BodySmart NYC

Post-Partum? What You Need To Get Your Body Back


I’m Post Partum. What should I do about exercise?

Not everyone bounces immediately back into shape having a baby. Despite what you see on Instagram.

Your body birthed a miracle. You grew an ENTIRE human being for 9 months. And then you —not anyone else— delivered that baby into the world.

If that’s not worthy of deep respect, we don’t know what is.

And yet.

After baby, stuff happens that no one told you about.

You might feel like a stranger in your own body.

Your clothes might not fit.

You might have a poochy belly or sagging skin.

You might squirt pee (!!??!!) when you laugh, sneeze, cough, or jump.

Maybe you look at your body and feel unhappy. You might miss your pre-pregnancy body.

You might wonder how long this post-partum “look” is going to last .

As personal trainers who’ve worked with prenatal and postnatal clients in Manhattan, we understand.

While your body has been pushed to incredible limits, some significant challenges might remain:

  • How to find time for yourself to exercise
  • How to repair and rebuild your body so you can feel at home again
  • How to appreciate all your body has done while finding a ‘new normal’ that does’t feel out-of-control

Here is some real-life, proven advice that will give you *maximum* impact for your efforts:

Start with “Right Effort”

There are many ways to improve your body. Some are more effective (and faster) than others.

So choose wisely.

Don’t spin your wheels and waste energy on the wrong exercises. Instead, invest some time upfront to learn what you (bold)should be be doing.

Find Out How To Rebuild Your Correctly

Everyone talks about “core work.” But actually, very few people do it right.

A strong core is:

—The four layers of your abdominal muscles working well in a coordinated fashion when they’re under load. They should be good friends and work closely with…

—Your pelvic floor. Your pelvic floor muscles should activate appropriately and in conjunction with your abdominals. If you leak pee during coughing, jumping etc, it means your pelvic floor isn’t working well. Conversely, your pelvic floor muscles should be able to rest at their optimal resting length when needed (like peeing and pooping without pain).

—Core strength is also hip/glute/lower back alignment, activation, and strength.

A strong core is NOT:

—Abs pooching out during your daily activities. Whether you are pushing a stroller, walking, or waiting in line, your abs and pelvic floor should be active (approximately 30% of maximal effort). Abs and pelvic floor muscles are tonic muscles that *should* work all day long under low load. They’re endurance muscles. They support the spine, organs and upright posture. Unfortunately, they shouldn’t be taking a vacation when you need them to hold you up. An under-active core shows up as a poochy belly, low back pain, stress incontinence, and poor posture.

—Tons o’ Crunches. Crunches (and many Pilates moves) can exacerbate diastisis recti, which is a thinning of the connective tissue in the rectus abdominus. Diastisis recti happens in at least 60% of post-partum women. Crunches are not the answer to building a stronger core.

—Forgetting your pelvic floor. Lots of personal trainers talk about abs. But most don’t mention the pelvic floor because they don’t know about it. Big mistake! The pelvic floor muscles feed directly into the connective tissue of the deep transverse abdominus muscle and the low back. So pelvic floor awareness, strengthening and coordination directly affects your core strength.


If You Are Looking To Lose Weight Post-Partum…

The solution lies in the kitchen, not the gym.

(Did you ever think you’d hear personal trainers admit that??)

But it’s true. You can’t out-train a bad diet.

(Trust us, we’ve tried!).

If you want to lose weight, you need to cut down on the carbs.

Stay away from stuff like: bread, pasta, rice, white potatoes, fruit juice, liquid sugar like Frappuccino’s, white potatoes, and high glycemic fruits like watermelon, mangos, dried fruit or sugary yogurt.

Aim for a palm-sized portion of clean protein at each meal.

Then fill HALF your plate with vegetables. HALF. YOUR. PLATE. (Heads up: It’s a lot of vegetables. Probably more than you are used to eating.)

The fiber from the veggies will fill you up and give you lots of nutrition.

A quarter cup of nutrient-dense carbs like sweet potato, carrots, beets, quinoa, should be with each meal for energy.

Lastly, have a thumb-sized portion of healthy fat at each meal: nuts, avocado, olive oil, coconut milk. The fat will keep you satisfied until the next meal.

If you need more help…

Get Support. Just for now.

All of us — at some point in our lives— have needed an extra boost to get started or get moving toward a goal.

You might need someone to help push you ahead or pull you forward, to stop waffling, to motivate you, and call you out. Don’t be the lone wolf, trying to survive. Instead, start building your support system so you can get going now.

Feel free to use us as a sounding board or ask for some of our resources. If we can’t help you, we will be sure to connect you to someone who can.

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