Name: Julie Fagan
Children (name, age): Chase, 2
How long of a maternity leave did you take before you started working out again? Looking back, do you think it was too much time, not enough, or just the right amount of time?
After Chase was born, I took 6 weeks off from exercise with the exception of walking. Once I felt okay enough to walk postpartum, I walked around our neighborhood with Chase and my dog every day and LOVED spending time outside with both of them. (This also really helped with cabin fever that can set in when it feels like you’re basically hibernating with a newborn!) After 6 weeks, I searched for gyms in the area with childcare and began working out a Burn Boot Camp. I think taking 6 weeks completely off from exercise other than walking was great and probably just the right amount of time. I could tell immediately when I tried to return to more intense workouts that I needed to build up my strength (especially in my core) and really tried to listen to my body and ease back into fitness.
Once you started your workout routine again, how did you workouts change? What did your new workout schedule look like?
My workouts became much shorter but also more intense over time. I created a bunch of nap time workouts to do at home in 30 minutes or less and discovered Burn Boot Camp and fell in love with the 45-minute class. I used to think I had to work out for an hour for a workout to “count” and now I rarely spend more than 30-45 minutes working out at home or at the gym. I give myself a lot more grace when it comes to my workouts these days and really tried not to put a lot of pressure on myself for the first nine months of Chase’s life. Now that he’s a bit older, it’s definitely easier to keep to a more regular routine and I typically make it to the gym, work up a sweat at home during Chase’s nap or head off to a Burn Boot Camp class five(ish) days a week.
Now that you’re a mom, what are your top tips and tricks for sticking with your workout routine?
Understanding that workouts do NOT need to last an hour or more to be effective was huge for me from a consistency standpoint. If you can manage to squeeze in a 30 minute workout at home a few times a week, that’s fantastic! Making small, realistic goals is often really helpful (i.e. working out three times a week for 30 minutes vs. six days a week for an hour) so you are setting yourself up for success and don’t feel discouraged. As you see progress, you’ll likely feel MORE motivated and can increase your goals accordingly. Even a short workout can be incredibly beneficial and understanding that workouts don’t have to last an hour is HUGE, especially when you have a little one in the mix. I fully embraced this fact after Chase was born and absolutely think it helped with my consistency. My workouts for the first year of Chase’s life looked like a combination of boot camp workouts (45 minutes) and quick naptime workouts. I increased the intensity of my at home workouts
but cut my typical pre-baby workout time significantly, so I was often done in 30 minutes
or less. Workouts became more efficient and understanding I could work up a sweat and knock out a workout in under 30 minutes and didn’t need a full hour was a game changer!
What’s your #1 piece of advice/words of wisdom for new moms who want to get back into a fitness routine?
My number one piece of advice would be to find something you love to do and do it! Dragging yourself to the gym to take a spinning class when you hate spinning is miserable but convincing yourself to take a cardio dance class if you love to dance might sound like a lot more fun. If you look forward to your workout, you’re so much more likely do make it a point to exercise. I know it’s not for everyone, but I also tried really hard to take my son to my gym’s childcare from a fairly early age which was TOUGH at first but in the long run really benefited both of us. He became comfortable in childcare early on and I was able to get some much-needed “me” time. (My time at the gym is often the only 45 minutes of the day when I felt like I’m not in full-on “mom mode.”)