The lowdown on workouts post-baby.
P&N: What workouts would you recommend for a new mom who has just been cleared to exercise?
Brooke Taylor: Start by simply taking the baby for a walk 30 minutes a day to get your body moving and your heart pumping. You can then add hills or try the elliptical, treadmill or biking.
My recommendation would be to focus on stabilization by incorporating full body circuits with light cardio. Stabilization workouts that include stability balls, medicine balls, BOSU balls, unilateral movements (i.e., standing on one leg or working one side of the body while the other has to stabilize) will fire the deep intrinsic muscles, re-forming a balance in the muscle tissues. The main goal postpartum is to mobilize the spine, reintroduce stabilization, and strengthen and improve the cardiovascular system.
P&N: I’m breastfeeding. Do I need to do anything special in order to exercise?
BT: You may want to nurse or pump before you work out to alleviate the extra pressure that may build up and prevent leaking. I highly advise that you also wear extra support during your workouts because your breasts will be sensitive. You may want to avoid excessive jumping or running in the beginning if your body experiences a lot of discomfort. The most important thing is to listen to your body. If something is uncomfortable or you are pushing yourself too much, then slow down.
P&N: How soon should I expect to see results?
BT: Honestly, it’s different for every-one. It depends on how proactive you are as far as your diet and making the time to exercise and recover properly. It is very important to load up on power foods (especially if you are breastfeeding) including an adequate amount of proteins, fats and carbs. Try to eat every two to four hours or six small meals a day. I recommend incorporating a variety of fresh vegetable juices into your diet to help the body naturally detox from medicine, excess fluid and toxins. By making the appropriate changes in your diet along with exercise, you can shed pounds pretty quickly and—most importantly—the healthy and natural way.