Thursday, July 31, 2014

How to Bounce Back After Pregnancy With Only Diet & Exercise

Bouncing back after pregnancy is quite the challenge for any woman when doing it in a realistic way. How you took care of yourself during pregnancy usually determines how fast or effectively you will “bounce” back. But, sometimes, the idea seems inevitable and impossible. Don’t give up! Anything worth building did not happen overnight, and your transformation is no different!

Diet plays a huge role in fitness-even more so than the gym, believe it or not! What you decide to fuel your body with is ultimately what you get back into return. My goal for bouncing back after my pregnancy is to lower my carb intake, eat 6 small meals a day, and fuel with my body nothing but water or flavored water.

You can steer clear by focusing on whole grains and unrefined, unprocessed foods. Stay away from any starchy veggies such as white potatoes or white pastas, breads, rice, sweets, and sodas! Instead, aim for whole grains, whole grains, oats, and quinoa. Choose green leafy veggies and veggies filled with colors! I love potatoes and have found a healthy alternative in switching to sweet potatoes instead. If you have a sweet tooth as I do, learn to make healthy alternatives of your favorite guilty pleasures. Simple swaps such as using Splenda instead of sugar, almond or coconut flour instead of all-purpose flour, or even almond or coconut milk instead of cow’s milk can lead to a huge difference!

Eating several small meals a day instead of 3 large meals actually does more for your weightloss than one may think! Think of your body as a fireplace-it NEEDS wood to keep burning a fire, right? Your body is NO different! By supplying your body with 5-6 small meals a day, it keeps your metabolism roaring! It is always working at a constant motion. Also, by eating several meals you become more satisfied and you are less likely to reach in the cupboards for more food or swing by the drive-thru window.
Water is very important to losing the baby weight because it flushes those fat cells and toxins out of your system. It also keeps you feeling full in between your small meals. The best way to calculate how much water you need daily is simple! Take your body weight in pounds and divide by half. That is the number in ounces of water that your body requires at a minimum. So, if you weigh 120lbs, you will need to drink at least 60oz of water per day to supply all of your bodily functions.

Exercise goes hand in hand with diet; you simply cannot do one without the other and expect a perfect transformation.  I lost 45lbs through dieting alone, but I was left skinny with zero muscle definition. Once I started weight straining, I noticed my body changing and becoming powerful. I continued strength training and cardio throughout my pregnancy and will do so after my baby is born as a part of my postpartum fitness plan. To get back to your pre-pregnancy shape, there are a few workouts and exercises that I highly recommend!

One huge workout tip-always pair cardio with strength training. Cardio will be your best friend after your give birth to baby. My favorite and most effective form of cardio is running! Take a jog with your baby in the stroller, or if you can get some alone time, head to the gym and run on the Elliptical. I also love running outside on the track and using the MapMyRun app for iPhone which tells you how many miles you run, calories burned, etc. If you are not a runner, simple jogging or even walking in the evenings will help you out more than you know. Swimming is another form of amazing cardio that won’t leave you sweaty and breathless.

Strength training for me consists of the bench press, squatting with free weights, bicep curls with barbells, and using the leg press machine at the gym (love that thing!). Start off with a lighter weight and slowly work your way up. You will notice your body adjusting to the weight as you go on. That is when you know it’s time to vamp things up! One common myth is that weightlifting will make you bulky- we do not have the genes or hormones to become bulky like men! Do not believe this myth. Other great forms of exercises that I enjoy and would be great to use postpartum are pilates, yoga, CrossFit, etc. Find what works for you.

Most importantly, to bounce back after pregnancy, you must stay motivated! I always make it a point to do my workouts first thing in the morning before anything else. It is my priority! Set your alarms, lay out your workout clothes the night before, and mentally prepare yourself for your transformation that is to come.

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