Friday, April 16, 2010

Getting Your Pre-Pregnancy Body Back

Whether you delivered your bundle of joy six weeks ago or six years ago, you may be looking to get that body back into shape! (There are just a few things in here that won't apply if you've given birth a while back!)

First, here are some points to consider:

1. Be sure to get clearance from your physician that you are healthy enough to begin exercising.

2. If you are breastfeeding, it is perfectly safe to exercise and lose weight. However, keep in mind that a healthy diet and plenty of fluids are necessary. If you are not getting these things, your milk supply will suffer.

3. Take it slow and steady. Just after giving birth, you need to ease back into your exercise routine. Also, aim to lose no more than one pound per week if you are breastfeeding.

4. Although you can lose weight and get back to normal, remember that sometimes pregnancy can alter your body shape a little bit. Accept this and consider it your badge of honor.

Now, let’s talk about getting that body back!

1. Breastfeed! On average, this requires an additional 500 calories per day. That is 200 more than when you were pregnant! Breastfeeding has so many benefits to mom and baby, including weight loss for mom.

2. Eat 5-6, small, well-balanced meals. That’s right, no crazy diets here! Eating plenty of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and lean protein are important to fuel breastfeeding and help you to shed pounds.

3. After giving yourself some time to get used to exercising again, incorporate interval and repetition training. This method is helpful in burning a lot of calories and reducing abdominal fat.

4. Take your baby out for walks often. When you can’t get out for interval and repetition training, take your baby for a walk. Babies love fresh air and this is a great way for you to move more.

5. Strength-train the abdominal muscles 2-3 times each week. Do not do this every day because it will only cause injury in the long run. It is better to get a really good workout 2-3 times each week than to train a little bit each day. Switch up your abdominal moves to avoid a plateau. This training will not reduce fat on your abdomen. However, all of that stretching of the muscles while you were pregnant caused them to become extremely weak and unshapely; and this will really help to improve their appearance.

6. Don’t forget overall strength training and cardiovascular exercise. The ideas mentioned above are especially helpful, but you need to be getting plenty of regular cardiovascular exercise. Strength training all of the muscles in the body helps to increase your metabolic rate as well. Increasing your metabolic rate will definitely help with weight loss.

7. Don’t expect results over night. Your belly didn’t become enormous overnight when you found out you were pregnant. Your belly will also not shrink back to that washboard look overnight either. Good things are worth working and waiting for!


  1. Thanks for the information. I am one of those people working on getting back that pre-pregnancy body. I read your article on interval and repetition training. How do the two methods work? Does one method work better than the other? It sounds like you should do both. After I have gotten into my "groove" during a run, I usually force myself to run as hard as I can, but I haven't done formal interval training. I would like to incorporate this into at least one workout per week. Thanks for the information! Very helpful!

  2. Dad's need to be a part of the plan, too, as you know! :) This includes things like going for walks with your wife and child, and/or spending 1:1 time with the baby so your wife has time to work out on her own.

    And, of course, if your wife is breastfeeding, you as the dad need to carry a snack with you for your wife so that when those hunger pains strike and hypoglycemia starts to set in, you've got it covered. :)

  3. Statmom: Thanks for the great questions! For the results you're looking for in this instance, both interval and repetition training will work just as well. You may even want to use them both in the same workout session. Another idea is to do repetition training one week, then the next you could do interval training. In general with most different types of training, its best to get a variety as they all benefit you in some way. Technically speaking, interval training increases your VO2 max, which refers to the exchange of oxygen. In simple terms, having a higher VO2 max helps you with endurance exercise, and can also help with running speed. Repetition training also benefits running speed, possibly a little more than interval training, and increases anaerobic tolerance. Whenever you are running, biking, or whatever at top speed, you are exercising anaerobically. Everyone has a different tolerance to this due to many factors, and repetition training will help to improve how much of that you can endure. I hope this helps! Let me know if you have more questions!

  4. Busy-Dad-E: Well said! Thanks for your comments! It is infinitely helpful when dad steps in to watch the baby and does things to help facilitate mommy getting out for exercise. Support is such an important thing and I really appreciate you bringing that up!

  5. Great discussion! I am a bit beyond those years of getting rid of the baby I am fighting the middle age belly :(