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*Always check with your doctor to make sure it is ok for you to exercise. Everyone heals differently after birth and some may be ready to get back to exercise sooner than others. Take it slow and listen to your body.
The big question I always hear… HOW can I tighten my tummy after baby?!?! The tummy is always the biggest interest of most of the clients I’ve ever worked with. Let me first start by saying, spot targeting fat just doesn’t happen. Fat stores all over the body and your body likes to get rid of that fat in a certain order depending on what you gained first and last. So if you just want to get rid of that tummy fat, you’re not likely to get the results you want. BUT that just means it takes time. Anything that is fast, won’t last. So take my advice, be consistent, stay focused, and be patient! It’ll happen. 🙂
OK – lets get into the exciting stuff. First way were going to tighten your tummy after baby is by tightening your tummy. EVERYWHERE. Yep, thats it. We’re going to “brace” our core everywhere and while doing anything. While feeding the baby. While changing diapers. While playing with the kids. While brushing your teeth (that is if you even remember :p) and especially during exercise!!! While this may seem silly and simple, you’re training your body to use its core muscles such as the transverse abdominals (TA). The TA can be extremely difficult to engage, being why its nickname is the “lazy muscle”. By bracing whenever you can, your body will learn to engage the TA better and you will be a rockstar during core exercises!!
Brace Your Core
To brace your core start with your breathing. You want to take deep breathes and fill your stomach up with air. When you exhale, push the air out of your stomach and “brace” your core. This doesn’t mean suck in your stomach. I’m talking about bracing, like when someone pretends to back hand you in the stomach and you immediately react by tightening your core muscles. That is bracing. BRACE YO SELF. Do this everywhere. You’ll thank me.
Choose The Right Exercises
When it comes to the core postpartum, you need to be careful. You also need to be aware of what can cause diastasis recti or make already existing diastasis recti worse. ACOG guidelines point out that any oblique exercises can worsen or cause diastasis recti. Obliques are the muscles on your sides. Exercises that would target your obliques would be bicycle crunches, Russian twists, any core exercises that are going across the body or twisting motions. What you mainly want to focus on postpartum is your rectus abdominals and your transverse abdominals. Both of these are located on the front of your stomach, one on top of the other. Exercises to target these would include planks, leg lifts, flutter kicks, any core exercises you are going up or down the body.
Really? Stay active.. such simple advice. IT IS SIMPLE. Walk more. Don’t sit as much. Make goals for each day to stay active. On average right now I’m getting 6,000-8,000 steps a day according to my Fitbit. That’s just at home, when I haven’t gone out and I’m just doing stuff around the house and with my baby. On days I walk, over 10,000. Striving to stay active and even setting a step goal is going to help tremendously, rather than sitting around. If your baby is sleeping? Take advantage of it! Walk around, get up, do some squats. DO SOMETHING. Don’t just sit there. Take advantage of that time while you have it! Even if they aren’t sleeping, if they’re content, incorporate them into a workout, walk around with them, stand with them. Even if you don’t really feel like moving, just standing is burning calories. Not a ton, but still, little things add up! And hey – you may realize your fussy baby loves to watch you workout or be part of your workout! 🙂
Be kind and patient with yourself after baby! Your new mom bod can seem foreign and scary, but stay humble. Nothing happens overnight but consistency and hard work pay off!
You might also be interested in 3 Exercises You Can Start Immediately After Birth