Post birth, a female’s body can take time to return to its natural state, and for many women, they are left with a body shape that doesn’t reflect their 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.
Six weeks post birth is the recommended time to wait, according to the NHS, before you start up intense exercise. Your six week postnatal check will determine how well you have recovered, and from that you can normally make an informed decision if you are well enough to begin exercise again. 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.
Social media can be held responsible for some of the success the fitness industry has experienced in recent years – it has become the heart of fitness inspiration, and postnatal fitness is no exception. 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 that there was an apparent gap in the fitness industry for postnatal fitness classes – classes design to specifically help new mums lose their baby weight and get back into shape post birth. 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.
Postnatal classes have several additional benefits to the mind too – many new mums revealed that in addition to physical benefits, exercise also helped prevent, or ease postnatal depression as exercise made them feel ‘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’.
An expert in the field, Randi Lynn Greene, founder of RGL fitness, is a mum who knows a thing or two about postnatal fitness. 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, who has also appeared on Lorraine on ITV to show mums that you can exercise at your own convenience.
The evidence behind the dad bod
A relatively new term that has been circulating around social media, ‘dad bods’ are a real thing. The term is used to describe men with bodies that are neither toned or defined – normally those which don’t go to the gym and workout.
And Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine suggests that there is some truth behind dad bods. A study of 10,000 men over 10 years, studied men through different stages of their life – from adolescents and young adults, to new fathers. The results revealed 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.
There is a solution for dads, as well as for mums. An affective workout regime and clean diet are key to avoiding the dad bod – becoming a new dad doesn’t need to mean weight gain too. 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