I have a lot of mummies joining our FIT family, who are struggling with regaining their pre pregnancy bodies. Having children is an amazing feat… I mean you literally grow another mini human inside your own body! So it is not surprising that your body experiences some changes in order to make that process possible. However once you have given birth (and had a few months to recover) it is understandable that you might want to start working on regaining your former strength and glory.
So here are the 5 most important steps to help you achieve your goals:
Be Patient With Your Body
You have just grown a human and this is really something to be proud of. But it is important to remember that everybody is different, and every pregnancy experience is different. So be patient with your body and if you experienced any complications during pregnancy and birth, remember to check with your doctor before commencing exercise!
Move It To Lose It
It is the golden rule that applies to everyone. You have to move it to lose it. So start walking as soon as you are back home (unless of course you have had complications and/or are on strong pain medication!) Start with relaxed 20-30 minute walks each day and as you start to feel your strength returning you can increase the length and intensity accordingly. You don’t have to have a babysitter to make this possible, use this time to help rock bub to sleep! Having the stability of a stroller to lean on/push will also support your body whilst adding a little extra workout. Work up to those hills!
Then when your body is ready to start incorporating some more vigorous exercise, try to aim for:
- 3 non consecutive days of strength training - Use light dumbbells, or resistance bands, or focus on body weight resistance exercises. It doesn’t matter if you have 45 minutes to spare, or 15 minutes, it all helps!
- 3 days a week incorporate a 30 minute cardio workout - Cycling and swimming are great ways of easing the body back into cardio and will help tone and strengthen your legs, butt and core! Or if you are working out from home, try a cardio dance routine, and relieve some stress and have fun whilst burning those calories!
As you feel your body becoming stronger you can increase the intensity of your training. However you may need to get creative and be a little flexible on what times you have available now that there is a new bub in your life. Where there is a will there is a way though and the healthier and stronger you feel, the more energy you will have to do all the other things that need to be done!
Moderate Your Meals
It is important to adjust your diet in order to help you shift that unwanted pregnancy weight. You may have found that during pregnancy you craved certain foods, or could only stomach others. Often these cravings are for simple carbs, giving the body the instant energy it needs to create a new life. Unfortunately though simple carbs in excess are a major culprit in storing extra weight. Aim for moderate meals that are focused on healthy and lean protein sources, and are rich in fresh vegetables. Avoid processed sugars and eating carb dense meals in the evening.
It is also important that you keep hydrated, especially if you are breast feeding, however try to avoid drinks that are high in sugar and instead opt for water, vegetable juices and reduced fat milk (or milk substitute) options.
Choose Energising Options
They say you just cannot know unless you have experienced it yourself, just how much your life and routine gets tipped upside down when you have a baby. Sleep becomes a luxury and you are lucky if you can grab a few hours whilst your baby is sleeping. Because of this, many new mums find it difficult eating healthy because they tend to just grab whatever they can when they can. However if you plan ahead, and stock your fridge with healthy, easy to grab options that are nutritious and healthy, you will find that you feel healthier and more energised, plus you can avoid adding to the pregnancy weight issue!
Some nutritious and easy to prepare choices include:
- Healthy dips such as humus or light tzatziki with vegetables sticks (carrots, cucumbers, snow peas etc.)
- Microwave brown rice, with tuna, tomato and cucumber
- Light cottage cheese, with banana and mixed nuts and seeds
- Pre-cooked chicken breast and salad with seeds
- Whole grain crackers with avocado
A really great idea is to buy a lean and healthy protein source (such as chicken breast, tempeh, white fish) in bulk and cook up enough for a few days and store it in the fridge, so that you can just grab it when you need it. Have it in salads, on crackers, on rice or just as it is!
Use Your Time Wisely
Having a newborn can be stressful, because your time becomes shared time. So when you get half an hour to yourself it is often filled with getting necessities done… Like washing your hair!. However if you don’t find some time to relax and unwind, you are going to go a little stir crazy. Working around your bub and finding time when you can is imperative. A great idea is to find a relaxation/ guided meditation that you can listen to whilst you are relaxing with your bub, or play your favourite tunes whilst you are out for your walk/jog. Incorporate your bub in your exercise routines (e.g. Squat with bub!) and try to make some time each day just for you - Even if that means grabbing an extra 5 minutes in the shower!