It's cuter on a cupcake, but sometimes it also comes with being a mom — muffin top! In their pre-baby days, many women don't have to worry about the flesh that spills over the waistbands of their pants or skirts, but it can be an issue after. We rounded up some chic options for camouflaging the motherly midsection, but now we've got budget-friendly finds for flattering the belly!
It's cuter on a cupcake, but sometimes it also comes with being a mom — muffin top! In their pre-baby days, many women don't have to worry about the flesh that spills over the waistbands of their pants or skirts, but it can be an issue after. Camouflage the motherly mid-section will one of these five fabulous (and stylish) finds.
Moms spend a lot of time in the car shuttling their kids around. Instead of sinking into the driver's seat, throw in a workout and improve your posture in the carpool lane! Our friends over at Equinox set me up with Amy Fiske, an NSCA-certified personal trainer, who is helping me get back in shape. Here is the routine she recommends:
When your car is parked, take a minute to do this workout. It may help relieve some tension in your spine!
Steering Wheel Shoulder Retraction (12 repetitions)
This exercise can relieve tension in the shoulders. Place your hands on the steering wheel and pull back through the shoulders as if you are cracking an egg between your shoulder blades. Hold for 10 seconds.
Seated Rotation (4 repetitions, right and left)
This exercise can release tension in the middle of the back. Sit up tall with your feet on the floor, directly below your knees. Place your left hand on the outside of your right thigh and reach back with your right hand. Sit tall as you turn (imagine a string pulling you up through the crown of your head). You can use your hands as levers to increase the stretch. Stretch to a comfortable position, hold for 10-15 seconds, and repeat on the other side.
Inner Thigh Squeeze (16 repetitions)
This exercise can encourage correct knee positioning and engage inner thigh muscles (abductors). Sit tall and place a tennis ball between your thighs and squeeze to engage the inner thighs. Hold for 10 seconds.
Hip Hike (8 repetitions, right and left)
This exercise can help strengthen the oblique abdominals and help stabilize the pelvis. Sit tall, draw the navel in, and extend through the spine. Focus on lifting one hip up toward the ribs, hold for 10 seconds and release. Repeat on the other side.
The morning school run is a mad dash for mama! Throwing a workout in the mix helps her burn calories and the kids get to class on time. Our friends over at Equinox set me up with Amy Fiske, an NSCA-certified personal trainer, who is helping me get back in shape. Here is the routine she recommends for the walk to school.
Warm up: Start with a slow walk and work into a brisk walk for a light workout (5 to 10 minutes).
Main: Walk briskly or jog for 1 to 2 minutes, 1 to 2 blocks (or judge by landmarks like 3 light posts). Then slow down for 1 to 2 minutes or 1 to 2 blocks. Then repeat the rotation. This part of the workout should be physically challenging and make it hard to hold a conversation.
Cool down: Wind down your jog or brisk walk into a slow walk for a light workout (5 to 10 minutes).
Once you feel comfortable, try increasing the workout's intensity by:
- Adding a sprint finish in the last leg to make it to school before the bell
- Wear your child’s backpack to add more weight and increase resistance
- On the way home, add in some hill work. Pick a challenging hill and walk briskly up it and then slowly walk down it. Then, repeat. You can start with one repetition and build up depending on your fitness level.
If you are postpartum get your doctor's clearance before exercising. If you are "out of shape", take things at your own pace and build up your endurance slowly. Rest when necessary so you don't feel winded. Make sure to warm up for at least 5 to 10 minutes before you physically challenge yourself. Your cardio session can be 15 to 30 minutes depending on your commute to school! If you are pushing a stroller, keep good posture by lifting the chest and not rounding the shoulders. Make sure you spend time stretching at the end of your workout to prevent muscle soreness and injury.
Motherhood is a balancing act so a BOSU balance trainer ($130) is an appropriate device for moms to use when they are fighting the postpartum pounds! Our friends over at Equinox set me up with Amy Fiske, an NSCA-certified personal trainer, who is helping me get back in shape. Here are some of the BOSU exercises she recommends.
BOSU Hip Raise
(Targets the glutes and hamstrings)
Lie face up with your knees bent and feet flat on the BOSU. Raise your hips up toward the ceiling by squeezing your glutes and pressing down through your heels. Try to imagine a straight line going from the top of your knees to your shoulders. Hold for a few seconds and then return to your starting position.
(This targets the core)
Lay flat on your stomach, position your elbows under the shoulders on top of the BOSU, then curl your toes under and push your body up by resting your weight on your elbows and tightening your torso. This can be done by pulling your navel in toward your spine so your hips don’t sag. Your body should be in a straight line from head to heels. The neck should be kept in-line with the rest of the spine. Keep breathing naturally throughout the exercise. Hold for about 30 seconds. Make the exercise less challenging by holding this position on your knees or by placing your forearms on an elevated surface. Make it more of a challenge by adding in a leg lift.
Stretch it out! Before you burn the baby fat, you've got to prep by stretching your body. Our friends over at Equinox set me up with Amy Fiske, an NSCA-certified personal trainer, who is helping me get back in shape. She said, "Stretching is a vital part of an exercise program since it helps prevent injury and assists with increasing blood flow to the muscles, motor unit activation, muscle lengthening, and a person's range of motion." Here are six dynamic stretches she recommends and why. She said:
During postpartum training it is crucial to be conservative with your range for several months due to potential joint laxity, especially if a woman is breastfeeding. Dynamic stretches are done before a workout and are different from a post workout stretches because they are done more quickly and are held for a shorter time period. The dynamic warm up should take 5-10 minutes and moms should aim to do about 10 reps of each stretch holding each for no more than a few seconds.
(These target the hips.)
Hold onto a stable surface with one hand and pull the navel in towards the spine. Stand on one leg and swing the opposite leg forward and back continuously to comfortable range of motion. Keep the torso upright.
Walking High Kicks or Toy Soldiers
(These target the glutes, hamstrings and hips.)
These are similar to the leg swings, but this time you move forward. As you do so, bring one leg out in front and swing your arm to the opposite leg. Take a step forward as soon as the leg touches back down to the floor. Repeat the movement with the opposite side and then alternate.
To try the other four stretches, read more
If mom feels a bit off balance after baby, she should invest in a stability ball! Women who used the rotund objects during labor can just dust theirs off once they get their doctor's OK to exercise. Kids love rolling around on the oversized balls, so you might take the opportunity to work out when they are asleep! Our friends over at Equinox set me up with Amy Fiske, an NSCA-certified personal trainer, who is helping me get back in shape. Here are five exercises she suggests to improve coordination.
Follow the entire Battle of the Baby Weight series here!
Once baby debuts, there's barely time for mom or dad to get a shower in, let alone any exercise. But that doesn't mean you can't work out at home while the tot naps. Our friends over at Equinox set me up with Amy Fiske, an NSCA-certified personal trainer who is helping me lose my baby weight. Here are six exercises she recommends for parents who have limited time and resources.
What goes up, must come down, right? That's been my philosophy as I tried to shed the last of my baby weight. Five months after my second lil one's arrival, I still found myself up a handful of pounds. Refusing to invest in an entire new Summer wardrobe, I was determined to shed the extra weight.
While LilSugar has been working with a specialized personal trainer to battle her baby weight, I decided to rely on my tried and true method from my first child – Weight Watchers (currently $20/month). The portion control-oriented weight loss program has been the diet of choice for postpartum mamas like Jenny McCarthy and Jennifer Hudson, and it helped me melt away my belly in mere months after my first son was born. After three months of counting points assigned to each item I ingested, measuring out my food, filling my plate with veggies and snacking on cups of air popped corn, I'm excited to be back in my skinniest white jeans just in time for grilling season. My weight loss goals met, I've completely overhauled my eating habits and am now changing the makeup of my family's meals. Did your postpartum weight loss change your family's eating habits?
For moms who feel a little off balance after having baby, invest in a stability ball! Women who used the rotund objects during labor can just dust theirs off once they get their doctor's OK to exercise. Our friends over at Equinox set me up with Amy Fiske, NSCA-certified personal trainer who is helping me get back in shape. Here are some of the exercises she has me doing. She said:
Body Weight Wall Squat. It works the quads, calves and glutes. Hold the ball behind you and stand so that the ball is pressed between your back and the wall. Place your feet in front of your body about hip distance apart. The center of the ball should be against the lower back. Keep in contact with the ball and lower your body by bending your knees until your upper thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold down there for one to two seconds and then return to your start position.
Rollout. This is for core stability. Get on your knees behind the ball. Place your forearms on the ball, your back should be naturally arched and your abdominal pulled in. Slowly roll the ball forward, keeping your abs braced, extending the arms out straight and not allowing the back to collapse. If you begin to feel it in your back you have either gone too far or lost control of the abs. Use your core to pull the ball back to the start position.
To see the rest of the exercises, read more