How to have a fitness routine with a baby

Missing the days when you could run a half marathon or keep up with the netball team? Here’s how to get your inner gym bunny hopping again


Whether it’s running, gym classes, swimming or team sports, many of us used to have an exercise regime. Back in the BB (Before Baby) days, you may have indulged a few times a week, and revelled in the effects on body, mind and social life. But now, post baby, it’s all gone to pot. If you crave the exercise buzz – and body – you used to get, then there are ways to get back into the swing of things without feeling like the new girl in class. Choose your discipline and follow our guide.


 Gym bunny mummy hurdle: Exercise classes

“Variety is the key,” says celebrity fitness guru Nicki Waterman. “You’re more likely to enjoy your workout if you’re doing a variety of classes rather than the same thing every day. Doing different exercises works different parts of your body too, so you’re more likely to get a well-balanced level of fitness.” If you’re out of condition you can feel disappointed – remember to tell yourself this is a new you. See if there’s another mum who’ll go with you and hit the pool or sauna afterwards for some quality wind-down time.

How to hop to it!

Talk to the staff at your gym about the right exercise for you, and gradually build up fitness levels. Or find out about a mums’ exercise class run by Pushy Mothers. Investigate classes before you sign up to make sure they’ll be right for you. Don’t be scared, but be realistic, so turn up early and have a chat with the teacher so he or she knows you’re returning to exercise. Ask about crèche facilities so you can go to classes in the daytime when there might be some more like-bodied mums about.

Gym bunny mummy hurdle: Running

“Running helps to release endorphins, giving you an energy ‘high’, and is one of the quickest routes to a flat tummy, too, because your stomach muscles have to work particularly hard,” says Nicki. But even though the medals in the cupboard say you can do it, that ‘personal best’ you used to try to beat is now replaced with an uncertainty about where your trainers are.

How to hop to it!

Start with small distances. You’ll soon find a new pace and be plotting longer courses.
Don’t be afraid to alternate running with walking when you need to catch your breath. As long as you’re moving you’re doing ok.

If you’re not ready to start pounding the pavement, have a look on the internet for a  
a power-walking club for new mums – it could be an ideal build-up to running. Once you’re up to a good jogging standard, find a challenge such as a 5k Race For Life. These are great as you can walk or run – there’s no pressure – but you still get a medal! Plus, you get the satisfaction of helping others while helping yourself.

Read on for info about group sports…

Remember – no-one is looking at you, they’re all wondering if they’ve got it right!

Gym bunny mummy hurdle: Group sports

You may have been part of the netball team or squash league when you got pregnant,
so why can’t you find the courage to turn up again? Simple – you feel out of place and left behind. While you’ve been learning the rules of motherhood they’ve been swotting up on new on-court tactics. Nicki says, “Competitive sports are a simple and fast way to get fit – they’re a great way to burn off calories and they beat the treadmill any day. And enjoying some sporty time out with the girls can be just as fun as going for dinner.”

How to hop to it!

The key is to meet the team before the matches or training. Arrange coffee or drinks, and catch up, then turning up for the game won’t feel like a hurdle. Swot up – go online and see if there are new rules to the game you loved. That way you won’t be caught out when the team are talking about their plans. Broaden your horizons. Have a look on the notice board at your local gym or health club, and see what’s on offer. There might be a team sport you haven’t thought about trying.

Gym bunny mummy hurdle: The gym

Remember, nobody is looking at you – they’re all wondering if they’ve got it right. Or just watching the TV. Nicki Waterman advises, “Work out for at least 30 minutes and include exercises targeted at toning the muscles most affected by pregnancy at least three to five days a week. If you weren’t active during your pregnancy, start with a 15-minute programme and gradually increase to 30 minutes. If you tapered off your fitness routine as your pregnancy progressed, begin at the level you stopped exercising at when you were pregnant and increase the intensity or time as you feel ready.”

How to hop to it!

Go at a quiet time and book a one on one. Explain that you’ve not been for a while, rather than focusing too much on being a mum. Or get a personal trainer. They cost a bit more but they make you look active and involved rather than lost and confused – and they’ll motivate you.


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