Start your postpartum fitness routine by using these simple steps. You CAN be a healthy mama and get in shape after having your baby!
Whether you are nearing the end of pregnancy or already had your baby, I know that you may be concerned about “getting your body back.” And it’s great that you are eager and motivated to jump back into a fitness routine. You want to feel confident and healthy. But before you begin, the most important thing you must do is to get cleared by your physician first!
This may seem like a given to many of you. But I remember after having both of my babies, I thought about breaking that rule. I knew what I was capable of and the six weeks they told me to wait felt way too long. And to be completely honest, I did break the rule. I didn’t even do anything crazy. It was an easy and short workout. However, about halfway through I had to stop because of pain, cramps, nausea and some dizziness. I had to find out the hard way why it is so important to give our bodies proper time to rest, recover, and heal.
Another reason you want to talk with the doc first is because there is more than just a simple okay that needs adressed. You want to ask them of any contraindications you may have. Things that are based on your personal situation like pregnancy concerns, labor and delivery, or current injuries or restrictions. Also, be sure to find out signs that you are doing too much. And if you do, how long to wait before you try again. Learn from my experience, and always talk to your doctor first so you stay safe.
Consider your fitness level before baby
You got the okay. You’re cleared for exercise and no longer pregnant. But where do you start? Even if you were very fit and active before and during pregnancy, you just had a major physical expercience. Plus, you just went through weeks of rest. Your level of conditioning WILL be low. And that is totally okay! Start slow and listen to your body. Don’t assume that you can jump in at the same intensity at the beginning of your postpartum ftness routine. You know your body best, so adjust your workouts and regimen as you need to. If you feel like you can take it up a notch, give it a try! If you need to slow it down, then give yourself grace and take a break.
The first step to get in shape after baby
The most basic way to test your starting level is by returning to your daily activities. Things like chores, errands, and walking are all great ways that you can see what feels good or bad in your body. Chores will help you see if things like kneeling, bending, squatting, twisting, and reaching are too much for you before you try them in a workout. Plus, you will gently activate muscle groups throughout your entire body at a very low intensity.
Walking is another fantastic place to start. Being that it is very little impact and you can easily adjust your pace, it’s an appropriate way to workout at the beginning. And really, we walk all day long to get around. So it is a simple way to build a little endurance while you get back to “normal” routines.
What kind of workouts to get in shape after baby
You hear and see it everywhere. Core strength is a top priority for postpartum fitness. Maybe an obvious statement, but it cannot be heard too much. A strong core is more than just a tight tummy or seeing your abs. Optimal core strength supports most, if not all, of your other exercises, workouts, and even day to day activites and comfort. A stable core will help you feel “normal” again and will aide you in a faster return to your previous fitness routine.
So what kind of core strength and how to improve it? Deep core. Deep. deep core. Transverse abdominals will be the spine support muscles in the front of the body. Activate those with vacuums (done by drawing the belly in) as well as pelvic tilts. You will also want to prioritize pretty much all of your back muscles to balance your posture. Something to make note of, while doing strictly core exercises, focus on timing your breath with your movements. This will help you engage properly and reconnect your “mind-muscle” link. Start by incorporating core exercises 2 or 3 times a week so you don’t overdo it. Then build from there as you progress and get stronger!
What is the best way to start postpartum fitness
I want you to begin with bodyweight work. Again, that may be a given but I want to be sure that you do not try to rush your body. Get comfortable and confident with just using your body by itself before adding additional resistance. It will probably be more challenging than you expected. One reason this is important is because your movement patterns may be or feel off. Your center of gravity was shifted for a while and now a lot of that weight is gone. So we want to be sure to reactivate our muscles into the proper mechanics. And the best way to do that is with complete control. Plus, by nature, bodyweight is low intensity and this will allow you to improve endurance by working in a higher volume (more total reps).
You also want to stick with full body workouts. Whether that is full body exercises or alternating back and forth between muscle groups. This helps to avoid too much shock. And hopefully reducing the amount of fatigue and soreness you will experience at the beginning. You will also be boosting your cardio. Large muscle groups or working multiple really gets your heartrate up.
Last but not least, do not forget or neglect your mobility! You just spent MONTHS tight and stiff in many places. Unable to properly stretch or lengthen your muscles because we have some restrictions during the third trimester. So be sure to take some time either on your rest days, or better yet after workouts, to stretch and mobilize your joints. Open tight muscle groups like your chest, hips and back. Mobility is another important element to proper posture so don’t forget it mama.
Postpartum Early Recovery Program to get in shape after baby
Thats right! Join me for my Postpartum Early Recovery Program to keep it simple and start your fitness routine without all the planning. I do the work for you by programming specifically around the elements we just discussed. All you have to do is follow along and you can get in shape after baby!