Pooch-Banishing Exercises, Recommended By Moms With Flat Tummies. (Really. They Exist.)


Mamas, some of you may remember my friend Amber of the faux-fur jacket.  She is one of my dearest friends, and being such…can get away with, uh, a certain level of honesty that a good friend is allowed.

She once called me “skinny fat.”

Never heard of it?  ‘Skinny fat’ is when you generally look skinny….but don’t have an ounce of muscle tone.  Just soft, soft flab.  It’s no healthier than being overweight, it’s just less noticeable.  And while it was a bit harsh…OK:  she had a point.  I do have a slight tendency to…to be a little lazy in the workout department.  I avoid sit-ups like the plague, and unless it’s a ballet class (or the occasional yoga) I’m not really motivated to go. (NOTE:  My last ballet class was in 2007.)

I bring this up because I’m concerned that I’ve been guilty of perpetuating a myth that really bugs me.  The I Am Poochy Mom, The Victim myth.

Yes, I have a small pooch (and cellulite).  At least in the afternoon hours (and definitely by the end of the day).  But Mamas:  I haven’t done much to get rid of them.  And while I do eat lots of whole grains, veggies and am generally healthy…it’s not like I’ve given up sugar or brownies or ice cream or cookies or cupcakes or – god forbid – doughnuts.  So last time Amber heard me whine about my pooch and cellulite…she just rolled her eyes and dryly remarked, “Well, if you’d actually work out once in a while….”

Um.  She has a point.

Granted, there are body changes that are just hear to stay: hip bones and rib cages have shifted, and gravity and generally getting older are just starting to have their way with me.  But I want to be sure that I’m not falling into the trap of “I’m a Mom, this is the best I can expect” way of thinking.  Because really…that’s just one step down the road to mom-jeans. Right?  And I’d hate to be accused of perpetuating a defeatist attitude.

So I searched out some inspiration.  Inspiration in the form of moms – real, everyday moms.  Not celebrity moms with trainers and personal chefs.  Not fitness guru moms whose motivation for working out faaaar exceeds that of the “normal” population. (And by “normal” I mean me.  snort)  I wanted to find moms who work.  Moms who juggle the demands of multiple kids.  Moms who have the same kind of time/motivation problems that I do.

And happily…there are a few moms I’ve met (either in-person or virtually through this blog) who have actually managed to lose the pooch. Like…completely.  We’re talking flat (or at least a flat-ish) stomach.  Even overcoming Diastasis recti.  And surprise!!  It took work.  Lots of it.  There’s no magic bullet – just a lot of hard workin’ out.  So….if you are interested in how they lost their mum tums, keep reading.  If not…I’ll be over here with the brownies*.

(*Kidding, kidding.  I’m going to try these.  Really.  I am.)


Mel Loves Her Sweet Redbook Moves

The workout:  Redbook’s 3 Moves to Target Your Post-Pregnancy Pooch

The mom:  Mel has two ah-dorable kiddos under five, and a HUMONGOUS husband with a good-sized melon.  It should also be noted that Mel is teeny tiny.  The problem?  You guessed it:  diastasis recti.  Here’s what Mel has to say:

After becoming a mom the second time around, two words entered my vocabulary that I had never heard before: diastasis recti. Though my OBGYN quickly discounted this condition of separated abdominal muscles as a “normal” part of motherhood, I quickly realized that the condition was not “normal” for me or something I wanted to just live with. I felt that there had to be something I could do to change it!

I had been frustrated as I lost the baby weight from pregnancy #2 because despite losing the pounds, I couldn’t see any change in my pooch and my new body shape meant that I could no longer fit into much of my pre-pregnancy wardrobe. My self esteem had taken a blow, and I didn’t feel like I could get back to “me”.

Thankfully, my patient and wonderful husband was well aware of my frustration with my never-changing poochy tummy and just happened to stumble across a small blurb about diastis recti in an issue of one of my Redbook Magazines. My initial response to his suggestion of looking at a set of exercises to improve my belly was a little moody due to my self-consciousness, but I did eventually look up the article, and was sooo glad I did.

After following the steps in the article, the separation in my stomach muscles has closed, I’ve lost inches off my waist, and I can fit back into my favorite clothes again! It has been a boost to my self esteem and totally worth the few minutes each day it takes to do the exercises.

In my opinion, this information should be readily available to all mamas with diastis recti and I’m thankfull to the wonderful gals at Ain’t No Mom Jeans for bringing it to the attention of their readers!



Kerrisa Has a 6-Pack?  Whoa…

The workout:  Lindsay Brin’s 60 Day Slimdown

Photo 2


The mom:  I can’t remember where I discovered that reader Kerrisa had a gorgeous flat tummy, but I was instantly jealous.  And wanted to know more.  Here’s her success story:

When S asked me to write a review for ANMJ I jumped at the chance.   Not because I’m a writer by any means but because:
a) I absolutely love this blog and read it everyday
b) I found a workout program that really does get rid of our little (maybe not so little) friend, the pooch and I wanted to share it with all of you amazing Mamas…
OK, so I have never been one for working out but after having my second baby boy and my 30th birthday in the same week, I was feeling old(er) and poochy.  I came across Lindsay Brin’s 60 Day Slimdown on babysteals.com and with an impulse buy I found gold!  Ladies, please believe me when I say it works!  It does.  In 10 days I could see and feel a difference …and after the 60 days I had a six pack peeking through!  Granted, I still have a small pooch when I’m not flexing, but I’ve come to terms with it, it’s mommy-dom, and it is much much MUCH smaller than what I started with.  Plus, a six pack, are you kidding me?!  I didn’t believe it was possible (I’d insert a pic of my six-pack here if I wasn’t so self conscious, I mean modest).


I’m at my pre baby weight now and feel awesome, all thanks to Lindsay.  She is a mama herself with three little ones so she understands our time limitations and creates her workouts accordingly.  She keeps them short and doable and she encourages you as a mommy along the way.  She also understands our relationship with the pooch and knows how to tame the beast! She calls it the Core Firing Sequence method.  It trains your core to fire from the inside out, working like a corset and shaping those abs.  That plus the interval training, cardio and core, and you’re on the road to lookin like one hot mama!
I have done four of her DVDs…..they all rock, but my vote is for going all in, giving her 60 days, and getting the SlimDown.  It’s a combo of all the DVDs mentioned above plus a super easy (and realistic) nutrition plan and a detailed fitness calendar and progress tracker.  Sounds like a lot of effort right?   Yes.  But honestly IT WORKS and it’s made specifically for you Mamas!  Even if you are breastfeeding (shoot, I grew me a 17 lb four month old while following her program and lost weight) it works.  She says it’s like getting a tummy tuck without the surgery!  Yup, that’s right ladies!  Her website is www.momsintofitness.com for those of you who want to check it out.
Anyone else out there tried her workouts and joined the fan club? Can any of you Mamas back me up on this one?
Amber’s At The Barre
The workout: Barre 3 Classes (or Online Program)


The mom:  The super-stylin’ mama of the gorgeous baby Harlow…Amber loves her Barre3 classes!  (NOTE:  Amber convinced me to try the Barre3 online classes…they are amazing but also crazy hard).

Barre classes are the absolute best if you can only pick one thing (which is where I’m at these days).  I did classes before, during and after pregnancy. Any workout you can do throughout the whole pregnancy and still lose inches has my vote!!

My favorite is Barre3.  It’s really the most balanced between pilates, yoga and ballet…AND these classes have onsite childcare. Super targeted to moms. Amazing classes people and workouts. Sadie Lincoln is the founder and currently trains Madonna. She’s unbelievable!  She’s healthy, balanced, a mom and an entrepreneur.  She also has online classes people can do from home or on the road with updated videos each month:  10min, 30 min or full hour workouts to keep up with it. I’m obsessed!!!!!!!!!


Thanks, Mamas!!  Love the ideas and inspiring words about the postpartum lifestyle!!




Previous articleSummer Beauty Essentials For Moms (and Kids!)
Next articleTGI Summer!
Shana founded The Mom Edit in 2008. She lives with the love of her life (his name's Mike) and their two crazy boys in downtown Philadelphia. She loves a good styling challenge (her engineering side shows eventually), appreciates kindness, and usually picks scotch over wine, sneakers over stilettos, and shorts known as denim-underwear, always.

Shop Shana's Closet


  1. shana, don’t forget the following super important points:
    -weight loss, if indicated. if you are overweight you must lose some weight to get rid of the pooch. you can do this by calorie control and healthy foods.
    -stay consistent, once you lose the pooch it will come back if you overeat and stop exercising.
    -breastfeed as long as possible.
    -be realistic. if you started off very overweight it will take you longer to get the body you want.
    -being thin is either genetic luck, age related awesome metabolism, hard work, or a combo of the above.

  2. Insanity cardio abs! I almost have a six pack already and am 5 lbs from my pregnancy weight. I also run and do a few p90x workouts but I am 5 mos postpartum and already thinner than I was at the same point with my other son. Also I cold turkeyed on soda.

  3. These are great suggestions! I’d also recommend Julie Tupler’s (Tupler Technique) exercise resources, especially if you have diastasis recti. And if you’re pregnant now, get Tupler’s book Maternal Fitness to avoid diastasis if you can. I didn’t really notice a separation with my first son but I do seem to have a smallish diastasis after my second son.
    My other recommendation for busy moms are kettlebells! Awesome for cardio & strength training, as well as core strength, and easy to fit 20-30 minute workouts in to your schedule. While I think some of my pooch will hang around until I’m done breastfeeding and can get my body fat down a bit more, you can definitely see a more toned middle after just 4-6 weeks.

  4. Thanks for this! I’m 20+ weeks into pregnancy #2 and am concerned about losing weight / inches after 2 babies and 2 c-sections. Any thoughts on these workouts after a c-section?

  5. I did lindsay brin and loved it… But it was hard for me to find the time to stick with the 60 day between a new baby, nursing, finishing my degree and working. My husband was a huge supporter and was also my workout buddy (doing insanity as his 60 day). After my first 60 day I popped in lindsay’s bootcamp and just followed one of the plans on there that was meant as an every other day work out and was much more able to follow

  6. I had diastasis recti after my third baby and am currently pregnant with my fourth. I have been seeing a physical therapist who specializes in women’s health and it has made such a difference. I am only 13 weeks along, but I am stronger and flatter than I was months before getting pregnant. Having a stronger core as also helped my running, and my busy day to day life. Being healthy and strong has always been a big part of my life, I just really needed the one on one help the therapist is able to provide.

  7. Great info! I think it’s a travesty that women with diastasis recti aren’t given any info on how to get their tummies back in shape (I was devastated when I found out, 2 years postpartum, that doing normal crunches and sit-ups actually makes it worse if you haven’t close the disastasis up first-2 years of ab workouts, down the drain…at least I know now why they weren’t working!)
    Someone needs to make a little brochure about it doctors can give to new mamas to read once they are up to working out again!

  8. I was a gym rat before and during (7 months of, anyway) pregnancy. However, I haven’t SEEN the inside of a gym since my son was born a year ago but I am pooch-less and my husband says I look better now than I did before getting pregnant. I do TurboFire during naptimes or after the babe goes down for the night. Love it!

  9. I beyond happy to see this post!! I had no problem after my 1st or 2nd, even with disatis recti, getting back to normal -or smaller- by about 9 mo pp. But the third has totally kicked my rear. I’m 9 mo pp and look 4 mo pg and have actually had more than 1 person ask if I’m pg. It’s HUMILIATING!! My dr was all, it will close on its own with sit-ups – um, no, it’s not! Please please keep the feedback coming on what to do about the diastis recti problem!!! There isn’t a traner/therapy option here, so please, any recommendations I can do at home? (Am off to research the ones mentioned…)

  10. Thanks for the link to the Redbook article. I’ll really have to try that. I have diastasis recti (from pushing too hard during labor!) and it’s always bothered me more than the pooch. I thought I was stuck with it, so I hope this works.

  11. I lost my baby weight within about nine months with breastfeeding (70 lbs/pregnancy) but after the 3rd c-section I had a three-finger separation and time to think about the pooch. 6 months or so after my 3rd section I started sucking in my stomach whenever I thought of it. Honestly, that was all I had time/energy for. I added 10-minute Pilates workouts on occasion. Last year, after throwing my back out putting a car seat in the car I decided it was time to get down to business and have since become a consistent 30-minute-a-day yoga and Pilates DVD girl. Yay for Netflix. My youngest is three, my belly is almost-but-not-quite flat and my lower back has stopped hurting.

  12. Another option people may want to consider is “Exercise After Pregnancy: How to Look and Feel Your Best,” by Helen Byrne. This is probably the most detailed and accurate resource for fixing diastasis recti. The main negatives, in my opinion, is that the book *is* technical and this could put some people off. The book is also very detailed and while this is good, it can be overwhelming when you are really busy and just struggling to think in a noisy house. There is a DVD you can buy instead of the book but it is not rated as highly. I think if you are really wanting to solve the problem, this is the best resource – its a lot like the exercises you would get from a physical therapist.

  13. Mommyd- I hear you! I had a 4 finger’s width diastasis. The one thing I would say is find a physical therapist that specializes in women’s health prenatally and postpartum. I did. My insurance covered it and it helped tremendously.
    What happens if you don’t start to repair the diastasis (and closet coach it’s never too late!) is that you recruit other muscles to stabilize yourself – for me that meant all sorts of issues with my spine, my ribs, my neck and yes ladies, even my pelvic floor (NOT pretty!)…
    So try that route- they worked with me, gave me a home program that was doable and worked. These types of PT’s understand that we mamas don’t have a lot of time on our side, are empathic and able to work wonders!!!

  14. Skinny fat! That’s me. I’ve used that term myself ever since I heard Gwyneth Paltrow describe herself (pre yoga and running) that way.
    I used Helen Bryne’s Bounce Back Fast DVD after my second pregnancy. It made a big difference for me. My stomach muscles were so so weak I had to do something. The DVD itself (at least at the time I used it) has pretty poor production quality, but the content is good, and I prefer to follow a DVD than read a book.

  15. For the mamas with diastasis recti… If you go to Lindsay Brin’s website she has a very thorough section on this condition which includes how to test for it, what it is, specific exercises to do for it both during and post pregos and the dos and donts. There is a video clip posted there also displaying a modified crunch for DR and there is a list of 7 simple movements that initiate the healing of DR.
    Go to her website and click on Get The Skinny, then on diastasis recti for all this info.

  16. I had the diastase recti. Super bad. I had several inches between my muscles (I’m a short waisted petite girl) after my second, I did planks. Only planks. Closed right up. I lost 7 inches on my waist from that and loosing the baby weight (about 15lbs). Now you can see my upper abs, but I’m still pudgy on my lower belly 😉 I’m at a good weight, so I actually don’t mind. I still wear the bikini. Haha,

  17. A BIG, BIG thank you to Mel and commenters for the diastis recti advice. My split with my first mostly healed on its own, but I could stick my entire hand between my muscles after my second and had given up hope of ever getting them back together (still have a 1-2 finger split all the way down). I will certainly be trying these exercises!!!
    And seriously, why are doctors and midwives so unhelpful about this when it’s so common? I know it’s not life threatening, but seriously, not even a brochure?

  18. I saw a physical therapist after my first C-section. She gave me super easy, helpful exercises to start getting my ab muscles rehabbed. There are PTs in the world that specialize in this stuff, and I just happened to encounter one while I was pregnant. I recommend asking around. The hospital where I gave birth offerred the first consultation as a part of the birth/hospital stay. I didn’t see her again after my 2nd C-section, but used all of the exercises she gave me.

  19. Yogaglo.com -It’s an amazing yoga website for moms that can’t get to the gym regularly but want the benefits of yoga (including a 6-pack and no pooch).
    You can subscribe to monthly ($18/month) and has hundreds of yoga classes, all levels, all styles, with a variety of run-times (20 minutes up to 90). There are about thirty instructors on there so you will never be bored! They even take questions and form classes around them. Brilliant!
    All I have is my mat and a hardwood floor. Once the kids hit naptime, I hit the mat for 45-60 minutes and feel awesome the rest of the day. I am proud to say that even after three kids, yoga has eliminated any pooch. Enjoy!

  20. Thank you for blogging about this! So important for mommies to know about! I am going to try a couple of suggestions myself.

  21. Look into doing planks to firm up your tummy.
    After years of situps as well as ab crunches I did not believe that planks would work for me personally but boy was I wrong.
    At this point, planks form the main part of my
    abdominal exercises.

  22. I knew about DR but I hadn’t checked myself. I have a 10 month old and have a 1″ separation. I have no idea if I had it with my first born. I’m really motivated by this post and have since started doing The Core Program and will start doing planks as well– baby steps.baby steps.
    Thank you for a great article!

  23. I had this after my emergency hrtceyestomy. During the recovery, I ripped muscles away from the anterior abdominal wall lifting and doing too much I wasn’t supposed to. My doctor told me that surgery would repair it, but I’m a high-risk surgery patient (problems with sedation, allergic to ALL pain meds, etc). So I’ve been working my buns off and getting back in shape. I can still tell that on the left side, there isn’t as much definition as on the right because there just aren’t muscles there. But I do believe it’s slowly getting better. You look awesome!

  24. Hello Amy,I’m glad I found your website! I am too have Diastasis Recti and its hard to find ufsuel information about it. I am in the 2nd pregancy and my Diastasis Recti has not healed properly yet. I don’t want to worsen my condition so I’m trying to find ways to prevent it from tearing even more. Can’t wait to hear back how your work with Tupler went

Leave a Reply