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As a mommy of three wild boys, I know which postnatal workouts actually work to flatten your tummy and get in shape, and which ones don’t. I’ve had to lose the baby weight three times now, and commit to a postnatal workout three times. I am also a Pre/Post Natal Fitness Specialist, so I’ve used my education and experience to put together a postnatal workout that actually works, heals your abs and pelvic floor and helps you lose weight.
In this post, I plan to take you through what you need in a postnatal workout, what I do as a postnatal workout, and what I advise you not to do for a postnatal workout.
Let’s go over some important components of a postnatal workout:
- An ab-focused plan to reconnect your mind-muscle connection
- Posture exercises to correct posture issues that develop during pregnancy
- Body weight strength work to build strength back safely
- Long, slow cardio that helps burn fat
- Nutrition advise to promote a healthy milk supply and weight loss
When looking into a postnatal workout to do once baby arrives, it is really important to understand what is going with your body now that you aren’t pregnant anymore, and your body wants to heal.
With my first baby, I just assumed everything would go back to normal, and I didn’t even attempt a postnatal workout. This was before I was educated on the postnatal body. I didn’t work on strength, I didn’t work on my pelvic floor, nor did I try to regain strength of any kind. I just lost the weight and muscle. I will never forget when I went out to go for a run, and I was sore from running 10 minutes! I had lost weight and muscle, and I had to go to physical therapy for my pelvic floor, which developed scar tissue that was painful and really uncomfortable. I’ve always been a nutrition enthusiast, so my healthy diet allowed me to lose weight and keep up a healthy milk supply, but I lost so much more by not focusing on a postnatal workout. I was a Pilates instructor prior to having babies, so once I realized the healing issues that can arise after having a baby, I knew I needed to jump back into my Pilates again as soon as possible. Pilates is a great starting point for your postnatal workout.
Where to start with your postnatal workout:
Getting started on your postnatal workout is probably one of the hardest parts. The other is making the time. I personally think it is really helpful to find a program to follow, so you don’t have to think about what you are supposed to do once you decide to start. When researching programs. I wasn’t able to find a program that wasn’t just PDF printable exercises. I attempted a few of them, but the printed workouts ended up getting strewn all over the house, colored on and lost. I’ve created the Ab Rehab Program and Pelvic Floor Restore program, which is mostly video workouts of around 10-15 minutes, all Pilates based to follow along with me. I specifically instruct you how to do each move, how many reps, and how to breathe, and you are going to do it with me. You can also search Youtube videos online, and put together a play list of what is available to make sure you have some sort of program to follow. Setting up the program is really important to starting.
Get a great app with postnatal workouts:
Starting with strength-based workouts is an awesome way to go, and stroller-focused workouts can be even more effective and fun! This app has some awesome postpartum workouts you can listen too. I’ve used it for over a year, and LOVED every minute of it. They have a specific section for postpartum workouts and stroller walking, as well as HIIT, strength, machines and more. It takes the place of a gym by far, but of course is TREMENDOUSLY cheaper. These aren’t diastasis recti-focused workouts, which I highly recommend for building back your foundation, but they are safe workouts to help you get back in shape.
Make sure to have a postnatal protein shake after your workout!
A post-workout protein shake after your postpartum workout is really beneficial to keep up your milk supply, replenish your muscles and nourish your body! Make sure to check out this protein powder, made specifically for breastfeeding mamas!
What are some postnatal workout moves to do now? Here’s an awesome list:
15 Squats to Shoulder Press:
Compound workouts are a great way to burn more calories in less time. By using a pair of dumbbells, you can squat down, stand up and press the dumbbells straight up overhead. Start with three sets of 15, and you will build strength all over!
15 Side Planks:
Side planks are actually really helpful for building core strength after baby. This enables you to pull your abs in from the center, as well as working your obliques.
15 Glute Bridges:
These are awesome to build and regain your glute strength. I like to do 25 reps (with little or no weight), then hold for 25 seconds, then right into 25 raises, then hold for 25, then into 25 again. This works your glutes really well!
Weighted Walking Lunges:
Walking lunges is a great way to get your heart rate up and build some strength back. Do 15 or so on each side.
Push up on Knees:
If you do your push ups on your knees, you will put a lot less pressure on your abs, and if you add some speed to it, you can get your heart rate up while building muscle in your chest.
Jogging in Place or High Knees:
Getting your heart rate up in between strength is an awesome way to build more of a fat burn, while maintaining and building muscle. If you feel up to jogging in place, marching in place, or doing high knees, do 45 seconds in between each strength routine. Keeping your heart rate up, then switching to strength, then back to cardio is called metabolic conditioning, and it works well to build muscle, burn fat and keep your metabolism going faster the rest of the day!
Here’s a printable of what this postnatal workout looks like, so you can do it 4-6 times a week!
I hope this helps you get your postnatal workout started and on track. Workouts are actually so simple, but it is the time and energy to make the time that is the hardest part about postnatal workouts. Start with a few times a week, then slowly add time.