As much as I love the health and fitness field, there are things about it that makes me sometimes shake my head in disgust. From quick fixes to fad diets and gimmicks, there is never a short supply of products out there promising to help you lose weight and get in shape…like yesterday…and with as little effort as possible. It seems as if many in the industry are more interested in making a quick buck than in genuinely helping women.
Furthermore, it seems like the mainstream media and the fitness experts don’t really understand how to communicate with new moms about fitness, nutrition, and fat loss.
Most of the fitness info out there has to do with quick fixes, and preys on a new mom’s insecurities regarding her postpartum body. Hello! Anyone ever come across the lurkers on social media promising to help women get rid of their stretch marks with some special tummy wraps and stretch mark cream?!? Please…ENOUGH ALREADY!!!
As a women’s fitness professional, I get asked all sorts of questions regarding the latest exercise, weight loss, and nutrition trends from mom desperate to get back in shape. If there’s one thing I could tell you to keep an eye out for regarding these fitness programs, diets, trends, etc., it would be this: you want SUSTAINABILITY! If it’s not sustainable it won’t help you succeed in the long run. Period! Don’t bother wasting your money on quick fixes because they will only cause more frustration and headaches. Look for something that has lasting power.
Oh, and while I’m at it, let’s talk about a few more things I wish that the Fitness Industry told you:
1. Fitness means so much more than a flat abs for us moms!
Once I had my first baby, it was then that I traded my ABS in for a few stretch marks and some saggy skin. And you know what…I’m ok with it. In fact, I’d rather have these “battle” scars because it means I was blessed to have the opportunity to carry and birth these three little beautiful beings of mine!
At the same time though, I doesn’t mean that I’ve given up on my body either. I’ve slowly been working towards getting my strength and endurance back since my daughter was born over a year ago, but even if I never get to where I was before I had kids, I’m okay with where I’m at right now.
Fitness means MORE than flat abs nowadays. Sure…I may not have six pack abs, I may have a few stretch marks, and my hips may be a little wider than they were before my babies, but being a MOM does not mean the end to your fitness. In fact, it’s the beginning of a whole new kind of fitness. It means having abs that are “flat” because they function well (i.e. no signs and symptoms of “mommy tummy”, Diastasis Recti that has healed properly), not necessarily because I am striving to reach a low body fat percentage (although if that’s a goal of yours, that’s perfectly fine too). It also means training to set an example for my kids and have the energy to keep up with them!
When I became pregnant with my first, my focus switched from mainly eating and exercising to look good to instead eating and exercising to nourish my body and help it to move and function well. However, I also refuse to give into the lie that being a mom means that you can’t be AND look fit and healthy. If you want to work towards having a little leaner and more muscular look as a mom…more power to you!
2. You don’t have to spend hours working out at the gym to get results.
Finding the time to work out as a mother can be quite challenging, but absolutely do-able nonetheless.
Somewhere along the line though, women have been led to believe that in order to see results they need to spend hours working out at the gym. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, and in fact doing more and more and more only hinders you from seeing and feeling the kind of results you are looking to gain…especially as a new mom. Your body is already under enough stress adjusting to life as a new mom, and adding in marathon-long workouts only creates more stress for your body which means less of the results you are hoping to gain from your fitness routine.
You should absolutely schedule the time to make your health and fitness a priority because it also helps us to be better, more patient moms. But it’s also about finding BALANCE and a method that works for you and your family. Sometimes that means heading to the gym, and sometimes it means working out at home. That’s why I created workouts for moms that can be done both in the gym or at home…all you need is a few simple pieces of equipment to get the job done at home!
There are many ways to be a fit mom, but know that this also means you DON’T have to spend hours at the gym to stay strong and fit!
3. Lift more than your baby!
I hear from moms sometimes during their training sessions that they are afraid they might not be able to lift a certain amount of weight because it might be too heavy. And yet, they go home to play with, pick up, and carry their 10…15…20…25…30 lbs. etc. child around throughout the day?!?!?
There’s something wrong with that picture!! Now, I’m not saying this is something that moms should jump right into after having baby. Absolutely not!!!! But with time and proper rehabbing…it’s absolutely doable and a HUGE component in your long-term postpartum recovery.
Strength training is a valuable asset in getting your postpartum body back to feeling, moving, and LIVING well! Endless amounts of cardio IS NOT going to get it done. If you want to lose the baby weight, you need to increase lean muscle mass, and this means STRENGTH TRAINING! And just think how much easier carting your little one around would be if you strengthened your muscles.
Sooooo…long story short…don’t be afraid to challenge yourself in the gym. Hit the weights and do it knowing you are investing in yourself! I recommend that all the mamas I work with do strength training AT LEAST 2 times a week. Strength training helps mamas increase the hormones that help burn fat long after your workout is over and will go a long way toward speeding up your metabolism, and tightening and strengthening your body. I believe this is the most often missed secret in postpartum fitness and fat loss.
4. Motivation must go beyond looking good naked.
Most of us moms want to look and feel good naked in our own bodies. But seeing image after image on social media of some woman sprawled across fitness equipment wearing nothing but her thong and sports bra probably provides more comical relief for us moms than the motivation to stay in shape. At some point our motivation to stay in shape needs to run deeper than this.
Real life images of moms working out involve no make-up, no air brushing, no photoshopping, but just pure grit, determination, and dedication to do something positive for herself and inspiring for her kids. It may not always be a pretty picture, but it’s absolutely realistic nonetheless!!!
My motivation for staying healthy and fit isn’t to look good 1/2 naked on someone’s social media news-feed; it’s to take care of myself and set an example for my kids about the importance of exercise and healthy living!
Does anyone else agree that the fitness industry needs to promote less of the trashy boudoir fitness trend and more of the real life mamas “keeping it real with fitness” trend!?!?
5. It’s much more powerful to love your body for what it can DO- not just what it looks like.
If you had asked me what my favorite body part was before I had children, I would have probably said my arms. I’ve worked hard over the years to get those guns! 🙂 However, nowadays I have to say that I think my favorite body part is my tummy. I know, not many moms would venture to say their tummy was their favorite body part, but just hear me out.
My body and in particular my tummy isn’t just a physical display, it’s a freaking carrier of life! How amazing is that?!?! Now I celebrate my tummy not just for what it looks like, but also for the fact that it has given space to carry another human life! I work out these days not just for what my body is capable of looking like, but also what it is capable of doing, and for setting the example to my kids that their bodies are also capable of doing amazing things!
What are some ways in which your view on fitness and nutrition has changed for you since becoming a mom?