Personal trainer and Buggyfit founder Emma Redding explains how your buggy can help you get back in shape – with your baby in tow too
A buggy is a must-buy on every expectant mother's shopping list (we've heard that regal mum-to-be Kate Middleton has already snapped up a Bugaboo) - which got us thinking about how new mums can shift that excess baby weight with their newborn in tow.
Enter Emma Redding, a personal trainer who specializes in pre- and post-natal exercise and founded Buggyfit, a nationwide network of classes that help new mums get in shape with the help of their tot-toting strollers.
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‘I have two children, and have worked with new mums since qualifying,’ explains Emma. ‘Buggyfit began in 2003, when I needed to shift some baby weight and get fit again, but didn’t want to go to the gym.’
Instead of sweating it out on a cross-trainer, Emma crafted an easy-to-manage post-birth workout, ‘I began power-walking and started incorporating strength training into my outdoor workout.’
But it was only after her friends cottoned on to her clever training methods that she realized there was a market for classes that allowed women to use their buggies to lose their baby bulge. ‘When my friends heard what I was doing and saw the results, they wanted to join me,’ she says. ‘And then came the birth of Buggyfit.’
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Here, Emma explains all you need to know about getting Buggyfit:
How soon after birth can mums begin to exercise? ‘It’s usually six weeks,’ says Emma. However, it's advisable that new mums wait until after being given the go-ahead by their GP.
What is a Buggyfit workout? Emma explains that Buggyfit classes, which take place across the country, consist of ‘a good mix of cardiovascular, strength training and general toning,’ and place particular emphasis on ‘the abs and the pelvic floor.’
There are also lots of exercises that Emma advises new mums do from home or in their spare time: squats, lunges, tricep dips, press-ups, pelvic tilts and floor bridges are all recommended, as are any exercises involving resistance bands.
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Do you need any specific buggy or kit for the workout? ‘All Buggyfit classes across the country are suitable for all fitness abilities, and all types of buggy,’ Emma says. All you need is ‘comfortable clothing you can move in, layers to ensure that you are the correct temperature, and suitable workout footwear.’
However, she’s keen to recognize the psychological impact of sporting stylish kit, ‘Sometimes, buying new gear makes you feel the part, and enthuses you to exercise a little more.’
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How often a week should new mums be working out? ‘Ideally, everyone would do some form of exercise three times a week, including new mums,’ explains Emma. But she emphasizes that getting back into shape post-birth doesn’t have to mean strenuous, unmanageable or time-consuming exercise. ‘It can be something simple, like a 30-minute power walk to the shops or the baby-weigh clinic. I always tell mums to take brisk walks in suitable footwear – energy levels allowing.'
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How quickly can you expect to see results? ‘Someone who puts in three 60-minute workouts with their buggy a week should start to see results in fitness and stamina levels within a couple of weeks,’ Emma advises. It’s a little longer for weight-loss: results are usually visible ‘after four to six weeks, depending on body size, shape, and starting fitness level’.
But it’s not just in the physical shape-up stakes that women see a difference.‘Most Buggyfit mums feed back that they have an immediate improvement in their sense of well-being and mental ability to deal with all the elements that being a mum involves,' Emma says.
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What should you eat to supplement my post-natal workouts?'Don’t diet while breastfeeding,’ Emma warns. ‘Healthy eating is advised, as this will benefit the quality of the milk you are feeding your baby.’
Rather than eliminating food-types, she recommends careful moderation. ‘Limit sugary and processed foods,’ opt for home-cooked food where possible, and stay hydrated to keep unhealthy cravings at bay.
Eating foods high in nutrients, like fish, lean meat, vegetables, brown pasta or rice and fruit, ‘will ensure energy levels are kept at a high, and insulin spikes and dips aren’t suffered.’ Emma also advises sticking to decaffeinated drinks, and limiting fizzy drinks – ‘even those with zero sugar, as they have sweeteners in'.
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Find out more at the Buggyfit website
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