Mistakes New Moms Make When Trying To Get Back In Shape

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The folks at Thumbtack asked me to try out their service and suggested contacting one of the 8,000 fitness professionals in their database with a question that I wanted help with. As a new mom, I wanted some guidance with the best way to lose the baby weight, so we put in a request and received a whole slew of replies. I included the best ones below, and I hope they help the moms and moms-to-be out there!

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What’s the biggest mistake you see new moms make when trying to get back into shape?

“One common issue we see when Moms are trying to get back into shape is underestimating the lack of flexibly in their new schedule. Understand that there will be many days of rescheduling workouts, and unexpected “things” that come up. Don’t let this get you down, set a weekly goal of working out 3-4x week and no matter how it happens, be sure to stick to your guns and get the workouts in. Consistency will play a key factor as to how quickly your ”˜before baby’ body comes back.”

– Tim Lyons, Pulse Fitness

“They tend to spend endless amounts of time doing hours of cardio and neglecting strength training all together. There needs to be a balance of both to achieve maximal benefits. The more lean muscle you have, the higher your metabolism will be!!”

– Steve Botsford, Socal Fit

“Expecting results too quickly. There are a handful of us new moms who do get back into shape very quickly, but for most of us, it takes time. Be patient and consistent and the results will come.”

– Samantha Barrionuevo, Miami Total Fitness

“Worrying over getting rid of it fast. This just makes them stressed and more susceptible to making bad nutrition decisions. It took 9 months to gain the baby weight so give yourself that long to lose it and you will probably be pleasantly surprised.”

– Lindsay, Charlotte Mobile Trainers

“This is the MOST important time that Mom needs to reconnect with herself and her body. Already, she has gone through extensive changes – being introduced to a body and mind that can be so unfamiliar to her. It’s her time to get to know this new body. This doesn’t mean, “Be selfish, hire a sitter and just focus on yourself all the time,” but rather, “Utilize your support system and make time to reconnect with YOU.” My favorite analogy to use here is that of oxygen masks on an airplane. Mom needs to put the oxygen mask on herself first in order to have the energy and strength to put on those of her loved ones.”

– Rachel Grundner, The Yogi Within

What’s your favorite exercise for new moms after giving birth?

“Yoga is a great way to get back to relating to your body in a positive way. In particular, taking a restorative yoga class is awesome because you learn how to relax. Relaxing is the fastest way to let your body get strong! It sounds sort of contradictory, but when you are relaxed, more blood flow gets to your muscles. Muscles work more efficiently when they have more access to oxygen and nutrients from the bloodstream. When you relax, your circulation improves. Honor your motherhood and enjoy the process. It’s in the steps where you find the peace and happiness.”

– Lydia Smith, Thai Yoga with Lydia

“One of my favorite exercises for new moms is Abdominal Curl-Up with Baby. In this exercise you lie supine (on your back) with the knees bent, while holding your baby with both hands and his/her back against your thighs, with the baby’s head and back supported. Perform a partial curl-up while drawing the ribs toward the hips. Lower back to the floor, relax, and repeat. It’s like performing regular ab crunches except your hands are not behind your head but around your baby. I love this exercise because you can perform this while maintaining physical contact with your baby. All in one!”

– Christina Ciccone, Movimento Fitness

“Any exercise is great, but I find walking outdoors is an easy first-step and good for the brain, too. Walking outdoors releases endorphins, boosts your mood, and can help with postpartum depression. Start with a light walk and work up to brisk walking intervals (fast/slow) for 30 minutes a day.”

– Nicole Barr, Fly-By Fitness

“Kegels and pelvic floor exercises. They can be done as soon as you feel comfortable doing them. You can do them with moving. And they are the secret to helping rid mommies of the pooch.”

– Reaghan Hayden, Revolve To Evolve

“Consider doing a bit core strengthening at each workout. These are the muscles that have been stretched every which way from baby. Doing 360 moves like hovers and planks can help pull those muscles in tight all around. Consider peaking into a core stability class like Les Mills CxWorx.”

– Catherine Raymond, ShredItTuscon

Question of the Day

Moms, what mistake did you make when you first tried to get back in shape?

14 Comments

  1. I have not had a baby yet, but I think the biggest mistake anyone makes is trying to do too much too soon. It can lead to frustration and injury. It is key to remember that it is a marathon and not a sprint. Build good habits, take care of yourself and recover as necessary.

    Sounds like a great service. I am going to make a note to look into it! Happy Friday!

  2. Some great answers 🙂 I think the key is not to pressure yourself. There is so much pressure on you already as a new mom, you don’t need the extra pressure of feeling like you need to lose weight. Weight will come off at a pace that’s natural for your body regardless of what you do, I’ve found. That frees up some space to reconnect with what feels good rather than what will get you thin fast. Fitness ultimately is supposed to be about feeling good, happy, and healthy. Only the mom herself knows what’s right for her in her particular situation.

  3. I think the one mistake I made was listening to the gyno tell me at the six week mark that I was in the clear to go back to exercise. I tried one morning and I knew I was not ready. Instead, I just focused on my son and all of the exercise involved with keeping up with a baby while nursing. Lots of stroller walking and carrying him around put me right back in shape in a different way.

  4. Hi there! I’m not a mom, but I’m a pre- and post-natal certified trainer and I would say kegels are the most important thing to start doing right away. Strength training cannot be neglected either. And of course, new moms need to make sure they are eating enough and getting plenty of water to account for breastfeeding (if that happens) and recovery. Great tips here.

  5. Quick note about the “abdominal curl up with baby” … moms who are recently postpartum or still dealing with diastasis recti should avoid supine “crunch” movements and stick to more “total-core-and-pelvic-floor” exercises like dead bugs, planks, roll outs etc. to avoid prolonging or exacerbating the split 🙂 Congrats to all the new moms and what a fun way to use Thumbtack!

  6. I exercised until the day I gave birth and got the ok to start as soon as I was feeling ok but I started running a little soon and injured my foot. It’s so hard to start slowly but it’s so important! I’m so impatient! Lol

  7. I think it’s important to recognize the effects and pregnancy and childbirth on the body. While I’m happy you were able to get back to exercise soon, Tina, it’s important to acknowledge that this can be a long road for many moms. Almost two years later I am still experiencing the effects of prolapsed organs after a long and difficult labor. I don’t wish this on any new mom; sometimes it can be tough to read about moms who are all about getting back into shape when they have a lot of support in terms of the time to work out and a body that supports getting back to a “normal” exercise routine. My advice is to focus on your baby and accept a new normal.

  8. LOVE these tips! I am prego right now and fighting to stay fit even when the heat/fatigue zaps me. This makes me feel very positive about getting back in track after January, and trying to take it ONE DAY at a time!

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