Carol Borba, recognized as the main physical trainer in Brazil and an influencer in functional training, is experiencing motherhood for the first time after giving birth to her daughter Diana, the result of her relationship with Rafael Domingues. With a follower base of more than 2 million on her Instagram profile, she has become a true source of inspiration for many women who are looking for a healthy and balanced routine.
After becoming a mother, Carol faced challenges in resuming her exercise routine. Due to a risky pregnancy, her body underwent significant changes and she needed to rest for a certain period. As a physical trainer with excellent conditioning, during this return process, she had the opportunity to experience the difficulties that her students face during training. This personal experience has allowed her to fine-tune her training to better meet the needs of her audience.
According to Carol, one of the main adaptations she had to make in her training routine after becoming a mother is related to time. Previously, she was able to do multiple workouts in a single day, including yoga, strength training and functional training at home, each with a specific purpose. However, now she needs to organize herself better, even with a support network at home. At the same time, she empathizes with women who lack such support, recognizing that many mothers face the same challenge. For the influencer, it is crucial that mothers find a balance to reconcile this important phase of motherhood without neglecting personal care, both physical and mental.
How did the motherhood experience affect Carol Borba’s training routine and how did she adapt to these changes?
The experience of motherhood mainly affected my training routine. Before, training was my top priority, but not anymore. I adapted to this change. In the old days, I woke up and went to train, regardless of whether I slept well or not. These days, I still wake up and go train, but sometimes I’m really tired and my workout gets a little lighter. In addition, before I was able to do different modalities, such as yoga, weight training and HIIT, and the next day I was able to dedicate myself more to aerobics or another muscle group, including training at home. Now, I choose to do a single workout a day, different from what I did before. These changes impacted a lot, and I needed to adapt. At the beginning, I really missed my previous training, but I remember that when I got back into the training routine, I realized that I couldn’t handle everything, of course. Today, I don’t miss it anymore. When I look at my baby, I think: ‘It doesn’t matter, I’ve trained today, I’m going to spend some time with her’. However, at times I feel like eating something specific, but since I’m training less, I don’t overdo it. The change was pretty drastic, but I believe everything has a purpose, and it’s been really nice to be able to spend quality time with my baby.
What were the challenges Carol faced in resuming her exercise routine after pregnancy?
The biggest challenge I face is managing my time to meet the demands of my baby, work, home, and day-to-day life, while also fitting in workouts. Workouts are part of my job, so they are also a priority for me. I work with my body, so I need to be in good shape, have good stamina and stay in good physical shape. Therefore, I need to give exercise a special importance in my life.
Fitting in the time to train is a huge challenge. In addition, there are other challenges, such as resuming training after a long period of inactivity, which can cause fatigue. Going back to a more regulated diet is also difficult when I’m still breastfeeding, as breastfeeding increases the feeling of hunger, especially in the beginning. There are several small things that, together, form a great challenge and make this resumption even more difficult.
However, experiencing all this has been very positive for me, as many women go through this same situation, and now I understand how it is in practice. I understand now what it’s like to have a bad night’s sleep and wake up the next day thinking: ‘I need to train’. I can feel firsthand how tiredness affects performance in training, something many women also experience. Based on this experience, I am able to organize myself to incorporate this into my work, creating training programs for women who are going through similar situations.
How has Carol’s personal experience as a mother influenced how she tailors her training and supports her students?
I mentioned some of this in the previous answer, but my personal experience as a mother has had a big influence on how I structure the workouts and how I pass them on to my students. Before, I imagined what training would be like after a sleepless night, I imagined it would be very tiring and difficult. Before, I could only imagine what it would be like to train leaving the baby at home or training with the baby demanding attention, pulling things or putting my finger in the socket while I exercised in the living room at home. Training while the baby cries and asks for attention, even with the father helping, is still disturbing and makes it difficult to concentrate on the exercises. I imagined some things, but I didn’t imagine all these situations. I imagined that the challenge was only related to time, but there are other things that are part of each one’s personal daily life,
This question of feeling a little guilty when I see the baby crying while I’m there training, looking at him and thinking “nobody is going to take this baby out of the socket, let me stop my exercises to attend to him” or feeling guilty when leaving the house and spend a little more time doing physical activity, thinking I’m taking care of myself more than the baby. I could imagine what it would be like, but it didn’t make sense on the skin. This profoundly impacted my work. Today, I believe I can be more careful and, perhaps, more friendly with women. I understand the real importance of putting these worries aside and prioritizing yourself a little.
What were the main adaptations that Carol needed to make in her training routine after becoming a mother?
I was able to get back into a well-organized training routine after my daughter turned 6 months, as before that she was exclusively breastfeeding and I was afraid that she would starve. I wanted to be there all the time, ready to feed her when she needed it. So I ended up exercising when my daughter was sleeping and I knew I had a long stretch of sleep ahead of me. Nowadays, I can wake up at dawn, give her a bottle very early and take a nap or go straight to do my exercise very early, around 6:30 or 7am.
I chose to do this because, if I leave it for later, my daughter might cry, want to be held, or my husband might need me. Sometimes I also don’t have a nanny to help me, so many things can happen and I end up not being able to train. At least when I put my daughter in her crib, I know she still has a few more hours of sleep, so I take the opportunity to exercise. That way, I’m doing something for myself and putting it as a priority.
Another thing I had to adapt is in relation to breakfast before training. Before, I always ate before exercising, having a pre-workout meal. However, now I can no longer eat a pre-workout meal, because if I waste half an hour feeding myself, I will lose time that I could use to exercise. So, I got it into my head that I’m going to train for an hour a day and I don’t want to waste that half hour. That’s why I train in metabolic fasting, drinking thermogenic coffee just to give myself a boost before exercising. Those were the big adaptations I had to make in my routine.
How does Carol deal with the issue of time and the difficulty of reconciling baby care and physical exercise?
Time is a very big limiter, but what I feel most is the psychological part of motherhood. The mother is very focused on the baby, very focused on care. I believe it is a maternal instinct. This psychological part is the hardest, it’s when we ask ourselves: “What if my baby needs me while I’m exercising? Will my husband take good care of her in my absence?” That was the biggest difficulty I faced in terms of time. However, I managed to adjust my routine and the way I saw physical exercise in my life, and it has worked.
What are the benefits of home training for mothers from Carol’s perspective?
Difficult from training at home for me, at that moment, that’s all. Training at home doesn’t depend on the weather or whether you have a support network to take care of your child while you train. It’s hard to deal with this mental health we talk about so much. The mother nullifies herself for a long time, in every way. She annuls herself as a wife, as a woman, as a person, and begins to live only for her son. When she understands that she has a self-care routine, that exercising releases hormones that bring well-being, which helps to increase her self-esteem and see herself as she was before, life becomes lighter.
When the baby is born, many things change, and for many mothers this is very heavy, it is exhausting. I think for all mothers, in a way, but for many it’s something very difficult to deal with, all this change. Understanding that you can continue to take care of yourself, that you don’t depend on someone else to take care of yourself, that it depends only on you, is essential. Even if you don’t have to get someone to watch your child, you can use the 15 minutes you have. Turn on your home TV, turn on your cell phone. Instead of being locked in the bathroom messing with your cell phone and scrolling through social media, spend half an hour taking care of yourself. Ah, but I don’t have time to leave the house? So get that half hour at home. It’s a matter of health, both physical and mental.
How does Carol encourage mothers to find the balance between motherhood and self-care, both physical and mental?
I can only encourage mothers by telling them to exercise, telling them to take a test and start exercising daily. It’s no use exercising today, waiting four days and then another week to exercise again. Try to be consistent in training and observe how your body will respond, not only in the mirror (although this is also very important and messes with our psychology), but mainly in your disposition and will to live. Mainly in the feeling that comes from the inside out, which is self-love. Try it! When you try it and feel it, then you won’t want to stop.
How important is personal care for mothers and how can it contribute to overall well-being during motherhood?
This question is about general well-being, and in my view, exercise is key. It brings benefits in all aspects of life, whether in work relationships, in the love relationship with the husband or wife, in the family in general, with friends, in short, it is good for life as a whole. Our body was made to move, it’s not just an option, but a necessity. When we go to the doctor, the first thing he recommends is exercise. After the birth of a child, mothers are often sedentary for a long time, but this can affect daily relationships, such as waking up early, taking the child to school, preparing food, changing diapers, and so on. This general well-being, both physical and mental, can help in these aspects and make everyday life easier at home, with the people we care about most. Sometimes, we end up taking out our frustrations on people close to us and stressing ourselves out. Physical exercise can alleviate this type of stress.
How does Carol encourage mothers to overcome guilt and take time to care for themselves?
Even in the moments when I feel that guilt, even though I know this is my job and this is so good for me, I think about wanting my daughter to be proud of me. So I say to mothers today: think ahead, what your daughter or son will say about you. Wow, look how my mother is a warrior, look how determined my mother is, look how focused my mother is, look how dedicated my mother is. Your child will want to look at baby pictures and see a smile on your face. He will want to see you happy, he will want to see you with a healthy body, a functional body that helps you do everything that needs to be done. A body that allows you to live life as it deserves to be lived. This will reflect on education, on raising your children. Therefore, think of your children at this moment, think that you are happy, full, content with what you see in the mirror, satisfied with who you are and what you represent. Think that your son will grow up seeing a happy woman, a fighting woman. That’s what I think, I want my daughter to be proud of me, so I’ll dedicate myself a lot, I’ll always be there for her, and I’ll be healthy to accompany her for many, many years of her life. It’s thinking about her that my guilt dissipates.
What advice or tips does Carol offer to mothers who want to resume a healthy exercise routine after motherhood?
The advice I always give to everyone, and now also to mothers who are returning to a healthy post-maternity exercise routine, is to get started. Start and have constancy. Make this a commitment to yourself: I’m going to start and stick to a routine for a month and see what happens. I’m sure you’ll like the results and that will be your incentive to keep going. What happens will be more disposition, better quality of life, more health, self-esteem and self-esteem. It will make you not want to stop.
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