hoping that you will be able to use some of my suggestions to get back into working out and feeling great!

Baby steps is the best approach when getting back into your workout groove. I found a moms' group called Stroller Strides that was amazing for me. It is simply a group of moms who would meet at a park with their strollers. We would walk the park and stop about eight times to do different exercises. Each of us came with resistance bands that we used in many different ways. We also did a lot of body weight exercises and some that involved us holding and interacting with our babies. All the moms were compassionate and understanding. If your baby started to cry or if you had to leave early, there was never any judgment. We were all there for the same goal; to try and regain some of our strength so that we could keep up with our little ones, as well as the camaraderie of a supportive group of women. If a group like this is not available in your area, it is very easy to do it by yourself or with a couple of friends. You can do all of this from the comfort of your own home. The main goal is to get active, so that you can be a strong and tough mom for your little one.

Resistance bands activating muscles.
Resistance bands are a great exercise tool.

Resistance bands are great for many reasons. They are inexpensive, easy to travel with, and are a wonderful tool for working out. There is resistance on the pull and on the release, which has you work on both areas of your muscles. This is referred to as eccentric and concentric movement. The eccentric portion of the movement is when the muscle lengthens and the concentric is when the muscle shortens. This requires you to engage your muscles in a way so that the band does not snap back and pull your arms or body down. I have honestly been using my resistance bands a ton right now during the quarantine. Weights are incredibly hard to come by, and if you don’t already own a set of weights resistance bands can be a great alternative. Resistance bands can also be attached to just about anything stable, even your door handle (which is what I’m doing right now). You can also use a railing or a fence. This really allows you to do an even wider variety of exercises like tricep kickbacks, tricep extensions, chest presses, bicep curls, shoulder presses, upright rows, overhand pull a parts, lateral raises, reverse flies, front raises and much more. I think you will be truly amazed at the definition you can attain from just working out with a resistance band. You can even tie your resistance bands together and use them to do things like squat walks and glute bridge pulses. Trust me, it’ll really get you burning and you’ll feel it the next day. It’s a good burn though, that will make you feel like you’ve accomplished something.

Some of my other favorite exercises to do post-partum, are push-ups, plank holds, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, standing crunches, and any type of sit up. While doing these exercises, you can be using the Our First Year backpack (filled with developmental toys) to keep your child entertained and active at the same time. These backpacks can be ordered online and not only do you get a great selection of toys, you also get cards that guide you in fun and educational ways to play with your child. Each item has been hand selected for a particular reason, by professionals, because of their ability to help your child develop and grow.  

​In the end, anything that you can do is better than nothing at all. Just remember to always have patience and be kind to yourself. It is a process that is not going to happen overnight, but once you get going, it’s a lot easier to stay motivated. Keeping a journal or even using a Fitbit or Apple Watch that will track your accomplishments and encourage you is a great idea. Exercising has so many benefits. In addition to losing weight and toning your body, you will also have more energy, patience, and strength. Consistent exercise can also reduce disease, improve mental health, and sleep cycles, so that you can be the amazing mom you want to be for your child. So have fun with it, and remember, baby steps. Sincerely, The One Tough Mother

Nicole Gehrke, the One Tough Mother, lives in Colorado, where she is an avid exerciser, who enjoys crafts, nutrition, photography, and spending time with her two daughters. To learn more, please visit her website at or contact her at

#ourfirstyear #theonetoughmother #postpartum #fitness #exercise #babies #pregnancy

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