For nine months, your body was hijacked by another human being, who stretched, pushed and pressed you in new and uncomfortable directions. Once you’ve delivered your bundle of joy into the world, though, it’s time to take your body back. While the mere idea may seem well beyond your grasp, given the sleep-deprivation, breast-feeding and new 24/7 responsibility, you can do it. It just takes a little lifestyle adjustment and a whole lot of patience.
“I thought I would get my six-pack back pronto after giving birth,” says Kristal Richardson, former IFBB Figure competitor whose daughter Leah is now 6 months old. “Au contraire. I barely have time to go to the bathroom, let alone work out.”
But Richardson was dedicated to her own health and fitness as well as Leah’s (like they say, Happy mama, happy baby), so after a few weeks of post-delivery recovery, she analyzed her daily schedule and devised several quickie boot camps she could do in her living room while Leah napped, as well as a kick-butt outdoor stroller workout she could do with friends and family. “The key thing is to be patient,” she says. “You’re raging with hormones, are exhausted and have a whole new schedule to adapt to. You’re not going to bounce back in two weeks, but eventually you will get back into shape.”
After three months, Richardson was back in top form, having shed all her baby weight plus a bit more for a total weight loss of 25 pounds. Check out her tips and try her quick and easy baby boot-camp workouts. If she could do it, so can you.
Baby Strength Boot Camp 1
1 minute jump rope
20 walking lunges
20 biceps curls (with band)
15 bodyweight dips
30 bodyweight squats
Rest 1 minute
Repeat until you reach the 20-minute mark.
Baby Plyo Boot Camp 2
20 jumping jacks
20 mountain climbers
15 tuck jumps
15 bodyweight squats
15 incline push-ups
Rest 1 to 2 minutes
Repeat until you get to 20 minutes.
Push stroller, walking briskly for 10 minutes.
Stop and do this mini-workout:
15 calf raises
plank hold: 30 seconds
20 seated V-ups (on bench or ground)
Repeat from walking segment.
Did you know …
Breast-feeding uses up to 500 calories a day? Add to that a 200-or-so calorie deficit from your baby boot camps and you’ll be back to your old self in no time.
Top Tips for New Mommies
- Don’t expect miracles. It took your body nine months to become what is. It might take nine months to get back to your former self.
- Know that, ahem, poop happens, literally and figuratively with a newborn. Sometimes you simply won’t have the time or energy to work out, and that’s OK. Tomorrow is a new day, and you can fit in a quickie workout then.
- Walk, walk and walk some more. Put a napping baby in the stroller and walk around the neighborhood. Brisk walking can burn up to 375 calories an hour. If you walk five times a week for an hour, that’s a potential deficit of 1,875 calories.
- On occasion, let sleep win out over workouts. Yes, a real night’s sleep is a distant memory, but shut-eye is very important for new moms, especially when it comes to maintaining your sanity. If your baby goes down for a nap and you’re simply exhausted, it’s OK for you to nap, too.
- Join a gym with day care. Most will take babies at 3 to 6 months old. Find one you like with certified day-care professionals and hit it three to five days a week.
Move With Other Mommies
Check out great group mommy/baby classes, and find one near you:
Next month, M&P tackles the nutrition factor: How to manage new-mom nutrition to reclaim your pre-baby body.