A couple weeks ago, over one of our regular girls/moms night out with my close friends, we were discussing how I wanted to write about my ongoing love of fitness and started by writing my first post.  My friends mentioned that it would be useful if I wrote about how I bounced back after my three pregnancies. ( thx so much girls <3) This got me thinking that although I am no fitness/nutrition expert in the professional sense, I would probably be able to give some useful tips/support not only to new moms but also to anyone trying to get back to or into fitness and is intimidated to start. I know how it feels as I have been there- three times! With no further ado I introduce you:

back-to-fitnessEvery week I will include some tips/suggestions on fitness and/or nutrition that worked for me. I will use my own experiences as an example but I think you could apply most of it to any situation keeping you from starting again, be it college 15, a surgery and home rest, or some particularly busy period in your life. Also I want to open this space to your back to fitness related questions and I will answer one every week to my best knowledge.

Let’s begin shall we. Today’s two back to fitness tips are:

Set Realistic Expectations

I want to start with what I think is the number one suggestion on my list. Whatever it is you are bouncing back from you need to be kind to yourself and set your sight on realistic goals.

I learned this the hard way. Before my oldest daughter was born I had absolutely no clue how the first year would be after birth. I was living in my dreamland thinking after delivery in about two weeks I would be at the gym and outdoors back to my regular routine. Instead I had a baby, fell in love with her and at the same time felt such an utter and complete exhaustion from all the responsibilities that I barely had energy to take showers, or even change from my pajamas to my regular clothes. Fitness what did that word even mean, forget it, running 6am in the morning was not even remotely in my list of things to do.

My initial super high fitness expectations made me reluctant to start with even something simple, as the fear of failure took over me.

I felt like if I wasn’t going to do it at full speed, there was no meaning in starting.This mentality of course made me unhappy. After almost eight months ( and still holding on to most of the gained pregnancy pounds and feeling so sluggish), when I eased into motherhood,  I felt like I needed to change my view of fitness success to accomplish my goal of getting active again. By setting up a much more realistic back to fitness plan for myself, I got my motivation back. This brings me to my second tip.

Takeaway: We as women are so hard on ourselves. In our busy lives, with all the different hats we wear, if we need to, it’s OK to give ourselves permission to focus on what’s important  ( like a baby, new job, recuperation)  for a while. When we are ready to get back into fitness, realistic expectations will probably make us start faster, stick to the plan and most importantly make us feel empowered instead of like a failure.

Start Simple

Directly related to my first tip I think starting simple with baby steps is huge. After the above mentioned realistic goal setting, I decided that I would ease myself into exercising. I would also find ways to become active again with simple everyday activities.

I walked to my nbrhood Starbucks instead of driving. I stopped telling myself the white lie that I would go to the gym in the evening after my hubby came home (who was I kidding, in the first year, after a full day of diaper changes, this NEVER happened); instead I put my baby in a jogging stroller and walked up and down the hills with her (nothing like pushing a stroller up the hills to get your hamstrings in shape). I would take Daisy -just the cutest dog in the world- for  leisurely walks around the park. At home watching TV, I started to take 3 pounders in each hand and did tricep/bicep curls. I would go up and down the stairs ten times super fast in my house too. Just anything and everything that could be done easily before I went into fitness madness full force.

daisy-pugPugs are not a breed to run with but they are wonderful for walks and are the best companions. I of course think my Daisy is the most adorable pug in the world.

Takeaway: If you can start a full force fitness routine right after a hiatus, more power to you. If you are anything like me, ease yourself into daily fitness slowly by transforming everyday activities into mini exercises. No intimidation, better chance of sticking with it. As you start feeling more energetic (i.e older baby, less sleepless night) you can start elevating your routine to more hardcore cardio, toning, weight sessions.

Next week I’ll continue with more tips including how I started my serious self- crafted exercise schedule.

I want to open up this place to questions from you. I realize not everyone’s experience will be identical but we can all learn something from each other. Anything getting back to or staying on track with a fitness routine goes! Also I have probably done most type of exercises out there being a fitness nut that I am; so I will try to answer using my own experiences and anything I am not sure of I will learn from the experts.Just comment below, send me an email, or use my social media. Let’s chat fitness and support each other in our quest of getting and staying healthy! <3<3

Don’t forget to check out my initial fitness post.

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  • sibel

    Thank you for sharing your experiences frankly with us! I completely agree with you. Your ideas are encouraging me about my own fitness goals. Now many questions are flying in my mind…..Let’s start: How is your diet? or can you give us an example of what you usually eat in a given day?

    • Sibel it makes me so happy to know you found the new series encouraging 🙂 I think we girls need to all stick together and support each other to get our fitness on! Thx for your great questions as well. <3<3 XOXO, Elif

  • It’s always a great experience to go back to the gym. I’m planning to do so very soon.
    My approach is – straight on the big staff for the first few times, so I can get the pain and aches out of the way, and then carry as normal ;))

    Lu, http://www.balgarka.co.uk

    • Lu, I appreciate you stopping by and hearing your approach <3 I agree with you, usually I am hardcore with fitness and push myself to and out of my limits. Sometimes though we all get sidetracked (like when I had my kids :)) it may take some time to get back to it full speed. <3<3 Talk soon, XOXO, Elif

  • I love fitness posts, I REALLY need to get back into fitness as I’m gaining weight. I think I might get on my turbo now actually and do some cardio! Thanks for the inspiration – I’m looking forward to next weeks post.

    Corinne x

    • Corinne, so so happy to know you found the post inspirational. Did you get on that turbo and did some cardio? 🙂 Hope you find lots of support here, even fitness is better when shared with friends 🙂 See you next week. <3<3 XO, Elif

  • Thanks for the fitness inspiration! I’m dieting lately and so I enjoy reading about your thoughts!

    Walking, Talking Style

    • Justin, it’s great to know you found some fitness inspiration here 🙂 How is the dieting going? Best of luck with that. Thx so much for stopping by, Elif

  • Aylin

    Very inspirational, especially for those who are so lazy about exercising (like me). It is time for me to get active and embrace the spring with a positive, refreshed outlook. And you are so right about doing some weightlifting while watching TV; I will certainly do that. Please keep sharing your experiences and advice:)) Do you have any suggestions for those who need an exercise buddy to get moving but since there is no one around, they come up with every sort of excuses (that’s me, too;))

    • Aylin thx so much for the great question.I will keep sharing my tips/suggestions and it’s so wonderful to feel they are helpful. I hope you start a routine for spring; I LOVE how you want to embrace it with a new outlook. XOXO, Elif

  • Tban

    So true and inspiring! For me it is always a struggle to get into a fitness routine. I start with either gym, at home workout or jogging for a while and then suddenly stop and loose all my stamina and of course feel miserable at the end. I used a very similar fitness routine after I had my baby. Starting slow and getting into the real deal. That’s how i lost over seventy pounds. I had become a gym junkie for a good year but then stopped the perfect routine because i started working. So my problem is sticking to routine. How can i have a continuous fitness plan that no matter what happens i continue being active? And don’t beat myself up for not being consistent. This is a great insight into how women struggling to loose weight feel each and every day of their lives. Thank you so much for bringing such a subject up!

    • @Tban thx so much for sharing your experiences and the questions I think women really relate to; I agree that sticking to a routine can be tough. I will make sure to include how I deal with that in my future posts. So happy you found my thoughts inspiring. <3<3 XOXO, Elif

  • fashionguru

    I like the idea of going up and down the stairs fast. I have to do that anyways I can add some speed to it. Could you also suggest some more exercises we can do around the house?

    • Exactly, it is in your everyday anyways; you just add some speed and start doing it repeatedly and there you have a mini cardio session. I will surely think of more around the house exercises; thx for the question. 🙂 XO, Elif

  • Sophia

    Hey there, quick question…. are you using any fitness apps?

    • Yes I use a couple fitness apps both for nutrition tracking and exercise; great question thx. I was thinking of including some in my future posts so stay tuned. 🙂 XO, Elif