As a personal trainer who specializes in pre and postnatal fitness and as a mom who has now been “postnatal” twice, here is my advice for getting back into shape after the birth of your baby. 

  1. Be Fair to Yourself:  Ease back into exercise and don’t be hard on your self.  You were pregnant for nine months, give yourself at least that long to get back into shape.
  2. Be Cautious: In the first few weeks and sometimes months after delivery,  your body is still recovering from and many of the hormones present during pregnancy remain in your system 6-18 months postpartum.  Your joints are still lose and prone to injury.  Avoid oblique exercises, especially early postpartum as they can exacerbate abdominal separation that may have occurred during pregnancy.
  3. Be Selfish:  It’s ok to do things for yourself.  You’ll better meet the demands of motherhood if you are fit and healthy and will be setting a good example for your children.
  4. Take A Class:  Research out of St. Louis University shows that women who participate in a structured exercise or diet program after the birth of their baby lose more weight and retain that weight loss better than those women who go at it alone.  Plus, a class is a great place to meet other new moms and their babies and form new friendships for you and your children!
  5. Drink Water:  Nursing, exercise and weight loss all increase your need for adequate water intake.  Keep a bottle with you and sip off it all day.  Start your day with a tall glass of water. Drink at least 8-12oz every time you feed your baby and 8-12oz during and after exercise.
  6. Get Variety in Your Exercise Routine: A well-rounded fitness routine should include cardiovascular work, strength training and flexibility work.  Find activities you enjoy, you’re more likely to stick with them if they are fun.
  7. Be Consistent:  A little bit of exercise everyday adds up to bigger results than 1 monster session a week.  Try walks with the baby, push-ups during nap time, yoga poses in the morning and trips to the gym when you can.
  8. Practice Good Nutrition:  Breastfeeding requires and extra 500 calories a day, but be sure those extra calories are coming from healthy, well-balanced sources.  Be careful, we tend to snack more when we are sleep deprived!
  9. Be Mindful:  The demands of motherhood are mental as well as physical.  Along with your exercise program, be sure you have emotional support to adjust to this change in your life.  Whether through talking with close friends, an organized mother’s group or seeking the advice of a professional, don’t discount your feelings.
  10. Be Kind:  Motherhood is a challenge, you may not get into shape as quickly or exercise as often as you want, but do the best you can and be sure to enjoy this special time with your child.

Watch this blog in the coming weeks for video clips of workouts you can do at home with your baby.  And contact me for personal consultations or training (in person and via skype)