Getting Back into Shape after Having a Baby | Mums & Dads
After birth, you can feel not quite yourself – you’re overwhelmed with the love you feel for your new-born baby, but looking down at yourself, you may feel as though you look like a different person than the one you did pre-baby. For this reason, a growing number of women are joining post-natal 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 though – but where there is a will, there is a way.
Advice from the NHS outlines that, based on their recommendations, new mums should wait at least around six weeks after birth until they start up an intense workout regime. Your six-week postnatal check will determine how well you have recovered. 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.
Our social media feeds are full of fitness images – there is no escaping it. The fitness revolution is here, and there is inspiration everywhere. Social platforms have become an intrinsic part of 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.
For years, mothers have worried about their post-baby weight and industry professionals, in recent years, have recognised that there was a gap in the market for postnatal fitness classes. These fitness classes are designed to help provide a solution for new mums who were struggling to get back into shape after having their new-born. There are now specialised post-natal exercise classes that help women get back into shape with their baby’s – 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.
And it is not just the baby weight that postnatal exercise can help with. These classes can help both physically and emotionally. Many women have revealed that exercising after having their baby has helped 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’.
A woman who knows a thing or two about postnatal fitness, Randi Lynn Greene, founder of RGL fitness, is a mum herself and knows it can be difficult to shift the baby weight. Her Instagram account, with over 39.9k followers, 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, who has also appeared on Lorraine on ITV to show mums that you can exercise at your own convenience.
What about new dads?
The term ‘dad bod’ has been circulating for a few years now too. It typically describes men with bodies that are neither toned or defined – normally those which don’t go to the gym and workout.
However, it appears there is scientific evidence that supports the idea of the ‘dad bod’. A study by Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine investigated 10,000 men over 10 years, and 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.
The ‘dad bod’ can be avoided though. An effective workout regime and clean diet are key to staying in shape and means becoming a new dad doesn’t need to mean weight gain too. 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 shakes and bars 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