Kick-start your day with this delicious breakfast recipe by January 2017 cover model Tiffiny Hall.
Ingredients (Serves 2 // Prep: 5 min // Cook: 2 min)
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tbsp water
- 100g fresh ricotta
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- 2 slices wholegrain (or gluten-free) bread
- 1 banana, thinly sliced
- ⅓ punnet strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup blueberries
1. In a small bowl, combine tahini, honey, and water together until smooth and set aside.
2. Combine the ricotta, cinnamon and chia seeds to form a creamy spread.
3. Toast wholegrain bread in toaster for 1–2 minutes or until golden.
4. Lay toast flat, spread with ricotta mix then top with fresh fruit. Drizzle tahini sauce over the top and serve.
SOURCE: WOMEN,S HEALTH & FITNESS MAGAZINE
Many people try to reverse the effects of aging or keep it at bay by eating a healthy diet, exercising and practicing self-care. The laws of nature, however, have different plans for aging bodies.
Joints, in particular, can become sources of pain and immobility. As we age, joints become less flexible and more brittle. Cartilage can rub away and calcification can occur, especially in the shoulders, which can bring on bone spurs.
Degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis can be very painful and lead to a greater loss in mobility and overall health.
The spine is comprised of many vertebral joints, and spinal disc compression can be the source of back pain for many people. However, improving posture through a yoga practice can help keep the spine healthy and mobile. In fact, yoga is a great way to alleviate the stiffness and pain associated with joint aging and arthritis. Gentle, mindful movement aids in relaxation responses in the body and can be an effective way to reach deep into the crevices and corners of the joints.
Ellen Saltonstall, a yoga teacher with osteoarthritis in her hands, one foot and lower back, attributes her daily 60- to 90-minute yoga practice to keeping her agile. “I find that a daily practice helps the most. When I skip a few days, I feel like I’ve aged 10 years,” she told Yoga Journal in 2009.
The research appears to agree with her. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Rheumatology found that practicing yoga increased the mood and physical health among sedentary adults with waning joint health. Practiced three times per week, yoga improved their pain and energy levels as well.
FINDING THE RIGHT YOGA
Of course, not all yoga classes are designed to be easy on aging joints. More intense styles of yoga, such as Ashtanga and vinyasa, are not built for beginners or those with aging joints. Instead, urge your clients to try beginner, gentle or hatha yoga classes. Yin yoga, which incorporates long holds of poses, often supported by props, can help build musculature around the joints that will help increase support for those joints. Urge your clients to talk to the instructor before class to explain their condition and ask for modifications if any pose is painful. Always encourage clients to consult with a doctor before taking on a new movement activity.
THREE POSES TO EASE JOINT PAIN
These three poses are generally safe for most individuals and can help ease joint pain:
KNEELING LUNGE (FOR KNEES, ANKLES, AND HIPS)
Lunges help to build muscles in the legs that support the knee joint. Kneeling in the lunge provides an opportunity to get deep into the hips, building stability around the outer hip. The pose also requires balance, so it builds strength in the smaller muscles supporting the feet and ankles.
Begin on hands and knees and step the left foot between the hands. Make sure the knee is stacked above the ankle and the foot is pointed straight ahead. Bring blocks underneath the hands and lengthen the spine. If there is any discomfort in the back knee, place a folded blanket or towel underneath or double up the yoga mat. Inhale and lengthen the spine, lifting from the crown of the head and extending through the chest. Exhale and sink the hips toward the floor. Continue to breathe using this pattern of extension and deepening for at least 10 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
SEATED TWIST (FOR HIPS, SPINE, AND SHOULDERS)
All twists are beneficial for spinal health. This one incorporates stretching and strengthening for the shoulders, upper back, and hips.
From a comfortable seat, extend both legs straight in front of you and draw the fleshy part of the buttocks away to sit evenly on the sits bones. Bring the left leg across the right so the left foot is planted firmly on the outside of the right thigh and the left knee is in the air. Stay even on both sits bones. Bend the right leg so the right heel comes outside the left hip. If this creates an uneven stance in the hips, re-extend the right leg. Inhale and lengthen the spine, as if lifting up out of the hips. Exhale and twist to the left, keeping the hips even and the spine long. The left arm can come to rest behind the left hip, and the right arm can come on the inside of the right knee or anywhere that feels safe and comfortable. Continue to breathe deeply, following the pattern of extension on the inhale and gently continuing the twist to the right on the exhale. Continue for at least 10 breaths, engage the core to come back to center and switch sides.
DOLPHIN POSE (FOR THE SHOULDERS AND SPINE)
Dolphin pose is great for building strength in the shoulder girdle, which is key to supporting the complex structure of the shoulder joint. It can be challenging to hold this pose for a long time at first, but as your client builds strength and flexibility in the shoulders, it will start to feel easier. It is also a slight inversion, which releases tension in the spine.
From hands and knees, come onto the forearms and clasp the hands together. Tuck the toes and lift the hips to come into an inverted “V” shape—just like downward facing dog, but on the forearms. Keep the head off the floor and look to the middle of the mat. Pause here and breathe, focusing on pressing the forearms into the floor, relaxing the neck, keeping the back long, hips elevated, core engaged and heels reaching toward the floor.
SOURCE: American Council of Exercise
With warm weather approaching, the call for an effective shred has never been stronger. Use these 6 tips to ensure you’re six-pack-ready for summer!
Winter’s winding down, and everyone’s favorite seasonal superpower—the ability to hide excess pounds under a warm sweater—is fading fast. In fact, the summer sun will be high in the sky sooner than you might think, which means shirtless weather is coming in hot. Don’t get caught unprepared! If you want to reveal a shredded six-pack come summer, now’s the time to plan and prioritize your weight-loss goals
Here are six of my tried-and-true get-lean strategies to help you prepare to bare all when the sun comes out to stay.
1. Combine Cardio Styles
Most people default exclusively to high-intensity interval training, or HIIT cardio when it comes to getting lean. After all, the intense metabolic demand HIIT places on your body is like nothing else, and when done correctly, can take several days to recover from. What that means for you is a heightened calorie-burn both during the workout and as you recover.
I like to do my HIIT in short, sharp bursts, performing 30-second sprints on the treadmill or rowing machine, followed by 30 seconds of rest, for 10-15 rounds. But I don’t stop there. I actually follow my HIIT with 15-20 minutes of low-intensity cardio to help remove metabolic byproducts that accumulate during high-intensity exercise, which allows my muscles to recover quicker and gets me ready to train all over again.
This approach combines HIIT’s fat-burning ability with the recuperative benefits of low-intensity cardio, basically giving you the best of both worlds. I even like to add a little extra steady-state (because it doesn’t demand much in terms of recovery) when I want to burn even more calories.
2. Balance Your Reps And Volume
A lot of people assume that in order to get shredded, you need to lift more reps per set and really “feel the burn,” but this isn’t necessarily true. Your nutrition and cardio should do the shredding for you, and your lifts should work to maintain your muscle mass and strength. To that end, I stay in the range of 6-8 reps for all my lifts when getting lean. This allows me to keep my muscles full and strong, potentially add a bit of new size, and hit an ideal short-term hormone release.
But just because I use relatively low reps does not mean I skimp on volume! I do 4-5 sets of each exercise rather than the standard 3-4, which increases the overall time under tension for each body part, burns more calories, and contributes to the overall fat loss. I also front-load my workouts with at least two compound movements, which require a lot of energy. Once I’m depleted, I finish up with a few isolation movements.
3. Advance Your Training
When it comes to shredding, I love implementing giant sets—basically, circuits for one body part or multiple exercises performed back to back—especially for my legs, which respond well to high-rep, high-volume work.
I usually hit two compound exercises in a row, such as squats and leg press, then hit my legs immediately afterward with isolation exercises like leg extensions and curls. This forces my muscles to work 3-4 times as hard and 3-4 times as long per set compared with a straight-set format.
The increased time under tension caused by giant sets leads to more muscular exhaustion, a greater energy demand, and more fat burned post-workout as those muscles try to recover.
I’m also a huge fan of forced reps—when your partner helps you lift beyond what you could lift alone—for leaning out. Forced reps push you further than you would normally go on your own, driving adaptation and producing an additional calorie burn that a straight set does not provide.
I recommend choosing a weight where you fail after about 6-8 reps. Once you feel like you can’t push out even one more rep, have a partner help you squeeze out 3-5 forced reps with the same weight. I guarantee you’ll push yourself to limits you never thought possible!
If you’re training solo, try using the double-rep method (DRM) for cutting. Set yourself up with a weight at which you fail at 8 reps. Do a set of 8 with that weight, rest for 5-8 seconds, and then do another 16 reps broken down into several “mini sets.”
Use the rest-pause technique—performing as many reps as you can, and then taking short, 15-second rests—to get through that second double set.
DRM training really pushes the envelope of both your pain threshold and your muscular endurance. Oh, and if you haven’t noticed the theme yet, it also helps you torch more calories!
4. Manipulate Your Macros
One of my favorite quotes is “what gets measured, gets managed.” Carefully planned nutrition is everything when trying to cut, and knowing how to manipulate your macronutrients—protein, carbs, and fat—is essential when building your get-lean plan.
Most people choose to cut carbs in order to get lean, but this is where I differ. I like to keep my carb intake relatively steady year-round to keep my energy high, which allows me to work out harder. To trim some fat from my body, I simply trim some fat from my diet.
Usually, my fat intake is about a half a gram per pound of body weight, which comes out to about 90 grams of fat daily for me. As I get closer to my goal date, or the date on which I want to look my best, I taper this number until it reaches about 40 grams a day.
This simple change gives me just enough of a caloric deficit to burn fat while still leaving me with enough calories from dietary fat to power my essential bodily functions. To compensate for this deficit, I also typically bump my protein up from 1.3-1.5 grams per pound of body weight, which keeps my hunger and cravings at bay and prevents catabolism, or muscle breakdown.
5. Keep Records
If you don’t know where you’ve been, how do you know where you’re going? I’m a bit of a data geek, so I love to keep detailed records of my calories and macronutrients from every diet and show prep I’ve ever done. This gives me plenty of information to compare and allows me to assess the best plan of action to meet my next goal based on my current condition.
When mapping out your plan, give yourself plenty of time to make adaptations. For example, I am usually not more than three weeks out from photo-shoot conditioning, but if I want to step it up and really get stage-ready peeled, I give myself 10-14 weeks. Nothing good comes from rushing the process.
No matter what your timeline, write down everything as you go through that process: what you ate, how it affected your physique, even if it did anything to your body’s level of detail or your overall mood. This way, next time you want to lean out, you’ll have an accurate and exact accounting of what worked and what didn’t.
6. Supplement Smart
Getting lean is no easy task, and supplementing your nutrition can help with cravings as well as energy levels. I love to have a protein shake with my oats after every tough workout to kick-start recovery, spur muscle growth, satisfy my sweet tooth, and help me stay full.
I also take a multivitamin with Omega 3 and 6 daily to ensure I get all my essential fatty acids and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) that could be missing from my whole-food diet. And, when it comes to traveling, I always carry a protein bar to make it easy to sneak in meals, even when things get busy.
Want to maintain a flat stomach? These foods have fiber to banish the bloat, antioxidants to boost your abs routine’s effectiveness and protein to help maintain a healthy metabolism.
Cooling and diuretic, cucumber is good to eat when your tummy feels like a tightened drum. It can help to relieve fluid retention and its fibre-rich skin is great for digestion.
Being pretty close to a complete food, eggs contain numerous vitamins and minerals (primarily in the yolk). Go for omega-3 enriched. Only 1.5 grams saturated fat per egg, so they’re unjustly labeled a ‘bad’ food. Eggs have a low glycemic index and are very filling. Mitchell-Paterson recommends having an egg for a snack to curb the 3:30-itis and chocolate cravings.
What do blackberries, blueberries, and acai berries all have in common? They all help you squeeze your way back into your skinny jeans. Studies have shown that people wanting to lose belly fat should opt for fruit that is blue or red color, such as cherries, red grapes and many types of berries. It is the chemical responsible for giving these fruits their color – anthocyanins – that help burn abdominal fat.
These delicious and versatile nuts contain filling protein and fibre, not to mention vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. They’re also a good source of magnesium, a mineral your body requires to produce energy, build and maintain muscle tissue, and regulate blood sugar.
9. Oily fish
Oily fish such as salmon, trout and tuna are the best sources of omega-3 fats, which are crucial for optimal health. Oily fish is low in saturated fats and contain essential amino acids and are a good source of iodine, iron and zinc.
While it’s not technically a food, a lack of water in your diet could be the one thing standing in your way of a flat tummy. Bloating is something that effects many women, and the problem is often worsened, sometimes even instigated, by a lack of fluids in the system. Drinking water will also help to flush toxins out of your system, curb hunger, improve digestive health and reduce fluid retention, all which help to leave your tummy looking flatter.
11. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar in water is the best way to start your day. This bitter drink helps to stimulate the stomach’s digestive juices, to help with food digestion.
Try taking two teaspoons in water 10 minutes before breakfast.
12. Nut butters and olive oil
Good fats will satisfy your hunger without bulking out your tummy. Bad bacteria feeds on unhealthy fats and sugars.
Try subbing butter and spreads with avocado, nuts, nut butter, olive oil and salmon spread across your day.
13. Dark leafy greens
Leafy greens are rich in fiber and help keep things moving through the digestive system, but increasing fiber all at once can exacerbate bloating.
Try a green smoothie based on leafy greens for breakfast, salad with lunch and steamed greens with dinner. For full de-bloat points, add apple cider vinegar dressing: two parts oil (coconut, olive, rice bran), one part apple cider vinegar and one part sweetener (honey, maple, rice malt syrup)
Fermented foods contain natural probiotics, which help to fight bad bacteria in your tummy and thus avert bloating.
Try adding sauerkraut to your tofu scramble, or serving it as a side to any main meal. Kefir, miso and cultured yogurt are other great options.
15. Onions, leeks and garlic (prebiotic foods)
These guys feed the good bacteria already in your stomach. Try adding them to your morning scramble, lunchtime soup or dinner stir-fry.
Can you beat age-related weight gain? We asked the experts for their diet and exercise tips for women in their 30s, 40s and 50s.
What is the ‘middle age spread’?
The term ‘middle-age spread’ has been etched into aging lore, yet unflattering connotations ignore the naturalness of physiological change. Expecting to weigh the same at 30 as 18 is folly according to clinical psychologist Louise Adams from Treat Yourself Well.
“Our body weight at age 18 is for many of us the lightest we have ever been,” says Adams. “We may not have stopped growing at that point and may not have reached full maturity. Weight gain as we age is quite normal and body shape and size can change over our lifetime. Sticking to a weight from many years ago is unrealistic for the vast majority of us. It’s similar to remembering how your skin looked as a teenager and expecting the same in middle age.”
How to stay trim – despite your age!
Dr. Lavie encourages a paradigm shift from weight to fitness. “It’s much better to strive for fitness and be on the thicker side than to be thin and unfit,” he says. “Loss of fitness is a much stronger predictor of mortality than weight gain.”
He says the idea is to exercise 40 to 45 minutes a day, five to six days a week, with plenty of strength work.
“Fitness gurus will tell you that strength training becomes more vital the older one gets, and they are right, for it supports muscle mass like no other form of exercise and can help increase not only strength but also bone mass,” says Dr Lavie.
“In most people, muscle strength peaks in our 20s and then gradually decreases. Recent research suggests that women on average will lose muscle mass twice as fast as men the same age, which can make a huge difference in their ability to maintain an ideal weight.”
Another key point is to make sure your weight loss program is sustainable, even enjoyable.
“Exercise alone is rarely sufficient for sustained weight loss,” says weight loss expert and GP Dr Patricia Bishop. “It must be combined with dietary changes. If a healthy eating plan is combined with a healthy exercise program, a decrease in tummy size is usually apparent within two weeks.”
SOURCE: WOMENS HEALTH
Get your Mexican fix with this fish taco recipe by pro surfer Sally Fitzgibbons.
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 8 flour tortillas
- 600g white fish fillets
- Canola oil spray
- Flour (for dusting)
- Butter (for frying)
- 1⁄2 iceberg lettuce, finely chopped\
- 2 ripe avocados 1⁄2 red onion, finely diced 1⁄2 red chilli, deseeded, pith removed, finely sliced 1⁄2 cup coriander leaves, finely chopped
- Juice of 1⁄2 lime Juice of 1⁄2 lemon.
- 4 fresh tomatoes, diced 1⁄2 cup coriander leaves, finely chopped 1 red chilli, deseeded and pith
- removed, nely sliced
- 1 ripe mango, diced 1⁄2 red chilli, deseeded and pith removed, finely sliced Juice of 1 lime 1⁄2 cup mint leaves, finely chopped
Mash raspberries in mixing bowl.
Mix shredded coconut, almonds, and vanilla protein and add mashed raspberries.
Melt coconut oil in the microwave, and add to mixture.
Blend all ingredients, scoop mixture into small balls and place balls on the foil-covered tray.
Melt dark chocolate in bowl and pour over each ball. Roll in nuts, cocoa or another coating if desired.
Place balls in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes and remove for a high-protein treat or recovery snack.
SOURCE: WOMEN’S HEALTH & FITNESS MAGAZINE
Target Body Part:
Abs, Lower Back – Arms Quads
Begin in an all-fours position with your torso on the ball and hands and feet on the floor. Lengthen your legs and stretch your heels to the back of the room. Your hands should be under your shoulders.
Take a few deep breaths. Notice how your abdominals want to rest on the ball when you inhale.
Exhale and pull your abdominals away from the ball. Try to keep them pulled away even when you inhale. This is your abdominal engagement.
Once you have established your abdominal engagement, slowly walk your hands forward until your feet come off the floor. Continue walking out until the fronts of your thighs or knees are resting on the top of the ball in a plank position.
It is important to keep your ribcage knitted together and the abdominals strong in order to maintain a rigid torso. Your legs should be very active so that your entire body is straight as a board and aligned parallel to the floor.
Keep your shoulder blades pulling away from your shoulders and toward your hips. Elbows must be straight and hands directly under your shoulders. Keep your legs active.
Curling Phase: Exhale and slowly bend your knees towards your chest. The ball will roll forward as your knees tuck under your torso and your hips lift toward the ceiling.
NOTE: This brings your body into somewhat of a handstand position. Be aware of your shoulder strength and keep the elbows straight.
Ideally, your knees are under your hips, your hips are toward the ceiling and your shins are on top of the ball. Hold this position for a breath.
Lowering Phase: Inhale and straighten your legs, rolling the ball back the plank position.
MODIFICATION: If you are uncomfortable or feeling unsafe with your hips raised and shins on the ball, simply tuck your knees into your chest without lifting the hips.
SOURCE: AMERICAN COUNCIL ON EXERCISE
Although counting macronutrients can seem daunting at first, you may be surprised at how easy it is once you get the hang of it. Check out our basic guide below.
Adopt A Macros Ratio
We suggest dividing the Big 3 macronutrients into these ratios:
»Protien: 35% or 40%
»Carbs: 50% or 40%
»Fats: 15% or 20%
Try this approach and then tweak to find what works best for you.
Set Your Kilojoule (Calorie) Intake
Work out how many kilojoules you need to maintain or lose weight, depending on your goal.
»Carbs: 1 gram = roughly 16 kJ (4 calories)
»Protein: 1 gram = roughly 16 kJ (4 calories)
»Fats: 1 gram = roughly 37 kJ (9 calories)
Work out roughly how you want to divvy your macros into meals over a day. “I prefer using an upside down pyramid method, having the majority of your carbs and calories early in the day,” says Elite Fitness Pros owner Greg Jones. “ Later in the day, your carbs should come from leafy greens and fibrous vegetables. Also, you should have a lean protein source at every meal, and healthy fats with you later meals to assist with nutrient absorption.”
More than just a pick-me-up, your morning cup of tea or coffee may actually help your weight-loss efforts! But when it comes to fat loss, which one of these greens reigns supreme?
When it comes to losing fat, no magic pill or powder can replace consistent work in the gym and a clean diet. Your efforts will always trump anything a supplement can do. That said, there are a handful of ingredients that may help boost your metabolism and enhance your weight-loss efforts.
Two of those ingredients—green tea and green coffee—may already be part of your daily morning ritual, but they’re also sold in supplement form as green tea and green coffee extract. If fat loss is your goal, is one extract better than the other? It’s time to put these two green titans in a head-to-head battle for fat-loss supremacy!
Make Time For Tea
Green tea, which comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, has been recommended as a healthful drink for centuries with potential health benefits ranging from improved antioxidant status to cardiovascular support. Although multiple parts of the plant can be used, it’s the extract from the leaves that seems to offer the most health benefits, especially when it comes to weight loss.
The two components primarily responsible for green tea extract’s (GTE) health benefits are catechins, which provide the majority of antioxidants benefits, and caffeine, which enhances thermogenesis and fat metabolism.
When compared to a placebo and caffeine alone, GTE has been shown to significantly increase 24-hour energy expenditure. Over time, increasing the number of calories you burn both at rest and during exercise could lead to favorable changes in your body composition. Furthermore, there are multiple studies showing GTE’s ability to increase rates of fat oxidation (or fat burning) over a 24-hour period.
Long-term consumption of green tea extract has been shown to support modest weight loss, around 2-3 pounds, over a 12-week period.3 While GTE clearly won’t do all the work for you, research suggests that, when combined with exercise, it can support greater weight loss when compared to exercise alone.
Green Is The New Black
Green coffee extract (GCE), as the name implies, is extracted from unroasted green coffee beans. Its main active ingredients are compounds known as chlorogenic acids, which are thought to be responsible for its weight-loss effects.
While it’s not entirely clear how it works, chlorogenic acid may be able to promote fat loss by increasing the activity of PPAR-alpha—a gene involved in fatty-acid transport and oxidation—and reducing the creation of new fat cells through its antioxidant effects.
To date, there has been only one study to demonstrate a positive effect of GCE on weight loss in humans. A 2007 study published in the Journal of International Medical Research found that when GCE was added to coffee, participants lost (on average) almost 12 pounds over a 12-week period when combined with diet and exercise. This compared to only 3 pounds lost in the coffee-only group
While results from this study are promising, larger, better-controlled studies are needed to truly determine the effectiveness of GCE as a weight-loss tool.
Lean, Mean, Green
Green tea extract is the current winner in the battle of the bulge! For one, GTE has a higher caffeine component, and when it comes to ingredients that can have a significant impact on supporting your metabolism and help you burn more fat, caffeine is king. Second, the research on GTE far exceeds that of GC, making it a little more convincing that including GTE as part of your diet may potentially be beneficial to fat loss.
You may find some supplements that use a combination blend of green tea with green coffee extracts, but there is currently no research suggesting this is a more effective combination than either in isolation.
What To Watch Out For
The weight-loss benefits associated with green coffee and green tea extracts are greatly reduced when you mix the extracts with milk and sugar. Additionally, research suggests that protein consumption can have an inhibitory effect on their absorption.[Therefore, benefits of GTE and GCE may be maximized when consumed with water 2-3 hours before or after a meal.
Both of these substances typically contain caffeine and therefore may cause potential side effects associated with caffeine consumption, such as increased heart rate and digestive upset, but as long as you don’t guzzle the stuff, you should be in pretty good shape. Start with a low dose, see how your body handles it, and then make adjustments from there.
A Practical Approach For Use
GTE and GCE are most effective when caffeine resistance is minimized. If you’re already a coffee addict, the benefits of green tea extract and GCE supplements will likely be less effective.
While you may think you can get your daily dose of GTE just by sipping on some green tea, think again. An effective dose (about 600 milligrams) would require you to drink 8-10 cups of tea! Supplements can definitely make things a little easier on you; just make sure you’re getting 30-60 percent EGCG—the active ingredient in green tea responsible for its fat-burning effects—in each serving.
Green coffee supplements are generally sold containing 40-50 percent chlorogenic acid by weight. In order to get the most effective dose of 120-300 milligrams of chlorogenic acid, you’ll want to look for a supplement containing 300-750 milligrams of green coffee extract.
No matter how much pregnancy weight you lose initially (many moms find the pounds melt off from breastfeeding and other post-delivery hormonal shifts that boost metabolism), eventually you hit that “why aren’t my clothes getting any looser” plateau. Want to get rid of those won’t-budge pounds? No more excuses! Here are 18 surprising strategies that helped these moms exercise and get slim again.
Bust a Move with Baby
Mom: Deanna; Atlanta, Georgia
Lost: 30 pounds in 2 months
I’d use my son Carter during squats, sit-ups, and arm lifts. For the first few months, I’d add just a couple of sets a day as we were playing. Now that he’s almost a year old (and a lot heavier), it’s still a great way to get in an extra workout without hitting the gym.
Step It Up
Mom: Megan; Highland Mills, New York
Lost: 25 pounds in 4 months
For the first few weeks after my baby was born, I kept her diaper changing station downstairs, which was easier while my body recovered from labor. But once I was all healed, I moved it to the second floor. This forces me to go up and down stairs to the nursery every time I need to change my daughter’s diaper. Added calorie burn!
Find a Baby-Friendly Gym
Mom: Jen; Santa Barbara, California
Lost: 65 pounds in 7-8 months
I still had 45 pounds to go two weeks after my daughter arrived. Taking advantage of my gym’s babysitting center helped me lose the weight — while holding onto my sanity. Knowing I could stop my workout and check in on her at any time, I loved having a little me-time to exercise, sauna, and shower at a leisurely pace. This boosted my mood all the day and made my workouts feel like an indulgence, not a chore.
Ask for Help
Mom: Trish; Great Falls, Virginia
Lost: 35 pounds in 5 months
Nursing your baby really does help you drop the weight fast, but I needed more structure to deal with the last five pounds. Weight Watchers worked for me, because I got specific meal plans and help with proper portion sizes. But a little note of warning: Even after you’ve lost every one of the last five pounds, your clothes will fit differently. Don’t freak out!