Your 6-Stage Post Natal Exercise Plan.
Celebrities can make it look oh-so-easy but in reality, getting back into shape after nine long months of pregnancy (sans personal chef, nanny and on-call personal trainer) is not exactly a quick-and-easy process.
Let’s face it ladies, you and your bod have been through a pretty life changing experience! For nine full months, your shape changed and your tummy grew as it made room for the precious cargo you were carrying. A hormonal avalanche took place and you are suddenly able to do less of the jumping, running and lifting that kept you fit and slim for all those years. Now that your precious little one has finally arrived, you’re more than likely struggling for sleep and just a tad exhausted (OK, make that a LOT), so there's not been a lot of time for you to spend on, well, you!
First things first, cut yourself a break and remember that nobody expects you to drop all the kilos you’ve gained by your best mate’s birthday bash next weekend. It took you nine months to create the perfect environment for your bub to grow in and it will likely take just as long to get your pre-baby bod back.
But with this workout plan, we show you how to get back on track and feeling healthy, fit and agile again, as soon as possible.
How This Plan Works
When it comes to getting your pre-baby body back, you need to take it week-by-week and every woman is different in terms of how quickly she can progress. Here, we’ve mapped out six stages of exercise goodness for you and each ‘stage’ will get tougher and more varied. For some of you, this program may only take you six weeks to get through but others may repeat the first stage for three weeks running before they feel ready to take on the next. This is A-OK! We want to encourage you to really listen to your body and stick with each stage for as long as you need to before moving on. Work at your own pace and enjoy the journey.
What You Need To Know Before You Start
• Make sure you’ve got clearance from your doctor before starting your new exercise program. Ideally this will happen at your six-week checkup but if you feel ready to get started a little earlier, talk to your doctor and see what he or she says. Likewise, if you need to wait a little longer to get started (which is often the case after a c-section), that’s fine too, there’s no rush!
• Diastasis (abdominal separation) is very common post pregnancy – our video this week shows you how to check for this and some exercises that will help to reverse it. Make sure you do these exercises religiously before starting your exercise program and ongoing. Crunches and other moves targeting your superficial abdominal muscles should be avoided until this condition has been rehabilitated – otherwise you could end up with back injury, or protruding abs for life, eep!
• Start doing your kegel (pelvic floor) exercises and deep core exercises within a week of giving birth, so long as you have the thumbs up from your doctor. Don’t underestimate the importance of these! Again, our video this week shows you how.
• Take extra precautions when starting an exercise program after a c-section. If you feel any pain or excessive pulling from your scar, take it back a peg or two.
• Although most physiological and morphological changes are most notable 4-6 weeks postpartum, many experts agree that the muscles, tendons and joints do not return to their pre-pregnancy state for 9-12 months, so take it easy and don’t expect too much, too soon and take precautions when stretching and doing interval training.
• Remember, daily movement is super important, for your mental health as well as your physical body. As soon as you feel well enough, start walking your baby in the pram, rather than using the car, for short trips – even a few minutes is better than nothing and the benefits are endless!
• The best advice we can give you when you go back to exercise? Buy a new, improved bra! Trust us, your pre-pregnancy sports bra will not cut it. We love Moving Comfort or Lululemon bras, for ultimate hold!
This week’s video demo shows you how to make sure it’s safe to start exercising and demonstrates the moves you’ll need to perform during the first six weeks post pregnancy to make sure you’re ready to launch yourself back into a fitness regime, without causing any lasting damage. Check it out now!
This workout brought to you by LifeStyle YOU and Bottom's Up Social Fitness for Women