My client has 2 kids, the youngest is 4 and both delivered through caesarians. She has lost most of her baby weight, and we include lots of core training in her routines. Any suggestions on what else we can do and how realistic is it for her to expect her abs to return to pre-pregnancy firness/strength? How much more difficult is it to lose this baby fat than with vaginal deliveries?
I thought I might chime in on this because I am in the same boat as your client 🙂
I think the answers already provided have been great:
1) You can not spot reduce by doing tons of ab work. Muscle and fat are two distinct tissue types and you’re not going to turn one into the other by doing lots of focused core work.
2) To lose weight, you have to expend more calories than you consume (through diet, exercise or the combo).
3) Strength training & increasing lean muscle mass help boost metabolism (along with lots of other great benefits).
4) Pelvic floor and transverse-specific exercises would be great to include for your client.
ALL GREAT RESPONSES, and really great tips for a variety of clients.
Congrats to your client for making progress already. I think I would just add that the best weapon is consistency over time. No quick fixes, no fad diets and no immediate miracle results. Stick with it.
I had a c-section with my twins (who are almost 4) and had my best body ever about a year after they were born. I had a second c-section about a year ago and it’s been a little tougher to come back from it, but that’s my own fault & I recognize that (a little busier, a little more stress, a little less will power & more bad habits :).
I think it’s important for us to have realistic expectations as to what’s possible. The strength of the core and body composition can be addressed with training BUT there are some things that exercise & good diet are not going to fix. My skin on my stomach will never be the same as it was before carrying twins without a surgical fix; however, I was able to work hard, overtime, consistently to get the definition and strength back in my core.
best of luck to you and great advice everyone.
Bettie, every woman is different.
Having delivered my son by caesarean section 16 years ago, I have to honestly say that my body is just not the same as it was before I became pregnant. However, that wasn’t my goal.
Personally, I think there is something much more loftier as far as wellness and fitness goals are concerned besides having the same body as one had pre-pregnancy.
This is the reality. None of our bodies is the same as it was today from last week. Jack LaLanne is a prime example. He never had a baby, but he still aged.
I recognize that this is not the answer you are looking for, however, as fitness professionals, I feel it is our duty to help our clients achieve loftier goals than having the same body we had pre-pregnancy or in our youths.
Thank you for your question.
Your client need to be extrememly disciplined in order to regain her core strength and pre-pregnancy abs but it can be done nowadays!
A C-section is a surgical procedure so there will always be some scarring, but there is no cutting through muscle with the exception of the uterus. When a C-section is done, two sets of abdominal muscles are ‘separated’ not ‘cut’ from one another. A transverse (horizontal) cut,the so-called bikini cut C-sec, actually has fewer complications. and less noticeable than the (vertical) incision.
The fascia is one of the layers cut during a c-sec. Fascia covers the muscles and acts as a sheathe much like a girdle. Of course if your muscles are not tightened and strong there is a lot more compacting for the fascia to do! After giving birth the fascia will be back to 90% of its original strength within in 6 weeks, the other 10% will come back within a year. You cannot strengthen or tighten your fascia without surgeryso it is so important to stay within the dr’s recommended weight gain.
Exercises to train the pelvic floor and transverse abdominis are important to focus on. Vaginal deliveries in which an episiotomy is made also creates a dysfunction to the pelvic floor and causes weakness in the core as well. Whether it’s a vaginal delivery or a c-section, the pelvic floor and the TA act as a sling for the baby and this is why you need to train these specific muscles to regain core strength http://youtu.be/aqLPJ4R0KiI
If your client notices her belly protruding over her incision, this is usually referred to as the “shelf” and it’s mainly fatty tissue damage which eventually turns into scar tissue. Since this is your client’s 2nd c-sec, her scar tissue will obviously be larger than a single c-section.
Fat cells only multiply during two potential times in a person’s life: adolescence and pregnancy. This may affect the difficulty of weight loss, but it is not impossible with appropriate diet and exercise. There is also a possibility that the elastin in the skin may not match the loss of subcataneous fat (fat under the skin) that occurs.
Try not to exceed more than 2-3 days of core training per week. It may be tempting, but know that research has shown that abdominal training has no relation to fat loss in the midsection. Continue core training, but do not expect any direct adaptation except for temporary tightening of the stomach and abdominal strength.
The best way to lose weight (despite any condition or circumstance) is to burn more calories than consumed. There is no magic here, just proven science (the 1st law of thermodynamics). To find out the amount of calories you consume per day with activity, go to www.apexfitness.com and use their fitness calculators. Then begin food logging your calories every day. If the goal is one pound of weight loss per week, you must have a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day as there are 3,500 calories in one pound of fat. You can achieve this deficit by burning 500 calories, not eating 500 calories, or both!
If calorie restriction proves to be too difficult, you can purchase supplements such as theromogenics and meal replacements to assist you. The best ones on the market are at www.dotfit.com. Abide by these guidelines and, by science, you WILL lose weight. Make sure to take a multivitamin so you will not lose muscle during weight loss.