First, let me begin by making it clear that I am certainly not a nutritionist or dietitian with expert advice. However, I am a real mother who was in dire need of a solution for dropping all 55 pounds of weight I gained throughout pregnancy. At the time, I was in an extremely toxic relationship and I was depressed and lacked self-confidence. In fact, the moment I found out I was pregnant, I began trembling in fear of how I was going to raise a little human when I felt like I could barely keep myself together. In actuality, having my son transformed my life from a dark hole to the brightest its ever been. After giving birth, it was like a light switch that went off internally, and it told me to make a positive change. There’s something about bringing another life into the world that immediately makes every action going forward feel selfless.
I knew at that moment that I desperately needed to remove myself from the situation I was in, be truly happy and confident, and get my body in the best shape of my life.
So here is what I did.
Right after I had my son, I began incorporating high-intensity interval training into my daily schedule. Here is an example of what that entailed.
- 30 seconds of jumping jacks
- 30 seconds of high-knees
- 40 seconds of burpees
- 40 seconds of mountain climbers
- 40 seconds of knee-tuck jumps
- 40 seconds of push-ups
- 40 seconds of jump squats
- 40 seconds of pop squats
- 40 seconds of square hops
- 40 seconds of running lunges
- 40 seconds of jump lunges to feet jacks
Rest for 20 seconds between each exercise and compete whole circuit three times.
Once the weight started to come off, I noticed that the workouts were getting easier, so I started adding weight to each movement. Granted, it was only eight- to 10-pound dumbbells. However, it was a little more challenging than what I had been doing, so it was a step forward. One thing I’ve learned throughout my journey is to never get too comfortable. Whether it’s a small change or not, the key to improvement is to always challenge yourself. Now, I can say that I went from only being able to lift eight or 10 pounds to squatting 205 pounds. I still include HIIT about three days per week and incorporate strength training. I also work with Nelson Cardenas, my Muay Thai and boxing trainer, three times per week at my gym.
Something I’ve learned is that diet is more important than exercise when it comes to losing weight or living a healthy lifestyle. During my pregnancy, I ate plenty of whole pizzas by myself, tacos, burritos, cakes, cookies — the list goes on. After having my son, I cut out fast food and focused on consuming whole foods such as lean protein, whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts, and seeds. Measuring out my food was extremely helpful because I had no sense of how much food I was actually consuming until I started portioning everything out. Additionally, I cut out processed foods and sugars (soda and juice). I also became pescatarian, meaning I cut out beef, pork, and chicken from my diet.
During active weight loss, my days consisted of 30 to 45 minutes of at-home high-intensity interval training workouts, two protein shakes (in the morning and evening), and two to three small meals per day. Some of my favorite meals are big salads with lots of veggies with fish or spicy peanut zoodles. In terms of snacks, my only snacks were raw unsalted nuts and fresh vegetables or fat-free cottage cheese with tomatoes or fruit. I also drank about a gallon of water per day.
The popularity of high-intensity interval training in the fitness industry continues to grow, and fitness professionals throughout the world are buzzing about it. Essentially, it is a cardiovascular exercise strategy that alternates short bursts of intense anaerobic movements with less intense recovery times. “HIIT typically involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by a short period of rest or recovery and typically takes less than 30 minutes to perform (although it is not uncommon for these programs to be much longer in duration),” Walter Thompson, PhD, president of the American College of Sports Medicine, told Healthline.
After about two months, I managed to lose all of the weight I gained during my pregnancy and ultimately gained my life back. Over time, I added strength training into my workout regimen because I didn’t simply want to be skinny or frail. I wanted to be a lean, strong woman because, let’s be real, strong is sexy. Personally, I don’t believe women should fear lifting weights or gaining muscle. In fact, having muscle allows the body to burn more fat.
What was imperative for a workout plan after I had my son was being able to work out at home. Fast forward to present day, I turned my passion for fitness into a lifestyle and a career. I developed my own workout program, Body by Lynsee, so I could help others obtain that same feeling when I regained my confidence and life back. It’s an incredible journey that can begin with one small step.
Image Source: Lynsee Hee Kyeong