During pregnancy, women will end up carrying a good amount of extra weight. While a third of the weight gained will come from the baby, the other two thirds come from the changes that happen in your body while you're pregnant.
Losing this extra weight can prove to be difficult, but a well-defined post pregnancy workout combined with healthy lifestyle choices are what you need, and here are some instructions on how to achieve exactly that.
Step 1 Breastfeeding
While breastfeeding is not a workout in itself, it is an important part of the post-partum weight loss. The reason for this is that some of the weight gained during pregnancy is fat stored specifically by your body for the purpose of breastfeeding. When you breastfeed your baby, your body will start using up these fat stores, and minimize possible fat retention, leading to fat loss.
Step 2 Cardiovascular Exercise
Cardiovascular exercises (cardio) are generally always recommended for weight loss. Depending on your previous fitness levels, I would recommend starting with taking brisk walks several times a week (3 to 5 times), and then gradually increasing the time and intensity, and then moving to jogging when you can handle it.
But you might say, "Hailey, I simply do not have the time to do this regularly", and I understand, but there is a great solution for that: Involve your baby in these exercises. You do this by walking with your baby in a stroller or by wrapping the baby around your body. There are many products that can help with this, and not only will it help with your fat loss, it will also reduce stress.
Step 3 Strength Training
Fat loss is best achieved with a combination of strength training and cardio. The reason for this is that strength training will allow you to maintain muscle mass (while also burning calories) and keep away muscle mass loss caused by a strict focus on cardio exercises.
Similar to cardio, the baby can be involved in your workouts as well as "resistance". Your baby can be carried in many of the exercises to add extra resistance and difficulty, such as in squats, floor presses, or overhead presses. While this might sound a bit weird, it allows you to spend time with your baby, and your baby will love it!
My recommendation is to focus on a routine consisting of compound exercises that allow you to train several muscles at the same time. For example, correctly performed squats will involve your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles. Other such exercises would be inverted rows, lunges, push-ups, overhead presses, and more.
Step 4 Eating Lifestyle and Habits
It is said that your body is carved in the kitchen, and this statement is perfectly true. Weight loss is a matter of calories. If you burn more calories than you consume, then you will lose weight. On the other hand, there are different sources of calories, and some are better for your health and for fat loss than others.
Do not worry about dieting. Instead, avoid processed foods that contain hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, and trans fats, as well as pre-packaged dinners and similar. Follow this up with a reduction in your intake of simple carbohydrates, such as white bread, white pasta, etc... and most importantly sugar. You don't need to remove all sugar from your diet, but reducing its intake goes a long way.
Instead, focus on eating lean proteins, whole grains, healthy fats (e.g. avocados, nuts), lots of vegetables, fruits, and healthy snacks such as raisins or nuts.
That's all there is to it, but here are some additional tips for you.
- Do not worry about dieting, and instead focus on making small changes gradually to end up with a healthy lifestyle.
- Track your weight weekly, but avoid checking it daily. If you're losing weight, then keep up what you're doing. Otherwise, some small changes might be required (e.g. reducing your calorie intake a bit, moving more, or in certain occasions, consuming a bit more calories).
- Proceed with all changes gradually to keep your motivation up. You do not want to make a drastic change that will get you to burn out quickly.
- You have gained the extra weight in 9 months, so give yourself just as much time to lose it.
- Specific area fat loss is simply impossible, so don't worry about doing 10 different types of ab exercises.
- Make 1 day of the week a cheat-day where you can eat whatever you feel like. Soon enough you won't feel like having that whole day and you'll end up with only a couple of cheat meals a day.
- Consult your doctor before starting any post pregnancy workout to make sure you're in shape to start exercising.
- If you're hungry, then eat. Just try to focus on eating healthy foods.
- Watch out for foods that are touted as healthy when in fact they are not. Always check the ingredients label first. This is a key part of your post pregnancy workout.