As a fitness & nutrition coach for new & expecting mamas, I have seen the benefits of prioritizing health and fitness throughout pregnancy and postpartum recovery. I am an advocate for movement of any kind, as long as it’s safe for the life stage you’re at! If dancing is what makes you happy and you can get a workout doing that, then all the power to you! However, if you’re looking for optimal health and a speedy postpartum recovery, you’ll want to ensure that somewhere in your week, there is some resistance training.
Before you get to strength training, it is absolutely imperative that you take the proper steps to recover from childbirth:
Once these 3 important steps have been taken, you will have an idea of what your body needs (and doesn’t need), as you return to exercise.
Generally, when you’re first starting out, we will avoid a few things:
So why do we need strength training as a new mama?
First thing we want to think about is injury prevention. As a new mom, you are doing tons of awkward holding and lifting. We want to ensure that your resistance training is specific to your needs as a new mom.
We want movements that will help us find proper alignment like the reverse fly, and movements that will help us find balance and strength in the back body (since new moms tend to round forward) like the single leg deadlift.
We also need to be aware that muscle is metabolically active. This means that the more muscle you have, the more efficient your body becomes at metabolizing (“burning”) fat! Did you know that you can only make new fat cells during your childhood, and when you’re pregnant? Aside from that we can only fill and deplete fat cells. With consistent strength training, you can keep your body from feeding fat cells, and help your body metabolize any excess fat that you may be holding onto from pregnancy.
Focus on movements that use the larger muscles in the body, like squats, lunges and deadlifts. Lift heavy enough to fatigue before you reach 15 reps. Repeat the same movement for at least 3 sets to really fatigue the muscle group and allow it to get stronger.
When we focus on lifting heavy, and on movements that will put us in better alignment, we can feel great, free of pain, and work on fat loss in a way that will have lasting results (as opposed to calorie restriction diets that may work for a short term but will likely not have lasting results).
When we focus on resistance training, and support our body with a diet based on whole foods, we can slowly, but consistently change our body’s set point.
A set point is the place that your body is the most comfortable. If you gain a bit or lose a bit, you body will fight to come back to it’s comfortable “set point”. To make a change, it takes time to make the change, and then more time and consistency to maintain it.
Don’t think of postpartum strength training as a quick fix that will help you lose weight, but as a lifestyle that will continue to bring your body to a place where you feel great in your own skin ongoing.
Lastly, as a new mom it’s very important to understand that your body has literally performed a miracle, creating new life. It took almost a year to make that happen, and it may take the same amount of time for your body to come back into harmony. Just remember that you are a warrior and with a commitment to movement and nutritional support, you will get there mama!
Bio: Stephanie Sibbio is fitness & nutrition coach for new and expecting mamas. She is the creator of Glowing Mama Courses. These courses were created to assist you throughout your pregnancy and postpartum recovery with home workouts, simple recipes, and support, as you go through these life stages.
To learn more about the Glowing Mama Courses, visit https://glowing-mama-courses.thinkific.com