After the Baby
Losing Weight, Being Tired, Finding the Time to Exercise
By Lindsay Brin, CPT, BSE
Believe it or not, there are moms who are more fit after having a baby than they were before! Yes, it's true. Your body works so hard during pregnancy; exercising your body after having your baby may help you improve your fitness level and lose the weight you gained during pregnancy. I always tell moms, you were pregnant for nine months so you must give yourself nine months to get your pre-baby body back. Set a goal for yourself: 9 months if you gained the recommended amount of weight and 9-15 months if you gained more than the recommended amount.
After birth, your uterus (which is a muscle) returns to its normal size within a few months. Slowly, everything falls back into place and what you're left with is loose muscles. So kick up your core routine a notch! You must use your transverse abdominus (the deep abdominal wall) to pull your abs in tight. You do this by "sucking in" but not holding your breath.
You also may be left with loose skin, stretch marks or cellulite. Usually, no creams can penetrate the skin deep enough to get rid of cellulite and stretch marks. Regular exercise may reduce cellulite. And weight loss may help those stretch marks. But I should mention good genetics play a large part here as well. As for the loose skin, your genetics, age and skin elasticity may determine how quickly (or not so quickly) it tightens up again.
Being tired is a problem, but one you can overcome with a few exercise tips. Even if you're so tired some mornings that you feel like you're not getting 100 percent out of the workout, you can overcome being tired.
First and foremost, being a mom is not easy. Every mom has her good days, bad days, more-tired days and more-energetic days. Each mom needs to find a balance that works for herself and her family.
Unless you have a medical reason to avoid physical activity during or after your pregnancy, you can begin or continue moderate-intensity aerobic activity. Be sure to talk with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults exercise 150 minutes every week. I find that this is somewhat difficult for most moms.
By exercising at least four times a week and watching your nutrition, you may lose 10 pounds in one to two months. Start a food journal, plan your meals (and cook them) for the week on Sundays, and schedule your workouts like you would schedule a meeting. Make sure your workouts include both cardio and toning! This is usually the quickest, most effective fat-burning workout. And if you can give 100 percent in a 20-minute interval workout you will probably burn the same amount of calories as giving 50 percent in an hour long workout. For example you could spend 45 minutes on the treadmill going the same speed and burn 250 calories or spend 25 minutes on the treadmill doing intervals and burn 300 calories.
Try a 10-minute interval workout. You may be able to fit it in your schedule a few times a day! Make sure to warm-up and cool-down by walking. Try one minute each of the following exercises: Reverse crunches, squats, push-ups, supermans, front lunges, triceps dips, reverse lunges, Pilates push-ups, squat jumps, plank.
Be sure to talk with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
About the author
Lindsay Brin formed Moms Into Fitness in 2005 and produces fitness DVDs for moms. She is a nationally recognized pre/post natal specialist who is known for her core training technique using the transverse abdominus and pelvic floor.
The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs and to determine whether making a lifestyle change or decision based on this information is appropriate for you.