By Melinda Nicci
That phrase “getting your body back” is a bit funny, because it’s not like your body went away on vacation, or vanished into thin air—it’s definitely been there the whole time! In fact, your body has been through a lot with you.
However, there’s no denying that after birth there is a desire to get back to some things about your pre-baby body; back into your favorite outfits, back into fun workouts, back to feeling strong and pain-free. That’s what “getting your body back” is all about—working towards your healthiest self so you can feel your best and look the way you want to. It’s not about a jean size, or a body type. It’s about feel- ing like your best you.
So, we’ve got six steps to helping you “get your body back” after baby. Plus, we’ve got our favor- ite five-step bodyweight workout perfect for busy moms everywhere.
6 Steps to Getting Your Body Back after Baby
If you’ve ever been one week postpartum, you know that the first thing on your mind probably isn’t: “How soon can I work out?” It’s more like: “Wow, I ache all over.” But when you do hit that restless stage where you’re ready to get back into your usual routine and back to feeling strong and in shape, here are the steps to get there:
1. The six-week waiting window:
Most women’s bodies aren’t ready for exercise until six weeks after birth—but this depends on your prior fitness level, pre-existing conditions, and if you had a C-section birth or vaginal tearing. Ultimately, you’ll want to wait for your doctor to give you the okay to resume with normal exercise. You can take advantage of this waiting period with light activity such as walking and pelvic floor exercises, as long as it doesn’t cause pain or exacerbate lochia (post-delivery discharge).
2. Remember, there is natural weight loss:
In your first few weeks you will lose water weight from excess fluid retention, and your uterus will shrink back to its normal size on its own (usually this takes 6-8 weeks). Breastfeeding can also help shed the baby-weight as you can burn about 600-800 calories from a day of feeding—but you will need to make sure you’re getting enough food to help you keep your energy and stamina
up. Think of these natural processes as positive reinforcement and use it as motivation to kick your workouts into high gear once you can start exercising again.
3. Sleep, sleep, sleep:
You’re probably thinking: Ha! Not possible…we feel you! But sleep (when you can get it) maintains your body’s circadian rhythms and keeps natural body processes in a healthy balance—primarily your metabolism. Also, you’ll be less likely to reach for high-sugar
and high-caloric foods for an energy boost, which ultimately make you feel even more tired in the long run.
4. Ditch the idea of a “diet”:
While recovering post-birth you need the full range of essential nutrients to keep your energy up, help your skin and body heal, and restore a healthy hormone balance. Establishing a sustainable, healthy eating lifestyle (not a fad diet) will help you do that. That means getting your hands on raw, natural, fresh, clean foods at every meal—and avoiding processed foods and refined sugars and grains where possible.
5. Get comfortable with cardio:
When you’re ready to get moving, start with cardiovascular strength and stamina, so that you’ll be ready for more intense exercise down the road. Unless otherwise advised by your healthcare professional, after your 6-week clearance you can add 20-30 minutes of cardio into your exercise routine 3-5 times per week. Even pushing a pram 1-2 miles in 30 minutes burns 150 calories, as does walking up and down stairs for 15 minutes!
6. Bring on the weights:
Resistance workouts build muscle tone and will help you get your full physical strength back. Plus, the more muscle you have the more calories you’ll burn, even when you’re at rest! Weight training doesn’t have to include dumbbells or a trip to the gym though, as your own bodyweight counts too! Bodyweight workouts are perfect for new moms as you can do them from the comfort of your own home while keeping an eye on your little one.
To get you started, we’re sharing a quick routine perfect for busy moms using five of our favorite bodyweight exercises.
Best Bodyweight Workout For Busy Moms
This workout should take less than 20 minutes. Make sure to warm up ahead of time by marching in place or doing some dynamic stretches.
Do each move below for 45 seconds. Complete the full circuit three times, taking a 90-second break in between each circuit
1. Bicycle crunches: Lying on your back, engage your core and lift your legs off the ground about 1-2 feet. Pedal your legs as if you were riding a bicycle, bringing your opposite elbow to your knee.
2. Walking Lunges: When you lunge forward keep your knees in line with
your feet but making sure they don’t spill over your toes. Press forward off your back leg to standing and continue alternating lunges to propel you forward.
3. Squats: Keep your feet shoulder-width apart for bodyweight squats and engage your core throughout. Make sure your knees don’t go past your toes and try to lower to 90 ̊—as if you were sitting in a chair.
4. Planks: For the first circuit, do a normal forearm plank hold. For the second circuit, do a side plank hold and switch sides halfway through. For the third and final circuit, do a high plank hold.
5. Burpees: This one is a cardio dash—so try to push through it for the full 45 seconds! If you’re feeling ambitious you can add a pushup in, but a standard burpee will get your heart pumping as well.
Once finished, do some light stretching to help cool down your muscles and steady your heart rate! For more healthy lifestyle inspiration and coaching, be sure to download the Baby2Body app. We’re offering all Baby Show attendees an exclusive 15 percent off our Premium Package—be sure to check the Show Offer page on newyorkbabyshow.com for more information!