Six key steps to shed the new-mom weight from local fitness pros
From the moment you hold your newborn in your arms, you know life will never be the same. And you may feel the same way about your body! Fortunately, it’s possible for new moms to get back in shape post-delivery. It just takes time—and some patience. “Remember, your body is still recovering from the motherload of all physical feats: childbirth,” says Georgia Kennedy, a yoga instructor at Highland Yoga in Buckhead. “Be kind to yourself and your body, and accept that losing the weight takes time.” As you prepare to shed the pounds, keep these six key steps in mind.
1. Start slowly.
Give your body at least six weeks to rest and heal, suggests Brady Weeks, an instructor at SculptHouse and a personal trainer at CYB Fitlab, both in Buckhead. Wait to work out until you receive clearance from your doctor, and be sure to listen to your body, since everyone recovers at a different speed. Kennedy adds that if you experienced abdominal separation, it could require more time off and further attention from a doctor or physical therapist.
2. Keep moving.
Once you’re cleared to exercise, routine physical activity paired with a balanced diet is the best way to get back in shape, says Alana Raylyan, lead trainer at F45 Training in The Shops Buckhead Atlanta. The good news? Just taking care of a baby—carrying him around the house, putting him to bed, walking with a stroller outside— counts as a workout. If you’ve decided to breastfeed, keep it up, she adds. “Studies show that breastfeeding can help you lose weight after your pregnancy.”
3. Get plenty of ZZZs.
“A lack of sleep makes losing weight even more difficult,” says Raylyan. As any new mom knows, it’s almost impossible to get a full eight hours of shut-eye with a newborn, so try to fit in naps during the day when you can.
4. Build your strength.
Resistance exercises such as lunges, squats, glute bridges and push-ups are great to add to your routine, but avoid heavy lifting or intense cardio, suggests Raylyan. At least 30 minutes of strength work and cardio every day is a good goal. Certain yoga poses also have specific benefits for postpartum bodies, says Kennedy. For example, bridge pose strengthens legs and brings awareness to the lower belly; locust pose works core and back muscles; and goddess pose can be great for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles.
5. Join forces.
Teaming up with a workout partner or group is a surefire way to stay motivated. “Find moms in your neighborhood or community by going on Facebook or simply chatting in the park, and plan some physical activities together,” suggests Raylyan. Social media platforms such as Nextdoor, Instagram and Peanut, a networking app for new mothers, can also be great places to seek out likeminded moms, says Weeks.
6. Bring in baby.
Besides strolling around the neighborhood, find other creative ways to incorporate your infant into your workouts. For example, moving through yoga poses while holding your baby can be fun, says Kennedy. Try this: Lay your baby on his or her back on a yoga mat. Come into plank pose, pressing your hands firmly into the mat, shoulders stacking over wrists. Inhale, then exhale as you lower into a half push-up, bending your elbows straight back and hugging them into your sides (aka chaturanga). Inhale, pressing back up to plank. Exhale, pressing your hips to downward facing dog. Inhale, shift forward back into high plank. Repeat 8 to 10 times. Smiling and making silly faces at your little one just adds to the enjoyment.
STORY: Locke Hughes