We've got a lovely and firey post natal specialist giving you some tips in this weeks 'Ask a Teacher.' 

Meet Brittany Coughlan:

Brittany is a certified Pilates instructor, rehab specialist, and founder of Fine Tune Pilates Studio in Roncesvalles in the west end of Toronto. She specializes in working with injuries, and pre/post-natal fitness. Brittany believes that changing the quality of your movement will change the quality of your life. Get moving and feel the difference!

Find her at her west end studio Fine Tune Pilates, Body Harmonics or Misfitstudio.

Q. What considerations are there for post-natal as you try and get your body back into shape? 

Post-natal most women are more than aware that something has drastically changed in their mid-section. Because of this change to the body, a new mom's main goal- aside from taking care of their family-often becomes to strengthen their core. Whether driven by aesthetic reasons, or to do with a feeling of "lack of support" in that area. I see new moms who want to work their core incessantly. The number one thing to remember is that this is not the core you had pre-munchkin, it does not operate the same way. Doing 100 sit-ups a day does not a flat tummy make. In fact sit-ups, or loaded flexion as we call it, can sometimes cause puffing of the abdominals, or increase abdominal separation post-natal. Don't panic. Although many women experience abdominal separation, or diastasis recti, the muscles usually repair on their own, or with the appropriate exercises. 

The core muscles run in many different directions, and there are many layers to form a "corset" of support around your torso. Sit-ups are not the most effective for training all the different layers, and may set you back when trying to create that support again. Moral of the story, don't be afraid to train your core post-natal, but do a variety of different exercises and positions. 

Quadruped exercises are great for rebuilding the core post-natal. Try a knee hover. Stay tall on your arms, tuck your toes under, push into hands and toes on the mat, and float your knees off the floor about two inches. Do them quickly and small range to start trying to pull your low belly tight like a belt.