This is a recent question from my weekly Q & A Wednesday series on my yoga studio page Simplicity Yoga & Fitness Therapy Studio on Facebook. I am posting here because I get asked this question a lot!
Q. I’ve had two c-sections and I am really trying to get rid of the dreaded bulge and tone everything up. What are the best exercises and weight loss suggestions? I feel like nothing is working!
Thank you so much for taking the time to send us your Q!
After giving birth to two children of my own & battling this myself after my second I have listed what have become my
Top 6 Tips To Get You Started
- Eat less and increase your nutrients. I don’t calorie count, it’s not where I have found success with my own body or with clients. Instead I like to make you calorie aware, are they quality based or empty quantity based calories?! The goal is to eat less but get more bang for your buck and time by choosing foods that have a higher nutrient content, more fibre, leaner protein sources, rich essential fatty acids and slow-burning sources of complex carbs. Think along the lines of fresh fruit, more fresh raw vegetables, smoothies, juicing, salad based meals that include ingredients like those I mentioned in my post ‘The Vibrant Plate’ a few days ago, more raw nuts, seeds and their butters, non-dairy milk alternatives, wild fish, organic eggs, beans and lentils plus smaller servings of gluten-free grains such as quinoa, millet and brown rice.
- Change your plate. Switch over from your usual large dinner plate to the next size down salad plate. This one move alone will save you an average of 400-600 calories daily of eating more than you need just because you have more food in front of you. Fill your plate with the most nutrient dense and delicious foods that will satisfy and that’s it, no seconds. Leave some room in your belly, breath and digest.
- Water, Water, Water. if you were to replace everything you drink with water and maybe the exception of one coffee or black tea per day, your body would be more hydrated, your skin would look better, your bowels would function more optimally, your energy level would be higher and your body would have the better ability of flushing toxins and waste from your belly to be excreted from…your other end!
- Walk. Honestly, I believe the best form of movement for losing weight, especially when your baby is still small enough to stay in the stroller is to walk for an hour 5-6 days per week. If walking isn’t an option or not what you love then move towards what you love. Maybe its Zumba or Spinning or Swimming for your cardio but do NOT become a slave to cardio. It will NOT change the shape of your body or boost your Metabolic System…EVER! Once babe is out of stroller and you’ve got a good foundation of movement, decrease the frequency and time of your workouts but increase the intensity. 2 days per week of 20-40 minutes of interval base cardio is perfect.
- Perform Functional Strength Training. Truthfully as women, strength training and using the principle of progressive overload are not options, they are MUSTS! I firmly believe in adding a minimum of 2 days per week of strength training circuit style workouts to achieve the best results. You need to CHALLENGE your body. If you can get through the typical 3 sets of 15 reps and think to yourself, ‘so what?’, or ‘that wasn’t so bad’ then you will NEVER get the results you are after. Women are so afraid of bulking up with heavy weights but the reality is most women don’t have the types of bodies or levels of growth hormone/testosterone to even make that possible.I myself, have moved away from heavier weights over the years, (because this for right now is what works for me ) to lighter weights and using the principle of higher repetitions, precision-like form and more body weight movements like air-squats, lunges, plyometrics, planks, pushups, handstands etc to effectively target and tone not only the large muscles but also those smaller accessory and stabling muscles that so often get over looked. PLUS your core will be challenged and strengthened in EVERY single one of those moves. Extra awesome core exercises are variations of plank, seated twist, bicycles crunches, reverse curl and every pilates movement created!
- Practice Yoga & Pilates. These two forms of movement absolutely top my choices for movement and getting your abs back after baby. Pilates is so specific about targeting the muscles of your abdominals, back, hips, glutes and thighs, you feel and see the results pretty quickly. Yoga is the prize-winner for me because of how it engages and challenges literally every ounce of your being; physically, mentally, emotional and physiologically so that while you are getting stronger you are also burning calories, inches are melting off, your stress level is down so you are better managing the stress hormone cortisol which is a huge contributor to belly fat, but you are also using the best and only machine you will ever need YOUR BODY. And if you make yoga a regular part of your life, your body will thank you over and over and over again!
So here is what a sample week could look like:
Interval based Cardio ~ 2 days per week 20-40 minutes
Functional Strength Training ~ 2 days per week 30-40 minutes
Pilates ~ 1 day per week
Yoga ~ 2-4 Days per week
Don’t flip out that I am recommending so much, take a deep breath, start where you can, push to fit it in – you are worth the extra work to make it happen!
Well, I hoped that helped you on journey to getting your strong, fit, sexy and happy Mommy body back?!
The countdown for my book is on!
Only a few weeks away The Simplicity Project is coming!!!
Come and listen to me to teach at this years Toronto Yoga Show March 22nd and 23rd