You've done the postnatal recovery..now what?

Abs after pregnancy? We're shifting the focus forward to after you've done the all essential postnatal recovery - firstly your postnatal recovery is going to take time, so we're realistically talking a good 6-9 months after pregnancy before things really start to feel normal and all the issues have been addressed - regardless of how big or small they might be.


I cannot convey the importance of following a specialist postnatal exercise program after the birth of your baby. Whether its 6 weeks or 6 months after, when it comes to returning to pre pregnancy fitness, body composition or maybe even something completely different, it is crucial you choose your exercises wisely as it will impact your body far beyond the initial postnatal phase.

With this in mind, at some point we all, and I am at this stage myself, where you want to feel really good and you want to get a bit  more specific – you want to get a flatter stomach, you want to get abdominal definition, you want to get a leaner physique and you want to lose fat. All of these could apply to you or maybe just one – but the bottom line is while you’re out of the initial postnatal recovery phase this is still an area that needs to be handled in the right way and with care.

First and foremost it is absolutely possible to get the body you want (inside and out) after having children – yes it might be harder because of time constraints, tiredness and post pregnancy condition but it is absolutely doable.

 

let me say this in the most straightforward way - putting your physical and mental health at the top of your priority list is not an indulgence

Consistency is your mantra – you will get better, lasting results if you consistently follow the process 80% of time. 10 minutes of effective exercise a day is far more beneficial to your goals than 1 one hour workout per week. Eating well 3 out of 4 meals a day is far better than eating perfectly 3 days a week and blowing it 4 days of the week. Too often  we set our standards ridiculously high or we are sold quick fixes which ultimately end in disappointment. There is also the reality that you do have to make some changes. The most common question I get from my postnatal clients is ‘How can I get a flat stomach/better abdominal definition’ if this is your goal then you need to address training, nutrition and lifestyle. Doing hours of crunches, sit ups and planks alone will not give you the results you want and I’m sorry to say that you can’t spot reduce fat but you can influence where and how your body stores fat.

Lets tackle the first element – mid section fat loss because the lovely muscle underneath won’t be seen if you’ve fat layers sitting on top. If you’re storing stubborn fat predominantly around your midsection that this is most likely due to stress levels and the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone our body produces as a response to ongoing stress and what is more stressful than a new baby, children and juggling your life as a mother. There is no point in saying to remove those things because we can’t turn back the clock and have our old lives back but you can do things to combat the stress such as walking outdoors, reducing stimulants that increase anxiety (caffeine and sugar is a big problem for mums, I’m not saying no caffeine but you need to be smart with caffeine and use it well) getting some time to yourself (yes you will have to ask for help but this is OK) and exercise (time to myself and exercise are commonly combined). Diet is also important – be honest, how often are you eating cakes, chocolate, biscuits, crisps and food items that are convenient but often packed with sugar and salt. You don’t have to ban these foods but reducing and replacing with quality foods will make a huge difference. I could write a whole other blog about this but you have to get honest with yourself and you have to make the commitment to feed yourself properly . Lift weights – Strength training and increasing muscle mass will A) mean less time spent training B) increased lean muscle which will give you a more defined and lean look  C) increase your overall energy output which is essential for fat loss.

Keep it simple. You may read the above information and think its too hard or I don’t know where to start. You just have to start small. You don’t have to do everything once. You can start with implementing an effective weight training routine into your life. You can then follow that with ensuring your drink 2 litres of water per day. Introduce the no caffeine after 2pm rule. Follow that with addressing diet – just have as much lean protein and veg as you can with each meal. And maybe you will have to get help from a professional – this is why I do what I do because it is worth investing in someone else to look at the choices you have been making and providing  you with the information, guidance and support you need to get where you want to go. I work with a lot of women who know what they need to do, they just don’t have the knowledge and head space to formulate the plan.

But what about specific abdominal exercises? This is also important and if you want a trim, defined mid section then you have to work the entire core system effectively. I’ve attached my top 5 female ‘ab’ creating exercises…

 

PRESS UPS/PRESS UP VARIATIONS

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KETTLEBELL SWINGS

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BACK EXTENSIONS/HOLDS

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OBLIQUE/ROTATIONAL WORK

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SIDE PLANKS/VARIATIONS

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Integrate these exercises into your strength training routine and you will be on your way to defining a strong, female body.

If you would like more information on specific female training or if you are still concerned about your postnatal recovery then please get in touch with your questions samala@fitbump.net.

Samala x