After giving birth to her son Santiago six months ago, actress Eva Longoria understands the struggle of shedding the post-pregnancy weight all too well.
“I really gave my body time to adjust to postpartum and post-pregnancy,” she told Us Weekly. “You know, I had a baby! It created a human life, so I really wasn’t too hard about getting back into shape.”
But now she's eager to get fit and stronger by hitting the weight room. While she's a self-proclaimed avid runner and devoted yogi, the "Desperate Housewives" star told the magazine that her workouts now are "more weight training. Very serious weight training.”
If you're a new mom who's eager to get back to your fighting shape, here's why you might want to follow Longoria's lead and start lifting.
The benefits of weight lifting are numerous. Besides being a calorie killer, thanks to all that lean muscle you're building, weight training also jumpstarts your metabolism meaning you're burning calories well after a weight training session.
Weight training increases strength, too, which is something that most women lose during pregnancy. According to one study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers found that the women in their study, who had a wide range of fitness levels, all had lost some leg strength and upper-body strength at six weeks postpartum.
Lifting weights will not only help you regain strength in your upper body and legs, but also where you need it most: your core and back. Your back is undoubtedly sore and weak from pregnancy, labor, and holding a baby all day, and your core? Well, let's be honest, your ab muscles are pretty much shot postpartum. Weight training will help you get back on track pre-pregnancy.
What to Keep in Mind
Whether you've weight trained before your pregnancy or you're a lifting newbie, it's a good idea to approach postpartum strength training as a beginner. Flexibility and strength take time to develop, so don't overdo it. If you can't do a full squat, for example, then don't. Focus on what you can do, and be patient with your progress. It might be worth it to invest in a professional trainer to help create a workout plan with you and who can also monitor your lifting, and help you make modifications if needed.
How Often Should You Weight Train?
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), new mothers should do strengthening activities at least two days a week, in addition to any cardio workout, you might also be doing (in addition to running, Longoria likes SoulCycle). ACOG also suggests that when you first start exercising after childbirth, "try simple postpartum exercises that help strengthen major muscle groups, including abdominal and back muscles."
While most women might feel pressured to shed the baby weight as soon as possible, Longoria says working out should be less about appearances and more about feeling healthy.
“We do have a lot of pressure when people are telling us what we should look like. And I think you have to find your own truth,” she said. “I don’t feel like we should go by these rules and social constructs of society, where you have to be a certain size to be pretty. But I’ve had friends who don’t work out or take care of themselves, and all of a sudden, there’s a health issue.” And, of course, consult your doctor before you embark upon any new exercise routine.
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