VICTORIA began her health and fitness journey with ATP Personal Training six weeks after the birth of her second child. Like many in her position, she was very low on energy and short on time. Yet, even by committing to a postnatal exercise plan of just two hours a week in the gym, she became a stronger, more confident mother. Here’s why it worked.
#1 Enlisting a team to help
“When you’re a new mum, you need all the help you can get! I needed someone to guide me in the right direction, encourage me to keep going and reassure me that I was doing well. My ATP coach gave me all these things.”
According to the ATP team, accountability and structure help to make the process much easier to sustain; you can then focus on executing a plan that’s been put together just for you. You won’t have the problem of second-guessing yourself and wondering if your efforts are working.
#2 Focusing on more than just weight loss
While physical changes are a big driving factor for a lot of mothers after giving birth, they’re not the only benefit to getting fitter and healthier.
Victoria found that an intelligent approach to training impacted her day-to-day life tremendously. “The biggest difference has been in my strength; I’m so much fitter and stronger, and I can confidently go out with my two children and physically look after them both – lugging a car seat in and out of taxis and keeping a three-year-old close is hard work!”
The ATP team says that an intelligent, well-structured and progressive exercise routine should also take into account any changes that have occurred during pregnancy – you can’t expect to jump straight back into training intensely.
For example, you should first get cleared for diastasis recti, or ab separation, prior to engaging in exercise that might exacerbate the issue. That means no push-ups, deadlifts or planks until any separation has properly healed.
Taking muscles through a full range of motion is also important to break down the “locked up” postures that new mums find themselves in – holding a newborn baby and breastfeeding, for example.
#3 Getting guidance on nutrition
Mothers who are breastfeeding will require additional fuel to ensure that milk reserves don’t dry up. So, the focus needs to be on optimising nutrition levels and not slashing calories to lose weight as fast as possible. “The nutrition guidance from ATP was invaluable,” says Victoria, “as I learnt I didn’t have to cut anything out; I also learnt about the foods I should eat to fuel my body properly. The programme was flexible, so it worked for me while breastfeeding.”
#4 Building good lifestyle habits
It’s important to look at your entire lifestyle if you want changes that last. ATP takes into account three pillars when creating a personal training plan – what it calls your “DNA”: Daily routine, Nutrition and Activity. Auditing your daily routine, they say, gives you an awareness as to when your potential energy leakages and self-defeating behaviours emerge. Even for new mothers whose sleep patterns are disrupted, they’ve found that simple changes can have a dramatic impact.
The benefit of scheduling is that you can make a clear commitment to yourself that’s non-negotiable and you won’t feel guilty about. For Victoria, the results are clear. “I’m able to look after myself properly and now I realise that it doesn’t have to come at the detriment of my family or family time.”
There’s a welcome bonus, too: “I was able to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes after only four months. With my first pregnancy, it took two years to get back to that point!”
Find out more at atp.fitness.
This article first appeared in the Summer issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.