Lifestyle Prior To Change
Prior to the pregnancy, I was already a gym rat who lifted regularly, but the last 3 weeks of my pregnancy were rough. I became rather restless and just "done" with being pregnant. My healthy habits went out the window at that point.
What was your low point or turning point?
Those last 3 weeks of my pregnancy was definitely my low point. The working out came to a halt and I ate horribly - fast food, sweets, soda, you name it - if it was sweet and/or salty and horrible for you, I probably ate it. I gained more weight in those last 3 weeks than I did my entire 3rd trimester! I felt so tired all the time.
I had lifted for several years by the time I was pregnant, and I continued to lift moderately throughout my pregnancy. However, I didn't return to my lifting and cardio routine (post baby) for over 2 months. I had a rough labor and recovery along with a colicky baby who also had bad acid reflux and needed 100% of me. So this time around, my transformation began mid January 2010 and my after photo was taken first week of May 2010. There will never be a true "end date" to my transformation as I will always have new goals I want to reach. Major milestones would include loosing all the baby weight - which took around 2 months, then rebuilding muscle mass, which is an on-going process.
Kim's Diet And Training Approach
I had to ease back in to the working out for 2 reasons: I had a rough labor and my body was taking a while to recover and my newborn was colicky, had acid reflux and I couldn't be out of site or she'd scream. So I started off slow - I started working out at home with my baby girl in her swing so she could watch me. I started with cardio on the treadmill and some light lifting with just dumbbells in our living room. Eventually I added HIIT cardio 2x's a week, on top of low intensity cardio 4x's a week and light lifting 4x's a week. About 2 months later, with all the baby weight gone and my baby girl slowly becoming less colicky, I moved the lifts back to the gym to get back to the heavy lifting - squats, deadlifts, etc. while continuing the cardio. I ate incredibly healthy - grilled chicken, steamed veggies, brown rice, quinoa, egg whites, etc.
What is your current workout or training approach?
Now that I've accomplished the goal of getting back to shape after the baby, my current goal is to gain 5 lbs of lean muscle mass. So for this goal, my split is lifting 4 x's a week - one heavy leg day, one moderate leg day, two upper body days (same thing - one heavy, one moderate), low intensity cardio 2-3x's a week. Eating A LOT of all that same good stuff listed above.
What was diet approach during your transformation?
Super simple - eat healthy, eat often. I never skipped breakfast, made sure to eat every 2.5-3 hours, plenty of lean protein, low fat, stayed away from processed foods, lots of water.
Can you give us a current sample eating plan?
- Breakfast - 4 egg whites, 1 whole egg, a few avocado slices w/ a cup of black coffee.
- Meal 1 - Protein shake w/ oatmeal, banana.
- Meal 2 - Lean grilled chicken breast, 1.5 cup steamed broccoli or spinach, handful of almonds.
- Meal 3 - Slice of wheat bread w/ peanut butter, half cup of steamed spinach.
- Meal 4 - Salmon, steamed veggies and brown rice.
- Meal 5 - Low fat plain yogurt w/ raisins, almonds.
- Meal 6 - 5 egg whites.
What supplements did you use?
I limited my supplement intake because I was still nursing my daughter. The only thing I took was protein shakes and branched chain amino acids for recovery.
What Is Your Life Like Now?
Life is so different and amazing with a new baby in your life. Every thing I do is for her in some way. My goal is to be the best example for her in every possible way. I don't want her to every have to struggle with junk food like I have in the past. I want her to grow up in a healthy environment. I want eating healthy and being active to be her way of life.
Any Advice For Others?
Get healthy now. If not for yourself, do it for your loved ones. Set goals and find inspiration to accomplish them. Get healthy and then inspire everyone you know to do the same.
More from Kim Brenton
As I mentioned above, I just want other women, mommies, mommies to be, and even men - to realize that women don't need to give up on their fitness goals after having a baby. "Baby fat" should no longer be an excuse. I know it's not easy, but it is possible.
You truly are an inspiration! I am currently 38 weeks pregnant and I miss my old body. I worry that I would not be able to lose the pregnancy weight but your story motivates me. Did you find that working out cut your milk supply? How did you lose the fat portion of the pregnancy in just 2 months?
Aww Thanks Michelle :) I was worried about the same thing since so many negative women liked to say negative things like "say goodbye to that body" but it's not true! You can get back in or end up in better shape than ever after a pregnancy. And no, luckily working out didn't affect my milk supply. I nursed my daughter for the entire first year. I did lose most of the fat in roughly the 1st couple of months, but gaining the muscle mass back was the tougher part for me. Hope that helps and congrats on your pending arrival!
Hi there, I would really like to know wot your routine is like in more detail. i am a mom and although i have lost , still battling with the last few kilos. My mid section is the problem, i would appreciate your advice.
Those last few kilos and the mid section were also the most difficult task for me to work on post partum. My routine consisted of
* Strength training (lifting) 4 x's a week (you can find many great strength training programs for women right here on Muscle & Strength's site)
* HIIT cardio 2x's a week- first thing in the morning on an empty stomach on the days I did not do strength training, as it is pretty intense and I recommend not doing both HIIT cardio and lifting on the same day. If you're not familiar with HIIT cardio, you can search for it on this site.
* Low intensity cardio 4 x's a week. Something like walking on a treadmill or elliptical at 3-3.5 mph for half an hour qualifies as low-intensity cardio.
* EAT HEALTHY! This part is soooo important b/c if you don't eat healthy, all your work will not show. Eat lean proteins, healthy carbs and lots of fruits and veggies.
That's it- do all of that consistently and your results will show!
Could you explain in detail your four day routine. Heavy leg, moderate leg, heavy upper body and moderate uppper body. I never know how many reps, how much wait time between sets and which type of lift to do.
Hi Emily! I'm so sorry it took me so long to get back to you- I just saw this.
Ok- heavy days consist of high weight, low reps and moderate days are moderate weight, high reps.
For heavy days- I lift as heavy as I can, w/ proper form, for 6-8 reps. This means that I can at least get 6 reps out, but no more than 8 reps. If you can easily knock out 10-12 reps or more on your heavy days, you need to increase your weight. On moderate days, I lift as heavy as I can for 12-15 reps. Again- you can knock out at least 12, but no more than 15 reps easily or you need to increase your weight.
As for rest periods, you can rest up to 2-3 minutes on heavy days, 1-1.5 minutes on moderate days.... However a good rule of thumb is to monitor your heart rate. You want to wait long enough for it to slow down a bit, but not nap between sets.
As for lifts, search Muscle & Strength's site- they have many great lifts for women on here.
Hope this helps!
Hi Kim, you look amazing! I am still trying to get that six pack that you are sporting! What is your advice to someone who has lost significant weight but can't seem to get to that next level with their midsection? I have worked very hard but it seems it's my biggest challenge. PS, be so proud of yourself, you look amazing and people will look up to you for what you have done!!
Hi Ashley- I'm so sorry it took me so long to get back to you! I just saw this- oops! First, congratulations on your significant weight loss. That's really something to be proud of! And second, I'm sure you've heard this before- Abs are made in the kitchen. To really get that definition, you'll need to eat a really healthy diet of lean proteins, lots of fruits and veggies and healthy carbs- wheat pastas, breads, brown rice, quinoa, etc. You'll also need to up the intensity in cardio (on top of strength training, of course). Try HIIT cardio on your off days and low intensity cardio 3x's a week. If you're not familiar with HIIT cardio, look it up on here. It will become your best friend even though it will kick your butt! Good luck and I'd love to hear how it goes!