Banishing your baby weight: 4 new exercise techniques to get you back in shape

Check out these fab fitness ideas for a new post-baby you

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  • 1) The ChiBall method

    Best for increasing flexibility

    “This training exercise involves using a small inflatable ball called a ChiBall alongside doing tai chi, Qigong, dance, yoga, pilates, massage and relaxation,” explains Maria Pinn, ChiBall trainer and instructor. There are eight ChiBalls and each one uses colour and aromatherapy to work on a different aspect of body and mind.

    For example, the red ChiBall increases energy, stamina, passion and vitality through the colour red and a cinnamon aroma.

    The benefits

    “The ChiBall method is fab for getting rid of any stress or tension,” says Maria. “It improves posture, strength and flexibility and the dance element is quite energetic, so this part of the class especially helps to promote weight loss.”

    Where to go

    Check out the official ChiBall class finder for lessons in the UK. More will be added throughout the year.

    Cost

    From £5 for an hour’s class or free at some gyms, where it’s part of a membership fee. You can order a DVD gift pack, £15.90 (www.chiball.com), to work out when it suits you at home.

  • 2) WillPower and Grace

    Best for nurturing your body and mind

    Hot from the US, this is a training programme that requires you to exercise in your bare feet.

    In a typical class you’ll cover both heart-pumping routines and be given the chance to focus your mind through visualisation techniques.

    But why no shoes? “Although trainers are comfy, they’re actually limiting the movement of our feet,” explains Gillian Reeves, national group exercise manager for Virgin Active. “Our feet have forgotten how to exercise properly, so they’re losing flexibility and mobility.”

    The benefits

    This is the perfect programme for new mums, as it has the physical aspect to shift baby weight, as well as giving you the time to completely zone out. “Exercising barefoot helps you to develop ankle, knee and hip stabilisation, promoting movement and preventing injury,” adds Gillian.


    Where to go

    Virgin Active health clubs.

    Cost

    Free with monthly membership fee.

  • 3) Strictly Fit

    Best for a full body workout

    If you’re a fan of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, you’ll love Strictly Fit classes. “These incorporate the cha cha, salsa, jive, waltz, foxtrot and American smooth and feature some of the music used on the TV series,” says Emma Sanderson, Strictly Fit instructor at Fitness First. “Classes are taught either singly or with a partner.” It’s a shame they can’t throw in Artem Chigvintsev, too, eh?

    The benefits

    “Lots of women enjoy Strictly Fit classes, as they’re exercising without realising it. You can burn up to 500 calories per class – while doing something you really love,” says Emma. Plus, the workout has lots of different dance elements, so you’re less likely to get bored.


    Where to go

    Fitness First clubs

    Cost

    Free for Fitness First members. Or £25 for five hourly classes.

  • 4) Kranking

    Best for tackling those bingo wings

    Created by the US fitness guru who invented spinning, the Krankcycle is like a stationary bike, but the pedalling is done with your arms instead of your legs. “You can turn two rotating handles separately or together while you stand or remain seated on the saddle,” explains Nick Hudson, fitness training manager for Virgin Active.

    The benefits

    Kranking is a perfect way to burn off those calories and it targets muscles in the arms, shoulders and back, giving you a workout from the waist up. “It’s ideal for new mums, as often pregnancy leaves you with rounder shoulders from the heavier weight of a bump and breasts and kranking is a great way to straighten your back out again,” says Nick.

    Where to go

    Virgin Active health clubs

    Cost

    Free with monthly membership fee.

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