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Exercising after having a baby looks different for everyone. Here are a few of the things that I have learned and been reminded of since having my second baby.
BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF
Your body needs time to recover from pregnancy, labor, and delivery. I highly recommend avoided high impact movements for the first several weeks after delivery and until you have been cleared by your doctor. Even after doctors clearance I advise all my clients to to ease back into their workouts slowly. Being mindful of your movements after having a baby not only sets you up for a successful recovery but also helps you to avoid unnecessary injury.
Walking is a great way to relieve stress and work up a sweat in the first several weeks after your baby has been born. Their are numerous ways you can get a walk in with a newborn. Depending on where you live and what the temperature is like outdoors the fresh air and sunshine can do new moms a world of good. If pushing a stroller or wearing your baby for a walk outside isn’t an option due to the hot summer months or winter chill don’t fret, Leslie Sansone Walking Workout DVD’S are a great way to walk indoors. You don’t need a treadmill, just a small amount of space to move your body.
I also highly recommend using the MuTu System 12 Week Program. Full program review coming next week. If you feel like you still are looking pregnant months or years after having your baby do yourself a favor and check out the Mutu System Program. If you haven’t heard of Diastasis Recti please read my post Prenatal Fitness, Diastasis Recti, & Body After Baby.
SET REALISTIC GOALS
I think this is one of the greatest lessons I have learned since I have become a mom. Over the last decade, how I have viewed my workouts and exercise routine has changed drastically. Before kids I could leave my house at anytime of the day to get my workouts in. I regularly used to leave my house at 4:15am several times each week to go and exercise prior to teaching a 5:30am class.
When I became a mom I soon learned that how I had been exercising and the time of day I exercised didn’t really work for me now that I had a newborn. I adapted and soon discovered that I was a much more happier when the goals I set for myself were goals I was actually able to accomplish. Instead of an hour workout I got to be super efficient at developing 30 minute routines for myself that I could sneak into the day at times that worked for my family. Be sure to pick workout times that work for you and be flexible with yourself.
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER & EAT NUTRIENT RICH FOOD
God designed our bodies in an amazing way. By paying attention to those hunger cues your body is sending you and going to grab a meal or a snack you will usually be able to consume the correct amount of calories your body needs. Now if for some reason you are gaining weight or seem to be losing weight at a rapid pace you may need to begin counting calories.
Most nursing mama’s need to consume 1800-2200 calories a day. This can vary depending on your activity level, weight, and what types of food you eat. If you do not know how many calories you should be consuming everyday use this caloric intake calculator to assist you. Once you have established your baseline add 300-500 calories if you are exclusively breastfeeding. This amount is the equivalent to adding in 1-2 nutrient rich snacks or a small meal.
Having a water bottle constantly filled and nearby is also helpful especially when you are nursing. Now that I have a toddler and a newborn I have found it even more important to make sure I am staying hydrated. I try to drink a large glass of water each time I nurse and several more during the day.
WEAR A SUPPORTIVE BRA
If you are breastfeeding you will want to make sure that you have invested in a supportive sports bra. Trust me on this. When I was cleared to exercise again after my son was born I quickly learned that I should have been wearing post-baby sized sport bras. Because I was wearing bras that were a tad tight I developed mastitis. Whomp whomp. Seriously the worst.
In addition to bras it is always nice to have a few tops that are more forgiving around your midsection and also bottoms that are higher waisted and more supportive. I have been really loving the Radah Tank (the color I am wearing is Fern Green Marl), Comfort Sports Bra, and the Mel Core Stability 3/4 Capris from Lorna Jane.
In my opinion Lorna Jane makes the best sports bras. The bra is so comfortable and doesn’t dig into my shoulders. The capri leggings have a built in support that flattens and shapes your waist to give you the best and most flattering silhouette possible. I never thought I would appreciate a higher rise workout pant, but these are awesome and have quickly become my favorite bottoms to exercise in.
DO WHAT YOU CAN
Your body is unique and wonderful. Try not to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to someone else. Whatever you are able to do today be grateful and thankful for the ability to move your body. It is truly a gift.