I’d like to welcome you all to my Blog. Most recently we have had some new fitness enthusiasts join us (welcome J) and one of the most frequently asked question these last couple of weeks was ” Cathe, what did you do to get in shape after you had your kids?”. Well as many of you who have been with us for quite some time already know, I am an active and busy mom of two. I completely understand how hard it is to get back in shape after having a child….and it’s especially harder after having more than one child. As a matter of fact, I wrote a story about it back in 2002, shortly after Kyle was born, and would like to share it with you again. My wish is that it provides you with a source of inspiration to help you get in shape no matter how many kids you have (even if you have none!). Oh and by the way, for all of you out there who love the Intensity Series, this story will unveil the inspiration behind the making of this wonderful hit series. Enjoy!
The pregnancy pictures on the left were taken two days before I delivered Kyle on April 15, 2002. They were actually taken late at night, a tired mommy just before bedtime, with a little humor for my sister who lives in Florida and had not seen me pregnant yet. At first I hesitated to post them, being as they were not taken with the intension of being open for public view. But then I thought about it and decided that while they are definitely not professional glamour shots, they are true to that moment, and that’s nice too. I’m hoping these pictures will help inspire and motivate both pregnant and non-pregnant exercisers and remind us all that setting and reaching goals will happen if we remain focused, committed, and determined to make them happen. As you can see I was pretty much all belly and therefore my abs were my focus while getting in shape for the last round of videos. During my pregnancy, I gained 39 pounds, and had a few inches to lose in my hips, thighs, and most particularly in my abdominal area.
I did not really do much fitness wise for the first 7 weeks after delivery. This was special bonding time that I thoroughly enjoyed with my newborn Kyle, and Eric, who will be three this month.
Once getting the clearance from my doctor, I returned back to work at 7 weeks postpartum with still another 15 pounds of baby weight to lose and much strength, muscle tone and stamina to gain back. My abdominal muscles were very weak and the skin around my belly was still very loose and overstretched. My core area in general was very weak from the natural anatomical stresses placed on it during pregnancy. The rest of my body, while just about fitting in my regular clothes, had very little muscle definition and overall strength.
I started back with only my regular weekly teaching schedule at first ( 1 Kickbox, 2 Body Pump, 1 Interval Class, and 1 Step). I modified very much of each class. After about three weeks I was feeling much stronger so I pushed myself a little harder in each class. At about 14 weeks post-partum, I decided to add additional weight training to my program. I did one body part per
week in addition to my two weekly Body Pump classes plus I included core training sessions of about 15 to 20 minutes each, two times per week. Overall, I was pleased that I was getting much stronger in all muscle groups, plus I was feeling good aerobically. But I was a little disappointed with how slow my body was reacting to shedding the last 10 pounds of body fat. It seemed to come off rather quickly after having Eric, but was hanging around much longer with Kyle. I decided that I needed to really shock my body and came up with a plan. Since I was already teaching Kickbox, Interval, Step, and Body Pump, I rearranged these workouts to provoke a new response. The members were game for this change so I spent the next 6 weeks changing many of my current workouts into circuit style blasts. I created circuits by doing the following: 1) weights with cardio, 2) high intensity cardio mixed with low intensity cardio, 3) cardio, weights, high and low intensity all in one 4) all weights high reps and moderate weight, 4) all weights, mixed poundage, pyramid style. Wow, what a difference; not only did the time fly by, but my additional stubborn 10 pounds flew off in a matter of 8 weeks.
While these changes were in progress, I was motivated to create more videos, and thus came up with the foundation for the Intensity Series. After posting the poll to all of you and listening to your feedback, I tweaked the workouts to reflect the majority of the requests along with what I was currently doing in many of my classes.
By the time rehearsals started I had reached my pre-pregnancy goals and lost inches in my hips, thighs, waist. I was also very pleased with how far my core training had come. I tried not to stress about the thickness of my core region because I knew that would be expecting too much for this area of my body to return to pre-pregnancy state in such a short time. It took over a year to get my pre-pregnancy waistline back with the first pregnancy so I did not expect it to happen this time either.
Rehearsals lasted about a month. It was exciting to see the cast members come in all excited about how sore they were from previous rehearsals. Then they started noticing how their weight was coming off too. By the time filming ended, we were all so inspired with how strong and fit we had become. It was a feeling of true accomplishment. I know for myself I had lost even three more pounds plus tightened up my core far beyond what I thought was possible at this point in time.
As for my diet, I can tell you right after having the baby, I put no restrictions on myself since I was still breastfeeding. It was very important for my body to have adequate fat stores for the production of breast milk. After switching to baby formula a couple of months later, I still ate a varied diet and tried to slowly cut back on my noshing. When we were about 8 weeks away from filming I got much more focused and really cut out my snacking (except for occasional treats here and there). I also broiled and baked just about every meal. My protein sources, which I increased slightly, came mostly from chicken, fish, and peanut butter, although I had red meat once or twice a week. This is for no specific reason other than I enjoy these sources of protein. I cut back on starches about 85%. I ate a lot more dark leafy green vegetables, had a variety of fruits ( I favored the citrus family), and increased my water intake. During rehearsals I was unable to sit down to a meal so I would have a protein shake to hold me over until I could relax and eat. My overall meals were small and more frequent so that they were easy to digest. I never really counted calories but ate just enough nutritious food to be satisfied and ready to eat again in about 2 hours. That about sums it up for me. Good luck everyone, and I hope you enjoy the Intensity Series!