Barely back from the hospital with your shiny newborn and already worrying about snapping back into your skinny jeans? We feel ya! But give yourself a break. The idea of getting back your pre-baby body can be an overwhelming one. Chuck in exhaustion, eating on the hop and spending the majority of your waking hours with a baby attached to your hip, and its little wonder fitness and exercising slips to the bottom of the new mum to-do list.
But before you start blubbing into the baby wipes, don’t panic because there is a way for time-poor new mums to squeeze fitness into a day jam-packed with feeding, changing and gazing at your baby.
The key is a type of high-intensity training that can help tone up, tone and up your fitness levels in just 15 minutes a day. Yep, you heard that right – that’s less than an episode of In The Night Garden.
Sceptical? According to Zana Morris from The Library Gym in Kensington, the secret is in the intensity of the exercise, so its not how long you do it for, but the speed in which you do it, gradually upping the level as your fitness improves.
‘High intensity training not only burns fat and improves muscle toning, but it also drives proteins back into the body and collagen to the skin, helping re-balance hormonal changes and tighten up the body,’ explains Zana.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): Where To Begin?
How quickly you want to get back to (or even start) your fitness regime is completely up to you, but Zana suggests taking six weeks to enjoy your baby and let your body recover from the stress of childbirth – particularly if you had a caesarean.
Besides, mums should take their time when it comes to losing the baby weight. Life is busy and stressful enough with a newborn without throwing body pressure into the mix.
Zana suggests starting with some light training. This can be anything you might enjoy, whether it’s running or spinning, as long as its in high-energy bursts, of just 30 seconds at a time. ‘ Start at a lower level than you know you can do,’ says Zana. ‘This is particularly important for new mums as they need to give their body a chance to recover from birth.’ Zana says that by the fifth or sixth session you should be doing more than you’re used to. The idea is to build it up slowly, but surely.
BUILD SOME MUSCLE
A weight training programme is a great way to tone up. Zana advises working on different parts of the body each day – ideally at the gym, but it can also be done at home, where you can use tin cans or even baby bottles as weights.
For the arms, try bicep curls, tricep dips and over the head lifts. ‘Aim to do three sets of each exercise, with six repetitions.,’ says Zana. ‘You should be alternating sets of heavy and light weights, without rest. On the heavy set, you should be struggling by the fifth repetition, before switching to the light weights.’ Do this for 10-12 minutes.
BETTER BUM SQUATS
Full squats are one of the best exercises you can do to work the bum, leg, pelvic and stomach muscles – as well as getting oxygen pumping around your body, and improving cardiovascular fitness. You’ll be able to push the buggy up the hill without stopping for a breather before you know it!
‘Stand with your legs hip width apart, heels, down, and squat as low as you can go, really squeezing the glutes and pelvic floor. Do as many as you can for one minute,’ Zana advises.
DROP AND GIVE ME TWENTY
Lunges and presses are two other effective exercises that are great for new mum fitness, using your own body weight to work your muscles.
For press ups, ‘Start with your knees on the ground supporting yourself, moving your hands further away as you get stronger,’ says Zana.
For the first two to three weeks, Zana suggests new mums try train for 12 minutes a day, gently at first, getting a rhythm going. Then, you can gradually reduce it to 15 minutes just three to four times a week.
Goodbye mum tum, hello bikini bod (well let’s not get too carried away)! Who knows you may even get to be reintroduced to your abs again. And have the stamina to chase round a baby all day long – even on less than two hours sleep!
Have you seen great results with this type of exercise? Let us know below.