Exercising with intention after-baby is essential. Even with the most active pregnancy, smooth labour, and birth your body requires postpartum rehab and recovery to some extent.
By no means does this mean months off exercise – not even close! It does mean doing a structured exercise plan that encourages the body to function at it’s best again. This is a follow-up to the article Top 10 Tips to Exercising in Pregnancy.
Here are my Top 10 Tips for Exercising After-Baby:
10. Exercise to feel better. I’m a firm believer that exercise should always make you feel better, and energize you (at least a little bit ;)). This is especially true when you’re a new mama and plain exhausted. I know it can be tough to get started on your workout sometimes, even as a personal trainer I most definitely experience that. BUT, once you get rolling into your workout hopefully your energy perks up.
Smiling faces on mum and baby post-workout is one of the main goals 🙂
9. Function first. After baby you might be feeling different in your skin. That is FINE. There is no rush, no deadline to shed the baby weight. If you want to get back in to high intensity exercise and heavy lifting, that is a-ok IF you take the time to heal and rehab well. Focus on how the body is functioning first, please.
The real kicker? You’ll get back to your higher intensity exercise SOONER if you do take the time to rehab your body well, because you won’t be plagued by nagging injuries for the foreseeable future.
8. Get properly assessed for Diastasis Recti. Unfortunately, it’s all too often that no one has educated you in diastasis recti during pregnancy or after baby. Furthermore, I often re-test women who have been assessed by a docs/nurses/midwives and find a different result. I encourage you to know how to assess yourself, especially so you track your progress along the way. Read this article to learn how.
Diastasis Recti is very common in pregnancy and postpartum, and very treatable.
7. Say yes to strength training. Strength training is a fantastic avenue back into postpartum exercise. Big bang for your buck for the limited time you have available to exercise. (Side note: muscle and strength building exercise is your best bet for tweaking the body’s shape once function has been restored, if that interests you.)
6. Alignment and form are key. It’s true. Paying attention to your alignment in exercises AND daily life is one of the first steps to training your core to work best. Read this and this to get caught up.
5. Pay attention. Seems too simple, but please do notice how your body is feeling during and after exercise sessions. Is your energy improved? Do you have any lower back or pelvic pain? Pay attention to how your body is feeling during exercise and how you’re recovering from workout sessions. Allow this to guide you.
4. What is a good workout? Know that a workout is just as effective in 3-10 minute chunks vs. a 30 minute chunk. It won’t always be perfect and there will probably be many interruptions for feeding, diaper changes, and crying babies but something is always better than nothing (physically, mentally, and emotionally).
3. Get very clear on your WHY’S. Why do you want to exercise? Although I completely ‘get’ exercising for aesthetics and think it’s a worthy goal, there’s so much more than to it than just trying to lose the baby weight. Do you want to be strong so you can carry the baby, the car seat and the grocery bags inside in 1 trip? Do you want to be able to wear your baby on a hike without your back aching? Do you want to be able to run and chase your toddler around outside? What are your WHY’S?
2. Keep it simple. There is no need for an effective workout to look like a circus performance. Squat, hinge, push, pull. Basics doesn’t equal boring and useless, contrary to what you may see on social media 😉
Swap wild plyometrics and intense cardio for metabolic work like sled pushes.
1. Train your Core + Floor Correctly. Whatever you do, make sure you know how to do this step. I consider core training postpartum to be the most important aspect in healing from pregnancy and returning to all the activities you love. Basic rules: the “core and floor” are a unit and we train them as such. This is your breathing system, abdominals, back muscles, pelvic floor muscles, and the glutes. Avoid: crunches, sit-ups, double leg raises, high impact exercises.
My Core + Floor Restore system is now available and teaches you exactly how to rehab your abs, heal your pelvic floor, and gain strength after-baby.
You deserve to have this information. Learn the most effective and safest exercises to strengthen your body after baby.
See you there,