A Mother’s Journey, By Nedra Lopez

Over the last decade, I built my business on training moms, and always had a special admiration for them, especially postpartum. It was during this super-vulnerable time, I was so happy to be there for a new mom. I was the person they could vent to, show them how to feel stronger and over time, transform their bodies. It’s a long process, and 8 months ago I experienced that process.

It has changed me forever.

My pregnancy was great, but my postpartum experience was a physical and emotional roller coaster. It left me so much more appreciative of my time, energy and sleep. I always considered myself to be a patient person, but after my c-section, I was left feeling broken and anxious to lose weight and fix myself. All those years training moms, knowing the science behind how a body changes, along with the hormonal changes that had to take their course, went by the wayside. I couldn’t be reasoned with. I just knew I felt awful, and had no time to myself to make that feeling go away.

I find that many women are ashamed to admit these feelings or any negative thoughts after having a baby. Quite often many women put on a happy face because they are so thankful to have had a healthy baby. This is all so true and I am so thankful and love my son more than anything, but in order to give myself wholeheartedly to him as his mother, I had to love myself again. But who was this stranger staring back at me in the mirror?

After the first month of feeling sorry for myself, I decided I would be strong and heal my body the way I healed all of my clients. If anyone could do it, I could. My scar wasn’t healing properly and I was developing keloid tissue on one side that was causing me pain when I would sit, walk, or do anything. My doctor had cleared me to workout and actually said I could go running if I wanted to. I looked at her like she was nuts, because I knew my pelvic floor wasn’t ready for that and that this pain was not normal. I left the doctor with a new found revelation…women need to know what to expect and how to properly rehabilitate postpartum.

For me, my fitness journey started at 2 months postpartum.

For the first month, I went to physical therapy for my scar, and simply did mat-based pilates 3 times a week, foam rolled and did posture work everyday. My focus was to feel good, and feel connected to my body, especially my core, since I felt so disconnected.

At 3 months postpartum, I focused on becoming strong again. I solicited the help of my fabulous P.E. Club team, specifically our amazing Trainer, Leo Alvarez. He helped to push me more than I would push myself. I learned that when you are a mom, “tired” tends to be a constant state of mind, so having someone there to motivate you and make you accountable really helps! I was only able to train 2 times a week, but still went from not being able to sit up on my own, to doing push ups, and pull ups!

At 5 months postpartum, I felt better and stronger, but still couldn’t fit into most of my clothes. This started to take a mental toll on me, I would cry and get so angry anytime I had to go anywhere and get dressed. Being an experienced trainer, I knew that I was only doing part of what it took to make my body change…it was time for me to do some cardio and work on my diet.

To me, cardio is mental and physical torture, but, “I must practice what I preach!” So bring on more of my fabulous P.E. Team…Miss Tabitha Sierra. She is the queen of turning up the intensity in your workouts, and made it fun! She is also a nutrition coach, so I had my village there to push me to the next level. At this point I was working on strength 2 times a week with Leo and HIIT once a week with Tabitha. I also started a 12-week challenge with Tabitha, where I tracked my food. I was eating way too much fat (good fats) and not enough carbs, so Tabitha tweaked my diet and gave me some suggestions and the inches started to fall off. I also increased my HIIT/Cardio to 2 times a week to speed the process up…as painful as it was! And for those of you ladies who live by the scale…my weight only changed by 3 pounds, but I went from a size 8 to a size 4 in a little over 12 weeks.

So here I am 8 months postpartum and I’m definitely not done yet! I know I will never “bounce back” to the old me, but I’m excited to see what my new body is capable of, because it is a hell of a lot more challenging post-baby to get in shape!

This is why I wanted to share my journey and show how even a fitness professional who specializes in Women’s Health and Fitness, had to be patient. It hasn’t been easy, or glamorous like you see on social media. It has been a lot of hard work, strategic planning, sacrifice, ups and downs with a lot of uncertainty, and vulnerability where you have to trust yourself and be patient. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but for a mother to find time for herself and create a fitness routine it’s the same. I couldn’t have come this far without the help of my friends, family and P.E. Club Team! My advice to all you moms out there is to take it day by day. Much like fitness, you have your strong days and your weak days but you just keep moving forward and enjoy the ride, and celebrate the victories because there are so many!

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