Looking for a great postpartum workout challenge for new moms? Read about why I designed this postpartum clean eating challenge and exercise program after having two c-sections!
Hi there, I’m Chantal! I’m a NASM certified personal trainer, PNW native, and mom of two. I am the owner of Ironwild Fitness and the creator of the 21 Day Postpartum Challenge. Welcome!
I’d like to start with a little bit of backstory on what made me land here – in the world of fitness blogging. Also, why I made the postpartum workout challenge and my story as a mom.
I promise it will help you understand why I believe in the challenge, as well as help you relate!
When I was a new first-time mom, I was confident in my ability to lose weight after having my baby. In fact, before giving birth, I was absolutely sure that I would lose all of the baby weight within a year of having my baby.
The thing that I didn’t expect was how my new body would feel, or that I would end up having a rocky pregnancy.
I didn’t know a lot of the changes your body goes through postpartum. I also didn’t expect to experience hyperemesis gravidarium (that’s super intense, long-lasting morning sickness) or an emergency c-section!
So after giving birth, I found that my original expectations were “best case scenario,” which is in fact not what happened!
Since I experienced such a big loss in muscle mass, as well as a major surgery, my postpartum weight loss and workout plans had to be tossed.
I tried to work out like I had pre-pregnancy after having my first baby, but it simply didn’t work.
Naturally, I started to lose hope and motivation as a result.
I honestly wish I hadn’t set such high expectations for myself, but I think that all brand new moms do this.
Later, I snowballed into a depression that lasted well over a year, and I lost control of my health. What had started as big plans to get in shape after baby ended up backfiring.
I swung to the other side of the spectrum and followed no plans whatsoever in the end. I threw caution to the wind and ate what I wanted, and almost stopped working out altogether.
My original plan and my expectations ultimately backfired.
Looking back, I wish that I’d given myself a little more grace postpartum.
But I also wish that I’d had a better postpartum workout plan that was made specifically to help me gradually get stronger and fitter. One that was realistic but also challenging, if you know what I mean!
Because of my long history with fitness, depression, and a history of weird pregnancies and c-sections, I was a lot wiser the second time around.
I became a certified personal trainer while pregnant with my second baby in 2017. Since I was studying the science of fitness while also working out and being pregnant, I was able to focus on developing a better plan for postpartum exercise.
The result is my postpartum workout challenge for new moms!
Thing is, after having a baby, you can’t just go back to working out as hard and as long as you did before without a plan. Unless you are an elite athlete who was able to exercise normally throughout your entire pregnancy, it is just not safe or wise.
Especially if you’ve had a c-section or any complications during your pregnancy.
Most moms lose quite a bit of muscle mass & strength during pregnancy. They also gain weight and lose core strength due to a stretched midsection.
This sets moms up for injury if they aren’t careful when making the return to exercise during the postpartum period. It also sets them up for self-esteem or fatigue problems. That’s why you have to be careful with postpartum workout plans that jump into high-intensity workouts.
If you set yourself up for failure during this time, it can be detrimental to your overall goals. I learned this the hard way – and hopefully you are wiser than I was back then!
That’s why the postpartum period should be focused on rebuilding strength in a low-impact manner. (At least for most moms.) Postpartum strength training is sooo important to start out with.
After that, most moms can resume their “normal” high-impact workouts. This postpartum workout guide is just a stepping stone to get you there!
Postpartum Clean Eating Habits
On top of the loss of muscle mass and strength that most moms experience during pregnancy, many moms develop poor eating habits during this time.
That’s understandable and complete relatable, as pregnancy is hard on the body. Aside from cravings and fatigue, many moms find it difficult to eat certain foods during pregnancy.
It is also totally normal just to want whatever is easiest since pregnant mommas are tired a lot!
However, during the postpartum period, most moms find themselves wanting to either eat well for breastfeeding purposes, weight loss reasons, or both!
I know I did! With my first, carbs were the only thing that didn’t make me puke, naturally. With my second, I again craved Olive Garden like my life would end if I couldn’t have it.
Even though I had pretty bad morning sickness that kept my weight down for the first two trimesters, I went on to gain a LOT of weight in my third.
After having both kids, I knew that I couldn’t continue my poor eating habits forever. The postpartum period is the perfect time to start trying to eat clean again! That is, once you gather your bearings and adjust to your new normal.
But without a plan, that’s easier said than done, right? A mommy workout challenge could be just the ticket.
I created my postpartum workout challenge to feature a clean eating challenge for this exact reason. It is meant to guide you back into a healthier diet. Consider it a challenge to reset your expectations, fitness goals, and diet!
A Foolproof Postpartum Workout Plan
While my workout challenge is still relatively new to the market, I KNOW it works. There’s no way you can fail when you’re following the workouts and eating suggestions I provide.
One of my most loyal readers and followers reported not only feeling stronger and leaner after the 21 days, she also lost 6 pounds! That’s 2 pounds per week – which is a super healthy rate!
If you combine this plan with breastfeeding, it could potentially be so much more!
But don’t be fooled – the 21 Day Postpartum Challenge is about so much more than weight loss.
It’s more than a postpartum workout schedule. It’s about recreating those healthy habits that we all want to have – eating well and exercising regularly.
You know what they say, after all – it takes 21 days to form a habit!
With my postpartum workout challenge, you will get four low-impact, strength-based workouts per week. This is your postpartum workout schedule. (Pictures and full instructions included.)
You will also get a list of foods to avoid, as well as recommended foods. While there’s not a specific meal plan, there are lots of healthy meal ideas and snack suggestions. It’s nothing crazy, just a list of things that will help you regain your health, and a list of things that might stall your weight loss if you eat them!
I also provide several core rehabilitation and strengthening exercises for postpartum mamas who don’t have abdominal separation. This is perfect for most moms, since many of us just have weak core muscles. You can use these at any level.
In my postpartum workout challenge, I also talk about the challenges of breastfeeding and c-section deliveries in light of the topic of exercise.
I provide guidance for moms who are breastfeeding while also trying to lose weight, as well as tips for moms who are recovering from a cesarean. I know that sticking to a postpartum workout schedule when you’re postpartum is hard! Trust me!
I also include a few printables to help you along the way. It wouldn’t be a workout challenge without a body measurement tracker (which can mean more than a number on the scale) as well as a grocery list and warmup instructions.
Can I Start The Postpartum Workout Challenge Any Time?
Yes! While you do need to have your doctor’s permission to begin exercising after giving birth, the challenge can start whenever you want it to.
I do have it planned so that your rest days coincide with the weekends, however. So if want to start mid-week, just know that your rest days won’t be on Saturday and Sunday.
Easy-To-Follow Postpartum Workout Schedule
The challenge has everything you need to get started on your postpartum fitness journey – including instructions.
If you start the postpartum workout challenge on a Monday, you’ll have a break from exercise on Wednesdays and weekends. (You’ll continue to eat “clean” on your days off of exercise, though.) I always think it’s easier to start on a Monday, anyway!
So I hope you try my mommy workout challenge – which is honestly so much more.
Looking for core rehab tips to try right now? Check these out!