Losing It, With Your iPhone
Like practically every other human being on Earth, I own an iPhone. It’s helping me get into the best shape of my life.
Now: I also own a very dusty and neglected Wii Fit — a thing I wanted so badly to love, especially after giving birth, but I didn’t. The hula hooping was fun for a little bit, and I rented a variety of workout games and gave them a shot. I didn’t lose any weight, didn’t notice any changes in my lumpy postpartum-ness, and generally found that I got bored of the games and workouts fairly quickly. Just like I got bored of each and every one of the workout DVDs currently cluttering up a shelf in my house — I’m just not really good at anything that keeps me tethered to the TV and a small space in my living room.
I bought a Couch to 5K app (there are a few of them, and they all seem to do the job — I use the one by Felt Tip Inc.) and a few godawful guilty pleasure workout songs and started running around a big field near our house. Select that day’s workout and the app works over the iPod and cuts in with prompts to walk, run, tells you when you’re halfway, etc. That’s it. That’s all it does. It’s brilliant.
The rush of realizing that I could RUN, and LOVE IT, and get BETTER at it sent me back to the App Store to see what else I could do. And lo, you can do everything. Free workout music podcasts and ready-to-go playlists (just go to the “Fitness & Workout” category and click around until you find a mix to your tastes). Calorie counters and diet trackers. Weight Watchers. There’s a free Couch to 5K podcast (Robert Ulley’s Podcasts for Running) to use as an alternative to the app and your own iPod music. Honestly, if there’s a specific type of exercise or fitness routine you like, there’s probably a way to break it down into reasonable, achievable goals right there on your phone. When you’re bored or killing time somewhere, open the app and view your progress — even if you’re still wearing maternity pants on occasion, it’s nice to remember how you felt on Day One vs. Day Seven, or how good it felt that day you skipped the Pop-Tarts in favor of a healthy smoothie.
(Not completely related to fitness but for new breastfeeding mothers: there’s a handful of apps that allow you to keep nursing logs, set timers, note which side baby nursed from last, even ones with complete reference tools for what medications you can and cannot take while nursing. I never even realized these things existed when Ezra was born so I haven’t personally used them, but MAN, I wish I’d had something like that, instead of relying on a worksheet from the hospital, my brain and a bracelet I only sometimes remembered to move from wrist to wrist.)
Using the Couch to 5K app and a (very silly, very one- or two-time use) free app called Portion Control that shows what the correct portion size of food looks like (i.e. your side of rice or pasta should be similar in size and volume of a bar of soap — anything more and you’re actually eating too much), I’ve lost about 18 pounds and am wearing clothes that haven’t fit since before I had a baby. My FIRST baby. Who is almost FIVE YEARS OLD.
Since I love the gradual, progressive nature of the Couch to 5K program, I’ve added two similar apps for my non-running days: 200 Sit-Ups and Hundred Push-Ups. If I can stick with them, in six weeks I should be able to do exactly what the app names suggest: 200 sit-ups and 100 push-ups. For added incentive, I’ve strategically arranged the icons for maximum self-nagging: Right in-between the Chipotle online ordering app and Plants vs. Zombies.
If you don’t own an iPhone or smartphone, checkout other strategies for postpartum exercise that worked for our friends.
Published June 9, 2010. Last updated July 22, 2017.