It’s postpartum workout plan time! Need help knowing how to put together an effective postpartum workout plan? Learn how to combine healthy eating, pelvic floor exercises, and regular exercise to make the perfect postpartum workout plan.
Hi there! My name is Chantal and I’m the owner of this blog you’re reading, Ironwild Fitness!
I’m a two-time c-section mom, as well as a NASM Certified Personal Trainer.
If you haven’t been here before, you probably deserve a little backstory to help you understand why I’m writing about designing the perfect postpartum workout plan.
(If you have been here before, maybe you know that I’ve designed a postpartum workout plan + clean eating challenge, as well as a core rehab program just for moms. Check them out!)
The thing is that most new moms go into the postpartum period thinking that they are going to work out and eat similarly to the way they did before having a baby.
While that is true for some moms, it’s just not realistic for most people.
Related Reading: 11 Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms
I personally had two very yucky pregnancies (very sick and difficult) that resulted in major physical changes as well as some pretty bad eating habits.
Had I gone into the postpartum period with a more realistic postpartum workout plan, I feel like my story could have been completely different.
While pregnant with my first, I thought that I could work out like I did before having a baby.
My postpartum workout plan was nothing different than what I’d done before.
I didn’t expect to have an emergency c-section, and I didn’t expect that nothing would feel “right” after giving birth. And I also didn’t expect to experience muscle weakness and fatigue, as well as countless sleepless nights. (Neither of my babies slept through the night until 10 months.)
All of the expectations I had going in set me up for failure. When things didn’t go as planned for me, things backfired. I started to exhibit signs of postpartum depression, and I regained my initial weight loss.
I feel that I had so many unrealistic expectations for myself – but it wasn’t really my fault. No one told me the truth about postpartum weight loss.
Honestly, I was only seeing society’s “best of the best” and seeing “picture-perfect,” best-case-scenario moms on the internet.
No one told me that most women actually take a lot of time to lose their baby weight. Or that many women never lose all of it.
While no one wants to go into pregnancy assuming the worst, it’s definitely helpful to set yourself up for success if you have realistic expectations.
Related Reading: How to Set Realistic Fitness Goals After Having a Baby
At least that’s what the case was for me.
When I had my second baby, I knew more about what to expect. I say this in regards to pregnancy, c-sections, caring for newborns, and caring for myself in the postpartum period.
Because of my knowledge and experience coupled with my newly acquired personal training certification, I went into my second pregnancy with a completely different perspective.
Not only was I able to stay calm and give myself grace more easily, I was able to create a more realistic postpartum workout plan. This made it easier for me to enjoy my time with my newborn more, and it let me fully recover from my c-section before worrying about anything else.
The peace of mind alone was worth it!
So my goal with this post about how to design a postpartum workout plan is with all of that in mind.
Elements of A Great Postpartum Workout Plan
Obviously, the perfect postpartum workout plan will vary for different women. There are many contributing factors that make our pregnancies vary. From how you gave birth to the circumstances of your pregnancy and health prior to getting pregnant, each pregnancy is unique!
However, all good postpartum workout plans have a few key elements in common.
Core Components of A Post Pregnancy Plan
- A solid core rehabilitation regime
- Cardiovascular exercise
- Strength training
- A solid nutrition plan to match!
I truly believe that for the ultimate results when talking postpartum weight loss, you need a good combination of these elements. However, these can all look different for each person and each pregnancy.
For example, women who are runners may be able to dive deep into their cardiovascular training earlier than women who were unable to run throughout their pregnancies. Women who experienced complications that involved bed rest may need to take their strength training at a slow pace and lower intensity. And women who are breastfeeding might need to eat a little differently than those who aren’t!
Related Reading: Top Postpartum Essentials & My Fave Postpartum Products
At the end of the day, all women can benefit from some serious core rehab. And all women can benefit from having a solid plan. Having zero plan for how to attack postpartum workouts and nutrition is risky (from my experience anyway.)
How To Design A Postpartum Workout Plan
If you can find a great exercise and nutrition program that is designed for postpartum women and encompasses all of the above elements, that’s great!
But the truth is that there’s no one-size-fits-all here, and there actually aren’t a lot of comprehensive programs out there. If you can pay a postnatal specialist or personal trainer to help you, that’s awesome!
Most moms, however, aren’t ready to go back to the gym immediately postpartum, and not everyone can afford a personal trainer. Plus, like we said, the circumstances vary so much for each woman and pregnancy that it’s super hard to find something that’s perfect for everyone.
For those reasons, I recommend building your own postpartum workout plan by hand-picking resources that are already available. Only you know your body, your baby, and the details of your pregnancy, after all!
So how do you do design a postpartum workout plan that’s perfect just for you?
My suggestion is to pick-and-choose your “mini-plan” for each of the elements. If you’re lucky, you can find a resource that will work for more than one element. That way it will take care of any major planning. (It’s important to stay flexible, too, though.)
So. That means you need at maximum, four components to comprise your perfect postpartum workout plan.
You can easily go onto Pinterest and pick-and-choose. There are tons of strength regimes, cardio plans, core rehab plans, and nutrition plans. That might be right for you if you have a lot of special circumstances surrounding your pregnancies or health situation, or that might seem like a lot of work.
But if you’re like most of us, you probably just want a pre-made, ready-to-go plan for exercise and food postpartum.
Luckily, you can take the guesswork out of it by finding some sort of resource meant JUST for postpartum women!
I felt so unprepared my first time around that I decided that with my second child, I’d be ready with a postpartum workout plan. One that would have all of my key components! Once I had my plan made, I decided to turn it into a resource and share it with the world.
As a NASM certified personal trainer and two-time c-section mom, I have designed a couple of resources that I think can really help most postpartum moms.
While my core rehab program isn’t designed specifically for moms with any serious abdominal separation (called diastasis recti) and I am not a physical therapist, my ab rehab program can be beneficial for anyone. (Find ab-rehab tips straight from a real physical therapist and mom in this post.)
You can use it in combination with the strength and cardio plan of your choosing.
My 21-Day Postpartum Challenge is designed to go a little further. I focus on core rehab while also building strength and challenging new moms to improve their diets. It features some essential core exercises for new moms, as well as a clean-eating challenge, and strength-building exercise. (Again, not for women who have abdominal separation.) It even works with the cardio program of your choice.
How’s that for the perfect postpartum workout plan?
The thing is that if you are recently postpartum and you choose to focus on just one area of your health, it may lead to other problems. If you neglect core strength, it can lead to injury. If you don’t choose any strength training, it can leave you fatigued. Furthermore, if you ignore your cardiovascular health, it can lead to other health issues. And of course, if you choose not to eat well, any other work you do can feel like it’s for nothing.
I personally added walking into my initial postpartum workout plan. It was great in combination with the 21-Day Challenge and exercises from Restore The Core, but that would be up to you! If you are a more active person who had a better pregnancy than I did, chances are you’ll be eager to get back to other forms of cardio.
You can also modify the strength exercises I provide in my programs, helping you to tailor things to your fitness level.
On top of all this, you can bundle the two programs (the ab program + the postpartum challenge) to save money. This way you get an ab workout daily. Combine them with your strength or cardio that you have planned for the day. Hoorah!
So there you have it – the perfect solution to your postpartum weight loss woes.
Get my programs to take care of your postpartum workout schedule, clean eating planning, pelvic floor rehab, and more. You can do every postpartum workout at home, at your own pace and on your own schedule. So set your post pregnancy plan in motion without any complicated plans (or no plan at all)!