Hello my Fit Family! I tend to get a lot of clients join me in my FASTer Way to Fat Loss rounds who are newly postpartum and/or nursing. This post is for YOU if you are currently in a round, thinking about it or my VIP family.
So you just gave birth to a baby, when should you start the working out?
The answer here is going to be different for everyone! I first joined FWTFL 6 months postpartum but had been exercising since 8 weeks after Connor was born. I was nursing. I did not notice a decrease in my milk supply and I was more than ready physically.
After Elle was born, I was ambitious. I had a normal pregnancy and delivery. I exercised on my Peloton the day she was born! I began to exercise around 4 weeks postpartum with low impact rides on my Peloton and at 6 weeks postpartum, I added in low impact strength training avoiding core work. I was able to do the FASTer Way to Fat Loss workouts with a few core modifications but for the most part, the low impact modifications were great for being newly postpartum.
If you delivered via C-Section, did not workout much during your pregnancy, have a lot on your plate (hello, pandemic!) you may need a longer recovery time. Choose sleep over fitness if you have to choose in your newly postpartum life. Postpartum fitness is a journey and everyone should listen to their body and of course their doctor for when they are ready to work out.
When I say newly postpartum, I’m generally referring to clients from 6/8-20 weeks postpartum.
As a general rule, I recommend that my newly postpartum clients follow along with the low impact modifications during the FASTer Way guided workouts. Every workout has 3 people sharing demonstrations, one being low impact. This is your go to person to watch.
If you have a prolapse and are beyond 20 weeks postpartum, still follow the low impact modifications.
As for core work, I recommend all newly postpartum clients take a diastasis recti friendly modification which is often demonstrated by the low impact person. Sometimes the low impact demonstration is not diastasis recti friendly. I consider a move to NOT be DR friendly if you notice coning or doming in your abdominal area.
Here is a short list of moves to skip if you have a diastasis recti or are newly postpartum:
- Anything in full plank position like mountain climbers, mountain climber on steroid, shoulder taps, renegade rows (Plank Row), push-ups, cheek to cheek, in and outs…
- Regular crunches (rare)
- Russian Twists
- Leg Lifts
- Hollow Hold
- Flutter Kicks
Here is a video I filmed that shares suggested alternative moves commonly use in the FASTer Way to Fat Loss workouts that are diastasis recti and newly postpartum friendly.
For the workouts, you’ll need a couple sets of dumbbells at least or a set of bands. If money is not an issue, I recommend a light, medium and heavy set of dumbbells. You could do a medium and heavy set as well as a set of bands to sort of hit anything in between.
I have adjustable dumbbells from Bowflex that I like. I also have a set of 3 lb dumbbells and 8 lb dumbbells. I suggest my client grab a set of 3-8 lbs dumbbells as well as a second set of dumbbells 12-20 lbs. Think chest press and deadlifts for heavier set. I have bands as well that I use when I travel or if I need something in between weight wise. I also love my Finer Form bench and Peloton to complete my little home gym.
Intermittent Fasting and Breastfeeding
I wrote a long blog post on Intermittent Fasting and Breastfeeding before Elle was born.
Here is the video version of it below and here is the written.
Generally speaking, most clients, myself included, do not experience a decrease in milk supply using the methods promoted in the FASTer Way to Fat Loss.
I began Intermittent Fasting with a twelve hour protocol around 6 weeks postpartum with Elle. I did not have the motivation or time to track macros and just focused on eating whole foods. It took me until 12-16 weeks to get motivated to track macros.
I recommend my newly postpartum clients start with a 12 hour fasting window. If they feel good, I encourage them to go to a 14 hour window and eventually 15 hour maximum.
They key to maintaining supply is to eat enough calories in their feeding window and drinking enough water! I recommend 1/2 your bodyweight in ounces PLUS extra water if you are exercising, about 12 ounces for every 30 minutes.
If you aren’t sure how much you should be eating, in the FASTer Way, we determine your macro goals in week 2. I recommend my newly postpartum clients select ONE activity level higher than what they identify with. So if you are “active” with 3-5 workouts a week, select “very active” to account for extra calories required by the demands of breastfeeding.
Over exercising will effect your supply. Creating too much of a macro/caloric deficit will effect your supply. You only need 20-40 minutes of exercise 3-5x a week to see results. Don’t overdo it if you want to see change.
Carb Cycling while Breastfeeding
When it comes to the FASTer Way To Fat Loss, we are not a low carb program but we do eat low carb 2 days a week intentionally paired with HIIT workouts to maximize our bodies fat burning potential! While most of my clients consume 50 net grams of carbohydrates, my clients who are nursing should aim for 100 net which is your total carbohydrates minus fiber. If you feel like garbage on 100 net then clients may bump up to 125 or 150, especially if they are very newly postpartum.
Macro tracking can be difficult for many clients who have new babies. For clients who don’t want to stress about this, they may opt to just follow the meal plan exclusively which is easy to do in our app and then will just add in a 200-300 calorie snack to hit their macro goals.
“Why am I not losing weight?”
Many women expect the weight to just fall off after the baby is born, especially if they are nursing. Many of us do not experience this magical disappearing act. Things that effect your body’s ability to lose weight include sleep and stress. New moms should be aware that they may not be able to lose weight if they are not sleeping enough or overly stressed. You can thank your hormones for that one! Similarly breastfeeding does have an effect on hormones as well so some people struggle with the last bit of weight until they completely wean their child.
Take a deep breath, enjoy the baby snuggles. There will be a time where you can put yourself first. The time might be now if you have good help but if you don’t, focus on progress not perfection and avoid weighing yourself! Focus on how your clothes fit, your energy levels and cravings! You got this.
If you are pregnant, many of these modifications work as well!