Embarking on a postnatal fitness program doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Armed with the proper tools, there are several steps you can take to ensure you’ll meet and even exceed your short and long term fitness goals.
Counteracting these, there are certain things you should avoid to achieve your goals. Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts to keep you on track.
- Get clearance from a health-care professional before starting any fitness or weight-loss program.
- Write down your fitness goals. You’re more likely to stick with a program once you have set some specific goals.
- Have a fitness professional assess your current fitness level before starting an exercise program. By doing so, you’ll be able to establish goals that meet your specific fitness needs.
- Take on a personal trainer – at least for the first few weeks to get you on the right track.
- Always strive to eat a well-balanced diet.
- Break down your meals so you are eating several mini meals per day.
- Choose alternatives to satisfy your cravings when possible. Consider frozen fruit over ice cream or opt for a mini chocolate instead of the whole candy bar.
- Always stretch before and after your exercise routine
- Slowly increase the intensity of your workouts. One of the most common mistakes first timers make is taking on too much at once. You’ll be too sore and too tired within a few short days to continue.
- Diversify your workout routine. If you do the same exercises day after day, you’ll quickly tire and are more likely to skip workouts.
- Work out with friends. You’ll help motivate each other.
- Keep healthy snacks available at all times. You’re less likely to grab junk food if something good for you is readily available.
- Overtrain. Your body needs time to recover in between workouts.
- Skip breakfast. Eating breakfast will jump start your metabolism and provide you with the energy you need to get through the day.
- Skip stretching. Stretching helps reduce muscle tension, prevents injuries, and increases range of motion in joints, circulation and energy levels.
- Skimp on sleep. (Hard with a new baby I know!) But research shows that inadequate sleep can have disastrous effects on your weight loss efforts and impair your concentration.
- Set unrealistic goals. A healthy rate of weight loss is one kilogram per week (after the first few weeks). Don’t expect your baby weight to come off overnight (though it can drop quickly whilst breastfeeding); you’ll set yourself up for disappointment. Focus on being a mother during the first few months after delivery. The weight will come off in time.
- Compare your successes and failures to others. Everyone is unique, and what works for some may not work for others.
- Give up. Talk with a friend in times of discouragement. Change up your workout routine if you get bored or burned out, but don’t ever give up.
- Forget to reward yourself on occasion. Complete deprivation will ultimately lead to burnout and overindulgence. Reward yourself for meeting small goals or give yourself one day a week to splurge.
Sources: Weight Watchers Australia and BabyFit.com