Disclaimer: This article was not written by a licensed medical professional or physical trainer and is meant to be informational only, not advice. Always consult your physician for medical questions or advice about your fitness activities.
How to Get Back Your Body After Baby
Now that the marathon of pregnancy and birth has come to an end, you are probably ready to start working on getting your pre-pregnancy body back.
The shape of your body after baby is very different from what it was before, and now that your giant belly is out of the way, chances are you are focusing more on the changes that were overshadowed before! A squishy stomach, extra weight, stretch marks, cellulite and sagging skin are the most common complaints by post delivery moms.
You wonder if your body after baby will ever return to the way it was before. The answer is yes…and no. While you will be able to eat healthy and exercise to shed the extra pounds, pregnancy permanently alters the shape of your body. Some things, such as larger feet, less fullness in the breasts and wider hips, are unavoidable. Just view them as the necessary battle wounds of giving birth!
Those that maintained a healthy diet and workout plan during pregnancy will have an easier time getting back their pre-baby figure. If you are in the category of moms who could hardly find the energy to make it to the supermarket, let alone the gym, you may take longer to shed those extra pounds, but it can be done.
Creating a Post-Baby Workout Routine
Don’t expect to lose all of the weight in a month. It took 9 months to gain the weight and will probably take close to that long to lose it. You will want to start out slowly, implementing a workout routine that fits into your schedule and is easy enough for you to stick to. Charging full speed ahead can leave you exhausted and increase the chance of you throwing in the towel on fitness altogether.
Start by incorporating cardio activities into your daily routine at least 3x a week. A brisk walk around the block with baby in tow is a great starting point. Start out with a 30 minute walk at a moderate pace 3x per week. After 2 weeks you can increase time to 45 minutes and aim for 5 days per week by the 8 week mark. If you have the time, some moms prefer to join a gym and utilize the treadmills, exercise bikes and cardio classes.
Getting Back Your Six Pack Abs
New moms are usually most concerned with flattening their bellies. Sit-ups (also called crunches) are great exercises for strengthening the abdominal muscles. Keep in mind that you could do 1000 sit-ups per day and you still will not have a nice flat stomach if you do not do enough cardio exercise. What you will have is rock solid abs that are hidden underneath a layer of jiggly fat. Cardio will melt the top layer of fat, revealing the well defined abdominals below.
Sample abs routine: For sit-ups, do 3 sets of 12-15, 3x per week. For lower abs, try a reverse crunch, in which you start out in the sit-up position but place your feet just near your buttocks, then raise your hips into the air. These should also be done in 3 sets with 12-15 reps per set, 3x per week. After 4 weeks you can increase to 5x per week.
Strengthening and weight bearing exercises will not only help you tone up, but are good for preventing osteoporosis later in life. Pilates is a great way to use the resistance of your own body weight as a means of building muscle. Lunges and squats are excellent for working the glutes and buttocks, and can be done in the convenience of your own home.
Remember to Stretch
Be sure to always stretch after exercising. This will increase the amount of calories you burn and will help prevent soreness and muscle injury. Yoga and deep breathing are great ways to relax and get the deepest stretch possible. In addition to local yoga classes, there are several good DVDs with varying yoga styles. You may also want to pick up an exercise ball which can help maximize your workout.
By exercising and eating healthy, well balanced meals, staying hydrated and eliminating excess sugar from your diet, you will be well on your way to getting back that pre-pregnancy body.
We originally published Moms – Get Your Body Back After Baby! on November 3, 2009. Read more baby articles here or check out more of the Life with a Newborn column. This article is linked to Works for Me Wednesday, where you can find more great tips for moms!