Moms everywhere clutched their pearls in horror this weekend as four-days-postpartum pictures of Caroline Berg Erikson, a Norwegian soccer wife and fitness blogger, hit Instagram. Is it really possible to look like that four days after giving birth? Sure! All you need is:
- The genes. Be tall, long-waisted and don’t have stretch marks run in your family.
- Be young. The younger you are, the faster your skin and muscles will recover.
- Strong abs. The baby sits underneath your abdominal muscles, and the stronger they are before pregnancy the stronger they’ll be during and after. You shouldn’t do abdominal exercises during pregnancy, though, because you don’t want to train your abs to assume the “out” position.
- Low body fat to begin with. If you compare this picture with her pre-pregnancy pictures, pregnancy actually did round her out– she was really, really thin and has admitted to being hospitalized for an eating disorder in the past. Skinny does not necessarily mean healthy, though, and when it comes to pregnancy, being too thin and not gaining enough is more dangerous both to you and the baby than being overweight or gaining too much.
- A job in fitness. Just like Maria “What’s Your Excuse?” Kang, fitness is this woman’s job, and before pregnancy she worked out for an hour an a half a day, six days a week and ran 40-50 kilometers (28 – 31 miles) every week. If that level of fitness is your priority and you have the time, will and discipline to get there, that’s great. But if you have other priorities– other kids, a husband and/or a full-time job, say– attaining that level of fitness means something in your schedule will have to give, be it sleep, work or attention to your family. While moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day will help you feel and look better, sadly it won’t be enough to get you washboard abs a week postpartum.