Five Postpartum CrossFit Activity Guidelines for First-Time Moms

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Congratulations; you’ve become a mommy! Now, you can add to your long list of accomplishments a bouncing baby. While you enjoy your new responsibilities, don’t forget to take time for yourself. This can come in any form, from a trip to the spa to a lovely 10-minute catnap. It can also be attained through a CrossFit routine, but only if you follow certain guidelines and tips.

1. Make Sure You’re Physically Ready for Exercise

A woman’s body goes through tremendous physical stress before, during and after pregnancy. After all, giving birth to another human being takes a toll! The body is stretched in ways one can hardly imagine, the hormones run rampant and exhaustion from lack of rejuvenating sleep is commonplace. Additionally, the mental stress of giving birth takes a toll. In my case, I brought my daughter home the day my water heater decided it was finished working. Try bathing your newborn in water you had to heat on the stove. Because of all this stress, most doctors recommend taking enough time off post-delivery you feel you need, whether that’s two weeks or six weeks, if you’ve had a vaginal birth. If you have a cesarean-section delivery, you will need to recover for a longer period of time. It’s best to determine what’s right for you by working with your physician or consulting a physical therapist.

2. Make Sure Your Baby is Going to be Well Cared for While You’re Exercising

Mommies are hyper-sensitive to the needs of their infants; consequently, it will be tough for you to concentrate on any kind of exercise if you aren’t 100 percent certain your baby is safe and secure. In general, for the first few weeks after giving birth, you may want to leave your child in the care of your spouse, best friend or close relative rather than hiring a babysitter. Of course, some health clubs do offer daycare services. If that’s the case at yours, check it out before you give birth to determine if you feel comfortable leaving your child there while you participate in your CrossFit activities. The less concern you have about your baby, the more you’ll be able to concentrate on getting fit.

3. Always Start Your CrossFit Activities Slowly

Often, women who are coming back to exercise after pregnancy make the mistake of working out too much or too intensely. This is a huge error, because it can lead to physical setbacks. Remember: Your body has been through the wringer. Even if you emotionally crave the adrenaline rushes of a powerful CrossFit session, you should hold yourself back. Allow your body to adjust once again to the rigors of working out. That way, you can build up little by little to get where you want to be.

4. Eat and Drink Enough Before and After Exercising

Obviously, this is important whether you’re postpartum or not, but it’s particularly so if you’re trying to lose some of the “baby weight” you may have gained, or tone up your muscles. Too many women try to starve themselves after delivering their babies. This simply makes their bodies want to hold onto fat stores. Instead of forcing your body to go into starvation mode, eat well-rounded, nutritional meals that are satisfying. Also, make sure you’re drinking enough water, especially if you are breastfeeding. You’ll need the hydration to make up for all the liquids being lost.

5. Practice Warm-Ups and Cooldowns Before Every CrossFit Activity

Before you became pregnant, you may have jumped right into every CrossFit exercise without worrying much about warming up. After giving birth, you should be more cautious about how you prep your body. A good rule of thumb is to do some stretching and very light cardio before engaging in your CrossFit adventures. Afterwards, do the same activities as a cool down. This will help minimize the chances of injury.

Above all else, enjoy your new journey with baby in tow. You can be the best CrossFit mommy on the block if you’re careful and pragmatic about getting back into the groove.

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