For those of you who don’t know me – no, I am not pregnant. I was just the lucky one chosen to research pregnancy and working out for ScoopCharlotte and had the opportunity to post my findings through their site. Surprisingly enough, I really enjoyed researching the fitness techniques. Learning excites me – regardless of the topic. Check out my most recent post here or scroll down to view the entire article.
In follow up to our recent post here on exercising when pregnant, now we tackle the obvious next step ~ getting your post baby body back.
Day 1 with your little one means an immediate all things “baby.” While you’re busy researching helpful tips and tricks to be the perfect mom, it is easy to forget about yourself. We teamed up with local Charlotte Fitness Pros to bring you the best ways to get your post baby body back ~ we can’t promise it will be easy, but it can definitely be done.
If you aren’t exactly sure where to begin, there are a few simple steps to get you going. Once you’ve started, there is no where to go but up – especially with the abundance of Charlotte studios who cater to a new mom’s needs.
- Get Moving! New mothers are often so exhausted they find it hard to even think about exercise. However, once six weeks passes AND you have clearance from your doctor, moms should give their best efforts to get up and get going on a regular exercise routine similar to the one they relied on pre-baby.
- Breastfeed. Breastfeeding moms tend to burn an additional 500-700 calories a day. That said, when the time comes to move to formula, be aware of your body and adjust your meals according to the decreased calorie burn.
- Eat Healthy. Empty calorie foods are a post-pregnant woman’s worst nightmare when it comes to weight loss. Aim for foods that are high in protein and low in fat. Eating better can also decrease or eliminate temptation over time. Suggested snacks for post pregnancy include low-fat yogurt, celery/carrots with low-fat dressing dips, whole-grain bread with nut butters, and fruit smoothies.
- Stay patient. It took your body over nine months to get to the way it did, so give it time to get back to the way it was. Just because you don’t look or feel how you used to doesn’t mean you never will again. With the right eating habits, exercise, and sleep, your body will have all it needs to get back to where it was – just stay patient and committed.
- Rely on the experts. We are so lucky to be surrounded by motivating & dedicated fitness studios and instructors. Take advantage of the support being offered in Charlotte from studio classes, classmates and fitness pros. Here’s a snapshot of some of the best advice we found when we asked them, below.
Park Road Shopping Center
Shannon Watson, fitness pro at SWEAT Cycle Studio, recommends cycling on the quest for the perfect post-baby body. Their classes are designed to maximize fat burning and deliver a full body workout in just 45 minutes…and as busy new moms, we know you don’t have much more time than that! Shannon recommends starting with 2-3 classes per week and making it a goal to stick with it as consistency is key to getting back to pre-baby body. For an even more effective workout, invest in a good pair of cycling shoes and a gel pad to improve your ride tremendously.
As a new mom herself, Shannon’s personal testimony speaks volumes of what cycling can do when you’re trying to get back into shape.
“After gaining over 70 pounds with my first child, I had 34 pounds of fat to lose after all settled down. I got pregnant with my second less than a year later and had about 25 pounds to lose after that. During my pregnancies, my heart rate limited the amount of strenuous exercise I could do so I really depended on the post-baby time to begin getting back in shape. I committed to a healthy lifestyle, even with all the ups and downs I was determined to work off that baby fat. Eventually I did and with patience, consistency and time my body is in even better shape than it was before I had children.”
IM=X Pilates and Fitness
Sessions at IM=X Pilates are perfect for getting that pre-baby body back. One of the 5 fundamentals focused on during classes is “Pelvic Stabilization” which involves strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. Laura, owner of IM=X Pilates and mom to a 7 month old, is a personal testimony to the benefits of this practice. Unlike other muscles which contract automatically, the only way to target pelvic floor muscles is through intentional contractions like those offered during IM=X classes.
Want to try and strengthen pelvic floor muscles on your own? Have a seat and take a nice, big inhale. When exhaling, lift the muscles at the base of your pelvis up and away from the seat. As you inhale again, maintain this contraction and on the next exhale lift and contract the muscles even deeper. Continue with this pattern but be mindful to keep your neck and shoulders relaxed.
IM=X Pilates offers FREE introductory sessions personalized to strengthen the muscles you want to target while inhibiting/relaxing other muscles for more effective movement. If you’re expecting, IM=X instructors are trained in how to modify classes for pregnant members. They will be offering Prenatal Yoga on Thursdays at 10:45am beginning in September.
Post-baby, Hillard Studio Method recommends starting with two to three Essentials classes per week. HSM Essentials, while still challenging, moves at a slower pace allowing you the extra time to reconnect with your abdominal muscles. Clary Gray, co-owner of Hillard Studio Method, is a testament to regaining her pre-baby body through the studio’s classes – “post partum, I could see a difference in the way my midsection looked with each class, literally lifting my shirt up and seeing my waist pulling back with each class.”
Once your baby arrives, it is time to work the core back into shape and build abdominal strength. New moms may not be able to touch their lower backs to the mat right away, so HSM trainers will provide a high curl modification as they work towards a low curl. To get started on your core, HSM recommends the following steps:
- Sit on the floor, knees bent and feet flat
- Hold outer thighs and take a deep breath
- When exhaling, pull your navel inward and down towards your spine while slowly rolling back. At this point, your lower back may feel tight and abdominals challenged. However, with practice, this position works spinal flexibility and abdominal strength.
- Hold the position as long as you can and continue to breathe, pulling in the abs
Want more? HSM offers this Rock Hard Abs video for at home work on your pre-baby body goals.
Hillard Studio Method’s clients are unanimously impressed with the changes they saw in their bodies postpartum.
“I started at Hilliard after the birth of my twins. After the twins I wondered if I would ever get my core back. Within a couple of months I was beginning to see definition in my mid section that I had never seen before.” —Meredith Tomascak, HSM client
“In two short months, I was back in all my pre-baby clothes and the dreaded bathing suit was no longer scary. My sweet husband began commenting on my abs (which I thought would never come back!) and he was amazed at how much I enjoyed each class. As the mother of two young boys, HSM is one of the few things in my life that is just for me. I have one hour, several times a week where I focus solely on myself. This time not only allows me to feel good in my jeans, but it makes me a better mother, a better wife, and a happier, healthier person.” —Liz Shuford, HSM client
“A few weeks after I delivered, my doctor gave me the “okay” to work out, so I started slow with some HSM Essentials classes. After many hours of sitting, nursing and being cooped up in the house, it felt great to get moving and build some strength. Within no time I was back to my regular classes. During the course of my maternity leave, any chance I got to have a friend or family member watch the baby, I chose to go to HSM over any other activity – shopping, grocery store, pedicure, etc. The weight came off and my waistline returned quicker than I ever expected.” —Meghan Lluberas, HSM client
Xtend Barre’s workout is best recapped by their new mommy testimonials. See what Bethany Johnson had to say about her journey to pre-baby body below.
“Xtend Barre is the best workout I’ve ever done…Shawna worked closely with me to teach me pre-natal adjustments to the workout and even provided some work out supplies (large yoga ball) I needed to work out safely…I continued to work out through my pregnancy until seven months when some muscular issues prevented it. But I went back as soon as my midwives gave me the all-clear and I got my strength back much more quickly than I expected. Shawna also launched a “Babies on Board” class, which allowed me to bring and wear my daughter during workouts! In those classes, I got to do my lunges holding a 15 pound “weight”. Ha!
Most importantly, Xtend Barre teachers supported my goals– which were regaining core strength and tone to keep up with my girl. There is so much pressure on women after birth– I didn’t feel it here, and it helped me really challenge myself without shame. I’m happy to say I am in better shape than I was two years ago, before I even became pregnant. Thank you, Xtend Barre!” —Bethany Johnson, Xtend Barre client
Whether you’re wanting to get back to your pre-baby body or simply want to stay healthy to keep up with your new little one, there is nothing like the support of the local Charlotte studios. These fitness pros’ knowledge and understanding of postpartum exercise will make you feel comfortable and confident with each and every class. Thanks to their wisdom and respect for your personal goals, you’ll be back on track for you post baby body before you know it.