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Getting that pre-pregnancy body back.

Lunge with a bicep curl.
Lunge with a bicep curl.

When I got pregnant, I was in the best shape of my life. I often think it is the reason I got pregnant so easily and quickly. I was also hopeful that because I was in such great shape, I would have no problem bouncing back to my pre-pregnancy body after I had my baby. I also had planned on working out throughout my pregnancy. I bought prenatal DVDs of low impact aerobics, yoga, and Pilates. I researched the proper exercises online. That first trimester was too exhausted to exercise. I would try to workout when I got home from work but all I wanted to do was sleep. I had no motivation, though I did have more energy, in the second trimester. I was out of the exercise loop and couldn't figure out how to get back in. By the third trimester, I was too excited, nervous, and focused on the upcoming arrival to try and exercise. Does all this sound familiar? Fast forward to after my delivery. I was smart enough to invest in a Belly Bandit before I had my baby. If you've never heard of it, check it out at It's a compression wrap that you can start wearing immediately after delivery and will help flatten your tummy faster. They even have special ones for those who have had a C-section. I swear by it and had a very flat (but still jiggly) tummy a few short weeks after delivery. I didn't gain an obscene amount of weight and stayed within the recommended numbers but I still had some to lose. Fortunately, I delivered in the spring so as soon as I could take the baby outside, I was going for walks as much as possible. I dropped quite a bit of weight in the first couple of weeks and by the summer, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I was breastfeeding and that certainly helped me shed some of the pounds too. The biggest lesson I learned was that just because you get back to your pre-pregnancy weight doesn't mean you have gotten back to your pre-pregnancy body. I had been doing a lot of hard core circuit training for months before I got pregnant and was extremely toned. Suddenly, I was a jiggly mess. Even though the scale showed my magic pre-pregnancy number, I was still unable to get into my pre-pregnancy clothes, even 5 months after I had my baby. Between the sleepless nights, figuring out how to juggle a schedule during the day and all the other responsibilities, I just hadn't been able to fit in the kind of exercise I had been accustomed to doing prior to being pregnant. What saved me is that I have always been a healthy eater so I didn't need to change my eating habits. I am someone who would far prefer to eat a bowl of raw vegetables over a bowl of ice cream. When I finally got motivated, it was time for me to return to work and that just added a whole new element to my life. I wasn't working out at all at that point and became increasingly unhappy with myself. When I got home from work, I wanted to spend every second playing with my daughter and making up for the time I missed during the day until she went to bed. One day I decided to work out in the basement after putting her to bed. That night, I didn't get to bed until almost 11. After working out, I made dinner and then had to prepare bottles, food and other things for daycare the next day as well as lunch for myself. That routine just wasn't going to work. I could barely get out of bed the next morning when the alarm sounded at 6 because I had been up so late. It was then I made a conscious decision that I was going to start working out in the morning before work. That night I pulled out all my weights, videos, and my Wii balance board and set up a home gym in the basement. The next day, I dragged myself out of bed at 5:15 and worked out hard for 45 minutes in my new home gym. I felt wonderful after and that feeling lasted all day. I had more energy than ever and I had no trouble falling asleep that night. It has been over a month and I have religiously gotten up at 5:15 every morning during the week to workout. On the weekends, I work out during my daughter's morning nap. I am starting to see my pre-pregnancy body come alive. I have lost a lot of the flab and my clothes are fitting so much better. I looked at my husband the other day and surprised both of us by shouting, "I'm back, baby!"

The secret? Jillian Michaels. Most of you know her as the trainer on the Biggest Loser. I know her as my trainer. I was doing the Jillian workouts before I got pregnant only I was going to the gym to workout and following her online plan. Each day I would log on to get my personalized exercises for the day. Now I do her videos. I have all of them and I suffer through them each day. They don't ever seem to get easier so be warned, you will feel like you are going to die. She believes in hard core circuit training and it will kick your behind. You will notice results after a week in your strength and endurance and in two weeks, you will start to see your body change. These visual results will help to keep you motivated. I highly recommend her book, Making the Cut, as there is a quiz you can take and the results will tell you how your particular body metabolizes things. Based on the result, there are customized meal plans and recipes as well as various exercise plans. None of her products will disappoint you if you keep with it. You can also go to her website to get some tips and take the quiz. You have to join for a fee if you want any other bells and whistles. Having been a member in the past, I recommend it. She is the real deal and knows her stuff. I don't need to belong to her site now because I know the workouts and I now know how to eat in a way that is specific to my body and how I oxidize food. After you get into a routine, it will become second nature and your whole family will benefit. After all this, the only problem I am still having is that even though my tummy is flat and I have shed the fat through loads of ab work, it is still saggy and jiggly. That doesn't at all surprise me given the size my body stretched while my little girl was in there but it is disappointing because my stomach was always the most muscular part of my body. After much research, I have learned that the only true way to tone those post-pregnancy abs is through yoga. Ironically, Jillian has come out with a yoga video and I have already preordered my copy. Whether you use Jillian or another program, study your body, do a lot of research on nutrition, stick to your workouts and make it all work for you. I found that I a much happier person and a better mother and wife now that I have regained control of myself.

Best of luck!