Just finished bringing your brand new baby into the world? If so, you might be itching to get back into the gym to find more energy, beat the tiredness and tone up the tummy!
There’s no question that your body has changed since you first became pregnant and now you might be wondering if you’ll ever get your pre-baby body back. The good news is that with the proper program, hard work, and a good amount of patience, you most certainly can get your body back.
But, there are some important points to know along the way. Let’s look at some of the most important post-pregnancy fitness tips that all new mom’s should know and remember.
First things first, never rush into your program. Remember that you will have had some time off of your workouts now and deconditioning will have taken place. You can’t expect to just dive right back in and be at the same place you were before.
Start with some easy, brisk walking and then slowly build up from there. Now is not the time to really push hard and try to set some PR’s. Do this and you’ll risk injury, not to mention possibly putting added stress on your body that may compromise milk production.
AVOID DIRECT AB WORK
Next, you’ll also want to be sure that you avoid direct ab work as well. Your abdominal region has been through a lot and needs to heel itself first before you can go right back to your usual crunches and other exercises.
The primary focus on core work for the first month or two should be on bringing back your pelvic floor strength. Focus on performing kegels regularly and this should help you bounce back quicker and get on to more intense ab work down the road.
GO LOW IMPACT
You’ll also want to ensure that you’re making good use of low impact activity. Remember that as you are slightly heavier now, doing high impact exercise can place excess strain on your joint.
This isn’t to say you can’t get back into activities such as jogging or skipping shortly down the road, but give your body some time first. You’ll want to shed a few more pounds and ensure that your muscles along with ligaments and tendons have regained some of the strength they may have lost.
FOCUS ON SHORTER SESSIONS
Finally, with the new baby home, time is off the essence. You likely won’t be able to get in full hour-long sessions, not to mention you might not have the energy to do so anyway.
Instead, focus on shorter, more frequent sessions. Take a 10 minute walk with your stroller, perform a 10 minute circuit workout while the baby is sleeping, or use 10 minutes before bed to perform some stretching and yoga exercise.
Every little bit adds up, so focus on simply getting as much movement into your day as possible. If you do this, it won’t be long before you’re ready to kick the intensity up a notch and start in with your pre-pregnancy workouts.
BREASTFEED AS LONG AS POSSIBLE
There’s no doubt that breastfeeding can help dramatically when trying to lose your baby belly. While not all mums can breastfeed for different reason, if you are one of the lucky ones, then breastfeeding for as long as possible will help you lose the weight quicker than most other methods. Most breastfeeding mums know this from experience. It is recommended both for your babies best development to breastfeed for at least one year. The world health organisation recommends breastfeeding until 2 years of age – if this works for both you and your baby. What better way is there to help your child develop a strong immunity, develop and nurture their emotional needs, bond with your baby AND lose that weight. Along with regular exercise this combination is almost guaranteed to get you fit, toned and fabulous in no time. Oh and not to mention, giving you and your baby plenty of the feel-good hormone, oxytocin, in the process!
Got any great post-pregnancy fitness tips that worked for you? Tell us in the comments below…we’d love to hear them.
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Whether you carry your excess weight along your belly or thighs, and no matter what you call it, one thing rings true: you want it gone. Maybe you’re hoping to drown your sorrows in chocolate and compensate for the extra calories with plenty of exercise. Or perhaps you hope you can altogether avoid exercise by selecting the right diet. While it’s certainly possible to lose weight with only one of the two, it’s also significantly harder. Healthy, sustainable weight-loss is more likely to come from a blend of healthy eating and active living.
If you’re like most people on a weight-loss journey, you want to expend as little effort as you can to get the results you want.
Burning Calories, Burning Fat
If you have a problem area, like most people do, you might be tempted to endlessly exercise just that area of your body. The truth is that you can’t spot-reduce, no matter how many crunches or squats you do. Instead, the key to losing fat is to create a caloric deficit—a fancy way of saying ‘burn more calories than you take in’.
A single pound of fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories—almost two day’s worth of food. Burning this many calories is challenging for anyone, especially if you rely on exercise or diet alone. To successfully diet to lose a pound a week, you’d need to cut the equivalent of 22 sodas, seven hamburgers, 20 bags of chips, or 44 cookies from your diet. That’s no small feat.
Exercising the fat away won’t be much easier. The number of calories you burn depends on a host of factors. Generally speaking, though, you can expect to burn anywhere from 100-500 calories with an aerobic workout. That means you’d have to exercise every day at a very high intensity—by, for example, running for an hour—if you wanted to be able to lose weight with exercise alone.
The solution seems clear: If you want to lose the most weight possible, you can get ahead of the game by exercising and eating less.
What the Research Says
Of course, people opt not to exercise or diet for a variety of reasons. Maybe health or time constraints figure prominently in your decision, or perhaps you’re reticent to adopt a new lifestyle. If you’re bound and determined to try only one approach to weight-loss, you should structure your plan around substantive research, not weight-loss gimmicks. Most research suggests that people are more apt to lose weight when they diet, so if you have to choose between the two, dieting may be your best bet. Of course, if you can add in a bit more activity—such as walking more places, spending some time walking your dog, or enjoying a game of baseball with your kids—you’ll lose weight more quickly, even if you never hit the gym.
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