Approved by the What’s Up Moms Medical Advisory Board
There are few things more deflating than seeing those magazine spreads of celebrities, three months postpartum, frolicking in the surf while showing off their six-pack abs.
What about the rest of us? You know, those of us without a team of trainers, nutritionists and chefs? Forget six-pack abs — most any new mom will tell you about the indignity of getting dressed each morning, the slightly crushing daily reminder that your pre-pregnancy clothes are hugging all the wrong places and yet your maternity clothes are slowly killing your soul. (It is scientifically proven that a human can only feel so hot in elastic waist jeans and a jersey cotton tunic).
First, take it easy on yourself. Your baby weight took nine months to gain, so it’ll take at least that long to shed. You needn’t feel like you have to start working out at any prescribed time, but getting active, even in small ways, may help you feel good. Sure, you’ve got your hands full — no new mom has ever complained about swimming in too much free time — but just because you can’t devote two hours a day to working out doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel (the burp cloth?) altogether. Start with baby steps.
Even if you’re home all day with baby, having a few pieces of gear on hand — baby carrier, a good stroller, exercise ball, free weights, exercise DVDs or YouTube vids — gives you plenty of options for ways to get your sweat on.
Put on fitness clothes first thing in the morning so you’re ready to grab an in-home workout as soon as baby’s napping. Or incorporate baby into your workout with yoga or an abs workout or 15 rigorous minutes of kickboxing in your living room.
Walk or run with baby every day if weather permits. By now, most babies have good head and neck control so are ready for a structured carrier (great for a hands-free power-walk or hike) or a jogging stroller. (Hot tip: the right sports bra is clutch, now more than ever.)
Post-natal exercise classes designed for mom and baby are popping up all over the place; bonus is the chance to meet other new parents. And many gyms have a childcare facility – babies need to be just a little older to use it, but it’s still useful to explore it. Also, see if your neighborhood has a mom exercise group (supportive! non-judgemental!). If it doesn’t, consider organizing your own.
If you have some coverage from a partner or sitter, get out for a solo workout when you can. Pairing up with a friend for regular meetups can help with incentive and keep you accountable. Likewise, think about setting a major fitness goal. If you register for a race and make it public, it’ll be a lot harder to drop the ball.
Now go get ‘em, tiger.