Every mum needs quick postnatal exercise solutions. None of us has the time (or the inclination ;-)), to spend hours in the so–called ‘fat-burning’ zone of slow, steady cardio exercise. And what’s more it won’t get rid of your mummy tummy!

The lazy gym trainer’s mantra: ’20 minutes on the bike, 20 minutes on the treadmill, stay in the FB zone, blah blah (while I stand here and watch MTV!)’ or run the same steady route, at the same speed week in week out – and your body simply gets used to it, you get bored,you reach a plateau of fat loss and motivation… and the mummy tummy stays put.

The good news is you don’t have to.

Interval training is the quickest, most effective way to burn the baby fat (actually, any type of fat… it really is all the same stuff!)

Here’s an example: Warm up running steady for a couple of minutes, run hard for one minute, reduce speed for two minutes, run hard for one minute, reduce speed two minutes, and then do it again, and again. That’s it – That’s intervals!

You need to keep ‘surprising’ your mummy tummy (in fact your whole mummy body) by making it work in short intensive bursts.

Here’s another variation: Start jogging gently for one minute (about 4 on a 1-10 scale of exertion, where 1 would be standing still and 10 would be as fast as you could run), increase it to level 8 for one minute, increase again to the level 9 for one minute, then run as fast as you can for up to one minute (level 10), reduce it back to 9 for one minute, reduce it again to to 8 for one minute again, reduce it to 7 for another minute. Like a pyramid with the most effort in the middle.

Go up the pyramid and down again for 10 to 12 minutes. This burns a lot of body fat and stimulates metabolism. Then you need to alternate this with resistance exercise.

You don’t need weights or equipment, the latest technology or fancy choreography. You just use ‘bodyweight’ exercises such as the ones below.

Resistance training builds muscle, and more muscle means you burn more calories and more body fat. Resistance training also keeps your metabolism high for hours after you’ve finished exercising. (So you’re still burning calories long after you got home and started making the kids’ tea!)

Here’s your first 15 minute workout to be going along with!

Warm up: run up and down the stairs a few times, do step-ups over the bottom 2-3 steps for 3 minutes, take the dog for a brisk walk or dance around manically with your kids for 5 minutes – just get your heart rate up!

Then do the pyramid described above –it doesn’t have to be running, you could run on the spot, or skip with a rope, air guitar with the kids, play something energetic on the Wii… It really doesn’t matter!

The point is to get some really intensive work into the space of about 8 minutes and to go up and down the scale of intensity.

squat

SQUAT

Don’t rest! Now do 15 SQUATS, keeping your knees behind your toes, your back straight and your core strong. Push up through the outside of your feet and your heels (so you feel your butt work!). Breathe in as you squat down, and exhale and engage your core as you push up… pull that mummy tummy in!

Use your arms to keep heart rate up even more!

push ups

PRESS UPS

Straight away, do 15 PRESS-UPS. Don’t be scared – from your knees is fine! Keep your shoulders over your hands and lower your face to just in front of your fingertips. Breathe in on the way down, exhale, engage Transverse Abdominus (see previous post about core activation) and push up.
lunge

LUNGES

Don’t stop, straight onto LUNGES! It’s really important to keep your knees behind your toes and don’t lean forward into the lunge. Again breathe in as you bend your knees and lower, then breathe out, engage TVA and come up. Repeat 10 times on each leg.

A plank next: a great core exercise that really works the lower back as well (don’t try a full plank until you have mastered your TVA activation exercises and belly breathing). Lie on your front with your elbows bent to your sides. Tuck your toes under and push up onto your forearms, holding you body in a straight line. Keep TVA and PF activated and don’t forget to breathe! Your goal is to hold the position for 1 minute.

Still got some time left before the school run? Then do the whole thing again!

If you did all that in pretty quick succession, with good technique and correct TVA activation throughout – you just knocked the socks off an hour’s boring cardio in about 15 minutes – good eh?

And although there’s not a sit-up to be seen, every one of these exercises works your abs better than crunches ever will… Goodbye Mummy Tummy!