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Getting back to fitness after children.

Yes the photos on the right are of me in 2013, about a year after my third and last child. I'd already had five years of being pregnant and having/looking after two children before having my last child in 2012. I didn't really enjoy any of my pregnancies, I had complications with my first which meant I was in hospital for a round 3 weeks before the birth and I put on a lot of weight being bedridden. My second pregnancy went more smoothly but was hard as I had a toddler and terrible sickness. During the five years before my third I did no exercise, I had no energy other than to run around after the children and I drank a couple of glasses of wine a night to unwind. Looking after them was my full-time job, I enjoyed it immensely and had good fun with them but it dented my self-confidence being at home with two toddlers and no real adult conversation. My third was easier as they just fit in, its weird but true, you already have the routine and well she just followed it to a tee! It got to a year after her birth when I decided I wanted to start looking fitter and losing the babyweight of the last six years. At that time I was around size 16 and pretty unhappy with how I looked, I took up running on a treadmill and the weight started to come off. Unfortunately I hurt my knee so I started to look for a more low-impact exercise to do.

I found the indoor rower and I loved it, I also started using weights and started to see a real difference. My energy levels were getting better, I was sleeping longer and my mood was much more happier - which made everyone else happier! I am not going to lie and say there weren't some days when the kids were more of a priority than my exercise but those days seemed to get less as I scheduled the exercise around preschool sessions and morning/afternoon naps. There comes a time in every parent's life when it starts to get that little bit easier and they can start getting small chunks of THEIR life back. It was at this time that I decided to make exercise more of a priority in my life, and yes some people may look at me and think 'wow, she is slightly obsessional about exercise'- rowing in particular - but it works for me. I look and feel better than I did in my 20s. I have now cut out most alcohol save for special occasions or the odd sunny afternoon, I have a healthy balanced diet and I exercise most days although I always make sure I have 1 full rest day.

Having children is hard on women especially as they do lose more of their identity than men, especially if they opt to be a stay-at-home mum as they do lose their self-confidence, its taken me a while to claw mine back and even now I have the odd wobble. I found if you start small and build up through the weeks/months you will find a routine that fits in with family life. I also advocate the use of the indoor rower in any new mum's fitness regime, all you have to do is look at the photos on the right taken in 2013 of me and then the one taken Feb 2018 you can see difference its made to my body shape. I would also support the use of strength exercises in your fitness programs these won't make you get huge - I am not! The weight sessions will build lean muscle which in-turn will burn more calories in the long run and help towards getting you to that fitness goal whether its to improve your general fitness or to drop a dress size.

So there you have it, start small, but be consistent in your exercising and you will start to see and feel the results. So eat a healthy balanced diet, make sure your doing around 2-3 sessions a week of around 30-40 mins, get your heart-rate up and a sweat on and I guarantee you if it makes you feel great it will become a habit that will be hard to break!

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