Making Post-Baby Workouts Work

Walk to Run

Just a few days ago, we celebrated Baby Girl’s four-month birthday. “Celebrated” is probably a loaded word — it’s not like we threw her a party or anything. More likely, we woke up for the second or third time that morning at 6:30am or something and mumbled, “I cann’t believe we’ve been doing this for fourrr monthsss… it’s your turn to play with her on the floor for 30 minutes. And here’s her weird little firefly toy thing she likes.” We love that little (big) butterball.

With that minor milestone, we’ve also started working out again. Baby bearing and birthing did a number on our fitness. I know I know, Joanna’s the one who did all of that. But less time, less sleep and adjusting to all of the ups and downs of parenthood is gender neutral. But don’t read me wrong, Joanna’s definitely the superhero in all of this. Sidenote: did you know that male seahorses are the ones that deliver their mini-seahorses? YouTube that stuff. It’s weird.

It probably comes as no surprise that I’m about to insert finances into this conversation. Ready for it? Fitness and finances go hand in hand. (There it is.) They’re both primarily based on the good and bad choices one makes. And planning, self-discipline, and action of starting a budget are some of the same principles required to get your butt back in shape. Not literally just your butt, but your whole body. That would be a really weird exercise regime. So I hypothesize that the better control you have of your fitness, the easier it might be to control your budget as well.

If you’re human, like us, and you’ve slacked on working out for a period of time, you sometimes need a little motivation (or brain trickery) to get things kickstarted again. Here’s what’s getting Joanna and me back on track:


New Running Shoes – A couple months before our baby was even born, Joanna had her eye on some new running shoes. She’s had the same pair for three years now, and she said she needed a fresh start. So we splurged and got her some really spiffy running shoes that checked the boxes, including that neon accent trend that’s hoppin’ right now.

DietBet – Joanna also participated in two rounds of DietBet, as you might recall from this post. The first time she did it, $20 was on the line, and the second time, $30. Both times Joanna pulled through and lost the weight required and ended up netting $38 along the way. Not too shabby.


Reebok headphones

Reebok/Bose SIE2i Sport Headphones – I’m not working out if I’m not listening to music. Easy as that. And since I can’t listen to a ton of music during the workday, working out is my time to jam. Most of my cheap white earbuds from Apple products have bit the dust over the years, thanks to sweat (gross) or cat. So I was stoked to give these Bose headphones a spin, thanks to Reebok. Anyone who knows anything about Bose knows that their headphones make some mean sounds. And these are no different. They make everything sound good, from the warm tones of Hall and Oates (don’t judge) to the bumping beats of Macklemore. The ear buds are sweat proof and fit real snug without ever leaving my ears sore. It also comes with a Reebok armband that holds my iPhone and stores the headphones when I’m not using them. And my favorite part — the shorter headphone cable so I don’t have to jump rope over it while I run. All-in-all, having 20-30 minutes to get down with some of my favorite music is oftentimes my biggest motivator.

Enjoying the Weather – One of favorite Twitter comedians tweeted the following the other day: “Love sunny days like this, the way the sunshine peeks through my closed blinds and brightens my computer screen.” I laugh cried. This hit way too close to home. The only sad difference is I don’t have a window near me at work to even allow the sun to peek onto my glaring laptop screen. So what better excuse to get outside every afternoon than going for a run with the fam.

And so our nightly walks have been replaced by nightly (2x-3x/week) runs. It’s cheap (free!) and effective (my lungs can vouch for this), and it’s nice to start to feel like we’re controlling our overall health like we do our freaking budget.

Fill in the blank: My workout motivator is __________. Or if you’re like us and need to get back into a routine, what do you think it will take to get back on it?

*Heads Up/Disclosure: Reebok was kind enough to provide gear to review, but we weren’t compensated to do so. All opinions came straight from our own noggins, not some robot’s.

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  • Reply Roo // NEON FRESH May 9, 2013 at 7:42 am

    I think all of those things (new running shoes, quality earbuds) are important investments. Worn shoes can do detrimental damage to your knees and feet, and the one time I tried running without music, I didn’t make it to the 1/4 mile point without lying down on the ground and giving up entirely.

    And planning, self-discipline… totally. I feel like it’s hard to plan as a parent, but maybe that’s just an excuse. At some point in my life I’d like to get to a week where I work out at least four times for 20 minutes and not order any takeout. 🙂

    • Reply Johnny May 9, 2013 at 4:26 pm

      So you’re telling me all those months trying to impress Joanna as a “runner” in my Van’s slip-ons wasn’t the best thing for my feet/knees? Whoda thunk.

      The four times in a week is pushing it without having to throw in the no takeout provision. Unpossible.

  • Reply Brad May 9, 2013 at 9:05 am

    I’m with you guys (and Roo, too)… if I don’t have music, it’s a lost cause. I recently bought some new running shoes and it certainly helps to purchase something as a way to guilt yourself into exercising. Or at least that’s how I look at it. I always feel bad if I go a few days without running in the mornings and see my running shoes sitting there all alone, neglected.

    • Reply Johnny May 9, 2013 at 4:31 pm

      Like you, guilt is a pretty good medicine for me. I should probably put my still-too-clean running shoes up on the kitchen counter or hanging from the front door so I eel that guilt more often. 🙂

  • Reply Shay May 9, 2013 at 9:19 am

    My motivation are the two awesome coaches at my gym. I wouldn’t still be doing insanity kick boxing after a year if it weren’t for them. Totally agree about getting in physical shape and financial shape!

    • Reply Johnny May 9, 2013 at 4:34 pm

      And that right there’s a perfect example of money well-spent. You could either have a little less money and an awesome kickboxing routine and better health, or more money and neither of those things. Sounds like you made the right choice.

  • Reply Halsy May 9, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Yay for fitting in exercise and as a family! We are still working on that one almost 1 year after birth of baby! She still doesn’t sleep through night so a lot of time nap takes priority of running and baby Girl wakes up btwn 5-6 am for day and the husband goes to work at same time. I need to quit making excuses and just run more ! We have a jogging stroller that I try to run with her a couple times a week. Those things can wreak havoc though bc changes your stride etc! Noticed you said family runs…not sure if you are running with your baby girl. If you haven’t I would check with ped bc most strollers reccommend 6-8 months and not running with car seat adaptor. That being said some babies have better head control and are ready sooner! Husband and I use to go to park and 1 would run 1+ mile loop and other would walk with baby and then switch off until we got a few miles in.

    • Reply Johnny May 9, 2013 at 4:37 pm

      We have been running with Baby Girl and our stroller, which is definitely not meant for running. 🙂 So we’re going to figure out a solution so that we can keep doing family runs, because otherwise, we probably won’t do much exercise on our own. But your old park routine is an awesome idea. Thanks for the tip!

  • Reply Beth Sheridan May 9, 2013 at 9:43 am

    I am with you on the music!! I have been looking for some new ear buds that will fit in my freakishly tiny ear holes that don’t cost upwards of $300.

    And good job getting back to working out…My baby is now 2 1/2 years old and I remember very vividly not sleeping and basically not caring if I ever worked out again as long as I could sleep 🙂

    • Reply Johnny May 9, 2013 at 4:45 pm

      Definitely give those a look. I didn’t even consider that there were headphones made specifically for working out (shorter cord, sweat resistant, earbuds that stay put) so these Reebok/Bose ones have been so so nice.

      SLEEEEPPP!!! That’s all we want. Ever.

  • Reply Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies May 9, 2013 at 9:46 am

    My motivation is stress relief. If I don’t get out and move regularly, I turn into a grumpy stressed out ball of misery, and nobody likes that!
    Do you guys have a good jogging stroller? One of my running buddies has a little guy that comes with us on runs a lot, and a jogging stroller changed the whole game. So much easier. We sometimes alternate sprint laps switching off the jogger to make sprinting easier.

    • Reply Johnny May 9, 2013 at 4:47 pm

      Ain’t nobody like that. I’m hoping that this our new little routine will serve as my stress sponge, because I’ve got a lot to give.

      We’re definitely considering a jogging stroggler if we keep up with the family runs, which we want to. But pushing the other one right now is a whole extra workout. Which I could use anyway, so I guess it’s alright for now.

  • Reply Brian May 9, 2013 at 9:49 am

    We go on runs with our little guy a few times a week. It makes us feel good and he loves them. We are also motivated to get back in shape since it is now hurling season and I like to be that in-shape out of shape looking guy

    • Reply Johnny May 9, 2013 at 4:49 pm

      Hahah. “in-shape out of shape looking guy.” I definitely have some friends with that look. That’s an awesome descriptor.

      Our gal wasn’t too thrilled the first couple times in the stroller, but it’ll grow on her once she isn’t so freaked out by even the slightest bit of wind on her face.

  • Reply Amanda May 9, 2013 at 11:02 am

    My workout motivator is having a partner to exercise with! It’s no fun trying to kill myself to get fit if I can’t be pushing someone else to kill themselves too 🙂
    I’ve recently found out that taking my Kindle with me to the gym is also a motivator. I get lost in reading on the elliptical and before I know it, an hour has gone by while the machine has kept me on pace.

    • Reply Johnny May 9, 2013 at 4:52 pm

      Totalllly agree. Which is why we’re doing the family runs. I really had no excuse to get back in shape the last few months, but I didn’t have Joanna to lean on for encouragement and support.

      The Kindle idea is really smart. I might try start listening to audible news stories I’ve been queuing up in an app or audiobooks. I’ve never tried it, but I’d love to see if I can get lost in those and take some of the edge off the actual exercising.

  • Reply Grayson @ Debt Roundup May 9, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    My wife has just started running again, but I am behind the curve. We hit our four month time a week before you and I need to get back in it. By the time I get home, I am just done, so I need to get up and get motivated.

    • Reply Johnny May 9, 2013 at 4:54 pm

      I’m the same way. If I even dare sit down on the couch, I know I’m not getting back up to do anything exercise-related the rest of the night. So I’ve started getting home, putting on my running gear, and going right then. Try giving it a shot. And if you die of exhaustion, I’m not at fault. 🙂

  • Reply Jake Erickson May 9, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    I’ve heard that getting in a workout routine after having a baby is extremely difficult. Being that my wife and I don’t have kids yet I can’t attest to that fact, but I’m sure it’s tough. I think getting in a habit is the key.

    • Reply Johnny May 9, 2013 at 4:57 pm

      We probably could have a done a better job before our baby came to get that habit going. Because there’s really been nothing compelling us to get back working out except what we’re seeing in the mirrors. And that’s not the most fun way to get compelled back into shape. 🙂

  • Reply Halsy May 9, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    We have a BOB revolution SE and LOVE it! Baby girl hated her other stroller once she was no longer in car seat that clicked into it so I’m so glad we had the BOB. It has a swivel wheel for walking that locks for running. You can usually find them on Craigslist for much cheaper than buying in store. I highly reccommend it if you are going to run regularly. It folds up really tiny too for easy storage and is pretty lightweight.

    • Reply Johnny May 13, 2013 at 1:09 am

      We’ll be adding that to our list of saved Craigslist searches. Thanks for the heads up and suggestion!

  • Reply Becky @ RunFunDone May 9, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    I love running, so getting motivated for that is easy. The other stuff…weightlifting, swimming, biking is harder to find motivation for, particularly because I live in a region where the weather is rainy and gloomy most of the time. I’ve started motivating myself with frozen yogurt! I won’t allow myself to go to the froyo shop unless I finished all my fitness goals the week before. Plus, I blog about fitness, so it’s just plain embarrassing if I let myself get too off track!

    • Reply Johnny May 13, 2013 at 1:11 am

      Weather is a HUGE motivator for me. It takes a lot more than my natural willpower to go out and exercise if it’s cold/rainy/or otherwise not sunny and pleasant.

      I like the frozen yogurt incentive! We might try to implement that one. Never a bad excuse to get more froyo.

  • Reply May 10, 2013 at 11:41 am

    No products for me! I like the fresh air and the post workout feeling, so luckily my motivations are free!

    • Reply Johnny May 13, 2013 at 1:12 am

      My brain envies your brain. Too much trickery is involved to get my body moving.

  • Reply Chris May 10, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    I’m a pretty good self motivator. I workout on the reg after work. 6 days a week of weights and cardio. Then Sunday I veg out and rest my aching body. My absolute hardest obstacle is eating the right foods. I don’t really eat out or anything but hitting my macronutrient requirements each day is basically a full time job.

    My workout motivator is endorphins that I get from working out. I also love that feeling of sore muscles. It reminds me that I worked hard the day or two…or three before on that particular muscle group.

    • Reply Johnny May 13, 2013 at 1:15 am

      Macronutrient… I’m just going to pretend like I know what this means. This is what the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ate to become superturtles, yeah?

      I still haven’t really felt that endorphin rush, so I must be doing something wrong. But hopefully with a better routine, I’ll feel like a full-fledged druggie in no time. 🙂

  • Reply Anesha May 16, 2013 at 9:52 am

    So I’m trying to get in shape after having kids…easier said then done right?

    My mom told me to try the couch to 5k. They have a free app on the iphone so I thought I’d give it a go. I have really tiny ears, and have trouble keeping my earbuds in place escpecially while “running” (it’s more like a painful half jog/half jiggle that I do after 9:30 pm so the neighbors can’t see me.) With that being said I’ve been looking for a pair of headphone and am glad you made this post! I was thinking about getting bluetooth ones so I didn’t have to “jump rope” like you said, but I may want to use the earphones with other products that don’t have blue tooth capability. WIth all this being said, do you wish they were wireless (for the money they are comparable to bluetooth) and do you find that these stay in place on your ears better? Do they ‘hook’ onto your ears, or just go into the ear canal? Thanks for the insight!

    • Reply Johnny May 17, 2013 at 11:34 pm

      We heard similar good things about that app, so we downloaded it but have yet to give it a try yet.

      Trust me, what we’re doing probably isn’t considered “running” either. Especially since most of our energy and attention is spent on making sure our little girl isn’t crying. As far as the headphones, I’ve never tried a bluetooth pair, so I can’t comment on that. I honestly don’t notice the wire and the little remote/microphone at the base of the wires is helpful, too. BUT I will say that I’ve never worn a pair of headphones that fit better and didn’t leave my ears hurting after. They go into the ear canal and include two different sets of tips for smaller ears. And since they’re Bose, the sound quality is obviously awesome.

      Hope that helps, and best of luck.

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