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  • Writer's pictureCaroline Botting

Stop should-ing yourself in your postpartum fitness journey.

“My friend is doing x,y,z in her training. Should I do that too? I should, shouldn’t I. I want the same things as her so I should do that too.”

Have you thought this before? Chances are at some point you’ve “should-ed” yourself within your fitness journey. Let’s discuss why should-ing yourself may not be the best option.

When it comes to your postpartum fitness journey, there’s a lot of things at play as to how you train. What you do depends on your goals, injuries/symptoms, and available energy. So as much as your friend may seemingly have the same situation going on as you, it might not actually be so.

Imagine your friend was told by her trainer to do 1000s of pushups a day. Now let’s equate that to your current situation:

- Do you want to win a pushup competition? Then yes, you should do that.

- Any other reason….nope. Probably not the best idea.

Ok, better example... how about this:

Your friend is doing a million pelvic floor contractions (Kegels) a day. Is this for you? Probably not the best idea unless you're going to be hanging weights from your vagina.

Ok fine, less extreme example.

Next friend is running a marathon at 2 weeks postpartum.

Relating this to you: Have you been training for a marathon? Are you seeing a pelvic health physiotherapist? Do you understand the implications of running while being newly postpartum? There's a lot of things at play here and no generalized answer.

See how this works? Yes, these are far-fetched ideas but the idea holds true. Unless all the boxes are checked off as to what the reasons for doing a certain exercise and the way you do them in relation to if that works with your goals, current injury situation, and energy levels, that exercise isn’t for you right now.

Back to your friend's fitness endeavours...

If your friend told you to jump off a bridge, would you?

Yes, it comes down to a jump off a bridge metaphor - stick with me here.

Fitness is just like that. The latest fads always seem to ask for you to blindly go along and jump off the bridge with them because what they did helped them. Meanwhile, no thought is given to what your current situation is. Just because something worked for someone, doesn’t mean you should do it, or that it will work for you. If you go blindly into a workout situation without assessing the reasoning for doing said workout, you're probably not going to reach the goals that you thought you would.

So how do you know what you should do? It really comes down to “it depends”. That’s where working with a qualified trainer comes into play. Working with someone who can check off the boxes of whether or not the pros outweigh the cons for a certain exercise is a great way to make sure that you’re on the path to reaching YOUR goals while taking into account YOUR needs, YOUR abilities, and YOUR situation. Just because you think you should, doesn’t mean you should, but you should get qualified, personalized reasoning behind your decision. And just to be clear, I'm not saying you're not a grown woman who can't make her own decision. You have the right to choose whatever you choose for yourself. Knowing why you choose something is what I'm getting at.

As a trainer, I say “it depends” way more than “you should”. First off, I’m not your mother or ruler. That is not the relationship I have with my clients. There is a give and take happening with any good client-trainer match. Your goals matter. Your thoughts about fitness matter. Your history and injuries matter. On the flip side, science, and experience also matter.

It's time to take the "should-ing" out of your training and make sure it's the best option for you.

If you’re wondering about your workout planning and unsure what you “should” be doing, let me know. I’d love to help you navigate your goals and I have a few open 1:1 training spots available. Head to my webpage to find out more and fill out the training questionnaire.

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