Top exercise to tone your bottom

 

The Clam strengthens and tone the outer thigh and outside of the bottom

Lying on your side, rest on your forearm with your elbow under your shoulder. Maintain good alignment. Place the band around your knees and tie the ends, as shown.

Bring your knees up to a 45 degree angle with your hips and keep you feet flexed and on top of each other. Look down your legs, position your feet level with your buttocks. Lift your feet off the ground.

Open your knee and close. Keep your hips stacked on top of each other and still. (avoid rotating your hips forward or back). Do the desired number then repeat other side.

How many: 10-12 each side

As a progression, you can use ankle weights or a resistance band around your knees to make the exercise more challenging.

Easy abdominal exercises for a new mum

During pregnancy, the two vertical muscles of the stomach (known as the rectus abdominus or ‘six pack’) separate and stretch apart, as the baby grows. This is diastasis recti and the gap can be at least three fingers width apart. This causes the ‘bulging’ appearance.

Firstly, before you begin any stomach exercises you need to check for the gap (including if you have had a caesarean) by doing a quick self test.
If the gap is 2 fingers or more or if it doesn’t pinch fingers, you have diastasis.

You’ll need to avoid regular sit ups or oblique curls if you have diastasis.
Instead try these exercises which will help you re-connect with your stomach muscles again and strengthen them:

Pelvic Tilt

post_natal_pelvic_tilt

Stand sideways, leaning forwards so you at a 45 degree angle to the floor.It’s good to do this in front of a mirror so you can see your lower back.

Place hands on hip bones and imagine you have a balloon in your stomach, breathe in and inflate your stomach with air.

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Then breath out, opening your mouth to do so and imagine your stomach

deflating and expelling air. At the same time rotate your hips back backwards so you feel and see the arch that occurs in your lower back flatten.Hold it for about 3-5 seconds, continuing to breathe out.

Repeat 10 times

Try to feel:

  • Your belly button or navel pull in and tighten.
  • Your pelvic floor muscles lift up.


Abdominal Tightener

  • Lay flat on your back with your knees bent as above but fold/cross your hands over your stomach so they support your abdominals.
  • Breathe in, and then breathe out and raise your head to your chest.
  • Gently ‘pull’ your stomach muscles together and hold for a count of 2 then slowly lower your head to the floor.
  • Keep your belly button pulled in towards your lower back. Imagine your hand is underneath your belly button and you are pulling it in towards you. Repeat 10 times.

Getting Started: Recording your progress and measurements

Before starting TheBeezKneez Fitness programme, whether it’s a group fitness course or personal training here’s some vital steps to take.

1. Take three full length photos of yourself: one of your front profile, one of your side profile and a third of your back profile.  You need to be able to see your body shape, so wear fitness shorts and bra, otherwise you won’t be able to see your posture or true shape.

2. Measure yourself and record on the table below. I always recommend to clients to measure every two weeks, its really motivating as you start to see results. You don’t need to measure more frequently than that, try on some new dresses and jeans and check out how they fit you. Also focus on doing your exercises in small manageable chunks!

 

   Navel:  Waist: Hips: Chest:  Upper Arm: Thigh:
Date  Measure directly in line with your belly button  Measure around the smallest part of the waist, approx 2 inches above the navel    Measure below the boney part of your hip bones at the widest part of your hips, including your bottom     Place the tape measure around your breasts in line with the nipples  Measure around the middle of upper arm between shoulder and elbow. Measure both arms Measure the widest part of each thigh


Start of exercise Programme:

 
                              
Two weeks after starting:

 
                              
Four weeks post:

 
                              
Six weeks post:

 
                              
Eight weeks post:

 
                              
Ten weeks post:

 
                              
Twelve weeks post:

 

  • One of the well recognised health benefits of exercise is the increase in energy you get from starting a programme. Notice the differences in your vitality, everyday performance and feeling and record them here.
  • Another benefit is with the added movement and burning calories you start to fit into your clothes again.
  • Then you notice how much more confident you feel.

Here’s a table you can use to record your energy levels and all of the above. This will really motivate as you go through your exercise programme.

   

 Date Energy Levels  How do your clothes feel? Tight, looser? Can you get into your skinny jeans yet? How is your body confidence?

 

Beginning of programme
               
Two weeks in
               
Four weeks in
               
Six weeks in

               

 

Tip: Good Posture during Pregnancy

Good posture is essential during pregnancy to ward off back pain. Your uterus expands up to 1,000 times, combined with the added weight you have to carry around, this throws out your centre of gravity and puts huge strain on your back muscles. These tired muscles then become painful and your posture becomes poor, leading to a hunchback form! Not only that it can also lead to sciatica. To prevent back pain and sciatica you need to:

  • Strengthen the postural muscles, known as your core
  • Stretch tight hip flexors
  • Stretch hamstrings

Follow these tips to help maintain your posture, which will help prevent that pain in the back during pregnancy and post natal!

  1. Keep your knees ‘soft’ so they are unlocked and relaxed. Slowly rock forwards and backwards between the balls of your feet and heels, distributing your weight evenly towards the arches of your feet as you slowly stop.
  2. Tilt your pelvis back at the same time draw your navel into your spine so it feels like it lifts upwards and backwards. You should feel your lower back lose some of the natural arch.
  3. You may feel like you have grown an inch.
  4. Let your shoulders drop down and feel your neck relaxed.

Avoid wearing high heels, as this accentuates the curve of your lower back and pushes you further forward and makes you even more unstable!

The Secrets to Flatter Abs Post Baby (a generic Personal Trainer will NOT know)

Vicky Warr, Specialist Pregnancy and Post Natal Master Fitness Trainer, gives her secret insight and dispels the myths on achieving a flatter tummy after babies.

help_20stomach2_0A female body goes through dramatic changes when you have had a baby, no matter when you had the baby. As the baby grew inside you, your abdominals stretched and weakened across the midline. After a natural birth, your pelvic floor would have had some loading and you may leak when you laugh or cough, jump or run. If you had a c-section you may have suffered adhesions, have some scar tissue and quite literally your abs will feel numb as the nervous system shuts down from communicating with the muscles.

The lower abdominals are a part that most women dislike and struggle to flatten. In a bid to try to lose the baby weight, shape up and tone up the stomach, many hit the gym and knock out the stomach crunches, planks and pound on the treadmill.

Recently I’ve been contacted by several women who are worried about the appearance of their tummies. They may have lost the weight but their tummy still looks ‘domed’, wrinkled or they have some sagging skin in the lower part. There are also a lot of women struggling with leaking of their pelvic floor during lifting, jogging or coughing and laughing. Some women I hear from have been working with Personal Trainers or attending buggy bootcamps or’ killing it’ in the gym. When I quizzed them as to the type of exercise they had been doing, it involved crunches, skipping, running around the park, the treadmill.

What you really shouldn’t be doing and why..

Stomach crunches can increase abdominal separation due to the forward flexion of the movement. Coupled with the tendancy to ‘dome’ or pooch out the stomach when doing them means you will have quite the reverse effect that you want!

Running too soon. Each time your foot makes contact with a hard surface or pavement, up to 7 times your body weight goes through your pelvis, joints and pelvic floor. Think about the fact that this part of your body has already taken a pounding with the baby (even with a c-section) and you are adding to the pressure. Be sure to strengthen your core and pelvic floor first before starting to run.

Personal Trainers and Gym instructors without the research, experience and through knowledge of the implications of pregnancy and childbirth prescribe their clients these kind of exercises, in an effort to get their clients to lose weight or tone up like many of their other clients who haven’t had a baby (or may be men). The extra loading of running and the forward flexion of crunches cause even more ‘intra abdominal pressure’ on an already weakened abdominal and pelvic floor structure. Basically, this pressure causes the ‘pooch’!

So, we have to take care of our abs again and coach them back from muscle amnesia.
Post Natal exercise should be mindful exercise, reconnecting, re-educating and taking a holistic approach to repairing the whole ‘core’ of the trunk – all the muscles that help flatten the tummy. The ‘whole core’ involves the lower abdominals, the pelvic floor, multifidus (lower back muscle), and the respiratory diaphragm.

It’s not only about the right kind of exercise for a women who has given birth but using the right technique and training your abs again to optimal fitness.

Through a combination of the following plus following a specific, quality post natal programme you’ll achieve flat abs again.

TheBeezKneez protocol is for contouring, restoring function and achieving ultimate flat abs is based on the following:

Checking every client’s abs. It’s called the ‘rec test’ and provides an indication of core weakness at the start, the extent of any abdominal separation and the strength of the soft connective tissue in between. We also show our clients how they can check this for themselves. I also check for bulging or doming of the abs and whether they are connecting and recruiting the deep abdominal muscles.

Breathing. The right kind of breathing is critical (especially as we do it all the time!) and is essential to pelvic floor health and flatter abs.. Pushing out the belly or belly breathing increases the downward pressure on the pelvic floor and abs. so you want to avoid that. I also coach ladies away from the shoulder shift and chest lift style of breathing, which starts to occur during pregnancy. Instead I show a style where you let go of the stomach and instead open the bottom of the ribs on the in-breath.

Posture. An instant way to discover, feel and flatten your abs is to address your posture. By standing tall and ‘zipping’ up pubic bone to navel whilst drawing your hip bones away from each other encourages a tightening in the lower abs.

Pelvic Floor! Not many do their pelvic floor exercises or realise that it is the most important muscle group of the body. You just can’t see it, so it gets ignored in the exercise process. Start with ‘lifting’ your pelvic floor muscles or tightening your back passage whilst lying down DAILY! Then progress to movement based pelvic floor exercises that are more functional and effective. I use core training balls and bands to encourage effective pelvic floor exercises.

Vicky Warr is founder of and specialist trainer at TheBeezKneez Pregnancy and Post Natal Group Fitness Programmes and Personal Training and Ambassador for the Foo Foo Fun Club in West London. She is also pregnancy fitness expert for Mothercare. The specific pre and post natal class programmes run in 6 week cycles with masterclasses, information can be found at www.beez-kneez.co.uk.

Feel the love with our FREE Class February Offer

TheBeezKneez wants you to know that we love you and are here to take care of your fitness! As a Mum you run around looking after everyone else and neglect ourselves. As a Mum to be it is VERY important to look after yourself and get fit to have your baby. To prove it we are offering you and/or a friend a FREE fitness class of your choice during week of 20th February.

You can either invite your friend along to the class you already go to, invite them to go to any other class  PLUS you can attend another FREE class that week at any other venue or day. Just check the timetable at our website. You will need to complete a medical form online or during the class before participating in the class.

To book your FREE Class call us now on 020 8 354 1583 or book a trial class at our website and use the coupon code ‘feelthelove’ at our shop www.beez-kneez.co.uk to redeem the offer.

The Small print

The free class is for any new or existing customers but does not replace or refund any classes or catch up classes previously purchased. Free classes need to be taken from 20th February until 25th February, inclusive. Offer expires on 25th Feb. Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.

Pelvic Pain in Pregnancy

pregnantball

You may experience occasional aches in your pelvic region during pregnancy and this is common due to the hormonal changes taking place and the secretion of relaxin, whose job is to soften and widen the joints preparing your body to deliver the baby.

However, with some women pelvic pain can sometimes mean symphysis publis dysfunction (SPD) or Diastasis Symphysis Pubis in it’s more severe form, which is a pelvic joint pain. So it’s essential to monitor the pain and symptoms, which I’ll tell you about further on.

The pelvis is four separate bones joined at the front by the Symphysis pubis. There’s a normal gap of 4-5mm between the two pubic points. During pregnancy, the gap widens by another 2-3mm, as the hormone, relaxin is secreted to allow the pelvis in preparation to aid the baby to pass down the birth canal.

With some women excessive amounts of the hormone or where the pelvis is out of alignment can cause the gap to stretch too far, resulting in pain and discomfort. When this happens there may be pain or swelling over the joint. This can happen at any stage of pregnancy or after the birth – most commonly it is during the second trimester. In severe cases, some women can be incapacitated by the pain and need crutches during later stages of pregnancy.

Symptoms for SPD include:

  • Pain in your pubic area and groin.
  • Pain in the inside and down the thighs.
  • Lower back and hip pain (as the whole pelvis is under strain).
  • Pain when you walk, step, go up and down stairs or get out of bed.
  • A clicking sound that you can hear.
  • A feeling that your bones are grinding together.
  • Difficulty and pain when you try and open your legs.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s vital to get this checked with your doctor or midwife. If SPD is confirmed you’ll be referred to an obstetric physiotherapist, who can prescribe exercises for you.
Prior to the birth ensure you tell your midwife so they can help find a position that is comfortable to you.

Exercise considerations:

  • Avoid activities which take the legs apart and also bring them together as these can cause pain. Squatting, Lunging, stepping, walking, yoga, breast stroke can produce pain.
  • Avoid activities on one leg.

The good news is there are exercises you can do to remain strong and fit. I have trained pregnant clients with SPD and by working closely with the client and their physiotherapist the condition has not got worse.

Exercises you can do:

  • Squat with feet and legs together – like a ski squat would avoid the legs being apart.
  • Core exercises (avoid lying on your back after the thirteen to fourteen weeks), side planks and knee planks
  • Pelvic tilts – addressing posture
  • Standing wall press-ups (legs together)
  • Lateral Raises and upright rows with resistance bands – sat on a chair or fitness ball with the feet together (second trimester)
  • Pelvic Floor exercises

!Stop any of these exercises immediately if they do cause you pain and get your condition and pain checked out again!

Relieve stress with food

Stephanie Ridley, Nutritional therapist and founder of Nourish to Flourish relieves how addressing your food can help with stress.

   Eat plenty of vegetables and wholegrains as these are good sources of fibre and minerals that help to regulate blood sugar levels – aim for 3+ vegetables each day, eaten raw and/or steamed to preserve their nutritional content.

   Choose low-sugar fruits that are high in vitamin C such as kiwis and berries – vitamin C is critical for adrenal health.

   Eat some form of protein with every meal to help balance blood sugar levels.

   Exercise regularly but not to the extreme – regular exercise,  3 x week at 20-45 mins each time, helps to dissipate stress hormones whilst too much exercise is a stress on the body.

   Eat an anti-inflammatory diet as foods that promote inflammation trigger the release of cortisol – therefore cut back on saturated fats (e.g. butter, red meat, cream etc.) and increase your intake of essential fatty acids (EFAs) such as organic salmon, eggs, trout and raw nuts, seeds and cold pressed oils (e.g. flaxseed oil).

   Avoid stimulants such as tea, coffee, cigarettes and alcohol (a short-term stimulant) as these stimulate the adrenals, exacerbating the problem.

   Avoid refined carbohydrates and sugars as these trigger blood sugar imbalances – the adrenals are activated to increase blood sugar when it falls below normal.

   Try to sleep for at least 7 hours each night.

   Make sure you take time to relax each day, even if it is for 15 minutes – try deep breathing, yoga, meditation, reading a good book, and so forth.

Stephanie specialises in Nutritional Therapy for stress and adrenal fatigue.

Get energised today – with three easy steps

I know how vital it is to feel energised as my job does not allow me to look like I am feeling lethargic and lacking vitality!

What is energy?
According to your boss (working mums!) it’s the ability to be able to do more…
According to your other half it’s having a lively, vibrant, dinner on the table wife/girlfriend/partner…
And for you it’s being able to function properly, think straight, tick things off your to-do list, look after your little one, yourself and have the energy to exercise, cook good food and feel upbeat!

When I am low on energy I can put it down to:

  • Not having enough sleep or having poor quality sleep
  • Not eating regularly enough (going long periods without some fuel to the brain and body so my blood sugar levels go down
  • Not eating smartly enough (eat well – feel well!)
Since having my son Luca and running a business and family there is a lot of juggling to do. I need energy and cannot function without it, so I’ve had to make sure I address all the factors that leave me deprived!

Getting more or better Sleep

Am I joking I hear some of you say! Little ones calling your name out, admin and chores to be done and it’s 9pm already! According to Web MD most adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. In the first few months (or even year) with a baby, that’s tricky to achieve..

  • I really recommend taking a nap when the baby naps (do not feel guilty about this and forget the chores for thirty minutes)
  • Avoid working on the computer or emailing late in the evening (this keeps your mind stimulated and has your head buzzing into the night. I’ve now resorted to turning off the computer to avoid my email checking addiction (that was leaving me fatigued as I worked into the night!)
  • Try to do a relaxing activity – read your favourite book, this will hep switch off the permanently switched on brain

Did you know, seventeen hours of sustained wakefulness leads to a decrease in performance equivalent to having about 4 drinks. So, getting 5 hours of sleep a night (as many of us do far too often) is like being drunk!

Here are three other quick, small tips to energy you today:

  • Drink one glass of water as soon as you wake and stay hydrated (dehydration causes fatigue) Add a slice of lemon to ward of colds
  • Eat a high protein breakfast – amino acids in protein to boost your brain power. A boiled egg, slice of wholegrain toast and half a grapefruit or a bowl of berries will give you a very good start to the day.
  • The other best tip is to make time to exercise. Tired people generally don’t want to put on their trainers and go for a jog, the gym or a class. However – exercise releases endorphins, that make you feel good and relieve any unhappy, down feelings. Even a little bit of increased activity is helpful. You don’t need to walk miles and miles over hours a day or run for 45 minutes to feel more energised. A few ‘resistance’ exercises fitted into 15-minutes can do wonders plus this type of exercise boosts your metabolism far quicker than long, slow cardio. Plus it makes you feel good afterwards. Our Beez Kneez sessions are broken up into sections so that you have a cardio section, strength section and core exercise section. Doing just some of these exercises (even if you do not manage all of them) will make you stronger, more toned and energised.

With more energy, you can tackle more each day … and get more enjoyment after the day is done!

If you want even more energy, take a good look at your nutrition and how you eat. Our new Nutritionist, Steph is a mum of two and knows about the demands of family life and the challenges of shopping, what to eat, and getting prepared. Her meal plans are easy to follow, effective and have you feeling far more energised and productive.

Reach steph on steph@beez-kneez.co.uk or call us on 020 8 354 1583 for more information