an intimate blog post about my postpartum fitness journey, second time around
I’ve recently leaped wholeheartedly back into the creative process and it feels so, so good to be writing again. I sent this content to a closed group of women who wanted to hear more about my journey and the feedback has been incredible. I decided that it probably made sense to put this out there, despite it being a really personal and vulnerable post, because I know it can benefit someone else in the way my journey has benefitted me.
In the months that I’ve prioritised my health, fitness and mental wellbeing I’ve learnt a lot and gone on a pretty life-changing journey. There have been ups, downs and many emotions along the way, and that’s what I wanted to share with you today. This will be a lot more in-depth and candid than what you’ve seen on Instagram thus far. So make yourself a cup of tea and settle in for a bit of a read; if you’ve found yourself in a place of discomfort around your body or your fitness, then please do read on, this may be the change you needed to make and the timing is perfect.
A place of discomfort
This is an important part of my journey because I think some of you may resonate with it and echo my physical and emotional state in 2019/early 2020. I’d had a baby in April 2019 and my body took a beating; I found my recovery a completely different experience the second time around and sat with 8 extra kilograms, diastasis recti and a tummy that I couldn’t lose, come hell nor high water. This isn’t about being postpartum, but it is about the way you feel in your skin and the residual effects on one’s confidence. I think we all know where our happy/comfortable weight is, and I wasn’t there. This is also not about being skinny, it’s about feeling strong, fit and healthy, something I definitely didn’t feel. I could walk for miles with Jackson on my back in a carrier, often pushing Carter in the pram in front of me, but the food I was eating and the exercise I was doing wasn’t moving the needle.
I felt gross.
I felt deflated.
I felt demotivated.
I so desperately wanted to get to a place where I could put on a swimming costume and play with my kids on the beach in front of other people without feeling like I needed to cover up or leopard-crawl towards the shore without anyone noticing me.
In March 2020, a month before Jackson’s first birthday, I decided I needed a partner to help me move forward and guide me along my journey to a stronger body and mind. I chose Best10 because it allowed me the opportunity to work out at home, without having to commit to sessions with a personal trainer in the gym. I don’t like gyms, if I’m honest, unless they’re women’s-only gyms without sweaty men with a wandering eye. I also needed a programme that would allow me to exercise when/where I could, at any time of day/night. I wanted a completely holistic programme that was tailored to me, my wishes, my body and the way I like to eat. I needed my hand to be held or this just wouldn’t work. I’m a master procrastinator and without real accountability I knew I would fail; hence my decision to partner with Best10, my new coach and champion.
I was sh*tting myself. I knew that the first couple weeks were going to be TOUGH because I was so unfit and hadn’t done a burpee in 3 years. We started our partnership with a consultation call to determine my goals and whether the fit and timing was right or not. I’d had some pelvic floor rehabilitation I was working through and I needed to make sure that my programme wouldn’t jeopardise this. By the end of the call I knew that this was the 10-week leap I needed to take to actually achieve my goals instead of just dreaming about them. I also decided that 10 weeks was the perfect time-frame in which to make some major habit-changing progress, anything longer than that probably would’ve felt arduous. I also felt that from a budgeting perspective R2500 per month for 3 months only was an investment into my mind, body and soul that I was prepared to make.
In the week leading up to the commencement of my journey with Best10 I received my my app/web profile logins and my eating and workout plans for the 1st week. It was all really easy to navigate and I watched all of the workout videos that accompany the workout schedule to ensure I was doing the right thing; I had a chuckle to myself when I had to Google ‘AMRAP’. If you’re a total novice like I was, it stands for as many rounds as possible.
Gosh, I thought, I’m in so much trouble.
The 10-week journey
Each week is structured in a similar fashion; 3-5 HIIT (high impact interval training) workouts a week – 10 minutes of warming up followed by 30/35 minutes of working out. A weekly eating plan with accompanying recipes and shopping lists is uploaded to your personal profile to guide your diet. The way Best10 works which is where the magic lies is that your dedicated coach and nutritionist are available morning and night via your own unique WhatsApp group where you share photographs of all your meals, snacks and workouts [a snap of the summary screen of your fitness device if you have one]. This is the way in which the team keeps abreast of your progress, and it’s not about cracking a whip. In fact, I found the group to be more encouraging and motivating than anything else; knowing I had a team on my side who were rooting me on felt really great, particularly at the beginning when I was so unfit and the sessions were tough.
Good news is the workouts get easier. I promise.
I think by week 3 I’d found my groove and I could feel a noticeable change in my fitness levels. Even the dreaded burpees started to feel a bit easier. I think what’s important to say here is that while I pushed myself, I also gave myself grace where I felt something felt particularly difficult or even sometimes uncomfortable. I listened to my body (and even my menstrual cycle) and made adjustments where I needed to, especially in the beginning as I was learning and getting stronger. If I couldn’t do 12 burpees in a row that was okay; so some days I’d do as many as I could muster and replaced the rest with squats (for example). I didn’t lie on the mat avoiding exercise altogether, but I did make minor changes to keep myself engaged and motivated. There were even days where I decided to keep going because the session just felt so good; and it was days like those that I noticed that something major was shifting, because pre-Best10 Misha would’ve been watching that timer like a hawk, willing away the session.
The flexibility a programme like this offers is really important to me because with a baby and toddler I needed to exercise at bizarre times. I found the easiest time of day to be around Noon when they’d both nap, so this became my routine. I eventually moved my workout equipment into our bedroom where I’d put a YouTube vlog up on the TV in the background and I’d close the door and ‘escape’ for 45 minutes. I started to crave these me-moments and instead of viewing the workout as a chore, I decided to view it as a self-care/self-love session. An unintended consequence on me embarking on this programme was the enormous help it provided for my anxiety and head-space. I started my journey as lock-down was imposed and my business was forced shut. I’ll be honest I was in a dark place and this little workout session became my solace and my savior.
Check-ins are scheduled at 3-weekly intervals and on the Monday morning of those weeks you take photographs and measurements to document your progress. I kept my photographs to myself until the end of my 10 weeks, I guess that’s testament to how ashamed I was feeling about my body at the start as I didn’t even want my coach to see my photographs. He understood and instead I shared my measurements. I was amazed at the progress I was making at each milestone, by far the most progress I’d ever made by following a health/fitness programme. I think this is where the Best10 programme is unbeatable; it’s designed to see you succeed. So if you decide to embark on this journey, you will.
My eating plan
Having been through this journey I now realize how important a role food plays in the process. I think often we think we’re eating well, or eating the right portion sizes, but I quickly learnt that this was a big part of my struggle to lose the postpartum weight that wasn’t budging. Through following the Best10 recipes each day/week, I learnt what clean eating needs to look like and what portion sizes need to be. I followed the plan religiously for a few weeks and then started to free-style when I felt I had the hang of the eating thing. I loved the snacks on the programme and made sure to treat myself to those every day. I fell in love with the purple Woolworths rice-cakes and came up with a variety of delicious sweet combos to make my snacks feel sweet and indulgent and earned. My favourite was a take on peanut butter and jelly; nut butter with fresh strawberry slices and chia seeds. Yum!
I mostly made the same meals for my husband and I, although he’s a really fussy eater so I did have to swap out my baked hake for something a little more exciting for him on occasion. I’ve had a lot of my friends follow the programme and the one thing that I consistently hear from them is how delicious they found the food. The Best10 nutritionist offers a lot of flexibility in this regard too; if you’re a vegetarian, breastfeeding or have allergies, for example, the team will account for this and ensure your plan is perfectly suited to you. If you want to make substitutes and are unsure of an ingredient or product, the team is on call to offer you the information you need and all you have to do is WhatsApp them. The process is really easy. You do need to get into the habit of taking photographs of everything you eat; it took me a little while and I forgot to photograph a few meals, but it quickly becomes second nature.
I’ve had a lot of people ask me if you can drink on the plan. It’s not advisable in the first 3 weeks as those are the building blocks of your 10-week programme and it’s important to be as dedicated as one can be in those first weeks. I had the very occasional small glass of red wine but I was very dedicated to my journey so I didn’t drink much. I also just didn’t feel like it to be honest and I missed wine less and less as I saw better results.
Achieving my goal
In total I lost 8kgs and 28cms; this blew my mind. The biggest areas of improvement were my tummy and thighs where I lost close to 10cm across both regions; the regions I was really battling with before I started this journey. I’ve included some photographs to show you the progress I made. And this is in 10 short weeks, which for me has been a major catapult to continuing the momentum and working at staying strong and keeping fit as a way of life. This is another way I know that this programme is truly different and remarkable; I’ve kept up the momentum, now 6 months in, and I’m still viewing my little workout session as my 45 minute soul-space. I’ve even caught myself using my free time (something that I typically would’ve used to nap) for a workout, which is how I know that this programme broke a habit and formed a new, healthier one.
I suppose I wanted to write this because I wanted to help someone, even if it’s just one woman, recognise a bit of herself in my story and know that she absolutely has what it takes to make a monumental change. Again, this is not about the kilograms, it’s about what weighs on your heart and mind. I know for sure that the Best10 programme has helped me regain my confidence and I am so much more comfortable in my body and skin than I’ve felt in a very long time. I feel less lethargic, less anxious and I’m sleeping better. This is the perfect time to commit to 10 weeks of self-care (which is what this is after all) and to change that narrative you typically would’ve had with yourself in the December holidays. My 15% discount allows you a saving that will reduce the cost of the programme to R2500 per month, which is fair when you consider that the price includes your initial in-depth consultation, a customised workout plan, tailored eating plan with weekly recipes and shopping lists and 24 hour support from your coach and nutritionist for the 10 week period. It’s a small price to pay to achieve a health and fitness goal and to make a change that has so many positive benefits.
My best friend signed up a few weeks after I did (after she saw the progress I was making) and I loved doing the programme in parallel with her. We had so many inspired chats about our progress (pouring over our progress photos), our favourite and least favourite workouts, our meals and snack hacks. I think having a partner to walk this road with (even if it’s your boyfriend or husband) is fun and motivating and it might be a nice way to challenge and motivate yourselves.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, I know it was a long one, but I couldn’t skimp on the detail because it’s all important. If you’re ready to give it a bash and to walk the 10 week journey to achieving your personal goal, then you can click here to get in touch with the team. Don’t forget to quote my code Misha15 for your 15% discount.
Please do feel free to shout if you have any questions or need any clarity, I’m always here to help. Although I’m now following the Best 10 Maintenance Plan, I’ve decided to do my 10 weeks again in order to keep focused in the lead-up to the December break. Why not join me? And please let me know if you do.