The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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After her first baby was born, prenatal and postpartum fitness specialist Teddi Bryant struggled with her role as a new mom. “When you have a baby, the world you once knew completely changes,” she says. “The one thing you can control is your physical self. Being fit and feeling strong gives you self-confidence.”
For Bryant, getting back to the gym and working hard helped her reclaim her pre-baby body—and her sense of self. Soon after, she created Hot Mamas Exercise (hotmamasexercise.com), offering sweat-inducing prenatal and post-baby classes in her Denver studio. “Intensity is very important. You’ve got to get moving again to burn those calories,” she says. “When your heart rate is up, you’re working up a lather.” The following circuit-style workout, based on Bryant’s Hot Mamas Exercise Postnatal Conditioning DVD, targets those muscles that were stressed most during pregnancy as well as the ones you use most as a mother. These include moves that tighten flabby abs and exercises to strengthen your upper back and arms—a necessity for the constant bending over, lifting and carrying you do when you have a baby.
Between each exercise, Bryant keeps you moving with bursts of cardio. “When you’re finished, you should feel spent and worked from head to toe,” she says. Begin by doing one set of each exercise in the order shown, working up to three sets. Wait six weeks before beginning this workout, longerif you’ve had a Cesarean section. Always check with your doctor before starting this or any workout.
Do each of the following for 30 seconds in the order listed. Repeat the sequence for 10-15 minutes.
1 | Mock jump rope: Move your arms as if you were jumping rope and shift your feet from side to side.
2 | Boxer’s shuffle: Quickly shift your weight from side to side, staying on the balls of your feet.
3 | High knees: Alternate lifting each knee quickly to hip height.