By Jordan McAfee, Certified Fitness Instructor at Planet Fitness

Anyone would agree that it can be very intimidating getting back in the gym and practicing good eating habits after taking a few weeks or months off, but for a new mom there are some unique challenges.

1. Take it easy

Jordan McAfee, a certified trainer at Planet Fitness, says “Take it easy on yourself, don’t be in a rush to lift heavy and don’t think you can pick up where you left off before.” Considering everything your body has been through up to this point, it’s so important to only do what you feel comfortable doing after giving birth. You may feel pressured to rush to get back to your “pre-pregnancy body”, but don’t give in. Slowly work your way into a new diet as well as exercise to avoid becoming overwhelmed and burned out. We spoke with Carrie O’Neal, mother of three, and she explained a couple of her struggles after having her youngest daughter just eight months ago. “I wanted to jump back in all hardcore again, and I wasn’t ready for that physically or mentally, which you find out pretty soon.”

2. Drink up!

In addition, McAfee says that staying hydrated is a basic element to being healthy and should not be neglected. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day prevents you from getting dehydrated. Some research has found that it may even speed up your metabolism and help you stay full for a longer amount of time. This is a simple step to feeling better and performing better when getting back in shape.

3. Stay active

Exercise, beyond helping you lose weight, provides so many benefits to new moms. Staying active helps you sleep better, fight depression, and relieve stress. It can be difficult at first, but McAfee from Planet Fitness says that once new moms start coming in and seeing results, the confidence they see makes her job so satisfying. “If you are trying to get back on track after having children, once you go to the gym a few times, you’ll be hooked,” says O’Neal.

4. Get some sleep

It may seem impossible to get a full eight hours of sleep when you have a baby summoning you like clockwork throughout the night, but being sleep deprived could make it harder for you to shed the baby weight. If you can manage to get some good sleep, you are more likely to choose healthy foods and have more energy to not only function, but also take time for yourself. O’Neal says, “It’s so important for new moms to find some time for themselves and have a well-rounded life”, and the gym is a perfect way to achieve that.

5. Ask for help

As always, we recommend you consult your doctor to safely guide you on how much weight you need to lose, as well as when it’s safe to start exercising. Whenever you are ready to go to the gym, the Certified Fitness Instructors at Planet Fitness can help develop a workout plan that works for you – free of charge and included in all memberships.