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The Secrets to Post-Pregnancy Workouts

No matter how fit you are, restarting a workout routine after the birth of a baby can be incredibly tough. Lauren Huber Griffith, a popular San Diego–based trainer and new mom, is no exception.

After having her daughter, Haley, in the summer of 2013, she started with light walks about three weeks later and, after six weeks, jumped back into teaching classes. But even for Huber Griffith—whose Body by Lauren classes consist of resistance training, HIIT (high-intensity interval training), yoga and more and have amassed a loyal following—coming back was an adjustment. “I definitely felt winded in my first sculpt class that I taught,” she says. “I also noticed how weak my abs were. I just pushed through it and eventually got my strength and endurance back.”

We got her to share a few tips on how to get moving, plus three of her tried-and-true basic exercises. And if you find yourself becoming frustrated or impatient, just remember to keep things in perspective. “Always listen to your body,” says Huber Griffith, “and know that it takes time to get your strength back.”

The Tips

Your body knows best. Everyone is different. We all come from different fitness levels and have different prenatal, delivery and postnatal experiences.

Start slowly and build intensity. You’ve taken time off to spend with your little one. Your body needs time to ramp up again.

Make time to work out. Take your baby for a walk or exercise while he or she naps.

Take a nap yourself. Getting enough sleep is important for losing weight and for handling the demands of being a new mom.

The Moves

High or Low Plank: I love this exercise because your core is one of the weakest areas after delivery. You can start on your knees and hands (high) or your knees and forearms (low). As you get stronger, lift your knees off the ground. Start by holding for 10 to 20 seconds. Work up to 60 seconds and 3 sets. Modification: If plank is too intense, start on your back and do small sets of crunches, focusing on good, controlled form. Begin with 3 sets of 10. Work up to 3 sets of 20.

Push-Ups: Push-ups seem to be one of the most challenging exercises for my female clientele, but building upper body strength is so important. A mom is constantly holding and picking up a baby. I recommend starting on your knees. Start with 10 reps. Work up to performing 3 sets of 20 reps on or off your knees. Modification: Perform push-ups on an incline, with hands on a bench, a table or even a wall.

Squats: Squats are excellent for strengthening the lower body. Activate your core to protect your lower back and keep your weight in your heels. Perform high reps at a quick pace to increase your heart rate, or add a jump. Try 20 to 30 reps. Work up to 3 sets of 50 reps.

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