SISJ HEALTH & FITNESS – MUMS & BUBS WORKOUT WITH BODY CLARITY >
Today on the blog is part one of my postpartum workout with Kirsty McLean from Body Clarity. I’ve been training with Kirsty now for almost two years and since formed a close friendship. Kirsty was and still is so supportive of my needs as a new mamma, but was also aware of our fertility struggles and adjusted all my workouts around that. Kirsty has specialised training in women’s, pregnancy and postpartum training and is Melbourne based. This particular workout is great for so many reasons, but number one obviously being how flexible it is – you can literally do this anywhere with bubs! I started back PT training at eight weeks postpartum. However, this was a very similar workout to what I was doing while pregnant, as my rectus tear was quite severe. At three months my OBGYN gave me clearance and I started to jog and do basic ab work again. As my fitness increased and I felt comfortable with my pelvic floor (and leaky boobs), Kirsty pushed me accordingly. She also designed an eating plan (which I always cheat on a little! #hellowinetime #mumlife), but I am pretty good most of the time. Below are some exercises and also a little bit about my recovery and training by Kirsty – enjoy.
MY WEIGHT & GOALS (* I am only 163cm!) > pre-pregnancy I was 57.5kg and very fit/healthy // during my hormone treatment to fall pregnant I went up to about 60kg // I gave birth in May 2015 at 75kg // I am now 59.5kg, but would definitely like to get back to 57.5kg and also get back some muscle tone/definition (I’ve given up on my boobs – they are ruined!)
THE PLAN // BEFORE & AFTER – By Kirsty McLean
The mere thought of exercising soon after having a baby can be very overwhelming! It’s also very common for new mums to feel the pressure of getting back to ‘ideal’ or their pre-baby weight, and fast. The demands of motherhood are exhausting, particularly in the first six months. Not only are you raising a baby, but you are also experiencing hormonal changes, some are breastfeeding, stress, fatigue, sleeplessness – just to name a few. The changes to your lifestyle as you knew it can be enough to put you into shock! Running on limited sleep and energy is taxing on our bodies, and many women struggle to find the time and energy to exercise/train. It’s also really important during this time to eat nutritious meals and look after yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends, partner and families for help in those early months.
When we started on SJ’s program, soon after having Mia Grace, SJ was all-too familiar with the above, and she also felt the added pressure of being in the ‘spotlight’. While this at times worked as a motivation for her, it also added extra pressure at an already exhausting time. She couldn’t run like she used to, she had Diastasis Recti (abdominal wall separation) for three fingers wide, she was up almost every hour overnight for several weeks, she was struggling with preparing nutritious meals (FYI SJ is a self-confessed cooking-hack who can’t boil an egg, haha!. SJ began snacking on the easiest things to get her hands on – foods full of nasties. This would fluctuate her energy levels and moods, so we very quickly sat down and nutted out a meal plan she could manage.
As SJ’s friend and trainer, the moment I saw her accept this was going to be a long and hard journey back to the pre-pregnancy body she was aiming for, she relaxed a lot more. Her health and safety was my number priority and I stressed the importance of being patient to her. Please know there is no quick fix, no magic pill or crash diet. I would also ignore some of the statements you hear “oh, you’re breastfeeding, the weight will just fall off” – this is NOT always the case, and was not for SJ.
MY ADVICE FOR SAFE POSTPARTUM EXERCISE & TRAINING:
MEDICAL CONSENT – This is your number one priority! There is no definitive time-frame (generally around the 6-12 week postpartum mark), so timing varies for each of us safely beginning exercise again. Things that should be taken into consideration are: was your labour vaginal or caesarean? Were there health complications before or at/after birth? Did you have abdominal separation or an unhealed Perineum? Are your iron levels low and were there any other health complications? It is crucial that your doctor gives you the all clear to commence a low impact and safe exercise program and that your trainer knows about your post-natal condition
PUT YOUR PELVIC FLOOR FIRST – the pelvic floor muscle is lengthened and weakened during pregnancy (even if you had a caesarean). After pregnancy the pelvic floor is generally very weak for some women and urinary incontinence follows. While you’re strengthening your pelvic floor avoid high impact aerobics such as running, skipping and jumping, lifting anything heavier than your baby, ab’ curls heavy strength training and deep lunges or squats (SJ was squatting and training the day before she went into labour!)
KEEP IT REGULAR – Where permissible, exercise three times a week, even a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day (most bubbas love the pram, so get out there ladies!). Keep it consistent, don’t exercise everyday one week and then stop the following. The lack of consistency in your exercise program puts you at greater risk for injury and recovery post-birth. Avoid exercising in warm and humid environments, always stay well hydrated and cool
TAKE CARE OF YOUR BACK – Back issues from pregnancy may have occurred due to the stress and strain it has been placed under (and remember you still have Relaxin floating around postpartum). Ensure your exercise program does not put pressure/stress on your back. Exercises that involve postural awareness are keys to regain strength in the back and abdominals. Don’t Bend It Like Beckham – Deep flexion or extension of joints should be avoided because of connective tissue laxity and also the hormone relaxin still present in your body. Up until approximately 12 weeks, stretching to increase flexibility should be avoided. Comfortable stretching moves are ok but keep these to 30 seconds
BE REALISTIC– Many new mums are keen to get back in shape ASAP, but be realistic and allow your body to heal and essentially re-learn. Pushing your body too soon can lead to physical as well as emotional problems. You may become stressed and depressed that the weight is not falling off as soon as you had hoped and you may be prone to incontinence back issues and injuries
TRAIN WITH EXPERTS – Do your research or train with people who know what they are doing. I nearly died when I heard a new client of mine had been doing weighted barbell squats with a PT six weeks after they had given birth! Goodbye pelvic floor! CONTACT KIRSTY >
MUMS, BUBBS & BUTTS WORKOUT (AKA, AT HOME!):
WARM-UP – brisk 10-15 minute warm up with bubs around the block in the pram. 2-3 sets of each of the following exercises with 10 – 15reps (or as many as you can do). Rest in between each set for 1 – 2 minutes and take water breaks. You can always increase intensity, so start off where you are comfortable
BABY GLUTE BRIDGE RAISES – start by laying on your back with bubs supported on your tummy (sitting position against thighs/knees). Bend your knees with your heels in line with your bum. Inhale to prepare whilst you engage your abdominals and pelvic floor and squeeze your glutes as you lift up into a bridge raise driving from your heels and exhale. Ensure that your hips are square. Take bubs for a ride up then lower slowly one vertebra at a time (keep them steady by holding them under their arms)
BABY ROLL-UPS – lying on your back with bubs supported on your tummy with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Take a breath in, engage your abs and pelvic floor and curl/roll up to a comfortable position without any strain on your next. Pause at the top and slowly curl down as you exhale
BABY CHEST PRESS – Lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Your spine and your lower back are in a neutral position on the floor. Hold bubs to your chest as you engage your abs and lift bubs above your chest with an exhale then lower down with control as you inhale (followed by some slobbery kisses and drool!)
BABY WIDE LEG SQUATS – Stand with your toes pointing outward (just wider than your hips), holding MG close/safely against your body). Inhale deeply and as you exhale, keep a straight spine as you bend your knees to squat down. Then inhale and come back up to a standing position. If you feel any pain of strain on your back, stop immediately. Remember to squeeze that pelvic floor too!
Kirsty has specialised pre & post natal classes running every Saturday at 9am at the Carlton Gardens, Melbourne. For more info, please email: email@example.com
SJ & Kirst x