From Birth to BBG

My biggest struggle with BBG has not been staying motivated week after week, or finding the time to workout with a little one, eating clean or waiting to see a change in my body.

 

The one thing I found harder than anything else was actually just getting started.

Pregnant and waiting.

I always knew once I had given birth and I was fit and able, I was going to do Kayla Itsines BBG (of course back then I thought I was signing up for 12 weeks not committing to a whole new lifestyle.)

I had followed the @Kayla_itsines Instagram account for a little while and like everyone who comes across it for the first time, was completely blown away by the BBG girls before and after pictures.  One in particular (@kim_fairley) really struck a chord with me.  She was a new mum to her second baby, and she had totally transformed her post baby body in to a smoking hot, bikini clad, mega mum bod in just 3 short months.  I screen shot the picture and saved it to my Iphone.  From that moment on, BBG became my post pregnancy plan of action and for those 9 months I mentally prepared myself for BBG-ing my body after baby.

Or so I thought…

…Apparently nothing, I mean nothing, can prepare you for the seemingly  insurmountable moutain you have to haul your body up, in order to reclaim you fitness.     

The road to recovery

My master plan to getting workout ready, was to walk… walk walk walk walk walk.  I thought if I started to walk as soon and as often as possible, it would be easy street all the way back to higher intensity exercise….  But to my shock and horror my body struggled to cope even with this, so soon after birth.

In those first few weeks I tried to take some 30 minute  walks, but I made the terrible mistake of trying to walk with my baby in her carrier.  I thought that the extra weight would be a good way to increase the intensity of the walk and get fitter quicker.  But it was way too much, the strain on my abdomen just walking with a weight brought on more bleeding at a time when internally I was meant to be healing.

Every time I thought my bleeding has stopped, I would walk it and it brought it back straight back again.  My health visitor told me to stop immediately.  She said 4 weeks after birth was too soon for me to even be walking.   That the bleeding was a big sign that it was too strenuous and my body wasn’t coping.  I was shocked, I’d had a relatively trauma free birth with very little blood loss after.  I had been back on my feet almost immediately.  Maddie and I were up and out on day 2 and I didn’t feel particularly sore or in pain, so I really thought I was set up for a swift and smooth recovery.  But no matter how smooth my labour was, no matter how together I was feeling on the outside, internally my body was still stuggling to recover and I needed to respect that.  So I gave my body some time.  I still tried to do gentle walks but this time with the buggy and for shorter lengths of time.

The 6 week wobble.

As soon as the post baby milestone of  6 weeks postpartum arrived, I was just too excited and attempted to do day one of BBG pre-training, ha! What a joke.  I couldn’t even step on to my footstool for an un weighted ‘step-up’ without losing my balance. I had no internal corset and just couldn’t support my own body in anyway.  I felt like a failure, like I was part of some cruel joke… that my good intentions were stupid and laughable. That I needed reminding that bodies after second babies just don’t bounce back and“ oh don’t forget you’re in your mid thirties now, you’re older now, you can’t expect too much”.  So I quit without even completing one circuit.

At my 8 week check up I spoke to my GP about re starting exercise, but I was encouraged again to be patient and just continue with my walks.  Bleeding was still intermittent and although at the time I was frustrated by it, I’m grateful now that it was.   It served as an un-ignorable reminder that I was still healing and my body just wasn’t ready.

When water works ruin your life.

At ten weeks postpartum and no more bleeding I tentatively tried pre-training again and wobbled my way through legs circuit 1.  I had to split all the 15 rep exercises in to reps of 5 (times three).  Taking big fat, let the timer tick away, pauses in between. But I did do every exercise.  Well, every exercise bar one….

Ahead of time I had purchased a £1 skipping rope from Primark, especially for my BBG pre-training.  BBG pre-training tells that you need to skip continuously for 50 reps as part of circuit one, week one legs.  So, a mere ten weeks after having my second baby…  with a bargain basement skipping rope handle in each hand, I attempted to skip for the first time since primary school.

What do you think happened next?…  I’ll give you three guesses and it rhymes with I ‘met’ myself…

The stark realisation of the wreckage that was now my pelvic floor sent me running… running straight for the shower.  Horrified at the thought that James or the kids might walk in and see me in a puddle, I put an immediate end to what was supposed to be my fitness beginning.  I was embarrassed and felt like I was never going to regain control of my body inside or out.  I felt like a failure all over again.

The twelve week timebomb

The next time I attempted BBG was two weeks later.  Feeling under pressure that I was now 3 months postpartum I tried legs for the third time.  By some absolute miracle, I got through it (this time with the help of some well situated female products) and I felt great about myself…

I went to bed that night feeling like I could really do it this time!  I felt capable and stronger than ever.  Unfortunately when I woke up, all I felt was a world of hurt.  Overnight my fitness euphoria had manifested its self into the worst DOMS I have ever experienced in my life.  I’m not exaggerating when I tell you I couldn’t walk down my stairs. I felt like I had been beaten up. I felt bruised from my ankles to my elbows.  It hurt to move my hand, it hurt to bend my leg, it hurt to laugh, it hurt to breathe, it hurt to look left.  I was in so much pain, so much physical agony, for days and days and days.  I couldn’t even THINK about continuing with the program.  So I gave up again and I gave up for a while.

Time to toughen up.

The fourth and final time I tried to start BBG was at 4 months postpartum.  After a fight to the death with my spanxs I decided enough was enough. Physically and emotionally it was time to rebuild my body.

This time, I was so determined to succeed at getting started, I went through the mortifying and degrading process of taking a ‘before photo’ .  I made an anonymous instagram account for accountability and I gritted my teeth and went straight in to BBG base camp aka: Week 1 legs ( no pre-training) .  It was terrible.  I was terrible.  It hurt like hell.  I hurt like hell.  I modified pretty much everything and took one million extra breaks, but I did it.  When I went to bed I prayed for strength.  Strength to endure the pain that would surely follow the next morning.

And sure enough the pain came.  The searing, burning, I’m broken, I can’t sit on the toilet pain was back and although it hung around for days, by Friday it had just eased up enough to face arms and abs.  I did all the pushups on my knees.  I had to do crunches instead of sit ups as I was not strong enough to lift my upper body off the floor. But I got through it in my own way. 

So here I was.  I just had full body to go before I could say I officially got through my first full week of BBG and do you know what?… I did that too.  By all accounts I did it badly,  I wanted to cry by the end of it because of the doms and the stiffness from the weeks earlier activity…

But I didn’t quit once and I’ve never quit since.

The mental and physical struggle it took to complete that first week of BBG meant that I absolutely made sure I would never have to start over, ever again.  I knew if I could get through the utter trauma of that initial return to exercise I would do absolutely fine with whatever was coming next.

It taught me how tough I was.  Tough enough to keep coming back after it beat me up, tough enough to make it through the doms and tough enough to talk myself into each and every exercise that was too difficult for my out of condition body.

Returning to fitness after baby is a mountain dressed up as a hill that you never realised would be so damn hard to climb.

You can feel like you are your own Everest!  But you can and you will get there and when you do get to the top, the view will be amazing.  Everything you feel will be fresher, clearer and more incredible than before.  You may have to be your own mountain rescue team every now and then, but that’s ok.  You will survive, you will push through and you will eventually look back at the journey, as the most worthwhile ‘climb’ of your life.

 

 

 

 

 

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20 Comments Add yours

  1. Erica says:

    Such an inspiration. Thank you.

    Like

    1. activelyrees says:

      thank you and thanks for reading it xx

      Like

  2. Natalie says:

    I really needed this. Thank you ❤️

    Like

    1. activelyrees says:

      ah thank you for taking the time to read it 🙂

      Like

  3. christy1414 says:

    Wow! Love you even more now. I know you hear it all the time, but you’re such an inspiration. You are my @kim_fairley.

    For the record, your blog is the best I’ve read. So informative. So honest. Such a lovely way for all of us to feel like we know you a bit.

    Little did you know when you were crying in your puddle that your BOSS-like will & determination was going to lead to such huge things. Be SO proud. Your daughter will be when she’s old enough to understand.

    PS – James needs to put a ring on you! He’s won the lottery with you. Hope he knows that. 💕

    Christy
    @bbgchristy

    Like

    1. activelyrees says:

      thank you so much Christy, i can’t tell you how much your comment means to me. reading it made me feel so happy. i really want the blog to be useful rather than self promotional and i’m trying really hard to find helpful things to write about xx

      Like

  4. Patty says:

    Thank you for this. I did week 1 legs on Sunday and thought I did something terribly wrong because I have been in so much pain! I have been afraid of arms and abs thinking I won’t be able to lift my child! After reading your post I feel up for the challenge! Thank you!

    Like

  5. Ln says:

    Hi, you have had such an amazing transformation!! I would love to know if you modified any of the ab workouts in kayla’s bbg guides? I am 2.5 months postpartum and I keep hearing from various postpartum experts that crunches and leg raises are no good and will just worsen the mummy tummy. I still have that little mommy pooch in my lower abdomen and not sure if the exercises i am doing is making it worse .. Thoughts?
    Thank you for the ongoing inspiration 🙂

    Like

  6. Harriet Lee says:

    Wow this is such an inspirational read. Over two years postpartum and I’m still not happy with my body despite working out regularly. But I have made huuuuge progress so that’s okay. My issue now is that I want to have another baby but I’m so scared to have to start again! Xxx

    Like

    1. activelyrees says:

      don’t be scared to have another baby just have a plan for afterwards. half the battle is just believing you can have it all… the body and the baby! and you CAN! xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Harriet Lee says:

        Thanks lovely. I already have a plan for afterwards and I’m not even expecting again yet! xo

        Like

  7. Louiza says:

    Firstly, let me just say I absolutely adore you and when I feel like I don’t want to exercise I just look at your progress. In your blog you mention that you were on a very strict diet plan to lose the weight, can you maybe explain what you are etc. I am struggling to lose around a suborn 5 kg. Just need some help and guidance. Thanks!

    Like

    1. activelyrees says:

      Hi Louiza, thank you so much. i wasnt on a strict diet plan but i was a lot stricter with myself then, than i am now. i ate all the same foods as i mention in my 6 day food diary but calorie intake was at about 1600 cals per day whereas now its around 2000. i also was strict when it came to my treats. i stuck fairly rigidly to half a day per week for treats usually just a main meal and a some snacks. where as now im a lot more relaxed and sometimes i’ll have a whole weekend of indulging or lots of mini treats throughout the week without too much worry. The only plan i have ever followed is eat clean 90% and treats 10% but i eat from all food groups at all times of the day. i hope this clears it up a bit. take a look at the food diary for meal suggestions. when i was actively trying to lose weight i just had fewer meals in the day and smaller portions xx

      Like

  8. Jaime says:

    I have just come across your blog and love it! I am 9 weeks post partum with my second baby and really want to start regular work outs, and have also been advised to start off walking. I am absolutely dreading the first aerobic session! I just hope I can keep up a positive attitude like you have. Did you breastfeed? If so, did this weight loss affect your milk supply? I’m exclusively breastfeeding and am worried that my desire for a hot summer body may mean my baby isn’t as satisfied as she is now. Thanks so much for sharing your story and making me realise there is hope to fit into my old dresses again!

    Like

  9. Sheree says:

    Oh my gosh love this entry. I came across bbg as I’m actually friends with Kim and was so amazed by her transformation. Then I came across your transformation and was blown away. Reading your blog just now was insane as its me!!! Well…. You have been in my position. I’ve just had my 3rd baby. I too tried to start too early, and have quit time and time again. I was bleeding too much so had to wait, and when I first did the skipping, I too wet myself 🙈And felt disgusting and embarrassed!!!! I thought then omg this is not going well. My bub is now 10 weeks, so maybe I need to still give it more time. But you have inspired me so thank you!!!!! I can do it I know I can.

    Like

  10. Amy says:

    This is such an inspirational post! I am 26 weeks pregnant and am very much looking forward to beginning BBG after baby arrives, fitness and feeling strong is my sanity and I miss big sweaty workouts so much (as wonderful as it is to be pregnant). This post was so honest and makes me feel like regardless of how hard or slow it might be to get back into it, if I persevere I can do it, even if it takes a few attempts. It’s also nice to know that it’s not all roses and sunshine physically post-baby – it’s not talked about enough but reading posts like this help us all put our own recovery and body aspirations into perspective rather than feeling like it’s only us falling apart or feeling frumpy. So, thank you for sharing! xo

    Like

  11. briezer says:

    This is just what I needed to read tonight. 11 weeks postpartum… Been struggling with pelvic floor issues after baby number 2. Have been so shocked by how hard getting active has felt. Thank you for writing this! It made me tear up to find something I can relate so well to. Just started week 1 of BBG after doing the pretraining… Hope I can continue and get through it!

    Like

  12. Anna Potter says:

    I so needed to read this – thank you! I am 9 weeks postpartum with my second baby and attempted to start kayla pre training this week. legs went ok earlier in the week but today I tried arms and abs… ugh. I am soooo weak. I couldnt stick it out, doing anything with my core feels impossible :(. Inspiring to hear your story. I’ll give my body another week (is 9 weeks too soon?) you’ve inspired me to give it another crack!! Anna

    Like

  13. Stevie says:

    Such a honest and helpful story. Thank you! I’m 3 months postpartum from twins and have a 21 month old toddler…I love what I’ve created with this body, but I can’t stand the sight of this body. I’m sitting here thinking should I try Kayla…or try something else. I’m married to a hot hubby, I want to feel sexy again. So good to hear your approach and persistance! Thank you

    Like

  14. This is helpful! I’m 7 weeks postpartum with my second, feeling great, and wondering if it’s ok to start the pre-training. This is helping me get real a bit.

    Like

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