I WOULD love advice on getting back into shape after having my baby. She is now three months old.
I'm a keen runner and was wondering,if I should start back with Couch-to-5k? I stopped running early in my pregnancy but continued swimming until week 38.
IT'S great to see that you were so active in your pregnancy. There is a big misconception about exercise and pregnancy – many women think that you can't exercise when the reality is that you can exercise right up to the due date.
You have to adapt your exercise routine, but certainly there is no need to stop.
The more toned and fitter you are in pregnancy, the healthier your baby will be and the quicker you will get back into shape after you have had the baby.
So it's a good idea all round and it will also make the effects of pregnancy easier to manage too.
Now getting back to your question, the most important thing to do is to get your GP to give you the go ahead to exercise. This is normally done after six weeks.
The important thing when starting back is to take it easy and build up your fitness slowly but surely. Your body has gone through a significant amount of trauma and will need to be eased back to exercise.
Something like a Couch-to-5k plan is perfect as it is a gradual build over the course of six to eight weeks.
Once you have your fitness levels back up it's a great time to start trying to improve your 5k time and then build up your fitness levels to greater distances.
You can also do some resistance training to help tone up, but make sure you do a full-body programme so that you work the body as a whole, not just the stomach area.
If you have had a C-section you will need to do some specific stomach exercises as part of the whole routine, so get advice on this. This is the best way to get you fit, firm and healthy as quickly as possible.
MY PROBLEM relates to my youngest son who has just turned 17 and now wants to use protein shakes. He is determined to build bigger muscles so he is now increasing his weights a lot.
I worry that it is all too much and I notice that he is always tired these days. Should I be concerned?
IT'S good that you are involved in your son's training and also looking out for him. Over the past few years weight training has become very popular amongst teenagers. This is a good thing. It's a healthy way to expand energy, get in shape and be social at the same time.
When I was in school, I too trained to get bigger as I was a loosehead prop and needed to gain some size, something I spent my early twenties reversing as is so often the case.
Your question contains three main elements that I want to answer for you:
Shakes are incredibly popular but I think getting your protein naturally is a much better idea. It's healthier for you and is the best way to get your protein. Lean sources such as turkey, chicken and fish are best.
If you use shakes, the important thing is to choose the one with the lowest sugar content.
Some of them are full of sweeteners and additives, so try to choose a good one such as Optimum Nutrition, which is owned by Glanbia.
Your son is looking to build muscle by increasing his weights and increasing the protein content in his diet.
When you train you cause tears in the muscle fibre and these fibres grow back together stronger and leaner over time using protein.
The best advice I can give you is to buy 'The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding' by Arnold Schwarzenegger. This is the bible for bodybuilding and contains sensible and real advice.
The internet has created thousands of experts with opinions, but I tend to look to the real experts like Schwarzenegger and the old school bodybuilders.
The book will guide your son and keep him safe and covers everything from exercise to nutrition.
Your son certainly shouldn't be tired all the time. He may be overtraining and not giving his body enough time to recover.
He should be taking at least one if not two days a week off training to allow the muscles time to rebuild themselves.
He may also not be getting enough of the proper foods into his diet such as vegetables and fruits.
Sometimes it can be worth getting a full blood analysis to check for low B12 levels or low iron levels in the blood. Both can cause fatigue.
These tips should help your son to train better and smarter.
I think it's certainly something to be encouraged – just guide him along the right track and all will be well!