I’ve always had pretty fabulous abs. My OB even complimented me on them as she stitched me back together after my C-section. (That’s me above, a few years back showing off a spray tan.) I was basically born with them and have never had a problem banging out crunches or holding a plank for upwards of three minutes. That was until I was pregnant.
I kept up with Pilates through my fourth month of pregnancy. At that point, my OB advised me not to do exercises where I laid on my back for an extended period of time. After that, boy did I start to miss my stomach muscles. I even posted on FB that the top three things I missed while being pregnant were sushi, Botox and full use of my abs. And I wasn’t joking. It sucks to have to hoist yourself up with your arms when your abs are too stretched out to be much good.
Immediately post-baby, my friend and former trainer Francesca advised me to take deep belly breaths and hold them for a count. Can you believe the first time I did this it was actually hard? That’s what pregnancy and a C-section do to your body. The good news is that the second time I tried it, it was 100x easier. And the time after that, it was even easier. There’s a lot to be said for muscle memory.
I found these core exercises online and started doing them about 4 weeks out. They made a lot of sense and seemed a logical next step.
After 6 weeks, I was officially cleared to workout. But just because I could workout, didn’t mean I would be where I was before getting too pregnant to workout. I no longer belong to a gym. (I’m thinking about renewing my Equinox membership. I LOVE it, but it is out of my way to go there so it doesn’t make sense when I have a 2-year old.) There is a Pilates studio in my neighborhood, but I know I’m not ready to get on a machine for 60-minutes.
Instead, I am doing the free 20-minute Pilates videos on demand. I do have to follow the beginner in the back of the class on Marie Winsor’s video, but hey, it’s free and will get me back to the starting point. My biggest challenge is the rollup. There’s a point towards the lower middle of my abs where I have no strength. Nada. When I get back to a stronger place, I do plan on getting back into a class. Until then, it’s me, my remote control and the living room floor.