If you're reading this article, you have most likely given birth to a little baby within the last 6 months (congratulations!) and you're ready to start getting back to your exercise routine and regain the strong body you had before your pregnancy. But how do you navigate this when your everyday life looks completely different?
The daily life with a newborn can be hectic, and it will be difficult to find time and energy to focus on your own training. However, it's absolutely still possible to get back to a strong body you feel amazing in.
As a personal trainer, I've helped hundreds of women in your situation. That's why, in this article, I'll be sharing my 5 most helpful tips for getting back in shape postpartum 👇🏼
First a little reminder for you:
Remember to set realistic expectations
It's important to remember that your body has been through a lot in the last 12 months. Your body has undergone significant changes during pregnancy and childbirth, and how we look or how we are affected afterwards, varies from person to person.
Give yourself time to ease back into it and be patient with yourself. Focus on building core-, arm-, and back strength and gradually improve your endurance.
Remember, this is your personal journey. Whether it takes 8 weeks or 6 months to "get back to it", the most important thing is to be healthy and strong and not push your body beyond what it can handle at this moment. Be kind and gentle to yourself, and be proud of the small weekly progress you make.
#1 Workout 20-30 mins while baby is asleep
It's going to take some time before you can go to the gym again, or have the time for a full 60 min workout; because you might not be able to be away from your baby for too long. Additionally, your body also needs to gradually adapt to exercising again. A great solution to this is to workout at home either when your baby takes a nap during the day, is by your side enjoying playtime, or when they are tucked up for the night.
You can definitely have a good and effective workout in no more than 20-30 minutes. Over time, as everything becomes more of a routine for you and your baby learns to take longer naps, you can gradually increase the length of your workouts if needed.
#2 Buy some adjustable dumbbells
If it's been a while since you last exercised (and definitely didn't workout during your pregnancy), it's recommended to spend the first few weeks training without weights or with very light dumbbells. Once again, your body needs to gradually get used to working out, and your core-, back-, and arms may not be strong enough to lift heavy weights yet.
On the other hand, if you're used to working out regularly, or have been doing bodyweight workouts for a few weeks already, then bodyweight workouts will quickly feel too easy. In that case, it will be super effective to buy a pair of adjustable dumbbells so you can easily increase the weight every few weeks.
#3 Avoid certain ab exercises
Depending on how long it's been since you gave birth, you might still have split abdominal muscles (also known as diastasis recti). Therefore, it's important to be cautious about the types of ab exercises you perform, so you can allow your abdominal muscles to properly heal and come back together.
Start with gentle core exercises that target the deep abdominal muscles (also known as the transversus abdominis), and avoid any form of crunches, sit-ups, and plank variations. It's recommended to chat to a personal trainer to get guidance on the best exercises for your specific situation.
#4 Build up your meals around protein and healthy fats
Your nutrition plays an important role in any fitness journey. As someone who's trying to get back in shape after pregnancy, the three main elements you should prioritise are protein, healthy fats, and fibre (fruit, vegetables and whole grain carbs).
Prioritise high protein foods like beans, lentils, tofu, quinoa, yoghurt and protein powder. This will aid with building muscle and help you feel full for longer during the day.
Healthy fats are also important, especially when breastfeeding. They will help you feel full after your meals and give your body the necessary vitamins and minerals. Notice I say healthy fats - these are foods high in unsaturated fats and low in saturated fats. Healthy fats are typically all unprocessed foods like avocado, hummus, nut butter, nuts, seeds, olive oil and dark chocolate.
Furthermore, fibre (fruit, vegetables and wholegrain carbs) will add volume to your meals, allowing you to eat bigger portions. They will also help stabilise your blood sugar levels so you can control your cravings throughout the day and give you long term energy. Fibre also contributes to a healthy diet, providing the necessary vitamins and minerals your body needs.
As a guideline:
Protein and vegetables should take up most of the space on your plate
Healthy fats should take up 1 handful
Whole grain carbs should take up 1 handful
#5 Go for daily walks with your stroller
One of the most accessible and effective forms of exercise for new mothers is a simple daily walk with your stroller. Enjoy the fresh air and take your baby on an active outing. Walking is not only great for burning calories but also has a positive impact on your mood and mental wellbeing. So lace up your shoes and head out for a lovely walk!
If you're up for a little challenge, try walking up a few hills to get your heart rate up.
Conclusion: how to get back in shape postpartum
Getting back in shape after birth requires patience and gradual adjustments to your workouts. If you want to get back to a strong and healthy body, here's a recap of the 5 tips:
As a personal trainer, I'm ready to help you reach your fitness goals. Hopefully this article helped give you a little push in the right direction, but if you feel like you need more support, accountability and personalised guidance, I highly recommend starting online coaching
You deserve the best for yourself, and I'm here to make sure you achieve this in a healthy and realistic way. og jeg er her for at sikre, at du opnår det på en sund og realistisk måde! Sign up for Online Coaching with me below 👇🏼