One of the most common questions I get from women is how to get back into shape after having a baby.
While I don’t have kids myself, I know that nothing can change your body, and life, as quickly as having a child. Your body doesn’t want to respond to the same activities in the same way and your previous three nights a week at the gym seem like an impossible dream. Oh wait, dreams are the luxury of those actually getting sleep.
This can make working back into a fitness routine seem like an insurmountable task. But it can be done! It just requires a little creativity, planning and perhaps the occasional babysitter. And your efforts will pay off in more energy, stress relief and a renewed self-confidence. Try these strategies to help you get back on track.
1. Stroller walks/runs are the easiest solutions for many moms. Focus on your posture, which may be feeling the effects of carrying baby or breastfeeding, while going outdoors for a walk or run. Make sure your head and chin are up, chest is lifted and leading, wrists are not locked and arms are slightly bent. Add walking lunges and hills to increase intensity.
2. Stop while you walk and run with your stroller for a playground workout. Do dips and step ups using a bench to work on back, arms and legs. Do some push ups, jumping jacks or burpees if there is no bench in sight. When combined with their favorite toy, these calisthenics can also serve as great way to make your future athlete laugh. If it’s nap time (for your baby, not you) then take some time to enjoy the peace of nature and a healthy snack. Make sure to carry protein bars, raw almonds, fruit and baby carrots in the diaper bag!
3. Have a front pack carrier? Try doing squats with “baby on board.” Do standard squats or try plié squats (with a wide stance and toes turned out) to hit the inner thighs.
4. Turn playtime on the floor into strength time if your young one is a bit older. Press junior over your chest while lying on your back (like a bench press) or do bridges while he lies back on your hips.
5. Focus on stabilization exercises, like planks to flatten out your tummy. A plank can be done anywhere in a spare minute first thing in the morning. I also recommend adding leg slides or alternating leg lifts to target the lower section of the abs.
And don’t forget – abs are made in the kitchen! Eighty percent of our fat loss results come from our nutritional efforts. Start with a balanced but fast breakfast and keep plenty of healthy snacks at the office and at home. Keep it simple, but keep it clean!