Six or more weeks have gone by, and you’ve been cleared by your doctor to start working out again after having a baby…sounds great, right? I was so excited to get back to my lifting routine and my workouts that I practically did jumping lunges out of the doctor’s office that day. But, every time I tried to go to the gym, something tied me up.
All of the sudden I was in a whole new world. Is the baby asleep? Will she stay asleep? If she wakes, will she be hungry? Have I pumped? How long do I have until I have to pump or nurse again? Do I have a triple extra large sports bra? Do I need nursing pads? Will I EVER fit back into my old workout pants again? How am I supposed to lift without caffeine and pre-workout?? Ughhh!!
And, even if I did figure some of that stuff out, by the time I did, it was time to pump again. So much for my workout.
So, I had assumed that once I had the 6-week doctor’s appointment clearance that I’d be in the gym working on getting my pre-baby body back. The reality is that I’ve actually made it to the gym only four times since that appointment two weeks ago.
I’ve always structured my workouts in a more traditional way – get to the gym, warm up and train one muscle group using straight sets and tracking my progression. I lift at the same time each day, have the same supplement routine before and afterward (NLA for Her Uplift, Shred Her and Her Whey) – and follow a weekly split. This is how I built my physique, how I love to train and is what I’m used to. With a new baby, I quickly realized those days are over for a little while. I had to make some sense out of the chaotic and inconsistent “something is better than nothing” plan that was beginning to develop.
I needed to figure out a way to make the most out of my workouts. If I can only sneak out of the house for 1.5 hours (including travel time) – it is going to be worth it! Here are my tips for creating workouts that get you in and out while still progressing and working on your physique.
Maximize Your Time Tips
This can apply to any busy woman! These tips are great for those quick lunch break workouts, moms or any situation where you need to maximize your efforts in as little time as possible.
1. Be prepared to let extra chatty people know that you can’t talk. I’m so excited that I now don’t feel as guilty letting people know that I can’t chat it up during my workout. Before the baby, I would always feel bad telling someone that I needed to get back to my set. Now – I’m on a mission! I have a newborn at home and only have 45 minutes to get through everything, so I politely let them know and (so far) everyone has been really understanding! This applies to those quick lunch break workouts too!
2. Park in the spot furthest from the gym entrance – you can use the walk as your warm-up (or part of it, if the walk isn’t very far) so that you can get right to it as soon as you enter the gym!
3. Choose mostly compound exercises. Compound exercises are any exercise that utilizes more than one joint, muscle group and energy system. Great examples are: pull-ups, chin-ups, squats, deadlifts, rows, military press and bench press. This will work more muscles and take much more energy, focus and intensity than your bicep curls, calf raises and lateral raises.
4. Have a plan. Keep your workout journal close by and build your weekly split and workouts before you hit the gym. You can waste a lot of time wandering aimlessly from machine to machine coming up with your next exercise. Know which muscle group(s) your lifting and which exercises you plan to do ahead of time!
5. Stick to your splits. Decide which days during the week you are going to workout and stick to it! You need to create a habit before it becomes a lifestyle. Consistency is key! Don’t let anything persuade you to skip your workout – make it a priority.
6. Superset your workouts. We’re busy and don’t have time for a second visit to the gym for cardio so build that cardio into your workout! Superset your compound exercises with cardio conditioning or plyometric exercises to keep your heart rate humming and your metabolism on fire. Check out the sample workout below to give it a try!
Quick & Effective Make It Burn Workout
Warm up: 5 minutes walking plus 5 minutes Stepmill or walking lunges
Walking dumbbell lunges
3 sets x 15 reps (30 steps total)
Medicine ball slam and squat – SEE VIDEO DEMO
3 sets x 20 reps
Rest 60 seconds after Superset
* This superset is a great warm-up exercise to your squats and shoulder press later in the workout!
Military shoulder press
3 sets x 15 reps
3 sets x 30 seconds
Rest 60 seconds after Superset
3 sets x 15 reps
Romanian twists – SEE VIDEO DEMO
3 sets x 30 reps (15 each direction)
Cool down 5 minutes walking
This workout should take no more than 40-45 minutes!