Yummy Mummy Training
Training tips for new mums
Getting into shape is no easy feat, and can be even more difficult when you’ve just had a baby, throwing sleep deprivation and typically low energy levels into the mix. It’s so important to listen to your body and to be patient, reintroducing yourself to exercise slowly. Your body has gone through some absolutely incredible adaptations during pregnancy in order to facilitate the growth of your new little bubba. It is so important that we remember this when feeling the urge to rush back into training to work on that pre baby body.
You will regain some of your physique naturally but this is not going to happen overnight so try not to feel frustrated, you need to let your body heal from the inside out. Your uterus takes six to eight weeks to shrink back to normal size and it takes about a month for your body to get rid of all the excess water. The shift in hormone levels that occur whilst pregnant will also take a while to restore back to their original levels, having a major impact on you both physically and psychologically.
Many of the general guidelines out there will recommend that you wait 6 weeks post baby before starting any kind of exercise however I would argue that this needs to be considered on an individual person to person basis. There are a number of factors that can affect how quickly you may be able to return to exercise including; pre-pregnancy fitness levels, training during pregnancy, your pregnancy and health throughout, labour and delivery (vaginal, cesarean and length of delivery) and the postnatal health of yourself and your baby.
Here are some simple step by step guidlines to help kickstart your journey.
1: LEARN TO BREATHE AGAIN
This may seem simple but as a result of everything being somewhat squished by your growing bump, the diaphragm is displaced upwards often resulting in a flared rib cage and paradoxical breathing – breathing through the chest and shoulders. This can affect posture and the ability to stabilise the core. We need to teach our bodys to breath again deep into the belly.
Lying on your back with your feet pushed into a wall at 90 degrees or flat to the floor hip distance apart
Push the lower back into the ground (tucking your pelvis under neath you)
Focus on an inhale through the nose, breathing deep down into the belly.
Exhale through the mouth a nice long deep exhale and as you do, feel your pelvis and rib cage start to align and your abdominals start to contract and compress.
Repeat x 5 times
2: RETRAIN YOUR PELVIC FLOOR
This is like a sling of muscles supporting you from underneath – the muscles and ligaments that support the bladder, uterus and bowel. Make sure you do your pelvic floor exercises – I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Squeeze and lift your pelvic floor muscles as strongly and as quickly as possible. Do not try to hold on to the contraction, just squeeze and let go. Rest for a few seconds in between each squeeze. Repeat this 10 to 20 times or until you feel your pelvic floor muscles fatigue. These can be done pretty much anytime anywhere.
Glute Bridges are also a great exercise for activating that pelvic floor and those abdominals.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet hip distance apart and flat to the ground.
Raise the hips, driving your weight through the heel of the foot, making sure you create a nice straight line from the top of the neck down to the bum. Be sure not to arch the back.
In contrast to the traditional glute bridge, try not to over tense your bum, thigh and abdominal muscles but squeeze the pelvic floor – I like to think of it like clenching from the inside out.
Hold for 3-5 seconds at the top, lower back to the ground and repeat.
Try 10 reps x 3 resting for around 45-60 seconds in between each set.
3: RETRAIN YOUR ABDOMINALS
It is important to locate the deep abdominal muscles which live underneath the top layer of muscles we tend to see. Think of it like laying the foundations to building a house- strengthen those deepest muscles 1st, then focus on the next layer. You can do this by focusing on slow and controlled movements such as bird dogs, yoga boats, hollow hold, quad rock backs.
Try to avoid anything that takes you into forward flexion i.e sit ups, crunches and also plank positions which can place too much pressure on your abdominals.
4: CLEAN UP YOUR DIET
And this doesn’t mean skipping meals! It’s easy when your day is consumed by caring for your new little bubba to go without eating however this will be hugely detrimental to your ability to burn fat, your energy levels for exercise and your overall health. Make sure you get in lots of lean protein at every meal and lots of leafy greens and veg!
5: STAY HYDRATED
Try and keep a bottle of water with you at all times and give yourself little targets to achieve. The water bottles with a quantity of water to drink by a certain time of the day are a great way to keep on track with this.
6: MAKE LIGHT RESISTANCE/STRENGTH TRAINING PART OF YOUR EXERCISE ROUTINE –
Try to avoid activities that will put too much stress on your joints such as jumping, skipping, running, high impact training. The increased levels of the hormone relaxin will remain elevated for around 6 months post baby. This hormone increases the size and elasticity of connective tissues, ligaments and muscles in preparation for childbirth. It does however not only affect the pelvis and tummy muscles but will have an impact on every joint in your body and can make you more susceptable to injury.
The key is keeping your movements slow and controlled to start with. Light Resistance/Strength training is a great way to rebuild stability around the joints and also to burn fat. Strength training helps build lean muscle and muscle burns more energy than fat thus facilitating greater fat burning – win win!
I can hear you all laughing out loud as I type this but getting rest wherever you can is essential for losing body fat. Sleep has a major impact on our two hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin, and also on levels of coritsol in the body (our stress hormone) which also affects weight loss. I remember feeling slightly confused when people were telling me constantly to make sure I rested while the baby was sleeping. This was my chance to fly through some of my never ending to do list! But I cannot recommend enough listening to this advice. Take those golden moments wherever you can – even if its just to sit down with a cuppa for 20 minutes!
If you want anymore advice, please feel free to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are a gym based in Bishops Stortford, so if you are local then you are more than welcome to drop by.