ARTICLE: THE TRAINING PROGRAMME
I have to admit I have really enjoyed being back training full time. That is not to say that it has not been tough, it has been, but it has definitely been worth it. Before starting up again, despite doing 10 minutes training each night in the lead up to it, I still had my reservations about how fit I would be and was nervous about how my body would cope being pushed to the limit, with muscle soreness and pelvic floor problems being my two biggest concerns. There was no point in worrying about it though, the only way to know was to just do it!
As I posted on Facebook last week, I have started my training with my Apprentice programme. I am not following the videos, I think watching myself constantly would be weird, but that is the exact programme I am doing. I should point out that it is not a post pregnancy programme but as I have already been doing my pelvic floor exercises and other core rehabilitation work I feel comfortable doing the standard programme, plus as the core exercises in the Apprentice stage are beginner level they are perfect for me at this point. I was hesitant about the cardio work due to the unavoidable impact and therefore strain it would place on the pelvic floor, so I simply eased myself in by working at 50% of my maximum effort the first week then 75% this week. So far so good, so I will really go for it next week and see how I get on. I haven’t actually had any particular pelvic floor problems thus far and the reason for such caution is to make sure it stays that way! Even without any obvious problems this area has clearly been weakened so needs a little time to heal and build back to full strength. You need to think about the pelvic floor muscles just as would any other muscle that has been through an injury. You would give it time to heal, do the appropriate rehab and then test its limitations. Anyway, enough about the pelvic floor and on to the training sessions!
For those of you that do not know The 4321 Method®’s Signature Collection programme follows a distinct pattern each week with one upper and core resistance workout, one legs and core resistance workout, both with interval training at the end of the resistance section and then two full body HIIT sessions. The resistance sets for me were better than expected, but this could be down to the 10 minutes resistance training I have been doing. Where I struggled was during the HIIT sessions and that was even with me doing the cardio at 50% or 75% of full pace! I just wasn’t used to working at that pace anymore. I am not concerned though, it is just a case of doing more of these workouts and I am sure I will get back up to speed.
The most important issue to discuss is not actually that the HIIT was difficult or even the specific programme that I am following, the most important issue is how I approached the workouts mentally and how I think everyone should approach a new workout regime whether it be post pregnancy, post injury or just as someone getting into or back into fitness. You must be humble, not set the bar too high and not place unrealistic expectations on yourself. If you do, it is just depressing because all you are focusing on is what you cannot do. I started that first workout with my press ups at the highest angle, struggling to do a full sit up and having to concentrate on my posture during a basic body weight squat. If I compared that to my fitness level pre pregnancy I would just constantly be disappointed with where I am at now. Instead, I simply accepted that it was like being a beginner again. My body had been through a lot and I would not be able to perform at the level I was at before. The only way to accurately assess where I am is to reset completely and go back to the start. Immediately, it took the pressure off. Now for anyone that was fit pre baby and feels as though that sounds depressing to have to start at the beginning, do not let it get you down. I would advise going back to the beginning to help you rebuild the foundations, but you should be able to fast track your way through the basics. That is what I am going to do! My Apprentice programme normally takes 12 weeks, I will do it in 6, completing each workout twice instead of 4 times. I know I will be able to do this because my previous fitness levels will allow my body to adapt quickly. I will fast track my way through the Signature Collection until I reach a point where I don’t think I can keep skipping ahead and at the point I will simply do the programme as prescribed.
At the moment I am just happy to be fit and well enough to train the way I want and happy that I have not placed any unrealistic expectations on myself to immediately match the fitness levels that I had pre baby. With nutrition and training taken care of the final step is to get back to pre pregnancy weight! Good nutrition and exercise should mean that my weight will take care of itself but I do have a couple of extra tips I am going to share with you next time that can help you get back into your pre pregnancy clothes.
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Diary of a Fit Bird is written by the founder of The 4321 Method®. To find out more about our products go to:
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