It doesn’t matter if you had your baby six weeks or six years ago. Who doesn’t want a little help getting the tone back in their tummies and the tightness back in their thighs? Enter Hollywood fitness expert Kathy Kaehler. Even though she’s worked with such celebumoms as Julia Roberts, Cindy Crawford and Denise Richards to reclaim their physique, she knows that doing so just doesn’t happen over night. “It took me 12 months to really look like I did pre-baby,” says Kathy. “Give yourself time to get in shape.” Here she offers 10 realistic ways to get your body back.
Tip One: Relax and be positive. It would nice to be like some of the famous actresses who are pregnant one day and then are holding the baby and getting their make up done for a bikini photo shoot a day later. It can be very depressing for the rest of us. Not to say changes can’t happen quickly, but for the majority of us it takes at least three months to really start to see your body kick back into shape. For me, it took 12 months to really look and feel like I did pre-baby. When you get your mind in the right place and take one day at a time, you won’t put so much pressure and stress on yourself, and you will be amazed at how quickly you come back. Give yourself time to get back in shape.
Tip Two: Don’t procrastinate! Once your doctor says it is ok to exercise, DO IT! Make it a habit to go for a quick walk when someone else is holding the baby or when he’s taking a nap in the stroller. It will give you more energy and re-connect YOUR mind and body. Help ease workouts back into your schedule by planning ahead. I like to organize a new workout schedule by creating a calendar each month and hanging it on the fridge – this way I can see it everyday and make sure it fits with my family’s overall schedule.
Tip Three: Exercise adds up. When customizing your calendar don’t worry if you can’t get in a full workout all at once. Your schedule is not your own any more, and it may be a bit more scattered than it was pre-baby. When planning out your workouts, keep in mind that exercise is cumulative and that five minutes here and there will all add up at the end of the day. You can do the cardio section of a workout video and then come back later to do the strength section – all while at home watching your little one. If you are waiting for the bottles to boil, sneak in some strengtheners like sitting up against the wall in a “wall sit” or do some walking lunges across your kitchen.
Tip Four: Set goals. After having twin boys and then my youngest son, I understand the need and desire to get back in shape — and quick. Cindy Crawford felt that same desire so we teamed up to create “A New Dimension,” a workout program that incorporated three stages, workouts A, B and C. The first workout is a basic routine to begin after your doctor says it is ok to start exercising. Workout B is a bit more challenging and C is the most challenging. Moving from one level to the next will give you a sense of achievement and keep you motivated to continue your workouts.
I also suggest walking as one of the best ways to get back into shape. Map out a mile course from your house and whether you use a stroller, snugly or backpack, see how long it takes you to walk one mile. That time will be your starting place. The goal is to shave off seconds each time you walk until you are walking a 15-minute mile. Once you are there you may feel like adding more distance to your walk. Your legs, butt, arms and waist will start to show again and endurance will be excellent.
Tip Five: Know your body and your workout. Do a little research on which exercises are best for the state your body is in. For instance, many new moms are ready to flatten, tighten and strengthen their abs, but a few precautions need to be taken. Because the abdominal muscles have been stretched and possibly even split, aggressive crunches may not be the best choice. Stick to walking and core strengtheners, such as Pilates.
Tip Six: Work out with your child. Once the baby is big enough, you can use his or her weight as a great way to strength train. Walking with your baby in a backpack, pushing your newborn in a jogger stroller, or even holding the baby while doing lunges are all great ways to strengthen, tighten and tone the body with resistance. Even if your children are a bit older, you can still work out with them by walking the dog, jumping on the trampoline, or going for adventure hikes in the backyard or the local park together. If you make the time together fun, they’ll get off that couch!
Tip Seven: Utilize all the help you can. Accept help from your spouse, mother-in-law, best friend or mom to allow you to grab a few minutes to yourself and exercise. It can be overwhelming to be a new mom with all the demands and the changes that your body is going through. Having five minutes to yourself to decompress and de-stress and then to do something that feels really good, like a walk around the block can do a world of good.
Tip Eight: Eat! Most new moms are anxious to get back on their diet regime, but sometimes this isn’t the best idea for a new mom especially if you are breastfeeding. Follow a balance of lean protein, fresh fruits and veggies, and be sure to include good complex carbohydrates for energy. Keep your self hydrated and limit sugar, alcohol and caffeine. The more energy you have the better you will feel and the quicker your body will respond.
Tip Nine: Remember who you are. You are a mom now, but you’re also a woman. Don’t neglect your needs – get a babysitter and go for a quick trip to the spa or lunch with friends or set aside an hour to read a book while your baby naps. Taking some time for yourself will allow you to feel ready and re-charged to be a mommy again, while keeping your sanity!
Tip Ten: Love yourself. Be realistic and accept that your body might be different after pregnancy. It is ok. You can still be the best you can be and your little one deserves all of you, no matter what shape you are in. Forget the number on the scale and concentrate on just feeling good about yourself.