Post-pregnancy workout regimes aren’t easy. Finding the time and energy to fit in a workout seems impossible. But, just as your new baby is significant in your life, so is looking after your health.
The benefits of exercise ensure that you have more energy and vitality to enjoy motherhood even more.
We spoke to Storm Corbett, owner and trainer at Switch Playground in Cape Town. She gave birth to her little girl, Skylar, just over a year ago. Storm is an exercise enthusiast and her lifestyle is centred around fitness.
She shares some advice on how she got her (as she calls it) “pre-baby body” back with her post-pregnancy workout regimes.
1. According to research we’ve seen online, the general rule is to wait 6-8 weeks for post-pregnancy workouts. What was your approach?
I think it all depends on your body and what your fitness levels were before you fell pregnant. The exercise you did before pregnancy will play a big part in determining when you can start your regime again.
I was fit and active before I fell pregnant. I did Switch classes up until the day before I went into hospital. The day I got home from the hospital, I went for a walk with Skyla.
With the consent of my gynecologist, I started training about 3-4 weeks after she was born and from about 6-7 weeks I was pretty much back into my old exercise regime.
2. What did your post-pregnancy workout look like?
Initially, I tried to exercise 3 times a week. I would walk slowly on the treadmill and do some upper body exercises with extremely light weights. This helped avoid putting pressure on my abdomen. When I felt more comfortable, I exercised about 5 times a week.
When I fully recovered, I started training the Switch classes, with great caution and again with little pressure on my abdomen. I would also do full body exercises that included light weight training; my husband was a big help in guiding me on this.
I’d recommend 4 go-to things for new moms; squats, lunges, planking and bicycle exercises for strengthening your core.”
3. You had a C-section with Skylar. Did this make training more difficult for you?
Your body recovers quicker from the trauma it goes through at birth, be it natural or C-section, with exercise. Exercising is so important pre- and post pregnancy, it really helped me bounce back quicker than I thought.
Since I’ve been pregnant we’ve had so many more pregnant mummies coming to train at Switch. They often join classes until they give birth. New moms also come for personal training sessions to get their pre-baby bodies back, as they’re not sure what exercises are safe.
4. Are there any post-pregnancy workouts that you’d say are a ‘no no’ for new moms?
I wouldn’t recommend starting a new exercise that you’ve never done before.
Start with the exercises you’ve always done and once you’re back into your training regime, then start trying out new things. Similarly, when you fall pregnant, it’s not advisable to try new workouts or to push your body to the max. As a pregnant mom, your body is already under stress and pressure.
My doctor advised I could do everything that I was used to and familiar with, within reason, so I did. I didn’t do any heated exercises, like hot yoga. I avoided getting my heart rate up too much. Stretching was also difficult for me because of my C-Section wound.
5. What’s your advice on maintaining a positive, confident body image throughout and after pregnancy, especially as your body undergoes so many changes?
It’s natural to feel uncomfortable in your own body because you think “once the baby is out I’ll go back to how I was”, but that isn’t the case! I kept reminding myself that I carried a baby for 9 months and there are swollen bits of me that need to recover.
My advice would be, try to counter those negative thoughts by turning to your baby and focusing on them. I’d think “wow … look what I’ve made”, which totally outweighed what my body looked like.
I gave myself 3 months to allow for my uterus to contract and all the swelling to go down completely and only then did I start making plans to get my body back to where it was.
My husband and I are both very active and together we do a lot of training, walking, exercising etc. so I knew at some point I would work towards getting my “pre-baby body back”. I just had to be patient and allow my body to recover on its own.
6. Mothers, especially to a newborn, are often ‘run off their feet’ dealing with a lack of sleep and little time for themselves. But, why do you think fitting a post-pregnancy workout into your day is important/beneficial?
Try to find the time to exercise, even if it’s just 20 minutes to yourself, for your own sanity and happiness. Although you’ve got such a small human that is completely reliant on you, you also need to remember that you are still your own person.
Exercise releases happy endorphins – make the most of it.”
Another option is to take your baby with you; walking and pushing your baby in a stroller is a great workout! It also gets you out the house and gives you that reassurance that you can cope with being in the world with a teeny, tiny baby.
My post pregnancy workouts definitely helped me reduce stress and just ‘switch off’ for a short while and not think of anyone else except what I was doing at that moment.
We’re lucky that we have an incredible housekeeper that I could leave my daughter with so that I could pop down to the gym and rush back to feed her. But, even that 45 minutes of being away was just what I needed for encouragement that I could carry on.
7. To sum up, what’s your biggest piece of advice for new moms who are excited to get their ‘pre-baby bodies’ back?
Don’t push yourself too hard when you get going as you don’t want to risk an injury.
Your body is recovering from creating and carrying a little human; there’s loads of changes that need to take place, and things that need to shift back into place. It all takes time.
Be proud of yourself – you need to invest in yourself as much as you invest in your baby. Happy mommy makes a happy baby!”
Only you know when your body is ready to get back into shape, and only you can make it happen. Just take the step and enjoy it.
Get in touch with Storm:
Email: email@example.com or;
Follow her on Instagram.
Developed by Petit Love.