You just met the love of your life and he (or she) is only 8lbs! You’ve spent the last 6 weeks staring into his eyes, feeding him every 2 or 3 hours and trying to rest as much as possible. Now that you’re in a rhythm with the baby, it’s time to back into the rhythm of a workout. Feel the beat of music and the call of the cardio; you can get your body back after you’ve had a baby.
It’s important to wait the six weeks advised before beginning your work out for a few reasons.
#1 You need to rest and recuperate after giving birth or having a caesarean section (C-section). Your body went through a tremendous amount of work being pregnant and giving birth. It needs to get back to a neutral zone before testing its limits with weights and cardio.
#2 Let the baby grow a little before you leave for the gym. By 6 or 8 weeks most babies can sleep 3-4 hours in a row, meaning you can sleep 3 or 4 hours. This is huge for energy and mental stability! Bottom line; unless you have a night nurse give yourself a break and wait the 6 weeks.
Now that you’re ready, what should you do to lose that baby weight?
Hit the weight room, immediately
You’re recovery will be faster and quicker if you hit the weight room. Muscle needs more calories to survive than fat or it takes more calories to make muscle than fat. This means you can lose FAT by having more MUSCLE! Here are the best moves to begin to lose that baby fat.
Squats-The basic squat uses the glutes, the hamstrings and the quadriceps. This builds the biggest muscles in your body fast, burning the most calories daily. If you hold weights while you squat you’re using your arms, back and abdominals also, a total body workout!
Lunges- A great sculpting move for your legs. Using your butt, legs and hips the lunges can be done in a forward and reverse motion, both equally effective. Keep your hips centered and abdominals contracted to insure proper form. For a killer workout combine the forward and reverse lunges.
Back; Upper and Lower- Your back contains the next set of huge muscles; the latissimus dorsi and several smaller back muscles. Strengthening your back is so important after having a baby. All the extra weight gained was positioned in the front and on the sides of your body, leaving your back to do most of the support work. Having a strong back will lengthen your abdominals, making your tummy stronger and seem smaller. Strengthen your back with pull-downs, pull-ups or rowing exercises.
Abdominals- Most women go straight to the sit-ups after pregnancy and are disappointed by the amount of time it takes to complete one sit-up! Your abdominal muscles are stretched and strained and need time and diligence to achieve their former glory. Abdominal muscles include your obliques along with upper and lower abdominal muscles. Side bends with weights will bring back your waist working the obliques. Lower leg lifts will tone the lower abs, the ones most affected by the pregnancy. Twisting abdominal motions like the Roman twist while holding a weight are enormously effective!
Sweat Off the Extra
Cardio cannot be undervalued! There is no better way to take off extra weight than with good old fashioned sweat sessions. 30 minutes a day at least 4 days a week break a sweat in a number of ways; running, jogging, chasing your kids, swimming, using the elliptical and the list goes on. There is no substitute for exercise and there really is no getting around it. Burning calories will get rid of the extra baby weight and still lingering.
A Warning; Be Careful with Calcium
The pregnancy has just depleted your stores of calcium, sending everything extra and them some to the growing baby. When working out make sure you are taking in enough calcium and vitamin D to protect our bones in their newly fragile state. Milk and dairy products are high in calcium but so are other nutrients such as; broccoli, cauliflower and kale, fish/shellfish like sardines, clams and oysters and legumes. Pack your diet with these foods and your bones will thank you later.
There’s no reason to carry anything more than your new cute baby. “Baby-weight” can come off, not as quickly as it goes on, with perseverance and discipline. Add in exercise and weights and you’ll see your old self in no time. Although anyone with children will tell you; once you have children your “old self” may cease to exist. In its place is a new, stronger, more loving version of you and that’s pretty exciting.