There is a current obsession with celebrity pregnancies, focusing on how quickly they “bounce back” after having their little ones. For all of us that do not have the luxury of access to a personal chef or round-the-clock-nannies, how is it even possible to get back to our “pre-baby” body or even better?
Without a doubt, pregnancy and childbirth can be some of the most difficult physical work that a woman’s body can endure. A “normal” full-term pregnancy can last up to 40 weeks or longer, and the changes throughout the course of time affects every system in a female body. Ask any woman who’s had a baby. Nine months is a very long time. How are we supposed to erase any evidence of that amazing hard work in such a short amount of time?
Well, this can be a very touchy discussion for mothers. Many women say losing baby weight should be the last of your concerns and bonding with your newborn should be priority number one. There’s the famous line, “well it takes 9 months to put it on so it will take 9 months to take it off.” While this does ring true for many postpartum mothers and that’s fine. Still a vast majority of women who consult us for weight loss 5 or more years after having their last child who say, “I still haven’t lost this baby weight!” Is it really that difficult (or impossible) to get your body back after baby? Absolutely Not!
Through personal experience of our female clients and our own personal trainers, it is possible for you to have the body that you previously had or even better than before giving birth, and you don’t have to go on any crazy fad diet to accomplish it either. How you ask?
There are three distinct phases which we will outline here that have helped us reach success with many women:
Your lifestyle prior to pregnancy can affect your postpartum recovery. As previously stated, making a human is HARD work and you need to prepare your temple for this marvelous task. If you are healthy and cleared by your physician, then there is no reason for you to not include some strength training and cardiovascular conditioning to help get your body ready for pregnancy. Many women have actually started our program to specifically help them with weight loss (as per their doctors) before they even consider trying to get pregnant.
Obesity adversely affects fertility, pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum recovery and most importantly, the baby. Getting your body to a healthy pre-pregnancy weight is the best thing you can do for yourself and for your future little one. This can be accomplished with our MMAP® “Massive Multiple Action Plan,” which includes our nutritional plan of clean eating.
Just to name a few things that we can focus on: core/back strengthening, conditioning of the posterior chain, and improving overall cardiovascular endurance will all be beneficial for the mother-to-be. Weight training helps to promote strong bones, and it also helps to condition the connective tissues surrounding the joints. This will undoubtedly come in handy when your body is carrying an additional 25-35 pounds (or more!). Which brings us to part 2 of this amazing process, which is also the most Fun… Pregnancy!
So you have your special vitamins, and the sometimes long laundry list of things you can’t do. Pregnancy is unique – EVERY experience is different. Once again, if you’re healthy and have permission from your doctor, there is absolutely no reason for you to not be physically active during your pregnancy. Expectant mothers are no longer seen as “delicate little tulips.” You’ve got a serious challenge ahead and you must first and foremost keep your body (and your baby) healthy!
Many expectant mothers wonder what the “best” things are that they can do to stay fit during their pregnancies, (see phase one!) and the answer is simple – just continue doing whatever you were doing before you got pregnant. That’s why it is so important to start exercising before you get pregnant. Whether you are practicing yoga, training for a half- marathon, working on your barbell snatch or trying to get these booty gains, please keep doing what you’re doing!
As we’ve said before, each part of this process is crucial for getting your body back after having a baby. There will be days throughout each trimester of your pregnancy in which you will just not be feeling it. The first few weeks, it may seem near impossible to simply get out of bed, however, a 30-minute walk outside may help you feel more energized and could even take your mind off of that nasty morning sickness. As you progress to the “golden” second trimester you may notice that you can’t lift the same amount of weight, or you have to decrease the length or intensity of your workouts (and that’s perfectly okay!) Remember the goal is to remain consistent and listening to your body is the key to success here. Once you reach those final few weeks of pregnancy, there will be many people who will be inspired by your commitment to taking care of yourself and your baby. All of those back extensions and different squat variations not only help to keep your spine healthy and strong, but also help prepare your body for the physically demanding challenges of childbirth. All of those rows and curls that you’ve been doing (hopefully) will condition your upper body for the upcoming round the clock feedings. Even if your “workout” only entails a brief walk around the block, you will find how beneficial it can be both physically and mentally.
Finally we get to postpartum care. After the baby is born. Whether this is your first baby or your fifth, we know every delivery is different. Once given the “go ahead” by your physician, you are ready to get back down to business.
As with any fitness plan, it is always important to consider your caloric intake specifically if you are breast feeding. Adequate Prenatal Phaseest is also equally important in helping your body through this monumental task. From a workout perspective, we make sure your MMAP® is outlined specifically toward you reaching your goals after baby. Some women are content with taking it “slow and steady” while others are under a time crunch for whatever reason (sometimes to fit into a bridesmaid dress for a wedding) or they just want their body back ASAP. There is no right or wrong reason, but as with any fitness plan, nutrition always plays a huge part. You definitely want to make sure you are getting enough quality calories to fuel your body and not compromise your milk supply. On the contrary, breastfeeding can burn up to 700 calories per day, but be aware that as soon as you stop breastfeeding or taper off, your calorie needs will plummet. In other words, you will have to stop “eating for two”.
Diet, nutrition, and pregnancy
Aside from actual workouts, another crucial part of prenatal care is following a healthy diet. As every woman’s weight gain is different, one thing is for certain – there is simply no valid reason to fill up on empty calories throughout the entire course of your pregnancy. To properly nourish a growing fetus, an expectant mother needs an additional 300 calories added to her normal healthy caloric intake.
For example, if you normally take in 1,700 calories per day, then you would require an additional 300 calories, to adequately nourish your growing baby, taking your total number of calories to approximately 2,000 per day. To give a better perspective of what that kind of calorie increase truly is; if you are eating 3 meals per day, think of adding an additional 100 calories to each meal (i.e. a slice of cheese, one serving of almonds, or a cup of low fat yogurt). If you think that’s not a lot of calories then you are right! As stated previously, each woman will gain weight differently and that goes for each pregnancy as well. However, overeating junk food over the course of nine months will certainly make the process of “bouncing back”… well, let’s be honest, you probably will not “bounce back.” We’re not saying you can’t have that juicy cheeseburger or a scoop of gelato from time to time, it just needs to be balanced out with some side salads instead of French fries or some fresh fruit.
Remember that your baby eats whatever you eat! Too many Oreos or hot wings, and you fill feel your baby retort. Proper nutrition throughout your pregnancy can prevent gestational diabetes and will help keep your little one at a healthy weight. Remember, there’s a huge difference between delivering a 7lb baby vs a 10lb baby via natural or cesarean section. So for the sake of your body and your baby, eat well to stay healthy.
So whether you chose to take your sweet time or take the super-fast track to losing weight post pregnancy it is important for you to stay focused and consistent. This baby-making job is a very long and physically demanding process.
You will be most successful in taking that baby weight off if you take the time to get healthy before starting the journey. If you are already pregnant it is never too late to start taking care of your body and eating right. Finding or making the time to work out once you have children can often be challenging, but it is crucial for keeping your body healthy and your mind sane. When you feel strong and have more energy, there’s nothing the day can bring that you won’t be able to tackle head on and that comes in handy when there is a house full of little ones to care for. As the saying goes “when Momma’s happy everyone’s happy.”
As you can see, there’s no reason why, you would not get your body back or better six months from now. You might even be surprised when someone says, “Wow!” You look like you are in better shape now after having your baby than you were before you got pregnant!”. We won’t soften this up and tell you this can be achieved simply by breastfeeding and chasing after your little ones. It requires a lot of hard work to sport your honeymoon bikini only 10 months or less after giving birth but for some, it will be totally worth it!
Contact us today if you are interested in joining our post pregnancy exercise and nutrition program.
*There’s no guarantee of specific results.
Results can vary.
“I decided it was time to get serious about losing weight and getting myself back into good shape”
“I went from a size 14 to a size 4 and have lost almost 50 pounds”
“I had tried all the other diets – Weight Watchers, Atkins, P90X” “I dropped from a size ten to a size two within 15 weeks”