Bringing new life into the world after nine months of nurturing, adjusting your diet and staying off your feet, is arguably one of the most rewarding experiences any women can go through. However, a few months on, after your ‘bundle of joy’ has arrived, you have finally settled back into a normal routine and you may have caught a few unexpected glimpses of yourself in the mirror, leaving you a little unsatisfied.
Many new moms often have the desire to get back into shape and lose the baby weight post baby bump. However, often the wrong approach is taken or they simply do not know how to get started.
Gareth Powell, National Training Manager at Ultimate Sports Nutrition (USN) says, “It is not easy to get back into shape after you have given birth, and your body may not be the same as before. However, taking up a healthy lifestyle post pregnancy depends on two factors; what getting ‘back into shape’ means to you personally as well as your ability to stay consistent in your workouts and nutrition.”
Powell suggests the following tips on how to stay fit after giving birth:
- Keep active – after giving birth, for the first few weeks, you may feel exhausted, overwhelmed and sleep deprived. Although exercise may be the last thing on your mind, it is important to keep active. Start by walking around, whether it is in and around your house, or even around the block.
- Include your baby – including your new born in your exercise routine can be a great way to get fit while still being a mommy. While walking the stroller, take a break and do a few lunges in between your walk.
- Join other moms – joining an exercise group for new moms, or other women who are eager to get back into shape, can give you the extra motivation needed to reach your fitness goals.
- Keep track of calories and fat consumption – try to stay away from unhealthy foods and the craving fixes you experienced during pregnancy. Focus on foods that are rich in nutrition, and remember, your body is repairing itself.
- Breastfeed – by breastfeeding, between 600 and 800 calories can be burned a day.
- Start slowly – be gentle with your body in the very beginning. Weakened abdominal muscles, sheer exhaustion and the effect of relaxin (the hormone your body secretes in preparation for birth) means that your body cannot handle strenuous activity at first.
- Take regular naps – napping at regular intervals has been proven to help with weight control. To make sure you are not sleep deprived; take a nap whenever your baby is sleeping to ensure that your sleeping patterns are in sync.
Lisl Windt, winner of USN’s 2012/2013 Body Makeover Challenge and single mother, managed to change her complete physique in just 12 weeks. “Between balancing a career and being a single mother, I could not find the time to look after my own health. Deciding to enter the USN Body Makeover Challenge and winning, has inspired me to take further care of my health and fitness so I may reach more of my goals.”
“You do not have to leave your home or your baby by going to the gym. Instead, you can work out from home by doing exercises such as Pilates, Yoga and even power walking around the house along with your baby in your company. Remember that the same healthy lifestyle guidelines apply as to prior to your pregnancy, which is to be consistent in your diet and training and to stay motivated so you can reach your personal goals,” concludes Powell.