Article By Holly Rigsby
Author of "Fit Yummy Mummy"
Yes, as Moms we ALL know what a miracle it is to bring a new life into this world.
Our bodies have undergone some amazing changes to make this blessing possible.
But now that your baby is here, the very next thing on your agenda is to get your body back! Follow these 5 training tips to start off safely and kick start the post baby fat burn.
#1 When To Start
Right Now! As long as you did not experience complications or additional surgeries during delivery and are not under doctor's orders to stay off your feet, you can get moving within the first week of giving birth.
The "waiting game" is starting to fade out. This is especially true if you exercised throughout your pregnancy. Your body will actually CRAVE activity - I know mine did! Even if your doctor gives you the standard "Do not exercise for six weeks" prescription, speak up! Show your Dr. the list of exercises you want to do. Also, do not just ask to "exercise" -- be specific.
Before you start however, here are some important safety tips.
- Listen to your Body. I cannot stress this enough. If at any time you feel discomfort, pain, light-headedness, nausea or experience bleeding STOP immediately, do not try to push through it. Either take the time you need to recover and/or share this information with your Dr.
- Stay Hydrated. Drink plenty of water before, during and after you workout sessions, especially if you are breastfeeding
- Do not to overdo it. Doing too much too soon, jumping into rigorous activity, lifting heavy weights, will only lead to trouble. Your muscles and ligaments need time to recoup. They are overly flexible due to the hormones easily stretched so more prone to injury. Plus you risk burning yourself out. Chronic pain can result from premature sessions of running, stepping or weight lifting with misaligned posture and loose joints and ligaments.
#2 What Can You DO
Pelvic floor and core activation exercises can be started as soon as possible after birth. Pelvic floor exercises such as Kegels should be started asap and can be done anywhere. These foundational exercises can hasten the restorative process, improve your posture, flatten your abdominal muscles, and prepare you to return to your favorite strength training routine. The sooner you start, the sooner your body responds.
Walking is a must and you can do this as soon as you feel comfortable to do so. I had Baby Alexander strapped to me in a carrier and was out the door one week after we came home from the hospital.
From here you will then ease into a body weight strength and intervals training program. As you regain strength and endurance and your body is responding positively to your workouts, you can then gradually begin to increase the intensity of your routine.
#3 Battle of the Mommy Belly
The most common concern of new moms is how to get rid of the jelly belly! Many worry if a flatter, more toned tummy is even possible to achieve again. Yes it is. As long as you follow an effective exercise program and a supportive nutrition plan, the process burning off the mommy belly fat is not as hard as you think.
If you consistently performed core strengthening exercises and worked out throughout your pregnancy, this process will be easier.
There are some great exercises you can do to bring your abdominal muscles back together, rebuild your core and help you regain a flat tummy…. just avoid jumping into intense exercise too soon, before your abdominal or pelvic floor muscles are ready and avoid CRUNCHES.
The traditional Crunch is one of the worst exercises you can do after having a baby - especially if you have Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation).
Crunches can actually increase the gap! Plus crunches only target one of several ab muscles -- primarily the Rectus Abdominis (your six pack muscles) which is one of the most overstretched muscle groups during pregnancy and your obliques. These muscles easily overpower the weaker internal abdominal muscle (the Transverse Abdominis) during crunch-like exercises which can cause your abdominal wall to bulge out!
The secret to flattening your mommy belly after pregnancy is to train from the inside out. In addition to cleaning up what you eat, your focus must be on rebuilding strength and control of your Transverse Abdominis - your deepest core muscle. This muscle compresses the abdominal wall, acts like a corset, draws the belly button closer to the spine and is the body's most important core stabilizer.
Effective core exercises include …
The "drawing in" maneuver - You can lie on your back, on your side or get on all fours - contract and hold your deep core muscles as you imagine drawing your belly button in toward your spine - and hold for count of 10 as you breathe.
Plank variations which are most effective when you perform sets of 10-second holds with a brief rest between sets instead of holding for 30-60+ seconds at a time.
#4 Make It Easy To Exercise
To make the most of your post baby workout plan, set up a routine that you can stick to. Consistency is KEY to your success. Make it easy on yourself and workout at home. Create a workout space in a convenient corner of your home. Have your equipment set up and ready to go, so whenever baby naps or is playing - you can grab a quick 10-15 minute workout.
Yes, 15 minutes is all you need when you are following an effective workout plan. As a busy mom - there's just no time for hour long workouts, plus who has the energy! 15 minutes of the right type of exercise will make you feel amazing and give you more energy to get through the day no matter how exhausted you were to begin with.
The final and most important tip when focusing on losing the post pregnancy weight….setting realistic goals. Believing that getting back to your pre-pregnancy shape will happen immediately is a surefire way to become frustrated, give up and settle for a "Mom Body".
While many factors impact your results, including how much weight you gained, your diet before, during and after pregnancy, your exercise program and intensity, care available postpartum, etc. a realistic goal is about a pound a week. You may notice a huge difference in your body during the first two weeks after delivery, when you lose much of the accumulated pregnancy-related fluid. After that, loss of fat stores is up to you which will gradually decrease over a period of four to six months as long as you follow through with consistency.
Now all that's left is to tell you to get started! Waiting ….for the perfect time, when you have more energy, when you've lost some weight - all excuses. Putting off your workout plan now, makes it that much harder to get started later.
Easing back into your exercise routine will not only help get your body back-well for the women I work with, they get an even BETTER body back, doing so will only help to improve your mood and boost your energy levels.
No excuses! Here's a special Fit Yummy Mummy workout to get you going today!
Fit Yummy Mummy Post Baby Kick Start Workout
Your FYM workouts are performed super set style. This is an example of performing your workout 3 times through for each super set. (Note: You will complete each Super Set 1-4 times depending on your fitness and energy levels). You rotate between the two movements in each super set with little to no rest, allow a 60-90 second rest between each super set.
Looks like this…
a1, a2, a1, a2, a1, a2 rest b1, b2, b1, b2, b1, b2 rest. c1, c2, c1, c2, c1, c2 Finished!
Be sure to include a warm up and cool down.
The only equipment you need for this workout is a stability ball and a mat. The rest of your workout utilize your own body weight. If you do not have a stability ball you can perform the squat movement against the wall for support.
A1 Ball Wall Squat 10-12x
A2 Push Ups 6-8
B1 Prisoner Split Squat 6-8x each side (a bodyweight squat with your hands behind your head)
B2 Glute Raise March 8-10x each side (hold the top position of a glute bridge then march your feet)
C1 Belly Blaster 10-12x (the "drawing in" exercise described in #3)
C2 Side Plank hold 30 sec each side
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