Getting fit after pregnancy – no more excuses

16 May

Final running race at six months pregnant

When I fell pregnant with Toby, I was super-keen on triathlon and in training for a Half Ironman. My weeks consisted of working, eating, sleeping, cycling, running and swimming and that was all there was to my life for a bit. I’d eat like a pig that had been starved for a year and it didn’t make a blind bit of difference to my weight.

Now, it must be said, this routine was at my most extreme and was in preparation for a half ironman. On the final few weekends before I found out I was pregnant, I completed the Tour of Wessex cycle, had a rather traumatic King of the Downs cycle experience and took part in the Duncton cycle ride. After throwing up on my handle bars, I realised that either I was overdoing it, or something wasn’t quite right. I was pregnant.

I started my pregnancy with the attitude that I could still exercise to the extreme, that I wouldn’t put on weight and that I could maintain my fitness. As the weeks and months passed, I realised my view was hugely unrealistic. I was in bed by 7.30pm some nights, could barely move by the end and as for getting up early for a spinning class – FORGET IT. Needless to say, the weight closed in on me and my fitness left.

All my crazy exercising ended just under two years ago and since then I find myself making excuses for not getting back into it. The problem is, I’m starting from scratch. During my pregnancy my stomach muscles split, which left me with a stark warning from the physio to let things heal before I start running again. I tried to get back into it after a while, but (and I can’t believe I am going to say this) I ended up wetting myself – I’m certainly not the first and I won’t be the last, but that just puts a girl off. The breastfeeding, especially at night, left me exhausted and finding the motivation to get up and get back into a fitness routine was beyond impossible.

Last summer, when Toby was around 4 months, I got on my bike each week and did a few rides. We spent the summer in our VW Campervan driving around France and I got the chance to do some amazing cycling. I climbed 2/3 of Mont Ventoux, but had to turn around to get back for Toby’s breastfeed… well, that was my excuse. This is the first time I am admitting to this; the real reason I turned around was because it was just too painful. I was a lot heavier than before and I simply couldn’t get to the top. I was weak! I did, however, make it at a snail’s pace up Alp D’Huez. At the top, I remembered why I loved cycling. BUT ON EACH OCCASION I FELT HORRID. I just didn’t have the fitness to enjoy it and with a baby you can make excuses.

Last week the excuses ended. Toby is now 15 months, my body has recovered from labour and he’s sleeping okay (ish). I’m now working from home and there is time. No more crap excuses. I have a buggy I can both run and cycle with and I live next door to Richmond Park.

I’ve thrown myself in at the deep end with the cycling. Yesterday – with a little help from my friends – I cycled 60 miles in the Duncton sportive. I was slow and it hurt, but it’s meant to hurt and I’ll get faster. Next week I’m signed up to the King of the Downs bike ride, which should be interesting. It’ll be slow and it’ll hurt and there will be times I will doubt my post-pregnancy self. The week after we’re heading to the Tour of Wessex for a 76 mile ride. I have legitimate doubts about finishing this one, but nothing ventured, nothing gained and I can’t keep hiding behind a wall of nappies. Wish me luck.


8 Responses to “Getting fit after pregnancy – no more excuses”

  1. May 17, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    Hi, fantastic story and a very similar one to me! I did my first season of triathlons in started triathlons in 2006 and was all set the a 2nd more improved season when in the October I found out I was pregnant. Fet fat instantly and stupidly avoided the squad swim sessions as I felt to self conscious and couldn’t yet let anyone know the reason why I was porking out! Have a fab baby boy in July 2007 after a horrific birth and emergency c-section. I was also totally unprepared for how weak I would be and have vague thoughts of being able to finish the 2007 season with a sprint race, how wrong I was! Set a half marathon aim for Jan 2008 which kept me focuses and then steadily got back to where I was in 2006. I have had a great couple of years and am sure I am mentally stronger now and able to push harder then pre baby! Going to the age group Europeans in June in Spain! I run a mums outdoor exercise classes twice a week and have managed to persuade a number of mums to take up triathlon, it’s easy to persuade people to get involved in a sport that is just so rewarding! Good luck with your training, anything is possible!
    Best wishes


    • Claire May 17, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

      So good to hear from someone with a similar story! I totally understand the avoidance of swim sessions. I gave up swimming at triathlon sessions straight away – I wasn’t ‘showing’ until about four months, but I just didn’t have the confidence to go, plus I got realllly slow. I’ve also heard that returning mums come back stronger (eventually) – fingers crossed. Thanks for giving me hope.

      If you were closer by, I’d come to your sessions. They sound great. Perhaps we’ll bump into each other at a triathlon.

  2. Bridgette Carlish May 17, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    Claire – you’re too hard on yourself – you are one of the most inspiring, incredibly intelligent, funny and spunky women i know. You’re brilliant at everything you do – and ‘give a shit’ about being ridiculously athlete fit when you’ve got the most beautiful boy in the world. You’re amazing whether triatholon competitor or not to me! But kampai to you for your inspiration to other yummy mummmy’s out there. Luv you bitch;-) xx

    • Claire May 17, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

      Bridgette, you say the sweetest things! Thanks…. Fitness doesn’t matter so much with Toby around. Hoping we get to see you over here soon!?!


  3. notsuchayummymummy May 17, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    Wow, that’s amazing! I haven’t been fit since I was at school and to be honest I have no inclination of getting fit now! However, I do admire anyone who does epic things like a 76 mile ride. Even attempting it is pretty damn fantastic!

    Wishing you all the luck in the world!

    • Claire May 17, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

      Thanks so much. I really only do it for all the calories I can consume after! Looking forward to the all the chocolate I can eat. x

  4. working london mummy May 18, 2011 at 8:42 am #

    Wow that is fantastic I cannot even imagine doing so much activity. I manage my pilates and occasional boot camp but need to up the ante.. this is motivating!!

    • Claire May 18, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

      I’m sat at my desk with a bar of chocolate and can’t imagine it either at this point in time. Should be an interesting weekend.

      Glad I could be of service on the motivation front. Liska’s Momentum is going well!

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