Having a baby is a life-changing event, and with the altered and much busier daily schedule, you might be wondering when and how you will manage to get back in shape and lose the extra weight. Don’t worry, it’s doable!
While you might be impatient to lose the baby fat as soon as possible, specialists do not recommend strict dieting, especially while breastfeeding.
Instead, you can start exercising in order to recover your pre-baby body. Exercise is not only a great way to lose weight and tone your muscles, but it also has a positive effect on your mental health, and may even help with preventing postpartum depression.
As a new mother, you should avoid very dynamic forms of exercise such as running or jumping soon after giving birth, especially as your joints are more susceptible to injuries at this time.
Instead, one of the best forms of exercise for post-pregnancy (as well as in general!) is Pilates. Gentle on the joints, Pilates is extremely versatile, making it perfect for new mums who should get back into exercising gradually. Reformer Pilates has been recently growing in popularity, and for good reason. It’s great for your muscles, flexibility, coordination, balance and more.
Even if you’ve never used a reformer before, you would probably recognise one. The bed-like machine has a sliding carriage which is attached to one end with a set of springs. The bars, straps and optional accessories increase the reformer’s versatility, which is one of its most unique features. The carriage can be pushed or pulled along the frame, with the springs offering resistance. This way, countless exercises for a multitude of muscle groups can be performed.
The springs can also be adjusted to increase or decrease the resistance for various intensity levels.
For new mums who need to start exercising slowly and build up strength and resistance gradually, a reformer can offer the ideal exercises throughout the entire training journey.
You can start with simple exercises, and move on to more difficult ones as you progress. Easier exercises are generally performed in a reclined position, using body-weight, and with the springs set for minimum resistance. All these aspects can be adjusted for your level, and eventually you can incorporate sitting, kneeling and standing moves, which are more difficult.
Reformer Pilates is a great tool for building a strong body, especially in your core muscles, which are important to focus on after having a baby. Even if you had a strong core before pregnancy, the muscles in this area get stretched out and weaker during the 9 months.
One of the advantages a reformer has over traditional dumbbells or body-weight exercises is the spring tension which is an even more effective way of resistance training. The resistance means the results won’t take long to show, and you’ll build strength in no time.
As you progress in your training, you can change the exercises for more difficulty. Thus, you can gradually move from a reclined position to moves where less of your body surface is on the sliding carriage, which require more strength.
The specific movements of a reformer help build lean, long muscles, thus building strength and toning your body without getting bulky.
If you haven’t stretched consistently during your pregnancy, now is the time to get back your flexibility, which is great not only for improving your exercise performance, but also for preventing injuries.
On a Reformer, you build flexibility through dynamic/active stretching.
Due to the straps and sliding carriage, each exercise is repeatedly performed at a full range of motion, which helps increase flexibility significantly. This is something you might not be able to do on your own, which is why a reformer works so effectively.
Reaching Your Ideal Weight
Physical activity is a key component of weight management. The more movement you do, the more calories you burn. As strict dieting is not recommended shortly after giving birth, a consistent reformer Pilates training will help you in your journey towards your ideal weight.
Pilates is great at building lean muscle mass, which improves the body’s metabolism. Additionally, a study showed that regular Pilates training can improve body composition, leading to less fat in the mid-section.
Nutrition is important too. The same number of calories act differently if they come from vegetables or chocolate. Therefore, pair the Pilates training with nutritious, whole foods, and reduce processed and junk foods to get the maximum benefits faster.
Being kind to yourself
It’s great to have the motivation to eat healthy and exercise in order to get back in shape. However, remember that this takes time. Adapting to the post-pregnancy life can be exhausting, so be kind to yourself.
If you try too much too soon, you might feel demoralised, causing you to quit. Patience and a positive mindset are important parts of keeping the motivation to get fit. Celebrate the small steps, and eventually you’ll reach your goal.
Click here to learn more about Reformer Pilates.