Practical Tips To Help You Attain Your Post-Baby Body. Hello everyone, I hope you are well. In today’s post, I will be sharing a guest post from fitness expert Ashley Verma, founder of Bizzimumzi. Ashley will share practical tips to help you attain a strong post-baby body. Fitness has always been a massive part of Ashley’s life; as a Broadway performer and founder of the celebrity fitness studio Define London. Ashley wants to encourage fellow mums to focus on getting a solid post-baby body and not trying to create the body they had before their baby.
Practical Tips To Help You Attain Your Post-Baby Body
I did not want to start my Mom journey with losing weight as my top priority. I have trained clients for whom skinny is all that matters, I have been there myself, beating myself up physically and mentally. It’s not healthy and not something I want for my daughter. Like many new mothers, I struggled with my mental health after my daughter was born, so I had to focus on that before I worried about getting physically back into shape. Physical activity had to happen at a much slower pace. That is not to say I am advocating sitting on the couch 24/7, guzzling treats, and never eating balanced meals. There is a healthy balance, and it is essential to find it.
So how do you create a robust and healthy post-baby body?
My most important advice is not to think of this as ‘going back to your pre-baby body’ – think of this as finding a ‘new strong you’. Your body has been through a lot, and it’s time to think about healing, strengthening, and creating a solid body for what’s ahead.
Here are a few tips to get you started before you even think about exercise. Yes, training is essential, and we’ll come to that. But get the foundations right first:
Turn Off The Noise
If social media or TV is triggering and making you feel less than perfect, switch it off. The Kardashians, Love Island, et al. are not helpful, relatable, and honest! Please be mindful that you just grew a human in your body. You developed a new organ (the placenta), and your ribs, hips, and pelvis shifted! It’s beyond bananas what your body has just done. So, focus on generating a little gratitude and relaxation for your body – it’s an integral part of the healing process.
Proper breathing pre/postnatal is one of the ultimate ways to find you and your body again. Focusing on strengthening your breath connection creates a stabilised and better-supported overall well-being. Here is a gentle reminder of what has happened in your body while carrying a child. As a baby grows, your internals gets shifted, squished and jumbled around in your body. This is why many new mothers experience leaking urine, abdominal separation and severe lower back pain. Focusing back on your breath will help heal your internals and calm your nervous system, which has been and is still overly stimulated.
Aim for full, deep inhales and exhales to honestly fill your lungs. You want your entire midsection to breathe, opening like an umbrella and then closing back up. Several core and floor conditions (including incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and diastasis recti) may be managed using this technique. During pregnancy, it activates and strengthens your inner core—your diaphragm, innermost abs (transverse abdominals) and pelvic floor. It is one of the first exercises you can do after childbirth to begin retraining your core muscles. Be aware that focusing on your breathing is a huge and challenging task.
Make Your Home Your Gym
One consequence of the pandemic restrictions is that working out at home is more significant than ever, and it is a perfect fit for a new mother, a full-time mother, or a full-time mother/full-time working mother. It’s an excellent fit for the entire household. You can start with no equipment and then invest in resistance bands, hand weights, a kettlebell and one of my favourites, a pilates playground ball over time. I have some fab, quick, effective workouts on my Bizzimumzi YouTube channel, and you will find some of my favourite moves listed further below.
If you’re wondering how a home gym with no equipment looks, here are my favourite quick and highly effective workout moves that require no apparatus.
Please note: if you have any concerns with your pelvic floor or prolapse or are early postpartum, you should check in with your Women’s Health Physiotherapist before beginning any exercise routine.
Lunging is an amazingly functional movement. We frequently lunge in the lounge room to grab things on or near the floor, in the kitchen to get to the lower cupboards, pick up the washing, picking items up from the floor. You are most likely lunging incidentally daily.
How To Master The Lunge:
Take an excellent, generous step back with one leg and bend both knees. You will drop low into your best 90-degree angle bend. Hold onto a sturdy piece of furniture if the balance is not on your side. You can start with a simple hold in the lunge. Posture and engagement are essential as you want an elongated spine, a lift from your pelvic floor to the tippy top of your abs. Your ribs are soft down the front of the body, and you are breathing. Adding pulses will intensify the deep burn. I used to hold my daughter in my arms and do 20-30 pulses on each side during my early postpartum recovery. Remember what chosen sequence you do on one side; you must do on the other to balance the body.
A glorious pilates move that sizzles into the glutes and inner/outer thighs and switches your abs on as a bonus.
How To Master The Clam:
Lay down on one side, bend both knees just shy of a 90-degree angle bend, and press your top hand into the floor to help support yourself. You will lift both shins/feet/ankles off the floor as if you have a ski slope from the toes down to the knee. The bottom knee will stay on the floor as an anchor while you lift the top leg up and down. Each lift is a squeeze at the top and a control/resistance down to the bottom. Once you master the single lift up and down, you can add three beats; up, hold for three, then down. I dive further into Clam choreography on my Bizzimumzi Youtube channel.
I’m a huge lover and advocate of all Barre moves. They genuinely get into the nitty-gritty of your body. The traditional standing kick-back gives you a total body burn by switching on so many muscles all over.
How To Master The Standing Kick-Back:
You will need a sturdy piece of furniture or a clear wall space. Face your sturdy piece of furniture, both feet parallel and bend both knees. Allow a slight incline of the body forward while tucking the tailbone down and under, pulling up through the abs. Bend and bring your right heel up towards your butt. Your supporting knee is bent as well. When you look down to check the positioning of your legs, notice that the right leg lifted is ever so slightly behind the left to start.
You will then begin pressing the entire right leg back, sustaining the bend of the leg. Imagine you are squeezing an orange between your calf and hamstring. This will create more profound resistance to switch on your hamstring up into the glute muscle. Aim for 10-20 reps to start. As you gain strength, add more agents. You can also play with a three-beat push and a press hold for 5-10 seconds. Playing with different choreography within the position keeps the muscles guessing, engaged and deeper burn.
This movement is a beautiful way to strengthen the hamstrings and glutes while increasing the flexibility of the front of the leg. Also, when appropriately activated, you will feel support from your pelvic floor.
How To Master The Bridge:
Lie on your back, your knees bent, and your feet a hip-width distance apart. Lift your tailbone and lower spine off the mat to create a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Press down through your feet – this will create a tense sensation in your hamstrings and butt. Slowly lower with control back down. You want to avoid arching the back and not allowing the ribs to flare. Essentially you are too high up if this happens. This movement is all about lower body engagement.
Don’t be afraid to split up your workouts during the day or even schedule it in a way that incorporates the kids. Your walk to the playground pushing the stroller or chasing after your toddler on their scooter is part of the fitness plan. It counts! If you pass a bench on your walk, add some incline press-ups or tricep dips. This little burst of movements plays a massive part in your recovery and strengthens your body to find a ‘New Strong You’.
I hope you enjoyed that.
About The Author
Ashley is a mom, founder of the Bizzimumzi podcast, and Define London fitness studio. She is a former Broadway performer and celebrity trainer. Through Bizzimumzi, Ashley has created a welcoming community to share the highs and lows of parenting and inspire others to feel empowered in their journey. Ashely believes the perfect picture of parenting is when you try your best. Bizzimumzi is a safe space that helps parents inspire, educate and support each other to be their best parents.