Monday 18 August 2014

Back to fitness: Shaping up after giving birth

*Sponsored post written by Janine Chorlton. 
Janine Chorlton is a fitness expert and mother of three. Her favourite form of exercise is weight training. When she’s not in the gym she enjoys splashing around in the swimming pool with the kids. Images by TownePost Network and viralbus, used under Creative Commons licence.

It’s been six months since your little bundle of joy came into the world, and the plan you made to snap back into shape has gone awry, lost somewhere between sugar cravings, sleep deprivation and snacking. Your body is now at a critical stage. Physically you can either continue on your path to a permanent tummy pouch and cellulite, or make a mental pact to regain a healthy, toned physique, by any means necessary. If you choose the latter, here are some ways to expedite the process:

Build strength
Breastfeeding seriously diminishes calories (nursing burns around 500 a day), and can leave you feeling depleted. Don’t deprive yourself of the right nutrition in an unhealthy bid to lose weight. Instead, fill up on healthy sources of energy and nutrients, such as oily fish, nuts and protein shakes. Allow yourself an hour once a week for some fun strength training; hit the weights at the gym, take up a new hobby, like climbing, or join a kettlebell class to socialize as you tone up.

Walk everywhere
A simple but effective method of shifting excess pounds, walking will do wonders for your balance, posture and core strength, giving you and your baby a chance to escape the inevitable cabin fever of the first few months of motherhood. Invest in a good quality pedometer and some toning shoes or weights if you want to be technical about it.
Blog about the experience
Find the means to celebrate the triumphs and lament failures on your path to fitness by blogging about your journey. Sharing goals tends to make them more achievable, as you won’t want to contradict yourself or fail. Join a forum, share tips with other, likeminded mothers in their quest to shed pounds, and become the heroine of your own story.

Make your home a mini-gym
There will be days when leaving the house simply isn’t possible. The good news: you can still exercise. Even if you’re working with a restricted budget, there’s no excuse; with skipping ropes, hula hoops, a yoga mat and the power of YouTube many a spare tyre has been conquered. If you have a little more to spend, work out what works best for you and consider investing in a cross-trainer or treadmill.
Exercise can seem like a frivolous pursuit when you have a small child to care for, but there is nothing you can do that will make you feel more energized or powerful than running on a treadmill or nailing a set of crunches. Nothing that is, except for looking in the mirror at the results for which you’ve worked so hard.

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