Let’s start with by clearing the air.
I’m not a big fan of the term “pre-baby body”. Even though you may get back to that shape, or even in better shape, after child birth it kind of come across negative that there’s something wring with your body post pregnancy.
The thing is your body is different and will be different for a while.
As your body (and brain) adjusts to life with a new family member there’s no need to put any extra stress on yourself.
Also one more thing before we look at the How To of this article. There’s a quote from Theodore Roosevelt that says “comparison is the thief of joy” which basically means when you start to compare your journey, your results, with that of someone else you’ll be unhappy.
This is about you, being the best version of yourself, regardless of what anyone else is doing.
1. Allow your body enough time to heal after birth.
This is a great time and it’s time we don’t get back. Allow your body to rest (where possible!) and also your give your mind a chance to rest. Literally take 10 minutes, sit down, lie down and breath.
No one should underestimate the energy and stress your body goes through during pregnancy. The labor and delivery aren’t the end of the process for your body though, especially if you are also recovering from a C-Section.
This first phase is non negotiable! If your skip this step it can make your progress even slower down the track (or even worse you do permanent damage.)
2. Know how you move and be assessed before starting.
As I mentioned above, we’re on a different playing field with your body post pregnancy. Things that you could do before hand, perhaps even whilst pregnant, you might not be able to do now. The other consideration is that even though you might be able to do them you perhaps shouldn’t be.
Having an accurate snapshot of where you are at the start makes all the difference. It will help you to avoid injury but also allow you to get the most from your workouts and get the results you want. Instead of spending time on exercises that aren’t suited to your body right now you can focus on the exercises that are.
There absolutely should be a focus on your core and pelvic floor (which makes up part of your core) and having control in these areas before rushing into more challenging workouts.
Going from nothing straight into full high intensity workouts, heavy weight is a recipe for disaster. If you over reach then the likelihood of having a setback is significantly increased. This can have a cascading effect where it become hard to overcome that injury time and time again, so avoiding it in the first place is a much better approach.
Some examples of what we’re looking to avoid are back pain, pelvic pain, incontinence, pelvic floor weakness or tightness, prolapse – not a great list.
3. Eat enough quality food and stay hydrated.
This is important for everyone, even dad! Regardless of whether you are breastfeeding or not, your body needs adequate nutrition and hydration to allow for the healing processes that occur postpartum.
Remember it’s a different playing field now. Your metabolism is different, as are your hormones and there’s every chance you’re having stressful days and sleepless nights. This is the time when you need to give your body nourishing foods and enough of them. Getting more sleep and improving hydration are two of the easiest ways to feel better and have more energy. Given that the amount of sleep you’re getting may be hard to manage staying hydrated is a simple thing you can control (with great benefits.)
If you try to restrict your intake, your calories, too much it may not even help with losing weight. The added stress of low calorie diets also change your metabolism and hormones in a bid to keeping your body healthy.
Having a sensible plan that is easy to follow can make life less stressful as it reduces the number of decisions you have to make. It should be well balanced and include protein, vegetables, fruit and healthy fats.
4. Restore your mind and body
Taking care of yourself and a young one (or more…) takes a lot of energy. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture and can wreak havoc with your body and hormones.
You may be feeling ok but chances are with the added stress and lack of unbroken sleep that you’re coping well as opposed to being well.
If at all possible then get some extra Zz’s where you can. If getting in some extra sleep time isn’t really an option then look at some lower intensity and restorative activities such as walking or yoga. These activities are as much for the mind as they are for the body so please don’t try to set record times with the walk or try to nail difficult poses in yoga, this is supposed to be restorative!
Guided meditation, as little as 5-10 minutes, can make a huge difference too. There’s a number of good (free) apps you can use two of which are Headspace and Smiling Mind.
With all that in mind, the goal should be to have a healthy body that is strong and supported. A core and pelvic floor that allow you to lift things (weights and toddlers) without hurting yourself and enough fitness to chase a wayward pram or run upstairs to a crying baby.
The easiest way to get back into the swing of things is with our Mum’s 28 Day Program. We take all of these factors into account and suggest the most appropriate way to train, give you customised nutrition advice and strategies to keep a good headspace. Perfect for those familiar with exercise or people training for the first time, click here to find out more – http://www.citywidefitness.com.au/mums-28-day