Our resident health & fitness guru, Alex, dispels the myth of a quick bounce back to pre-baby weight.
Photograph: Unsplash / Alexandra Beck
Text: Alexandra Beck
Hands up if your mom, friend or co-worker told you that you would just “bounce back from pregnancy” in no time! Me, me, me!
I personally bounced alright. From one sleepless night to another. From one pack of Oreos to the next frozen pizza slice. From one hip to the other… but never really “back” from pregnancy. For that to happen, I believed that we would have needed a full-time nanny, cook and indoor motored vehicle to keep our child asleep at night. Can you relate?
Superhero mode “on”. ALL. THE. TIME. Growing a human and then raising one ain’t no joke! And finding the energy to do it… the joke is on us.
For the past few years as a personal trainer and coach, I have encountered many moms who have felt that time has been lacking for any form of self-care. And not just new moms… Sometimes years will pass, and I hear, “I want to reclaim my body”.
After delivery, it is recommended to not vigorously exercise for around 6-8 weeks, depending on the type of delivery and your doctor’s advice. After that, any date is an excellent time to strengthen one’s body. The sooner, the better, really. Our bodies undergo quite some stretching while hosting little munchkin, and the longer we wait, the less feasible it seems, mentally and physically. More often than not, 6-8 weeks have a tendency to become 6-8 months and beyond… for 101 valid reasons!
But hear this: it will ALWAYS come down to our mindset. We are tired and busy, and yet we are consumed by the thoughts of wanting more energy, better quality sleep and strengthening the bits that have softened. What if all these “thinking” minutes were put together into some form of movement instead?
Here are three exercises to get started that are easy to do and pretty family-friendly - no gym or fancy equipment is required:
#1 The kitchen core
While stirring the meat sauce, stand feet hip-width apart and perform pelvic tilts. Exhale on the tilt forward, contracting your abs (imagine you are blowing out a magic candle and feel your abdominal muscles contract) and gently return to a neutral stance.
Muscles worked: Abs, lower back, glutes.
Bonus: your toddler thinks this is fun, and you get to take him/her for a ride too!
#2 The glute game
As you are on the floor playing with your toddler, place yourself on your back, lower back glued to the floor, heels close to your butt and gently lift yourself up, pushing through your heels while exhaling and squeezing your glutes. Return slowly to the floor, softening your sternum, belly button and tailbone back to your starting position.
Muscles worked: Glutes, hamstrings, abs.
#3 The pram “sumo” squat and press
Feet in a wide stance position towards the pram, push the pram with both arms to full extension and squat simultaneously. Return to starting position while pulling the pram back towards your body.
Muscles worked: Adductors, glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, hip flexors, abs, biceps, back, triceps and shoulders.
Mums out there! YOU GOT THIS! Your bodies are wonderful and can do so much more than you believe. Trust that you can, and I promise that if you start integrating the small movements into your daily routines, you will feel much better than not doing anything for yourself.