5 months PP fitness update, compared to before kids

On February 22 I posted a few goals I’d like to accomplish by August. How am I doing now that I have four months left? Let’s review.

strong fit mom

I am a strong mom.

1. Get back to pre-pregnancy weight (143 pounds)

My latest weigh in put me at 150 pounds. Seven pounds to go! I think my body composition is changing for the better, too. I can see better muscle definition in my arms again and my abs are more or less flat under the loose skin on my stomach.

2. Improve biomechanics

It’s hard to measure this one. I still feel some hinky movement patterns. Around my left sacroiliac (SI) joint has been particularly stubborn. It feels stiff and sore with certain movements, but I haven’t been able to identify the cause (or solution) yet.

regular mom

I am also a regular mom, pooch included

3. 195 lbs deadlift, 115 lbs front squat, 45 lbs bench row, 40 lbs chest press (per hand) assuming 3-5 reps, 3 sets

I’m currently pulling 135 pounds for 6×10 (6 sets of 10 reps). My recent front squat is 75 pounds for 4×10. My bench row is at 30 pounds for 6×10. I’m doing push-ups right now instead of chest press to work on core alignment and stability.

 

Overall I’m making progress. I wish some of it were faster. So much depends on core stability and I feel like I’m still struggling a little to get my core to engage properly. I probably also expect too much of myself at 5 months postpartum. It’s hard not to compare myself to where I was before kids.

I’d like to say I have a solid exercise routine, but the most routine thing about it is that I do something three times a week as long as I and the kids are healthy enough. I don’t have exercises planned out like I used to and I skimp too much on warm up and repositioning exercises since I’m usually short on time.

Fitness before kids versus after kids

Let me share a bit about my workouts before kids so you can see how things have changed. Jeff noted that he was probably in the best shape of his life around the time of our wedding in March 2013. I was too. We were visiting IFAST in Indianapolis every month or two to see Bill Hartman for new exercise programs. I really miss visiting Bill, by the way. He’s an extremely talented and knowledgeable physical therapist and personal trainer for hobby or professional athletes and generally a really friendly guy.

This workout is one of two that Bill assigned me in September of 2012. (I can’t believe that was over six and a half years ago!) the structure of the sets and reps is [number of sets] x [number of reps].

Note: do¬†not try this workout if you are not a highly trained athlete. Bill’s workouts were always on the sadistic side, although very effective. At this time I was considered an advanced athlete.

Warm up

Massage: Foam roll spine and front of hips. Massage pecs, posterior shoulder, and lats with a lacrosse ball.
Mobility exercises (10x each): quadruped chin tuck; reach, roll, lift; standing hip, knee, dorsiflection, toe extension with band pull down; back scapular wall slides
Corrective exercises (for imbalances he saw): vertical hang (1×6, 5 deep breaths per rep); single leg glute bridge (1×12)

Workout

1. one-arm dumbbell snatch (2-3×6), 30 pounds
2. deadlift cluster (2-3(3×1)), 235 pounds
3a. half-off one dumbbell bench press (2-3×8-10), 25 pounds
3b. unsupported dumbbell row (2-3×8-10), 30 pounds
4a. unilateral supported prone Y (2×8), 2.5 pounds
4b. kettlebell half get-up (2×3), 20 pounds

Circuit

4-8 sets: 30 seconds of two-dumbbell burpee, 30 seconds of alternating forward and backward rolls (jujutsu), 30 seconds of backward bear crawl, and 100 foot (each side) suitcase carry, 1-3 minute rest

Some of these may seem obscure if you’re used to the powerlifting trio (deadlift, bench press, and squat). Let me draw your attention to #2, the deadlift cluster. That 2-3(3×1) means I did rep one, rested for 15 seconds, rep two, rested for 15 seconds, rep three, and rested for 90 seconds before doing it again. I did that 2-3 times for a total of 6-9 deadlifts at my max load.

I noted the weight on the bar in the second week of this workout was 235 pounds, more than 1.6 times my body weight (249 pound 1RM). That put me solidly in the advanced athlete range, the last level below elite in the strength standards on ExRx.net. I remember I was also doing front squats with at least my body weight on the bar and back squats with close to 200 pounds for at least three reps.

Now? I might barely reach intermediate (180 pound 1RM). If I think about it too much it saddens me how much I’ve lost physically in the last few years, both in terms of general fitness and jujutsu skill. If anything besides our ability to handle more kids financially or practically would persuade me to stop having kids, this would be it. By the time I use all the embryos I’ll probably be close to 40 years old. Will I ever approach that advanced fitness level again? Will I ever be able to practice jujutsu the way I once did? Is it selfish to be tempted to leave embryos behind just for my personal physical goals?

 

Give me your stories and thoughts, fit moms and moms of many.

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