Having a child is one of the most beautiful and natural things in the world – but with it, a female’s body experiences a great deal of change, and post birth, you can be left with a body shape that doesn’t reflect your pre-baby body at all. For this reason, a growing number of women are joining post-natal classes and are trying to get back into shape after giving birth to their little ones. With a new-born baby in tow, it can be hard to go back to the gym – but where there is a will, there is a way.
The NHS recommend waiting around six weeks post-partum before starting up intensive exercise again. Your six week postnatal check will determine how well you have recovered. However, women who exercised regularly before pregnancy, may feel fit and well to begin working out sooner than the six week check – each new mum is different. You’ll know within yourself if you feel fit enough to get back into your regime, don’t push yourself too soon.
But with social media becoming a forum for fitness inspiration, some new mums want to jump straight back on the wagon. Postnatal fitness is on the rise too. The internet has inspired a lot of us to reach our fitness goals, and postnatal goals are no different. In fact, postnatal posts are becoming increasingly popular across the web, with #postnatalfitness associated with 53,003 Instagram posts.
Industry professionals noticed a gap in the market to help women post-birth. As a result of this, fitness professionals have set up their own postnatal classes to provide a solution for new mums who were struggling to get back into shape after having their new born. There are now specialised post-natal exercise classes that help women get back into shape with their baby’s – an opportunity for new mums to get their pre-baby body back. Classes usually allow mums to bring their little ones along to the class with them.
And it appears that postnatal fitness is helping new mums not just physically, but emotionally too. Many women have also revealed that exercising after having their baby has helped prevent, or ease postnatal depression as exercise has made them ‘happier’. Research would suggest this to be true, as exercise is shown to release endorphins in the body – hormones which can have positive psychological effects, such as a ‘euphoric high’.
Randi Lynn Greene, founder of RGL fitness, is a mum herself and is passionate about helping other mums get the body they strive for. Her Instagram account, with over 39.9k followers, showcases workout and yoga routines that can be done by new mums who have a baby in tow. She has proven that workouts can be done by mums at home with a little one crawling around. Of course, nutrition is just as important as your workout regime. Greene has also appeared on Lorraine on ITV to show mums that you can exercise at your own convenience.
The truth about the dad bod
The term dad bod is relatively new, however, many of you will be familiar with it thanks to the power of social media. According to the Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, there is some truth behind the idea of a ‘dad bod’. In a study of 10,000 men over 10 years, the university studied men through different stages of their life – from adolescents and young adults, to new fathers. The study showed that those found that men who become fathers experience weight gain and an increase in body mass index, whilst those who didn’t become dads generally lost weight over the same time period.
Whilst there is scientific evidence to show a link between becoming a father and potential weight gain, there is no reason why a new dad can’t avoid weight gain with an affective workout regime and clean diet. Your diet should consist of the three main macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein and essential fats. Avoid sugary and fatty treats – whilst they might give you an initial sugar rush, the energy boost won’t last long. You want to supply your body with foods that release energy slowly – being a dad can be tiring. For an extra boost before your workout, protein bars and shakes will help you push yourself harder to hit your performance goals. If you don’t have time to make it to the gym with all your new daddy duties, there are exercises you can do at home to keep yourself in shape:
- Plank – 45-60 seconds
- Jack-knifes – 25 reps
- Crunches – 25 reps
- Squats – 25 reps
- Jumping lunges – 25 reps each leg
- Sprint – 30 second, repeat 3 rounds
- Mountain climber – 25 each leg
- Press ups – 25 reps