This is an expert advice blog written by the owner and head trainer, Natalie of PURE Fitness OC, who is an OC mom of one and soon-to-be two! With years of experience, Natalie has written a great article on how to get your body back after baby. *Sigh* We all know how challenging that can be. But with the right plan, it can happen sooner that you think!
And, please make sure to read below under the “Giveaway!” section to see how you can enter to win two amazing personal training packages (one of which is ONLINE so you can train with her from home! Talk about postpartum workout convenience!
How to Get Your Body Back After Baby
by Natalie Hustad, Pure Fitness OC
OK, let’s face it.
As amazing as our bodies feel as we are growing a baby, at some point we all think “what the hell happened to my….. (fill in the blank) butt, hips, boobs?!?!
And while we would love to believe we are not vain, we can’t help but feel a longing for a day when our bodies were all tight and smooth.
This article isn’t about looking good naked… because the reality is that I would rather have my back pain free, and be able to run pain free post baby then eliminate the stretch marks.
OK, that’s a lie, in a perfect world I would have both.
So how do you get your body back? When do you start?
Let me start by saying it is not true that if you have not worked out your entire pregnancy that you cannot start at anytime. The reality is that the more active you are during pregnancy, the easier it will be to get your body back after baby. So, really the plan to get your body back after pregnancy is most effective if you start during pregnancy.
Most women spend the first 3 months puking in the toilet every morning and are definitely not even thinking about working out. But as you come out of the dark cloud around your 12th week – START!
OK, OK, first consult your OB/GYN… but don’t just say “I want to start working out” bring them this article and let them know your plan of action.
The term “working out” can mean aerial acrobatics as well as low impact easy restorative yoga, so it leaves a lot up to interpretation!
Once you have a thumbs up from your doctor, be aware that exercise during pregnancy is not going to entail training for a marathon. But here are some things you can do to work on your fitness:
1) Get your heart pumping…BUT…keep your heart rate below 140bpm as a general rule… if you haven’t been working out, get a heart rate monitor!
If you were an average weight before pregnancy, a brisk walk will get your heart rate to 132, so there is room to get a little more intense should you choose.
2) Think light weights and low impact. Seated shoulder press, seated chest press, etc.
3) Easy core activities. Start working on your balance now, because as your belly grows you are going to need to work on ankle stability and basic core moves to keep your posture lined up.
Here are some of my favorite core exercises for mamas-to-be:
a) On your hands and knees extend one arm and the opposite leg, pull the leg in and out 20 times. Repeat on the other side.
b) Push yourself into down dog and hold just for 15 seconds, then rock forward into full push up position for 15 seconds. Rest into child’s pose. Repeat these both 3 times.
4) Think easy stretching – no twisting no pulling. This isn’t yoga class at your peak of fitness – don’t try and pull yourself into any pose that you can’t naturally sit in.
So now you have had the baby… now what?
Again most people think they need to wait 6 weeks before doing anything… wrong. But first, you need to be smart and redefine your definition of fitness.
Within 24 hours of having baby (for those moms that did not have c-sections or for those feeling up to doing these small movements) think easy exercises.
a. Lying in the hospital bed, propped up a bit, let your heel maintain contact with the bed, and just pull your heel into your bottom bending your knee and then simply stretch the leg back to a straight resting position. Repeat 5 times on each side.
b. Now with hands at your sides, reach the arms over head to the ceiling and give a little stretch! Repeat both of these several times a day for 3 days.
This will get blood flowing in your spine and back and will help you eliminate excess fluids after labor.
After 3 days you are going for a walk... not far, just to the mailbox and back, then back in the house to do 10 push ups against the wall (continue to repeat the hospital work and these two exercises for another 5 days. )
Your baby is now a week old and you are going for your first 12 minute walk!
Strap baby on in your favorite carrier and walk out your door for 6 minutes and turn around and walk back. Repeat twice daily.
At 3 weeks post, you can now do the core work you started with when you were in your second trimester, as well as increase your walk to 20 minutes.. strap baby on for your walks! This makes you work harder and gives you great mommy and baby cuddle time!
Once you have hit 6 weeks and have been doing the above consistently and have the OK from your doctor, you are ready for your first weight workout.
Because you have been MOVING and active for 6 weeks, your body is much more receptive to a real fitness workout. I recommend keeping it short, no more then 20 minutes, and keep the high impact stuff out for now.
Doing a quick circuit while baby is on her activity mat, do this 3 times a week:
- Lunges x 20 on each leg. Try and get that knee as low as possible.
- Drop onto your knees for 10 push ups.
- Stand back up for squats. Work on getting low low low… but make sure you go slow slow slow! x 20
Repeat all the above 3 times.
- Down dog push back and hold that down dog position for 20 seconds. Let those shoulders and back work! Then, without resting on your knees, rock forward into on-your-toes push up position.
- Hold high push up position for 20 seconds, then repeat down dog → high push up hold 5 times! Really let your back arms and core work!
- On your back, feet planted, and knees bent. Bring your fingers behind your ears and gently come into a crunch (NOT SIT UP) position. Just curl until you feel a contraction. As you lower back down, only go so far that your abs dont relax and then go right back up, so this is a very short crunch. x 20
DONE! Go cuddle with your baby! The other 2 days a week get in a long brisk walk 45-60 minutes. Or get into a spin class at the gym!
Be consistent, don’t give up! Lastly, be realistic and forgiving of yourself. The weight didn’t come on overnight, and it won’t come off overnight.
But if you consistently put in 5 days a week of 30-60 minutes it will happen for you!
Are you ready to shed those baby pounds and / or get in better shape?
No matter what your stage of pre or post natal fitness… or maybe even perhaps it’s your hubs that needs to lose his sympathy weight… Natalie can help you. Using the magic of the internet she trains clients in New York, Roma Italy and Sacramento live via Skype.
Enter to win 2 fabulous fitness packages!
First prize) 6 weeks of online training with 2- 45 minute sessions per week! a$780 value.
Second prize) one month of unlimited group training in studio in Lake Forest! a $225 value
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The low down:
- For the online training, you must set up a free skype account, and have access to a webcam. You must be on a broadband or DSL connection, dial up will not work.
- All fitness clients will be sent health history forms, and waivers to sign and scan back to PURE sports fitness and therapy.
- All entries will be put into random.org and calulated on Feb 10, 2012 before 10 pm. Results and winner will be named on Feb 11, 2012 by 10pm on both the Tiny Oranges fb page and the PURE sports fitness and therapy fb page and winner will be contacted via email so please make sure to leave your email address in the comment field (address won’t be published.)
[Disclosure: PURE Fitness is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor.]