Getting Back in Shape After the Baby.

(Last Updated On: August 11, 2011)
Eric and Kyle in 2002
Eric and Kyle in 2002

Hi Everyone!

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!

2002 picture of Cathe taken 2 days before she delivered her 2nd child
2002 picture of Cathe taken 2 days before she delivered her 2nd child

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

Side shot of me taken two days before I delivered Kyle.
Side shot of me taken two days before I delivered Kyle.

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.

This picture of me was taken 6 months after giving birth to my 2nd child.
This picture of me was taken 6 months after giving birth to my 2nd child.

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!

17 thoughts on “Getting Back in Shape After the Baby.

  1. I love reading this during my past pregnancies. We are expecting TWINS this year,….and this will be my inspiration to get me back in tip top condition. This soon to be mom of 5, thanks you, Cathe!

  2. What perfect timing for me to read this thread! I just had my 2nd baby four weeks ago and was hoping Cathe could help me get back in shape. I am counting down the days when I can return to my exersize routine! Thanks so much Cathe. You are motivating!

  3. What perfect timing for me to read this thread! I just had my 2nd baby four weeks ago and was hoping Cathe could help me get back in shape. I am counting down the days when I can return to my exercise routine! Thanks so much Cathe. You are motivating!

  4. Gee Cathe! I always imagined you as being a small carrier. I was mistaken!!!! I had my baby back in November 2007 and I’m very blessed like you in bouncing back from the stretch.

  5. I met you or shall I say saw you for the first time on Fit-Tv and thought wow she is such a motivation. I in no way, have had any former physical training in the past therefore I was totally mesmerized and challenged by the workouts shown on my tv screen ! You literally wore me out yet encouraged me to come back for more! The shows that are broadcast here in North Carolina are from previous videos from 2003. Now I find that you haven’t left the scene and that’s just great!! Thank you so much for proving that after pregnancies we can bounce back!!

  6. Thank you so much Cathe..feeling depressed after Baby #2 baby weight not moving..I am gonna have to up the intensity and keep it moving.Thanks again

  7. The timing on this is perfect! My 2nd child is due 6/22/09, although some think I might pop this weekend during the full moon. (I would be okay with that too!)

    I’ve been a Cathe fan since 2004…after finding her on FitTV after having my 1st baby. I’ve always worked out, since my childhood years when my mom was an aerobics instructor, and I’ve worked out through both pregnancies. I was on the Smith Machine doing squats less than 24 hours before my water broke with my 1st. I’ve kept up with things this pregnancy too, although it’s been even harder this time as a working mom of an active 4 yr old already. And yes, I still do Cathe stuff too, although with modifications (of course) at this point.

    Anyway, thanks so much for posting this. You are such an inspiration…as always!

  8. hi cathe i love watching your show on fittv . I ordered a few of your dvd’s my goal is to nice and toned just like you. My problem is my middle no matter how many time s i work my middle i can never get it tight> Im 45 and have 3 children my youngest is 19 do you think i can ever get my stomach tight and toned again? my question is how many times a week do i work my abs and what dvd you would recomend for me? i have muscle max is that enough to do 3 times a week? thanks cathe!

  9. I love that you posted this for us to read. I have 2 children and have found that it is super hard to get things back to the places that they once were! After my second child I dieted which was new for me. I lost around 20 lbs but still was about 20 lbs from where I really wanted to be and was so not toned! I fell off the wagon and gained about 5-10 back. About 10 months ago I started watching what I was eating again and lost about 10 more lbs this is when I found Cathe on fit tv. I loved it instantly and it was perfect for me! Not only would it help me lose the extra weight but it was going to help me tone up which I really wanted to do! About a month after that I started running also and added yoga! I am now way passed the weight I originally thought possible! my abs are defined and I feel great and I’m signed up to run a 1/2 marathon in Nov.! I started at 162 lbs after baby 2 and now 1 1/2 yr later I weigh 124 lbs and am seeing muscles I’d forgotten I even had and in the best shape! Thank you Cathe!

  10. Wow! This is extremely inspiring. I’ve always worried about having children and losing a toned body forever, especially now that I’m getting serious with someone and older…but reading this really made me realize that anything is possible with hard work and a great attitude. Thanks!

  11. Thank you Cathe for sharing and reposting. I am right there with Kara – this is very inspiring and just what I needed to start my morning.

    I have been a fitness professional for over 25 years and when my 40ish body would not respond to workouts & my time with my newborn was precious I started working out with Cathe on FitTV. (Side bar – THE best work out series I have ever found!) Needless to say I realized I was in the worse shape ever after the first class. But her series motivated me and now happily I am back to my athlete shape and fitness.

    But after the holidays I haven’t gotten my diet or intense workouts back on track. I see and feel the difference and have been sluggishly looking for a jump start and happily found it here today.

    Cathe, thanks again for motivating me twice! You truly are an inspiration.


  12. Hi Cathe,

    Love this article! I do have a couple question though, what about those of us who have sedentary jobs, have to go home and take care of baby, and find time to workout, and get those great results? I am really struggling with that aspect of it. Also, I thought carbs were necessary for energy to complete challenging workouts?

    Thanks again,

  13. Cathe,

    I am a 35 years old and i have been a fan of yours for years. I am 13 weeks pregnat for the first time and i am so thankful for your post and sharing with everyone what you did to get back into great shape after your pregnancies. I was hoping i could get some advice from you as to what you did to stay active during your pegnancy? Thank you for your time and i look forwand to hearing from you.


  14. Cathe, I am ABSOLUTELY IN AWE of your abs after your babies!! And only 6 months?!! AMAZING! I didn’t know that was even possible!

    However, I am 35 years old, and have always been pretty weight-conscious, myself. I have kept in shape over the years by working out and eating right. I am now pregnant for the first time, and though I have worked out occasionally — during my pregnancy — my schedule has simply not allowed me to be as active as I always thought I would be, if I were pregnant. And though I have walked at times, It has been MONTHS since I’ve lifted weights, so my body is quite different from the norm. I am at 35 weeks now, and I’ve gained 35 pounds.

    My question is, can I too expect to get as great of results as you did? I’ll be happy if I can even get close!! 🙂 FYI, I do intend to breastfeed.

    PS. I want to say, I am also a very big fan of yours! Your sculpted body has gained my complete respect!!!

  15. These pix just amaze me every time I see them! This is such an inspiring story, ESP after your second child! What would we do without you to keep us motivated? Thanks for ALL you do!

  16. Hi, Cathe! I am not sure if you will read my comment, but here it comes!

    I just bought your RIPPED new program thru you page. I am 31 years old and a mom of two. I am on my goal weight, but I want it RIPPED.

    I am so tire of these companies that are treating to do a monopoly on the fitness world. So, started to look for another GOOD trainers and found you.

    You have a lot of “over age” women that follow you and that almost discourage me… BUT I BOUGHT THE PROGRAM AND have high expectatives!… TO GET RIPPED!!!


    I am from Puerto Rico and my journey with you will start when my packet arrive.

    God bless you!!!

    Laurivette Garcia

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