How Long Will It Take?

Alexandra Powell Allred's picture

QUESTION

Dear Fitness Expert,
How long will it take me to get that little nasty hangover from my C-section gone? Or will my stomach muscles never be the same?

ANSWER

I've got good news. Yes, you can take care of the 'mothers apron' -- an excess of fat and skin tissue developed during pregnancy. But you'll have to work for it. The other day I was struck by the cover of a very popular fitness magazine that promised "10 Great Workouts -- They're Easy." What? How can they be great if they're easy?

Right now you need to ask yourself two questions:

  1. How much do I want to my stomach muscles?
  2. What am I willing to do for flat abs?

These are important questions because you are battling millions of years of biology. Since the cave woman days, our bodies have developed excess fat to cushion and protect our babes in womb and store fat in case food was scarce. Guess what? Even though we fly in airplanes, can instant message friends and microwave pre-packaged foods, our bodies still react the same way during pregnancy. Don't think about exercise of convenience or ease -- be ready to work.

You want to focus on three aspects of training to lose the mothers apron. Simply put, you want to burn calories and train muscle groups. Yes, you still have muscles there but you need to burn up the stubborn fat. Running is the most effective way to blast the fat. However, if you have bad knees/back, walking or the Stairmaster (at a pace that is challenging) are a safe second. If you are able to run 10+ miles a week for two months, you will see a change in your body. That with a proper diet -- cut out unnecessary liquid candies such as soda pop, sweetened tea, coffee or juices -- and take in more veggies and fruits.

Finally, work the abs. There are a variety of great abdominal workouts on tape, in books or on the Internet. But before you do anything BE SURE TO GET PERMISSION from your OB/GYN.

To give you a more clear picture, one of my clients recently (six months ago) had a baby. Today, she jogs 16 miles a week -- that's 4 miles/4 days a week -- and works out on lifting weights on two of those jogging days. She has a home gym in which she has incorporated leg lifts, squats, calf raises as well as bicep and triceps curls, bench press and shoulder raises for an overall body workout. She does sit ups after each jog -- anywhere from 25 to 75.

After three months, the most radical changes have been in her hips and stomach -- thank you, jogging! She cut out all soda pop and sweet coffee drinks, leaving everything else the same in her diet. Forget that no-carb diet nonsense.

Best yet, she only works out four days a week -- two days taking an hour of her day and the other two taking just an hour and a half. That is very little time for the kind of results she is now getting. How much did she want it? She gets up at 6 am to run before her husband leaves for work. What was she willing to do about it? Give up her beloved cokes and lattes.

So, how much do you want it? You can do it! Run, run, run.

-- Alex