Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Dear Fun and Fit: My baby/toddler’s 18-month b-day is coming up, but this momma still has a bunch of baby fat to get rid off. Any advice on what strength exercises to do so my abs can be nice and tight again and I can fit into my pre-pregnancy pants? I usually swim about 3-5 times a week, and I walk and cycle a bunch, too, but it ain’t helping (so far)… Oh, and my baby still nurses. Marit, Carpinteria, CA
Alexandra: First of all, knowing you are still nursing brings back painful sleep-deprived crazy-pants fond memories of being bitten by nursing my own kids. Other than that, there is one part of being a mom that is the same as for non-moms–calories in, calories out. Good news: you are expending extra kcals since you’re nursing (about 500 per day), but other than that, getting into your pre-pregger pants includes staring down those extra snacks. Kiss your baby hello and the snacks good-bye.
Kymberly: Momma-cita, you are asking about tackling two fronts: reducing “baby fat” and getting your “tight abs” back (or was that back in the front?). And you are right! You do have to reduce overall body fat Let’s start by mentioning that the coupon allowing you to call extra body fat “baby fat” expired about 6 months ago. Keep up the swimming, walking, and biking as it IS helping! However, you may need to increase the intensity to burn more calories to achieve caloric deficit. As for strengthening exercises to move those abs back in time, the focus needs to be on the transversus abdominals, as they get most affected by pregnancy. Did you click on that link? Then stop here and do so as it contains the technical background and juicy wuicy details.
A: Without knowing your method of delivery, I’ll just say that getting your abs to pre-baby hotness is generally a bit more work if you had a C-section, because (to word it tastefully) your muscles were sliced in two by a Black and Decker medical device! We are fans of reverse curls, which are great for any type of delivery (you can do the crunches listed too if you want, even though Fun & Fit have sworn off them)!
K: May we assume that you and your wee one are on a semi-decent sleep schedule? If not, and you are still sleep deprived, you may need to take more naps to lose weight. Is that AWESOME advice or what??!! Basically, interrupted sleeping affects your metabolism, slowing it dooowwwwnzzzzz. Buuuuuut, WAKE-UP! this is usually the case when your baby is a newborn so you may have used up that coupon special as well. And we’re back to the fewer cals in, more cals out with cardio, and adding the disciplinarian parent: strength training!
A: Baby or no, the main point is that you burn more calories overall (even during that nap) with a combo of cardio and strength training. We covered that topic right here: Walk Off Weight. In any case, here are some fun (my students at the U get nervous when I use this word) abdominal exercises:
- Pelvic tilts
- Back extensions
- Core Strength Exercises (since you are fairly active, try the side lying plank with long, not bent legs).
- Modified plank (same nagathon as above)
- Dead bug
I love the dead bug simply for its name. But smile when you do them, ‘cause you are a ladybug!
Photo credits: Photobucket and Creative Commons
Readers: Are you craving more ab exercises? Have these cravings coincided with an enlarging belly? Then check out our Get Fab Abs Series: Get Fab Abs, Part 1, Get Fab Abs, Part 2, Get Fab Abs, Part 3.