Getting Your Abs back after Pregnancy…

In July I delivered a 9 pound 2 ounce baby boy.  Prior to pregnancy I was 5 foot 1, weighed 125 pounds, and had 16 percent body fat. During my pregnancy I worked out every single day, ate healthy, and went to the pool and swam/water walked daily during the summer. With all of that being said, I ended up gaining 40 pounds. I gained so much water weight I looked like a balloon. You could touch my leg and the indentation would be there for hours, literally!

My whole plan was to go as natural as possible with the delivery. I wanted to avoid having a c-section at all costs, but knew that if it was in the best interest of my baby I would have to have one. After being in intense back labor for hours, projectile vomiting, and losing all control of my left leg, my doctor suggested that it was time to do the c-section. Everything went well and I delivered a healthy baby boy.

When I returned home I couldn’t wait to start working out, but my recovery was extremely difficult.  I couldn’t get out of the bed without assistance and couldn’t go up and down stairs for a good week.  I didn’t change my own baby’s diapers for a week because it took me so long to walk from one room to the other…thank goodness for my amazing husband!

Things eventually got better and within 10 days of delivery I had already lost 29 pounds! How’s that for water weight. When I went in for my first checkup, at 3 weeks, the doctor cleared me to work out. As I went home that night I wrote out my 12 week plan of getting back in shape and, specifically, getting my abs as flat as I possibly could. My doctor told me that my abs were really destroyed from having such a big baby and that it was going to take a lot of hard work to get them back to where they used to be. You could stick your hand in the gap between my lower abs and press down so far it would feel as if you were touching my spine! So, my goal was specifically making them flat, and not necessarily muscle solid, in 12 week. If I was able to achieve my goal in 12 weeks of getting my abs flat my next target would then be trying to get the muscle as solid as I could. That night when I went home from the doctor I decided to do an ab workout. I could only do 3 crunches! I could barely do a push up because my abs were so weak. It’s flabbergasting how weak your abs become after a c section.  I went from lifting heavy, sprinting my ass off, and doing hardcore crazy workouts prior to pregnancy to not being able to do sit-ups.  I had never felt so defeated in my entire life. But, the good news is since I worked out my entire pregnancy & I wasn’t going to give up on working out, within 4 days I had went from 3 crunches to being able to do 20 crunches and pushups. I was doing full on ab workouts within 2 weeks.

As I was getting close to my 12 week deadline and I was definitely seeing progress. My abs were getting smaller/flatter and I was physically getting stronger. It wasn’t until I completely cut out breastfeeding all together that my abs and my body in general started to take on a shape similar to what it used to be prior to pregnancy…this occurred after my 12 week deadline because I continued to breastfeed until then. When the 12 week mark finally hit I was very pleased with my abs. They may not have been defined, they may not be completely filled with muscle, but they were flat and so much stronger than they were the first week I started working out. Now my focus is on getting what is there tight and solid, which is proving to be pretty difficult, but my husband always reminds me it took 9 months for me to grow that baby and he was huge! It’s going to take time to get back to where I was before being pregnant.

I am determined and I will get there.

BEFORE PREGNANCY

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LAST WEEK PREGNANCY 38 WEEKS

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3 WEEKS POST DELIVERY, FIRST DAY OF WORKING OUT

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12 WEEKS POST PREGNANCY

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Working Out Post C-Section…

I just recently had a baby, a little healthy baby boy (well, little…not so much! 9lbs 2oz!!), and I delivered my son by c-section. Even though I went in to labor without a plan, because so many things can change during the many hours of labor, I did want to go as natural as possible. Unfortunately, in my situation, this little guy wasn’t going to join us in this world through a natural delivery. I also knew with c-sections come longer recovery times, which meant putting working out on the back burner for quite some time. My doctor was convinced that I would be able to start working out again within 2 weeks of having my c-section. I’ve always heard it takes 6 to 8 weeks! I knew he was just trying to please me and only telling me what I wanted to hear right before being wheeled in to an operating room to have my child pulled out of my abdomen. But, I figured he has been doing this for 25 years and he knows the extent and importance of my working out that he must have a reason for saying I can workout within 2 weeks.

Recovery was awful, dreadful, frustrating, debilitating, stressful, and just flat out terrible! I couldn’t move at all and had no control over my left leg for days (which stems from the terrible back labor I was in for 10 hours with no meds). I really didn’t see an end in sight and was so grateful my husband was home to help. There is no way I could have taken care of my baby without his help. I also had realized that the doctor did lie to me about getting back into a workout routine within 2 weeks. I couldn’t see it happening.

Ten days after my c-section there was a complete and total change and I was itching to get down into the gym and workout. I wanted to wait for my first doctor’s visit before doing so, so I started off by taking the baby for 30 minute power walks for a few days. A few days later I threw in some light lifting workouts (50% of the weight I normally use). At three weeks I went in for my first visit and the doctor cleared me to do my normal workouts, only stopping if I feel pain. Whoohoo!!! I was downstairs in the gym that night and I have been getting in an hour workout every night since!

My workouts will be a little different for the first few months than what I normally do. I’m looking to shed some belly weight and firm up, but I don’t have an abundance of time to do so. I’ll be incorporating some cardio & weight training circuits that move quickly from one exercise to the next in order to burn fat quicker and keep my heart rate up. Here is what I did the first night.

25 minutes of cardio on the elliptical (Be creative if you do not have equipment…run stairs in your house, jumping jacks, an aerobics DVD, burpees, jump rope, running in place)
20 wall balls (No medicine ball or space? Perform squats with a military press in place of the ball throw)
20 kettlebell swings (Use a dumbbell in place of a kettlebell)
20 push-ups
20 bicep curl/military presses
20 walking lunges (with weight)

Run through this 3x’s

Full Body Cardio Circuit & No Equipment Necessary!…

Here is a great cardio circuit combining both upper and lower body exercises. You can even take this workout outdoors and perform it with no equipment necessary! Stick around and watch the end of the video for demo’s/substitutions without equipment.

Repeat the workout 3-4 times. Great for toning, building lean muscle tissue, and getting your heart rate up!

Enjoy your workout!

Video

Using the Jump Rope with Dr. Sara Solomon…

Everyone knows I’m a huge fan of the jump rope.  I love incorporating the jump rope into my workouts when I’m short on time or when I just want a different approach to cardio.  Dr. Sara Solomon, The Fat Blasting Doctor, shares her jump rope workout that you can do in your home on her blog, along with some great tips and advice for working out and sticking with it.  This is a great full body workout you can do with very limited equipment right on your living room floor.

Because I Can…

Because I Can...

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Modified Filthy 50 for in-your-home!…

You CAN do a Filthy 50 workout in your home with limited equipment! A friend of mine is looking for circuits that incorporate cardio (without having to get on a treadmill for 30 minutes) that she can do in her home with her kids in the room. I suggested the Filthy 50. She gave it a try and said even though it was super intense, it was a great workout.

Here are the modifications you can make allowing you to do it in your home with limited equipment, all while still getting a great cardio workout.

Equipment needed: chair, resistance band, one single weight, stability ball, ball the size of a volleyball.

Exercises for Filthy 50:
50 box jumps 24 inch height
50 jumping pull ups
50 kettlebell swings 25lbs
50 walking lunges (knee to floor)
50 knees to elbows
50 push press (45 lbs)
50 back extensions
50 wall ball shots
50 burpees
50 double unders

You can substitute box jumps with jumps on a sturdy chair. I used to do this during part of my plyo workout before I had a plyo box. If you’re not comfortable jumping up on a chair, just do step-ups on a chair or a stair.

Substitute jumping pull-ups with pulling a resistance band down towards you. Strap it around a railing or any horizontal fixture and pull the handles towards your shoulders. Doing band pulls to the shoulders is a similar workout for your back. While not exactly the same, it hits most of the same muscles.

For kettlebell swings just use one single weight. If you do not have weights you can get creative by filling an empty milk jug with water or something heavy. Duct tape the cap SECURELY on to the top of the bottle. Think this is a joke? Robert Kennedy, the late publisher of Oxygen Magazine, wrote an article about how he concocted his own weights in his younger years in order to get stronger!

Knees to elbow is an abdominal movement that incorporates a good deal of grip strength. You can lay on your back and do abdominal toe touches to substitute for this movement. You can also do V sits. You just won’t be incorporating grip strength into the movement.

To make a substitution for push press you may have to do some hunting around your house. You can use a folding chair or even a small ladder. Or a broomstick. You can even take 2 liters of pop, holding one in each hand, pushing them up. As long as your weight is evenly distributed in each hand, you’ll be good to go.

To substitute back extensions all you need is a stability ball. You can do your basic back extension on a stability ball. You won’t get the same range of motion as if using a roman chair or similar machine, but it absolutely will suffice for an in-home Filthy 50.

The last substitution would be for wall balls. If you don’t have a medicine ball use a volleyball, basketball, or any ball that you can use while squatting and throwing at the the wall. As long as you maintain the squatting movement you’ll still reap some of the benefits of wall balls.

Upper & Lower Body, In-Your-House, Cardio Circuit!…

Here is a great circuit I do in my house when I’m short on time.  It combines both upper body and lower body exercises with short bursts of cardio in between sets.  It’s a fantastic way to build lean muscle and to strengthen your heart…strap on a heart rate monitor or take your pulse in between sets…you’ll be amazed how hard it’s working!

 

1)  3 upper body exercises performed to fatigue

Push-Ups

Reverse Dips

Decline Push-Ups

 

2)  3 lower body exercises: 2 options

-If using weights, lift heavy so that failure is at 10 reps

-If using bodyweight only, perform 20 reps of each

Squats

Walking Lunges

Bulgarian Split Squat

 

3)  1 minute high intensity cardio burst: When I lived in the city I would run 15 flights of stairs in my building as my cardio.  In your home you can also use stairs, jump rope, run in place, fast-paced jumping jacks, etc.  Other options are treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, row machine, etc.

 

4)  1-2 minute break, repeat 2 more times!

Where are we headed?

This is completely off par from what my blog page is intended for, but watching the news coverage early this morning of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary I heard a reporter say that teachers need to be teaching more morals and values in our schools.  Me, being an educator, had heard enough. 

Did anyone ever think of the idea that teaching good morals and values and loving one another and respecting people regardless of their differences should be taught at home by the parents?  I am a parent, a social worker, a psychologist, a security guard, a babysitter, and if I have time left in the day I am then a teacher.  We have people killing teachers and kids in schools, in hospitals, and in random homes.  We have parents killing their own children in the most heinous ways imaginable.  Men are getting pushed in front of trains.  Violent mob action attacks on random people in Chicago on very congested street corners.  Strings of vicious rape attacks in the city. Dozens of kids attacked at school by a man wielding a knife.  I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know it starts at home and it doesn’t seem as if that is happening.  We give birth to our children and are rushed back to work immediately, unable to bond with our children like we should.  We have children having children.  We have TV shows, songs, videos, and video games that express violence, bullying, and sexual encounters with everyone & anyone as being glorified.  As a nation we can control some of these things.  As parents we can do even more.  I’m sick of hearing gun control and I’m sick of hearing teachers need to save the world.  Everyone needs to do their part.  

Holy injury, Batman!…

I just happened to come across this and found that I was sitting there with my mouth hanging open in complete shock watching some of these athletes.  Where are their trainers!???  And if they don’t have one they absolutely need one to show them proper form and to keep them safe from injury.  I’m not putting up this video to point and laugh-although at 4:18 I realized I thought I’d seen it all but I was wrong-I’m putting it up to show how important it is to know what you’re doing and if you don’t, educate yourself!

Also…I disagree with these guys that this is CrossFit and highly doubt that every clip we see here is from a CrossFit gym.  This can pertain to any type of sport or program.

Are you just starting out with diet and weight training? Where should a beginner begin?…

I was laying in bed relaxing, surfing the web, when I came across an amazing post by Clint Nielsen.  He writes an article geared towards “newbies” in the I’m-ready-to-get-healthy-and-fit-but-don’t-have-a-clue-where-to-start stage.  He answers the most common beginner questions simply, but informatively and does a superb job of not overwhelming the reader.  If you’re looking to start taking control of your health and fitness, read this post…it will set you up with the basic tools to build the best body you aspire to achieve.

10 easy tips to help you start off on the right foot in regards to starting out with diet and weight training.

via Starting out with diet and weight training. Where should a beginner “begin”?.

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