9 Postpartum Fitness Tips From a New Mom (and Personal Trainer)

Portrait of a smiling woman holding a medicine ball at a gym

If you're a new mom, one of the last things that's probably on your mind right now is working out. After all, you just had a baby. While rest is definitely important to your recovery, one thing new moms also might want to consider is getting in the postpartum fitness game. You just might like it!

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The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has revealed the many benefits of post-baby exercise that include relieving stress, better sleep, providing moms with a much-needed energy boost, and helping to prevent postpartum depression.

One person who's here to help point you in the right direction is Chrystal Vaden, certified personal trainer, fitness instructor, and owner of N2 Pro Fitness for Women. The North Carolina wife and mother of three (her kids range from age 6 to a newborn baby!) knows just how real the struggle can be for moms who want to fit a workout or two into their already busy schedules.

Chrystal Vaden, personal trainer and mommy

"If I can help women and moms, I can change their entire household," says Vaden.

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Inspiring her in-person and online clients to dig deep, Chrystal prides herself on being a cheerleader who empowers women to fight for the results they wish to see.

So, are you ready to get started?

Here are a few tips Chrystal recommends that will help you reach your fitness goals.

1.) Exercise when the baby sleeps. All of us have heard about sleeping when the baby sleeps. And while it's always great to get some shut-eye when LO is resting, Chrystal says that just might be your chance to work out. "Nothing hard; keep it simple," advises Vaden. "Wall push-ups, squats, walking, or jogging. You'll be surprised how much more energy you will have to make it through the day after your endorphins kick in a bit!"

2.) Schedule time for someone to watch the baby. As much as you don't want to leave your baby's side, you need to do it. One of the best ways to really get in a nice sweat session is to make your partner (or a loved one) take the baby, so you can clear your head and enjoy a longer workout. Chrystal recommends moms should try to do this when they can, but aim for three to four times a week.

3.) Make exercise a part of your daily routine. "I find it easier to work out early in the morning because my newborn naps longer," reveals Vaden. "Once I figured this out, I was able to be more consistent with exercising."

4.) Try a new fun (and physical) activity each week. Think of something that makes you feel like a kid again. Now, go out and do it! "[Some] of the best childhood memories I have are with my older brother getting in trouble for speed skating at the rink," admits Vaden. As much as skating at the drop of a dime isn't always realistic for Chrystal, that didn't stop her from ordering a pair of super cute roller skates and taking a stroll when she can. "You may have to be more creative as a new mom, but you don't have to give up the things you love to do that can help get you back in shape!" encourages Vaden.

5.) Ask for fit gifts. It doesn't just take a village to raise a child; you're going to need all the help you can get in the fitness department. The next time friends and loved ones ask you if there's anything you need, request practical gifts you can use on your fitness journey. Things like a new sports bra, new pair of socks, workout outfit, and even fitness tracker will keep you motivated to exercise.

6.) Schedule a workout playdate. Mom friends are awesome and can help you reach your fitness goals. "Lean on another mommy, friend, or relative and schedule times to have a 'workout playdate,'" suggests Chrystal. Even if you only take the strollers around your neighborhood, use the time to reconnect and, more importantly, enjoy adult conversation. Should you feel up to the challenge, you and your mom friends can motivate each other by hitting the gym or park to complete your workouts.

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7.) Stay energized with rest. On your quest to get in shape, please don't neglect the importance of rest. Turn off your cell phone. Steal away 5 to 10 minutes a day free of distractions and noise. Go to a place that gives you peace. Chrystal notes how important "me time" is for moms. As Vaden says, it will keep you "more focused, energized, and at peace with your day."

8.) Work on your posture. (No, really.) Did you know that little changes to your stance can have a pretty major impact on your physique? Chrystal urges new moms to think about their posture by standing tall and pulling in your abdominals. "Your aching postpartum body will benefit tremendously from these simple ways to strengthen and tone your muscles from head to toe," notes Vaden.

9.) Stop worrying about your post-baby belly. "I know you might not want to hear this, but [slimming down your postpartum belly] will take time," advises Chrystal. "You will need to exercise the same level of love, care, gentleness, and patience towards your fearless tummy -- as you give to your newborn," the mom of three adds. Obviously it would be all sorts of amazing for new moms to snap their fingers and have their post-baby belly magically disappear, but that's just not realistic. And rather than stressing over it, love all of you. "You shared your body for months to bring forth life," Vaden reminds mothers. "That same body will rejuvenate, strengthen, and tone back up along the way in due time -- I promise!" 

postpartum fitness 

Image via Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock; Chrystal Vaden; ©iStock.com/laflor 

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