Actor, writer and producer Mindy Kaling became a new mom with the December birth of her daughter, Kit, and now she’s sharing her strategy for losing baby weight. She says she thought that adding excessive weight during her pregnancy would mean “things could just fly off the rails in a really bad way,” so Kaling held her gain to 27 pounds. “I also worked out whenever I could while I was pregnant,” the star said. “I did a lot of yoga and a lot of walking, and I jogged until I couldn’t jog anymore.”
New moms can use a post-pregnancy workout plan to rebound with a strong core. “Fit abs are definitely not something you need to say goodbye to,” says Michele Olson, Ph.D., an adjunct professor of sport science at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama. She has extensively researched training those key core muscles. Even if it’s been a while since you exercised, these post-baby abs strategies will help.
- Tummy Toner: Sit on a chair with your feet on the floor. Inhale and expand your belly. Then exhale while pulling your navel to your spine as deeply as you possibly can. Hold for one count. Let your belly button halfway out. Then forcefully pull it back in as you count “One” out loud to make sure you’re not holding your breath. Do 20 reps while counting aloud. Rest while taking a big belly inhale and exhale. Repeat twice more.
- Belly Burn: Start on all fours on the floor or a yoga mat. Press into your palms and round your back as you would in a cat pose in yoga. Pull your navel to your spine, then tuck your pelvis with little thrusts, exhaling each time and pulling your navel deeper to your spine. Do 20 reps. Rest and repeat.
- C Curve with Arm Extension: Sit on the floor, knees bent and feet flat, with a small Pilates ball or a rolled-up towel at the base of your spine. Round your lower back into the ball so that your torso forms a C shape and draw your navel to your spine. Hold that position without holding your breath as you slowly swing your straight arms up, then lower your arms to the floor. Do 10 reps. Rest and repeat. (Scale up by holding 1- to 3-pound dumbbells.)
- C Curve with Leg Extension: Start seated on the floor in the C-curve position with back rounded into a small Pilates ball or a rolled-up towel and navel pulled in to spine. Keep hands by your sides with fingertips touching the floor. Maintain your hold, and lift and extend your right leg directly in front of you. Bending your knee, return right foot to floor. Do 8 reps. Switch legs and repeat. Rest and repeat. (Scale down by grabbing behind your knees for support.)
- C Curve with Twist: Repeat C curve with leg extension. This time very slowly twist your torso toward the leg you lift. Start by lifting your right leg and rotating torso and left shoulder toward the right. Return torso to center and lower leg. Do 8 reps, then switch sides and repeat. Rest and repeat.