As a food-loving, exercise-hating new mom, I can honestly say that I’ve tried everything to lose weight after giving birth. It’s so hard to get back into fighting form, especially if you never really enjoyed working out in the first place.
Breastfeeding whittled me down slightly, sure. But it also kept a nice layer of padding all over me, from head to toe. That coupled with my ravenous appetite and the sheer exhaustion from parenting a newborn, had me reaching for the chocolate-chip cookies and pasta at all times of day (and night).
Eight months after giving birth, I finally decided to take my health into my own hands. No more excuses about the lack of sleep or the baby’s schedule. I started obsessing over green juice, pedometers, and began my reluctant fitness adventures.
1. I tried every type of workout — nothing helped me lose weight.
I tried yoga, which was wonderful, but didn’t shift the scale. I tried SoulCycle with a group of fanatic friends. It made me sweat and got my heart racing, but didn’t shed an inch from my waistline. I tried a Pilates-based regime that promised to do wonders. Everyone at the beginner’s class was so model-sleek, I was positive this would be it. Then I fell off the equipment, while simultaneously sticking my foot through it, and embarrassed myself sufficiently enough to never return.
I also tried Zumba and other cardio-dance classes. Definitely fun, but they weren't enough to keep me coming back after a few sessions.
2. I decided to try a barre class.
One day, I walked by a woman who had most beautiful body I had ever seen. She was lean yet curvy and toned, but not bulging with muscle. She was on her way to a barre class. Physique 57, to be exact.
With much trepidation and more than a pinch of disbelief, I went to my first class. The transformation was almost immediate. Within a few sessions, I could see numerous big and small changes starting to take form. My stomach felt flatter, my thighs looked incredible, my arms were slimmer and my shoulders more defined. I couldn’t believe it!
3. My body completely changed — for the better.
Using the methods of dancer Lotte Burke, barre classes specialize in buildingcore strength and muscle definition through a series of exercises at the ballet barre, utilizing your own body weight to build strength. In one hour they cycle through every muscle group, focusing on the ones most women care about: backs of the arms, thighs, bottom, stomach, and waist. The repetitive routines are made challenging by the “up an inch, down an inch,” mantra chanted by the instructors. After a few minutes of raising and lowering your legs in increments, you’ll be on fire.
The instructors push you to embrace the burn and power through it as much as possible, building muscle and resistance for future sessions. It’s just enough to push you to the edge, but not enough to scare you away forever. The women who attend range in body shape and size, and everyone pushes themselves to achieve their own personal goals. We work in tandem, but are solely focused on getting our bodies through the hour.
Today, I've lost 20 pounds of my leftover "baby weight," and continue to go to Physique classes about three times a week. I'm not a paid sponsor for them, and have no affiliation with the company whatsoever. I just want to share what worked for me. I posted something about Physique on social media and received more than a few nudges and whispers from mom friends who admitted that it too, had been their secret weapon. After so many failed experiments with various forms of exercise, I finally found something that works well on a postpartum body and I couldn't be happier.