Weight loss, or even maintaining one’s weight, is not a smooth line from end to end. Quite the contrary; it actually looks like one of those abstract, erratic crayon drawings your kids bring home to put on the fridge. I mean that line is all OVER the place. It’s a slow process, but quitting won’t speed it up. Also, your postpartum size (whether you’re two months or twenty years postpartum) will fluctuate. Even if you manage to return back to the same weight you were postpartum, new developments (such as hips and breasts) will fluctuate the distribution of weight.
According to Muscle & Fitness Magazine contributor Dr. David Ryan, “to achieve general fitness, there is no need to separate body parts on any given day. You can train your entire body, 3 to 4 times a week, performing two to 3 exercises per body part, with 12 to 15 repetitions per set. This will produce a trained fitness individual and give you the basic level of fitness that you would need to maintain or establish, prior to obtaining higher fitness goals.”
With that being said, I have found a few ways for moms to cut corners. Stretching, be it before or after a workout, improves your performance when doing other exercises and decreases your risk of injury. I used to skip this step until I learned the hard way one cold February morning when I got up out of bed, stood straight up, and fell straight to the floor. My muscles were very tight, and it was because I wasn’t helping them work effectively when I was at the gym.
Exercises like push-ups and planks are great for your chest, abs, and arms. Planks, in particular, strengthen your upper back muscles, a skill needed for mothers with giant ‘over the shoulder boulder holders” like me. After giving birth, we need all the help we can get to keep things up, tight and tucked. I also find lunges, wall sits, and jumping jacks to be quite effective- all three are great for your legs, but lunges and wall sits, in particular, are great for your glutes, calves, and quads. So when you do decide to dress up for an outing with your husband, you can show off ‘dem legs. Finally, what can I say about squats that hasn’t been said about sliced bread? They’re great for both your upper and lower body, help you burn more fat and make your husband grab your buns when you’re doing mundane tasks like putting away groceries on high shelves. It’s a scientific fact!
“…maintaining one’s weight, is not a smooth line from end to end.”
Focus on whatever you love, mama. And if you don’t know what that is, try everything. I’m such a strong advocate for moms working out because it’s another form of “you” time. Your moment to feel proud of yourself, amazing, refreshed, energized and inspired- because of your efforts. Even if you only lose ½ pound a week, you’ll still lose 26 pounds by this time next year. Hey, even if you lose no weight and just managed to maintain your current size, by this time next year, you would have survived the weight gain curse of the holidays, summer cookouts, children’s birthday parties, office treats… now THAT’s impressive.