Hey pretty Mama,
Today, I’m going to talk about exercise, and in particular the right exercise new moms need to be doing to help to shift their “Mommy Tummy”. Put simply, if you do no exercise at all, yet continue to consume a poor diet, then your “Mommy Tummy” is pretty much there to stay. Harsh words I know, but it’s quite true.
“You can’t out-train a bad diet!” as the saying goes.
Now that we’ve got this sorted I’ll just quickly mention a Fitness Industry acronym called HIIT, which stands for:
- High Intensity Interval Training
What is it and what does it mean? Well, HITT is proven to be the one of the more successful ways of burning excess body fat, particularly around the mid section. Put simply what HITT-style training does is, it takes your heart rate into different training zones, and therefore your heart is working at different intensity levels like for example high and low/work and rest/50 seconds on 10 seconds off, that sort of training. So, you’d do a cardio move like step ups, followed by strengthening exercise like a squat, followed by an abdominal exercise. In a way like old-fashioned circuits.
Is HITT appropriate for postnatal women? Well, yes and no. The reason? Well, it’s the up top and the down below stuff that I mention all the time, isn’t it? I’m talking about your heavy breasts and your weakened pelvic floor muscles here, ok?
If you went along to a class at 6 weeks postnatal and did burpees, jumping jacks and jump squats, chances are, you’d feel quite uncomfortable and even leak. I’d very much rather you didn’t. So, it’s my job as a Pre & Postnatal Fitness Coach & Corrective Exercise Specialist, to provide you with a safe, and effective alternative to exercise whilst under my care.
It’s very important, when you’re a new mom, that you approach exercise in stages. I always suggest postnatal women do some core strength work first, which focuses on pelvic alignment, pelvic floor, core, posture and stability, and then once they’ve got this mastered, that they then think about introducing some low-level cardiovascular training, resistance exercises, yet never stop focussing on their core/pelvic floor program, as this forms the very foundation of their body’s unit.
Once you’ve built that solid foundation, and only after this (bear in mind this can take months, possibly even years for some women), you can then start thinking about upping the intensity of your workouts to something along the lines of HITT. So, because it can takes several months before your body is ready to work at a higher intensity, it’s no wonder your “Mommy Tummy” doesn’t shift as quickly as you’d like it to, right?
Now, if you’re sitting here thinking, well, I go out for walks with my baby/stroller every day for 30-60 minutes at a time. I walk to the store and back when I’ve forgotten to buy milk. I take the dog for a walk to the park every evening to give them some exercise etc, that’s great. But, how structured is this walk and more to the point, how hard/intense is that walk we’re talking about on a scale of 1-10? It’s probably around 4 or 5, isn’t it?
HITT is called High Intensity Interval Training, because it’s hard work! But, the hard work phases are shorter duration, so I’m not expecting you to train at a high intensity for 30 minutes – you simply wouldn’t be able to do it.
Now, I’ll let you into a little secret, pushing your stroller for 30 minutes at the same speed, along the same level road to the park and back for the same long-duration/low-intensity actually isn’t burning fat, and it ain’t doing much to improve your fitness level either. You know those people you see in their workout clothes out for a “shuffle” around the block for 30 minutes? Well, they too aren’t shifting any fat either and they sure as hell aren’t getting much fitter. Why? Because they’re not challenging themselves enough.
However, if, for example, you were to push your stroller at a brisk walking pace for 2 minutes (we’ve got to look after that pelvic floor/unstable joints here, remember – no jogging allowed), and then you drop your pace down for 1 minute, THEN you’d be burning fat, ok? This is the “IT” part of HITT – High Intensity Interval Training.
So, what can you do to increase your chances of shifting your “Mommy Tummy” with exercise? Well, by taking your heart rate into different training zones, and working at a higher intensity for some of your workout, mixing it up with shorter intervals of high intensity/work versus low-intensity/rest phases, and coupling it with some resistance exercises that you know and love like lunges/squats/press ups, plus your foundation work for your core/pelvic floor, THEN we’re very much in business to shredding some serious body fat.
You’ll now realize that the reason you’re struggling to lose your “Mommy Tummy” is a combination of a lot of different factors. There’s no one quick fix here, I’m afraid. Get all of the factors right though and you’re well on your way to banishing your “Mommy Tummy” for good.
Hope this clarifies things for you when it comes to exercising post-baby to lose your “Mommy Tummy”. If you have any questions like always, feel free to reach out to me anytime.
Be well, fit, and always smiling.