Being a new mom makes you have a new appreciation for all the other mamma's out there. Especially the ones who have more than one child! I can barely handle one, how do some of you do it with TWO or more?!!! Hat's off to you!
You always hear people say, things will be different you just need to adapt. Yah, well easier said than done! Trying to run your own business, get your pre pregnancy body back, juggling life AND a new baby is NO easy task. Today I'm writing about the stuff that no one tells you before you have a baby. The hard stuff. The "trying to fit it all in and survive" stuff.
I've come to a realization that everything is not going to be perfect and if I can get 1/2 the stuff done on my list then I'm winning that day. Here's the thing, it's OK. Don't beat yourself up for not getting everything done. The dishes can wait, laundry can wait, the workout? Yah, that can wait too. Life seems to go so fast and so does the baby stage. We have to learn how to enjoy the small moments before they disappear. Just like that your kid is 18 and now what? Are you going to remember the dishes you let sit for a few hours or how you didn't mop for 2 weeks? Nah. So live in the moment and take what you can get.
Last week, my babe decided she wanted to wake up at 3am because she was hungry. Well, after that I couldn't go back to bed. I decided to use my time wisely (maybe some will disagree and say it's an ungodly hour). I got dressed and went to the gym before any clients and got my workout it. Yeah, it was early as heck, but you know what? I got home earlier and got to spend more time with my baby. A lot of people think I'm nuts for the hours I work (usually 6am-12pm give or take), BUT I get to spend the whole afternoon with my baby. I wouldn't trade that for the world. So you see, it's just about trying to figure out what works best for you and your family. It's not going to be perfect nor is it going to be easy but we need to take what we can get. This post isn't necessarily about eating healthy and exercising but being healthy to me is also being healthy mentally. Make sure you aren't too hard on yourself as a new mom. I think we all need to tell that to ourselves every now and then. Being a mom is one of the hardest things we will do but one of the most rewarding.
For all the mamma's out there, you're doing great. Keep going!
In good health,
Here we are at the 2 month mark and I have to say, things are getting better. By better, I mean I am getting used to this whole motherhood thing. Ha. Baby Isabella is a whopping 9lb 9oz now which is still a little small but since she was premature, she is doing great. She had to get 4 shots the other day and it was the HARDEST thing to watch. I'm pretty sure I cried more than she did. Ugh.
I decided to start hitting the nutrition a little harder because I was sick of not seeing the scale move. I knew it was just a matter of switching up my nutrition a bit. It has been working. I started last Monday and I'm down about 3lb. My body takes a whillllle to drop weight so I'm OK with only a few lbs and I'm well aware that it will take a while. It's the beginning of September and I have a goal to get to my pre-pregnancy weight by December and a few more lbs if I can. I'm about 5-6lb away from my pre pregnancy weight but I wouldn't mind loosing 10 lb. So what have I been doing?
Gym time hasn't been as easy as it used to be. I have to stay on top of pumping and make sure I get to all my appointments on time and so on. I try to carve out an hour every day but sometimes I only get to the gym 4x a week. I usually don't miss more than 1 day, but to me, that's enough to miss. I don't like missing a workout because I honestly feel like crap. Working out gives me energy, strength, endorphin's and so on so it drives me bonkers when I can't stick to my routine. However, I completely understand I have a whole new routine that I'm adjusting to and I'm not killing myself over a day missed.
Nutrition is what has been the biggest change. Those that have read up on my personal nutrition in the past know that I have a STUBBORN metabolism and I always have. For ME (read: not for everyone), fat cycling works best. Carbs hate me but protein and fat seem to work well with me and maintaining muscle, so that's what I'm doing. I am adding in a cheat meal once a week plus a glass of wine here and there just because I need it ha. I'll keep you posted on the progress.
I've been asked a few times for a before and after picture (baby and now). I will post one soon.
In good health,
Let's chat about the reality of going from maternity leave back to working again. First off, pictured above is how much my little one grew on my 6 week maternity leave. Say WHAT? She only gained about 3-3.5lb (OK that's a lot for a little one) but she looks MONTHS older. It's amazing how fast time really does go by once you have children. Pump the breaks!!!
I went back to work yesterday and it went really well. I think everyone is different (so take what I say with a grain of salt), but I was excited to go back to work. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my baby and love spending time with her, but starting work again has gotten me back into (somewhat of) of a routine. Monday wasn't easy, especially setting my alarm for 4am, but we managed! For all you working moms, keeping up your milk supply while working is no easy task. I kept calling my mom to ask how many bottles she had drank so I could duplicate it. I have to put it into my schedule (pumping) but hopefully I'll get the hang of it. Props to all the moms out there who have done this and done it more than once! Hats off to you!
So, how does one juggle being a new mom, working, and keeping up in the health and fitness department? No idea..but I can tell you what I'm TRYING to do :)
Luckily, I think my husband and I have decent schedules to work with. He's a firefighter and works 24 hours and on 48 hours off as long as he doesn't have overtime. For my schedule, I work from 6am -1230pm and then the rest is on the computer. I also decided to take off Tuesdays so I could have one day to be solely with baby. I suggest getting a good schedule down for work (if you're going to work) that way you can work around it. It's only my first week back, but I plan on working out 5 days a week. I schedule my workouts into my schedule that way I have NO excuse. I also make sure I only have healthy food in the house that way again, I have NO excuse. It's not easy. Sure, there are some days where I don't feel like working out nor do I feel like cooking but you have to bite your tongue and think of why you do it. Why do you want to be healthy? Why do you want to exercise? For me, it's not about vanity (later down on the list), but more importantly about being healthy internally. Someone said to me once, "if you're always ready then you never have to worry about getting ready." It stuck in my head like glue. If you're body is always taken care of (read eating healthy and exercising routinely) then you're doing all you can do to prevent health issues and injuries. So why not take care of yourself?
Priorities shift when you have a baby and that's OK...but just don't forget to take care of Mommy. If mamma isn't well then no one else is ;)
In good health,
OK, no, I DON'T have six pack six weeks post baby, but the abs ARE getting stronger! For those who haven't seen my post on postpartum core on social media, I did a small write up going through the phases of rehabilitation for the core muscles. Most women suffer from abdominal splitting during pregnancy and don't even know it. This program is designed to help you rebuild ALL layers of the abdomen and gain back your strength! These exercises combined with healthy, clean eating, can help shape those abs and bring back the pack! ;) If you're interested in the postpartum core workout, just shoot me an email email@example.com and I'd be happy to send it to you!
I just met with my OB for my 6 week check up and it went REALLY well. If you're in Chicago near the North side, I highly recommend my Doctor at Northshore Medical Group. She is by far one of the best docs I've ever had (and I'm VERY picky). She knows that fitness is my career and knew I'd be fine to exercise as soon as I felt well. I didn't go 110% though until I saw her, juuuust to be safe. I did only a few leg workouts prior to my check up because I didn't personally feel comfortable yet. I did however, do upper body workouts 2-3x a week. Listen to your body. Your body will tell you if you're ready or not (and your doctor)!
Goals for now: Since I am still breastfeeding, I cannot go crazy on the nutrition (notice I say nutrition and not diet). I am eating as clean as possible but still keeping my calories a tad higher in order to keep up my milk supply. It's amazing what the body can do! I do have a goal to get back to my pre pregnancy weight by Christmas. Again, I'm not bending over backwards because my priorities have changed and I have new outlook on the body, buuuuut it'd be nice to be back to where I was ;)
I'll keep updating this blog on my progress, new finds, and other postpartum news. As always, email me if you have questions, comments or concerns!
In good health,
I realize that I've been talking about all the great things to do postpartum and haven't really talked about the ugly side. The side that no one really talks about. A lot of people kept saying to me, "oh, you'll bounce back in no time" etc, etc.. Just because I workout and eat healthy doesn't mean my body has superpowers. I mean, that'd be cool but let's be honest. I know there are some women out there who DO bounce back the day after birth, but that IS NOT me.
The first 2 weeks postpartum, I lost 14lb and I thought to myself, oh this will be easy! Yah, well I haven't budged since! I still have about 8lb to loose. The number isn't whats getting to me so much but the changes my body have made might be. For example, I tried to do pull ups the other day and my diastasis recti has still not fully recovered. It's not everyday you can't do things because your abdominal wall is literally split in half. Talk about motivating. I also thought my stomach would deflate faster and that I'd have a tight core right away. Not true. I still have squish (even though I try and hide it) and I'm just learning to take it day by day. It's also frustrating that sitting straight up from a lying down position isn't easy anymore! I will say it's gotten better which means my abs are coming back together again... but still, not as fast as I'd hope. I have decided that my goal until I go back to work and have my 6 week check up, is to go to the gym 2-3x a week. This is very little for me, but it's something. I'll take it!
My mom had to bring me back to reality and say, Cristina, you just had a baby 4 weeks ago. It takes 9 months to grow her (and growing a human is a huge and amazing thing in itself!!), so don't expect it to all go back in place over night. See, I already preach this but to live it is another thing. I guess we get impatient and want things faster than they can happen. Really what I need to do (and hopefully you get out of reading this) is take it day by day and have patience. The body really is amazing and I'm sure it will go back to how it was with persistence and patience.
Can you relate? I'd love to hear your postpartum experience and what worked for you and your journey back to pre-pregnancy body.
In good health,
Good morning readers,
Hope this note finds you well! I wanted to throw in a current picture -- Above is me eating my lunch last week while carrying my babes in her carrier. I LOVE this carrier (especially if shes extra fussy). She sleeps well in it since shes close to my heart and I can get things done while "holding" her. I highly recommend it. This carrier is made by ErgoBaby. Check it out if your in the market for one!
Now, I wanted to touch upon the benefits of breastfeeding and what it does to your body postpartum (and for baby). I actually didn't know much about it until I experienced it and read up on it. I knew it was better for the baby, but why? I didn't know the impact it had on the mother and how beneficial it was to her as well. I wanted to make note of some of the many benefits that make breastfeeding the best option for mommy and baby (as long as the body and baby allow).
So why is breastfeeding beneficial?
Benefits for Baby:
- It builds antibodies in the baby's body that will help protect him from illness
-Breastfeed babies are sick less in comparison to formula fed babies
-Lower chances of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
-Decrease chances of childhood diseases such as diabetes (1 & 2), high cholesterol, childhood cancers, and inflammatory bowel disease.
-Increased cognitive development
-Decreased chances of childhood obesity
Benefits for Mommy:
-Decrease risk of postpartum depression
-Decrease risk for postpartum stress
-Moms who breastfeed tend to return to pre-baby weight faster and loose weight faster
-Studies have shown breastfeeding can protect mother from certain cancers as well (breast and ovarian)
I'm not going to lie, breastfeeding isn't as easy as I thought. Thankfully my baby took to it easily but I didn't realize how dependent the baby is off of you. You cannot be too far from the baby because she needs to eat every 2-3 hours (that's IF they aren't going through a growth spurt).Sometimes my baby will eat back to back within an hour or hour and a half. When you do feed the baby, it can take up to 45 minutes (when they are little... once they are bigger they don't feed as long). A breastfeed baby digest the milk faster than a formula fed baby so that means they need to eat more frequently. When you look at all the benefits for the baby (and mommy), it really outweighs all these factors.
Keep in mind, when you breastfeed, you burn calories and therefore need to consume extra calories to help keep up your milk supply. This is NOT the time to try and "diet". You should increase your caloric intake to 300 calories per day. It is also extremely important to stay well hydrated. I bring my liter water bottle with me everywhere and make sure to drink a full bottle at least 4 times a day (that's 1 gallon). This helps keep up my milk supply.
For questions or comments in regards to fitness and health during and after pregnancy, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In good health,
So we just hit the 3 week mark! Yay for the small victories in life (or big ones)! I'm not going to lie, things are hard! It's not easy having a newborn (not that anyone really goes into with that mentality). Baby Isabella seems to be awake and hungrier more often now which is great but also time consuming! Last week I was lucky enough to workout 3 times (that's great in my books for 2 weeks postpartum). However, this week was harder! I have been running on VERY little sleep, BUT I managed to do an in-home workout today and plan on getting to the gym tomorrow even if it's just for 45 minutes!
Pictured above on the left was our day trip to Botanic Gardens yesterday. Both the hubby and myself decided we NEEDED to get out of the house and get some fresh air! It was wonderful going on a stroll and taking in the fresh air and beautiful scenery! Not to mention the baby did GREAT! On the right side is me multitasking and eating breakfast in bed for the first time ever! It was actually glorious. Hey, you gotta take what you can get!! :D
So since my workout schedule isn't 100% there yet (and I'm OK with this), I figured I'd talk about nutrition. The least I can do is try and eat healthy! However, nobody warned me that when you breastfeed your hungry as heck! My hunger levels are actually higher post pregnancy than during! Who would of thought!! P.s. if you didn't know, breastfeeding burns calories and you need to consume extra calories to keep up an adequate milk supply. The recommended amount is an additional 300 calories.
SAMPLE OF DAILY NUTRITION:
Meal 1: Breakfast: (I make a protein pancake most of the time)
4 egg whites
5 small strawberries
5g unsweetened coconut flakes
15g peanut butter
1 slice of Ezekiel bread
1 small iced coffee
Protein bar (quest)
1 serving of fruit (usually a peach)
100g ground turkey or egg whites
small salad or baked veggies
1 rice cake
15g peanut butter
100g chicken or another source of protein like fish
lots of veggies!!
(sometimes I'll add in extra carbs if I feel like I need them .. )
15g protein powder (I prefer unsweetened natural protein powder by gold standard or isopure)
50g frozen banana
12g pb2 powder
For questions on nutrition, exercise or health in general, please email me at email@example.com or comment below!
In good health,
No picture today, just an update on postpartum exercise.
When I got discharged from the hospital, I was told I could resume exercise as soon as I felt OK. I told myself I was going to hold off on HIIT training and lower body training until a few weeks later but I felt OK to resume upper body exercise. So I did that twice last week. My third day 3 of exercising last week, I felt REALLY GOOD and decided I was going to push myself.. well that was a lesson learned! I typically have a good mind and body connection and am well aware of what is too much for myself, however, post pregnancy is way different. I write this so that others can learn from my mistakes and not overexert their bodies too soon!
Check with your doctors, but usually the safe zone is after 6 weeks postpartum (given you didn't have any complications). Again, I was told to exercise as soon as I felt OK, so maybe the guidelines are on the verge of changing. I said I wasn't going to do lower body but I had a lot of energy and really wanted to do lunges with the barbell. I may of also done squats on the machine. I only did about 4 quads exercises but I super set everything with a shoulder exercise (this helps promote fat loss). It wasn't till the next day that I figured it was too much (my body hasn't fully healed).
Here's the thing: women want their bodies to bounce back ASAP and it can be frustrating when it takes longer than expected. I mean, it does take 9-10 months to grow the baby, so it should take just as long (if not longer) to get back to pre-pregnancy body and weight.
I have been asked about my post body progress, and while I haven't posted a picture yet, I'm not entirely disappointed. I went into it though knowing it takes TIME. I'm not in a rush nor am I "dieting" because that can effect breastfeeding immensely AND I'm not about to be super harsh on myself. However, I am in tune with what I am consuming and I'm tracking my macros about 90% of the time (just to monitor how much I'm consuming, not necessarily for weight loss right now). Anyways, I gained a total of 23lb while pregnant (keep in mind she came early). Within the first two weeks I lost 14-15lb. The last few pounds seem to be lingering. I know I'm only 3 weeks postpartum, so I'm not too hard on myself. Like I mentioned before, being healthy, getting back into a fitness routine and taking care of myself (and baby!) are my top priorities. I have a feeling everything will go back to place (weight and body) with a little more time. It's amazing how your body changes little by little day by day. So for those mammas postpartum wanting to get their bodies back, take your time. Take it day by day but do something each and everyday that will make you one step closer to your goal. You'll get there!
In good health,
Today I didn't get a chance to go to the gym because I think baby is going through a growth spurt and seems to be eating constantly! SO, I decided to do a at home workout instead! I cannot post videos to this blog just yet (still figuring it out) but if you head over to my Facebook Page www.facebook.com/cwphysique/ OR Instagram www.instagram.com/cwphysique/, you'll be able to see my video!
Today's workout needed to be short AND effective. I took 2 core exercises, 2 leg exercises, 2 upper body exercises and 1 cardio exercise and put them together. I rotated between core, upper body and lower body. Each exercise was done only once but for 100 reps. Sounds crazy and maybe it is, but it's a great way to get an effective workout in a short amount of time! Not to mention, if you're used to doing reps around 10-20, this will really shake things up!
FULL BODY WORKOUT:
100 reps of each!
Sit ups (can support lower back and just do reverse crunch if abs aren't strong enough)
Single leg knee to elbow crunch (50 each side) followed by 50 regular crunches (focusing on hollowing out the abs).
Shoulder push ups (come into a downward dog position and bend elbows so forehead goes toward the ground,
Lunges (50 each leg)
Super simple workout that you can do at home or on the go. Try it out next time you're crunched for time ... or have a crying little one in the background :)
In good health,
2 weeks post baby and finally feeling like my old self! Minus the lack of sleep...
Yesterday was my first day working out since giving birth. I worked up until the day she was born and I am very thankful for that! I can't stress enough how IMPORTANT it is to stay active! I needed to get out of my house because I felt cooped up and knew that exercising would be the perfect thing. Exercise has always been my form of stress relieving and boy did it help! To all the other mamma's out there and moms-to-be, don't forget to take care of yourself! If you don't take care of yourself, you wont be at your full potential for helping others (aka baby).
I said I would share my first workout back. I did a back workout and added some core into the mix. I typically jump on the pull up bar and do 3 sets of pull ups. I knew I wouldn't be able to do that right away so I tried the assisted pull ups. Well that was a JOKE. I felt my diastis recti (split abs). They aren't healed yet, so I stopped immediately and walked away like a sad puppy with it's tail between it's legs.
I tried to regain my pride and jumped on some machines I knew I could do... I did 3 sets of every exercise for 15x, 12x, 10x. And 15 reps for all abdominal exercises.
Seated row with close grip handle
Seated lat pull down on HammerStrength machine
Lying T- Bar row
Reverse flies using plates for weights
Lat pull down machine (not cables)
Low row using Free Motion machine cable
Wood chops from low pully
Side bends on low back extension machine (no weight)
Hanging knee raises with bent legs for 10x then straight legs for 10x
My hubby and I will both be on leave starting tomorrow and we are going to try and get creative with home workouts so we don't have to take turns going to the gym (although I'm sure we will do that too). I'll keep you posted on the in home workouts! Hopefully we will have some videos!
In good health,
Cristina Panagopoulos is the owner and founder of CW Physique, an in-home personal training and nutrition company. She has been in the fitness industry for over a decade and loves helping others transform their lives. She is certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a personal trainer and metabolic coach along with American Fitness Professionals & Associates certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. Over the years, Cristina gained specialty certifications through the American Council of Exercise for Orthopedic Exercise and Pre and Post Natal Exercising. Cristina started this blog as a casual and personal journey through her experiences of pregnancy and later on motherhood. She wants to educate females on proper fitness and nutrition who are going through pregnancy and motherhood. For more information, please email Cristina directly at firstname.lastname@example.org