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Everything You Need to Know About Postpartum Fitness

Be guided by Coach Mindy Rivilla Lagdameo's "Mamafit" program, designed for mamas and by a mama who knows!

We live in the day and age where moms are pressured by social media to look good physically amid countless roles they play in life. Having given birth to a new child, adjusting to the new emotions that come with it, being a wife, trying to have a career, managing a household, and having a social life are just some of the overwhelming responsibilities modern-day mothers juggle.

It's not unusual to see a mom rocking a six pack on social media these days, which is great, and totally inspiring, but for a lot of women, this can be a lot of pressure on top of an already exhausting day. 

A lot of women then, resort to taking matters into their own hands and try their hardest to shed the extra pounds, and the "mommy pouch" by dieting and doing unsupervised exercise. As we will find out, this can do more harm than good. This is why we reached out to an expert in the field of postpartum fitness, Coach Mindy Rivilla Lagdameo, a Diastasis Recti rehab and Corrective Exercise Specialist, to help moms out there navigate this often undiscussed space. Read up, mamas, and get inspired to embrace your new body, and make it strong again!

Metro.Style:  Tell us about your background and how you became a post-partum workout coach.

Mindy Rivilla-Lagdameo: I’ve actually been a fitness professional for a total of 20 years now! I started out as a group exercise instructor, teaching Les Mills programs, spinning, yoga and pilates. I worked in the Philippines and in the Middle East as well as both a group exercise coach and a personal trainer for the Royal family in Abu Dhabi. I then switched over to coaching CrossFit in 2013. When I got pregnant in 2014, I came back home and was our country’s first pregnant CrossFit coach. I really enjoyed helping women understand that pregnant mamas should also be strong and maintain exercise while growing a baby.

When I gave birth though, I was completely blindsided by how different my body became and I realized that there was no one to really help me get back into movement and exercise properly. All my years of experience were useless and I actually got very injured when I tried to return to exercise the way I used to do. I felt so completely alone and my postpartum depression was terrible. I realized this had to change, for myself and all the mamas here in the Philippines especially. Someone had to look after the mamas, so I decided to be that person and switched all my focus to diastasis recti and postpartum rehab. Since 2018, I became double certified in this and currently taking on a third certification.

Fitspiration: The 'Active Momma' Cyrene Morales


Fitspiration: The 'Active Momma' Cyrene Morales

MS: Why is it important to give special attention to post-partum workouts? How is it different from regular workouts?

MRL: After we have a baby, we are completely changed. Both mind and body. Our body, most especially our core, since our abdominals are separated, among other core issues, is not the same is was before and we need to first focus on returning and progressing core function and strength before we can ease into any other workout we did before or want to try to do, otherwise injury and dysfunction will happen.

MS: What are common misconceptions about working out after giving birth?

MRL: So many! Here are just a few major ones:

  • "I used to be super fit during pregnancy so I don’t need to take it easy after or rehabilitate." This is wrong. EVERYONE who gives birth, regardless of fitness level must rehabilitate after delivery, and whether they delivered vaginally or C-section
  • "I just need to do a lot of crunches and sit ups after giving birth to get rid of my mommy pouch." This is wrong as these movements exacerbate diastasis recti and can actually make the pouch stick around instead.
  • "Intense workouts are best to get rid of the pregnancy weight." Going intense too soon will also exacerbate your core dysfunction and also because your body is in a high state of stress; the intense workouts will not be effective.

MS: What are the challenges women face when it comes to weight loss and fitness after giving birth?

MRL: Society always thinks that we need to bounce back after giving birth, especially if we were active before and during pregnancy. This is incorrect and puts unnecessary pressure on postpartum mamas. We need to time to find ourselves and get reacquainted with our new body and self. There is just not enough support for mamas as soon as they give birth; the attention and care is always on everyone else and not on mama. After delivery, all the information available is always geared towards baby and how to be a mother, but barely anything about how to be YOU again once you become a mother. There wasn’t anyone properly helping Filipina moms in particular about how to safely move and eventually return their strength and sense of self after having a baby. This is something that I am trying to change.

MS:  How do you personally address these issues?

MRL: I created and developed my Mamafit online coaching program after the birth of my second daughter. Mamafit is a specialized program that I built for mamas to very easily and progressively repair their diastasis recti, then restore core function, get rid of the mommy pouch and finally move and rebuild their entire body—without needing any equipment or crazy diets.

When I started this I had two very small, clingy babies, was breastfeeding full time, had no yaya, my husband was working abroad and I was also struggling through postpartum depression—so I really made sure that the program is as flexible and doable yet as effective as can be for super exhausted mamas, because I am one too. Since then I have been blessed to help over 1000 mamas in the Philippines and abroad too and hoping to help many more still!

This Young Mom Took Charge Of Her Weight Loss After Giving Birth


This Young Mom Took Charge Of Her Weight Loss After Giving Birth

MS: Most women feel like all hope is lost after they have kids. They have no drive to lose weight or get strong again. How do you motivate your clients?

MRL: Some big factors that contribute to the reason why mamas have no drive to lose weight or get strong are these:

  • They have no idea how to even begin
  • They are overwhelmed by what’s on social media and when they try to do it, they get discouraged because it doesn’t work
  • They feel like it will take too much time or effort

Mamafit is designed specifically for mamas, so they don’t even have to worry about what to do, they just have to follow the program, 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week. Usually once they start to see how simple it is and that they actually CAN do it, plus they see their results in many forms come so quickly, they really get motivated to keep going. Most of all, they have me in their corner, and the whole Mamafit community as well to keep them accountable too.

MS: What are three simple steps new moms can take to build a strong body again? 

MRL: Here are my three best tips for mamas who want to start getting strong again:

  • Accept that your body is brand new and give yourself some grace and love.
  • Start with small achievable goals; then take it one day at a time.
  • Advocate for yourself and find a coach who knows exactly what you are going through to help you in your journey

MS: How about diet? What role does it play in all this?  

MRL: I don’t actually advocate any diet and avoid the use of the word itself because it sounds like something restrictive and temporary, and mama life is hard enough as it is without having to worry about restricting so much. In my program I actually coach instead how to make better choices in terms of choosing whole foods that nourishes and contributes to postpartum recovery, and focuses instead on the abundance of good choices rather than necessarily taking away food. Knowing what is best to nourish your body is also key to recover and rebuild well.

I think the most important thing I can remind our mama readers is this - putting your self care first, will NEVER be selfish—how happy and healthy you are will directly affect how happy and healthy your kids are too! YOU ARE WORTH IT.

I open two batches of my Mamafit Core Restoration Program each month and mamas who want to start their journey back to themselves and towards their strongest, best mama body can reach through out through my Instagram or Facebook page - YOU DESERVE THIS, mama!

Banner photos by Loren Castillo, Antoni Shkraba, and Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels

Fitspiration: Mom-Of-Two And Crossfit Lover Bianca Reinoso


Fitspiration: Mom-Of-Two And Crossfit Lover Bianca Reinoso