The number one question, hope, wish, desire of most moms I know is to flatten that mommy tummy. The mommy tummy problem really needs to be attacked from two ends: fat loss and core strengthening. Depending on your body one or the other (or both will be more significant).
Keep reading for the most effective methods for fat loss and core strengthening AND one simple thing you can start doing NOW that will add no more time to your day.
Unfortunately you can’t target any single area for fat loss. When you lose fat you lose it everywhere at the same time. Some people lose more/less in different places due to genetics, but you really have no control over that. I lose it in my boobs first always, thanks mom. I have one friend that seemingly gains weight in her boobs and butt only, lucky her. Lets focus on what you can control..
Your first inclination to flatten your tummy might be to focus on ab exercises most of the time. The truth is this is the exact wrong thing to do. Working small areas burns only a small amount of calories. The “softness” you are trying to get rid of is fat. Ultimately a calorie deficit is necessary to get rid of fat. Proper nutrition and exercise both play important roles in creating a calorie deficit. When trying to create a plan for fat loss, I always recommend focusing on creating lasting habits and routine instead of quick fixes and diets.
You need to train your body and mind to develop consistent habits.
First, you need to get the nutrition basics down, then you can start walking through the necessary steps to fitting those basics to YOUR life and creating YOUR healthy lifestyle.
You can find my three step process here.
Now that we busted the myth on spot treatment for fat loss what do you do? You can read more about the most effective exercises for fat loss here and/or join the StrongMom Tribe for weekly, efficient fat burning workouts.
Remember to focus on creating a sustainable routine instead of something you can keep up for only a few weeks or months.
There are some specific exercises that are best for strengthening your core. Focusing on your deep core stabilizers will help your tummy appear flatter than lots of crunches.
I actually recommend you avoid crunches in the first few months, or even years after having a baby. They can do more harm than good especially if you still have any amount of abdominal separation. I actually don’t do them at all anymore because there are many more effective core exercises out there.
It’s important to remember, a strong core is so much more important than just aesthetics. Weak core (including pelvic floor muscles) can lead to:
The best exercises for strengthening your whole core are Deadbug, Pallof Press, Bridges, and Plank (primarily side plank if you still have some abdominal separation). In all of these exercises, you are engaging your core and making it work with your whole body. Click here to read more about how to do these exercises and how to best incorporate them into your workout routine.
What you can do right now and not add any more time to your day.
Consistently engaging your core will not only help rebuild those deep core stabilizers that seem to go missing after having a baby, it will help improve your posture (mom posture is real) and help you burn more calories in everything you do.
You can read more about the benefits of consistently and correctly engaging your core here, but what does that mean? To quickly create an awareness of what truly engaging your core feels like try these three muscle memory approaches.
Finally remember that this will take time. Your body is different now, but if you treat it right it can be stronger than ever before!
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