Joy's Journal Week 1

Professional soccer player and mom Joy Fawcett of the San Diego Spirit wants to inspire other women to enjoy the benefits of an active lifestyle! Each week, Joy will reveal her personal challenges and triumphs related to her comeback, as well as offer tips women can use to reach their active goals.
Joy Fawcett

Week one -- A bundle of joy
Two and a half weeks have passed since I gave birth to our beautiful little girl, Madilyn, and it's time for me to get back into shape, so I can competitively play on the soccer field. My choice to quickly return to the Women's United Soccer Association, and take care of a newborn child at the same time will undoubtedly be a challenge. Fortunately, I started taking steps nine months ago, (as can any woman wanting to maintain fitness throughout their pregnancy) that will help me return to shape more quickly.

While staying in shape was important, my first priority was to make sure that everything I did was safe for the baby. When you're pregnant, the baby comes first. When working out, be sure to listen to both your physician and your body. Monitoring your heart rate and regular check-ups are important because both will help you reach your goals in terms of fitness and health.

Staying fit and healthy isn't always easy, especially if you're unsure where to start. I was lucky enough to have the knowledge from training with the Women's National Soccer Team. So what do you do if you haven't been training with a professional team? Well, here are a few suggestions that may help your workout become part of a daily routine. Remember to check with your doctor and ask for a program that suits you.

  • Exercise by doing things you enjoy.
  • Make sure you don't overdo it.
  • Work your entire body, but don't try to do it in one day.
  • Use weights and machines that don't strain your back or put pressure on your stomach.
  • Vary your workout routine so that it doesn't get boring.
  • Take advantage of the outdoors and train outside. (Easy for me to say, living in Southern California.)
  • Find a partner who will motivate and support your efforts.

Working out should be fun
Overall, working out should be fun. You should do things that you enjoy and are safe for you and the baby. If you don't have time for a walk or jog, try taking the stairs instead of the elevator when you're out and about.

Remember that every move your body makes requires muscle strength. Take advantage of this when you are around the house. If you're watching television, hold yourself up by your hands and knees and extend your leg out behind you to strengthen your thighs and buttocks. If you want to strengthen your arms, try doing some dips. Grab the end of your couch or chair and place your feet about three feet in front of you so that your legs are bent 90 degrees. Dip your body as close to the ground as possible and lift it back up. Try repeating each exercise a few times a day.

I've found that little tips and exercises like these will help you get back into shape after a pregnancy, as well as contribute to your stamina during the act of childbirth. The only thing I'm sorry to say is that I haven't found anything to make giving birth quick and easy.

However, you can find on the next page the regimen I followed throughout my pregnancy. I hope it provides you some ideas, but please remember to check with your physician and listen to your body. Don't overdo it and have fun! Working out is more than just sweating; it's about living healthy and feeling great!

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