Now that I am almost 7 months postpartum I wanted to offer tips for returning to fitness post baby. One thing that is important to remember and that I had to remind myself of is that these things take time. I can't compare my post baby fitness journey to anyone else as everyone is different. Once I was cognitive of this I was really able to retrain my mind and body the same way I did when I first began my fitness journey over 15 years ago.
Now the first tip I would always give is ‘let your body ‘heal’ post birth’ – you have got a lifetime to get fit and only these first few precious weeks to truly enjoy that newborn – so don’t put pressure on yourself to get back to the gym or class, relax, settle into motherhood slowly and when it feels ‘right’ then you can return.
You need to wait at least 6 weeks though if you have had a normal vaginal delivery and 12-13 weeks if you have had a C-section. The reasons for this are to allow your uterus to contract and go back into place, allow your pelvic floor to start to heal and don’t forget that labor – probably one of the longest endurance races of your life! Now if you had a C-section that recovery time is even longer as you have undergone major abdominal surgery and for the first two weeks post birth you shouldn’t even hold anything heavier than your baby – let along drive for the first 6 weeks too. If you have had a c-section then keep an eye on your scar, rub in some baby oil and massage along the scar to stop any tightness occurring, which can and does affect your posture if you allow it. Although they are pretty neat nowadays!
If you kept fit throughout – the chances are you are a fitness bunny and enjoy the feeling of working out, but remember a lot has changed since you last went ‘all out’ in the gym and you need to listen to your body and get back to things slowly and steadily. If you rush back to exercise too quickly and your pelvic floor hasn’t healed (depending on your delivery those who needed interventions such as vontose, forceps or an episiotomy you will need longer to reconnect with your pelvic floor and prevent a prolapse) Seek out a professional trainer who specializes in postnatal recovery and either follow them online (like my online postnatal 360 course which you can either follow a Pilates 10 week program or a fitness 10 week program) or attend a class where you know you will be in safe hands.
Once you do start an exercise program though, really stay in tune with your body, if it doesn’t feel right then it might not be and you may need to rethink your approach. Whatever you do, don’t start with sit-ups and crunches – they won’t help your core! And if you have had a divarication (separation of the abdominal muscles) then this is a big NO NO – and you will always have a ‘mum tum’ as the crunches and sit ups will load your abdominal wall causing it to push out, rather than reconnect and get strong once more. There is a simple check you can do to see if you have got a divarication click here to see my demonstration https://youtu.be/aiQsDLkm1YE
If you do there are rules – no sit ups, no twisting no planking – nothing that domes your abdominal wall and loads it. Instead, lots of pelvic tilts, legs slides, and controlled core exercises are more effective.
Being restricted from doing any high impact workouts was very hard for me, I couldn't wait to hit the gym and resume my regular routine. The Bowflex TreadClimber is known for its low-impact, calorie-blasting walking workout. Having this equipment in the home helped me slowly regain my endurance before I was cleared to resume my high impact routine again. Tom Holland offers more of his tips below!
Walking is one of the simplest, yet most effective ways to start or get back into shape. It’s great for people recovering from an injury or child birth because it is low impact. With the TreadClimber, we’ve improved upon walking by combining the motions of a treadmill, stepper and an elliptical to burn up to 2.5x the calories of a treadmill. The moving belt lets you walk forward like a treadmill, and as you move forward, you step up like a stair climber. With each step the treadles rise to meet your feet, making a smooth, low-impact elliptical motion.
When working out on the TreadClimber the perceived exertion is lower than the actual exertion – so people are able to stay on it longer and burn more calories as a result. Another added benefit is that the TreadClimber workout can be done safely and conveniently from your home.
The top-of-the-line TC200, which launched in late November 2015, features updates that make it easier for users to integrate with the technology and devices they're already using. For example, Users can set, monitor, and track personal fitness goals with the free TreadClimber App and integrated Bluetooth® connectivity. The app syncs with MyFitnessPal®, Apple Health Kit, Google Fit, Under Armour Record and Bowflex Connect.
For more information on a fit pregnancy visit NMFIT Baby!