An Uncomplicated Life Blog: Coming Back From A Fitness Break

Monday, October 21, 2019

Coming Back From A Fitness Break

I took some time away from the gym and working out while I breastfed my twins. Here's what it's like to get back into fitness after taking a long break!


I've always worked out regularly. I love being active, and benefit of being physically fit is a nice perk. However, after I had the twins I took some time off... Um, like a solid year. I breastfed them exclusively and workouts not only negatively impacted my supply, the classes I enjoyed going to were right when they needed to nurse. I also just kinda stopped enjoying working out. It was a chore, not a joy. So I gave myself some grace and let myself have some time off. But now! Now I feel ready to get back into the gym/yoga studio and start dedicating some time to myself and my body again. Here's what it's like coming back from a fitness break, complete with before photos that will be updated after a few months to (hopefully!) show some progress.

"Before" photo! I'm back to prebaby weight but have lost all muscle tone from taking a fitness break

The weirdest thing about this fitness break I took was losing my desire to workout. I truly didn't enjoy going to even the calmest yoga classes! Now, I've been an athlete nearly my whole life. I made the varsity cheerleading team as a freshman in high school and ran track starting in 7th grade. Before that, I had been in dance. We regularly went ice skating in the winters as a family (every park in Minnesota has a rink for free!) and I'd go on runs with our family English Setter, Bosco. It was a real shock to me to not enjoy myself while being physically active. But I took it as a sign I needed to slow down; the birth of my twins wasn't an easy one (one VBAC and one c section!) so I decided to roll with it and allow myself some time off.

Then there was the breastfeeding dilemma. I was committed to make it a year breastfeeding the twins (AND I DID) and not only did class times not match up well with our nursing schedule, it negatively impacted my supply. If I did anything harder than an intense yoga class, say a HIIT class or something else cardio-heavy, my supply would drop. When you're nursing twins, you cannot, and I mean CANNOT, lose your supply. You've got to keep it up. So I'd eat oatmeal most mornings, I'd eat when I wasn't hungry (naturally, I eat two meals a day if I follow my own hunger cues, and I'm not a snacker. Just two good meals a day, and I'm set) and I'd munch on lactation bars when I drove. Man, the thing about breastfeeding is that you're always eating! It was annoying, but I also loved it and felt proud of myself for hitting my goals.

So, now here I am, a year postpartum. I'm still breastfeeding the twins, but only about three times a day. They love table food, and have no problem getting their nutrition from fruits, veggies, meats, and dairy. These babies literally haven't met a food they don't like yet! They also like whole milk, so they get a bottle of that while I'm away if  they need it. I lost all my baby weight after a few weeks but my shape? Yeah, it's not the same! And with the extended fitness break, I also lost a ton of muscle. So while the scale went down and I'm slender, I know I have a ton of work to do to get some strength and muscle tone back, whatever that may look like after having four kids in four and a half years.

Side view. Hope to do something to lift and tone that rear end

Here's what I'm committing to as a come back from my fitness break:
- 3 workouts a week. These are hour long classes I take, be it yoga, barre, Pilates, or some other form of group fitness
- eating vegetables at every meal
- having a protein bar for breakfast (it's not abnormal for me to not eat until 2pm or later)
- limiting alcohol (more on that below!)

The workouts are self explanatory. I've figured out a good, consistent schedule for me to get a variety of classes in, three times a week. This isn't my former schedule of at least four times a week, but I feel like it's a great introduction back into fitness and it's a nice compromise for me while the twins are still nursing a few times a day.

Veggies at every meal doesn't mean that I'll only eat veggies at every meal, simply that they'll be there at every meal (minus the protein bar breakfast, which is a meal I'm re-introducing anyway). Lunch and dinner will have a side of, or even be made mostly of, vegetables.

And then alcohol. Oh, alcohol. I do love a good glass of wine, but you know what? The older I've gotten, the less I can tolerate it. It's almost like my body just wants to refuse it more and more. I've pinpointed my insomnia problem to being directly related to alcohol. Now, if I drink wine at night, I simply WONT sleep. Not just sleep badly, or wake often - I won't sleep more than 45 mins - 2 hours, for the entire night. I'll wake up for the day at 12:15 am. And I won't just lie there in bed awake, I'll have a high heart rate, I'll sweat, I'll be freezing, I'll feel sick... It's gross! And just not worth it. My rule now is, I'll have a drink or two if I have enough time to digest it before bed (and for me, that's about 2 hours for every drink) but night drinking? That's out. It's not worth the destruction to my system and it's not worth the fat added to my belly!

Mid section close up: I have nearly zero arm tone and my belly button is an unhappy face emjoi from getting stretched out so far with twins

After the holidays, I plan on posting an update for y'all. Which is probably stupid on my part! I mean, the holidays are notorious for weight gain. Although, honestly, I've never been that person to pack o the pounds. I do enjoy Thanksgiving, mostly because stuffing, gravy and turkey are my JAM, but Christmas? Yeah, I'm not a big cookie eater. I actually didn't eat a single Christmas cookie last year (because I was dairy free with nursing newborns, and they're all made with butter...) and for our meal, we do a ham, a side salad and a few sides. New Years Eve is a little bit of a gut buster, because we do a family party with a whole bunch of appetizers that we let the kids eat in the living room while we watch movies and have dance parties, then are all asleep by 9pm. All in all, the holidays shouldn't do *too* bad a number on my weight/body size, but time will tell when I post my second post three months from now on Jan 16!

Coming back from a fitness break is daunting. When I work out, I can't do the things my body used to do before the break, and that's hard to take. I don't look the same, have the same muscle tone, or fit in my clothes the same way. I've got work to do! But I'm committed to myself and doing it. I'm finally ready to "bounce back" after my babies and my unexpected fitness break! Stay tuned on my Instagram Stories and the blog for updates on how things are going, my successes and setbacks. Y'all already know I'll post those setbacks all over my Instagram Stories.

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