Here it is: My Gym Routine

This post is dedicated to all the mamas who hit the gym – even if it’s for a quick 30 minutes. I have always been a “gym person”, but it wasn’t until having my daughter that I started getting my workouts done in my family room. Now that Harper is older and in school, I’ve had more time to get back to the gym. But of course, home workouts with my mini still hold a place in my heart and are still my go-to during busy times! Gym workouts have changed too and I've lost a lot of muscle mass over the years, but I have to admit, it sure does feel good to get back in there and lift a little weight. 

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Lifting Won’t Make You “Huge”

Let’s just squash this myth once and for all. Weight training will not make you big and bulky, but in fact it will help you to sculpt beautifully toned muscles that any mama would be proud to show off. Hello, Jennifer Garner!

You don’t have to be in the gym for hours to get a decent workout, but you do have to be focused every minute you are there. I know that there isn’t a lot of time to begin with; getting to the gym might happen over your lunch hour or before the rest of the family wakes up in the morning, so I’m sure you want to get the very most out of your gym workout.

 My Typical Gym Routine

I’ll start by pointing out that I think it’s important to follow a routine for 6-8 weeks before making any dramatic changes to the workout program. I’m a sucker for consistency. Start with writing down your routine that you will be following and stick to it. I should also mention that if you are ever unsure of a certain exercise or movement, you should ask a trainer at the gym to assist you with proper form and technique. Most importantly, you should speak to your doctor, as well a pelvic floor physiotherapist, prior to starting any new fitness regimen.

I aim for 4 workouts a week, which usually ends up being 2-3 workouts (if it’s a good week) and they almost always happen during my lunch hour. If I only end up at the gym for two sessions, I will usually do one workout at home. Nonetheless, this is what a typical gym routine might look like for me.

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    What is tempo? Tempo refers the rhythm in seconds at which you raise and lower a weight or yourself (ie with a squat or lunge) including the rest time at the top of the lift and at the bottom of the lift or return of the weight.

What is tempo? Tempo refers the rhythm in seconds at which you raise and lower a weight or yourself (ie with a squat or lunge) including the rest time at the top of the lift and at the bottom of the lift or return of the weight.

What About Cardio?

I don’t usually do my cardio in the gym. I enjoy getting active with the family instead – we will go for long walks or go biking after school and on the weekends. Swimming is also something my mini enjoys doing (and I'm learning to love), but it makes for a great cardiovascular activity. However, if I’m up for it and I have some time after my workout, I might jump on the stair climber and do a 15-minute session of high intensity steady state (HISS) cardio. This means I simply work as hard as I can for those 15 minutes straight. I always make note of the calories the machine says I burned - not that it's accurate, but I use it as a number to beat in my next 15-minute HISS cardio session. Basically, the next time around I’m just trying to beat that figure, but still only in 15 minutes!

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Breathing is so important when you’re lifting weights (and during all activities in life). But it’s especially important to engage your pelvic floor when you are working out. This all starts with breathing! In fact, many people often forget to breathe when they exercise.


How to perform diaphragmatic breathing:

First ensure your body is in proper alignment – think straight line from ears to ankles when standing and when seated; there should be a gentle curve in the low back with ribs stacked over hips and shoulders in line with your hips.

Now locate your diaphragm by placing your hand above your belly button (just below your ribcage) and one hand on your ribs. Take a moment and close your eyes and become aware of your breathing. When taking a long, slow deep breath inward, you should feel your side ribs expand and your belly expand as the air draws in.

Ensure your chest is not rising when you inhale. Practice this inhalation until you are comfortable with the movement. Think inhale to expand and while your ribs are inflating and your belly is expanding, be sure to bring awareness to your pelvic floor.

As you breathe out, your ribs should soften and your belly will move inwards. At this time your pelvic floor will lift. Connect with the out breath using pursed lips and exhale slowly. Think exhale to engage and to help with the lifting movement.

This diaphragmatic breathing is otherwise known as “The Core Breath”, which is the foundation of the Bellies Inc. program. The above information was taken directly from the Bellies Inc. Core Confidence for Motherhood. You should be performing this breathing during most, if not all, of your day-to-day activities – from picking up groceries to lifting a weight or performing a squat. Remember, inhale to expand and exhale to engage. 

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Movement Matters, Mamas!

If it’s nearly impossible for you to get to the gym, don’t worry! I believe that as long as you are getting in movement is all that matters. You can still get a kick-ass workout at home too. The key is consistency and commitment to a routine. Whether it’s a gym or home workout, I know that once you start feeling those amazing post-workout endorphins, you will be addicted and then there is no turning back!

Location: MOVE Fitness Club

Workout wear by: Hyba

Photography by: Jeremie Dupont

Note: you should consult a qualified medical professional before starting this or any other fitness program. Please seek your doctor’s advice before making any decisions that impact your health, particularly if you suffer from any medical condition.

It is also recommended you see a pelvic floor physiotherapist postpartum for a detailed assessment prior to starting any type of activity. Before returning to regular exercise, you must have optimal function of your core (this includes the diaphragm, pelvic floor, transversus abdominis and multifidus).

Therefore, you should have optimal alignment, biomechanics and control for the specific movement or activity at hand. If at any time you experience any pain, discomfort or notice or experience any of the following, you should see your doctor or pelvic floor physiotherapist:

-        Pelvic girdle pain (PGP)

-        Incontinence

-        Pain during intercourse

-        Back pain

-        Heaviness or pressure in and around the vagina area or known pelvic organ prolapse

-        Diastisis Recti or suspicion of DR