Our bodies are incredible vessels, that change immensely when we’re pregnant, and after we give birth. While we tend to focus all our energy into our new baby after giving birth, there will come a time when you’re keen to reclaim some ‘me time’. That may include wanting to shift a couple of kilos, or simply gain the strength and energy needed to look after a growing baby. We’ve consulted a professional with a huge amount of experience in post-natal exercise, and he’s revealed his top tips to help lose weight after having a baby.
Women’s bodies undergo a tremendous amount of change during pregnancy and post birth. It means the way we exercise and how we’re able to get into shape might change after children. Fitness First trainer Calum Wilson specialises in pre and post-natal exercise, and focuses much of his work as a head trainer on mums. Over many years he’s developed a vast knowledge, and we asked him for his top tips to help new mums get back into shape.
1. Time your feeds
“As a new mum, you may be breastfeeding your bub, so try to avoid feeding within 90 minutes after your workout. Some research shows that lactic acid can make the milk taste different which may lead to the baby rejecting it.”
“Large levels of the stress hormone cortisol can make losing weight more difficult. With the added stress of a newborn, relaxing can be very hard. As such, make the most of the relaxation classes such as yoga or body balance to destress and get some well deserved peace and quiet.”
3. Be aware of your body
“During pregnancy, most women’s abdominal muscles separate to accomodate the growing uterus. It is important to consider this when returning to exercise. Speak to a professional pre and post-natal specialist for advice on exercises to avoid, such as planks, sit ups and weighted rotational moves.”
4. Make use of the crèche
“Don’t feel like you’re a bad mum for making use of the gym’s crèche. Time spent away from your bub can be invaluable giving you a chance to look after yourself and giving you some energy back.”
5. Pace your weight loss
“It took you nine months to gain the weight, so remember to allow yourself time to get back to your pre-baby body. Losing too much weight too fast can affect your milk supply. A healthy weight loss would be half a kilo a week.”
6. Rebuild from the inside out
“Whilst most mums’ focus may be weight related, their main goal should be to strengthen their TVA and pelvic floor muscles to help achieve their pre-baby body. This can sometimes take a lot longer than getting the scales back to their starting weight.”
7. Remember to re-fuel
“Have a small, high carb snack before going to the gym to ensure that you have enough energy and make the most out of your workout. A banana would be a great snack.”
8. Try spin classes
“Spinning is great for fat burning and won’t put any stress on your joints. Another great bonus is that the classes are short and intense, making this a very time efficient option.”
9. Plan ahead
“In order to avoid unhealthy snacking, try to write out a weekly food plan and stick to it as best as you can. Preparation is key, so pre-cooked meals are a great idea.”
10. Avoid high impact exercises for the first three months
“Levels of the hormone relaxin have been found in women for up to three months after birth. As this hormone causes the ligaments and tendons to become more elastic, which in turn weakens the structure of the joint, you may run the risk of rolling your ankle or twisting your knee.”
Calum also recommends seeking the advice of a professional, and allowing yourself plenty of time to ease back into any form of exercise.
“Try group training. After three months, look to attend a small group training session or a bootcamp style session,” Calum says. “These are great for fat burn and hopefully your body is now ready to be pushed a little harder. Try and include a 30 minute walk every day. Incidental exercise is a great way of burning a few extra calories. Playing with the baby or going for a 30 minute walk every day is a great way to burn some extra calories.”
He also recommends managing your calorie intake: “Although you can eat around an extra 2100 kilojoules per day when breastfeeding, you still have to be careful of your total calorie intake. You can’t lose weight if you are eating more than you are burning off.”
Fitness First is offering Babyologists a chance to help get their bodies in shape, the healthy way. We have an exclusive free trial offer, to help you start your journey. You can sign up for a free Three Day Pass, to dip your toe back into the world of health and fitness. With a huge variety of fun-filled classes to suit all fitness levels, there’s bound to be a class for you. As mums, we tend to put everyone else’s needs before our own, so perhaps this is your chance to try something new, or fulfil a promise to yourself.
(This is a sponsored post for Fitness First)