A female puts their body through a number of changes when having a baby – the end result is overwhelming, a beautiful new born baby, however, what about your body? The chances are it will look nothing like it did pre-baby. For this reason, a growing number of women are joining postnatal classes and are trying to get back into shape after giving birth to their little ones. With a new-born baby in tow, it can be hard to go back to the gym – but where there is a will, there is a way.
It is important not to start exercise too soon after giving birth – your body has been through a lot and needs time to recover. Typically, the NHS recommend that new mums wait around six weeks after birth until they start up an intense workout regime. This is because your six week postnatal check will determine how well you have recovered and if you are fit enough to carry out intensive exercise again. However, women who exercised regularly before pregnancy, may feel fit and well to begin working out sooner than the six week check – each new mum is different. You’ll know within yourself if you feel fit enough to get back into your regime, don’t push yourself too soon.
The fitness industry can thank social media for some its success. Social platforms have become a go to haven for fitness inspiration – and postnatal fitness is no exception. The internet has inspired a lot of us to reach our fitness goals, and postnatal goals are no different. In fact, postnatal posts are becoming increasingly popular across the web, with #postnatalfitness associated with 53,003 Instagram posts.
There was a clear gap in the fitness market a few years ago, which industry professionals recognised and needed to be filled. They filled the market with postnatal fitness classes, designed to support and provide a solution to new mums struggling to shift their baby weight or get back into pre-baby shape. There are now specialised post-natal exercise classes that help women get back into shape with their babies – an opportunity for new mums to get their pre-baby body back. Classes usually allow mums to bring their little ones along to the class with them.
These classes have been praised by many women who also believe that exercising post-baby can help prevent, or ease postnatal depression as exercise has made them ‘happier’. Research would suggest this to be true, as exercise is shown to release endorphins in the body – hormones which can have positive psychological effects, such as a ‘euphoric high’.
Randi Lynn Greene, founder of RGL fitness, is an ‘Instagram’ mum with over 39.9k followers – her Instagram account showcases workout and yoga routines that can be done by new mums who have a baby in tow. She has proven that workouts can be done by mums at home with a little one crawling around. Of course, nutrition is just as important as your workout regime. Greene has also appeared on Lorraine on ITV to show mums that you can exercise at your own convenience.
How to avoid the dad bod
Used to describe men with bodies that are neither toned or defined – normally those which don’t go to the gym and workout, the term ‘dad bod’ is a one that has flooded our news feeds on social media recently. According to Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine there is some real truth behind the idea of the dad bod. In a study of 10,000 men over 10 years, the university studied men through different stages of their life – from adolescents and young adults, to new fathers. The study showed that those found that men who become fathers experience weight gain and an increase in body mass index, whilst those who didn’t become dads generally lost weight over the same time period.
Simple changes can ensure that you avoid the dad bod, and avoid gaining weight when you become a new father. An affective workout regime and clean diet are key behind maintaining a desirable bod. Your diet should consist of the three main macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein and essential fats. Avoid sugary and fatty treats – whilst they might give you an initial sugar rush, the energy boost won’t last long. You want to supply your body with foods that release energy slowly – being a dad can be tiring. For an extra boost before your workout, protein bars and shakes will help you push yourself harder to hit your performance goals. If you don’t have time to make it to the gym with all your new daddy duties, there are exercises you can do at home to keep yourself in shape:
- Plank – 45-60 seconds
- Jack-knifes – 25 reps
- Crunches – 25 reps
- Squats – 25 reps
- Jumping lunges – 25 reps each leg
- Sprint – 30 second, repeat 3 rounds
- Mountain climber – 25 each leg
- Press ups – 25 reps